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Monday, 7 September 2009

Pakistan Space And Research Commission

India's inaugural Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission a success or a failure?

India has abandoned its inaugural Moon mission, 10 months after it was launched. Science writer Pallava Bagla examines the mission's performance.

So was India's inaugural Chandrayaan-1 Moon mission a success or a failure?

Neither. By all accounts, it has been a mixed performance. Also, a definitive answer is not easy to give - it is possibly as grey as the surface of the Moon.

This was an expensive scientific experiment with many objectives and conducted in full public glare.

Most engineering goals have been fulfilled, but pious promises to deliver "good science" from the mission are still to be met.

Big achievement

India launched its $100m unmanned spacecraft on 22 October 2008 from Sriharikota on the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

First, the spacecraft designed and built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) survived huge odds and successfully reached the Moon's orbit.

This in itself was a big achievement since neither Russia nor America succeeded in their maiden attempts; and there were several failures even before they got anywhere near the Moon.

So did India ride on the shoulders of earlier successes?

Certainly not, since the know-how and technologies to go to the Moon are just not available for the asking. Each nation has to learn on its own. India experimented and did that with complete success.

The only other country to have managed a similar maiden feat was China - its mission Chang'e-1 in 2007 lasted 16 months in space, according to the Chinese National Space Administration.

The Indian mission survived for about 10 months in space; most other missions to the Moon have been much more short-lived.

So did the Indian space agency, in its naivety, over-stretch and over-estimate the craft's life when it planned for a 24-month mission?

Rocket carrying 10 satellites is launched from Sriharikota
The mission lasted 10 months in space

Possibly. The answer may emerge in the findings of the "failure analysis committee" that Isro has put in place after this debacle.

Despite being dubbed by Isro as an "engineering success", the mission had a rough ride around the Moon.

A fuel leak from the rocket almost aborted its lift-off. Within days of reaching the Moon, a power system failed, and a back-up system had to be activated.

Soon, the spacecraft started overheating due to the intense heat on the Moon. Isro scientists say it was deft mission management that saved it from a total burnout.

A few months into the mission the spacecraft lost its fine guidance system when the onboard "star sensor" packed up in the intense radiation around the Moon.

But, every time an instrument on this 1,380kg robot gave way, mission controllers at Isro found an innovative solution to keep the mission alive.

Finally on 29 August 2009, the space agency lost all contact with Chandrayaan after a catastrophic failure - possibly in its power supply system. A day later, the mission was "terminated", although Isro chief G Madhavan Nair declared it had been a "complete success".

'Two-in-one mission'

The Indian mission was in certain respects much more challenging than the Chinese maiden lunar mission which was a simple national orbiter.

Chandrayaan-1 was literally a two-in-one mission, since the main satellite was to orbit at 100km above the Moon and then a tiny gadget the size of a computer monitor was to attempt a "landing" on the Moon's surface.

The mission did this on 14 November 2008. No nation to date had succeeded in both a lunar orbiter and an impactor at the first attempt.

Madhavan Nair
Mr Nair says the mission is a 'complete success' (Photo: Pallava Bagla)

This was more than an experiment. It was also a brave global geo-political statement since the probe that crash-landed on the Moon also permanently placed India's flag on the lunar surface.

India became the fourth space bloc to have done this after Russia, America and the European Space Agency.

This is hugely significant because, if ever the Moon's resources are to be divided, India's rightful share can be claimed having achieved what others have not been able to do.

There are many other firsts to this mission.

In a highly un-Indian trait, the Indian space agency delivered the Moon mission with no cost or time overrun at $100m and within eight years of it first being suggested.

The spacecraft carried 11 different sophisticated instruments, one of the largest suites of experiments ever carried to the Moon.

The objective was to remotely map the resources of the Moon, prepare a three-dimensional atlas of it and look for water.

All instruments worked for about 10 months in the hostile lunar environment. Dr Nair calls it a "more than 100% success of Indian technology".

India also created a new model of international partnership.

Moon surface picture by Chandrayaan-1
Chandrayaan peered into the deepest craters searching for water

On its own initiative, India announced that it would be happy to piggyback instruments from global partners.

After a huge competition, six instruments sourced from the European Space Agency (Esa), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and Bulgaria were chosen.

Bernard Foing, the chief scientist for Space Sciences at Esa, calls the Indian mission "the first multi-continent, multi-country lunar mission ever to be undertaken".

A little known fact is that India did not charge any money to fly these instruments 400,000km away: all got a free ride to the Moon, merely in exchange for sharing the scientific data.

Search for water

Chandrayaan-1 was also the first and the most detailed search for water on the Moon using radars - to date, water has never been found.

A miniature American radar onboard the Chandrayaan peered into the Moon's deepest craters searching for "water ice".

The Moon's surface is so parched that scientists feel the only location where water could exist would be in the permanently shadowed craters on the lunar poles.

But these are so deep and dark that sunlight never reaches them - hence the only way to peep inside is to send a radar signal down into them.

The global collaborative team of the mission is very excited about the findings.

