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| 10 Friday to 17 Friday November 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. MALDIVES. The Maldives Independent, Mihaaru and Colombo Gazette newspapers reported that the controversial Maldivian Parliamentarian RIYAZ RASHEED accused the Government of SRI LANKA (GOSL) for backing potential plans to overthrow the Government of President ABDULLA YAMEEN in collaboration with the Opposition led by former Maldivian President MOHAMED NASHEED who is in exile in the UK. The MP is the Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader of the ruling Progressive Party of MALDIVES and represents the Vilufushi constituency in the ‘THAA ATOLL’. In September 2016, RIYAZ accused the GOSL of harboring ‘Coup Plotters’ after the GOSL’s denied of having any connections with the activities of NASHEED who visits COLOMBO regularly to meet other Opposition figures in exile. The Maldivian Ambassador to SRI LANKA even threatened to detain NASHEED in COLOMBO and deport him to MALDIVES to serve his 13-year jail sentence sometime ago. This compelled NASHEED’s lawyers to express concerns about his safety in SRI LANKA.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

2. MYANMAR. MYANMAR is opposed to international intervention in the Rohingya issue and says that the recent joint statement of the UN Security Council and the West will only hamper bilateral negotiations between MYANMAR and BANGLADESH. The MYANMAR Government led by the State Counsellor (Prime Minister) AUNG SAN SUU KYI is using the concept of sovereignty to resist the Western led international pressure stressing that it respects only bilateralism and lauds CHINA and RUSSIA for upholding “the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries”. Meanwhile, the 10-point agreement signed between MYANMAR and BANGLADESH with Chinese mediation last month, included a provision for the repatriation of 600,000 Rohingya refugees seems to be a failure since MYANMAR has informed that it would take back only those who have official documents to prove MYANMAR residency as per a 1992 agreement signed between the two countries. MYANMAR claims that BANGLADESH wants to get more aid from the International community citing continuing refugee presence and opposes continued attempts made by the UNHCR for a permanent settlement plan within BANGLADESH. However the US, West and BANGLADESH will not seek International intervention beyond a certain limit as it might lose the support of CHINA a major investor in BANGLADESH and whose goodwill is necessary to contain NORTH KOREA. The ASEM (Asia Europe Meeting) which consists of 53 countries including US, RUSSIA, CHINA, JAPAN, INDIA, MYANMAR and BANGLADESH is due to assemble in MYANMAR on 20 November 2017 and the ‘Rohingya issue’ will be high on the agenda.

3. THE PHILIPPINES. President RODRIGO DUTERTE while in VIETNAM on 09 November 2017 for the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting said the summit should focus on Human Rights violations globally and not just in the PHILIPPINES. Facing severe criticism from Western Countries and Human Rights groups against his anti-narcotics campaign, DUTERTE renewed his blame against UN Special Rapporteur AGNES CALLAMARD and said if she investigates him for the rising death toll in his war on drugs, he would ask why she has made no comments on the thousands of victims of bombing and violence in the Middle East. President DUTERTE said his country was willing to host a “World Summit” to tackle how nations can protect Human Rights and threatened to ban two American Congressmen from coming to the PHILIPPINES after they criticized President TRUMP for inviting DUTERTE to visit the US.

