Tuesday, June 30, 2009




The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by Baitullah Mehsud and its various constituent units in different sub-tribal areas headed by local sub-tribal chiefs have proved themselves to be more than a match for the Pakistan Army as it struggles to cope with a spreading arc of Taliban presence and operations right across the Pashtun tribal belt and with its undamaged ability to hit beyond the frontlines in cities and cantonments located in non-tribal areas whenever it wants.

2. Widespread Pashtun anger against the US and the Pakistani military continues to be the main motivating force of the TTP. There are no signs----at least not yet--- that feelings of Pashtun nationalism influence the TTP's operations. The TTP sees itself more as a Pashtun self-defence movement to protect the Pashtuns against attempts to change their way of life by the Pakistani authorities allegedly at the instance of the US. The TTP asserts the right of the Pashtuns to have their lives and criminal justice system regulated by the Sharia if they so desire without being dictated to on this subject by non-Pashtun elements. It also asserts the right of the Pashtuns to govern themselves according to their tribal and sub-tribal customs without interference by Pakistani civil servants and military officers. It wants the tribes and the sub-tribes to be left alone to manage their affairs in their territory as they please without any intereference from Islamabad. It strongly adheres to traditions of Pashtun solidarity wherever they are located in Pakistan or Afghanistan and traditions of Pashtun hospitality to their guests----even if such guests be the Arabs of Al Qaeda. While it accepts the right of any Muslim---Pashtun or non-Pashtun, Arab or non-Arab--- to take shelter in Pashtun territory if they are faced with danger from non-Muslims, it rejects any role for non-Muslims----whether American or non-American---in Pashtun territory.

3. It looks upon the post-9/11 operations of the US against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, with the assistance of Pakistan, as an attempt to advance a non-Muslim and a non-Pashtun agenda in the Pashtun areas. The fact that there has been hardly any Pashtun input from Pakistan into the formulation of the so-called Af-Pak strategy of the Obama Administration has made its strategy strongly suspect in the TTP's eyes.

4.While the TTP enjoys a growing measure of support among the tribes and sub-tribes of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Malakand Division of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), its support base in the rest of the NWFP and in the large Pashtun community of Karachi, which has reportedly even more Pashtuns than Peshawar, continues to be thin because of the strong influence of the progressive Awami National Party (ANP) in those areas. The US policy towards the Pashtuns, which tends to be influenced by Pakistani experts such as Ahmed Rashid, who seek more the applause of American audiences than of the Pashtun populace, has not had the benefit of the intellectual inputs of the sons of the Pashtun soil, who understand the feelings of their fellow Pashtuns better than experts like Ahmed Rashid, who look at the Pashtun problem more from the geostrategic aspect than from the angle of Pashtun self-respect.

5.Next to the Punjabis, the Pashtuns have always contributed since the birth of Pakistan in 1947 a large number of soldiers and officers to the Pakistan Army (about 20 per cent plus). The FATA and the Malakand Division of the NWFP have a large number of trained and experienced ex-servicemen. It would not be an exaggeration to say that there is hardly a Pashtun family in the FATA, which does not have an ex-serviceman among its members. Taking advantage of the failure of the Pakistan Army to look after these ex-servicemen and keep them on its side, the TTP has managed to mobilise many of them and has been using their services not only for training its cadres but also for the execution of its operations.

6. While young new recruits have been in the forefront of its suicide operations in the non-tribal and tribal areas, the ex-servicemen have been playing an important role in its conventional military operations and in its guerilla strikes. The TTP has a more comprehensive and well thought-out strategy for countering the Pakistan Army than the Army has for countering the TTP. The TTP has been using a good repertoire of militaty and sub-military tactics--- ambushes, frontal attacks, diversionary strikes and suicide terrorism--- in its fight against the Army. After having got the Army bogged down in certain parts of the Swat Valley, it has spread its diversionary attacks to the Bajaur Agency,the Kurram Agency and North Waziristan. It has tried to pre-empt an expected military strike in South Waziristan, the stronghold of the Mehsuds, by further activating the fighting in the Kurram and North Waziristan Agencies. It has prevented the diversion of Pakistani Army reinforcements to South Waziristan from Swat by fresh movements and attacks in the Swat Valley. Even Richard Holbrooke, the US special envoy for the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, has conceded that claims of a Pakistani victory in Swat could be premature.

7. The coherent strategy of the TTP has not been matched by an equally coherent one of Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) of Pakistan. He has been struggling to counter the co-ordinated strategy of the TTP with a bits and pieces strategy depending on where the pressure from the TTP comes from. Today in Swat, tomorrow in Bajaur, the day after in South Waziristan, then in Kurram and North Waziristan---so it goes. There is no proacive element in his strategy. He is fire-fighting and not waging a pro-active war of attrition against the TTP. The Pakistan Army has been suffering a lot of attrition.

8. Unless and until there is a re-thinking on the strategy imparting to it greater coherence, the Pakistan Army may not be able to make a quick headway in its operations against the TTP. (1-7-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Monday, June 29, 2009



Under its "Newsnight" programme, British Broadcasting Corporation 2 is reportedly planning to show at 10-30 PM on June 29, 2009, an investigative story on the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 26,2008, by Richard Watson, its correspondent. An advance version of the programme disseminated to the media in the UK and India shows that as a result of his investigation, Watson came to the conclusion that spotters belonging to a Mumbai-based sleeper cell of the Lashkar-e-Toiba ( LET) must have been communicating to the LET's controlling officers in
Pakistan details of the police deployments and movements in and around the targeted areas on the basis of which they were able to give precise instructions to the terrorists participating in the multiple attacks. He questions the Mumbai police version that the controllers were able to give such instructions purely on the basis of their visual observations from the TV coverage of the attacks as they were taking place.

2. As reported by "TheTelegraph" of the UK, Watson says as follows: "How did the leaders know the police positions in such detail? Mumbai police say they were watching live TV in Pakistan. But these instructions seem remarkably precise for that. I know the kind of live-shots used in these situations and they would be unlikely to yield that kind of detail. It is far more likely that they had spotters on the ground who were feeding back information to their leaders about the police movements. If this is true then it means a Lashkar e-Taiba cell in Mumbai
which played a crucial role in the attacks which is still undiscovered."

3. His conclusion is based on his assessment of the communications intelligence collected by the police and not on the basis of any independent evidence collected by him in addition to what the Mumbai Police had collected.

4. The fact that the LET has been having sleeper cells in Mumbai is well known since the twin explosions of August,2003. It is also a reasonable possibility that the Mumbai Police has not been able to identify and neutralise all the sleeper cells of the LET in Mumbai. That is why acts of terrorism keep taking place from time to time despite the neutralisation of many cells in Mumbai and other cities. Recently, a sleeper cell headed by a Nepal-based LET operative was neutralised by the Delhi Police.

5. To say that the LET must still be having unearthed sleeper cells in Mumbai is one thing and to assert that the spotters of an LET sleeper cell in Mumbai must have been passing on details of police deployments around the targeted areas to the controllers in Pakistan during the attack in Novembere,2008, is something totally different.

6. The Mumbai terrorist attack lasted nearly over 60 hours. Nationals of many Western countries and Israel were among those taken hostage by the terrorists. The intelligence agencies of at least India, the US and Israel were electronically monitoring the telephone calls from and to the attacked areas on a minute-to-minute basis. Of all the intelligence agencies of the world, the National Security Agency (NSA). the electronic intelligence agency of the US, has deployed the maximum technical assets in the Af-Pak region since 9/11 to monitor the communications of Al Qaeda, the LET and other associates. Once the terrorist attacks started, the NSA must have turned all its assets in the region towards Mumbai to monitor all in-coming and out-going communications. So too the Indian intelligence.

7. The Indian and the US intelligence agencies were able to intercept all communications passing between the terrorists who had occupied the two hotels and the Narriman House and their controlling officers in Pakistan. In addition to contemporaneously monitoring telephone conversations, intelligence agencies have also arrangements for automatic recording of all conversations in a terrorism situation so that if they contemporaneously miss any conversation, they can refer to the recordings.

8. Had there been LET spotters around the areas targeted, who were in independent communication with the controllers in Pakistan their conversations---- whether through the Internet or otherwise--- must have also been intercepted contemporaneously or recorded and noticed subsequently. No intelligence agency----neither Indian nor the US nor of any other country--- has spoken of any such conversation with Pakistan by elements not participating in the attacks. This would show that apart from the 10 terrorists of the LET, who participated in the attacks, nobody else was in independent communication with the controllers in Pakistan.

9. The terrorist attacks were covered from different camera angles by camera teams from over 50 TV channels of the world. If the controllers in Pakistan had been able to see all their live transmissions, they would have had the minutest details of the police deployments. During the Black September kidnapping of some Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympics in 1972, the terrorists, who had taken up position with the hostages inside a house in the games village, were able to get details of the police deployments by watching the TV inside the house. At that time, there were hardly half a dozen channels and their technical equipment was not very good. If they were able to get so
many details by watching so few channels, it should not be surprising that the Pakistan-based controllers of the Mumbai attacks were able to get a lot more details in such precision. (29-6-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, June 28, 2009



Replying to the debate on the budgetary demands of the Ministry of the Interior in the National Assembly on June 24,2009, Rehman Malik, Pakistan's Interior Minister, said: “Due to the efforts of the President and the Prime Minister, the Chinese Government has provided $290 million for capacity building of our security forces.” Even though he did not specifically say so, the capacity-building he was referring to is in the field of counter-terrorism. This would be in addition to continuing Chinese assistance to the Pakistani Armed Forces to strengthen their
capability against their Indian counterparts.

