Monday, February 21, 2011



Resentment over the comfortable life-style of foreigners working in Libyan projects as compared to the poverty of Libyan workers seems to be playing a role in the current turmoil in Libya. This resentment has led to a number of attacks on South Korean and Chinese companies in Libya.

2. Even before the unrest began in Egypt, there were reports of attacks on South korean construction sites. On January 14 and 15, hundreds of Libyans raided four South Korean-run construction sites, destroying heavy equipment and setting vehicles and other facilities on fire. According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, on February 21, about 500 Libyans stormed and looted a South Korean construction site west of Tripoli, injuring South Korean and Bangladeshi workers.It said about 15 Bangladeshis were hurt along with three South Koreans when the mob invaded the site about 30 kilometres west of Tripoli. Two of the Bangladeshis were seriously injured with stab wounds. After some time, the Libyans left the site, where 1600 Bangladeshis are reportedly working. It is not known whether the attacks on the Bangladeshis were motivated by economic reasons or by anger over reports of the Libyan Army using Pakistani and Bangladeshi mercenaries for crushing the uprising.

3. On February 17/18,about 200 Libyans in the eastern coastal town of Darnah invaded a South Korean-run construction site and set fire to a dormitory for Korean workers. According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, the offices of some South Korean companies were looted on February 19. The Ministry said there are currently about 1,400 South Koreans in the country.

4. The February 22 issue of the "China Daily" has carried the following report of the Xinhua, the official news agency, datelined February 22, Tripoli:

"Several Chinese companies in Libya have been attacked and looted, but no casualties were reported yet, a Chinese worker here said Monday (February 21).

"A construction site run by Huafeng Construction Co., Ltd. from China's Zhejiang Province was looted by a group of armed gangsters Sunday afternoon in the eastern city of Agedabia, and nearly 1,000 Chinese workers there were forced out of the site and became homeless, said Yuan Canhua, a Chinese living in the suburb of Tripoli, capital city of Libya.

"The Chinese worker said one of the robbed construction workers phoned him after the looting.

"The construction workers then left the city on foot and were trying to walk towards Tripoli hundreds of kilometers away, hoping to catch a plane here to fly back to China, he said.

"Staff at the headquarters of the company in Zhejiang Province in south China said Monday the workers in Libya had been transferred to a safe place.

"Some Chinese workers here said nearly all Chinese companies in the country were "attacked or looted." But Chinese companies were not the sole target of the series of lootings in Libya. Several South Korean-run construction sites were also looted.

"Also on Monday, China's Ministry of Commerce urged Chinese businesses in Libya to pay increased attention to their security and suggested Chinese businessmen planning to visit Libya postpone their plans for the time being."


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



"Go, go, go! Forge on ahead.

"The awakened lion is roaring.

"It will smash corruption, and bury the dictatorship.

"Mighty Egypt has no room for clowns.

"With no equality or human rights, these are the roots of poverty.

"May democracy shine on the Nile.

"Its people are no longer sheep."

2. This is a song ostensibly in praise of the Egyptian Revolution, written and tuned to music by two Chinese, one of whom goes by the name Li Lei, alias Red Uncle and the other by the name Snowman.This song, which started spreading fast among the Netizens community of China, on February 17 has since been blacked out by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which is responsible for internal security.

3. According to Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, the song was released onto Chinese video-sharing websites Tudou and Ku6 earlier last week, and had proliferated across at least 30 sites by 6.00 p.m. on February 17, according to searches on Baidu and Google.By February 18, only two video-sharing sites still carried it, with popular YouTube-style site Tudou producing an error message instead. The music in the song on Egypt is reportedly similar to that in a popular Chinese song on Mao Zedong.

