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|09 Friday June to 16 Friday June 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. Indian government released a formal response as to why INDIA did not participate in the Beijing Summit on CHINA’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative. Amongst several reasons cited in the release, India refers to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to indicate that the OBOR plan is not being pursued in a manner, that respect sovereignty and territorial integrity and states that such an initiative must be based on universally recognized international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality. A key part of CPEC is the Karakoram highway which runs through a region that both INDIA and PAKISTAN claim as theirs. Critics say that INDIA seems to be fearing a situation similar to SRI LANKA’s Hambantota port which was considered to be used in a debt-for-equity swap to help pay off debts sparking public protests regarding sovereignty and fears of Chinese Colonization. Further that the OBOR is only an excuse for CHINA to project its power over Eurasia. Similar concerns have been raised in some other countries as well and whether they are valid ones or not is up for debate.

2. BANGLADESH. It was reported on 12 June that Southeast BANGLADESH was experiencing heavy monsoon rains and landslides. However due to the success of disaster mitigation systems in operation since 1991, BANGLADESH has become a role model in tackling disasters. With a clearly defined Disaster Management Policy and a Disaster Management Plan, while contributing heavily towards national security. For BANGLADESH it is no longer “disaster response” but anticipating and being prepared for it in order to mitigate the impact. Successive governments have consciously worked out institutional, legal and policy frameworks for disaster anticipating, preparation, mitigation and response. Community resilience, volunteerism, an effective early warning system, a vibrant NGO sector, a community-based decision making process and government commitment add to the good legal and institutional framework in existence. At the same time empowerment of marginalized groups as a key ingredient has also been implemented. The most recent Mora cyclone caused only 6 deaths though it had hit the coast at 120 km per hour. This is a 100-fold reduction when compared with the 1970 “Bhola” cyclone that caused 500,000 deaths. However like all South Asian countries unplanned urbanization continues to cause urban congestion, fires, building collapses, pollution and urban flooding in BANGLADESH for which solutions are yet to be found. Meanwhile NASA predicts that the tropical parts of the Earth will experience more rain due to global warming as in the case of SRI LANKA recently.

3. MALDIVES. The Maldivian government of President ABDULLA YAMEEN rejected the allegations made by Britain on 7 June, backed by over 30 nations at the UNHRC sessions in GENEVA. It claims that the criticisms were unwarranted, unconstructive and had misrepresented the reality in the MALDIVES while unduly attempting to interfere with domestic politics in the country. This follows the refusal of an earlier UN panel ruling that the March 2015 jailing of former President MOHAMMED NASHEED was politically motivated and he should be paid compensation. Last week, the government severed diplomatic relations with QATAR following the decision taken by the Saudi-led Sunni axis. As at present the Yameen regime is maintaining a very close friendship with SAUDI ARABIA which has offered massive financial assistance to build a fort city and more than ten important mosques. Critics claim that these project would severely affect the Chinese-funded Colombo fort city project and also would create problem for India CHINA and SRI LANKA especially if it turns out to be a Sunni military base in the Indian Ocean. SRI LANKA has already been experiencing an alarming increase in what is described as “ illegal activity” between the shores of the two countries.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

4. SINGAPORE. Addressing the FPDA (FIVE POWER DEFENSE ARRANGEMENT) defense pact meeting in SINGAPORE on 02 June, SINGAPORE’s Defense Minister NG ENG WEN stressed the need to upgrade the FPDA defense arrangements to deal with terrorism threats and new security concerns. The FPDA was formed in 1971 after the British withdrawal to protect SINGAPORE and MALAYSIA especially from perceived Indonesian threats. The pact commits the 5 countries to consult each other in case of an attack and also to conduct annual military exercises. The meeting of the 5 Defense Ministers focused on potential threats from military groups in Southeast Asia while paying specific attention to the rise of CHINA and uncertainty over US commitments to the region. TIM HUXLEY, a regional security expert based in SINGAPORE stressed the need to boost the interoperability of the militaries of the 5 nations to remain effective in the changing security environment. Further that the rise of a symmetric warfare has posed new challenges to the FPDA. He also notes that amid the uncertainty over the current security arrangements it is natural for the countries in the region to increase their military capabilities.

5. SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANIZATION (SCO). The admission of both India and Pakistan as full members of the China-dominated security grouping SCO at its summit in ASTANA, KAZAKHATAN on 9 June becomes a significant development in international relations. INDIA and PAKISTAN were supported by RUSSIA and CHINA respectively in the SCO which is being considered as a counterweight to NATO. The Shanghai project began in 2001 with the participation of RUSSIA, CHINA, KYRGYZTAN, KAZAKHASTAN, TAJIKISTAN, UZBEKISTAN and which CHINA and PAKISTAN, now represents over 40% humanity and nearly 20% of the global GDP.

MIDDLE EAST

6. EGYPT. Since EGYPT is not a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) country, its involvement in the diplomatic decree issued by the SAUDI ARABIA-led axis to isolate QATAR was perplexing. Analysts like Dr MOHAMAD ELMASRY (Doha Institute for Graduate Studies and University of North Alabama) reviewing the recent statements of the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) now claim insofar as EGYPT is concerned, the two most important aspects of the move are the Muslim Brotherhood and the Qatari government – owned media network Al-Jazeera which to the dismay of the Egyptian government of President ABDEL EL SISI has been offering up intense coverage of rights violations since the overthrow of the MOHAMMED MORSI’s Brotherhood-led government in a military coup in 2013, as well as the political failures of the SISI administration. The followers of the Brotherhood claim that it was SAUDI ARABIA and UAE that largely financed anti-Morsi protests ended with the 2013 takeover of the government by the Army Chief SISI. The Brotherhood, denounced by ISIS and Al-Qaeda as apostates, is the world’s oldest Islamist movement and also the most studied and most popular Islamist group in the region. In the meantime, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood YUSUF AL-QURADAWI who is based in DOHA has also been included in the list of people and entities linked to terrorism by Saudi-led axis last week.

