Friday, February 15, 2019

Music Video - Indila - Tourner Dans Le Vide

Video - Pelosi Warns Of The Consequences Of A National Emergency - Stephen Colbert

Video Report - Why is Saudi Arabia sending oil tanker to Venezuela now?

Video Report - Turkey, Russia and Iran discuss Syria’s future

Video Report - #bombing #Kashmir #Jammu Protest breaks out in Kashmir after suicide bombing takes lives of 44

Video Report - #PulwamaAttack #KashmirAttack #India #Pakistan - Bomb attack in Kashmir: What will be Modi's 'befitting reply?'

Here are #Pakistan’s new strategies behind the #Pulwama terror attack

Pulwama suicide attack, use of a Kashmiri attacker, and a pre-attack video is an attempt by Pakistan to reassert its equities over Kashmir dispute.

on 14 February, Adil Ahmad Dar—a 20-year-old from Gundibagh village in Pulwama and former sawmill worker—mounted a vehicle-borne suicide attack on a CRPF convoy killing at least 38 jawans. Broadly speaking, Pakistan perpetrates these attacks in Kashmir and elsewhere in India because they help demonstrate that Islamabad has not been coerced into accepting the status quo.
However, this general expectation of Pakistani behaviour does not explain the particularly unique features of this attack. What are Pakistan’s strategic aims with this attack?

Calibrate the violence

The Pulwama attack reflects an interesting calibration of violence. There are three ways that Pakistan can escalate violence and the salience thereof. The first is the choice of geography. The least provocative venue is within Kashmir while the most provocative locations are the high-value urban targets like Delhi and Mumbai. In between are middle-tier cities beyond Kashmir such as Gurdaspur.
Second, is the choice of target. In India, the attacking of security forces seems to draw out more political ire and demands for revenge than when civilians are targeted. Third, is the kind of attack — suicide attacks perpetrated by Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), special operations preferred by LeT or the more quotidian uses of explosives against convoys and other acts of sabotage.
This attack, in Kashmir, against security forces using an extremely violent attack measure is specifically calibrated to test Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s will with a fraught election in the background.

Suicide attacks and the videotape

The use of a suicide car bomb has not been used by JeM in some 19 years. And usually, Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bombers are of Pakistani and Punjabi origin. But Adil Ahmad Dar was a youth from southern Kashmir. Politically, this is a major score given that few believe Jaish-e-Mohammed is a Kashmiri organisation.
However, this fact is likely tied to the video that he recorded before the attack. In the Palestinian suicide attacks, these videos served as a mechanism to ensure that the bomber will carry out the attack. In the event that he fails to do so, the organisation releases the video and the security forces capture the fellow or the organisation kills him—whichever happens first. This is the first time that such a video has been used, and I suspect that it likely reflects doubt that Dar would carry it out without this commitment video. However, having carried it out, the video will have enormous payback in terms of recruitment, fund raising and propaganda.

Islamic State and Al Qaeda

For some years, both the Islamic State (IS) and Al Qaeda (AQ) have taunted Muslims in Kashmir and elsewhere in India for not defending themselves against cow lynchings, the political standing of Hindutva organisations, failure to insist upon the rebuilding of the Babri Masjid while discussion of rebuilding the Ram Mandir is ascendant. Both AQ and IS have chided Kashmiri Muslims for being parochial and restricting their vision to the Kashmir battlespace. Both have sought to cast Kashmir as a part of a larger civilisational battle in which India and other countries are waging war on Muslims. Their goal is to establish a caliphate through jihad. While both AQ and IS are competing with each other, they are also competitors for Pakistan’s deep state. Both AQ and IS mock the Pakistan-based and Pakistan-backed militant groups as lackeys of Islamabad.
I view this suicide attack, the use of a Kashmiri attacker, and the use of the pre-attack video as an attempt by Pakistan to reassert its equities over the Kashmir dispute specifically and the India problem more generally. This interpretation is buttressed by the statements that Adil Ahmad Dar made in the video. Like AQ and IS, he chided Muslims for their docility and challenged them to rise up. He also had a message for northern Kashmiri Muslims that they need to put skin in the game and stop free-riding off of the sacrifices of Muslims in Southern Kashmir.