4. Radio Free Asia has quoted Li alias Red Uncle as saying that he and his songwriting partner wanted to use the song to educate their own people, as well as to support the Egyptian revolution, which brought an end to the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak, whose picture is reportedly seen spinning away in the video. "The people of Egypt have demanded democracy," Li said. "Their political goals are very similar to those of the Chinese people. We felt we had to write this song in support of the Egyptian people.At the same time, it's also an education for us [in China]. That was the aim."

5. According to the Radio,the video was rapidly picked up and passed along by netizens across China, apparently striking a chord with many.
One netizen in the northern city of Chengde reportedly told Li that he had not heard such a rousing and motivating song in ages. Another, a bus driver in Inner Mongolia, reportedly vowed to play it to his passengers. "This guy said that he'd listened to it dozens of times over," Li claimed.

6. Red Uncle added in his interview: "Normally, you need an army to change the course of history.But the ordinary people can also rise up in revolution.And I think the Internet can speed up the rate of social progress and help make history."

7. Worried over the possible impact of the Egyptian Revolution on China, the Chinese Communist Party is reported to have set up an office for maintaining internal stability. In a paper on the internal situation in China presented at a seminar on China organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) of New Delhi in the beginning of December, I had drawn attention to the fact that China spends more on internal security than on its armed forces reflecting the nervousness of the Party leadership over internal stability. I had said: "Maintaining internal security against economic unrest in the Han-inhabited coastal areas and against ethnic unrest in the Tibetan and Uighur inhabited border areas has become a major concern. Chinese leaders have, of late, been speaking of their core interests and major concerns. When they talk of their core interests, they mean their disputes with other countries. In their perception, the threats to their core interests arise from abroad. When they talk of major concerns, they largely mean threats to their internal security. The Chinese authorities have seen to it that the rest of the world does not know much of the internal security situation, but it is of major concern to the leadership. This would be obvious from their enormous budgetary allocation for their internal security apparatus, which, according to the “Global Times” of August 23, amounts to US $ 76 billion. If the “Global Times” is to be believed, China spends more money for maintaining political stability than for protecting the country from external threats. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the leadership is going slow on political reforms." ( )

8. During that presentation, I had said that while the Chinese would continue to be confronted with security and stability related problems in Chinese-Controlled Xinjiang and in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, they should have no difficulty in maintaining stability in the Han core of the country. I am not that sure now.

9. I wrote subsequently on December 16: "Can China disintegrate under the weight of its internal security problems? This is unlikely. The undoubted economic prosperity and the interest of the homogenous Hans as a whole in ensuring that this prosperity is maintained guarantees against any tendency towards disintegration in the Han core of the country. The Tibetan and Uighur uprisings have shown that economic prosperity has not diluted their yearnings for freedom. So long as this urge for freedom remains alive, the danger of instability in the border areas will remain. India should closely monitor and study the internal security situation in China without trying to take advantage of it. An unstable and insecure China is not in India’s interest. This should not mean that India should forsake the Tibetans. They are our objective allies. We need to nurse them and help them to keep the flame of Buddhism alive in China. We need to pay more attention to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and interact with him more frequently politically and in religious matters. An alienated Tibet will always look up to India for moral support in its hours of distress. We have a moral responsibility to be attentive to their hopes and fears. How to give back the Tibetans and His Holiness their dignity as a proud civilization without causing the disintegration of peripheral China? This is a question that should keep engaging our attention." ( )

10. That advice remains valid as the Chinese nervousness in the wake of the Egyptian Revolution increases. Don't wish ill of China as a State. But at the same time wish well of its people. If they want democracy here and now, why not? Let the tribe of Red Uncles multiply.May God give them strength and freedom from fear.(22-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )

Why Pakistan Cannot Release the Man Who Calls Himself Raymond Davis

This article was received by me from a friend. He has unfortunately not given the name of the newspaper that carried it.Brig.(retd), Shaukat Qadir is a highly respected and well-informed Pakistani analyst. After the Kargil conflict he had come out with an excellent analysis. In response to some requests from readers, I am reproducing this below. Hoping to be excused by him for reproducing it without his prior permission.---B.Raman

Why Pakistan Cannot Release the Man Who Calls Himself Raymond Davis

By Shaukat Qadir

February 19, 2011 "ThisCantBeHappening" -- Islamabad--By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.