7. QATAR. Political observers claim that unlike in 1970s, today, policies of SAUDI ARABIA, the UAE and ISRAEL run very closely with regard to their hostility towards Shia-dominated IRAN. It is significant that Israel in no time welcomed the Saudi move against QATAR. President DONALD TRUMP too during his recent visit to MIDDLE EAST contributed heavily towards this anti-Iran initiative. SAUDI ARABIA and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) blame QATAR for financing , supporting and hosting different terrorist organizations but the Leaked HILLARY CLINTON e-mails have confirmed how both QATAR and SAUDI ARABIA had been maintaining links with terror groups in the MIDDLE EAST. GCC is identified as a Saudi – led economic bloc as well as defence bloc which facilitates SAUDI ARABIA to maintain a Saudi-dominated political order. However, both QATAR and OMAN follow an independent part in their foreign policies by maintaining friendly relations with IRAN as opposed to Saudi Arabia’s anti-Shiite campaign. Therefore, unlike in the 2014 fallout when SAUDI ARABIA, BAHRAIN and the UAE recalled their ambassador from QATAR and restored normalcy later, 2017 crisis appears to be a precarious one with grave implications on the entire MIDDLE EAST region and beyond. Critics suggest that the Saudi move came after an Al-Jazeera broadcast based on several e-mail leaks exposing UAE- Israel covert links and after a report claiming that the Qatari emir TAMIM BIN HAMAD AL THANI cautioning against confrontation with Iran and defending Shia groups Hamas and Hezbollah. EGYPT and SAUDI ARABIA have a common enemy in Muslim Brotherhood with whom QATAR has been maintaining closed relations. Qatari crisis has already reached close to Sri Lanka’s shores as the Maldives has Joined SAUDI ARABIA and severed diplomatic relations with QATAR while nearly 150,000 expatriate workers in QATAR are facing an uncertain future.

NORTH AMERICA.

8. USA. Quick responses from the United States Climate Alliance, a coalition of US States and nearly 70 mayors across the nation, to the US withdrawal from the historic Paris Agreement show that regional leaders are ready to step on to the world stage to protect the environment. Governor JAY INSLEE of Washington State said President TRUMP’s misguided cause of action had left the full responsibility of climate action on States and Cities throughout the UNITED STATES. The commitment to fighting climate change on States and local Cities is a regular practice and over the years they have been adopting climate-focused policies. Governors and mayors in the climate coalition are confident that their alliance is powerful enough to ensure the US has at least a de-facto commitment to climate change action and they will support the call for a global climate summit by State of California. Further that the meeting should include MEXICO, CANADA and likeminded nations, sub-nationals and small island nations whose existence is threatened by raising sea levels.

OCEANIA

9. NEW ZEALAND. YouTube channel ‘Earthquake Alert’ has warned that mass beaching of whales on NEW ZEALAND’s South Island last week could be a sign of a massive earthquake. More than 400 pilot whales beached themselves over the course of a few days and scientists have noted that animals are more in tune with the Earth than human beings. It is on record that Professor ARUNACHALAM KUMAR at Kanachur medical college in INDIA observed in early December 2004, (just weeks before the Boxing Day tsunami) that mass suicide of whales and dolphins occurring sporadically all over the world especially in an Australian beachside were in some way related to change and disturbances in the electromagnetic field coordinates and possible realignments of geotectonic plates thereof. Further that major earthquakes usually followed within a short span of time of mass beaching of cetaceans. Meanwhile, Dr ROCHELLE CONSTANTINE, marine biologist, of University of Auckland says that it is difficult to find a direct correlation between earthquakes and the suicidal behavior of the marine animals. However judging by the 2004 experience the unusual death-wish of pods of whales may need a further impassioned and unbiased looking into, considering the grave implications of national security involved in such natural disasters.


||02 Friday June to 09 Friday June 2017||



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. Indian Prime Minister NARENDRA MODI and Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN on 01 July concluded the 1988 (RAJIV GANDHI-MIKHAIL GORBACHEV) general framework agreement and credit protocol for two additional nuclear reactors (V & VI) at KUDANKULAM, during the 18th annual bilateral summit in MOSCOW. The completion of the KUDANKULAM Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), the Indo-Russian joint project in TAMIL NADU’s TIRUNELVELI district will make itself responsible for 40% of INDIA’s total nuclear energy capacity. Observers say that indigenous nuclear development will give INDIA additional leverage to force its way into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). The emergence of a parallel market in which INDIA can set its own rules while broadly following international non-proliferation and safety protocols will become a threat to the Western-led international nuclear regime. Indo-Russian relations are not based on a sense of shared international vision but the cooperation in the strategic realm remains strong, enabling RUSSIA to remain the only country committed to developing nuclear power plants in INDIA despite INDIA’s controversial Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLNDA).