"Never seen before images of the permanently shadowed craters of the Moon have been captured," says Paul D Spudis, of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, US, and principal investigator of the payload sent to search for water.

"The new radar images are not only visually arresting, but they will be extremely useful in unravelling the complex geological history of the Moon as a whole," he says.

Other scientific reports on findings are in the offing. But unless the results are published, questions will continue to be asked about whether the mission fulfilled its exalted scientific objectives.

The termination of the Moon mission will, however, not affect India's plans in space.

The country is already planning a second mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-2, with Russian collaboration in 2011-12; a mission to an asteroid; an unmanned mission to Mars in 2013 and a human spaceflight in 2015.

Upbeat Isro scientists are saying "Chandrayaan-1 is dead, long live Chandrayaan". The jury will be out - until the scientific papers come in.

Pallava Bagla is the Science editor for New Delhi Television (NDTV) and author of Destination Moon - India's quest for Moon, Mars and Beyond.

Fitna Qadiyaniat Aur Ulema e Ahlesunnat

China+Iran=WW3 WE ARE READY !

China refuses to back the International Security Council's demand that Iran suspend it's Uranium enrichment activity. But there is more to that story. Recently Russian media reported that China plans to sell Iran 24 combat jets based on Israeli technology. Our Israeli team has more.

In 1980 Israel started developing the "Lavi" fighter jet, which was to be an advanced version of the American F-16. The jet was a source of national pride for Israelis. More than a billion dollars was invested to develop the jet, mostly from the U.S. government. But the Israeli Knesset declared that the project was uneconomical and voted to stop it's development.
20 years later, in January 2007, on the other side of the globe, China proudly presented its Chengdu J-10 fighter jet. According to international aviation experts, the Chinese jet bares striking similarities to the 1980's Israeli Lavi fighter. They say that's because Israelis sold the jet's technology to China.

But according to Russian media, China now intends to sell some of these jets to Iran, a country who's nuclear program is seen as a threat by many Western countries, especially Israel.

The Russian newspaper Kommersant and news agency Novosty, recently reported that China plans to sell the Iranians 24 J-10 fighter jets. They quote an expert who says that Iran will most likely use the jets to protect key facilities, such as a nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

We talked with Kommersant's correspondent, Konstantin Lantratov, who was one of the first to report on the Chinese-Iranian deal. He explains how Russia is involved.

[Constantin Lantratov, Kommersant Newspaper]:

"China recently requested Russia's permission to export the J-10 fighter jets to Iran. The Russians manufacture the jet's engine, therefore the deal cannot be carried out without their consent. As far as I know, Russia has not yet responded to the Chinese request."

China officially denied its agreement to sell the jets to Iran, but the story is far from over.

According to the Paris-based defense and strategy publication TTU, China is planning to supply the J-10 to Syria as well. We will keep you updated as this story unfolds.

U.S. Invades and Occupies Pakistan

We are watching it happen in the streets. The recurring nightmare has become a grim, new reality for the people of Pakistan. After watching the horrors of the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq and neighboring Afhanistan for 8 years, the “war on terror” has finally arrived in The Land of the Pure. Obama is fulfilling his campaign promise to Pakistan. The sudden arrival of U.S. marines, U.S. military Hummers, the hired killers of Blackwater, houses barricaded for U.S. personnel in Islamabad and the construction of the world’s largest U.S. “Embassy” are terrorizing this nation of 180 million people. The U.S. slaughter and destruction in Iraq and neighboring Afghanistan for the last 8 years warn them of what may lie in store for them, their families, their land.

The U.S. Marines

On 9/21/08 a bomb ripped through the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad killing scores of people and injuring hundreds. Prior to the bombing, U.S. marines off-loaded steel boxes from a truck, by-passed security and took them to the 4th floor of the building. US officials refused to cooperate with the government’s attempts to investigate their activities. One year later, U.S. Marines are leading the occupation of Pakistan.

Until this landing of U.S. forces, the nation’s spokesman for Foreign Affairs had been denying that 1000 U.S. marines were on their way to Islamabad. The thousand marines are now in the capital city of Islamabad. Some of them may be quietly slipping into Balochistan where the presence of JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) have been reported by foreign journalists. But most are here to defend what will be the largest U.S. embassy/fortress in the world, now under construction and to spearhead the invasion and occupation.

Costs to the U.S. Taxpayer

US Ambassador in Pakistan Anne W. Patterson

The total cost for housing and and general support for the marines alone will be US$112.5 million. US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson said the money is allocated as follows: “$5 million was for Marine quarters, $53.5 for housing infrastructure, $18 million for improvement of general services office area, and $36 million for temporary duty quarters and community support facilities.”

In Patterson’s explanation of the massive expansion of the U.S. Embassy she talked about 4 Billion (that’s with a “B”) dollars:

“The embassy expansion, she said, was a reflection of the long-term commitment that the US intended to have with Pakistan. Moreover, she said, quadrupling of the social, economic and military assistance that would touch $4 billion a year over the next 18 months, necessitated staff increase.”

