Archive for April, 2015

On the Return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir

April 28, 2015

Nasir Khan, April 28, 2015

I will offer only a short comment on Dr Badri Raina’s article. As a Kashmiri Pandit who had witnessed the trauma of the partition of India in 1947 and of his native land, the Princely State of the Jammu and Kashmir, Raina has continued to offer his ideas for resolving the Kashmir conflict. His ideas, as far as I have understood him from his articles, were primarily motivated to finding a way through which the legitimate political grievances of the people of Jammu and Kashmir can be addressed. Incidentally, any long sentences of this erudite professor of English should not scare anyone! He means well.

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The flight of the Kashmiri Pandits to India in the 1990s during the militant insurgency was one vicious aspect of the political quagmire that prevailed in Kashmir. However, the question of their return to the Valley needs a careful assessment based on a close knowledge of the problem and a dispassionate scrutiny of the political environment existing there. For a number of reasons, Raina is well suited to do that and his article shows his political realism. What he says about the conditions under which they can return and the practical matters involved in their resettlement are far-sighted and judicious. Perhaps he could have given his readers some more information with regard to the overall political context under which the Pandits fled. As I see it, that context continues to be the old problem of the partition in 1947.

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The passage of six decades has not resolved or removed the causes of the conflict. In fact, Delhi has shown little inclination to deal with the basic demands of the people of the Valley and instead has kept on repeating the slogans the vast majority of Kashmiris reject. I welcome the present calm in the Valley but that should not let any well-wisher of the people of Kashmir think that the period of political strife and violence is behind us. If the Indian rulers continue to follow the same old policies without addressing the demands of the people then the present calm may be only temporary. That can make the fate of returning Pandits risky once again.
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Jammu And Kashmir: Return Of The Natives

By Badri Raina

Source: Mainstream Weekly, April 26, 2015

First a non-sequitor: the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley is fraught with great perplexities of emotion, organisation, and healthy sustainability. This contemplated return will not but be attended with consequences of historic import both for the State of Jammu and Kashmir and the subcontinent, one way or another. Of that there should be no doubt. Reason why the premises on which the project is undertaken need to be as comprehensively and objectively understood and acknowledged as may be possible.

I write, of course, as a Kashmiri Pandit who migrated from the State in normal course more than half-a-century ago; and, although I am in the Valley frequently—every second year if not every year—and have friendships and inter-actions that span a very wide spectrum of the population, I cannot possibly lay any claim to the substance of the experience of those Pandits who were forced to flee the Valley in 1990—a fact which, however, may not rob me of the prerogative to express myself on the question with otherwise a legitimate vantage, more perhaps than of those who are neither Kashmiris, nor Pandits, nor frequent visitors to the State, especially the Valley. It is just that those of us who have not experienced the brutalities we speak of worldwide have only the option of empathising with them with what sincere force of imagination we command.

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Embracing the Saudi War on Yemen

April 28, 2015
Consortium News, April 25, 2015

Exclusive: Fearful of further offending the powerful Saudi-Israeli alliance, President Obama is deploying the U.S. Navy to seal off poverty-stricken Yemen so the Saudi air force has free rein to pummel its regional rivals from the air while the population faces a humanitarian crisis on the ground, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

As the humanitarian crisis in Yemen worsens, the Obama administration seems less concerned about the plight of the desperate Yemeni people than the feelings of the Saudi royals who have spent the last month indiscriminately bombing a nearly defenseless Yemen, using high-tech U.S. jets and bombs to reportedly kill hundreds of civilians and damage its ancient cities.

On Friday, the Obama administration took credit for blocking nine Iranian ships from reaching Yemen with relief supplies, claiming that the ships may have carried weapons that the Yemenis could use in their civil war or to defend against Saudi attacks. President Barack Obama had dispatched a U.S. aircraft carrier fleet to the Yemeni coast to enforce an embargo that has helped the Saudis seal off the country from outside help.