2. INDIA’s Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice JS KEHAR rejected the appeal made by the Government of INDIA (GoI) against its decision given in July 2016 negating the protection against prosecution, to members of armed forces provided by AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) and the Indian Social Media has since been awash with comments for and against the decision taken by Major LEETUL GOGOI to use a stone- pelting Kashmiri protestor tied to Army jeep as a human shield on 9 April 2016, in order to lead his men to safety. The Attorney General MUKUL ROHATGI defending the army officer claimed that in a combat operation against militants and insurgents Army personnel needed to deal with full force and that scope of judicial review against active military operations cannot be on the same parameters as in other situations. Further that if the position maintained by the impugned order continues, it may, one day make it impossible to maintain peace and security. The defense arguments submitted by Attorney General have made way for highly sensitive comments on the contradictory policy adopted by successive Indian Governments in supporting the Tamil insurgency in SRI LANKA as against its own citizens in JAMMU and KASHMIR and also on the position taken by the Indian establishment during the UNHRC Resolution 30/1 in GENEVA against SRI LANKA. The Indian Army Chief of Staff Gen BIPIN RAWAT justified Maj GORGOI’s action by awarding the officer with COAS (Chief of Army Staff) commendation while strongly defending his soldiers currently involved in a “dirty, proxy war” in JAMMU and KASHMIR. SOUTH EAST ASIA

3. CHINA. By advocating the same “South China Sea Strategy”, CHINA has been able to create a Buddhist “One Belt One Road” (OBOR) too, closely working with THAILAND and NEPAL. In a remarkable show of soft power diplomacy over INDIA, CHINA has in May quietly launched its own version of Nalanda University with a sea-facing structure located on scenic Nanshan Mountains spread across over 600 acres in HAINAN province. This is while INDIA has failed to realize its attempt to revive the original Nalanda Campus in the ancient city of BIHAR, planned almost a decade ago. CHINA had kept its plan for the Chinese Buddhist University a secret, until its announcement for enrolment of students. This university is closely linked to the Buddhist centers in THAILAND, NEPAL, CAMBODIA and SRI LANKA. CHINA was part of the global team which first promoted the idea off reconstructing Nalanda University in Bihar in 2016. CHINA has been promoting the LUMBINI, the Nepalese pilgrimage site to counter INDIA’s SARANATH and BODHGAYA. The Buddhist OBOR, guided by the Dean of the Buddhist University YIN SHUW has turned Wuxi near Shanghai into a permanent venue of World Buddhist Forum.

4. THE PHILIPPINES. INDONESIA’s Defense Minister RYAMIZARD RYAWDU said on 4 June there are that around 1200 ISIS operatives and their foreign supporters who have joined the ongoing battle in MARAWI in SOUTHERN PHILIPPINES. The 4-hour truce to rescue up to 2000 civilians trapped by fighting between the Army and Islamist militants failed on 4 June as the Provincial Crisis Management Committee could not secure agreement from the Army to allow them to enter the bombed-out city blocks. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the biggest rebel organization which has signed a peace deal with the government was responsible for brokering the ceasefire agreement between the Duterte government and the ISIS militants. The MILF and several other rebel groups have given up their separatist ambitions after signing peace accords with the government in return for autonomy, but the small groups including the MAUTE and ABU SAYYAF have sought to unite behind the ISIS.

MIDDLE EAST

5. QATAR. In the region’s most serious diplomatic crisis in years, SAUDI ARABIA, BAHARAIN and the UNITED ARAB EMIRATES as well as EGYPT severed diplomatic relations with QATAR. SAUDI ARABIA claimed that it was closing borders with QATAR to protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism. The SAUDI-led coalition fighting IRAN-backed Huthi rebels in YEMEN too announced QATAR was no longer welcome in the alliance. US President DONALD TRUMP during his visit to SAUDI ARABIA last month urged Muslim leaders from around the world to drive out extremists and terrorists as Sunni jihadists carry out attacks in many countries. The weakening of QATAR’s economy with a population of 2.2 million could in the long run affect over 145,000 Sri Lankan expatriates workers currently employed in the country. QATAR denies any support extended to terrorists and accuses its Gulf neighboring countries of seeking to put the country under ‘guardianship’.

6. IRAQ. Kurdish forces have pushed ISIS lines back to MOSUL’s outskirts to set the stage for Iraqi Special Forces to infiltrate the city. Around 100,000 soldiers are massed for what will be one of the largest urban battles since World War Two. This includes Kurdish Peshmerga, Sunni Tribesmen, troops from Iraqi army, Interior ministry and Federal Police. US soldiers dressed like local forces coordinate battles, fire artillery and oversee airstrikes from bases behind the front lines. IRAN-backed Shiite militants have joined the operation and are massed just west of MOSUL, bringing back fears of Sunni-Shiite tensions in the Sunni majority MOSUL. ICTF (Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Forces) trained in JORDAN has been merged with a US-trained light infantry to form the backbone of the Iraqi Special Operation Forces (ISOF). The scale of casualties this elite group of soldiers taking is a closely guarded secret as the Iraqi military leaders worry that revealing their extent could crush morale of the advancing troops. NORTH AMERICA

7. USA. US President DONALD TRUMP announced on 02 June his administration was abandoning the Paris Climate Accord followed by assurances of other nations to continue with “one of the vital international instruments for the Planet Earth, societies and economies”, as mentioned in the joint statement issued by the leaders of GERMANY, FRANCE and ITALY. Critics point out that the USA was a prime mover in creating the League of Nations at the end of World War One and refused to join it. Then came the time the USA not signing (or signing and then unsigning) the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, the International Criminal Court and Kyoto Accord on Climate Change in the post-World War Two period. In all these cases, the rest of the world went ahead and put all the treaties into effect and in no case did the American defection destroy the international accord. Thus it is clear that the unilateral decision taken by DONALD TRUMP will not sabotage the PARIS climate accord either. Further, despite TRUMP’s move, the commitment of American states, cities, organizations and individuals on reducing US greenhouse emissions will provide at least half of the cuts promised by the BARAK OBAMA administration.