Jaish-e-Mohammed to the front

With Lashkar-e-Taiba involved in Pakistan’s internal battles against ISIS and other groups that engage in takfiri violence (such as the Deobandi Pakistani Taliban and sectarian groups), Jaish-e-Mohammed is likely to be the most common Pakistani group active in India for the time being. The reason for this is strategic. When Pakistan waged war against the Pakistani Taliban, the ISI and the army offered two routes by which Pakistani Taliban could rehabilitate themselves: they could go back to Afghanistan and fight for the Taliban or rejoin Jaish-e-Mohammed and go fight India. Those who demurred would be killed.
Both theatres are important for Pakistan today. With the United States withdrawing troops and handing Afghanistan back to Islamabad, there will be great interest in Pakistani Deobandi militants returning to Afghanistan to help the Taliban make more gains. At the same time, Jaish-e-Mohammed is a highly potent and loyal proxy with which to put pressure on India, even as India’s economy continues to grow and invests in the rebuilding of its security forces.

India’s options

India should consider a range of punitive measures ranging from sub-conventional operations against Pakistan’s terror-producing infrastructure as well as political measures such as backing away from the folly of the Kartarpur Corridor even though that is a difficult decision to undertake for domestic political reasons. Denuding Pakistan of its “most-favoured nation” status is way overdue. India can consider downgrading diplomatic ties, ousting the defence attache who is almost always the ISI station chief as well as others in the embassy suspected of facilitating terrorism. India should also immediately declare Pakistan a “state sponsor of terror”, while providing a path to rehabilitation should Pakistan ever bother. It is difficult to ask Washington DC to undertake a designation that India itself has not done.

US created this beast on the border

For the United States, President Donald Trump has used strong words against Pakistan and has even denied them monies that they have taken for granted. While Pakistan isn’t getting the cash, it got the prize — Afghanistan. It would be wishful thinking to expect this attack to educate Trump about the dangers of his policy preferences. However, one would like to think that Washington would consider declaring Pakistan to be a state sponsor of terror, applying sanctions to Pakistani military and civilians for whom there is enough intelligence of aiding terror. It should also press China to stop derailing efforts to list Jaish-e-Mohammed chief, Masood Azhar. Since the United States bares so much responsibility for creating the beast on the border, more than any other state, it has an obligation to slay the very beast it has nurtured.

#Pakistan - Social Media ‘Crackdown’

In the wake of a strong Supreme Court verdict on the Faizabad dharna, one would have expected governmental initiatives to curb religious extremism to be met with general praise. After all; the government was berated for allowing these groups to fester unchecked and the apex court had ordered the state and its law enforcement agencies to be more vigilant and proactive. Moreover, the civil society and the vast majority of the population had been asking for groups like Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) to be dismantled for years now, only for our demands to fall on deaf ears.
However, as the Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Wednesday announced that the government is gearing up to launch a crackdown against extremist narratives on social media in the next few weeks, the mood surrounding the statement was one of caution and dread. For while the focus of this new crackdown was ostensibly extremist narratives, this government’s past record of curbing media freedoms makes any regulation of social media platforms a dangerous proposition.
The government can still prove its detractors wrong and exclusively go after religious fundamentalists and banned groups who use social media to spread their message of intolerance, violence and sectarianism. It can shut down their communication channels and ensure that their armies on online trolls – who threaten individuals and inundate civil debates with blind hate – are made inoperative. It is sincerely hoped that the government sticks to the narrow definition of “religious extremists” and carries out the task diligently, and if it does it will certainly have the gratitude of the nation.
Yet, it is the multitude of loose terms used by Information Minister which cause alarm. Along with extremism the Information Minister has said the crackdown will prosecute those who commit “hate speech” and those who “break the law”. One only has to look at how civil society protesters are being treated by this government to understand how broadly these terms are defined. Criticism of the government could land you in jail for “defaming institutions” or “inciting violence”, while unwanted protests are often dubbed ‘disturbance of public peace”. The abuse of the law to clamp down on criticism is a common practice on the street – there is no reason to think this would be different on social media .
In fact it has the potential to be all the more problematic. Years of work behind legitimate online news services could be deleted with a press of a button – and with Fawad Chaudhry relishing the idea of “controlling” this new medium in every speech that he makes, this fear could become a reality soon.