MIDDLE EAST

4. LEBANON. Critics analyzing the recent developments in the Middle East find that the next flash point in the region could be LEBANON, which will adversely affect the economies of countries like SRI LANKA. The Lebanese Prime Minister SAAD HARIRI resigned from his post on 04 November 2017, while on a visit to SAUDI ARABIA and the Lebanese President MICHEL AOUN said on 15 November 2017, that Prime Minister HARIRI is being “held hostage” in an “act of aggression” against LEBANON by SAUDI ARABIA violating the Vienna Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. HARIRI denounced the presence of HEZBOLLAH in the Lebanese Government on 04 November 2017, stoking fears of conflict between the Saudi-backed Sunni faction (March 14-Future Movement Party) and the Iranian-backed Shia umbrella Militant group HEZBOLLAH and its political bloc (March 08) together hold 69 seats in LEBANON’s Parliament. 18 religious sects in LEBANON are also recognized in the Parliament which has 128 seats. According to the Constitution the President must be a Maronite Christian, the Prime Minister a Sunni Muslim and the Speaker of Parliament, a Shia Muslim. The looming conflict has its roots in the shared interest of SAUDI ARABIA and ISRAEL to counter Shia Iran with which Hezbollah is closely allied and controls SOUTHERN LEBANON along ISRAEL’s Northern border as both IRAN and Hezbollah have been involved in the Syrian War as pro ASSAD allies. Critics say that Sunni Arab leaders and Israeli Prime Minister BENJAMIN NETANYAHU imagine that IRAN has a grand plan to establish domination over the whole region and must be stopped by Military force, which will naturally develop into a full-scale Sunni-Shia war.

EUROPE

5. UK. BRITAIN’s new Defence Secretary, GAVIN WILLIAMSON said on 13 November 2017 that it will hunt down and kill British born members of the ISIS with drones. It is estimated that around 850 Britons have left UK to join the ISIS and approximately half of them have returned back. Secretary WILLIAMSON says those who are going to inflict harm to the UK should be completely eliminated and has been supported by the Foreign Office Minister RORY STEWART, who also takes a hard-line stance against the Jihadists and view, assassination is the only way to deal with them. On the other hand, the Government’s independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation, MAX HILL QC has warned that such a hard-line stance could put the UK at risk of losing a generation of young people lured by ISIS propaganda and says that MI 5 and others are leaving space for those misguided individuals to be diverted away.

NORTH AMERICA

6. US. Political observers say the tone and the outcome of President TRUMPS’s visit to CHINA on 09 and 10 November 2017, had been positive and the he and President XI JINPING were setting a new blueprint for handling relations and managing their differences such as trade and the North Korean Nuclear issue. The Chinese Foreign Ministry think-tank, the China Institute of International Studies stated that, Sino-US cooperation was the only correct choice for both CHINA and the US and the most important outcome from their talks has been the constructive approach to sensitive issues.


| 03 Friday to 10 Friday November 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. International observers say that the experience of 3 years of the NARENDRA MODI Government suggests that nothing has been done to follow up the plan of engagement envisaged by Home Minister RAJNATH SINGH on the JAMMU and KASHMIR issue. RAJNATH SINGH said on 11 September 2017, that a permanent solution to the crisis was based on ‘five Cs’, Compassion, Communication, Coexistence, Confidence Building and Consistency. However, the hard-line approach of the BJP- led Government seems to have stalled the Home Minister’s attempt to reach out to the separatist groups. The effort has only been to delegitimize the political context and content of the agitation in KASHMIR, which is centered around a resolution of the problem. By its own admission, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had fired 1.3 million pellets on people at the height of the 2016 summer uprising in KASHMIR. The pellets have left scores of boys and girls without eyesight. PAKISTAN Prime Minister SHAHID KHAQAN ABBASI addressing a conference on “Future of Pakistan 2017” at the London School of Economics on 04 November 2017 said KASHMIR is the “core issue” and relations with INDIA will remain tense until that is solved. Highlighting INDIA’s ‘Cold Start Doctrine’ among other developments, ABBASI said that PAKISTAN has a “deterrent” in place but deterrents, where both sides are Nuclear powers, would not be a solution to any problematic situation and suggested continued talks.

