Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The Global Terrorism Index now published in London records an alarming rise in the number of terrorist attacks worldwide. Present strategies are not working, says DW's Grahame Lucas.The terrorist attacks by al Qaeda on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 triggered a US-led military campaign dubbed a "war on terror" by US President George W Bush. Seen from today's perspective some 13 years later, one cannot avoid the conclusion that the war on terror has not ended terror at all. Rather, as the Global Terrorism Index notes, acts of terrorism are actually increasing alarmingly. In 2013 there were nearly 10,000 terrorist attacks worldwide - an increase of 44 percent compared to 2012. Moreover, nearly 18,000 people were killed in these acts, a rise of 61 percent. If anything the war on terror has created more terror. If we take a close look at the history of terrorism we see something quite clearly. In the past 50 years, the most effective way to end a terrorist campaign has been to draw the insurgents into a political process with the object of reaching a settlement. Northern Ireland is a classic example of this. As the report notes, 80 percent of the terrorist organizations that disbanded did so because an acceptable agreement had been brokered. During this time only ten percent of terrorist organizations ended their campaign of terror because they had reached their goals. But what is really interesting is that only seven percent of terrorist campaigns were ended by military means. That is an alarmingly low figure considering the cost in human life. This suggests very strongly indeed that negotiations and participation should be at the forefront when it comes to dealing with terrorists. But in many countries military or paramilitary action remains the gut reaction of governments. The only problem is that in the age of asymmetric warfare insurgents are able to fight well organized armies with a considerable degree of success by restricting themselves to well publicized terrorist attacks and avoiding pitched battles. Nothing shows this more clearly than the failure of the Western mission in Afghanistan to stamp out the Taliban and their poisonous Islamist ideology. In other words, the military option is highly unlikely to achieve the required goals. Talk or don't talk? But the other significant finding in the report is that the countries most affected by terrorism, namely Iraq, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria, are for the most part plagued by Islamist terrorism. This kind of religiously inspired violence seeks to impose a strict Islamic state against the will of the majority of the respective population. It is totalitarian by nature. Thus, the dilemma is clear: negotiations will not lead anywhere because pragmatic solutions have no chance in the face of Islamist ideology. And military action is unlikely to work. At best it can contain such movements, not defeat them. Against this background one must fear the worst and expect that 2015 will see a further deterioration of the situation worldwide, while groups like Islamic State, al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and the Taliban spread their message of fear and hatred through more atrocities. Most of the victims are likely to be Muslims, as Sunni extremists slaughter Shias, and Shias for their part kill Sunnis. There can only really be one course of action. The states most affected have failed to promote the participation of ordinary people in their own societies. They must work to improve the economic situation of the disaffected, give them access to education, prevent death squads from carrying out extrajudicial killings, and strengthen democratic structures. In the long run, this is the only way run to deprive terrorists of the support they need, and to isolate them in the countries where they operate. The West can foster this process but it has to start from within.
By Ben Blanchard But proof of whether President Xi Jinping is serious about narrowing differences that have marked his first two years in office will depend on how China's festering disputes are managed in the months ahead. The possibilities for disagreement are many, from cyberspying to land reclamation in the disputed South China Sea and the deeply emotional issue for China of how Japan deals with next year's 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two. China set nerves on edge with its air defense zone over the East China Sea, by sending an oil rig deep into waters disputed with Vietnam and by unveiling advanced new weapons, including a prototype stealth fighter. But in recent days, China has gone out of its way to set minds at ease as Xi hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. China made conciliatory gestures to Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan, and, with U.S. President Barack Obama, agreed to a climate deal and to lower the risk of misunderstandings during military encounters. "We still have to observe what happens in the next six to 12 months or even longer. But I think that now we stand at the beginning of a substantive change in Chinese foreign policy," said Shi Yinhong, head of the Centre for American Studies at Beijing's Renmin University who has also advised the government on diplomatic issues. Reliance on the military has been replaced by money to guide China's diplomacy, Shi added, pointing to the $40 billion New Silk Road fund and $50 billion China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank announced before APEC. More than $120 billion has been promised since May to Africa, Southeast Asia and Central Asia. "The message is that China sincerely hopes that it can play its role as a responsible power," the official China Daily newspaper wrote in an editorial on Monday. ROOT CAUSES REMAIN The root causes of past disagreements have, for now, been set aside. State-run Xinhua news agency sought to temper expectations following Xi's meeting with Obama last week, saying that, despite the "amicable tone", "still much has to be done to translate promises into reality". As if to remind the United States of China's growing military power, the day before Xi and Obama's summit, the Chinese military unveiled a sophisticated new stealth fighter jet at an air show in the south of the country. "A lot of problems exist and there will be a lot of uncertainty in the days to come," said Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University who has also advised the government on diplomacy. China has long sought to address fears in the region, and