2. The decision of the Chinese authorities to assist Pakistani capacity-building in counter-terrorism was officially conveyed to Malik when he visited Beijing and Shanghai from June 9 to 12,2009. The visit was preceded by the Pakistan Government’s handing over to the Chinese of 10 members of the Uighur diaspora in Pakistan despite objections from the Amnesty International, which feared that these Uighurs might be executed by China without proper trial, The Pakistani authorities, who officially revealed the handing-over on June 5,2009, as reported by the "News" of June 6, claimed that these Uighurs, who were rounded up during the Pakistan Army's counter-insurgency operations in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), belonged to the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). They have not indicated when they were rounded up. However, it is understood that the Amnesty International has been taking up their case since March. This would mean that they must have been rounded up in or before March,2009.

3. The "News" of June 6 reported as follows: "According to some sources in Islamabad, the Chinese militants were extradited despite opposition by the Amnesty International. In March 2009, Tim Parritt, Deputy Director of the Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Programme, had observed that whatever these militants were accused of, the risks posed to them were extremely grave, if forcibly returned to China. He had maintained that under the international law, states were obliged not to expel, return or extradite any person to a country where they risk torture or other ill-treatment. However, the Pakistani authorities insist that all those who had been extradited to Beijing were involved in terrorist activities both in China and in Pakistan and had also developed links with al-Qaeda network in the tribal areas of Pakistan. They said the fact that the ETIM militants had extended their network of terrorist activities to Pakistan was evident from a threat they had conveyed to the Chinese Embassy in Islamabad, saying they intended to kidnap Chinese diplomats and consular officers stationed in the Pakistani federal capital with a view to highlighting their cause. The Chinese mission subsequently informed the Pakistani authorities in a letter that some members of the ETIM had already reached Islamabad and planned to kidnap their staffers from the federal capital. The letter reportedly pointed out that terrorist groups located in Pakistan, including al-Qaeda, had been providing support to the ETIM activists for the likely kidnappings. Subsequent investigations had established that the anonymous threat was issued by none other than the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and that the would-be kidnappers had first travelled to Jalalabad in Afghanistan to finalise their plans."

4. During his stay in Beijing, Malik met State Councillor and Minister for Public Security Meng Jianzhu, the Communist Party of China Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkong and the Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who hosted a dinner for him. There were no reports of any meeting with President Hu Jintao or Prime Minister Wen Jiabo.

5.Talking to pressmen in Beijing, Malik said: " We have signed a number of agreements to build the capacity of our law enforcing agencies. We have signed agreements worth $ 300 million to acquire state of the art equipment to combat terrorism. The first consignment of these most needed equipment would be reaching Pakistan within three weeks. We want to ensure that our law enforcing agencies are well equipped, so that they could thwart with full force militancy. The equipment Pakistan needed included most modern mobile scanners that can detect hidden explosives and drugs. Initially, we would start employing these equipment in the metropolitan cities under threat of terrorism, like Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi and then gradually we plan to cover the entire country. "

6.On June 12,2009, a blogspot of the "People's Daily" of China devoted to military issues had the following commentary: "Will China play a more "direct" role in both the Pakistan and Afghanistan conflicts? During the past two days, both Afghanistan and Pakistan are sending envoys to China to ask for China’s "direct" help in their fight against militants. The previous attempts to draw China into the conflicts by both
NATO and US met with little success as China preferred to stay in the background and aid only in forms of financial and hardware support. China’s previous rejection to joining the military coalition is understandable as others have noted; while China does not view NATO/US missions in Afghanistan with suspicion compared to other Shanghai Co-operation Organisation states but allowing a military alliance to use China as a military supply route seem to undermine the Chinese Security-Umbrella that took 60 years and four wars to build. In addition, such an act violates China’s core foreign policy doctrine of non-interference in others' internal affairs. At the same time, the core Chinese
military doctrine is changing with the release of the new “Outline of Military Training and Evaluation” which for the first time placed focus on Military Operations Other Than War (MOOTW) role for the PLA outside of China’s borders and anti-terror operation is considered part of the MOOTW. China is hosting the first “Non-traditional Security Forum of Armed Forces of ASEAN, China, Japan and ROK , something unthinkable just a few years ago. Maybe China is ready to move out of the “hide my capabilities and bide my time” phase to the “make some contributions” phase to be in line of what Hu coined the “harmonious world” (a.k.a, making the world safe for Confucianism) in his “Go Abroad” policy shift. It is also noted that both the Pakistan and Afghanistan’s request is coordinated and without "US/NATO involvement" which makes the request a bit more politically acceptable in China and the statement by Rehman Malik that "Pakistan has handed Chinese nationals accused of insurgent activity back to China and will continue to do so" is clearly aimed at audiences in China. Judging from China's Foreign Ministry Press Release , China might be ready to take a more direct role. China is ready to further expand and deepen our cooperation in various fields on the basis of mutual benefit so as to push forward our comprehensive partnership of cooperation."

7.Some weeks ago, the "Los Angeles Time" had reported that Richard Holbrooke, the US Special envoy on the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, had visited China and requested it to play a more active role in assisting Pakistan in counter-terrorism. Is the new "direct role" by China under its newly-formulated MOOTW doctrine an immediate response to the US request? In this connection, reference is invited to my article of May 27,2009 titled "Obama And Counter-Insurgency in Chinese Colours" at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers33/paper3216.html .

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, June 27, 2009




Since February last, a debate has been going on in the jihadi circles in Pakistan over the wisdom of the attacks launched by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) headed by Baitullah Mehsud, its Amir, against the Pakistani Armed Forces and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

2.Some of the jihadi organizations such as the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) and the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) have been uncomfortable over the attacks launched by the TTP on the Pakistani Armed Forces and the ISI. They are of the view that the TTP should focus its attacks on the US and other NATO troops in Afghanistan.

3.Even the Afghan Taliban headed by its Amir Mulla Mohammad Omar has been critical of the TTP.

4.The only jihadi organizations supportive of the tactics of the TTP are the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), which is an anti-Shia organization.They are of the view that since the Pakistan Army has been collaborating with the US forces in their operations against Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban, attacks on it and the ISI are justified.

5.Till now, Al Qaeda was silent in this debate. In a message addressed to the Pakistani nation on June 3,2009, on the fighting in the Swat Valley, Osama bin Laden has justified the attacks of the TTP on the Pakistan Army by describing the Government of Asif Ali Zardari as a Government of kafirs and by denouncing the Pakistan Army under Gen.Ashfaq Pervez Kayani as an army of kafirs.

6.According to his arguments, since the Government of Zardari and the Army under Kayani have let themselves be used by a kafir state like the US for killing faithful Muslims, who wanted to live according to the Sharia, they have become kafirs and ceased to be true Muslims.

7.bin Laden says: “ There is a response to those who deprecatorily question: How do the Mujahideen fight the Pakistani Army, which is a Muslim army? The Pakistani Army is the one which came to the tribal region to fight them in agreement with America and in response to its demands. It should be clear if a Muslim supported kafirs against Muslims, his faith will recoil. He will become a kafir and apostate…. Who stood by America the Christian and who supported it? Isn’t that Zardari, his Government and the Army? How would you judge? He who supports kafirs becomes one of them. He must be fought against even if he fasted, prayed and claimed he is a Muslim…..The Pakistani Army is with America in the same trench against Islam. It is the duty of the honest people of Islam to fight them.”

8.bin Laden has compared the Pakistani Army under Kayani to the Afghan Army under Najibullah, which allegedly let itself be used by the Soviet Army for killing true Muslims in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda remnants in Pakistan expect Kayani to meet the fate of Najibullah. They point out that religious clerics in Pakistan had issued fatwas against Najibullah for co-operating with the Soviet Army and ask how can they now support Kayani, who has been co-operating with the US army.

9.In their propaganda, Al Qaeda remnants in Pakistan have sought to address the question as to why Al Qaeda has not been able to carry out another 9/11 in the US Homeland. They attribute this to its preoccupation with the fighting against the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

10.At the same time, they claim that Al Qaeda has not given up its plans for another 9/11 in the US Homeland. They believe that the growing Pashtun anger against the US and the exodus of over two million Pashtun refugees from their homes as a result of the anti-TTP operations allegedly forced on the Pakistan Army by the US have created favourable conditions for planning another 9/11 in the US Homeland. They also believe that just as the “martyrs” of 9/11 came from the Arab world, the “martyrs” of the next 9/11 will come from the Pashtun world.

11. Al Qaeda remnants in Pakistan say that bin Laden would soon be coming out with a fitting rejoinder to President Barack Obama’s Cairo message addressed to the Muslims.

12.My earlier comments on a version of the same audio message
of June 3 as disseminated by Al Jazeera may be seen at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers33/paper3229.html. Kindly also see my earlier article of June 7,2009, titled “Anti-Taliban Operation Projected as Anti-Pashtun” at http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers33/paper3238.html ( 27-6-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2gmail.com )


International Terrorism Monitor- Paper No. 538

B. Raman

Two soldiers of the Pakistan Army were killed and three others injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK), early on the morning of June 26,2009.

2. The Pakistani media has carried conflicting versions of the suicide attack. The "News" ( June 26) reported that "a suicide bomber ripped through an Army vehicle near Shaukat Lines, Muzaffarabad" without giving other details. The "Daily Times" of Lahore (June 26) reported that "he blew himself up near an army vehicle."