SOUTH EAST ASIA

2. NORTH KOREA. The, US Senate Banking Committee in a bipartisan agreement on 09 November 2017 unanimously backed new sanctions against Chinese banks that do business with NORTH KOREA (DPRK) just before DONALD TRUMP’s visit to CHINA on 09 November 2017 after visiting JAPAN and SOUTH KOREA. Addressing the South Korean Parliament on 08 November during his 12-day Asian tour, TRUMP stressed that NORTH KOREA is an oppressed, despotic regime, but offered an alternative if it gives up Nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, the US Defense Department responding to a Congressional query submitted a report on 04 November 2017, informing that only certain way to locate and secure NORTH KOREA’s Nuclear Weapon sites would be via a US ground invasion. The Pentagon has also done an anticipated casualty assessment in a conflict with NORTH KOREA for US and Allied Forces in JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA and GUAM as well as civilians. It further notes that such a conflict would prompt NORTH KOREA to deploy Biological and Chemical Weapons and seems to be suggesting that there are no Military options for NORTH KOREA. At the moment Pentagon backs the current approach led by Secretary of State REX TILLERSON wielding economic sanctions and applying Diplomatic pressure as a measure of discouraging North Korea’s Military ambitions.

MIDDLE EAST

3. SAUDI ARABIA. The Saudi Defense Minister Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN who has amassed enormous power in less than three years since his father KING SALMAN ascended to the throne, is now heading the new anti-corruption committee which had on 04 November 2017, detained 11 Princes and dozens or more Ministers that included Prince MITEB BIN ABDULLAH, the head of the National Guard. It is the powerful force tasked with protecting the ruling Al Saud family and all holy sites in MECCA and MEDINA and Oil and Gas sites. Saudi nationals have been complaining of rampant corruption in the public sector and the country’s top council of clerics endorsed the anti-corruption probe saying that it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption. Meanwhile, SAUDI ARABIA called the attempted Missile strike on Riyadh International Airport on 06 November by IRAN-backed Houthi rebels in YEMEN a “blatant act of Military aggression by IRAN that could be considered as an act of war”. It further, said that SAUDI ARABIA reserves its right to respond to IRAN appropriately based on the right of self-defense. IRAN flatly rejected the Saudi claim as destructive and provocative in a dramatic escalation in tension between the two rival nations. IRAN on 08 November 2017, accused the CIA of spreading “fake news” about a murky relationship between the Sunni extremist group Al Qaeda and Shiite IRAN. The CIA claims that the relevant documents on covert operations of IRAN were found in May 2011 by US Navy Seals who had killed OSAMA BIN LADEN in ABBOTABAD, PAKISTAN. IRAN says all these are parts of efforts “to put pressure on IRAN”.

4. YEMEN. The UN's Humanitarian Chief MARK LOWCOCK, informed the UN Security Council on 08 November 2017, that millions will die in YEMEN, unless the Saudi-led Military alliance ends its Air, Land and Sea blockade of YEMEN, after the Missile attack on 04 November 2017, by the IRAN backed Houthi rebels, and it would be the world’s worst famine crisis in decades surpassing SOUTH SUDAN (2017) and SOMALIA (2011). The conflict has so far killed over 10,000 people and left over 7 million in need of food assistance. Further, the country has an outbreak of cholera epidemic with over 900,000 suspect cases. The closure of all sea and land ports means urgently needed lifesaving medical supplies have ceased. SAUDI ARABIA after its 2015 intervention in the civil war in YEMEN appears to be in a quagmire and says that the blockade is aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons into YEMEN.

EUROPE

5. UK. Former British Prime Minister GORDON BROWN in his book “My Life, Our Times” published on 31 October 2017, claims that a top secret US Intelligence report which showed there was “no evidence” that IRAQ had access to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) was not shared with the British Government. Thus, US President GEORGE W. BUSH duped the, then British Prime Minister TONY BLAIR into backing the 2003 Iraqi invasion which had not been sanctioned by the UN Security Council. GORDON BROWN said that BRITAIN would not have invaded IRAQ had the British Government known about the said intelligence report. He further says he was assured by the then MI6 Chief, Sir RICHARD DEARLOVE that IRAQ had WMDs.