Ambassador Patterson did not clarify whether the $4 Billion covers the construction which will make this embassy the largest in the world. When this construction is seen in context and coordination with the new level of U.S. occupation of Pakistan, it looks more like a permanent military base than an embassy for running military and covert operations not only in Pakistan but also in the region.

Weapons and Hummers

Eye witnesses and informed journalists have been reporting sightings of U.S. personnel in Islamabad for the past week or so, but now they are seen moving freely throughout the capital. The law (Section 144) provides that Pakistanis who own guns are not permitted to carry them in Islamabad. But U.S. personnel are showing Pakistanis that they are above the law as they openly brandish their weapons. It has also been confirmed that 3,000 U.S. military Hummers, locked and loaded are awaiting dispatch in Karachi’s Port Qasim. For millions of Pakistanis news of these Hummers conjures up images of U.S. troops charging through the streets of Iraqi cities, armed to the teeth, terrifying and often killing unarmed civilians.

On Feb. 23, 2009 the Pentagon revealed that over 70 U.S. military advisers had been secretly working in Pakistan.

Blackwater and the CIA

Pakistanis have known about the 300 U.S. military “advisers” lodged in Tarbela. But news of the arrival of the notorious Blackwater mercenaries in addition to the thousand U.S. marines are riveting their attention. In Pakistan, Blackwater is trading its tainted name for a telling name “Xe Worldwide”, – the name behind which these paid killers are now hiding.

Also, last week, Creative Associates International Inc (CAII), a CIA front, has been operating in Peshawar. They have now sealed off a road and set up shop near the houses of senior Pakistani officials in Islamabad, directly across from a school.

Dr. Shireen Mazari

Dr. Shireen M. Mazari is a scholar and commentator on Strategic Studies and Political Science from Pakistan. She has a Ph.D. from Colombia University and was Director General of Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan and former Chairperson of Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. She is critical of the relationship the Pakistan government has with the United States and India. Speaking for an opposition political party (Tehreek-e-Insaaf), Dr. Shireen Mazari speaks about the new arrival of U.S. forces in Pakistan:

“Will some of these go to the Pentagon’s assassination squads, who may take up residence in some of the barricaded Islamabad houses and with whom the present US commander in Afghanistan was directly associated? Ordinary officials at Pakistani airports have also been muttering their concerns over chartered flights flying in Americans whose entry is not recorded – even the flight crews are not checked for visas and so there is now no record-keeping of exactly how many Americans are coming into or going out of Pakistan. Incidentally the CAII’s (CIA/Blackwater) Craig Davis who was deported has now returned to Peshawar! And let us not be fooled by the cry that numbers reflect friendship since we know what numbers meant to Soviet satellites.”

The Pearl Continental, a luxury hotel in Peshawar was bombed on June 9, 2009. The U.S. routinely blames these attacks on Muslim terrorists. The U.S. has also routinely sabotaged peace agreements between the Pakistan government and various resistance groups in Pakistan. Attacks like this are used to justify the current invasion and occupation by the United States.

Given little attention in the corporate media, Peshawar’s Pearl Continental Hotel was bombed on June 9, 2009. At the time of the bombing, Pakistani media reported officially that it was housing U.S. personnel at the time but did not mention Blackwater. However, Blackwater’s name began to surface in rumours and unofficial reports after the Peshawar bombing.

Ahmed Quraishi
On August 5, 2009, Ahmed Quraishi, political analyst, columnist and independent owner news reported on the insertion of U.S. Marines, Blackwater, the CIA and military hardware into Pakistan:

“Pakistanis ask, ‘Who rules our streets, the Pakistani government or the Americans? And who let them in?’

“Three weeks ago a group of concerned Pakistani citizens in Peshawar wrote to the federal interior ministry to complain about the suspicious activities of a group of shadowy Americans in a rented house in their neighborhood, the upscale University Town area of Peshawar. A NGO calling itself Creative Associates International, Inc. leased the house”. According to its Website, CAII describes itself as ‘a privately-owned non-governmental organization that addresses urgent challenges facing societies today … Creative views change as an opportunity to improve, transform and renew …’ The description makes no sense. It is more or less a perfect cover for the American NGO’s real work: espionage…

“In Peshawar, CAII, opened an office to work on projects in the nearby tribal agencies of Pakistan. All of these projects, interestingly, are linked to the US government. CAII’s other projects outside Pakistan are also linked to the US government. In short, this NGO is not an NGO. It is closely linked to the US government.

Meanwhile, when asked about the expansion of the embassy, U.S. Ambassador Anne W. Patterson was “visibly shaken” and replied, “I’m speechless. To spy on Pakistan we don’t need a big US embassy.” Quickly recovering, she added, “And we don’t need to spy either.” Patterson went on to say that Pakistan could turn into a “family station” – whatever that means to a U.S. colonial bureaucrat.

