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It is all about trust

If there is someone you can trust these days, those are the terrorists. That seems to be the message in the world of Foreign Affairs these days. If you don’t believe me, our Prime Minister, the dictator next door and the State Department can vouch for this.

Once you grab that hand it is so difficult to let it go. No, we are not talking about Meera Jasmine ‘s or Kavya Madhavan‘s hands, but Musharraf’s. That seems to be the predicament of all Indian Prime Ministers starting with Vajpayee. Vajpayee went all way to Pakistan and kissed those hands which masterminded Kargil. Then came Manmohan Singh and he too did the same thing in the conclave of tyrants in Havana. Maybe it was the Cuban air, maybe Manmohan Singh is plain crazy, but India and Pakistan have agreed to put in place a anti-terrorism institutional mechanism, which is like Veeru and Gabbar Singh signing an agreement to hunt down Sambha.

If India had no reason to distrust Musharraf, Musharraf had no reason to distrust the 2500 foreign fighters linked to Taliban and al-Qaeda fighting in Waziristan. It did not matter that some of these gentlemen belonged to Islamic welfare organizations, such “the al-Khidmat Foundation run by the hard-line Islamist party Jamaat-i-Islami and some of them had tried to assassinate Musharraf. The Govt.  reached an agreement with the terrorists. They (terrorists) would not involve in cross-border terrorism and stop attacks on government installations and security forces. In turn Pakistani Army would not undertake any ground or air operation against the militants. If Musharraf wanted a template for such agreements we could have faxed him a copy from the many India has signed with various Pakistani Prime Minister and dictators.

While we are waiting for the next bomb to explode in a crowded train or temple as a result of all that forbidden love  in Pakistan, the State Department is smiling like Hugo Chavez after seeing Fidel Castro. This is the perfect world according to Richard Boucher, the Washington Bob. He thinks that the agreement between Musharraf and the terrorists has the potential to work which only shows how clueless the State Department folks are. But then the State Department has put all its eggs in Musharraf’s basket and they cannot do anything else, but trust him.

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More Catholic than…

While Israel was bombing Lebanon and Hezbollah was firing missiles randomly into Israeli civilian population, the Lok Sabha passed a resolution condemning the Israeli attack on Lebanon.

‘‘Deeply concerned over escalation of this conflict which affects India’s security and other vital interests, this House calls for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire so that further destruction of Lebanon is prevented,’’ Chatterjee said, reading out the resolution reflecting what he said was ‘‘mood of the House’’.

 

The Lok Sabha in the resolution expressed ‘‘its deepest condolences, sympathy and support of the People of India to the people of Lebanon in this difficult time.’’[House slams Israel strike on Lebanon]

After triggering the incident with the kidnap of two Israeili soldiers, Hezbollah, a member of the Lebanese Parliament did not exactly sing Raghupati Raghava Raja Raam. They lobbed the Second World War era Katyusha missiles and used the Lebanese people as human shields. The four thousand missiles, packed with metal ball bearings to maximize harm found 39 civilian targets. The head of Hezbollah  openly called for a genocide against Israel.

While condemning Israel, the Indian Parliament did not find it necessary to condemn the Hezbollah terrorists for their activities. It did not ask Hezbollah to disarm nor did the Parliament criticize Nazrallah. For a nation which proudly advertises itself as the two decade old victim of cross border terrorism, it seemed odd that they would ignore the cross border terrorism from Lebanon as the cause of the most recent conflict.

At Least the Lebanese people have more balls in this regards. They had no problems putting the blame on Nazrallah and his Iranian sponsors. Leaders of the March 14th movement have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war. Prominent Hezbollah supporters have asked the militia to disband. Shiite leaders rejected the war started by Hezbollah. Even the spokesman for Nazrallah is now against him.

Being more Catholic than the Pope is not something new to us. When the Communists wanted to cut all ties with Israel, the Palestinians said they did not want anything like that. Now will the Lok Sabha issue a statement against all the Shiites  criticizing Nazrallah? Will we invite Nazrallah to India and give him some Nehru, Gandhi, Award?

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They need a new name

Here are some excerpts from the speeches from the Nonaligned Movement summit in Cuba

“When there no longer is a Cold War, the United States spends one billion dollars a year in weapons and soldiers and it squanders a similar amount in commercial publicity,” he said. “To think that a social and economic order that has proven unsustainable could be maintained by force is simply an absurd idea.” [Raul Castro]

“Under any scenario, we are with you just like we are with Cuba,” Chavez told Iran. “If the United States invades Cuba, blood will run. … We will not have our arms crossed while bombs are falling in Havana or they carry Raul off in a plane.” [Hugo Chavez]

So  why is this called Non-Aligned Movement again?

