Tag: India

Uh-oh. Pakistan seems to expect Indian air strikes soon.

Not really a diary, just a heads-up.

This Al-Jazeera headline story this morning claims that Pakistani forces are on “red alert.”

The text of the article is a little jumbled and diffuse, suggesting that Al-Jazeera’s Pakistani sources are all over the map and are contradicting one another.

The terrorist attack on Mumbai last month may have forced the Indian government’s hand. Parliamentary elections must be held in India by May, 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress Party-led government, though it has exercised considerable restraint vis-a-vis Pakistan for years in the face of Pakistani support for the insurgency in Kashmir, the December, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament (which almost led to war by the spring of 2002), and now the commando-style strike on Mumbai, may now feel compelled to make a military response. The Indians are convinced that these attacks are planned and launched from Pakistan with the assistance of elements of the Interservices Intelligence Directorate of the Pakistani military.

Singh’s government is under enormous pressure to do something besides exhibit restraint and patience. If it does nothing, the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will surely beat the jingoist campaign drums and stand a good chance of winning enough seats to lead the next government.

Sheer speculation: Indian Prime Minister Singh and his key advisers may have concluded that a few limited “surgical” air strikes against terrorist training camps in Pakistan may sate the Indian public’s appetite for revenge and provide a boost for the Congress Party in the upcoming elections, which would very likely be called early–within a few weeks of the air strikes in order to ride the resulting patriotic wave.

Unfortunately, wars between India and Pakistan rarely turn out so neatly. And now both nations are nuclear powers. Pakistan may perceive Indian strikes to represent an “existential threat” which would justify an escalation to a nuclear response. Pakistan’s economy is in a state of collapse, and its fragile, weak parliamentary leadership is extraordinarily deferential to General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. Several dozens of nuclear weapons are stored in depots on Pakistani territory under control of a military which is infiltrated by sympathizers to the cause of the Taliban in Afghanistan and to the jihadist agenda of Al-Qaeda.

Yes, the economies of the industrial world are disintegrating and require attention. Yes, the U.S. auto industry and entire financial sector require attention and restructuring. But the planet’s single most serious threat at the moment lies in the possibility of a war between India and Pakistan that could lead to a nuclear exchange, the precipitous collapse of Pakistan as a nation state, and Al-Qaeda’s acquisition of loose Pakistani nukes in the ensuing chaos.

If today’s somewhat sensational Al-Jazeera report accurately reflects rapidly escalating tensions along the Indian-Pakistani border, Admiral Mullen, Secretary Gates, and Secretary Rice need to go to New Delhi and Islamabad immediately to try to tamp down tensions. If they decide instead to stay in Washington or ski at Jackson Hole to enjoy a quiet holiday season, the Bush/Cheney Administration once again will be guilty of the kind of indolence and inattention that amounts to criminal negligence–and the consequences may well be dire beyond what any of us can imagine.

11/26 Horror In Mumbai To Ripple Across World?

The city of Mumbai is India’s financial capital. India’s New York City.

From Magnifico in his Four at Four today:

The Guardian reports Terrorist gunmen are holed up in Mumbai hotels. “About 10 to 12 gunmen remain holed up with hostages inside two Mumbai hotels and a Jewish centre, a top Indian general said today. Major General RK Huda told New Delhi Television that the rest of the gunmen appeared to have been killed or captured.” 125 people have been killed and more than 325 wounded.


Mumbai (Marathi: ?????, Mumba?, IPA:[?mumb?i] (help·info)), formerly Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India. With an estimated population of 20 million, it is one of the most populous cities in the world. Along with the neighbouring suburbs of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it forms, at 19 million, the world’s fifth most populous metropolitan area. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. Mumbai’s port handles over half of India’s maritime cargo.

Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment centre of India, generating 5% of India’s GDP and accounting for 25% of industrial output, 40% of maritime trade, and 70% of capital transactions to India’s economy. Mumbai is one of the world’s top ten centres of commerce by global financial flow, home to important financial institutions such as the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange of India and the corporate headquarters of many Indian companies and numerous multinational corporations. The city also houses India’s hindi film and television industry, known as Bollywood. Mumbai’s business opportunities, as well as its high standard of living, attract migrants from all over India and, in turn, make the city a potpourri of many communities and cultures. –wikipedia


PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

Indian army personnel taking position at Mumbai’s Taj Mahal hotel on Nov. 27

The BBC says this morning:

Commandos are fighting to clear the last gunmen from two luxury hotels in Mumbai, more than 24 hours after a series of attacks across the city.