Ahmed further explains the CIA’s cover for the Blackwater mercenaries:

“In Peshawar, CAII told Pakistani authorities it needed to hire security guards for protection. The security guards, it turns out, were none other than Blackwater’s military-trained hired guns. They were used the CAII cover to conduct a range of covert activities in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province. The infamous Blackwater private security firm operates as an extension of the US military and CIA, taking care of dirty jobs that the US government cannot associate itself with in faraway strategic places. Blackwater is anything but a security firm. It is a mercenary army of several thousand hired soldiers.

“Pakistani security officials apparently became alarmed by reports that Blackwater was operating from the office of CAII on Chinar Road, University Town in Peshawar. The man in charge of the office, allegedly an American by the name of Craig Davis according to a report in Jang, Pakistan’s largest Urdu language daily, was arrested and accused of establishing contacts with ‘the enemies of Pakistan’ in areas adjoining Afghanistan. His visa has been cancelled, the office sealed, and Mr. Davis reportedly expelled back to the United States.

“It is not clear when Mr. Davis was deported and whether there are other members of the staff expelled along with him. When I contacted the US Embassy over the weekend, spokesman Richard Snelsire’s first reaction was, ‘No embassy official has been deported’.”

Keep in mind that Dr. Shireen Mazari who is in a position to know, stated flatly, “CAII’s Craig Davis who was deported has now returned to Peshawar!”

But Ahmed Quraishi explains the denial by the U.S. embassy:

“This defensive answer is similar to the guilt-induced reactions of US embassy staffers in Baghdad and Kabul at the presence of mercenaries working for US military and CIA. I said to Mr. Snelsire that I did not ask about an embassy official being expelled. He said he heard these reports and ‘checked around’ with the embassy officials but no one knew about this. ‘It’s baseless’ [he said]. So I asked him, “Is Blackwater operating in Pakistan, in Peshawar?” ‘Not to my knowledge’. [he answered].

“Fair enough. The US embassies in Baghdad and Kabul never acknowledged Blackwater’s operations in Iraq and Afghanistan either. This is part of low-level frictions between the diplomats at the US Department of State and those in Pentagon and CIA. The people at State have reportedly made it clear they will not acknowledge or accept responsibility for the activities of special operations agents operating in friendly countries without the knowledge of those countries and in violation of their sovereignty. Reports have suggested that sometimes even the US ambassador is unaware of what his government’s mercenaries do in a target country.”

Finally, Ahmed discusses a U.S. diplomat met secretly with an Indian diplomat inside Pakistan, knowing full well that India is considered to be an enemy state of Pakistan:

“In May, a US woman diplomat was caught arranging a quiet [read 'secret'] meeting between a low-level Indian diplomat and several senior Pakistani government officials. An address in Islamabad – 152 Margalla Road – was identified as a venue where the secret meeting took place. The American diplomat in question knew there was no chance the Indian would get to meet the Pakistanis in normal circumstances. Nor was it possible to do this during a high visibility event. After the incident, Pakistan Foreign Office issued a terse statement warning all government officials to refrain from such direct contact with foreign diplomats in unofficial settings without prior intimation to their departments”.

NGOs that are not NGOs

In addition, many U.S. sponsored NGO’s are working to create news reports in mainstream media which are pro-U.S. For this purpose, many Pakistani analysts, retired generals, businessmen, journalists, and academics are being recruited. As Ahmed Quraishi said, “this NGO is not an NGO”, i.e. some Non Governmental Organizations operate under the control and direction of governments who use them for covert operations in foreign countries and fund them surreptitiously.


It’s clear that the current government has given full privileges to the US. They neither know how, nor want to draw a line against U.S. interference in Pakistani affairs. To put it bluntly, they are surrendering the sovereignty of Pakistan to a foreign power. Dr. Shireen Mazari says, “Whatever the US embassy gives out … the terrified Pakistani leadership echoes.” The objectives of the U.S. are clear: Deeper U.S. penetration will result in the destabilisation of Pakistan, leading to destabilization of the entire region. These U.S. military installations also strengthening their encirclement of Iran. The Pakistani political opposition parties are lip stuck at all these developments. The main reason for their silence is that they are as corrupt as the ruling PPP. No political party in Pakistan is in the mood to resist US hegemony. The Pakistan Army no longer shows any interest in directly interfering with political decisions. After the disastrous eight years under the military dictatorship of Musharraf, the people are also not ready for the Pakistan military to intervene in the political life of the country. The TTP terrorists have just been brought under control – barely. Now millions of Pakistanis are terrified by their new, unwelcome guests from the west – the U.S. terrorists. We will now have to learn to tolerate and survive under this growing and increasingly dangerous U.S. colonization of Pakistan. T MUJADDIDI

US is not going to stop the production of drugs in Afghanistan

The US is not going to stop the production of drugs in Afghanistan as it covers the costs of their military presence there, says Gen. Mahmut Gareev, a former commander during the USSR’s operations in Afghanistan.

In backdrop of news being flashed on US media that opium production has gone down in Afghanistan and lot of drum beating on elections being fair and free in Afghanistan, here is an interview by former Commander of Russian forces in Afghanistan.