EUROPE

8. BRITAIN. International observers are of the view that British Prime Minister THERESA MAY’s condemning of terror attacks in the UK by identifying the ‘evil ideology of Islamist extremism’ as the root cause is totally counterproductive and allows terrorists to market their cause against faiths, religious to a section of the Islamic world. The last terrorist attack on 03 June left 07 dead and several others injured while keeping the doors open for future massacres as well, despite stringent security measures adopted following the 22 May MANCHESTER concert attack. Critics say that it is time for the British government to deny safe havens in the UK for the extremists who carry out terrorist attacks in other countries and the powerful nations must do away with their double standards on terrorism. Meanwhile the MANCHESTER suicide bomber of Libyan descent is believed to have been brainwashed in LIBYA which makes a fitting example to show that LIBYA destroyed by Western interference has become a fertile recruiting ground for ISIS terrorists.


||26 Friday May to 02 Friday June 2017|||



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. Indian Prime Minister NARENDRA MODI completed 3 years in office on 29 May and claims that he has been able to transform the lives of people, by showing comparisons of statistics related to various sectors like agriculture, mobile banking, tele-density, women empowerment, tourism, electrification, solar energy and distribution of LED bulbs between 2014 to present. However on the front of foreign relations there is a decline in trade between INDIA and RUSSIA and also having tension over the shifting of their global alliances. The 70-year alliance forged during the Cold War became unmoored following the collapse of the USSR and INDIA built trade ties with the West. INDIA gradually moved towards the USA while RUSSIA fostered relationships with INDIA’s regional rivals PAKISTAN and CHINA. Foreign policy analyst DHRUVA JAISHANKAR of ‘Brookings India’ says that RUSSIA remains an important partner for INDIA but the basis is very weak and people-to-people exchanges are limited while young Indians are less likely to study Russian language. Prime Minister Modi is due to meet Russian leader during his foreign tour this week.

2. PAKISTAN. An unanimous religious decree was issued by 31 prominent Pakistani scholars from all religious schools of thought on 27 May condemning terrorism and extremism at a seminar entitled “Reconstruction of Pakistani society in the light of ‘Mithaq-e-medina’ (Charter of Medina) which was organized by the Islamic Research Institute of the International Islamic University, ISLAMABAD. The Fatwa, while declaring that suicide attacks and their supporters to be traitors, calls for action against the forces fanning extremism and stresses the need for the correct use and implementation of the blasphemy law. The seminar was attended by high ranking officials including the Pakistani President MAMNOOR HUSSAIN who urged to promote the true “message of humanity”, given in the Medina Charter which was the first written Constitution in the Islamic World. The Medina Charter was created by PROPHET MUHAMMAD in the year 622 CE. President HUSSAIN emphasized the need for a counter narrative to negate the message of extremism and terrorism and to promote peace, harmony and respect of others.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

3. PHILIPPINES. Bringing back fears of a return to widespread human rights abuses as occurred under decade of martial law imposed by former pro-west dictator FERDINAND MARCOS, 60 days of martial law has been declared by President DUTERTE over the island of MINDANAO which has a population of 20 million. The order made last week was in response to attacks by Islamic Militants in the city of MARAWI and there is the probability of dragging out the dreaded law for up to a year if necessary. President DUTERTE asserts that he will not listen to the country’s Supreme Court or Congress on the implementation of Martial Law in MINDANAO.

4. INDONESIA. Scholars observe that, in spite of the democratic practices prevailed in the country, contentious oligarchic politics have motivated the government of President JOKO WIDODO (Jokowi) to utilize all its resources to consolidate power and quell the opposition forces which are democratically confronting the regime. For example, international criticism has been mounting on the application of the blasphemy law in INDONESIA, especially after the 9 May sentencing of Ahok, a Christian of ethnic Chinese descent who was found guilty over some remarks during the 2017 Jakarta election campaign which drew anti-Ahok rallies organized by various political and religious groups from the conservative Muslim population. Political observers now point out that the government charged a 25-year old political party HTI (Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia) on suspicion over alleged activities in promoting global Islamic Caliphate ideology and banned it just a day before Ahok’s sentencing in a kind of balancing act as many speculate. And at the same time another political moment, FPI (Islamic Defenders Front) has been charged with undermining the philosophy of ‘Panchasila’ (Indonesia’s Five Founding Principles), an allegation that could be loosely interpreted with criteria subjectively determined by the government in power. President JOKOWI has remarked that Indonesian democracy has ‘gone too far’, but it was the vibrant Indonesian democracy that made him president in a clean election process.

5. TAIWAN. The World Health Organization (WHO) under pressure from CHINA, refused on 22 May to admit Taiwan to its annual assembly in GENEVA. TAIWAN has been granted ‘Observer Status’ at WHO gatherings since 2009 but did not receive invitation this year. It is after the election of TAIWAN’s Beijing- sceptic president TSAI ING-WEN in 2015, CHINA has been taking steps to block TAIWAN from a series of international events. The proposal made by 11 member- countries out of WHO’s 194 membership to award ‘Permanent Observer Status’ for TAIWAN was rejected by the Assembly on 22 may even without a vote, totally ignoring criticisms that exclusion of TAIWAN eroded the credibility, integrity and effectiveness of the premier health organization of the UNO. It is important to note that CHINA maintained a stoic ‘Confucian’ calm when President TRUMP thought CHINA would be upset when he threatened to abandon the ‘ One China Policy’ which has been followed by Presidents since RICHARD NIXON and now US is helpless when CHINA applies its TAIWAN policy in full force at its own will.