The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.

One Western journalist has referred to this incident as the "biggest intelligence fiasco since the downing of a U-2 by the erstwhile USSR in 1962." Obviously, the apprehension is that were he to be tried and convicted in Pakistan and handed a lengthy prison, or even a death sentence, Davis might "spill the beans" and that, were he to do so, those Wikileaks cables could pale into insignificance!

That, in itself, is more than sufficient reason for Pakistan to refuse to hand him over; but there is far more to Pakistan’s problems regarding this issue than just that. However, before we get to those, some comically farcical blunders committed by the US Embassy in Pakistan merit narration, since I am fairly certain these are not being reported by the US media. They illustrate clearly the extent of the desperation American officials are feeling!

On January 25th 2011, just two days before Davis shot and killed the two young Pakistanis, the US Embassy submitted a list of its diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff in Pakistan to the Pakistani Foreign Office (FO), as all foreign nations are required to do annually. The list included 48 names. Raymond Davis was not on the list. The day after Davis shot and killed the two Pakistanis, the US Embassy suddenly submitted a “revised” list to the Foreign Office which added Davis’ name!

When Pakistani police took Davis into custody on January 27th, he had on his person an ordinary American passport with a valid ordinary Pakistan visa, issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. On January 28th, a member of the US Consulate wanted the Pakistani police to exchange that passport in Davis’ possession with another one. The fresh passport being offered was a diplomatic passport with a valid diplomatic visa dated sometime in 2009. This visa was stamped in Islamabad by the FO!

It gets ridiculously funnier. The prosecutor representing the Punjab government has presented two letters from the US Embassy as evidence before the Lahore High Court, forwarded to the Punjab government through the FO. The first letter, dated January 27, reads: “Davis is an employee of the US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport." The second, dated February 3rd, states that Davis is a member of the “administrative and technical staff of the US Embassy Islamabad!” Just how gullible do the Americans take Pakistanis to be!

Before moving on to the political implications for Pakistan, were Davis to be granted immunity, it is important to review some domestic impediments, without which, he would never have been taken into custody.

Asif Ali Zardari might be a politically empowered president domestically, but if the US asked him to jump, he would ask "how high?" If they asked him to bend over, he would ask, "how low?" Had Davis committed the murders in Islamabad, under federal jurisdiction, he would have been flown out of the country within hours of his crime before any furor could have time to develop. But he slaughtered his victims in Lahore, in the jurisdiction of the Punjab state government, manned by the PML(N), which is Zardari’s party’s main opposition.

Despite repeated and numerous requests from the US Embassy and the Federal government, the Punjab government has stood firm and has even denied Davis the comforts normally afforded a political prisoner. Instead, Davis has the same facilities that any common Pakistani criminal has, in the rather notorious Kot Lakpat jail in Lahore (though he is being separated from the general prison population for his own safety).

Then there is the superior judiciary; the Supreme Court (SC), which awaits Davis with sleeves rolled up, more than ready to ensure justice in defiance of Zardari’s wishes. Meanwhile, Davis has already been indicted before the Lahore High Court (LHC), which has extended his judicial remand in police custody to allow time for more interrogation. Therefore, even if the LHC could be intimidated, an appeal before the SC is inevitable.

Finally there is the Pakistani Pentagon, the General Headquarters, commonly known as GHQ. Now that it is a fairly accepted fact in Pakistan that Davis is guilty of anti-Pakistan activities and has killed two members of an intelligence agency, probably the well-known Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), GHQ will have a say in his disposal. Consequently, despite Zardari’s desire to please the US, he may find himself hamstrung.