RT: General, you were in Afghanistan when the Soviet troops were there. In your opinion, what was the most difficult task that our troops faced in that country, what was the hardest thing for them to accomplish?

Mahmut Gareev: For Soviet troops, the most difficult thing was uncertainty of their status. Immediately after our paratroopers landed in Kabul, Marshal Sokolov, Chief of the Defense Ministry’s Task Force, said at the meeting of unit commanders, “We haven’t come here to fight. Do not engage in any hostilities. Establish garrisons, carry on combat training and be vigilant. That is all.”

But the very next day, then-Minister of Defense Colonel Rafi came running to him. Panic-stricken, he said there was a rebellion in Gerat, and the rebels had disarmed the army command and seized the artillery. He begged for urgent help. Well, we didn’t come to fight, did we? The situation was getting catastrophic: if the same happened in two or three other places that would mean that the government and the army were defeated and disarmed by rebels in front of Soviet troops. So, Sokolov ordered a battalion dispatched to Gerat for that being one and only case, but then it became a habit, with units being sent here and there.

The idea that troops would not engage in the fighting had been naïve from the very beginning. How can one ever go to a country where the people are in a civil war and stand aside? It had been clear since the very beginning that going there and staying away from the fight would be impossible.

Essentially, we went there without any goal or program. What to do, what objectives to pursue? I still hear arguments about whether the troops accomplished their objectives or not. There were no objectives, such as occupying an area or to defeat somebody. That uncertainty of our status made everything, including the task of helping the Afghan army, extremely difficult.

RT: They mention decisive movements, quick actions and a large army presence but that is exactly what the US and the coalition forces did and they are still failing to accomplish their task, they are still stuck in the same battles that the Soviet troops were stuck in. What’s the difference, what is their mistake?

M.G.: They’re repeating our mistake. At the moment, the number of American, British and other troops in Afghanistan is almost equal to what we had in the 40th division, which is about 100 thousand. 42 countries are involved. But they’re having great difficulties in solving problems. NATO forces are very difficult to manage. Six months ago they made a decision to move one squadron from the north of Afghanistan to the south where the British troops are stationed. It was discussed in Bundestag. Half a year later – the decision has been made, but the squadron still remains where they were before. Actually, they themselves admit that if drugs were smuggled past them, they wouldn’t interfere. Why? That’s another tough question. Now, what if Russia was to act selfishly and play in geopolitics – just like our opponents are used to doing? They got us involved in the war in Afghanistan and immediately began to provide help for those rebels, the Mujahideen. We could do the same now – we could support the rebels and fight against Americans. But it’s not even in our people’s minds. No one is going to do that.

When I was there in 1989 and 1990, the production of drugs almost ceased, apart from in certain areas. Since then, it has increased by 44 per cent. And all of the drug traffic goes through the city of Osh where we want to establish our base, Termes or other places.

90 per cent of drugs from Afghanistan go to former Soviet republics. 80 per cent of the world’s drugs are produced in Afghanistan. They’ve outdone the South American countries, such as Columbia. Thirty thousand young people in Russia die from drug use every year. And, sadly, some of the leaders of the CIS countries don’t really want to interfere. In other words, there are too many people who make money on this.

I don’t make anything up. Americans themselves admit that drugs are often transported out of Afghanistan on American planes. Drug trafficking in Afghanistan brings them about 50 billion dollars a year – which fully covers the expenses tied to keeping their troops there. Essentially, they are not going to interfere and stop the production of drugs. They engage in military action only when they are attacked. They don’t have any planned military action to eliminate the Mujahideen. Rather, they want to make the situation more unstable and help the Taliban to be more active. They even started negotiations with them, trying to direct them to the Central-Asian republics, to destabilize the whole region and set up their bases there.

One would think – right now, Russia is interested in cooperation with America. During Obama’s visit, there was talk about providing air and ground corridors for Americans to supply their troops in Afghanistan. And some journalists even say now that it’s good for Russia that Americans are in Afghanistan; that we need to help them because they are there to restrain the Mujahideen and keep them from attacking us. That’s right – it’s just that the problem is that they don’t do anything of the kind.

RT: If the Soviet troops hadn’t left Afghanistan in 1989, do you think that the country would be different now. How would this presence of Soviet troops have affected Afghanistan’s present?

M.G.: Not so long ago, Najibullah made national reconciliation the foundation of his policy. It had had results before. There was really no need for the Soviet troops to remain in Afghanistan after 1990. Our troops left on the 15th of February. I arrived there with my group on the 7th. Although Gromov said that there were no soldiers left there after he left, but what about us? I met with the leaders of our main divisions, specialists, advisors. We all stayed there – and we were all Soviet soldiers at the time. I guess he said it for some political reason. The Soviet troops left and the Najibullah regime actually grew stronger. The thing is, while the Soviet troops were there, the 7 or 8 rebel groups had one common enemy, the Soviet troops. They joined forces to fight against it. When the troops left, there was no common enemy left, so, they started to fight with each other. Najibullah used this craftily in turning them against the other. He did it to remain in power even without the Soviet troops. The troops left and Russia had a change of leadership. And what happened? General Rudskoy went to Afghanistan and got in touch with the Mujahideen – those we fought against, those, who held him captive. Kozyrev also took their side.

