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India may still strike Pakistan

A US intelligence report claims that India is fully prepared and await go ahead for unilateral precision strikes on Pakistan (File photo)

India may have ruled out the military option against Pakistan in the aftermath of Mumbai terror attacks but the international intelligence community continues to believe that strikes in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and elsewhere could still happen.

Global intelligence service Stratfor, in its latest report, said, “Indian military operations against targets in Pakistan have in fact been prepared and await the signal to go forward.” It added, “These most likely would take the form of unilateral precision strikes inside Pakistan-administered Kashmir, along with special forces action on the ground in Pakistan proper.”

The private sector intelligence service said that unlike the massive movements of 2002 during Operation Parakram, India’s preparations this time were more under the radar and not visible to the world at large. Its only indication was the fact that the Border Security Force (BSF) has been put on high alert on the western sector as well as the eastern sector – this paramilitary force’s main mandate would be to prevent infiltration.

“Sources have indicated to Stratfor that New Delhi is going through the diplomatic motions in order to give Pakistan the opportunity to take care of the militant problem itself — but the Indians know that Islamabad has neither the will nor the capability to address their concerns,” Stratfor said.

Three weeks after the attacks, India has gone out of its way to reassure everyone that it is not thinking of military action on Pakistan. This was most recently conveyed by Indian high commissioner to Pakistan Satyabrata Pal to Awami National Party chief Afsandyar Wali Khan in Islamabad earlier this week. But India continues to tell all its international interlocutors that its patience will not last long, particularly if Islamabad cannot crack down on terrorism.

India’s actions thus far have been to build a kind of international consensus that the attacks were sourced in Pakistan. It has led to a huge spurt in international pressure on Pakistan to “do more” to combat terrorism. Almost every member of the international community also believes that the next attack in India would see the gloves come off. But everybody knows that Pakistan’s civilian government is unable to take any steps to curb terrorists and the military establishment is unwilling to do so.

“From a strategic perspective, the Indian government can no more afford to accept the Mumbai attacks and move forward than the US government could have afforded to ignore the 9/11 attacks. New Delhi has little choice but to respond – regardless of which political party is in power – and because the perpetrators are linked to elements within the Pakistani state, the response must be directed against Pakistan. And if Islamabad will not cooperate in controlling the militants, India will have to take unilateral action,” Stratfor said.

It explained that India knew strikes in Pakistan would not eliminate the terrorist threat, “but that would not be the aim of any such operation”. It added, “Instead, India has to communicate firmly that it will no longer tolerate attacks from Pakistan-based militants – whether they are rogue or approved by the state. Failure to do so risks emboldening the Islamists and their enablers, as well as a domestic political backlash. The Indian government could not live with either of those outcomes.”

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December 20, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

US President George W Bush gets ‘Farewell Boot’ in Iraq

US President George W Bush (In picture) faces the wrath of an Iraqi journalist who hurls his shoes at him during his final visit to Iraq

On his ‘farewell’ visit to Iraq as US President, George W Bush had an unusual ‘encounter’ when an
Iraqi scribe threw two shoes at him, but the agile American leader downplayed the incident, saying “it’s a sign of a free society.”

The journalist, Muntadar al-Zeidi, threw two shoes at Bush — one after another — during a joint news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad on Sunday (December 14, 2008) and shouted “it is the farewell kiss, you dog”.

“All I can report is a size 10,” the president joked. Bush, who ducked both throws, said he has seen a lot of weird things during his eight-year-long Presidency and that he would term the latest incident as “one of the weirdest”.

“And it was amusing. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of weird things during my presidency and this may rank up there as one of the weirdest. So this happens and it’s a sign of a free society,” Bush said. “But I’m not insulted. I don’t hold it against the government. I don’t think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don’t know what his beef is. But whatever it is I’m sure somebody will hear it,” the US President told ABC channel.

After the incident, Iraqi government said that the scribe, who works with Al-Baghdadia channel which broadcasts from Cairo, has been held for questioning by the Prime Minister’s guards and is being tested for alcohol and drugs. Meanwhile, the television channel demanded the immediate release of its journalist and called the scribe as a “proud Arab and an open-minded man.”

Bush shoe attacker ‘detested America’

The Iraqi journalist who caused a furore when he hurled his shoes at visiting US President George W Bush “detested America” and had been plotting such an attack for months, colleagues said on on Monday (Dec 15, 2008).