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Commemorating the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan

April 26, 2015

Nasir Khan, April 27, 2015

Today is the anniversary of the Saur Revolution in Afghanistan. On 27 April 1978, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took over power. The socialist friends of Afghanistan are aware of the historic significance of this revolution in Afghanistan and for the people of the neighbouring countries.

What happened to the Afghan Revolution and the revolutionaries is the story of the US intervention with the help of other US-friendly countries, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc., and the American help to create and arm the so-called Afghan Mujahidin to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.

In this way, the US and the Mujahidin were able to extinguish the candle of fraternity, social and political reforms, women’s equal rights and people’s power that the Afghan revolution had lit. After destroying the revolution, the US imperialism fought a 13-year long destructive war in Afghanistan against the same forces of religious fanaticism and Islamism that it had helped to create to use against Afghanistan and revolution’s Soviet backers.

Now America is happy. It controls the destiny of Afghanistan with the help of its nominal rulers who are closely allied to Washington. But the Islamist Taliban are still there and are a potential threat to the political arrangement the US had chartered for Afghanistan.

US presence in Ukraine in breach of Minsk accord: Russia

April 25, 2015
Press TV, Apr 23, 2015
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov © AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov © AFP

The presence of US paratroops in Ukraine to train government forces is in violation of the Minsk agreement on the Kiev side, Russia’s foreign minister says.

Sergei Lavrov made the remarks during a phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“Lavrov drew [Kerry’s] attention to the fact that the arrival of [US] soldiers … indicates that Kiev has violated its commitments to withdraw all foreign units, military hardware and mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine,” the ministry added.

Earlier this month about 300 US troops from the US 173rd Airborne Brigade for Operation Fearless Guardian arrived in Ukraine’s western city of Yavoriv to train the Ukrainian National Guard in their fight against pro-Russia forces in the country’s eastern provinces.

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EU’s Israel-Palestine Policy Is Out Of Touch With Reality

April 23, 2015

Alan Hart, Information Clearing House, April 22, 2015

In a letter calling on European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini to promote and implement a 2012 plan to mark produce and products for the European marketplace from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, 16 EU foreign ministers stated that what they are requesting is “an important step in the full implementation of EU longstanding policy in relation to the preservation of the two-state solution”.

If that’s what they truly believe, the 16 who signed the letter – they included the foreign ministers of Britain and France but not Germany – are clearly out of touch with reality because the two-state solution has long been dead, killed by Israel’s on-going colonisation and ethnic cleansing by stealth.

There are, of course, two other possible explanations.

One is that those who signed the letter (as well as their EU ministerial colleagues who didn’t) are entertaining the hope that the Palestinian Authority can be bullied and bribed into accepting a two-state solution on Israel’s terms – terms which would leave Israel in occupation of large chunks of the West Bank and the Palestinian “state” little more than a collection of disconnected Bantustans, with Israel’s various security services still in overall control.

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Causing genocide to protect us from terror

April 18, 2015

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter

Published time: March 30, 2015 12:52

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007.  (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

A report called Body Count has revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the US-led “war on terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a report which should have made front page news across the world.

In the comprehensive 101 pagedocument ‘Body Count,’

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, have produced figures for the number of people killed from September 11, 2001 until the end of 2013.

The findings are devastating: the in-depth investigation concludes that the ‘war on terror‘ has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. As awful as that sounds, the total of 1.3 million deaths does not take into account casualties in other war zones, such as Yemen – and the authors stress that the figure is a “conservative estimate”.

“The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely,” the executive summary says.

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Richard Falk: Weakening and Discrediting the UN: The Mission of Israeli QGOs

April 17, 2015

 

Richard Falk,  GLOBAL JUSTICE IN THE 21ST CENTURY, April 17, 2015

 

[Prefatory Note: This post is the full text of my presentation at an excellent conference “The Israeli Lobby: Is it good for US? Is it Good for Israel?” National Press Club, Washington, D.C., April 10, 2015; the conference was sponsored and organized by the editorial leadership of the magazine Washington Report, which brings together some of the best writing on the Israel/Palestine struggle. I encourage readers of this blog to look at the full conference either at the YouTube website or the audio recording at http://www.israellobbyus.org Although there were many illuminating presentations during the day, and I would call particular attention to the memorable remarks of two highly informed Israelis, Gideon Levy and Miko Peled.]