But take democracy, for example, and the principle to support the countries with democratic processes underway. In Afghanistan, all women were made to wear burqas; it’s forbidden for them to attend school or work. The Taliban have set up a reactionary regime. What kind of democracy is this? By the way, this happened after the Mujahideen came to power. Flawed as it was and even with elements of totalitarianism, the regime suggested by Najibullah was far more progressive.

RT: You mentioned democracy. Do you think that in Afghanistan, a country torn by civil wars and being in the middle of a political chaos, the democracy is possible, that the elections had a chance to be free, fair and represent the will of the Afghan people?

M.G.: Do you know the place where democracy was born? In the garden of Eden, when God brought Adam to Eve and said – “choose anyone you like”. Really, it hasn’t changed much since then. Of course, it was impossible for Afghanistan to hold adequate elections that would, on top of that, reflect the real declaration of the will of the people. The situation is as follows. The Pushtuns are the people that mainly form the state. The Taliban threatened people to stop them voting and promised severe punishments for those who might want to participate. The intelligentsia is scared stiff too. The only people able to vote in the elections were those from regions that are not controlled by the Taliban, but protected by NATO troops.

Those were the people who voted, whereas others were not able to. So, there were no adequate and full-fledged declaration of the people’s will. On the other hand, you can’t bring the country’s leadership over from the States and tell those people that this person would rule. Courtesy demands to at least say that that person was elected. At least on the surface, the election should appear legitimate and one could always refer to it saying that the leader was elected. How he was elected – that’s another chapter of the story. No one asks questions like this in our time anymore. Everyone knows exactly how things are done. Of course, the Americans would like Karzai, who they established there, to remain in power – or Abdullah, who has already been the Foreign Minister twice. They are fine with either. But, 10 percent of the population are Uzbeks. There are also Tajiks, Turkmen and others. In such unstable circumstances, a lot depends on their choice too. So, Americans made moves to attract the votes of those people to support Karzai.

The worst case scenario for them will be if other opponents come together and put forward someone to oppose Karzai. Then, quite different forces could come to power and will gradually move away from obeying the Americans.

‘New Forward Policy’ may push China to use force against Delhi

As expected, my last article, China and India, evinced a lot of response from India, most of it indignant, laced with misplaced patriotism and a total misunderstanding of what was said. One response was sensible, so there is hope yet. The problem is that when such an article is written by a Pakistani it immediately becomes an India-Pakistan thing and people lose their balance.

I had only referred to a paper issued by China’s Institute of Strategic Studies that said that India should be broken up into 30 independent states. Another said that China would only attack India if it adopted a new ‘Forward Policy’ and amassed additional troops along the disputed north-eastern border, as it did in 1962, which led to war. I also referred to an article by Bharat Verma in India Defence Review in which he said that China would launch an attack on India by 2012 (in tandem with Pakistan) because its economic downturn would lead to social and political unrest and the fear of the Communist Party of China (CPC) of losing control. Verma also said that India was not prepared for such an eventuality.

I referred to Chen Xiaochen in China Business News saying that only one scenario could lead to war: “an aggressive Indian policy toward China, a ‘New Forward Policy’ may aggravate border disputes and push China to use force….India’s 60,000 additional soldiers may largely break the balance.” So the provocation is already there, though India contends that the additional troops are there to any potential enhanced threat there.

These are not fly by night opinions. China’s Institute of Strategic Studies has to be taken seriously because it reflects one stream of thought in the Chinese ruling establishment, especially when the leadership has allowed it to be published, which it could not be without its nod. They were definitely passing a message. So was Chen Xiaochen. I had wondered when the human race would mature, particularly when we are talking of the two oldest civilisations in the world, albeit somewhat static and frozen in time in many ways. If it happens, the Asian Century will have been just a nice sound byte and the American Century will continue into this millennium.

There is no need to go hysterical over it. How many times have we Pakistanis read of US plans or analyses emanating from this think tank or that university to break up our country and even seen maps of what it will look like after the event. But we have not gone ape over it. In the end, what happens to us is in our hands, and if we lose then it will be our own fault, not entirely but in the largest measure. It all depends on knowing ones own strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of our enemies and how well we play the cards that we are holding.

The matter has not ended there. You will all agree that the People’s Daily has to be taken seriously because it is the official organ of the CPC. Li Hongmei has written in the paper: “Some are afraid that a fresh border dispute between China and India would become the spark plunging the two neighbours again into a ‘partial military action’. And India seems to have been conspiring to create the picture of an imminent war by deploying 60,000-strong additional troops and four SU-30 fighters along the 650-mile unfenced border with China.” The stupidity has started, just as when Indian premier Jawaharlal Nehru menacingly waved his walking stick in the Lok Sabha and threatened to “teach China a lesson.” Followed what is called “India’s China War” in 1962 and despite massive US help India got a spanking and got taught a painful lesson itself. It possibly killed Nehru. The fear is that this time it could be more than just a spanking. Continues Li: “Decades have elapsed since the border war, but Indians still look on China through [a] tinted lens, which could merely produce untrue pictures and even distortions. As an Indian military official put it, ‘Indians maintain the same national sentiments towards China as the way the Chinese do at the mention of Japan and Japanese’, many Indians actually have very subtle impression upon China, which has been translated into a very complicated mindset-awe, vexation, envy and jealousy – in the face of its giant neighbour.