3. However, in its online edition of June 26, the "Dawn" of Karachi gave a different and more detailed version. To quote it: " According to witnesses, a bearded man in his twenties walked through a ground used by army personnel for physical training and local youths as a playground and entered the barracks of non-commissioned army men at about 6.30am. 'The bomber was intercepted by a soldier whom he tried to engage in a conversation presumably to attract other soldiers around for causing maximum casualties’ and then blew himself up, official sources said. A soldier was killed on the spot and four others were injured and taken to the Combined Military Hospital where one of them died. An army pick-up parked a few yards away overturned and another vehicle was damaged. The blast was heard in most parts of the town. An intelligence official said the ground was splattered with blood and limbs. He said four legs and other limbs had been found in the ground and under the overturned vehicle which indicated that more than one bomber might have been involved in the attack. The junior section of the Army Public School, several other educational institutions and the 5-AK Brigade headquarters are around the place where the blast took place."

4.The "Dawn" report gave another significant detail. It said: "The barracks fall under the 5-AK Brigade of the Azad Kashmir (AK) Regiment which is reportedly taking part in the operation against militants in Swat and adjoining areas."

5. The Azad Kashmir Regiment (AKR) has had an interesting history. When the Pakistan Army tried to capture Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) in 1947-48, it first sent into the state a large number of Mehsuds, Wazirs and other tribes recruited by it in the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and trained and armed by it. Pakistan denied any responsibility for their actions and projected them during the debates in the UN Security Council as Kashmiris, who had risen in revolt against the then Maharaja of J&K and the Government of India. It used to describe them as Kashmiri irregulars over whom it had no control.

6. After the 1948 ceasefire, the Pakistan Army constituted these so-called irregulars into a unit called the Azad Kashmir Regular Forces (AKRF), which was shown as a para-military force of the POK Government. It was placed under the over-all control of the Pakistan Army. The tribals of the AKRF were again used by the then President Ayub Khan for spearheading the invasion of J&K in 1965. The invasion, which led to fighting between the Indian and Pakistan Armies, failed.

7. When the Bengalis of the then East Pakistan rose in revolt in 1971, Yahya Khan sent the fanatic tribals of the AKRF to East Pakistan where they indulged in large-scale massacre of Bengalis. In 1972, in recognition of its "services" in East Pakistan, the Pakistan Army absorbed the AKRF into the regular army and renamed it the Azad Kashmir Regiment (AKR). Its Regimental Center is located at Mansar, Attock District, Punjab. Initially, the AKR consisted largely of Pashtun tribals recruited in the FATA officered by Punjabis. Now it has a larger percentage of Punjabis. Exact present figures of Pashtuns and Punjabis in the AKR are not available.

8. When there were fears in Pakistan of a military retaliation by the Indian Armed Forces after the Mumbai terrorist attack of November 2008, Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the TTP, had reportedly said that if India attacked Pakistan, the TTP would stop its fight against the Pakistan Army and join it in fighting against India. This was welcomed by a Pakistani Army spokesman as a patriotic gesture. Subsequently, there were reports of differences developing between the TTP on the one side and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM), the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami(HUJI) and the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) on the other because of the unhappiness of these four Kashmir-centric organisations over the attacks being carried out by the TTP on the Pakistan Army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). They reportedly felt that the TTP and other organisations should focus on attacking the NATO forces in Afghanistan in collaboration with the Afghan Taliban and Al Qaeda and should not attack the Pakistan Army. Only the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), the anti-Shia organisation, supported the TTP's fight against the Pakistan Army. They felt that since the Pakistan Army was letting itself be used by the US against Al Qaeda, attacks on it were justified.Following these differences, the TTP reportedly ordered these four organisations to close down their training camps in the tribal belt.

9. Since the TTP came into existence in 2007 after the Pakistan Army's commando raid into the Lal Masjid of Islamabad in July,2007, it has carried out over a hundred acts of suicide terrorism.Many of them were in non-tribal areas and important cities and cantonments such as Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Karachi, Lahore, Sargodha and other places. Many of these attacks were directed at the Army, the ISI,the Special Services Group (SSG), the US-trained commando group, the Air Force, the Navy, the Police and the Federal Investigation Agency. Recently, the TTP had warned of an attack in Multan from where the operations of the helicopter gunships in the Swat Valley are co-ordinated.

10. But it had carefully refrained from any act of suicide terrorism in the POK. This is the first time there has been an act of suicide terrorism in the POK, which has been attributed to the TTP. The Associated Press and sections of the Pakistani media have quoted Hakimullah Mehsud, a close associate of Baitullah, who is responsible for the TTP activities in the Orakzai, Khyber and Kurram areas and who also coordinates Taliban attacks on trucks carrying logistic supplies to the NATO troops in Afghanistan, as claiming responsibility on behalf of the TTP for the Muzaffarabad attack. A person claiming to be Hakimullah was reported to have told the AP over phone that the attack was made to prove that Baitullah had not been weakened by more than a week of strikes on his suspected hideouts in South Waziristan.. “We are in a position to respond to the army’s attacks, and time will prove that these military operations have not weakened us," he reportedly said. It also needs to be noted that since the co-ordinated hunt for Baitullah started, Hakimullah's men have stepped up their attacks on Shias in the Kurram Agency.

11. Presuming that this call was, in fact, made by Hakimullah and that it was the TTP which had carried out the attack, the Muzaffarabad attack reflects the concerns of the TTP and Baitullah over the co-ordinated operations launched by the Pakistani and US forces in South Waziristan in order to neutralise Baitullah and his close associates. The TTP has apparently come to the conclusion that only fears of reprisal attacks in the POK could prevent the Pakistan Army from reinforcing its ground forces in South Waziristan for the operations against Baitullah and his forces.

12. The Pakistan Army, which has by now got used to a wave of suicide attacks all over Pakistan, is unlikely to be deterred from the South Waziristan operation by a single attack in the POK by the TTP. But if there are more such attacks and in quick succession, it might be unnerved by the prospects of instability in the POK as a result of its operations in the NWFP and the FATA. As of now, the TTP does not appear to have the capability for sustained operations in the POK. Even if it has, it is unlikely to use it since any attempt to create instability in the POK would aggravate the divide between it and the people of Pakistan. Its anti-Army activities in the POK could also be opposed by the anti-India, Kashmir-centric jihadi groups.

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt.of India,New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, June 26, 2009


Pakistan's refusal to extradite Mumbai attack suspects for trial is part of long-standing policy

( Comments contributed at the request of “Jurist”, an online journal of the School of Law of the University of Pittsburgh --- available at http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/hotline/2009/06/pakistans-refusal-to-extradite-mumbai.php )

Bahukutumbi Raman [former head of the Counter-Terrorism Division, Research and Analysis Wing (India's external intelligence agency)]: "Even before the Mumbai terrorist attack of November, 2008, India had been repeatedly demanding the arrest and handing over to India by Pakistan of 20 terrorism suspects - Indian as well as Pakistani nationals - wanted for trial in India in terrorism-related cases. According to Indian investigators, they were living in Pakistan. In the case of the suspects who are Indian nationals, Pakistan denied their presence in its territory. In the case of the Pakistani nationals, it rejected the evidence against them produced by India as fabricated.

India has now demanded the arrest and handing over of 22 more suspects living in Pakistan, who are wanted in the trial relating to the Mumbai attack. All of them are Pakistani nationals and belong to the Lashkar-e-Toiba, a Pakistani terrorist organisation which had carried out the terrorist strike. These include Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the political wing of the LET. An Indian court before which the trial is presently being held has issued non-bailable warrants for their arrest and production before the court.

According to the media, the Pakistani authorities have ruled out the handing over of these persons to India on the ground that they are Pakistani nationals. They have said that if India could produce credible evidence of their involvement in the Mumbai attack they would be arrested and prosecuted before a Pakistani court, but the question of their being tried by an Indian court would not arise.

Five of these persons were arrested by the Pakistani police after the Mumbai attack on the basis of the evidence of their involvement in the Mumbai attack produced by Indian and US investigators. The Pakistani authorities say that they are making their own investigation into their involvement to corroborate the evidence collected by the Indian and US investigators and that they will be prosecuted in Pakistan if warranted by the evidence.

Since Pakistan became independent in 1947, it has never handed over to India any Pakistani national wanted for trial in India in respect to any crime. They continue to follow that policy even in respect to the Mumbai attack despite international pressure on them to co-operate with India in the investigation and prosecution of the accused. For them, co-operation does not mean handing over Pakistani nationals for trial by Indian courts." ---26-6-09

Thursday, June 25, 2009


B. Raman

Recurring incidents of violence by individual elements against Indian students in Australia have understandably given rise to concern in India as well as in the Indian student community in Australia about the physical security of the Indian students. This is a matter which needs the well-considered attention of the Australian authorities as well as the Indian diplomatic and consular missions in Australia.

2. While reflecting the concern felt in India over these incidents, sections of our media----particularly the electronic media--- and public opinion moulders unfortunately tend to lose a sense of balance and knowingly or unwittingly demonise the Australian society by projecting it as racist and arrogant. Such projections and a hysterical portrayal of the attacks as racist could prove counter-productive and will not be in the interests of the students themselves. They have gone to Australia for higher studies. During their stay in Australia, they are the guests of the Australian people. They should not allow attacks by individual elements in the Australian society to colour their attitude to the Australian people and authorities and affect the comfort level which has always prevailed between the Indian student community and their Australian hosts. Actions taken by some sections of the Indian student community such as organising huge demonstrations and creating a confrontational situation with the police are unwise and would not help in solving their concerns.