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Natwar Singh slips on Oil

It was last year in October that the Paul Volker, the former Federal Reserve Chairman released his report on the Iraqi Oil for Food programme. The report mentioned Natwar Singh, the Congress Party, and Bhim Singh as “non-contractual beneficiaries”. The Iraqis had bribed political parties and people in position to influence their opinion.

When the report came out Natwar Singh immediately called it baseless. After that, just to prove that he genuinely had lost his marbles, he suggested that Paul Volker had political designs and was targeting opponents of the war. He also wanted to know why an American was appointed to investigate and not a person from a developing country. The Communists who are always in the race to show they are the benchmark when it comes to stupid statements contributed the gem that all this was due to the liberalization of the economy. Natwar Singh, then went so far, like George Galloway to suggest that he has no idea how a barrel of oil looks like.

It did not matter to these people that Table III in the report listed Americans, British, Italian and Spanish nationals (all from countries who made up the Coalition forces)  accused of similar crime. Since we don’t trust Americans, a Committe was appointed to investigate the matter. Now the Justice Pathak Committee has found Natwar Singh and his son Jagat Singh guilty.

Andaleeb Sehgal, a friend of Jagat Singh, and Aditya Khanna, a relative of Natwar Singh, are understood to have received financial payoffs in the deal by getting oil coupons based on the letters of recommendation given by Natwar Singh.

The authority has found that Natwar and his son had misused their position in helping Sehgal and Khanna bag three oil contracts from the UN sanctioned Saddam regime.

Sehgal and Khanna, in turn, passed the contracts on to Swiss oil company Masefield AG which drew the oil and paid them a commission, the report says, adding that on a cut of five cents a barrel, Sehgal and Khanna received a total commission of $1,46,000, which they divided between themselves in a ratio of 4:1. [Natwar Singh, son indicted in oil-for-food scam

Now we know that Natwar Singh was not targeted due to his anti-war stance, but because he was involved in bribery. His anti-war stance came not from any ideology, but due to good payoffs and he was just acting like a good sepoy for Saddam Hussein.

The report has exonerated the Congress Party which was listed as one of the beneficiaries, but since Natwar Singh was a loyal foot soldier of the party, doesn’t the party bear responsibility for this man’s actions? Both Sehgal and Khanna had used the  party name and Natwar Singh misusing his position had written several letters to the Iraqi Oil Minister to swing contracts in favor of his son. Now the focus will be on Natwar, since he has been chosen to drink hemlock for the party and in this cacophony the party will escape the scam.

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World to India: Trust a terrorist nation

Immediately after condemning the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, Pakistani Foreign Minister, Khurshid Kasuri suggested that the best way to deal with terrorism was to tackle the real issue of Jammu and Kashmir. What has a bomb blast in Mumbai got to do with Kashmir, you may wonder, but that seems to be the association in the Western World as well. When Michael Krasny made this association in Forum the Consul General of India, B.S. Prakash, asked him the same question.

Note that all this association was already made, very prematurely, even before the Police had clues connecting SIMI and LeT and before the congratulatory phone calls were traced. Even before this, suggestions came from various experts that the peace process should not suffer due to such terrorist activities and even thinking about reviewing the process would be falling into the terrorist trap.

Echoing the insensitive line by Khurshid KasuriXenia Dormandy suggested that Kashmir is the problem and India needs to step up in offering something in Kashmir. To give her credit, and she said the right things  on her interview with Neil Conan on Talk of the Nation, that the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan is a big problem. Now the Economist too has suggested that India and Pakistan should solve the Kashmir issue.

All this faith in the peace process is built on the assumption that once the Kashmir resolved, with major “compromises” (code word for land donation), there will be ever lasting peace process in the sub-continent. Israel has learned the hard way this week that making such compromises do not guarantee anything, other than an escalation in violence.

Last September Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip and Gaza became the first completely independent Palestinian territory. The Palestinians fired rockets from Gaza, and then later dug a tunnel from there and kidnapped an Israeli soldier. Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000. United Nations verified the withdrawal and was satisfied with it. Now from Lebanon, Hezbollah entered Israel and kidnapped two soldiers. Now Israel is fighting a war on two fronts.

What is the guarantee that Gaza and Lebanon will not happen to India. How can you trust a nation which does not want to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure and  which was planning Kargil, while yet another peace process was going on?<

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