“The reason for this mentality is multi-faceted, and brought about by both historical factors and reality. In 1947, when India freed itself from British colonisation and won independence, it was one of the global industrial powers, ranking Top 10 in the world and far ahead of the then backward China. But today, China’s GDP has tripled that of India and per capita income doubled, which turns out to be a totally unacceptable fact to many Indians. And with China’s galloping economic growth…the wealth gap between China and India has increasingly widened.” Li also blames Western powers of inciting India to challenge China, “even insidiously convincing India that China would be the ‘greatest obstacle’ threatening India’s rise.” Beijing is also irritated by the Asian Development Bank approving $2.9 billion to finance projects in “so-called ‘Arunachal Pradesh’ involving disputed areas between China and India.” Li calls ADB’s “unbecoming programme…counterproductive” because “it has again dealt a blow to the already rickety China-India relationship…the active steps lately taken by the leaders from both sides to thaw the feud would be more or less hobbled by it.” I have quoted extensively from Li lest a Pakistani is accused of writing (or wishing) this himself.

Assuming that China’s phenomenal economic growth cannot go on forever, George Friedman (founder of Stratfor) says in his best-selling book The Next 100 Years that with the economic downturn China could go one of two ways. One: Even though the central government will be more “assertive and nationalist” it “will be weakened by the corrosive effect of money. China will remain formally united, but power will tend to devolve to the regions.” By 2020 China could divide between “competing regional leaders, foreign powers taking advantage of the situation to create regions where they can define economic rules to their advantage, and a central government trying to hold it all together but failing.” Two: a “neo-Maoist China, centralised at the cost of economic progress.” Therefore, Friedman feels: “China does not represent a geopolitical fault line in the next twenty years…to the extent that China will be involved with foreign powers, it will be defending itself against encroachment rather than projecting its own power.”

There is a third possibility. A China under immense economic, social and internal political pressure, yet militarily very powerful nevertheless, could invade India and divide it, not least to knock out competition apart from fuelling its own military industrial complex, as America does. That is one of many possible geopolitical fault lines in the near future. The question then is: will America side with India or will it stand aside and let its two potential rivals destroy themselves? If America has any sense (which is moot) it should stand aside and watch the show. The 21st century then will also be America’s.

People’s Liberation Army troops enter 1.5km in Ladakh

Fresh intrusions have been reported by China’s People’s Liberation Army troops into Indian territory across the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The Chinese troops left behind “tell-tale signs” such as painting boulders red in the remote region and inscribing “China” on them, well-placed defence sources in New Delhi confirmed.

Reacting to news agency reports from Leh, Ladakh, that the PLA had made incursions and entered about 1.5 km into Indian territory near Mt. Gya in Ladakh and that there was an incursion along the Zulung-La Pass on July 31, defence sources said there have been periodic incursions by the Chinese PLA into the Chumar area of Ladakh in India, but did not confirm incursions on any specific date. While confirming the Chinese incursions across the LAC, the defence sources said they had no information of any incursions across the international border.

“India and China have differing perceptions of the demarcation of the LAC. So when Chinese border patrols conduct their patrols on the basis of their perception of the border, they do leave tell-tale signs such as painting boulders red and inscribing ‘China’ in Man-darin on these,” defence sources said.

“Other tell-tale signs incl-ude leaving food items or small equipment behind,” said a source. A Chinese military helicopter had earlier intruded into Indian airspace in Ladakh in June, and this month.

America’s Nuclear Games

Obama is certainly stretching his global goodwill to its limits. After critiquing the US invasion of Iraq when out of power, he has upped the military ante with the surge in Afghanistan; refocused on the military centric approach in Pakistan with a massive increase in drone attacks against Pakistani civilians (just so much “collateral damage” for the US of course) on the one hand, and with the successful goading of the Pakistan military through the Zardari nexus into FATA where the quagmire is already unfolding in the terrible deaths of our soldiers and innocent civilians while the terrorism issue shows no signs of abating. Pakistan has come out the worst in Obama’s policies especially in terms of the growing intrusiveness the US is acquiring in our daily lives with US inspectors now promising to hover in all our bureaucracies to see that the “aid” they are giving is spent as they see fit – not to mention the $.9 billion that will immediately go back to the US for the rebuilding of its embassy in a more imperial design.