NORTH AMERECA

6. USA. President DONALD TRUMP’s true potential for drastic change seems to be existing especially in the foreign policy sphere. His “make America great Again” slogan is clearly not only for reimagining AMERICA’s role in the world community but in reshaping the world community entirely. Trump has already pulled the US out of the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TTP) agreement and warned last week that he was not willing to commit to the Paris Climate accords and he was more than willing to go it alone on climate change and trade. These moves and several other acts concerning his domestic policy and taken within his first 150 days as President, represent the real possibility that AMERICA’s engagement within its European allies and its status as the financial power that assists world’s democracies, all of which have been realities in the Post World War 11 world, may be fundamentally changing. The views expressed by the German Chancellor ANGELA MERKEL on 25 May that the times the Europe could completely rely on ‘others’ are, to an extent was over, amply demonstrates the realization grasped by the EU leaders on the moves made by the Trump administration. Critics are of the view that this drastic change has to be comprehensively studied by all those countries in the Third World which have been totally depending on US economic policies.

MIDDLE EAST

7. SAUDI ARABIA. The arms sales agreement worth US $ 110 billion over the next decade signed on 20 May between the US President DONALD TRUMP and Saudi King SALMAN BIN ABDUL AZIZAL – SAUD is the biggest single arms deal in American history. It includes the renewed sale of precision – guided munitions that had been blocked under OBAMA administration for fear the Saudi army would use them on civilian targets in its proxy war in YEMEN, and also provides the Kingdom with state-of-the art capabilities such as THAAD anti-missile technologies that could thwart its perceived Iranian missile attacks. The deal also includes the sale of the multi-mission surface combatant ships and associated gear produced by Lockheed, one of the leading multi nationals in the US military- industrial complex, for an estimated cost of more than 11 billion US dollars. These ships will patrol in the strategic Gulf Red sea straits over- including the possibility of renewed Sunni - Shiite divide and tensions in the Middle East.

8. IRAN. Re- elected President HASSAN ROUHANI ridiculed US strategy in the Middle East and completely dismissed fierce anti-Iran criticism made by US President DONALD TRUMP during his summits with Arab and Israeli leaders last week. He said AMERICA makes grave mistakes and AFGHANISTAN would not have been plagued with terrorism but for US backing for several militias, which after the soviet withdrawal evolved into formidable terror groups such as Taliban and Al- Qaeda. Further that Western powers also backed militant groups in LIBYA though they were fully aware that there were many Jihadist fighters among the armed combatants to get rid of Libyan leader GADDAFI. President ROUHANI noted that the US devastated IRAQ and also made the mistake of imposing sanctions on IRAN. Further that instead of blaming IRAN, President TRUMP should have criticized his own allied countries which provide safe haven, financial backing and social standing needed for recruitment to terrorist groups spreading the ‘Caliphate ideology’.

9. TERRORISM. Terrorists have been demonstrating their ability to strike at will anywhere in the world by carrying out suicide attacks with ease in AFGHANISTAN as well as in European capitals which have been on red alert. Both 23 May attack in MANCHESTER at the Ariana Grande concert and 31 May truck bomb in KABUL demonstrate that terrorists would not baulk at anything to achieve their goals, making no country safe. However, the world seems not united in tackling terrorism. The US President DONALD TRUMP during his Middle East tour last week blamed IRAN for spreading terrorism. IRAN is a country which has joined the anti-ISIS campaign in IRAQ and SYRIA along with RUSSIA and other pro- Iranian SHIA groups, while US ally SAUDI ARABIA is a supporter of Sunni militant groups everywhere. This makes the definition of terrorism difficult to comprehend.


||19 Friday May to 26 Friday May 2017||



 








SOUTH ASIA

01. INDIA. INDIA’s Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice JS KHEBAR on 21 March ruled that fresh attempts must be made by all parties concerned to collectively and consensually find solutions to contentious and long-festering religious issues such as Ayodhya Temple dispute. The Chief Justice advised BJP leader Dr SUBRAMANIUM SWAMY to sit together, hold a cordial meeting and arrive at an amicable solution. Dr SWAMY had earlier moved the plea for a direction to allow construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya at the disputed site. He had also claimed that under the practices prevalent in Islamic countries, a mosque could be shifted to any other place for public purposes, whereas, a temple once constructed cannot be touched. In the meantime VIPIN NARANG, a leading nuclear strategist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said on 20 March that INDIA could launch a pre-emptive ‘comprehensive counterforce strike’ if it feared a Pakistani nuclear attack was imminent. It is a marked reversal from the ‘no-first use policy’ adopted so far.

02. PAKISTAN. PAKISTAN has passed legislation to reinstate secret military courts, which try civilians charged with terrorism offences for a further period of two years despite criticism from human rights activists. Military courts were first set up as a response to the 2015 attack on a military-run school by the Pakistani Taliban that killed 134 children. PAKISTAN’s military courts are empowered to try individuals who have committed offenses, but critics say the courts lack transparency and violate PAKISTAN’s international human rights obligations, one of the main arguments made in favour of military courts is that the government cannot provide adequate security to judges who preside over terrorism related cases. In their previous two-year term military courts convicted 274 people in cases related to "terrorism". and there were no acquittals. Meanwhile on 22 March PAKISTAN celebrated the 77th anniversary of “Pakistan Day” and troops from the Chinese Army, Saudi Special Services Groups and Turkish Mehtar Band participated for the first time, in the military parade.