OP-ED - Pushtuns in the land of Quaid

Asif Mahsud

 Being a tribal Pushtun myself, I can sense the disenfranchisement among Pushtuns in general and the youngsters in particular. The reason is obvious as they demand equal rights. They want peace in their region. And discontinuation of proxy wars in their areas. To put it in simple words, Pushtuns want to live a dignified and prosperous life. Factually, this is the least that citizens can demand from the state.
Now there should be no hurdle in meeting this demand, until the state has other aims to achieve in Pushtun dominated areas. As per Pushtun Tahaffuz Movement, peace is a prerequisite for human existence. And it’s justified too. Because war-like situation in the US states of Massachusetts would nullify the existence of Harvard. Same is the case in Pushtun belt, where hundreds of schools, hospitals and markets would be of no use in the absence of peace. For a teacher, doctor or businessman would be reluctant to teach, serve and invest respectively in a hostile region.
Under the unanimously agreed upon constitution, every citizen has equal rights. There is no concept of superior or inferior as per the law of the land. Every citizen has the right to live a dignified life. This constitution binds the various federating units having different cultures altogether. Ergo in such a diversified population the rights enshrined in state’s constitution should be given to all and sundry. There shouldn’t be any double standards.
Currently, the Pushtun community reckons that their land is intentionally used by the state to advance its strategic goals. To achieve this end, the powers-that-be always remain busy in keeping the region rife with conflict. This approach on the part of state has caused immense damage to the unity among Pakistanis. For misunderstandings occur because of the inequality prevalent in the land of pure.
Being a tribal Pushtun myself, I can sense the disenfranchisement among Pushtuns in general and the youngsters in particular. The reason is obvious as they demand equal rights
To add to it, since the inception of the country till date, Pushtuns have given innumerable sacrifices for the well-being of the state. They have sacrificed their lives and left their abodes for ensuring peace in the entire country. Despite all these sacrifices, it surprises them that their belt is not at par with other regions of the state. It doesn’t enjoy the same facilities which are available in rest of the country.
The state should learn from its past mistakes. As its wrong policies have fired back. Now a new policy should be formulated that should be based on ameliorating the state of affairs of the Pushtun belt. Moreover, restoring peace should be the central idea of this new approach. Given the present situation there is no alternative of peace. It would greatly help the government in triumphing the hearts and minds of disgruntled Pushtun youngsters.
The policy makers should take cognizance of the fact that this country belongs to 220 million people. It can’t be run by preferring one region over the other. Instead, all the communities should be viewed as integral part of the state. The current unrest in Pushtun areas shouldn’t be there as for years operations were conducted in the name of eradicating terrorists. Now the fact that these forces are again rearing heads is surprising. The Pushtun community can’t afford another war in their region. Therefore, issues should be resolved by taking them into confidence.