However, it is not just Pakistan that is suffering from what is effectively a right-wing Obama agenda. Now Obama has teamed up with Russia to fool the world in terms of nuclear disarmament. The US and Russian leaders declared in a grand fashion that they have agreed to reduce their existing nuclear stockpiles but failed to tell the world that most of these reductions would be of redundant weapons which will create space for the new ones. After all, neither side avowed to stop adding to their arsenals!

An even more dangerous development has been the gradual taking over of critical international institutions by the US and its preferred personnel. We first saw the UN effectively become a tool in US hands with the Secretary-Generalship going to South Korea’s Ban Ki Moon – a look at the UN record post the Moon takeover will be self-explanatory. Now we have seen the IAEA once again coming under the US and its allies’ control with the election of Japan’s Ambassador Yukiya Amano by the IAEA BoG followed by his formal appointment by the BoG. Now the General Conference will confirm this appointment later in September. This election of Amano is unfortunate since the strong positions taken by the present DG, El Baradei stand threatened as the Japanese have always gone along with US positions – something Baradei did not do and therefore fell afoul of this super power. Competing with Amano was South Africa’s Abdul Samad Minty – a respected and strong diplomat, which is why the US had nightmares. Till the last ballot, the stalemate persisted but in the end one vote changed it all and the Indian media has been agog with how their last minute reversal to an abstention allowed Amano to win. No one will ever know but having seen Minty in action two years ago, he would have been the more desirable strong man to follow Baradei and maintain IAEA’s independent positioning on issues like Iran.

So now the US has won back control of the UN and IAEA. Apparently, the US is already using the Japanese to wield pressure where it cannot do so itself too overtly. In this connection, recently a Japanese team visited Pakistan demanding access to Dr Khan but were not successful. Now with Amano at the helm at the IAEA, what sort of Japanese pressure will we see vis a vis Pakistan? Perhaps it is time we drew more attention to Japan’s massive civil nuclear programme and its controversial reprocessing agenda.

Nor is this all in terms of US seeking to implement its nuclear agenda globally. It has got things moving again at the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT). Perhaps after what happened at the IAEA on the Indian safeguards agreement, we should not be surprised to find that our highly competent head diplomat in Geneva also buckled under (or was made to) and accepted the US-pushed programme of work for the CD. This does not specifically include the issue of existing nuclear stockpiles in relation to the FMCT so has Pakistan shifted its position to its permanent disadvantage under US pressure once again? Also, while the programme of work has identified four issues – FMCT, Nuclear Disarmament, PAROS (Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space) and Negative Security Guarantees – by delinking these issues the attempt is clearly to move on the FMCT without conditionalities relating to the other three issues. This is again a major shift because many states including China wanted linkages between the FMCT and PAROS for instance. Now it would appear that the US will again move on the FMCT as it did on the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in the UN in the sixties. When states like Pakistan had raised issues of negative and positive security guarantees to be linked to the NPT, the US insisted that first the NPT should be approved and then the security guarantee issues could be dealt with. The result was that the Conference on the security guarantees followed the passage of the NPT and the US was not prepared to even provide negative security assurances in any form whatsoever to non-nuclear weapons states. For Pakistan all these issues, and none more so than the issue of reduction of existing stockpiles of fissile material, are very crucial in the context of the FMCT and even if we have to go it alone we should, because otherwise we will be at a permanent disadvantage. But the way things are unfolding it appears we may have made some fatal compromises already in this regard.

It is in this overall context of the US pushing its nuclear agenda globally that we must raise our voices of concern over what seems to have become a covert official US policy – to allow Israel to deal with Iran’s nuclear facilities. Most recently Biden (New York Times) stated that the US would not “stand in Israel’s way” if it sought to take action against Iran’s nuclear facilities. It was amusing to hear Biden talk of Israel being a “sovereign” state taking its own decisions! Now when did the US ever respect any state’s sovereignty – as we in Pakistan have continuously experienced and still do so! Be that as it may, the Biden statement was threatening because it came alongside a 5th July 2009 Sunday Times story that Israel’s Mossad chief had informed his prime minister of Saudi Arabia’s assurance to him that it would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over Saudi air space to conduct attacks against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Early this year it had also been reported that the Mossad Chief, Dagan, had met Saudi officials.

So a new and threatening pattern is emerging even as Obama seeks to woo the world with what is now becoming his glibness rather than a serious intent to alter the course of US policies on security issues. Is it a mere coincidence that we are now seeing unprecedented violence breaking out in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi? We know that the East Turkmenistan Movement still has its offices in New York. So what is the US intent? To send a hostile message to China? What exactly is the Obama administration up to? Is it all a matter of old wine in new bottles rather than any major shift away from a neoimperialist mindset that has been the hallmark of US global policies for some time now?

Too bad. So many had expected so much from Obama – the thinking, intelligent and more world-sensitive US president. But what we are seeing around our part of the world is more of the same – with the new veneer eroding fast. More force; more aggression; more dictation. Just as our leaders crumble once again before the US demands, the US leadership offers little that will compel us to alter our perception of a neoimperial power set on a military-centric course for this part of the world. As before, this course will bring them to ruin but must we go down the same suicidal path? Dr Shireen M Mazari