The Taj Mahal hotel was nearly free of gunmen, officials said, but operations continued at the Oberoi-Trident hotel.

At a third stand-off, at a Jewish centre, seven hostages were freed, a security official said.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh vowed to track down the attackers, who have killed at least 119 people and injured 300.

Gunmen targeted at least seven sites in Mumbai late on Wednesday, opening fire indiscriminately on crowds at a major railway station, the two hotels, the Jewish centre and a cafe frequented by foreigners.

George Friedman’s STRATFOR (Strategic Forecasting, Inc.) has produced an early tentative analysis of possible geopolitical repercussions from the attacks in Mumbai.

Let’s hope that STRATFOR is not as on the mark with this analysis as they usually are:


PAL PILLAI/AFP/Getty Images

A fire in the dome of the Taj Hotel in Mumbai on Nov. 26

Red Alert: Possible Geopolitical Consequences of the Mumbai Attacks  (Open Access)

Stratfor, November 27, 2008

NOTE: As Stratfor is a paid subscription site, some of the links in this article may lead to a subscriber wall, while some will be Open Access.

Summary

If the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai were carried out by Islamist militants as it appears, the Indian government will have little choice, politically speaking, but to blame them on Pakistan. That will in turn spark a crisis between the two nuclear rivals that will draw the United States into the fray.

Analysis

At this point the situation on the ground in Mumbai remains unclear following the militant attacks of Nov. 26. But in order to understand the geopolitical significance of what is going on, it is necessary to begin looking beyond this event at what will follow. Though the situation is still in motion, the likely consequences of the attack are less murky.

In Asia: The Best, The Worst, and the Most Criminal Of Humanity

Some of the worst of humanity, serial bomb blasts in the Indian city of Jaipur, killing 80, injuring 200:

Asia Times Online attempts to analyze the event, including the possibility that this is state-sponsored terrorism used as a type of cheap negotiation tactic.

OK, the Deal from India (and Japan)

 It’s the sort of wee hours in Old Bombay (now known as Mumbai) as I write this.  I’m at the Taj Majal Hotel business center (google it) and can look out the window to my left and see the Gateway of India (google it).  I’m about 30 minutes this side of 3 hours at Leopold’s in Mumbai (google it).

I was in Japan three days ago.  Returning from India Monday late night (mumbai to Newark, Newark to Birmingham).

So, here’s the deal:  

  *  Bush is a fool, or worse, but Americans are good eggs, all in all (but damn shame they put/allowed an idiot in charge of their country.

  *  China will soon rule the world, but the Americans, Japanese, Koreans, Indians, Russians and South Americans will . . . eventually, be able to effectively push back.

  More. . .

Updated (3x) 2,000 Protest In New Delhi For Tibet, Monks Detained in Tongren

Non-cooperation is directed not against men but against measures. It is not directed against the Governors, but against the system they administer. The roots of non-cooperation lie not in hatred but in justice, if not in love.  —Mahatma Gandhi

Two thousand protesters staged a rival torch relay to protest the arrival of the Olympic torch in New Delhi:

On Tibet, Dick Lugar, Baichung Bhutia and the Power of One

“I sympathise with the Tibetan cause. This is my way of standing by the people of Tibet and their struggle. I abhor violence in any form,” Bhutia told the Times of India newspaper.

link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sou…

Baichung Bhutia, an Indian footballer, is making headlines across Asia and the world by making this statement and refusing to carry the Olympic torch across India later this month.

This is the power of one.

Where governments fall short in decrying injustice, it remains for all of us, regardless of religion, or ethnicity, or politics, to stand up and let our voices be heard.

Global Warming odds and ends

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Living in California, I’m always seeing bumper stickers that say, “Keep Tahoe Blue”.. and well……. looks like they’re losing.

RENO, Nev. – A new study predicts water circulation in Lake Tahoe is being dramatically altered by global warming, threatening the lake’s delicate ecosystem and famed clear waters.