3. Australia is not a racist society today. It treats its foreign immigrants----wherever they are from--- with decency and dignity provided they have immigrated legally. It has been taking strong action against illegal immigrants not because it is racist but because it is worried over the security implications of unchecked illegal immigration ----particularly in the post-9/11 world. There are political organisations and figures in Australia, who demand strong action against illegant immigrants. By doing so, they do not become racists. In our country too, there are growing demands for strong action to stop unchecked illegal immigration of Muslims from Bangladesh. It will be as atrocious to project those opposing illegal immigration from Bangladesh as anti-Islam as it will be to project those opposing illegal immigration into Australia as racist.

4. There is no evidence to show that the attacks on some Indian students in Australia were motivated by racist prejudices. No study has been made of the causes for such attacks. From whatever little details are available, the attacks seem to have been due to feelings of jealousy and resentment arising from economic reasons. I have heard from Indian students in Australia that their university faculties look after the foreign students quite well and help them in getting part-time jobs while pursuing their studies so that they do not have to depend on their parents for pocket money. As a result of the economic melt-down, which has affected Australia too, the number of such part-time jobs available for students has come down. There is an intense competition between Australian and foreign students as well as among foreign students of different nationalities for the declining number of part-time jobs now available. This gives rise to friction in the students' community, which sometimes leads to a violent expression of the resulting jealousy and resentment. Hopefully, this will be a passing phase.

5. In some of our TV debates all sorts of meaningless arguments and unwise threats figure --- some of them coming even from retired bureaucratas, who should know better. One of such threats which one heard recently was: "The Australians should remember that their educational system will collapse if Indian students stop going there." Nothing can be more absurd. Yes, the Australian educational system has benefited from the large number of self-paying Indian students from upper middle class families who have gone there. With nearly 100,000 students from India studying in the Australian higher educational institutions, the Indian students constitute the largest single group of foreign students. But the benefit is not just one way. The Australian educational system has benefitted. So too the Indian students. India too will benefit from the knowledge and skills acquired by them. Many Indian students, who studied in prestigious Australian universities such as the Australian National University of Canberra, have done India proud by shining in whatever jobs they took up anywhere in the world after their education. We should not drop a huge boulder on our own feet by holding out such stupid threats.

6. Yes, the physical security of the students should be a matter of common concern to the authorities of the two countries. How to prevent such incidents has to be considered by the police and university authorities of Australia. The Indian students should discuss with them the measures required for enhanced security and help them in their implementation instead of creating bad blood through actions such as public demonstrations.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (red), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail:seventyone2@gmail.com)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


B. Raman

There have been no reports of any major street demonstration in Tehran on June 23, 2009. Calls were sent out through Tweets to the protesters in Tehran to assemble at the Baharestan Sq at 4 PM Tehran time, but not many managed to reach there.

2. The Iranian intelligence agencies have been successful in identifying and arresting many Tweeters in Tehran. As a result, the number of Tweets coming out of Tehran is declining. However, the Jundullah, the Sunni organisation which has been fighting against the Iranian regime in the Iranian Balochistan (Sistan Balochistan), has started sending news of developments in Tehran and other cities of Iran through Pakistan for re-transmission to the rest of the world. Similarly, Iranian exiles abroad have been using the Jundullah elements in Pakistan for sending instructions and advice to the protesters in Iran.

3. On the night of June 23 too as on previous nights thousands of people got on to the balcony of their houses and indulged in well-synchronised shouting of Allah-o-Akbar. Many also reportedly shouted "Death to Khamenei" --- a reference to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Tweets coming out of Tehran have claimed that in a response to a call from Mir Housain Mousavi, who has been spearheading the protest movement, many bazaris (shop-owners) observed a shutter-down strike on June 23.

4. The protesters seem to have realised that in view of the heavy deployment of the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guards and their readiness to use lethal force to put down street demonstrations, huge processions of the kind witnessed every day last week are no longer possible. They are, therefore, holding discussions among themselves as to how to keep up the momentum of the protest movement. President Barack Obama and other Western leaders, who had maintained a discreet silence in the first few days of the protest lest their comments be projected by the Iranian authorities as proof of external orchestration of the protest movement, have become increasingly vocal in criticising the violent suppression of the protest movement. This probably indicates that the Western Governments have assessed that the protest movement has reached its apogee and that it cannot increase further without evidence of some external solidarity.

5. Moreover, despite the restraint exercised by the West in the initial days, the Iranian authorities, unnerved by the massive protests, started demonising the protesters by projecting them as "terrorists", members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a terrorist organisation, and stooges of external powers. Even Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, has been accusing the protesters of acting at the behest of external powers.

6. One would have expected that their campaign against the "external satan" would have been mainly against the US, which has had a past history of supporting dissident movements in Iran and undertaking destabilisation operations there. Surprisingly, they have not done so. Instead, their anger has been directed more against the British. The correspondent of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in Tehran has reportedly been expelled and two middle-level British diplomats posted in the British Embassy in Tehran have been declared persona-non-grata on charges of indulging in activities incompatible with their duties as diplomats. The British Government has retaliated by expelling two Iranian diplomats on similar charges.

7. The Iranian authorities have been telling their people that the plans for the protest movement had been masterminded by the British long before the elections. The virulent campaign against the British is surprising because the BBC was exercising considerable restraint in reporting on the events in Iran. It gave prominence to the views of the protesters as well as the Government. It did not play up the Tweets unlike the CNN, which has been disseminating the protesters' version of the events----almost blacking out the Government version.

8. For example, when the Basij and the Revolutionary Guards opened fire on the protesters on June 20 there were conflicting versions of the fatalities. The Government said that only 10 protesters were killed, but the protesters kept insisting in their Tweets that at least 20 were killed. Whereas the CNN accepted the version of the Tweeters, the BBC disseminated the Govt. claim.

9. The focussed attack on the British seems at least partly to reflect the discomfiture of the Iranian authorities over the large listenership of the Farsi language broadcasts of the BBC radio and their credibility in Iran. Of all the foreign broadcasts directed to the Iranian people, the BBC's Farsi service has the maximum listenership and credibility followed by those of the Voice of America. The CNN hardly has any credibility in Iran.
10. In their efforts to jam all foreign Farsi language broadcasts, the Iranian authorities are paying the maximum attention to the BBC and then to the VOA. Both these radio stations have already taken measures to circumvent the jamming by strengthening the power of their transmitters and by setting up new transmitters to supplement those which were already in place. The BBC has started using two extra satellites to broadcast its Farsi-language service. The U.S. Govt-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, based in central Europe, is also increasing the power and reach of its programmes meant for the Iranian people.

11. Iran's Guardian Council has already rejected the protesters' demand for a fresh Presidential poll. Khamenei has given a free hand to the Basij and the Revolutionary Guards to suppress the protest movement through lethal force. The Basij and the RG have been carrying out his orders without any reservations. Under these circumstances, it will be difficult for the dissenters to maintain the momentum of their street protests. They are hoping that the protests could be kept up through other actions such as strikes, shop closures etc. Till now, the maximum number of participants in the protests have been young students----boys and girls--- who have no livelihood to lose. The Bazaris, the entrepreneurs and the labour force may lose their livelihood if they respond to the strike call. If they don't, that could be the beginning of the end of the protest movement and Khamenei would have had the last laugh.

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com)



The continuing inability of the Government ----whether at the Centre or in the States--- to counter effectively the spread of the activities of the Maoist insurgents-cum-terrorists has once again been demonstrated by the temporary control established by the Communist Party of India (Maoist) and its front organisation called the People's Committee Against Police Atrocities over 17 out of 118 small villages spread across some 300 square kilometres in the Lalgarh area of the State of West Bengal ruled by a coalition headed by the Communist Party of India ( Marxist).

2. The People's Committee, with the backing or at the instigation of the Communist Party of India (Maoist),exploited local anger over alleged police excesses against the tribals following an alleged Maoist attempt to kill the Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee through a landmine blast in November last year.

3. What started as a protest movement against police excesses against the local tribals was transformed by the Maoists into a violent political movement for establishing their writ over the villages in the Lalgarh area of West Midnapore Distict.The hesitation of the Governments of West Bengal and India to act strongly against the Maoist-instigated Committee at the very beginning apparently due to electoral considerations arising from the recently-concluded elections to the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Indian Parliament, was exploited by the committee and the Maoists, with the reported help of Maoists from the adjoining States of Jharkhand and Orissa, to strengthen their control over these villages.

4. The transformation of the ostensibly human rights movement into a political movement for a confrontation with the State is evident from the demands put forward by Gour Chakraborty, the CPI-Maoist's spokesman, in an interview to Rediff.com on June 18,2009, after the State Government forces, with the help of para-military forces of the Government of India, started counter-insurgency operations to eject the Maoists from the villages controlled by them. The security forces have already succeeded in ejecting the Maoists and their supporters from many of the villages earlier controlled by them.In his interview, Chakraborty spelt out the the three main demands of the Maoists as follows:"Central and state forces must be withdrawn from the entire area; the State Government must officially apologise to the tribals for its torture and misbehaviour and it should immediately put an end to police atrocities."

5. While reiterating the Government of India's policy of being willing for talks with the Maoists on their legitimate demands if and when they give up the resort to violence, the Government of India as evidence of its determination to put down the Maoist activities firmly has banned the Communist Party of India (Maoist) after designating it as a terrorist organisation. The ban order was issued on June 22,2009, under Section 41 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The CPI (Maoist) was formed in 2004 through the merger of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the People's War Group (PWG) and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC). The earlier ban order had covered these organisations, but after their merger to form the CPI (Maoist), no specific order had been issued to bring the CPI (Maoist) under its purview.This lacuna has been sought to be filled up now by banning specifically the CPI (Maoist) and its front organisations.