Suicide Attack In Iran Frames Visit To Pakistan By Saudi Crown Prince – Analysis

This week’s suicide attack on Revolutionary Guards in Iran’s south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchistan, the second in two months, could not have come at a more awkward moment for Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan.
The assault on a bus carrying the guards back from patrols on the province’s border with the troubled Pakistani region of Balochistan killed 27 people and wounded 13 others. It occurred days before Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was scheduled to visit Pakistan as part of a tour of Asian countries.
While Baluchistan is set to figure prominently in Prince Mohammed’s talks with Mr. Khan, the attack also coincided with a US-sponsored conference in Warsaw, widely seen as an effort by the Trump administration to further isolate Iran economically and diplomatically.
Inside the conference, dubbed The Ministerial to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that US policy was designed to force Iran to alter its regional and defense policies and not geared towards regime change in Tehran.
Yet, US President Donald J. Trump appeared to be sending mixed messages to the Iranians as well as sceptical European governments with his personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, addressing a rally outside the conference organized by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, a controversial Iranian exile group believed to enjoy Saudi backing.
Mr. Giuliani told the protesters who waved Iranian flags and giant yellow balloons emblazoned with the words, “Regime Change” that “we want to see a regime change in Iran.”
Mr. Trump appeared to fuel suspicion that Mr. Giuliani represented his true sentiment by tweeting on the eve of the Warsaw conference in a reference to the 40thanniversary of the Islamic revolution: “40 years of corruption. 40 years of repression. 40 years of terror. The regime in Iran has produced only #40YearsofFailure. The long-suffering Iranian people deserve a much brighter future.”
In a statement, the Revolutionary Guards blamed the attack on “mercenaries of intelligence agencies of world arrogance and domination,” a reference to Saudi Arabia, the United States and Israel.
Jaish-al-Adl (the Army of Justice), a Pakistan-based splinter group that traces its roots to Saudi-backed anti-Shiite groups with a history of attacks on Iranian and Shiite targets, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The group says it is not seeking Baloch secession from Iran. Instead, it wants to “force the regime of the guardianship of jurisconsult (Iran) to respect the demands of the Muslim Baloch and Sunni society alongside the other compatriots of our country.”
Militants targeted a Revolutionary Guards headquarters in December in a rare suicide bombing in Chabahar, home to Iran’s Indian-backed port on the Arabian Sea, a mere 70 kilometres from the Chinese supported port of Gwadar, a crown jewel in the Pakistani leg of the People’s Republic’s Belt and Road initiative.
The attacks coupled with indications that Saudi Arabia and the United States may be contemplating covert action against Iran using Pakistani Balochistan as a launching pad, and heightened Saudi economic and commercial interest in the province, frame Prince Mohammed’s upcoming talks in Islamabad.
During his visit, Prince Mohammed is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding on a framework for US$10 billion in Saudi investments.  
The memorandum includes a plan by Saudi national oil company Aramco to build a refinery in Gwadar as well as Saudi investment in Baluchistan’s Reko Diq copper and gold mine.
The investments would further enhance Saudi influence in Pakistan as well as the kingdom’s foothold in Balochistan.
They would come on the back of significant Saudi aid to help Pakistan evade a financial crisis that included a US$3 billion deposit in Pakistan’s central bank to support the country’s balance of payments and another US$3 billion in deferred payments for oil imports.
Taken together, the refinery, a strategic oil reserve in Gwadar and the mine would also help Saudi Arabia in potential efforts to prevent Chabahar from emerging as a powerful Arabian Sea hub.
Saudi funds have been flowing for some time into the coffers of ultra-conservative anti-Shiite, anti-Iranian Sunni Muslim madrassahs or religious seminars in Balochistan. It remains unclear whether they originate with the Saudi government or Saudi nationals of Baloch descent and members of the two million-strong Pakistani Diaspora in the kingdom. 
The funds help put in place potential building blocks for possible covert action should the kingdom and/or the United States decide to act on proposals to support irredentist activity.
The flow started at about the time that the Riyadh-based  International Institute for Iranian Studies, formerly known as the Arabian Gulf Centre for Iranian Studies, an allegedly Saudi government-backed think tank, published  a study that argued that Chabahar posed “a direct threat to the Arab Gulf states” that called for “immediate counter measures.”
If executed, covert action could jeopardize Indian hopes to use Chabahar to bypass Pakistan, significantly enhance its trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian nations and create an anti-dote to Gwadar.
Pakistani analysts expect an estimated US$ 5 billion in Afghan trade to flow through Chabahar after India in December started handling the port’s operations.
Iranian concerns that the attacks represent a US and/or Saudi covert effort are grounded not only in more recent US and Saudi policies, including Mr. Trump’s withdrawal last year from the 2015 international agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program despite confirmation of its adherence to the accord and re-imposition of harsh economic sanctions against the Islamic republic.
They are also rooted in US and Saudi backing of Iraq in the 1980s Gulf war, US overtures in the last year to Iranian Kurdish insurgents, the long-standing broad spectrum of support of former and serving US officials for the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and in recent years of Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former head of Saudi intelligence and ex-ambassador to the United States and Britain.
Said Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group’s Iran analyst: “The concern was never that the Trump admin would avert its eyes from Iran, but rather that is in inflicted by an unhealthy obsession with it. In hyping the threat emanating from Iran, Trump is more likely than not to mishandle it and thus further destabilize the Middle East.”

#PulwamaAttack - Trump bluntly tells Pakistan to end terrorism

The Trump White House on Friday bluntly asked Islamabad to “end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil” following the Pulwama attack, going much beyond a more cautious state department approach towards Islamabad. Although the State Department also condemned the attack in the “strongest terms” and said the “United States is resolutely committed to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms,” it lamely called on “all countries to uphold their responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists,” — as if, given that the statement was about the Pulwama attack, there was more than one country playing host to UN-designated terrorists.
President Trump’s office had no such equivocation as it implicitly accused Pakistan of fostering and inflicting terrorism on the region. Terming it a “heinous” terrorist attack, the White House said “The United States calls on Pakistan to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil, whose only goal is to sow chaos, violence, and terror in the region.”
“This attack only strengthens our resolve to bolster counterterrorism cooperation and coordination between the United States and India,” the statement added, going beyond the State Department’s formulation that “The United States is resolutely committed to working with the Indian government to combat terrorism in all its forms.” President Trump has whittled down US aid to Pakistan to almost zero, a policy that does not sit well with many State Department bureaucrats who believe Washington should continue to lubricate a state closely identified with the use of terrorism as a policy instrument.
It’s not often that the White House and the State Department read from a different page, but in this case, the White House unequivocally went beyond the rather circumspect formulation in Foggy Bottom to call out Pakistan for its terrorism. It is not clear if this was the result of any direct intervention by Trump, who is not known to pull punches in identifying adversaries, and who does not see Pakistan in any considerate light given its long and transparent history of hosting terrorists. The US President was engaged for the most part on Thursday and Friday with the scrap over border wall funding as he prepared to declare a national emergency.