Under Pakistani law, there is provision for "Blood Money," i.e. that the next of kin can accept monetary remuneration and then pardon the killer before the court. Despite pressure brought to bear on the families of Zeeshan and Faheem, the ill-fated pair that was murdered, both families have unanimously refused to accept Blood Money. In fact, tempers are running so high that local wealthy businessmen have publicly urged them to refuse, with the promise that they would match any sum offered to them by the US!

When rumors were floating that the US might cut a deal, offering Aafiya Siddique--the Pakistani scientist convicted in the US of attempting to murder two US interrogators and now serving a controversial 86-year sentence-- in exchange for Davis, Siddique’s own family refused to accept her back on these terms and spoke to local dailies urging the Punjab government not to release Davis for any reason.

Based on all of the above, I personally doubt that Davis’ immunity plea will be accepted. However, if despite everything, his claim were accepted, what would be the political repercussions?

That’s the million-dollar question!

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known in the US media as the Pakistan Taliban, has issued a warning to the government of dire consequences if Davis is released. That would mean suicide attacks, murder and mayhem would immediately follow his release. Targets might well include any judges involved in the decision.

The youth of Pakistan--who rose to a pedestal in my eyes during last year’s floods, when young boys and girls defied our social taboos (sometimes even parental edicts) in the hundreds of thousands, spending many nights away from home so as to assist those affected by the floods and demonstrating courage, determination, warmth, and patriotism of a level I had not expected--have again joined hands over this case.

They can be found in droves on the web; exhorting the Pakistan government to refuse US aid, promising to raise donations from their resources and the public if the US cuts it off, and urging the government to withstand US pressure and refuse Davis immunity. They are also vowing that if immunity is granted, a youth movement of unprecedented proportions will start and, that like the historic Long March for the restoration of the judiciary in March 2009, which could have toppled the PPP government, this youth movement will succeed in toppling the government, where the Long March let it off the hook when its demands were met.

It’s not just the youth either. Every shopkeeper, cab driver, vendor and ordinary laborer that I have spoken with is unanimous in expressing the view that they will rise to demonstrate and overthrow this government, if Davis is granted immunity.

When the Egyptian People Power revolution started, I explained to a number of friends, local and foreign, why it was unlikely to spread to Pakistan. If Davis is granted immunity, though, I am more than likely to be proven wrong. Here too, as in Egypt, it is more than likely that GHQ will refuse to turn their guns on the demonstrators. But the fall of the PPP government might be the least of our concerns.

Despite the numerical increase in what used to be an infinitesimally small number of Islamic extremists, I have argued forcefully that there is, for the immediate future, no fear of Islamic forces becoming dominant in Pakistan. I have frequently cited the unanimous support for the military in the use of force against TTP--support which persists to date, despite suicide attacks. In fact, each suicide attack increases the determination of the people to fight terrorists.

Davis, however, could change that. Granting him immunity, in my opinion, could be the sole act that could provide an excuse for militant Islam to become dominant in Pakistan.

So, tread carefully, Mr Obama. You have already made one blunder by stoking unrest in Pakistan, using Raymond Davis, or whatever his name is, and his ilk, and have been caught with both hands in the cookie jar. But in trying to avoid the repercussions of this blunder, you could commit another of even more disastrous proportions--one that would reverberate around the world. You could create the realization of your own worst nightmare: a nuclear Pakistan dominated by religious extremist forces.

It might still not happen this way, but the path you are treading certainly is one that leads in the direction of converting that nightmare into reality.

See also - Probe finds connection between Davis, drone attacks: Sources have revealed that a GPS chip recovered from Davis was being used in identifying targets for drone attacks in the tribal region.

Was Davis Running Drone Programme in Pakistan?

SHAUKAT QADIR retired as a Brigadier from the Pakistan infantry in 1999. He was the founder, vice president and, briefly, president of a think tank. He now divides is time between teaching, studying many subjects, including journalism, and baby-sitting his grandchildren. He was a regular writer for the late Far East