6.The CPI (Maoist) is a partly political, partly insurgent and partly terrorist organisation. It believes in the Maoist strategy of capturing political power with the help of a well-motivated and well-trained army of the impoverished rural masses. It has been using the tribal areas in the mineral rich central and east India, where the tribals have long been subjected to political ,economic and social discrimination and where alleged instances of police excesses have been frequent, for the recruitment of its cadres and for establishing operational bases from where attacks could be launched against small and big towns to capture arms and ammunition from the police and para-military forces. As an insurgent organisation, it believes in establishing its control over territory " liberated' by it. As a terrorist organisation, it differs from other terrorist organisations. It indulges in targeted killings of security forces personnel and its perceived class and political enemies.It does not indulge in indiscriminate killing of civilians (non-combatants), who do not come under any of these categories.

7. Since Dr.Manmohan Singh came to power as the Prime Minister in 2004, he and his Government have been projecting the Maoists as the greatest internal security threat faced by India and calling for and promising a special strategy to counter them through co-ordinated action involving the Government of India and the Governments of the States in whose territory the Maoists are active. The Congress (I) had appointed in 2004 a special task force of the party to go into the Maoist activities in the Congress (I) ruled Andhra Pradesh to come out with suitable recommendations for dealing with the Maoist activities.

8.Till now, one does not see any sign of a suitable strategy emerging. Before evolving such a strategy, one has to understand the basic differences between Maoist insurgency/terrorism and jihadi terrorism. Firstly, the Maoist terrorism is an almost totally rural phenomenon,whereas jihadi terrorism is a largely urban phenomenon. Secondly, Maoist terrorism is a totally indigenous phenomenon motivated by domestic grievances and a domestic political agenda. Jihadi terrorism is externally sponsored or aided by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh and is motivated by their strategic agenda. Jihadi terrorism is a cross border threat to national security. Maoist terrorism is not.

9.While the leaders of the Maoists are motivated largely by their desire to seek political power through a Maoist style People's War similar to the war waged by their counterparts in Nepal, their cadres and foot soldiers fighting for them are largely motivated by genuine grievances arising from the political, economic and social hardships faced by them. It is our long neglect to develop the tribal areas which has created large pockets of alienation against the Government and these pockets have become the spawning ground of Maoist terrorism.

10.We cannot have the same strategy for dealing with Maoist activities as we have for dealing with jihadi terrorism.We have to take note of the genuine grievances of the tribals and deal with them in a sympathetic manner. We should not dismiss summarily their allegations of police excesses. There has to be a machinery for a prompt enquiry into these allegations. Maoist terrorism cannot be effectively countered without modernising and strengthening our rural policing and the rural presence of the intelligence agencies. The tribal areas, which have not yet been affected by the Maoist virus, have to be developed on a crash basis in order to prevent the spread of the virus to them. The capabilities of the security agencies deployed for countering the Maoist activities have to be different from those of the urban counter-terrorism agencies. The emphasis has to be on greater mobility in the rural areas with very little road infrastructure at present andgreater protection from landmines used extensively by the Maoists. Our failure to develop the road infrastructure in the rural areas has facilitated the spread of Maoist terrorism by taking advantage of the lack of mobility of the security forces.

11. The jihadis increasingly attack soft targets. The Maoists don't. They mainly attack police stations, police lines, camps and arms storage depots of para-military forces in order to demoralise the security forces and capture their arms and ammunition. The repeated success of the Maoists in mounting large-scale surprise attacks on such hard targets speaks of the poor state of rural policing and intelligence set-up and the equally poor state of physical security.

12. Unfortunately, instead of working out an appropriate strategy which will address these operational deficiencies and at the same time pay equal attention to the political handling of the problem, there is an unwise tendency to militarise the counter-Maoist insurgency management by adopting methods similar to those followed by the British in dealing with the Communist insurgency in Malaya after the Second World War. This will prove counter-productive.

13. It is time for the Government to have a re-think on the way we have been dealing with this problem in order to have a tailor-made strategy based on improvement of political management, strengthening rural policing and rural intelligence and developing capacities for rural operations with emphasis on mobile as well as on static security. ( 23-6-09)
(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Monday, June 22, 2009



Despite the brutal suppression of the procession in Tehran by the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guards on June 20,2009, causing the death of at least 20 protesters, groups of protesters assembled in different parts of Tehran on the afternoon of June 22,2009, to mourn the martyrdom of Neda, a woman, who was allegedly killed by the Basij on June 20. Her death has added to the anger of the anti-Government protesters, but they are no longer able to collect as many people as they were able to on June 20. This is because of the heavy deployment of the Basij and the Revolutionary Guards all over Tehran. However, the anti-Government anger shows no signs of subsiding, even if the demonstrations are no longer as huge as before. The Iranian TV has reportedly announced that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, will be addressing another religious congregation at Tehran the coming Friday (June 26).

2. Some of the latest Tweets coming out of Iran on June 22,2009 are given below:

In memory of Neda - the fallen ANGEL of Freedom.

Mousavi - Neda is not an angel - the angels aspire to Neda.Peace be upon Neda .

Road blocks controlling movement of people from North to South Tehran to stop ppl joining Sea of Green.

Tehran Majlis - Parliment - under heavy guard and road blocks with armed militia.

Today we have hidden cameras in good locations ready to give u film.

All roads and aleyways around Interior Ministry closed with concrete blocs and guards.

Situation in Tehran very tense today - many roadblocks.

Etemad Melli newspaper (pro Karroubi) offices attacked by militia.

UNCONFIRMED - several of the pro-democracy leaders in prison have started HUNGER STRIKE .

TODAY 4pm - Haft Tir Sq - Meydan 7 Tir - Tehran - candle vigil - sitting on floor - in memory of our martyrs.

Khamenei will again present Friday prayer this week - confirmed Iran tv.

Karroubi will publish an announcement later today.

Shirin Ebadi - Nobel Peace Laureate and HR lawyer - 'I will pursue those who kill the protestors'.

3. As already reported ( http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers33/paper3267.html ),the following were received on June 21 night (Indian Standard Time)

If u want to help but are frightened of the streets - give blood - that is big help.

If you catch militia - do not use violence do not kill him - treat him as your brother.

People of Iran - THIS IS THE DAWN - This is the new begining - have hope and prepare.

Gov will respond with electric power cuts - prepare and have gas cylinders at home or gasoline for light/cooking.

Expect food shortage - transport stoppage - money shortage in bank.

Soon Mousavi will announce full national strikes, probably starting with Petrochemical - prepare for this,

If u have CB radio only use when moving - never in fixed location - always off when at base.

If you see helicopter - burn tyres - as much as possible in many location.

Do everything possible to confuse Gov forces - give false info - block telephone lines.

Monday - all day all car lights to stay on to show unity and support for Sea of Green.

If possible buy CB radio for communication between groups - we have these.

Ppl store medication in your homes - our soldiers will need medicine.

If there is tear gas - burn cars - smoke protects you from tear gas.

Tomorrow at 4pm telephone Republican Guard Baseej with false reports all over city.

Tomorrow at 4pm everybody in all parts of country telephone and report street protests where there is none.

Report anti Gov activits who do not exist to Republican Guard or Baseej - send them looking for 'black beans'.

Start to confuse militia - telephone Republican Guard and tell them there is march in your street when there is none.

Ppl stop working - go to work if you must - but do nothing - bring all Gov offices to halt.

Ppl - stop to pay all electricity, gas, water, telephone bills from today - this will starve the Gov.

Ppl if you have money in bank - withdraw ALL your account - Gov is using your money to kill your ppl .

Advice to our people - you can help to destabilize the Gov - we will tell you how.

The Gov is collapsing and the system of control is fast breaking down.
Advice - do not believe anything on twitter which suggests that Sea of Green or Mousavi is surrendered - this is total lies.

Mousavi is planning to announce national strikes - these will show the world and the Gov of Iran the strength of Sea of Green .

Mousavi - We are(Independently) working on a gerneral Strike Plan. Please help us with your ideas if you have expertise.

Faeze Hashemi Rafsanjani and family members being held prisoner in military compound .

Faeze Hashemi Rafsanjani arrested yesterday - confirmed.

Ppl prepare - soon Iran will be cripple with strikes - already petrol shortages being reported.

Mousavi - I did not go to meeting of Guardian Council Sat because their final decision was made on Friday b4 I go.

Many ppls was killed in Iran Saturday - hospital sources say 'tens of ppls killed' .

If Mousavi is arrested or killed he has willed that the nation will strike indefinitely.

Kourosh Zaim - member of national people's party arrested.

There are rumours that Gov is losing control of army .

The bomb in the Tomb of Imam Khomeini is the work of the dictator - they want to blame us but we have no bomb.

All foreign satellite tv news has been stopped in Iran - they think a blinded man cannot see in the darkness.

Iran tv has said almost nothing about Sea of Green exept that some 'thugs' attacked police.

MOUSAVI - continue to chant Allah Akbar from your balconies every night.

Shahab Talebani - arrested - Mohammad Ghoochani newspaper editor - arrested .
Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail now completely out of service in Iran . (22-6-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Sunday, June 21, 2009


The anti-Government protesters in Tehran did not or could not hold their promised demonstration on June 21,2009. Even if they had wanted to hold the demonstration, they might not have been able to in view of the heavy deployment of the Basij militia, the Revolutionary Guards and Police all over the city. After the violent clashes on June 20 between groups of demonstrators and the militia in which at least 20 demonstrators---many of them women---were killed, the authorities were taking no chances.