#PulwamaAttack - India unleashes its military on Pakistan after a terror attack stoked the feud between the nuclear rivals

Alex Lockie
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday unleashed the country's military against rival Pakistan in response to a terror attack by Muslim separatists that killed 44 on Thursday.
Modi said his country's "blood boils" and gave his military a "free hand" to determine "the timing, place and nature of their response." India and Pakistan have been bitter rivals for years, and both countries have built nuclear arsenals to hold each other at bay.
Modi unleashing the military has been called an "abdication of political responsibility" that could lead to a "super dangerous" conflict between the nuclear rivals.Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi on Friday unleashed the country's military against rival Pakistan in response to a terror attack by Muslim separatists that killed 44 on Thursday. "I know there is deep anger, your blood boils looking at what has happened. At this moment, there are expectations and the feelings of a strong response which is quite natural," Modi said in a speech mourning the police forces killed and those injured.India regularly accuses Pakistan of training and arming militants and smuggling them across the border into the Indian region of Kashmir, a Muslim-majority region on the countries' shared border.
Following the terror attack, where an explosive-laden truck plowed into a bus carrying police forces, India said it had "incontrovertible evidence" of Pakistan's involvement in the attack. Pakistani-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed the attack, but Pakistan quickly denied any official involvement. "Our neighboring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialize," said Modi of Pakistan.
"Security forces have been given permission to take decisions about the timing, place and nature of their response," Modi continued.Rajesh Rajagopalan, a professor of international politic at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, tweeted that Modi's statement was an "abdication of political responsibility," because he handed over control of the response to the military. Christopher Clary, an international affairs expert and professor at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University of Albany, said that Modi unleashing the military had the potential to get out of control.
While Clary told Business Insider he didn't interpret Modi's words to mean he had authorized a major military action against Pakistan, cross-border conflicts happen frequently.
India and Pakistan have been bitter rivals for decades, but enjoyed a period of relative clam for the past few years. But recently, both Pakistan and India have grown in nationalist fervor, with online militias on Facebook and elsewhere lusting for blood and mocking each other's militaries and nations. Also, with Modi's Hindu-nationalist party facing elections later this year, the Indian leader may feel pressured to make a show of force.
If India engages in a cross-border strike as they appear set to, "it would be hard on Pakistan not to do something in retaliation. After a while, the back and forth can get super dangerous," said Clary. "We don't have that many countries with nuclear weapons that share a common border, so things can get pretty hairy."

 Additionally, the White House came down hard on Pakistan and urged them to "end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil."

#PulwamaAttack - Why #Kashmir attack could spark a military confrontation in South Asia