03. Soon after US President DONALD TRUMP granting Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) new authority to conduct drone attacks against suspected militants, a drone strike carried out in Punjab, PAKISTAN on 19 March killed QARI YASEEN, a militant leader who had been involved in the attack on Sri Lankan cricket team in 2009. YASEEN was a facilitator for al-Qaeda and Jundullah attacks in PAKISTAN and also a high profile trainer for terrorists, as identified by the ISI. Critics of the targeted killing programme of the CIA, question, whether such strikes create more militants than they destroy.

FAR EAST

04. CHINA. Chinese state media, Global Times heavily criticized INDIA’s foreign policy on 21 March and claimed that INDIA’s vigilance against CHINA has affected SRI LANKA and NEPAL’s relations with CHINA and, even if these nations are trying to balance between CHINA and INDIA, the Indian authorities still regard such neutrality as a pro-China policy. The nationalistic paper further said that INDIA is one of the crucial reasons why CHINA and BHUTAN have been unable to establish diplomatic relations, since INDIA controls BHUTAN economically and diplomatically. It says that INDIA is now highly worried about the current visit of the Chinese Defense Minister CHANG WANQUAN to SRI LANKA and Nepal. The tabloid warns that CHINA would retaliate if INDIA attempts to meddle in CHINA’s diplomatic relations with countries like NEPAL and SRI LANKA.

05. NORTH KOREA The US Secretary of state REX TILLERSON during his visit to SOUTH KOREA declared the US would drop the failed approach of ‘strategic patience’ with NORTH KOREA and warned that US military action would be possible. It is a sharp divergence from CHINA’s insistence on a diplomatic approach to reach an amicable solution .Meanwhile YUKIA AMANO, head of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) on 21 march warned that NORTH KOREA has rapidly expanded its facilities for enriching uranium and plutonium production expressing doubt over the potential for a diplomatic solution.

MIDDLE EAST

06. YEMEN. Amnesty International’s Deputy Director of Research for the Middle East and North Africa on 23 March condemned the USA and BRITAIN for transferring more than US $ 5 billion worth of arms to SAUDI ARABIA to use in the YEMEN war, since March 2015. That is more than 10 times their humanitarian aid to YEMEN during the same period and the Amnesty International alleges that those arms transfers are a shameful contradiction of aid efforts of the USA and UK. The USA has become increasingly involved in YEMEN under the TRUMP administration and has carried out over 40 air raids in this month alone against YEMEN–based AQAP (Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula). The Saudi-led Arab coalition has been heavily criticized for civilian casualties in the war and it has admitted to using British –made cluster bombs in the conflict. The UN on 20 March rejected a call by the Saudi coalition for the key port of Hodeida to be placed under its supervision. This port is controlled by Huthi rebels fighting the Saudi-backed government and serves 70% of the countries population affected by a severe food shortage.

EUROPE

07. TURKEY. There have been furious verbal exchanges between the national leaders of TURKEY and several countries in the EU, such as GERMANY, THE NETHERLANDS and AUSTRIA for the past 3 weeks over the campaign appearances by Turkish politicians which have been banned in some of the EU members states. There are over 1.4 million Turkish expatriate voters in GERMANY alone and TURKEY’s ministers are eager to gather support for a ‘Yes’ vote in the April 16 referendum on abolishing the country’s Prime Minister’s post and creating an Executive Presidency expanding President’s powers. GERMANY is home to over 3 million people of Turkish origin, a legacy of the ‘Guest Workers’ programmes of the 1960s & 1970s.President ERDOGAN accused both GERMANY & THE NETHERLANDS of ‘Nazi’ practices and alleged EU is fascist and cruel. Meanwhile tens of thousands of people from TURKEY’s majority Kurdish city of Diyalbakir held a rally protesting the referendum.

NORTH AMERICA

08. USA. The Trump administration’s belligerence towards China has decreased probably due to global economic reatlities but the US tendency to turn away from globalization and international engagement in general, seems to be increasing. For example the US ambassador to UN, NIKKI HALEY has called for a mission-by-mission review of UN peacekeeping to find priority areas for cuts. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti ( French acronym MINUSTAH) would be shut down by October this year as a result of the US decision. US also insists on NATO allies to increasingly funding their defense needs. Judging by the ongoing international tension, critics view a less internationalist US foreign policy might only help in intensifying the sense of global disorder. They claim that the failure to manage some of these conflicts in the Middle East, Far East and South and East China Seas, the possibility of a regional war can never be ruled out. . Meanwhile the 68-nation US-led coalition against the ISIS is due to hold a conference next week to accelerate efforts against the militant group in Iraq and Syria and bring an end to the Caliphate declared in 2014.

SOUTH AMERICA

09. COLOMBIA. The ICRC reported that COLOMBIA will take decades to recover from the civil war despite the 2016 peace accord signed between the government and the leftist FARC group (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) which has since been disarming after a 50-year conflict. President JUAN MANUEL SANTOS is now talking to the last remaining rebel force ELN (National Liberation Army) hoping for a complete peace in the country. However the Amnesty International (AI) on 21 March warned that rightwing paramilitaries such as Gaitanis Self-Defense Forces linked to drug gangs are continuing to kill and displace hundreds of people across the country. The AI says that in spite of the government’s claim that paramilitaries were disbanded in 2006, it has to face the reality and acknowledge that people are vulnerable to right-wing violence. Critics say there are many more lessons from the Colombian civil war to be learnt by the nations which are in post-conflict nation building phase.