The University of California, Davis study said one likely consequence is warmer lake temperatures that will mean fewer cold-water native fish and more invasive species – like carp, largemouth bass and bluegill.

“What we expect is that deep mixing of Lake Tahoe’s water layers will become less frequent, even nonexistent, depleting the bottom waters of oxygen,” said Geoffrey Schladow, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center at U.C. Davis.

snip

The changes, the study concluded, could turn Tahoe’s famed cobalt-blue waters to a murky green in about a decade.

A decade. Sad. I hope they’re wrong but we’ll find out soon enough, right? I’ve never really liked going in the water because it’s always crowded (herds of tourists…bleh), but the views from the mountains up above are absolutely beautiful. It’ll probably still be nice, but the fact that we’re damaging one of the landmarks that defines the Sierras is just devastating.

Kucinich: Statement on the death of Benazir Bhutto w/poll

The US had chosen who to back in Pakistan, and that was Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.  Not surprisingly, it’s blown up in our faces.  We have no idea where things will lead, but the world is an ever more dangerous place tonight.  With an unstable Afghanistan on one border, Iran on another, longtime rivals India on another and China on the fourth, the instability that this adds could lead to a regional war involving the world’s two most populace countries (and Pakistan is no slouch at over 164 million people.

Greeks and Buddhists in Afghanistan: When Euripides was Performed in the Hindu Kush

 By KENNETH REXROTH

This is a quite interesting read for anyone interested in cross cultural interaction.  It goes to show that the Hellenic miracle (thank you Zeus and the Olympians as well as the Hellenes themselves) was much more important and widespread than the brutal overlordship of the barbarians from Rome.

Drums of War: Iranian Negotiator Quits: Hawks Take Control

TPM puts Kurd threats to repel Turkish intrusions by force way up high. Vladimir Putin warned the US not to attack Iran just days ago.

Iran today appointed a key ally of Iranian President Ahmadinejad as Iran’s new nuclear negotiator just days before a crucial meeting with the EU.

An Iranian spokesman, “Gholam Hossein Elham, said a deputy foreign minister, Saeed Jalili, would replace Mr Larijani in time for a meeting on Tuesday with the European Union’s foreign policy head Javier Solana.”

Mr. Jalili, unlike his predecessor Ali Larijani, is a hard-liner. His appointment by the man who really holds control of Iran’s nuclear project, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, suggests an end to compromise….

Drudge Fox Blackout Tectonic Shift in World Power: Communists Kills India-US Nuke Deal

Wapo: A coalition of far-left Indian communist parties have effectively killed the US-India nuclear deal, leaving Administration officials with egg all over their faces once again. But you won’t learn that reading the Post piece. FOX isn’t even running the story right now. Drudge neither.

Reuters by way of contrast, puts the facts up high: “Indian Communists Reject US Nuclear Pact”.

Why is the right-wing noise machine blacking the India-Nuke deal story out, and the Wapo burying the facts?

Because getting beating by a bunch of supposedly dead and buried communists confirms the terrible inconvenient truth: US Soft Power is melting faster than the polar ice-caps.

ElBaradei: ‘We Are Moving Rapidly Towards an Abyss’

With tensions again building between the Bush Administration and the current regime in Iran, this would seem to be a good time to consult the world’s foremost objective expert on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  Spiegel Online did just that, in a wide-ranging interview with United Nations chief weapons inspector, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei.

SPIEGEL: Mr. ElBaradei, the international community suspects that Iran aims to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this. Have we now reached the decisive phase in which we will finally get an answer to this central question of world politics?

Mohamed ElBaradei: Yes. The next few months will be crucial for the overall situation in the Middle East. Whether we move in the direction of escalation or in the direction of a peaceful solution.

SPIEGEL: You have been given a central role. The new report on Iran by your International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could lead to more severe sanctions against Tehran.

ElBaradei: The international community will have to make that decision. We can only deliver the facts and our assessment of the situation. There are hopeful and positive signs. For the first time, we have agreed, with the Iranians, to a sort of roadmap, a schedule, if you will, for clarifying the outstanding issues. We should know by November, or December at the latest, whether the Iranians will keep their promises. If they don’t, Tehran will have missed a great opportunity — possibly the last one.

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