The militant attack in India-ruled Kashmir has once again put New Delhi and Islamabad on a war footing. Analysts at the Munich Security Conference say it is a setback to those who wish to see lasting peace in the region.
At least 41 Indian paramilitary troops were killed on Thursday in a suicide bombing in the Pulwama district of India-administered Kashmir. The Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which translates as "The Army of Mohammed," claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, according to local media.It was not the first time that the Islamist group allegedly perpetrated an attack in the Indian part of Kashmir, although the Thursday assault was the deadliest in the disputed region.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the attack as "dastardly," while other Indian officials said they have "incontrovertible evidence" that Islamabad had "a direct hand" in the bombing. They have vowed a harsh response to the attack.Pakistan's government, meanwhile, said it condemns acts of violence anywhere in the world and denied any involvement. The bombing immediately drew strong condemnation from the international community, including from the United States and Germany.
'No business as usual for India'
The bombing is a huge setback to the already turbulent India-Pakistan ties. The two nations have thorny relations and fought three full-fledged wars, two of them over the disputed Kashmir region. India blames Pakistan for supporting Islamist terror attacks on India. Pakistan routinely denies Indian accusations that it supports terrorism. Since the late 1980s, Kashmir's separatist insurgency has waxed and waned, but it began to pick up in the last five years as a fresh generation of Kashmiris was drawn to militancy.
Samir Saran, president of the New Delhi-based think tank Observer Research Foundation, told DW on the sidelines of this year's Munich Security Conference that there is no doubt that Pakistan was behind the latest Kashmir attack. He also accused Islamabad of waging an "asymmetrical war" against New Delhi. "It was a cold-blooded terrorist attack, conducted by militants from across the border, trained and funded by the proxy network sustained by Pakistan," Saran said.
He added that the Thursday attack could force India to react militarily and target militants' sanctuaries on the Pakistani side of the border. "After the attack, it can't be business as usual for New Delhi," the foreign policy and security analyst said.
With India set to hold a general election by May, Saran pointed out, the Modi government will be under pressure to show that it's acting tough on Pakistan. "This happened at a time when India is in the midst of or rather at the beginning of the election cycle... the prime minister will have to respond. Otherwise, he will appear weak and therefore all bets are off. I suspect this is bigger than we think it is."
'Hurtful' for Kashmir's political movement
Talat Bhat, a Kashmiri activist and documentary filmmaker based in Sweden, says he's worried that the latest deadly assault would "hurt" the peaceful political movement for the rights of the Kashmiri people.
"Pakistan needs to act against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other Islamist groups. The Pakistani army's 'strategic assets' are damaging the Kashmir cause, the cause for a national liberation movement. New Delhi gets away with its human rights violations as a result of such acts," Bhat told DW.
Toqeer Gilani, the president of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, also conceded that the latest Kashmir bombing was "damaging" for the "freedom movement" in the Himalayan region. "The assault would not bring any sympathy from the international community for the Kashmir plight. It will also increase an arms race in South Asia and keep the region backward," Gilani told DW.
Will China turn against Jaish-e-Mohammed?
India has once again demanded that Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader Maulana Masood Azhar be declared as terrorists by the United Nations. The group has its roots in another Islamic militant group active in Kashmir, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, which is believed to have links with al-Qaida. But New Delhi's UN efforts have been thwarted by Beijing, a close ally of Pakistan. How likely is it that China would reconsider its approach toward Jaish-e-Mohammed?
"China's role in this is not difficult to understand. Last year, Beijing blocked an attempt to declare Masood a terrorist. China considers India its enemy," Bhat said. But Gilani believes it would be hard for China to ignore the latest attack on Indian paramilitary personnel.
Siegfried O. Wolf, an expert at the Brussels-based South Asia Democratic Forum, says China is "indirectly" encouraging Pakistan. "Beijing will most likely not intervene in Pakistan's policy of backing militants that are operating in Afghanistan and India. Any measures against such groups, or the withdrawal of support, will be perceived as a hostile act by regional jihadists," Wolf told DW, adding that Beijing would not want that just for India's sake.
Experts say China's response to Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader would be crucial when it came to a possible international action against Kashmiri militants. There are growing calls in India for the government to take unilateral actions against these groups. Indians have also taken to social media to vent their fury and call for swift retribution against Pakistan. But the consequences of any unilateral action by New Delhi could be devastating for regional peace and relations between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rivals.