2. On June 20, the security agencies started to act after the protesters had assembled to form the procession. On June 21, the forces were out in the streets right from the morning and prevented people from assembling. The protesters too avoided any confrontation. The heavy deployment of the militia and other forces and the determination of the Government to prevent any more processions would make it very difficult for the protests to continue in the form of street processions.

3. The protesters are worried that the absence of huge processions might be interpreted as the beginning of the collapse of the movement.They have been telling their followers not to lose heart and that the movement will be passing from the present phase of street protests to one of national strikes and non-cooperation with the Government. If their calls for strike fail to evoke a satisfactory reponse, one might see the beginning of a petering out of the movement.

4. Some of the latest Tweets coming out of Iran are given below:

If u wantto help but are frightened of the streets - give blood - that is big help.

If you catch militia - do not use violence do not kill him - treat him as your brother.

People of Iran - THIS IS THE DAWN - This is the new begining - have hope and prepare.

Gov will respond with electric power cuts - prepare and have gas cylinders at home or gasoline for light/cooking.

Expect food shortage - transport stoppage - money shortage in bank.

Soon Mousavi will announce full national strikes, probably starting with Petrochemical - prepare for this,

If u have CB radio only use when moving - never in fixed location - always off when at base.

If you see helicopter - burn tyres - as much as possible in many location.

Do everything possible to confuse Gov forces - give false info - block telephone lines.

Monday - all day all car lights to stay on to show unity and support for Sea of Green.

If possible buy CB radio for communication between groups - we have these.

Ppl store medication in your homes - our soldiers will need medicine.
If there is tear gas - burn cars - smoke protects you from tear gas.

Tomorrow at 4pm telephone Republican Guard Baseej with false reports all over city.

Tomorrow at 4pm everybody in all parts of country telephone and report street protests where there is none.

Report anti Gov activits who do not exist to Republican Guard or Baseej - send them looking for 'black beans'.

Start to confuse militia - telephone Republican Guard and tell them there is march in your street when there is none.

Ppl stop working - go to work if you must - but do nothing - bring all Gov offices to halt.

Ppl - stop to pay all electricity, gas, water, telephone bills from today - this will starve the Gov.

Ppl if you have money in bank - withdraw ALL your account - Gov is using your money to kill your ppl .

Advice to our people - you can help to destabilize the Gov - we will tell you how.

The Gov is collapsing and the system of control is fast breaking down.

Advice - do not believe anything on twitter which suggests that Sea of Green or Mousavi is surrendered - this is total lies.

Mousavi is planning to announce national strikes - these will show the world and the Gov of Iran the strength of Sea of Green .

Mousavi - We are(Independently) working on a gerneral Strike Plan. Please help us with your ideas if you have expertise.

Faeze Hashemi Rafsanjani and family members being held prisoner in military compound .

Faeze Hashemi Rafsanjani arrested yesterday - confirmed.

Ppl prepare - soon Iran will be cripple with strikes - already petrol shortages being reported.

Mousavi - I did not go to meeting of Guardian Council Sat because their final decision was made on Friday b4 I go.

Many ppls was killed in Iran Saturday - hospital sources say 'tens of ppls killed' .

If Mousavi is arrested or killed he has willed that the nation will strike indefinitely.

Kourosh Zaim - member of national people's party arrested.

There are rumours that Gov is losing control of army .

The bomb in the Tomb of Imam Khomeini is the work of the dictator - they want to blame us but we have no bomb.

All foreign satellite tv news has been stopped in Iran - they think a blinded man cannot see in the darkness.

Iran tv has said almost nothing about Sea of Green exept that some 'thugs' attacked police.

MOUSAVI - continue to chant Allah Akbar from your balconies every night.

Shahab Talebani - arrested - Mohammad Ghoochani newspaper editor - arrested .

Yahoo, Gmail and Hotmail now completely out of service in Iran . (22-6-09)
( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



At least 20 anti-Government demonstrators are reported to have been killed in Tehran on June 20,2009, when the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guards opened fire to prevent demonstrations in support of the call for the annulment of the Presidential elections of June 12 and for holding a fresh poll. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared elected for a second term in the elections. His victory has not been accepted by his opponents, who have alleged widespread rigging by the Government machinery.

2. Despite the use of lethal force by the Government to disperse the demonstrators on June 20,2009 and the resulting deaths, the supporters of Mir Housain Mousavi,the reformist leader, who came second in the elections as per the disputed official results, are going ahead with plans for another day of protests on June 21,2009. The Government has not so far used the Army against the protesters.
3. Some of the latest Tweets are given below:

Mousavi we will stand beside you - we will die beside you - Allah Akbar.

It is dawn- we go to pray to Allah - pls people of the world pray with us - God is but one - Allah .

Again we thank you for support - pls see our vidoe links for vioolence in Tehran today.

Mousavi - we have gone too far to stop now.

We have no confirmation of tank in Tehran - that is a rumor from Gov.

We must rest - Tehran is burning with the fire of freedom - but tomorow we fight again - we have injured ppl.

Rafsanjani has stayed silent until now - he has the support of the army - our hope is that the army will protect us.

Mousavi calls on Sea of Green - DO NOT act violently.

Confirmed - Bank Melli hospital Tehran - at least 9 dead.

Confirmed - Rasoul Hospital Tehran - at least 11 dead.

Confirmed - hospital source - hundrends injured Saturday.

We know that the army is not ready to kill the people of Iran.

We are the bird of freedom of Iran - but we have no wing without you Allah - peace be upon you.

Brothers and sisters were killed before our eyes today - the innocent blood of the martyrs of Allah.

We have no future - no life - no hope - without you Allah - our creator - our leader.

Hojateleslam bin Moslemin Rafsanjani holds the honour of the army of this great nation.

We are of peace for all men - we are the blood of Allah - we stand for that which you Will and decide.

Allah you are he creator and to you we shall return.

We are washed in the pure water of heaven and stand before you Allah to be martryred . (21-6-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-Mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Saturday, June 20, 2009



"Be prepared for martyrdom"

That is the message Mir Housain Mousavi, the leader of the Iranian protesters, has tweeted to his followers after the heavy use of force by the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guards on peaceful protesters in Tehran on the afternoon of June 20. Latest Tweets from Iran claim there have been many casualties and that the hospitals are finding it difficult to cope with them. Some of the latest Tweets are given below:

Sodium metabisulfite Na2S2O5 mixed with water (5% solution) cures CS tear gas. Wash eyes with solution

Hospital source - Tehran hospitals report hundreds of casualties.

Advice - Tear Gas - cover mouth/nose - remove gased clothes immedietly - wash face and inside mouth/eyes/nose with water fast.

Unconfirmed - The Army will not follow orders to kill the people -

People of Iran - be ready to take people from the streets tonight and give protection -

Tehran is burning with the blood of our Martyrs - The streets are full of dead -

Mousavi speaking to supporters in the street NOW -

Mousavi - declares results of 10th Presidential Election null and void -

Today is the day of rekoning - the day of GHIAMAAT - Allah Akbar -

Helicopters pouring acid on people from the sky -

Mousavi - Confirmed - I have prepared for martyrdom -
Tonight to the streets - for freedom - ( 20-6-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



Despite the heavy use of force by the Basij militia and the Revolutionary Guards to disperse a procession of protesters in Teheran on the afternoon of June 20,2009, the protesters, who have been forced to disperse into small groups, continue to be defiant. They are now calling their protest as a fight against Fascism and have called upon the people to join the fight to liberate the country from the control of theFascists. It is not clear whether Mir Housain Mousavi, whose defeat by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the Presidential elections on June 12, triggered off the mass protests, is participating in the demonstrations or has gone underground. Some Tweets say he is with the protesters; others allege he has been "silenced". It is not clear what is meant by that.

2. Some of the latest Tweets from Iran are given below. The time of origin is not clear:

Tonight to the streets - for freedom.

Today the world can see why we want our freedom from fascists.

Dawn is upon us - Allah Akbar - Let us pray together today.

The world must not watch us - you must all join us wherever you are.

Confirmed - Mousavi - SATURDAY is a big day for fighting fascists.

Confirmed - Mousavi - SATURDAY 4pm Enghelab Sq - HISTORY will be watching us.

People of the world - Today Saturday 20 June 2009 - Iran will again make HISTORY.

Khatami - It is the time of Twilight - but I LOVE THE DAWN - Sea of Green.

EU condemns threats of Ayatollah Khamenei.

Shirin Ebadi - Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate - condemns harsh treatment of protesters in Iran.

Iranian scholars and uni Professors write joint letter to Secretary General of UN condemning violation of Iran Human Rights.

Karoubi - Recognize the will of the nation and void the 10th Presidential Elections to return order to the country.

Karoubi - As a former political prisoner who was tortured I know that insulting a nation will turn them into a raging fire.

Advice - remove sim and use mobile to film ANY violence or attak against Sea of Green.

Advice - your location can be identified from mobile signal - delete all sms after sending in case u are arrested.

58 scholars & lawyers condemn the recent killings & arrests in Iran as illegal.

Of course Mousavi has been silenced - but he has not yet been arrested - today everybody was silenced!

Confirmed - sms text messaging is working again in Iran after 1 week of disconnection.

Mir Hossein Mousavi is safe and well - preparing for tomorrow - Sea of Green.

Tehran is alive with the Sea of Green.

Confirmed - IRIB.ir - HACKED - Dos Dos Dos Dos.

Please join Mousavi, Khatami and Karoubi Sat 4pm Enghelab Sq. to Azadi Sq. Tehran for a crucial green protest.

Mousavi - confirmed - show support for Sea of Green from balcony starting 9pm to midnight tonight .