10. CYBER SECURITY. Experts claim that Cyber Security is not merely an IT concern but a complex challenge that entails an establishment – wide approach. Outside of IT it is essential that every member of the institution receive training on cyber security trends and threats. Since information is the new tool of war, all internal assets of an organization will be at risk, from strategic plans to employees’ personal data either for leakage, manipulation, or other malicious intent. leading to heavy losses affecting financial security of the nation. Thus SAMIR KASHYAP an Indian expert advises to think ahead and have a proactive strategy in place while ensuring structural risks are addressed. The increasing sophistication of threats and breaches worldwide encompassing even such advanced countries like US, calls for all nations to apply ‘a root cause approach’ finding the weakest link and assessing the strategic and operational impacts resulting from such a data breach.

11. INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT ( ICC). The World’s only permanent war crimes court, the ICC on 17 March took a landmark decision by ordering reparations for 304 victims of former Congolese warlord GERMAIN KATANGA in a 2003 attack on a Congolese village. It will be the tribunal’s first monetary sums awarded to victims of war crimes estimated at US $ 16.4 million in damages. If, KATANGA who is now on trial in the Democratic Republics of Congo cannot pay any reparations, then the Trust Fund for Victims (TFV), an independent body set up under ICC’s guidelines and run by voluntary contributions from member states will implement programmes to help victims.

12. TERRORISM. Based on evaluated intelligence the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an order on 21 March banning larger electronic devices from the passenger cabin on flights from some airports in TURKEY, the Middle East and North Africa. It is said that terrorists are planning to attack airliners with small explosive devices hidden in consumer electronics bigger than smartphones. BRITAIN has followed suit while CANADA and FRANCE are considering a ban. Meanwhile on 22 March a person believed to be an Islamist-inspired terrorist killed 4 people in Central London and made attempts to storm the Parliament before being shot by the police.




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The U.S. Military's 6th Generation Fighter: 5 Ways To Dominate the Sky (479)

Vietnam Between China and the United States: The Next Balancing Test Beckons. (463)

Russia Using Syria As Testing Ground For Its Modern Weaponry (373)

World Food Day and food security (461)

Malnutrition linked to nearly half of deaths among under-fives (498)

U.S. military wants to develop a vampire drone that vanishes in the daylight (502)

What South Africa leaving the International Criminal Court would mean... (470)

Refugees and Neighbors: Rohingya in Bangladesh. (492)

US troops deployed to Cameroon for Boko Haram fight (448)

Carter says U.S. will sail, fly and operate wherever whenever (443)

China Enforcing Quasi-ADIZ in South China Sea: Philippine Justice. (474)

Sri Lanka Tamil prisoners on hunger strike demand release (432)

Expanding social protection offers a faster track to ending hunger UN report (455)

Police told to record hate crimes against Muslims separately: Cameron wants figures to be published (442)

Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds (475)

Catalonia, A New State Within Europe? (489)

Myanmars Cease-Fire Deal Comes Up Short. (398)

Saudi Arabia just replenished Syrian rebels with one of the most effective weapons against the Assad regime (459)

ISIS and the Dangers of Black Market Oil (640)

Food prices lower for longer (370)

US Boosting ASEAN Capacity Amid South China Sea Tensions. (502)

'Australian Islamic State Fighters Doubled Last Year' (473)

Russias Goals, Tactics, And Strategy In Syria War (453)

Hundreds of thousands of migrants will be deported from the EU within weeks under secret plans intended to deter irregular migration (491)

Arsenic found in many American red wines but health risks depend on total diet (440)

Malaysia to Host New Conference to Tackle Islamic State Challenge. (495)

Does China Approve of Russias Airstrikes in Syria? (452)

CAN WE ERADICATE POVERTY AND SAVE OUR PLANET? (446)

US-Russia Proxy War In Syria Who s On Russia s Side? (500)

Taliban in Kunduz ISIS in Nangarhar: Fiefdoms of Conflict in Afghanistan (447)

FOOD SECURITY THE END OF A GOLDEN AGE (473)

What Does China Think of the TPP? (486)

Capitulation In Kunduz: Implications For Region (466)

Why We Need South China Sea Freedom of Navigation Patrols. (437)

What are the risks of Russian military involvement in Syria? (479)

How China Is Changing the UN (478)

Central Asia and the ISIS Phantom (378)

Obama-Putin meeting and why EU refugee crisis matters for Russia (483)

Strongest Militaries in the World (483)

Twists and Turns in Thailand s Bombing Case. (488)

China s Protracted War in Xinjiang (476)

Powerful El Nio to cause hunger among world s poorest people (385)

Modi Goes West: Taking Stock of the Indian Prime Minister s US Trip (449)

Inside the looming food wastage crisis (461)

Is Russia Going To Become The Next Superpower? (509)

China s Role in the Syria Crisis Revisited (410)

Pakistan and the Taliban: Past as Prologue? (442)

How Russia can deal with ISIS extremism within its own borders (411)

Cambodia and the Australian Asylum Seeker Deal. (438)

There is no planet B (450)

US CIA s Operations in China Take a Step Back in Wake of OPM Breach (409)