Indian PM Modi warns Pakistan of strong response for Kashmir attack

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Pakistan on Friday to expect a strong response to a car bomb attack on a military convoy in Kashmir that killed 44 paramilitary policemen, ratcheting up tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbors.Coming just months ahead of a general election in India, the attack was the worst in decades in Jammu and Kashmir, even though there has been a long running insurgency in the country’s only Muslim majority state.
“We will give a befitting reply, our neighbor will not be allowed to destabilize us,” Modi said in a speech, after meeting with security advisers earlier to discuss options.
The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility soon after a suicide bomber rammed a explosives-laden car into a bus carrying Central Reserve Police Force personnel on Thursday.
The White House urged Pakistan in a statement “to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil”.India said it had “incontrovertible evidence” of the Pakistan involvement in the attack. The Pakistan government responded with a stiff denial, while calling the attack a matter of “grave concern.”As outrage and demands for revenge flooded Indian social media sites, Arun Jaitley, one of the most senior figures in the Hindu nationalist-led government, spelt out New Delhi’s diplomatic response.“The ministry of external affairs will initiate all possible steps, and I am here referring to all possible diplomatic steps, which have to be taken to ensure the complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan,” Jaitley, the country’s finance minister, told reporters.The first step, he said, would include removing most favored nation (MFN) trade privileges that had been accorded to Pakistan - though annual bilateral trade between the two countries is barely $2 billion.
The last major attack in Kashmir was in 2016 when Jaish militants raided an Indian army camp in Uri, killing 20 soldiers. Weeks later, Modi ordered a surgical strike on suspected militant camps across the border in Pakistan Kashmir.
When he swept to power in 2014, Modi had vowed to tough line with mostly Muslim Pakistan. The two countries have gone to war three times since independence from Britain in 1947, twice over Kashmir.The Line of Control, the disputed de facto border dividing Indian and Pakistani held Kashmir is widely regarded as one of the world’s most dangerous flashpoints, especially after the two countries became nuclear armed states in 1998.
Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are deployed in Kashmir. Having waxed and waned since the late 1980s, the insurgency began to intensify in the last five years as a fresh generation of Kashmiris were drawn to militancy. And since last year, the number of attacks has increased.Soon after Thursday’s attack, Jaish released photographs and a video of Adil Ahmad Dar, a young Kashmiri villager it said had carried out the suicide attack on the convoy as it passed through Pulwama district.In the video, Dar warned of more attacks to avenge human rights violations in Kashmir.
Jaish is one of the most deadly groups operating in Kashmir, and has a long history of strikes against India.
In 2001, it mounted a deadly attack on the parliament in New Delhi that brought India and Pakistan to the brink of another war. India’s past efforts to add Jaish’s supremo, Maulana Masood Azhar, to a U.N. Security Council blacklist of al Qaeda-linked terrorists have been blocked by China.
Indian forces picked up seven people for questioning, after mounting a sweep in Pulwama, a police official said.
The bus in which the paramilitary personnel were traveling was part of a convoy of more than 70 vehicles on the heavily guarded Jammu-Srinagar highway.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said there were security lapses and authorities are investigating why such a large convoy, transporting nearly 2,500 security personnel, was on the road.

Peshawar to Pulwama, how Pakistan differentiates snakes in its backyard & front yard

The Pakistani establishment believes the snakes it rears in its front yard will only bite its neighbour. The school attack didn’t change that deadly delusion.