Mousavi - Confirmed - calls for ALL the nation to stand on balconys TONIGHT and show support with 'Allah Akbar'.

Confirmed - 2 student activist arrested - Alirezah Khshbakht & Zahra Toheedi .

Mehdi Karoubi letter to National Security Council.

Confirmed - Shahab Talebani has been arrested . (20-6-09)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )



In an address to a Friday congregation at the Tehran University on June 19,2009, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, again changed his position on the legality of the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the President of Iran at the elections held on June 12,2009.

2. After having endorsed the re-election in the initial days of the protest against it, he then gave the impression of taking a neutral stance by suggesting that as laid down in the Constitution, the matter should be left to the Guardian Council to decide as per the procedures laid down by the law.

3. As this did not have any impact on the anti-Ahmadinejad demonstrations all over the country, he has reiterated his original endorsement of the validity of the re-election without waiting for the report of the Guardian Council, which is enquiring into over 600 complaints received against the election and is to examine the defeated candidates on June 20, 2009. He has thus sought to pre-empt any adverse ruling by the Guardian Council. Khamenei also expressed his support to the foreign policy and the pro-poor economic policies followed by Ahmadinejad.

4.He has rejected indirectly, but definitively the demands of the protesters for the annulment of the election results and for a fresh poll and expressed his strong support for the continuance of Ahmadinejad as the President. He has warned against the continuance of the street protests, which, according to him, could be manipulated by outsiders and could lead to violence.

5. His speech was an indication of his belief that any seeming neutral stand of his could aggravate the situation and that the time had come to remove any impression of softness which might encourage more demonstrations. It was also a green signal to the Basij militia and the security agencies to start dealing with the protests more firmly even at the risk of some adverse external reactions. His message was clear: Thus far and no further.

6. The clear-cut stand taken by the Ayatollah in support of Ahmadinejad and in endorsement of the validity of his re-election creates a dilemma for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the defeated reformist candidate, and his supporters who have been demonstrating in their thousands.Till now, they have been projecting their protests as directed against Ahmadinejad and against what they allege to be his rigged victory. They have taken care not to give the impression of their protests being also against the Ayatollah and the Islamic system.

7. The continuance of the protest movement after ignoring the intervention of the Ayatollah could bring them into an undesired confrontation with him and the Islamic system. The Islamic revolutionaries, who came out into the streets in their thousands in 1978-79,were protesting against the arbitrary rule of the Shah of Iran, who was viewed by them as a stooge of the US. By continuing with their demonstrations in spite of the appeal for restraint from the Ayatollah, the present protesters would be unwittingly projecting themselves as opponents of someone (Ahmadinejad), who is widely viewed as standing in the way of a re-imposition of the US hegemony in the region and over Iran.

8. How to keep the protests focussed against the rigged elections without making it appear as directed against the post-1979 Islamic rule in Iran?That is the dilemma facing Mousavi and the protesters. Mousavi was himself a product of the Islamic revolution and had held office as Prime Minister in the initial difficult years of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. He was in the forefront of the war effort which frustrated the efforts of Saddam Hussein's Army to have the Islamic Government overthrown, with the tacit backing of the US . How can he now be seen as weakening the foundation of the Islamic system, which could play into the hands of the Americans?

9. The answers to these questions will decide the future course of the protest movement. The immediate reaction of the protesters after the address of the Ayatollah was not to relent in their protest movement and to keep it going till they have achieved their objective of a fresh election.

10.For the present, Mousavi and his supporters are going ahead with their plans for two demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday despite the refusal of permission by the Government, which is planning to suppress them. They have also appealed to the international community to demonstrate in their support on Sunday. If the Government with the help of the Revolutionary Guards and the Basij militia succeeds in suppressing the demonstrations without many casualties----the situation could take an unpredictable turn---more violence or a collapse of the movement.

11. The Revolutionary Guards and the Basij seem to be confident that once they get the green signal for action from the Ayatollah, they should be able to put down the protest movement. Some more Tweets which have come out of Iran after the Ayatollah's speech are given below. An examination of these Tweets would indicate that the protesters are concerned that the Ayatollah's public intervention in support of Ahmadinejad has made the situation very complex calling for a careful handling of it.
Mousavi - confirmed - show support for Sea of Green from balcony starting 9pm to midnight tonight -

Mousavi - Confirmed - calls for ALL the nation to stand on balconys TONIGHT and show support with 'Allah Akbar'.

Ebrahim Yazdi has been released by Gov due to poor health.

Shahab Talebani has been arrested today.

Unconfirmed reports - Revolutionary Guard has been mobilised to secure Tehran.

The situation in Iran is now CRITICAL - the nation is heartbroken - suppression is imminent.

The Gov has refused to issue a permit for Sea of Green march at 4pm on Saturday in Tehran.

Confirmed - Mousavi calls on people of the world to march on SUNDAY in support of Sea of Green.

Confirmed - Saturday Sea of Green rally - Enghelab Sq - 4pm - Mousavi, Karoubi and Khatami will attend -

Now is dawn - we must go - location not safe - thank u for supporting Sea of Green.

NEVER log on to any proxy posted on twitter - u will be traced .

Advice - travel in groups - always tell someone where u are going - dont go out unless needed .

Political situ in Iran is v/complex - for every decision there are reasons - some we cannot mention here. (20-6-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary(retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies,Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Friday, June 19, 2009



Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh met President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan at Yekaterinburg in Russia on June 16,2009. The two were in Yekaterinburg as the heads of their respective delegations to attend the summit of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) of which India and Pakistan are observers and not full-fledged members. It was but natural that the two met bilaterally in the margins of the summit just as they met individually the heads of other delegations. If they had not met, there could have been a negative interpretation, which would not have been desirable.

2. The ground work for the meeting had been laid by the Foreign Offices of the two countries even before the two leaders went to Russia. India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in particular had taken care not to give rise to undue expectations of any immediate resumption of the composite dialogue between the two countries on various bilateral issues. The dialogue has been in a state of suspension since the terrorist strike in Mumbai by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) from November 26 to 28,2008.

3. While the terrorist strike led to a discontinuance of the composite dialogue at the instance of an angered India, it did not lead to a disruption of the diplomatic interactions between the two countries. These interactions continued, but their main focus was on India’s expectations of action by Pakistan against anti-India terrorists operating from Pakistani territory in general and against the LET and its political wing called the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) in particular.

4. The Indian expectations fell into three categories:

Firstly, mutual legal assistance in the investigation and prosecution of the Pakistan-based LET conspirators involved in the Mumbai terrorist strike.

Secondly, action against the main leaders of the JUD and the LET, whether they were directly involved in the terrorist strike or not. India was particularly keen that effective legal action should be taken against Prof.Hafeez Mohammad Sayeed, the Amir of the JUD

Thirdly, action against the anti-India terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory----particularly against that of the LET_-- in order to ensure that there would be no more terrorism in Indian territory emanating from Pakistan. An assurance in this regard had been given by Zardari’s predecessor Pervez Musharraf during his summit with Atal Behari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister, at Islamabad in January 2004, but this assurance has remained unimplemented as seen in the terrorist attacks in some suburban trains of Mumbai in July,2006, and the Mumbai attack of November last.

5. Of these expectations, the only forward movement ---though halting and only partially satisfactory--- has been in respect of the mutual legal assistance. Pakistan has arrested five LET conspirators who, according to Indian investigators, were involved in planning the terrorist strike and having it carried out. They have not yet been prosecuted. While the trial in India in connection with the strike has already started, the Pakistani investigators are yet to complete their part of the investigation and start the prosecution of those under detention. They have been blaming their Indian counterparts for the delay. Only if and when the case is prosecuted and it ends in conviction can India be satisfied that there has been a genuine change for the better in Pakistan’s stand on the question of mutual legal assistance.

6. It has to be admitted that even the limited legal assistance that India had received now it had not received in respect of other past cases. In the past, Pakistan refrained from granting mutual legal assistance by questioning the credibility of the Indian evidence. It has not been able to do this now because a lot of independent evidence has come from the USA’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has been making its own investigation of the murder of some American nationals by the LET at Mumbai.

7. There was a seeming forward movement in respect of action against Prof.Sayeed. He was placed under house arrest immediately after the Mumbai attack. However, the case for his continued detention was not prepared and pursued in a vigorous manner---- as if the heart of the Pakistani investigators was not in his continued detention. The result: he has been ordered to be released by the Lahore High Court before which he had challenged the legality of his detention. No appeal has so far been filed against this order.

8. There has been no forward movement at all in respect of the third Indian expectation---namely, action against the anti-Indian terrorist infrastructure in Pakistani territory. Of all the pro-Al Qaeda jihadi terrorist organizations operating from Pakistani territory, the LET is the closest to the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which look upon it as a strategic asset in their operations against India. In the past, they had always avoided taking action against the LET under some pretext or the other and there has been no change in this policy.

9. Even though the US and the European nations are increasingly concerned over the links of the LET with Al Qaeda, its capability for acts of terrorism, which is second only to that of Al Qaeda and the presence of its sleeper cells among the Pakistani-origin diaspora in many countries, they still look upon it as a looming and not an imminent threat to their nationals and interests. For them, the imminent threat is from Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Their present efforts are focused on making Pakistan act against the imminent threats while exercising only proforma pressure---- to reassure India of their solidarity--- on Pakistan to act against the LET. As a result, Pakistan’s inaction against the LET tends to be overlooked by the West so long as it is acting against the Taliban and helping the US in its actions against Al Qaeda.