Afghanistan Can t Afford to Lose Kunduz to the Taliban (477)

Australia s New Defence Minister. (489)

The Taliban Take Kunduz: An Eyewitness Account (442)

Southeast Asia s Piracy Headache. (428)

Russia U.S. Ties Putin And Obama Meet (448)

China-US Cyber Agreements Has Beijing Outmaneuvered Washington? (428)

Nepal Tests India s Much Touted Neighborhood Diplomacy (391)

Efforts in Syria against ISIS won t bring US Russia closer together (438)

How do we protect global food supplies from extreme weather? (473)

PUTIN goes to WAR against ISIS: Stop dithering and FIGHT Russian leader tells West (447)

What ASEAN Can Teach the World About Surviving a Financial Crisis. (471)

What to Read on Xi Jinping s US Visit (420)

Thailand s Military Junta is Clueless about Economic Policy. (466)

What Will The Xi-Obama Summit Really Deliver? (433)

India s Defense FDI Limit Will Hinder Technology Transfer: US Official (493)

The Truth About US Freedom of Navigation Patrols in the South China Sea. (510)

Russian-German relations A renewed dialogue? (482)

Tolerance levels & more (478)

China Myanmar Talk Border Security at Military Consultation (490)

Amid Ongoing India-Pakistan Clashes Is Diplomacy Possible? (405)

The BRICS and the West Partners or rivals? (481)

Good News Global Food Policy Report Strikes Optimistic Tone (411)

How Washington Can Manage Sustainable Strategic Competition With China (472)

How Do Indians Feel About Narendra Modi s Handling of Foreign Policy? (476)

Will Putin Exchange Donbass for Syria? (364)

Britain s Labor Party could be ready to change the nation s Russia policy (461)

China South America and Regional Integration (433)

The paradox of the Minsk Agreements (493)

Hidden hunger is a global killer (479)

The Chinese Cyber Threat in the South China Sea (451)

The Real Significance of the Japan-Vietnam Strategic Partnership. (376)

India and Sri Lanka Vow to Increase Security and Economic Cooperation (436)

China or Iran Who Is the Bigger Threat to U.S. Airpower? (477)

West vs. Russia Media War Heating Up (406)

Becoming the Zero Hunger generation Achieving food security for all (455)

Qatari troops join fight against Houthi rebels (332)

Evaluating the US-India Strategic Agenda (432)

Marine life plummets and food security at risk (472)

China Iran Predict Closer Ties Thanks to Nuclear Deal (444)

Iran Nuclear Deal Lands In the Middle of 2016 Debate (375)

Myanmar Shan Villagers and the Salween Dam Fight. (467)

Anti-Submarine Operations in the Indian Ocean (476)

Improving Women s Rights A Step Toward Global Food Security (376)

Europe s security situation significantly worsened last year (382)

US China Hold Cyber Talks Before Xi s Visit (438)

What new social unrest in Kiev means for Washington and Moscow (257)

Nepal: Terai Agitation And The Constitution Making Proces (458)

Investors Are Grabbing a Japan-Size Chunk of the Developing World for Food and Water (451)

Can the US Marines Help Build Indonesia s Amphibious Capabilities? (284)

India-Egypt Relationship: Looking for a new Momentum (388)

Amid Shifting Geopolitical Dynamics India Plays Hard Ball in Afghanistan (415)

Europe s refugee crisis explained (447)

Philippines Australia to Hold Joint Military Exercises. (440)

The Refugee Crisis Isn t a European Problem (474)

Trash or treasure? Repurposing would-be wasted food to feed the hungry and create jobs (494)

Cambodia s Montagnard Problem. (463)

Australia to Bomb Syria? (386)

Is India s APEC Membership on the Table at this Year s Summit? (382)

The solution to this refugee crisis? A revised EU treaty (467)

India and Food Safety (480)

What Thailand s Rejected Constitution Means. (454)

Without ensuring universal access to water there can be no food security (457)

Russia And China Expanding And Cooperating Militarily (407)

Australia Wants to Join India US and Japan in Naval Exercises- Defense Minister (480)

The Problems Foreign Powers Find In The Balkans (461)

Singapore s Impressive Food Security (468)

Afghanistan s Looming Crisis (450)

Exclusive Who s Really Behind Thailand s Erawan Shrine Bomb Blast? (512)

From a Unipolar to a Bipolar Superpower System The Future of the Global Power Dynamic (499)

A Balancing Act;Food for the Hungry Fuel for Your Car (446)

Russia Has a China Problem Too (394)

NATO vs. Russia War Could Begin Today Or Tomorrow (482)

India and Seychelles Strengthen Ties Around Maritime Security Economic Cooperation (470)

Thailand s Navy to Get Boost with New Patrol Vessels. (473)

Global Food Security and the Missed Message of Milan s Expo 2015 (463)

What Now for China s Afghanistan Strategy? (477)

Adrift in ASEAN Tackling Southeast Asia s Migration Challenge. (384)

Putin Says Russia-China Relations At Historic Peak (465)

Australia s Disastrous Asylum Seeker Deal. (464)

A Cold Summer for China and Russia? (397)

Peace is back off the agenda (442)

Iran Nuclear Deal Gains Momentum With Endorsements of Four House Democrats (465)

Philippines Asks for US Military Assistance in South China Sea. (514)

Russia Exploits Obamas Weaknesses To Destroy US Global Dominance (467)

Growing doubts over GMO safety a scientist s experience (475)

Rethinking the Obama-Xi Summit (494)

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