There are no better texts for assessing the damage done to the role and reputation of the UN by the Israeli Lobby than to consider Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent statements boasting about the U.S. success in protecting Israel from criticisms arising from its non-fulfillment of responsibilities under international law and as a member of the United Nations. It should be understood that the lobby does not act in a vacuum, and its leverage is greatly enhanced in global settings to the considerable extent that its priorities overlap with the strategic and economic interests of the United States in the Middle East.

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Religion and Morality – Can We Be Moral Without Believing in Supernatural?

April 16, 2015

 

Dr Reza Varjavand, Iranian.com,  July 21, 2013

While imperative, morality is a subjective matter that involves judgment about right and wrong. Like the concept of rationality, morality entails behaving in a certain way that is consistent with a specific objective that may be personal gratification or primarily religious conviction. Historically, religion has served as a source of morality. A religious morality system is designed to guide and control the conducts of the believers. The problem with religious morality scheme, however, is that it is derived from a supernatural deity and believed to be irrefutable, timeless, and no one can challenge its preeminence. Ergo, those who do not believe in supernatural power, like secular/atheists, will be ostracized by religion and labeled as depraved. As I argue below, such stereotyping is as unsubstantiated as claiming that students who attend religious colleges cheat less than those who attend secular universities.

Is immorality really an outgrowth of secularism/atheism? There are 7 billion people living in the world today, almost 14 percent of them do not believe in supernatural. Are they any less moral than religious people? The primary motive why religious enthusiasts try to link secularity /atheism to immorality and even social anarchy is to create fear or to prey on the gullibility of regular folks.  Frankly, the accusation that irreligiosity is the source of immorality in the society is nothing but wishful thinking for three reasons.

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Religious Fanaticism is a Huge Factor in Americans’ Support for Israel

April 16, 2015

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Featured photo - Religious Fanaticism is a Huge Factor in Americans’ Support for Israel

A new poll from Bloomberg Politics contains a finding that, if you really think about it, is quite remarkable:

Almost half of all Americans want to support Israel even if its interests diverge from the interests of their own country. Only a minority of Americans (47 percent) say that their country should pursue their own interests over supporting Israel’s when the two choices collide. It’s the ultimate violation of George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address warning that “nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded. … The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave.”

It is inconceivable that a substantial portion of Americans would want to support any other foreign country even where doing so was contrary to U.S. interests. Only Israel commands anything near that level of devoted, self-sacrificing fervor on the part of Americans. So it’s certainly worth asking what accounts for this bizarre aspect of American public opinion.

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Hyping the Iranian ‘Threat’

April 13, 2015

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Consortium News, April 9, 2015

Iran hasn’t invaded another country for centuries and is helping the U.S. push back against the Islamic State in Iraq, but Israeli leaders and American neocons want to enlist the West in the Saudi cause of promoting Sunni Islam over Shiite Islam, while America’s interests suffer, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

By Paul R. Pillar

The idea of Iran as a regional marauder that is gobbling up other countries in the Middle East and against which pressure must therefore be unrelenting has become one of the favorite themes of those determined to kill the nuclear agreement with Tehran. As an argument for rejecting the nuclear deal, this approach has always suffered from major factual and logical flaws.

Given the casual and automatic manner in which references to Iran supposedly sowing mayhem all over the region are routinely worked into almost any discussion of policy toward Iran, it perhaps is too much to expect many people to stop and study the flaws. Perhaps we should just remind people who make those casual references that if Iran really were bent on causing all that mayhem, that is all the more reason to support an agreement to assure that the marauder does not get a nuclear weapon.

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