Muntazer al-Zaidi, 28, was being hailed as a hero by some after his action against the US President who ordered the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and anti-US demonstrations were being staged in Baghdad and the holy shiite city of Najaf.

“This was a spontaneous action by an Iraqi citizen who was showing his dismay at seeing the President of the country which is occupying our nation,” said Liwaa Sumeissim from the anti-American Sadr movement.

The Iraqi government however branded Zaidi’s actions as “shameful” and demanded an apology from his employer Al-Baghdadia television, which in turn was calling for his immediate release from custody.

One of his colleagues in the Baghdad office of Al-Baghdadia said Zaidi had been planning to throw shoes at Bush if ever he got the chance. “When he said he was going to do it, we didn’t doubt him,” he said.

“Muntazer detested America. He detested the US soldiers, he detested Bush,” said another co-worker who also spoke on condition of anonymity.

An Iraqi lawyer said Zaidi risked a minimum of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state, but could face a 15-year term if he is charged with attempted murder.

In Cairo, Muzhir al-Khafaji, programming director for Al-Baghdadia television, described Zaidi as a “proud Arab and an open-minded man.” “We fear for his safety,” he told, adding that Zaidi had been arrested twice before by the Americans.

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, USA, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bush warns Pakistan to fight terror or a face-off

Bush has said US will not be held to ransom by terror outfits

GET IT CLEAR: Bush has said US will not be held to ransom by terror outfits

With India reaching out to the world community in the wake of Mumbai attacks, the US, Germany and Britain are sending their ministers and functionaries to India to discuss the developing situation.

Washington too is keeping the pressure up.

US President Bush made a statement saying even governments sponsoring terrorism will be held responsible.

“We’ve made it clear to Pakistan that we must do whatever to protect American people. Governments sponsoring terror are as guilty as the terrorists and will be held to account,” warned America’s President who will soon be making way for president-elect Barack Obama to take over.

The US reiterated that countries should deny safe haven to terrorists.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice too came down hard on the terror outfits and their nefarious designs.

Rice had said that those who want to disrupt good relations between India and Pakistan were at root, and that these non-state actors clearly used Pakistani territory. Rice continued to tell the CBS radio in the interview that there is reason for Pakistan to take up responsibility to act.

December 11, 2008 Posted by | Attacks, General, India Related, USA Related, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Greatest Leaders of the World

Winston Churchill

Churchill arrives at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to attend thanksgiving services for the May 1945 World War II victory in Europe.
The master statesman stood alone against fascism and renewed the world’s faith in the superiority of democracy
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a muslim politician and leader of the All India Muslim League who founded Pakistan and served as its first Governor-General. He is officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam (“Great Leader”) he envisioned a secular state for Pakistan.
Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhi at home next to a spinning wheel, which looms in the foreground as a symbol of India’s struggle for independence. His philosophy of nonviolence and his passion for independence began a drive for freedom that doomed colonialism
Adolf Hitler
Hitler gestures during a speech in May 1937
The avatar of fascism posed the century’s greatest threat to democracy and redefined the meaning of evil forever
Martin Luther King
King announces on April 25, 1967, that he would not be a candidate for the president of the United States
He led a mass struggle for racial equality that doomed segregation and changed America forever
Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini
Khomeini in 1979 returning to Tehran, Iran
Brazenly defying the West, he revived Islam’s faithful and authored a new form of religious government. The prescriptions were often chilling
V.I. Lenin
Lenin in 1918, the year he split with the Left Social Revolutionaries and renamed the Bolsheviks the Russian Communist Party
Driven by ideological zeal, he reshaped Russia and made communism into a potent global force
Nelson Mandela
Mandela was a TIME Man of the Year in 1993
As the world’s most famous prisoner and, now, his country’s leader, he exemplifies a moral integrity that shines far beyond South Africa
Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II waves to pilgrims in September 1989
The most tireless moral voice of a secular age, he reminded humankind of the worth of individuals in the modern world
Ho Chi Minh
Founder and President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Communist North.
He married nationalism to communism and perfected the deadly art of guerrilla warfare

December 10, 2008 Posted by | General, Politics, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Pakistan unsafe: Dhoni, Tendulkar tell Board

The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

DOWN: The Marriott Hotel in Islamabad after the Sept. 21 bombing. The hotel was used by international cricket teams.

Top Indian cricket players, including captain M S Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar, are unwilling to tour Pakistan in January because they fear for their security.

