Facebook and Twitter have recently been employed to stage anti-government protests in in Syria, Egypt, and Tunisia. However, dictators have found ways to censor Internet access and prevent the flow of “harmful” information from getting out.
Osama bin Laden’s body is not yet cold, but the Pakistani government is already stirring up the waters in its relations with the US government. Pakistan and the US have pushed and pulled each other, testing the tensile strength of the relationship. This time, in the shadow of Osama’s corpse, Pakistan has laid an offer of a port on the Arabian Sea at China’s doorstep.
Huma Abedin - Hillary’s Secret Weapon according to VOGUE - has remained in the shadows. But she has been thrust unwillingly into the media spotlight due to her husband’s scandal.
In the wee hours of Sunday, May 2, 2011, a team of U.S. Navy SEALs, in four helicopters alighted on a house in Abbottabad that sheltered Osama bin Laden and his family. They killed him, one of his sons and three other men besides injuring his wife in her leg. One of the helicopters that had crashed was destroyed.
The raiders took away the bodies of Bin Laden and his son. Later, the White House announced that Osama’s body was washed, wrapped in a shroud and, after reciting the ritual Muslim prayer, was lowered into the Arabian Sea from the deck of the aircraft carrier, USS Carl Vinson. But there was no mention of how they disposed of his minor son’s corpse.
Osama’s death has rid the U.S. of a long nightmare. For ten years this man alone held the supreme world power in thrall. He bled America economically and forced it into its longest war in history that killed more of its men than had died in 9/11.
In 1979 the Iranian people overthrew the pro-American monarchical police state of the Pehlavi dynasty and replaced with an anti-American theocratic police state dominated by the Shia ulema. Following the change of regime, Iran came under punishing sanctions and was subjected to a long and brutal war of attrition by the then U.S.-backed Iraqi Baathist regime of Saddam Hussain. The combination of economic sanctions and eight years of warfare proved to be a great socioeconomic setback for Iran but, in spite of its alienation from the West, the overall performance of the Iranian economy remains respectable.
Recently, the C-130 J Super Hercules was inducted in the Indian Air Force. This is one of the many steps taken by New Delhi to modernize its armed forces.
Hardly anyone would disagree today that India is emerging as a major player on the global scene. New Delhi is further strengthening its position to establish itself as a major player on the world scene and an ambitious plan of military modernization is one of the steps in this direction.
The fact that President Obama himself has asked Pakistan to release Raymond Davis is leaving the Government of Pakistan with not much choice. If the Gilani government chooses to ignore the President’s request, the latter will appear like a lame-duck ruler and would be criticized by his opponents and the media. If the Government in Pakistan accedes to his demand, it would then be ridiculed locally for acting like a satellite state of the United States.
The issue is not as complicated as it has unfortunately been made out to be by the incompetent handling and this is not the first time that such a thing has happened during the current government’s tenure.
Look at the plethora of problems. There are indeed, so many that it is difficult to decide which one to put at the top. There is even more than one running sore. The war in Afghanistan is going on unabated. General David Petraeus, the supreme commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan-Pakistan (The International Security Assistance Force), is under pressure to show some magic results of the surge as yet another batch of about 1400 fresh marines is to take up position in February. They are planning to consolidate the “gains” achieved during the recent months albeit at the sacrifice of more men, and “preempt” expected Taliban attacks next spring.
Petraeus’s personal compulsions have made him impatient with Pakistan. Quoting U.S. officials the Washington Post in a recent report said that he “adopted a much tougher attitude toward General Kayani than his predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal.” The U.S. wants Pakistan to launch a full-scale ground assault against Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda “safe havens” in North Waziristan.
Out of the total number of U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks, Pakistan features in about 10 percent. Here is a quick look at the extent to which America is involved in Pakistani politics:
A deluge of U.S. diplomatic cables has tarnished the reputation of Pakistan’s political and military leadership in the eyes of the country’s public, adding to anti-American sentiments in Pakistan. The situation post-WikiLeaks in Pakistan got so tense that the new American ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter personally had to take charge where he made a point of meeting all the stakeholders in Pakistan to apologize.
The dispatches, released by the WikiLeaks website, show military and civilian leaders agreeing to policies in private meetings with U.S. diplomats that they would passionately disavow in public. Among those damaged by the cables is Pakistan’s powerful military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, who, according to the cables, would confide highly sensitive information to U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson and use her to carry messages to his own political leadership. As they pored over the leaked cables, the Pakistani news media studiously ignored the other side of the story that emerges from the leaked communications: deep American frustration at Pakistan’s lack of cooperation.