10. Thus, India finds itself in an unenviable position. It is not in a position to make the US and the rest of the Western world act against Pakistan for its inaction against the LET. At the same time, it is not in a position to act by itself because it has denied to itself a deniable retaliatory capability ever since the fatal decision taken by Inder Gujral, the then Prime Minister, in 1997 to wind up any retaliatory capability as a mark of unilateral gesture to Pakistan---despite remonstrations by senior officers of our security bureaucracy that Pakistan has never been known to appreciate and reciprocate such unilateral gestures.

11. The Pakistani leaders----political or military--- know the constraints on India and are taking full advantage of them to persist with their present policy of seeming to act against the LET without actually acting against it.

12. There is a need for a comprehensive thinking on the options available to India. Any plans for the future have to provide for the following:

Effective physical security in our territory to prevent any more attacks of the Mumbai kind by the LET and its associates. Every major terrorist strike indicates a serious gap in physical security.

Effective intelligence capability to disrupt plans for a terrorist strike by identifying and neutralizing in time LET sleeper cells in our territory.

Revival of a retaliatory self-defence capability.

13. One of the major problems faced by us in dealing with the LET’s acts of terrorism in different parts of the country has been due to the failure of our political leadership and the MEA to make it clear to the world through facts and figures ---- and not through rhetoric--- that the LET’s acts have a much larger agenda and have no longer much to do with the Kashmir issue. Unfortunately, Pakistan has once again almost succeeded in making the US and the UK look at the LET activities through the Kashmir prism.

14. The Mumbai terrorist strike---the attacks on Israelis and other Jewish people, the targeted killings of nationals of countries having troops in Afghanistan, attacks on Western businessmen etc--- clearly illustrated the global agenda of the LET, but our political leadership and diplomacy failed to clearly draw attention to the much larger agenda. As a result, we are once again seeing references to the so-called linkages between the Kashmir issue and the LET’s acts of terrorism. Pakistan has profited from our inaction or inept action.

15. The meeting between Manmohan Singh and Zardari did not lead to a decision to resume the composite dialogue. It merely led to an agreement for a meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of the two countries to discuss the action taken by Pakistan after the Mumbai attack. Any decision on the resumption of the composite dialogue would depend on the outcome of this meeting.

16. Manmohan Singh is not a man of confrontation. He took the decision to freeze the composite dialogue mainly because of the fears of a likely adverse impact on the voting in the recently-held elections to the Parliament if he did not take a seemingly hard line against Pakistan. Now that the Congress (I)-led coalition has come back to power----with the Congress (I) improving its own individual position in the Lok Sabha, the lower House of the Parliament--- he is unlikely to feel the need for maintaining the present hardline position on the composite dialogue.

17. In the meanwhile, there has been a window of respite in acts of Pakistan-origin jihadi terrorism in the Indian territory. There has been no act of terrorism by the so-called Indian Mujahideen since September last. There has been no major act of terrorism by the LET in the Indian territory outside J&K since November last.

18. If this respite continues, it is quite likely that Manmohan Singh will agree to a resumption of the composite dialogue in some form or the other even if the forthcoming meeting of the two Foreign Secretaries does not give satisfaction to the Indian investigators.

19. The US is equally interested in a resumption of the dialogue even if Pakistan does not act against the anti-Indian terrorist infrastructure in its territory. At the same time, in due regard to Indian sensitivities, it will continue to exercise pressure on Pakistan to improve the quality of its mutual legal assistance to India and to ensure that the present respite continues. This is an issue, which is likely to figure prominently in the discussions of Mrs.Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State, with the Indian leaders in New Delhi during her forthcoming visit in July.

20. There have once again been warm references to India in the pronouncements of US leaders. We noticed it for the first time in the address delivered by Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, at the recent meeting of Defence Ministers at Singapore organized by the International Institute of Strategic Studies of London, and in the interactions of his officials with Indian journalists who had gone to Singapore to cover the meeting. One of the officials was reported to have referred to Indo-US relations as a three-stage rocket. According to him, the first stage was fired when Bill Clinton was the President and the second stage under George Bush. He spoke tantalizingly of the coming firing of the third stage under the Obama Administration. They sought to project the Indo-US relations as enjoying broad bi-partisan support and hence unlikely to be affected by the change of incumbency in the White House. Mrs. Clinton has now given some idea of the third stage the Obama Administration has in mind in her address earlier this week to a gathering of businessmen in Washington DC.

21. The earlier coming closer together of the US and China as seen during the visit of Mrs.Clinton to Beijing in February last was partly warranted by the economic difficulties inherited by the Obama Administration from its predecessor. There are already some indications of the beginning of a possible recovery. If the recovery is maintained and strengthened, the USA’s opportunistic dependence on China for sorting out its economic ills would weaken and this could be to the benefit of India.

22. At this time, when winds of some change for the better seem to be blowing towards India from Washington DC, Manmohan Singh would find it difficult to reject suggestions from the US for a political gesture to the Government in Islamabad by way of a resumption of the composite dialogue.

23. The question is no longer whether it will be resumed, but when and how it will be projected to save the faces of both India and Pakistan. The relevant question should no longer be whether we should agree to a resumption of the composite dialogue, but how to keep up the pressure on Pakistan on the issue of anti-Indian terrorism even if the dialogue is resumed. This needs some thought by our policy-makers.

24. Indo-Pakistan relations do not have an over-all strategy. We keep zigging and zagging and riding a rollercoaster depending on the anger, pressures and compulsions of the moment. The time has come to work out a strategy, which is transparent to our people, to the people of Pakistan and to the rest of the world. (19-6-09)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )

Wednesday, June 17, 2009



"If Iran sleeps tonight, it will sleep for ever."

"Obama is a single choice US President. His only choice is not to make any choice."

"Putin and Hu do not know what is going on in Iran. They were among the first to congratulate Ahmadinejad."
------------------ From Iranian twitters.

Iranian protesters against the alleged rigging of the Presidential elections held on June 12,2009, in which President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was announced to have been re-elected with a big majority are repeatedly calling upon the reformists and other opponents of theGovernment to join a huge procession to be held on June 18,2009, at Tehran in memory of eight Iranian protesters killed by the security forces when they allegedly opened fire on a procession protesting against the election results on June 15. They have appealed to theparticipants to wear a green armband. According to their information, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is planning to address a Friday congregation in Tehran on June 19,2009. They have appealed to all those planning to attend the congregation to wear a green armband. They have called for Iran to be turned into a sea of green on June 18 and 19.

2. Twitters continue to flow in from Iran beating the efforts of the Iranian security agencies to stop them. Some more twitters received up to 10 AM Indian Standard Time on June 18 are given below. Their time of origin is not known.

"Plz ignore @FreeMediaNews - the person is spreading disinfo!"

"Help FIGHT propaganda re rebels confined to Tehran, VAST rally centre of Isfahan TODAY , pass it on."

"Many many arrests in tehran 2day. hundreds. - now is dark baseej start to make trouble. "

"Help hide Iranian protesters: change your Twitter location to Tehran, time to +3:30 GMT. Please RT."

"CNN has set up a special Iran desk to monitor social networking sites, esp now that we're barred from reporting on streets of Tehran."

"RT from Iran : Yesterdays shooting outside Basiji HQ Tehran http://is.gd/13PXT


"CNN & BBC, We have NUMEROUS eye witness accounts that the Basij militia are ransacking the city of Tehran, where are you?"

"Our lives are in real danger now - we are the eyes - they need to stop us."

"Iran supreme leader under pressure ( Al Jazeera English ).

"Do NOT follow any instructions on twitter except from the trusted sources."

"Plain Clothed Basij entered people's houses broke stuff to blame freedom lovers."


"Tear Down This Cyberwall!" Tweets vs. Bullets"

"Men in civilian clothes attacked Day hospital in Tehran."
"Reliable Source: Families of those murdered by Basij militia are under pressure and being prevented from contacting media."

"Please disseminate this fax number as widely as possible: 001 773 321 0202. We will post any faxes we receive at iranfax.org."

"Please view these (some are graphic, warning) http://is.gd/14YjJ " "
FAX Univ. of Chicago at 001 773 321 0202. They will post any faxes we receive at iranfax.org.

"Twitter is the only open news source working in Iran right now.Twiitter maintenance shut down was postponed due to huge out cry from twitter users.Main Stream Media (State Media) has been forced and dragged kicking and screaming by twitter users to cover events in Iran .Twitter is being monitored by Iranian Secret police be careful about giving twitter addresses on RT(retweets) or any pro democracy information too specific with your tweets"
"Listen to Grandmaster Shajarian's Persian song "Iran, the Land of Hope" ."
"DON'T join Google Group "mowje-sabz". Smells like a honey-pot run by AN supporters. Spread."

" A place to gather info about the militia how's killing our brothers & sisters! http://lebasshakhsi.blogspot.

" Iran ban families of killed.Protesters R under gov. control & not allowed 2 talk2 any media."

"200 rights activists said to be arrested ."

"Mousavi is telling what 2do. "

"Ayyatollah Amjad: "I believe in Mousavi honesty".

"Fear has gone in a land that has tasted freedom."----Robert Fisk.

"Some are going to gather in front of UN office in Tehran 2morrow 2p before g/t Toop-khoone 4p ."

" Montazeri warns it is against Islam to follow orders to hurt demonstrators."

"Religion is a main part of ppl's life in Iran, but i hope clerics don't interfere in politics this much! "

"CNN Atlanta h/ just ann/ Khatami h/joined Mousavi in req/ for all jailed protesters to be released immed." ( 18-6-2009)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently Director, Institute For TopicalStudies, Chennai. E-mail: seventyone2@gmail.com )