There was much disagreement in the commentariat in the winter of 2014. In the week of the massacre of Pakistani Army officers’ children in their school in Peshawar, I disagreed with the dominant view that it will be a turning point and the Pakistani establishment will be jolted into giving up on all terrorists. If Samba, Gurdaspur, Pathankot and Uri weren’t yet convincing enough evidence, this Pulwama carnage once again shows that our pessimism was, regrettably, realistic.
I had said then that the Pakistani establishment will surely squash snakes in its backyard. But it believes the snakes it rears in its front yard will only bite its neighbour. This deadly delusion even Peshawar will not demolish. This has been vindicated many times over since. When it comes to India and Afghanistan, the Pakistani establishment is addicted to terror.
This is what I had then written:
There is much revulsion in India over that mass slaughter in Peshawar. There is sympathy for Pakistan. But it is also laced with some serves-you-right schadenfreude, a little bit of I-told-you-so and the inevitable: Will you still keep rearing snakes in your backyard hoping they will bite only your neighbours?
This complex reaction is entirely in the nature of how estranged cousins in a subcontinental family relate to each other. We feel a fraternal, even filial connect. But also with a patronising sense of let-down and grievance. You know me so well, we are brothers, why don’t you ever listen to me?
Some of this has been on display this week. Within 24 hours of this most shattering massacre, and not long after schoolchildren elsewhere had observed their two-minute silence, we were returning to “normal”. On the Pakistani side there were the expected blame-India noises, led by a terrorist with a $10-million global bounty on his head, and every public appearance of his is like running a finger in India’s eye. His prime-time Sancho Panza is the subcontinent’s most prized and delinquent idiot to hold high public office. Even if we parade our worst, we Indians can’t rival Hafiz Saeed and Pervez Musharraf. But we can certainly be equals in the game of competitive cussedness.
I have written often that the media, particularly 24×7 TV, is no longer a force for liberal moderation on either side, and true to form, warrior anchors had locked horns again, barracking “guests” from the other side. Sure enough, while grieving families were still not done with funeral prayers, we were already at the pickets, asking them how long will they keep nurturing Hafiz Saeed and his Lashkars, as they accused us of complicity and crediting our RAW with mythical prowess so formidable as to greatly embarrass it.
None of this us-versus-them-versus-us business is funny. These chronic prejudices cloud our judgment, influence our responses. As the extent of the tragedy unfolded, even my immediate reaction was that this, finally, was the turning point. Only an utterly suicidal terror group would target the children of its own country’s army. Even the old mafia refrained from attacking policemen and almost never hit their families. Now, I thought at once, this will remove all old notions like equivocation, good/bad terrorist finessing, militias in the west (of Pakistan) are my enemies and those in the east my force-multipliers. That it will make the Pakistani establishment see the light, that one set of terrorists is as bad as the other and that you can’t be fighting one while feeding the other. Within 24 hours, I was eating my words.
There was plenty of fight-to-the-finish talk against terror, also that there are no good or bad Taliban, but not a line to suggest the Lashkars were also to be put in the same basket. If anything, the establishment was probably complicit in letting Saeed come out vocally and re-state his jihad threat against India. Saeed would not do this in defiance of his patrons.
Further, the one line we never heard from anybody in authority in Pakistan was: There is no place for any armed non-state actor, Taliban or Lashkars, Pathan or Punjabi, foreign or indigenous, on our soil. All attack was confined to terrorists of the Taliban, there was even sympathy for Afghanistan and appreciation for its President Ashraf Ghani’s promise of cooperation. It was so cynically nuanced that you couldn’t help believing that even in this moment of its country’s worst terror tragedy, weeks after another shattering outrage at Wagah, the establishment was not going to change the way it defined friend and foe. Or that it would get Saeed to shut up.
Surely, the Pakistan Army’s campaign against the Taliban is for real. It is a counter-insurgency of an intensity never seen in the subcontinent with generous use of air power, including assault helicopters. The Pakistan Army doesn’t always make its casualties public, but if you trawl its military blogs and discussion groups carefully, you find evidence that it is taking severe casualties, including many young officers, in its sizeable special forces. This is real war, and it is because the army is doing serious damage that the Taliban have now hit their children. You can be quite safe in concluding that if there is a point of inflexion in any insurgency, organised armed challenge to state power, it must be this. Even on our side of Punjab, the turning point came in 1992 when Sikh terrorists had carried out widespread killings of policemen’s families overnight. That is when Punjab Police decided that the fight against terror was theirs and accomplished in months what the army and paramilitary forces had failed to do in a decade. For the Pakistan Army, the killing of their schoolchildren in Peshawar is a similar turning point.
At the same time, I am not yet buying the argument that this is the turning point to change the course of the future. The Pakistani establishment remains umbilically connected to the Islamist ideology of nation-building, way to the Right of the ideals of its founding fathers. This discourse is rooted in fearful insecurity and suspicion, particularly, though not only, of the bigger brother, with what you see as a conflicting ideology of nation-building.
If Pakistan is being redefined from the mid-fifties onwards as anything but India, permanent hostility must substitute any residual kinship. Then comes the reality check: The size of India’s economy, military, the strength and stability of its society. To the simplistic, tactical military mind, this creates an “asymmetry”, so what better way to fight it than with “asymmetric” warfare. That’s how India-centric jihadis become force-multipliers, a strategic asset.
This, I dare say regretfully, is not about to change.
The only way to reverse this is to persuade Pakistani public opinion to embrace the truth that the existentialist Indian threat they have been fed on is a cynical, self-destructive mythology which does no more than protect their army’s pre-eminence in the power structure, undermines their economy, and diminishes them into a global migraine rather than the largest Muslim population with modern democracy, and thereby a model for the rest of the Islamic world. Indonesia had got there much earlier, and now is Bangladesh catching up. Pakistan has brought this curse upon itself, that while Iraq and Afghanistan were invaded and Palestinians were dispossessed of their lands, the world’s angriest Muslims live in Pakistan. Which is also today the second biggest victim of terrorism, all of it home-grown.
American public figures are masters of the sound bite. If Madeleine Albright imprinted her TM on her description of Pakistan as a global migraine and Bill Clinton wagged his finger at Islamabad saying the map of the subcontinent could no longer be redrawn with blood, the current favourite is Hillary. Her warning as Secretary of State, that you can’t rear snakes in your backyard and hope they will only bite your neighbours, will be repeated often after the Peshawar outrage. There is, however, a vital flaw in her argument. The way the Pakistani establishment looks out, it has a backyard, but also a front yard. The snakes it rears in its front yard still only bite the neighbour. That deadly delusion even Peshawar will not fray.