globally, that economic growth will inevitably bring a more muscular diplomatic and military approach. During a summit of Southeast Asia leaders in Myanmar last week, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed a friendship treaty, yet held to the line that Beijing will only settle South China Sea disputes directly with other claimants. Philippine President Benigno Aquino said he and Xi had a good meeting in Beijing, but the Philippine military says there has been no sign of China reducing its presence in parts of the South China Sea that Manila also claims. LEGACY OF WAR LIVES ON Then there is Japan. China and Japan, the world's second- and third-largest economies, have argued bitterly for two years over disputed islands, regional influence and the legacy of Japan's wartime occupation of China. While Xi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held breakthrough talks just before APEC, in recognition of the economic damage inflicted by their row, suspicion runs deep. "Whether or not incidents or disturbances can be prevented from happening again between the two countries depends on Japan's attitude and actions," Han Zhiqiang, acting Chinese ambassador to Japan, was quoted saying in state media last week. China has already promised high-profile events to mark next year's World War Two anniversary, offering another opportunity to accuse Japan of not properly atoning for its past. "Japan is particularly worried about how the anniversary will be handled in China," said one Beijing-based Western envoy. India presents another problem, with no sign of lasting resolution to a festering border dispute. In recognition of the world's concerns, Xi, speaking to Australia's parliament on Monday, channeled an ancient expression to assuage worries: "A war-mongering state will eventually die no matter how big it is". He did not finish the saying, whose last line reads: "Though the world is peaceful, you will be in danger if you forget about preparing for war".
US secretary of state calls Netanyahu to offer condolences, blames Palestinian ‘days of rage’ ; UN official calls terror attack abhorrentUS Secretary of State John Kerry condemned a Jerusalem terror attack that left four people dead Tuesday morning, calling on Palestinian leaders to halt incitement. Kerry telephoned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to offer condolences following the gruesome killing spree by Palestinian assailants at a Jerusalem synagogue, while other world leaders also expressed horror at the attack.
In a Telemundo interview in September 2013, Mr. Obama said he was proud of having protected the “Dreamers” — people who came to the United States illegally as young children — from deportation. But he also said that he could not apply that same action to other groups of people.“If we start broadening that, then essentially I’ll be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally,” Mr. Obama told Jose Diaz-Balart in the interview. “So that’s not an option.”
White House officials said Monday that the change in the president’s comments over the years reflects a change in emphasis, not a change in opinion. They said Mr. Obama’s previous comments emphasized the limits of his authority because at the time he was actively making the case for Congress to pass an immigration overhaul. Now, he emphasizes his ability to act.Officials have said the president could announce a series of executive actions as early as this week. The move comes after a concerted lobbying campaign by immigration advocates demanding presidential action in the face of 400,000 deportations every year. And it reflects the president’s frustration that Republicans have blocked all efforts to pass immigration legislation. At the news conference in Australia over the weekend, Mr. Obama implored Congress to pass a bill that would secure the border, revamp the legal immigration system and legalize many of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States. “Give me a bill that addresses those issues,” he said at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Brisbane, Australia. “I’ll be the first one to sign it and, metaphorically, I’ll crumple up whatever executive actions that we take and we’ll toss them in the wastebasket.” White House officials said the House speaker, John A. Boehner, made it clear that Republicans, who control both chambers in Congress next year, have no intention of passing a bill that the president could agree with. They note that Mr. Obama delayed any executive action throughout 2013 and 2014, hoping that Mr. Boehner would allow a vote in the House on a bipartisan bill that passed the Senate. When that did not happen by the summer, officials said, Mr. Obama decided he should act on his own. That decision puts the president in a different public posture from the one he offered in numerous interviews and speeches since 2010. In those settings, Mr. Obama was repeatedly urged to act on his own to reduce the number of families that were being separated by deportations. He rejected that idea and urged people to pressure Republicans in Congress to pass a bill. In an immigration speech in San Francisco last November, protesters repeatedly interrupted the president, yelling, “Stop deportations!” Mr. Obama told the protesters that he respected their “passion,” but insisted that only Congress had the authority to do what they wanted. “The easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws,” he said. “And what I’m proposing is the harder path.” And at a Town Hall in March of 2011, months before taking action to keep the Dreamers from being deported, Mr. Obama said the nation’s laws were clear enough “that for me to simply, through executive order, ignore those congressional mandates would not conform with my appropriate role as president.” Republicans have seized on Mr. Obama’s past statements as evidence of what they call a shaky legal foundation for the president’s expected actions. In an email to reporters, the Republican National Committee on Monday asked, “When did we add a ‘politically convenient clause’ to the Constitution in the last four years?” During the news conference, Mr. Obama said that in recent months he received legal advice from Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. about the limits of what he could do to reshape the immigration system. What seems clear is that the legal advice will support Mr. Obama’s current statements about his executive powers, not his previous ones. “I would be derelict in my duties if I did not try to improve the system that everybody acknowledges is broken,” he said Sunday.
The recent remarks of Sartaj Aziz, the national security advisor to Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, have provoked the anger of the Afghan government followed by huge criticisms from both Pakistan and Afghanistan.In an interview with BBC on Monday Aziz said that the militants who do not pose a threat to Pakistan's stability should not be targeted. "Why should America's enemies unnecessarily become our enemies," Aziz said. "We do not oppose the Afghan Taliban, it is an Afghan issue and we suggest Afghanistan to negotiate. We were supporting the Taliban during 90s, but not now, if they act against us, then we oppose them." These controversial statements of Sharif's senior aide were followed by huge criticism by Afghans and his political rivals in Pakistan. According to Pakistani politicians and analysts, such statements from Pakistan could further strain the relations between the two neighboring countries. "Such statements, and that from a government official, can boldly impact the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan," said Latif Faridi, a Pakistani analyst. Another Pakistani analyst, Safdar Hayat, criticized Aziz's remarks resonating what Afridi said. "Lately, the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan had improved, but such statements can again worsen the relations," Hayat said. Meanwhile, the Police Chief of Kandahar Gen. Abdul Raziq, who has repeatedly accused Pakistan of backing insurgent groups, once again said that Pakistan is still interfering in Afghanistan, but warned that the Afghan forces are always ready to thwart the plans of Pakistan against Afghanistan. "Pakistan has always carried out its overt interference into Afghanistan," Gen. Raziq said. "We and our security forces are ready to prevent the overt interference of Pakistan," he added, accusing the international community for ignoring Pakistan's aggression onto Afghan soil. This comes as Maulana Fazl-ur Rahman, a Pakistani politician and pro-Taliban cleric, made a statement during Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's visit to Islamabad that the war against foreigners in Afghanistan is legitimate.
http://newsweekpakistan.com/THE 2014 GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX REPORTS THAT 60 PERCENT OF TERROR-LINKED FATALITIES IN PAKISTAN OCCURRED DUE TO EXPLOSIONS.
The number of people killed in Pakistan in terrorist attacks jumped by 37 percent in 2013, reflecting the rise of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and its affiliated groups, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace In its 2014 Global Terrorism Index, launched in London, the Australian-based research group reported there were 1,933 incidents in 2013, with 60 percent of the fatalities occurring due to bombings and explosions. “In 2013 there were 71 suicide attacks responsible for around 2,740 casualties,” it adds. The report, which notes that over 80 percent of all global terror-related deaths occurred in just Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria, states that over 500 Pakistani cities had at least one terrorist incident in 2013, with “two or more incidents occurring in 180 cities.” The Global Terrorism Index reports that there were almost 10,000 terrorist attacks in 2013, a 44 percent increase on 2012. These attacks resulted in 17,958 fatalities, up from 11,133 in 2012. Iraq was found to be the country most affected by terrorism, recording a 164 percent rise in fatalities, to 6,362, with the Islamic State responsible for most of the deaths. Four groups: I.S., Boko Haram, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were blamed for 66 percent of all fatalities. But the report found that attacks had also increased in the rest of the world, with fatalities rising by half the previous figure, to 3,236 in 2013. A total of 60 countries recorded deaths from terrorist attacks last year. “Since we first launched the GTI in 2012, we’ve seen a significant and worrying increase in worldwide incidences of terrorism,” said Steve Killelea, executive chairman of IEP. “Over the last decade the increase in terrorism has been linked to radical Islamic groups whose violent theologies have been broadly taught. To counteract these influences, moderate forms of Sunni theologies need to be championed by Sunni Muslim nations,” he added. Killelea urged leaders to reduce state-sponsored violence, reduce group grievances and improve community-supported policing to reduce the threat. The report highlighted Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Iran, Israel, Mali, Mexico, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Uganda as countries at increased risk from terror attacks. Despite the global spike, the report stressed that the risk to westerners remained slim. According to its figures, a person in Britain was 188 times more likely to be victim of a murder, and in the U.S. 64 times more likely.
maldsa9udasi0d by dailyvidz1 To bring change in our society, requires immense struggle, said Malala Yousufzai in her address via video-link to the participants of the Malala Nobel Peace Prize Celebration event at the Nishat Hall in Peshawar. She told participants that women were deprived of their rights, adding that times have changed and women know what their rights are. For a society to prosper, its women must be educated, she said. She reiterated her dream, that every child should have a book and pen. In order to spread the message of education we all must work together, she told the audience. Addressing the ceremony, Awami National Party (ANP) General Secretary Iftikhar Hussain said, that his people are not scared of danger, adding that they know how to defend themselves. Hussain said, if Malala is being appreciated across the world, it is a matter of pride for us. Iftikhar Hussain said, through education, Malala’s mission of a peaceful Pakistan can be achieved. He concluded that he will fight to fulfill Malala’s mission till his last breath.
Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) has parted ways with Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), PAT chief Tahirul Qadri said Tuesday.Addressing a party convention, Qadri said: “Those who are part of status quo and involved in corruption cannot become our allies.” He said that the parties have different programmes, according to a Geo News report. Qadri alleged that formation of a joint investigation team for probing the Model Town tragedy was a futile practice. He said that the Punjab government has not arrested a single suspect in connection with the incident. The cleric called for capital punishment for those involved in spreading sectarian hatred and claimed that the situation could be improved only after the “execution of some people”. He said that both the civilian and military governments had never helped common people in Pakistan. “We have never seen democracy in Pakistan for even a single day,” the PAT chief lamented. Fourteen people, including women, were killed and dozens injured when clashes between PAT supporters and the police took place at the Minhajul Quran secretariat in Lahore's Model Town suburb June 17.
Relatives of the Kot Radha Kishan lynching victims say they are facing threats and being pressured into withdrawing the case. The family members told a press conference on Monday that they were being offered land and money as compensation for the murders of Shama and Shehzad Masih. Shehzad’s brother Shahbaz Masih and his wife Parveen Masih demanded that the government provide them with protection. They said they had already informed the Kasur district police officer of the threats.They also demanded the formation of a judicial commission to investigate the mob violence incident. The family said that minority representatives should be included in the joint investigation team (JIT) assigned to the case. “All we want is fair investigation of the case,” said Shahbaz, while demanding that Justice Waheed Saddiqui, a retired Federal Shariat Court judge, be included in judicial commission members. They called for the commission and the JIT to make their reports publicly available immediately after completion of the inquiry. Shahbaz also urged the Supreme Court take suo moto notice and order an inquiry into the attack. Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) Chairman Sajid Ishaq said that it was a test case for the country as government itself is a complainant in the case. “The government registered the case, terming the allegations of blasphemy false and baseless,” he said. He demanded exemplary punishment for the culprits so that no one misuses religion as an excuse to ‘resolve’ personal enmities in the future. He said, “If the perpetrators of Gojra, Joseph Colony and the Rimsha Masih case had been punished, no one would have dared to burn Shehzad and his wife.” He said the victims’ family was feeling insecure and fearing another extremist attack. “We want the government to relocate the family to a safer place to protect them from the people pressuring them,” said Ishaq. PIL Executive Director Nazia Ansari said it was time the government took steps to check the incidence of mob violence in blasphemy cases.
A Shia student including a girl and a driver were martyred and five other students wounded in a roadside explosion near a school van in Nasti Kot area of Kurram tribal region’s Parachinar district early on Tuesday. Takfiri terrorists of ASWJ-TTP planted a roadside bomb totarget innocent Shia students. Political administration officials said that an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was planted on the roadside and detonated as the school van passed nearby. The driver of the van and a child were killed in the explosion whereas several others were wounded. Officials added that the school van was completely destroyed in the blast. Emergency and security teams reached the blast site. The injured students were shifted to a agency headquarters hospital for treatment. Kurram agency, which is close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, is one of the seven regions in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), governed by tribal laws. http://en.shiapost.com/2014/11/18/shia-student-driver-martyred-in-roadside-blast-in-parachinar/
The state’s responsibility to provide basic education underpins all major efforts to universalise elementary education from industrial Europe to the US and Japan.A recent report by an NGO funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), run by a journalist/television personality/former diplomat/USAID contractor, on the state of elementary education in Pakistan has made the seemingly earth-shaking revelation that 25 million children, or roughly 50 percent of the children of schoolgoing age are not in schools. The report, titled ‘25 million broken promises’, is an obvious allusion to Article 25-A of the Pakistan Constitution promising the right to education “to all children of age five to 16 years”. It has used available data sources, none of which is tailored to the task at hand, to come to a conclusion in the hope of shocking the nation out of its slumber about a glaring aspect of our social dystopia. The 25 million figure, although lacking validation by demographers on technical grounds, is itself not particularly disputable. For more than two decades since Dr Mehboobul Haq raised the banner of human development under UN auspices, a slew of statistics showing the gaping gulf between economic and social development in South Asia, especially Pakistan, has failed to move people out of their comfort zone. Indeed, if anything, it has inured the country through a stunningly potent mixture of “complacency and bureaucracy”, compounded by self-serving donor initiatives and NGO collaborations that prefer to sweep basic structural issues under the rug for the sake of not disturbing the status quo. Such complacency and inertia has resulted in the explosion of a middle-class intifada (uprising) in the country. The state of economic and social accounting in Pakistan is among a myriad scandals that continue to plague and undermine the country’s economic management, which is often predicated on the need to embellish its performance to please donors or to fool the public rather than face ground realities. However, there is a high degree of consensus that the percentage of the population below the poverty line — which this author first estimated at 40 percent more than four decades ago — has increased considerably since then; some estimates put it at above two-thirds, depending on how one chooses to define poverty. Lack of education is an important correlate of poverty and there is likely to be close correspondence between households that are very poor and those whose children are out of school. In order to provide clarity on the issue, the report needed to elaborate more on the various definitions of schooling and distinctions between the qualities of schools. If the idea is to focus on the right to education with a basic minimum quality of education, if not a uniform quality of education for all, a large number of those children supposedly in schools, especially poor schools, will have to be counted as out of school. The report ought to have focused on this aspect of the disparity in access to education, rather than simply counting those who, through some stretch of the imagination, can be said to be going to ‘school’. In a rejoinder to the distinguished demographer Zeba Sattar, the authors of the Alif-Ailaan Report, Ms Naz and Ms Pastakia, admit: “The data is flawed. Publicly available sources for education statistics are marred by inconsistency, methodological problems and sampling issues.” If true, one wonders why the authors and the parent NGO and donors spent so much effort, resources and time on a task that could have been much more competently performed by a research-oriented organisation such as the planning commission, the ministry of education or many other organisations much better equipped than an ad hoc advocacy group, headed by a non-academic contractor and funded by donor agencies that have multiple political axes to grind. Despite the furore about raising awareness about education in Pakistan, the social apathy towards education remains unabated and public concern remains largely synthetic and confined to a narrow section of the educated population. The emphasis on the constitutional underpinnings of the right to education influences the manner of its delivery, making it the state’s primary responsibility. The idea of basic education as a public good is universally accepted because of the positive externalities provision entails. This is particularly true where poverty, economic deprivation and social exclusion make it difficult for large sections of the population to access private education, an elixir that is being strongly advocated by some influential persons. Some argue that “in future the government should not set up its own schools but fund the private provision of education so that children get free schooling”. The argument is based on the fact that “compared with 45,000 government schools in Punjab there are more than 60,000 private schools”, which they take as evidence “that the parents have been voting with their feet” and rejecting the services provided by the government. Perhaps it would be more apt to substitute purses for feet and protesting against the abdication of its responsibility as a reason for the lower proportion of government schools and the upsurge in the number of private schools. The state’s responsibility to provide basic education underpins all major efforts to universalise elementary education from industrial Europe to the US and Japan. In the second half of the 20th century, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and other economies in East Asia and more recently Vietnam and Malaysia followed similar plans for state-funded general expansions of education. With the exception of Sri Lanka, neo-colonised South Asia has failed to achieve universal literacy and education, with part of the gap being filled by religious schools. In Pakistan, during the Bhutto regime an ill-conceived attempt to step up the state’s role in education by nationalising schools backfired in the absence of any increase in the funding for education. After Zia’s coup, the nationalisation policy was reversed, giving school privatisation a big boost. This trend gained further impetus through the structural adjustment programmes of donors, who pushed the agenda of private education and a minimalist role for the state, not only in economic but also social fields. After the enactment of Article 25-A, the government, instead of mobilising more public resources for education and social sectors, is eager to outsource its responsibility to the private and NGO sectors, which is likely to make the goal of universalising education even more remote. The omission of these and many other institutional issues, including that of the continuing feudal hold in the countryside and of land mafias in the urban areas as well as the gaping inequalities in our economic system, make the Alif Ailan report sound like a hollow drum. Alif Ailan’s alarming numbers and bad news about out-of-school children are likely to fall on the deaf ears of those they intend to shock. However, those who matter remain largely unmoved, if not openly or consciously hostile to the idea of universal primary education.