NORTH AMERICA

6. US. Psychologists continue to warn that terrorists of the ‘Lone Wolf’ type and emotionally unstable individuals could now be prone to taking the cue from the mass murderers in the US (eg: SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, LAS VEGAS) and act on their own in a ‘copy cat effect’ that would be disastrous to any society. Thus, the need has arisen for the states to go to the roots of lawlessness and address the societal or structural causes that give rise to critical law and order crises, while finding legal solutions, curbing the circulation of unauthorized arms and small arms- trafficking. Meanwhile, analysts claim that there are marked differences in the Jihadist attacks taking place in the US and Europe. In Europe, many Jihadists have had community support, an underground network or even a hardline Islamist to guide them as in the twin attacks in SPAIN in August. In the US, in part, a better rooted, more affluent US Muslim community shows no tolerance for anyone exhibiting sympathy for causes like the ISIS or Al Qaeda. Further, the tougher and expansive US laws and more aggressive law enforcement than Europe have also made a big difference. As a result, the aspiring Jihadists in the US are isolated with their ‘on line social media’ links and at times just a few friends known personally which is an important lesson for conflict ridden and post-conflict nations searching for lasting solutions. The 31/10 NEW YORK bike-path attacker, the UZBEK SAIFULLO SAIPOV too is believed to be a self-radicalized individual without an apparent support inside the US and such behavioral patterns might be existing in any society.


|27 Friday October to 2 Thursday November 20 17|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. INDIA. Despite uncertainties that the TRUMP Presidency has generated, the MODI-TRUMP Summit in June in WASHINTON DC, visit of US Defense Secretary JIM MATTIS to INDIA in September, Secretary of State, REX TILERSON’s visit in October, Indian Commerce and Industries Minister SURESH PRABHU’s meeting with US Trade Representative, ROBERT LIGHTHIZER on 27 October 2017 and a possible Second Summit between MODI and TRUMP ahead of the East Asia Summit (EAS) on 14 November 2017 in the PHILLIPPINES, indicate a long term convergence between INDIA and the US and their willingness to build further on that understanding. In another development President TRUMP’S daughter IVANKA is scheduled to attend the Global Entrepreneurship summit in HYDERABAD on 28-30 November 2017. Meanwhile, bilateral relations are becoming stronger with the revival of the umbrella Defence Policy Group (DPG) dialogue between US Under - Secretary of Defence JOHN WOOD and INDIA’s Defense Secretary SANJAY MITRA. The joint technical group meeting between the Defense Research and Development Organization of INDIA and the Pentagon, “Two plus Two” rubric, involving Foreign and Defence Ministers are scheduled next week and the 2018 schedule of meetings too have been finalized. The two strategic partners, the US and INDIA are joined by JAPAN and SINGAPORE to ensure that freedom of navigation and over flight right are not hindered by Chinese posturing in East Asia. The Key focus of the MODI-TRUMP summit will be the Indo-Pacific ASEAN countries having territorial issues with CHINA in the South China Sea. As suggested by the US Secretary of State, a US-INDIA initiative to counter CHINA’s ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative would also be explored with the inclusion of JAPAN.

2. THE MALDIVES. Defence Minister ADAM SHAREEF UMAR defending the Maldivian Government, disputed the West’s view, that the MALDIVES is a hotbed of Islamic radicalism. He says the number of Maldivians fighting in SYRIA is only 49 and disagrees with the Soufan Group (a US-based Security and Risk Management Consultancy) that claims around 200 to 250 Maldivians are in IRAQ and SYRIA making the MALDIVES with a total population of 410,000, the highest ‘per capita’ foreign fighter contributor to the ISIS. The Government’s position is that there is no organized recruitment to the ISIS in the MALDIVES, but it is done privately by preachers trained in radical Islamic seminaries in PAKISTAN and AFGHANISTAN and only 7 Maldivians have reportedly died in fighting in SYRIA while a few more have been arrested in TURKEY and MALAYSIA, with some repatriated to the MALDIVES to stand trial. The head of the Strategy and Legal Division of the Maldivian Police AHMED SHIFAN points out that there has not been a single terrorist attack since 2007 and the MALDIVES continues to attract Western, Japanese and Chinese tourists. The Police have a programme to track down people trying to enter SYRIA and put them through a de- radicalization process while also trying indoctrination, reformation and re-orientation. He stressed that there are no Wahabist groups and Wahabism is not taught in schools and the type of Islam taught is moderate. He further said, that no one is forced to wear the ‘hijab’ or grow a beard and what is generally seen may well be a fashion trend. The Government suspects that the West is using NGOs to convert Muslims to Christianity with pro- West bloggers trying to indulge in blasphemy. In spite of the Government’s defense, international observers say that the MALDIVES cannot dismiss the charges made by the International community as Maldivian civil groups and the local opposition parties whose leaders and their prominent supporters are either in jail or gone into exile abroad.

MIDDLE EAST

3. SAUDI ARABIA. The bold reform plans initiated by SAUDI ARABIA’s Crown Prince MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN and his ‘Future Investment Initiative Conference ‘ which began on 24 October 2017, was praised by political and business leaders and academics who focus on Middle East developments. Referring to the decision to lift the ban on ‘women driving’ the Prince says that the country needed to go back to “moderate Islam” and to work to defeat “extremist ideas” and ensure that young Saudis live in harmony with the rest of the world. Observers say that not a week passes by without some spectacular announcement of a reform in SAUDI ARABIA and even if a small fraction of Prince SALMAN’s plans are realized it has the potential to transform both SAUDI ARABIA and the region, which has been the well-spring of Wahabism and people expect SAUDI ARABIA will be non-Wahabi soon, under Crown Prince SALMAN. The 32-year-old Prince SALMAN is the first non-octogenarian to become the Crown Prince of SAUDI ARABIA and seems comfortable in openly admitting what is currently wrong with the socio-political-economic situation in the country and understanding proper remedial measures. However, there is the critical factor whether SAUDI ARABIA’s conservative clerics who had been influencing the Kingdom in all aspects since its establishment almost a century ago, will accept the rapid changes envisaged by Prince SALMAN.

EUROPE

4. SPAIN. The Spanish Government established direct rule over CATALONIA, after SPAIN’s Constitutional Court suspended, the Unilateral Declaration of Independence made on 27 October 2017 by the Catalan leader CARLES PUIGDEMONT, based on the 1 October 2017 referendum. This was after swiftly invoking Article 155 of the Constitution and suspending the region’s autonomy that had been bestowed in accordance with the 1978 constitution. The Government has called for Elections in CATALONIA on 21 December 2017 and there seems to be moves by the Spanish Chief Prosecutor to charge PUIGDEMONT and his Ministers with offences that will carry up to 30 years in prison. Currently, the ousted Catalan leader and several Ministers have moved into BELGIUM and the Belgian Prime Minister CHARLES MICHEL says that ‘freedom of movement’ within the Schengen Zone allows them to be in BELGIUM without any other formalities. Meanwhile, on 31 October 2017, SPAIN’s Guardia Civil, a Paramilitary Force, raided the offices of the Catalan Police (the Mossosd’ Esquadra) which has been accused of failing to help the Guardia Civil Force to tackle pro-independence protesters on the day of referendum which had been ruled illegal by Spain’s Constitutional Court. Critics point out constitutional guarantees would not be able to halt separatist campaigns or secession of a country if regions are given a mandate to take decisions on their own and SPAIN is paying a very high price for maximizing devolution.

NORTH AMERICA

5. US. Army Intelligence analysts testifying in the case of Army Sgt. BOWE BERGDAHL who in 2009 walked off his combat outpost MEST-MALAK in PAKTIKA Province in AFGHANISTAN and held by the Taliban for 5 years, said that BERGDAHL helped them understand Taliban insurgents better and provided a ‘goldmine’ of information after his return. In this sensational case that involves the ‘campaign references’ made by President DONALD TRUMP, the soldier pleaded guilty on 16 October 2017, to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy and explained his lack of confidence in the leadership prompted his decision to go to the nearest base which was 18 miles away and report his concerns but was captured by Taliban insurgents. Later his release was negotiated by the OBAMA administration as part of a prisoner exchange which had 5 Taliban prisoners released from GUANTANAMO Bay prison to QATAR and had been severely criticized by the Republicans for having negotiated with terrorists. President TRUMP during his election campaign assailed Sgt. BERGDAHL as a ‘traitor’, who was formally charged in March 2015. Sgt. BERGDAHL does not believe he would get a fair trial because of these statements and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

6. NORTH KOREA. Democratic US Senators introduced a bill that would prevent President TRUMP from launching a Nuclear first strike on NORTH KOREA on his own on 31 October 2017, highlighting the issue, days before his visit to Asia. Meanwhile despite TRUMP’s public assertion that attempts at direct diplomacy with NORTH KOREA would be a waste of time, JOSEPH YUN, US negotiator with NORTH KOREA has reportedly been in contact with Korean Diplomats with a broader mandate, at NORTH KOREA’s United Nations Mission (the “New York Channel”) beyond the release of the three American prisoners held in NORTH KOREA. On 27 October 2017, US Secretary of Defence JAMES MATTIS too emphasized Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis during his visit to the heavily fortified North-South border. It is quite clear that the TRUMP policy of “Maximum Pressure and Engagement” launched in April has so far failed to deter NORTH KOREA that threats against NORTH KOREA may have complicated Diplomatic efforts.


|20 Friday to 27 Friday October 2017|



 








SOUTH ASIA

1. BANGLADESH. INDIA’s External Affairs Minister SUSMA SWARAJ visited BANGLADESH on 22 October 2017 and extended a record sum of USD 8 billion which is the largest development assistance given by INDIA to a single country so far. In the past 3 years alone, 24 small socio-economic projects had been completed in BANGLADESH with Indian grants. The restoration of pre-1965 links encompassing road, rail, water and coastal shipping links discontinued during the war between INDIA and PAKISTAN in 1965 has been planned to be complete as soon as possible for increasing connectivity. INDIA will offer 5- year multiple entry visas for BANGLADESH freedom fighters who had waged war against the Pakistani Army until the liberation of BANGLADESH in 1971, along with a scheme for their medical treatment in INDIA. This is Minister SWARAJ’s second visit and the development is also seen as INDIA’s attempt to counter rising Chinese influence in BANGLADESH where CHINA is involved in infrastructure ventures.

2. SOUTH ASIAN ASSOCIATION FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION (SAARC). The 19th SAARC Summit, which was scheduled to be held in November 2016 in ISLAMABAD, had to be cancelled after INDIA, BANGLADESH and AFGHANISTAN pulled out citing PAKISTAN’s open support to terror that has impacted all three countries. It was INDIA which had boycotted the Summit first following a terrorist attack in the URI town of JAMMU and KASHMIR, which INDIA claimed was carried out by Pakistani terrorists. Currently the signs are that, there may be no SAARC Summit this year too, as INDIA’s disinterest in the Summit became evident when External Affairs Minister SUSHMA SWARAJ met SAARC Foreign Ministers in NEW YORK in September, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly sessions. INDIA seems to be of the view that the SAARC has completely failed to live up to its objectives and instead promotes the BANGLADESH, INDIA, MYANMAR, SRI LANKA and THAILAND Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and the BANGLADESH, BHUTAN, INDIA and NEPAL (BBIN) groupings. Meanwhile, PAKISTAN’s Foreign Secretary TEHMINA JANJUA visited SRI LANKA on 18 October 2017 and was assured of SRI LANKA’s support for PAKISTAN to host the SAARC summit this year.