Sources tell that senior players have expressed their concern to the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI). The team is scheduled to play three Tests and five ODIs from January 4 to February 19 tour in Pakistan.

Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh too have expressed their unwillingness to tour Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has assured foolproof security but the Indians believe the threat during the tour would be severe.

PCB chief Ejaz Butt is scheduled to visit India soon to try and convince the BCCI but that plea is now likely to fall on deaf ears.

It is known that the Ministry of External Affairs is unlikely to permit the Indian team to tour Pakistan.

Early November, the government refused to permit the Indian junior hockey team to tour Pakistan due to security concerns.

The Associated Press reports the International Cricket Council deferred the Champions Trophy in September after five of the eight participating teams refused to compete at the biennial tournament that is considered the second most prestigious one-day event after the World Cup.

The PCB has said it would consider playing India at a neutral venue or possibly switch series as alternatives. Pakistan is due to tour India in 2010.

November 26, 2008 Posted by | Cricket, General, Sports | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

India now aims for manned space mission

The plan is to achieve the space mission by 2015 said ISRO chief.

MANNED MISSION: The plan is to achieve the space mission by 2015 said ISRO chief.

India is aiming to send a manned mission into the space after the success of its first unmanned mission to the moon, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairmain G. Madhavan Nair said on Nov 23, 2008.

“The (manned) moon mission is a tough task and to achieve that our first task is to send an Indian astronaut on a manned mission to space, who will orbit the earth and return. For this, the sanction of the government has to come.

We plan to achieve this by 2015,” Nair said at a reception accorded to him during his first visit to his home town since the successful launch of the Chandrayaan-1.

“The next moon mission by the US and China is fixed for 2020 and our target is that we also should be ready by then,” Nair added.

“To achieve that, the space mission would provide the necessary boost. Another thing that is being planned is Aditya, a mission to study the solar system from the earth’s orbit,” said Nair.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | General, India Related, Science, Technology, World News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

America’s vote out: goodbye President Bush

Bush at a graduation ceremony for FBI Agents in Quantico, Va.

TERM OVER: Bush at a graduation ceremony for FBI Agents in Quantico, Va.

Even before one vote was counted, this result was clear: The US presidential race was a verdict on George W Bush.

Both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain positioned themselves as agents of change—that is, change from Bush.

The US President’s approval ratings have hovered near historically low levels—it was just 26 percent in an AP-GfK poll conducted a couple of weeks before Election Day—and he was a factor in voters’ decision-making no matter how much he tried to keep out of the race.

Obama seized on Bush’s standing to make him a political liability for McCain, who in turn separated himself aggressively from the face of his own party as the campaign closed.

The President’s face has been such a fixture in anti-McCain ads that it was up to Laura Bush to add a touch of lightness to her husband’s woes.

“I’m really looking forward to Election Day,” she said at a Republican campaign event in Kentucky on Monday, “partly because it seems like George has been on the ticket this entire year.”

The quietest place in Washington on Tuesday may have been the White House itself.

The President voted absentee several days ago, so there was no video of him at his precinct, no statements to reporters, no public appearance whatsoever.

Bush planned to spend his evening in the White House residence, watching TV coverage of election results and hosting a small dinner with his wife, Laura.

There was sure to be at least some celebrating—Tuesday is the first lady’s birthday. Otherwise, it was a day when the White House purposely went dark.

“He realises this election is not about him,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said heading into voting day.

Tuesday marked the first time in 14 years—a period when Bush twice won the Texas governorship and the presidency—that he was not on the ballot.

Many pundits had no doubt about Tuesday’s outcome. Among them: Karl Rove, once of Bush’s closest aides and the architect of his two successful presidential runs. On election eve, Rove distributed his last analysis of the electoral map. It predicted Obama winning easily, with 338 electoral votes. It takes 270 to win.

The title of Rove’s e-mail: “The End.” He was referring to the election, but there was also a feeling of finality at the White House.

Outside, the post-Bush transition was starting. Construction workers churned away on Inauguration Day grandstands along Pennsylvania Avenue.

November 5, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Vaiko arrested for pro-LTTE remarks

This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group LTTE.
This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group LTTE.
MDMK chief Vaiko was on Thursday arrested for making ‘highly inflammatory speeches in support of the LTTE’, police said.Vaiko had at a public meeting in Chennai on Tuesday said a separate Tamil Eelam under the leadership of LTTE chief Prabhakaran would come into existence soon in Sri Lanka.