EAST ASIA

3. CHINA. The strategic thinkers and planners of South Asian countries and also the Asia-Pacific region may need to carefully evaluate the speech made by US Secretary of State REX TILLERSON at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the most influential think tank of the US, on 18 October 2017, the same day, the Chinese President and the Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) XI JING PING made his address to the 19th Communist Party Congress in BEIJING. President XI JING PING’s leadership has been identified as the coming of the Third Revolution, after MAO ZE TUNG’s Cultural Revolution and DENG XIAOPING’s Market reforms. His speech stressed his interest in modernizing the Military to be combat ready, helping CHINA’s march to the center stage of global affairs. President XI’s building of artificial Islands such as SANSHA CITY providing CHINA with a Great Wall on the sea and One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) Initiative are bold decisions that could be made only by an influential leader at any period of history. TILLERSON’s speech was the most important foreign policy outlining of the TRUMP administration to date, in which the US engagement with INDIA and its position on the Indian and Pacific Ocean as a strategic region were emphasized. The strategic convergence of TILLERSON’s speech will have a great impact on countries like SRI LANKA, which would have to face a kind of Indo-American foreign policy while remaining as a front state for CHINA’s foreign policy ambitions as articulated in President XI’s address to the CPC.

NORTH AMERICA

4. US. On the eve of President DONALD TRUMP’s historic tour of East Asia (JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA, CHINA, VIETNAM and the PHILIPPINES) in November, critics say that the US President is yet to impress the world as a Statesman with an exceptional capability of shaping domestic and international politics constructively and consensually. As pointed out by former President BARACK OBAMA on 19 October 2017, “a kind of the politics of division” has come back to stay under Mr. TRUMP while his handling of the terror question has had the effect of aggravating ethnic and cultural divisions within America. Ms. HILLARY CLINTON said on 14 October 2017, that Mr. TRUMP has set off a Nuclear Arms race in East Asia. She further said that, his policy on the issues pertaining to minority groups does not pave the way for harmony among the communities. Action promised on the suppression of US-based and external terror are yet to be demonstrated and no plans are in sight for genuinely redressing the grievances of the disaffected, who turn to arms as a final resort. Critics also point out that the countries in East Asia; the ‘Southern growth belt’ are integrating themselves into the global economy while the TRUMP administration is increasingly disengaging the US from the international economy.

EUROPE

5. RUSSIA. The month of October 2017 completes 100 long years, since the Great October Revolution, which had the aim of setting up the world’s First Workers State, the Soviet Union (USSR). With the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, the Russian Federation came into being and today, all power in RUSSIA are concentrated in the hands of the President, which is not among the founding principles of the Bolshevik Revolution most of which are enshrined in the UN Charter of Human Rights. President VLADIMIR PUTIN said on 19 October 2017, that many of the achievements of the West, such as improved living standards, development of education, Human Rights guarantees, the reforms of labour market, and the formation of a powerful middle class were a response to the challenge of the SOVIET UNION. In mid-September, deputies from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) in the DUMA introduced a draft resolution on declaring Amnesty in connection with the centenary of the October Revolution. Meanwhile, German President FRANK- WALTER STEIN MEIER visited RUSSIA on 25 October 2017 and agreed with President PUTIN on the need to implement a 2015 peace deal for eastern UKRAINE, which was brokered by GERMANY and FRANCE. There were also discussions on the possible deployment of a UN peacekeeping contingent in eastern UKRAINE, getting a peace settlement in SYRIA, the Iranian Nuclear deal and the situation around NORTH KOREA.

6. INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM. It is reported that 5,600 foreign ISIS supporters who had gone to the SYRIA and IRAQ to fight for the ISIS Caliphate have returned to 33 home countries. The number of returnees has been increasing during the last two years as the group began losing territorial gains. At the height of the ISIS Military power, over 40,000 foreigners from around 100 countries had joined the movement and currently there are concerns among the home countries about the huge challenge posed by the returnees for law enforcement agencies. A majority of terror acts in Europe have been committed by “Lone Wolves” acting alone and the home countries will have to keep a track on those returnees and their families and associates before it is too late. According to a recent video appeared in the internet, the Caliph, ABUBAKR AL BAGHDADI has called on all ISIS fighters to continue with their struggle against infidels and those returnees may be particularly vulnerable to such appeals. The experts are of the view that the push and pull factors that attracted foreigners in such unprecedented numbers remain as long as the conditions that promoted its growth remain. The Global Counterterrorism Forum, an informal group of 29 countries and the European Union have recommended a range of interventions that cover the “full life cycle of radicalization” which include prosecution, rehabilitation and prevention measures.




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