“LTTE and Sri Lankan Tamils could not be separated. Though we are against any violence, we should differentiate between violence and right”, he said.

“Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had assured me no military aid would be supplied to Sri Lanka, had gone back on his word,” he alleged.

Vaiko said, “if the need arises, I will be the first man to take up arms in support of Sri Lankan Tamils. I will gather youths all over the country for this purpose”.The MDMK presidium chairman, M Kannappan, had told the meeting that time would come to demand for a separate Tamil Nadu. In that meeting, a two-hour film on Sri Lankan army’s alleged atrocities against Tamils was screened.

In a statement on Wednesday, AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa had demanded that all LTTE supporters be booked.

Tamil Nadu government’s decision to arrest Vaiko was to make it clear that ruling DMK’s support was only for the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils and not for LTTE.

Vaiko, now an ally of Jayalalithaa, was detained under POTA by her Government in 2004 on his arrival from the United States after he had made a pro-LTTE speech at a public meeting in Tirumangalam in Madurai.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi had condemned Vaiko’s arrest at that time.

This is the second time that Vaiko has been arrested for supporting the banned group, the earlier occasion being during the previous AIADMK government when he was held under POTA.

Vaiko was arrested under the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act, police said.

He was remanded to 14 days judicial custody.

Vaiko said soon after his arrest that his party was for India’s sovereignty. At the same time, it could not allow the Centre to provide arms and ammunition and logistics support to Sri Lankan government ‘to perpetuate war against Tamils’.

October 24, 2008 Posted by | General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama establishes double digit lead over McCain

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle embrace during a rally in Miami. (AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and his wife Michelle embrace during a rally in Miami. (AP)

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has established a double digit lead over his Republican rival John McCain just two weeks ahead of crucial elections, a just released poll says.
The ‘Wall Street Journal-NBC News’ poll found that 52 per cent voters favour Obama against 42 per cent who support McCain, showing a four per cent increase since the poll two weeks ago. The poll has a margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

The poll says that a growing number of voters said that they were comfortable with the Democrat’s values, background and ability to serve as commander-in-chief.

It’s the largest lead in the Journal/NBC poll so far, and represents a steady climb for Senator Obama since early September, when the political conventions concluded with the candidates in a statistical tie.

“Voters have reached a comfort level with Barack Obama,” said Peter D Hart, a Democratic pollster who conducts the poll with Republican Neil Newhouse.Though most voters polled said that McCain is better prepared for the White House than the first-term Obama, there are increasing concerns about the readiness of McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the poll showed.

The race, the Journal said, has rested largely on the question of whether voters could get comfortable with Obama, the first African-American to run on a major party ticket, and one who has been on the national political scene for just a few years.

McCain has worked to stoke concerns about Obama’s past and his qualifications, raising questions about his rival’s character and his association with 1960s-era radical William Ayers. The new poll suggests that these attacks haven’t worked. The poll found that Obama now holds a 12-percentage-point advantage with independents, a group both sides have fiercely sought. Two weeks ago, Obama led this group by just four percentage points. In mid-September, independents favoured McCain by 13 points.

Obama leads suburban voters by 12 percentage points, up from two points two weeks ago. He leads among older voters, those over 65-years-old, by nine points, erasing a one-point McCain advantage from the last poll. And in the Midwest, home

to a swath of battleground states, he is now favoured by 25 points, up from a one-point advantage.

Some daily tracking polls, the journal said, have found a tighter race between McCain and Obama in recent days.

Real Clear Politics, a Web site that averages major polls, shows Obama up by 7.2 percentage points.

Others have found a larger spread, such as one released Tuesday by the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press, a nonpartisan research group. That poll found a 14-point advantage for Obama among registered voters.

Many polls also show McCain lagging in key battleground states, which hold the electoral votes that could decide the race.

Obama, the paper said, has also eaten into traditional Republican advantages, notably on taxes, despite McCain’s attempts to make the issue a central economic theme of the campaign’s closing days.

In the mid-September Journal poll, McCain was favoured 41 per cent to 37 per cent when voters were asked which candidate would be “better on taxes.” This week’s poll found Obama leading on the issue by 48 per cent to 34 per cent.

That, the Journal says, may be partly due to Obama’s argument that McCain would raise taxes on health-insurance benefits. While McCain’s health plan does raise some taxes, the plan overall represents a net tax cut, the paper said, citing independent estimates.

October 22, 2008 Posted by | Elections, General, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment