Protests in Oman Spread

By NADA BAKRI

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Demonstrators blocked roads and clashed with police on Monday in Oman, the normally quiet oil-rich country along the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, as three-day-old protests calling for political reforms and better living conditions spread to Muscat, the capital.

In the northeast port city of Sohar, where the protests originated, demonstrators blocked roads to the port, Oman’s second biggest, and an industrial area that includes a refinery and an aluminum factory, according to two witnesses in Sohar and news agencies. They also set a supermarket on fire and clashed with the police. Protesters have also been camped out for three days in the city’s main square, called Kurra Ardiyah Roundabout, despite efforts by police and army to push them out, a resident in Sohar said by e-mail. …

Read more : The New York Times

International Pressure on Qaddafi Intensifies

Qaddafi’s Army and Jets Strike at Rebels

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

BENGHAZI, Libya — Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back on three fronts on Monday, using fighter jets, special forces units and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya closer to civil war.

The attacks by the colonel’s troops on an oil refinery in central Libya and on cities on either side of the country unsettled rebel leaders — who earlier had claimed they were close to liberating the country — and showed that despite defections by the military, the government still possessed powerful assets, including fighter pilots willing to bomb Libyan cities.

But the ease with which at least one assault, on the western city of Zawiyah, was repelled by anti-government forces raised questions about the ability of the government to muster a serious challenge to the rebels’ growing power.

An international campaign to force Colonel Qaddafi from power gathered pace on Monday as the Obama administration announced it had seized $30 billion in Libyan assets and the European Union adopted an arms embargo and other sanctions. As the Pentagon began repositioning Navy warships to support a possible humanitarian or military intervention, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly told the Libyan leader to surrender power “now, without further violence or delay.” …

Read more : The New York Times

Doctor of Shame: Secrets revealed!!! Must Watch

Faisal Raza Abidi & Samina Khawer Hayat revealed secrets of the doctor of Shame in program Khari Baat – 28th Feb 2011 -!!! The language of the program is urdu/ Hindi. Must Watch!

Courtesy: DunyaTV (Khari Baat with Mubashir Lukman, 28 Feb. 2011)

via – Siasat – via- Punjab RangYou Tube

Reforms in Pakistan Army

by Azhar

Let me reproduce the examples of some other reforms which were undertaken to bring British Army under the control of parliament and to integrate the induction/workding of WOMEN in the army (Annex I).

Taking this opportunity I would also like to reproduce some of my earlier messages regarding the induction of pure provincial regiments/ battalions (Annex II) (which is akin to localization scheme in Cardwell’s reforms) and abolishment of Military Hospitals (Annex III) and Cadet Colleges/ Army Schools (Annex IV).

I think this provides sufficient body of starting background to initiate a campaign for defense review in Pakistan. There are many other points that could be added e.g., abolishment of DHAs, Cantonment Boards, etc., banning the Army/ Military from involving in the provision/business of social services (education, health, transportation, banks, petrol pumps etc just to name a few) and allowing army personnel to go to civil courts etc.

Read more about the Reforms in the British Army: Wikipedia

Source: Pakistani e-lists,  February 28, 2011

CIA – ISI, impending divorce or trial separation?

Lovers tiff, impending divorce or trial separation?

by Omar Ali

Excerpt:

…… 2. The romantic Left delusion. This is the belief that Pakistan’s corrupt elite deserves to be overthrown by the lower classes and the Taliban are (an unfortunate but expected) instrument of this necessary revolution. Actually the first part of this delusion is not a delusion. The Pakistani elite is not just corrupt, they have been practically suicidal. Where other corrupt third world elites have mismanaged the state, provided poor governance, oppressed the poor and failed to evolve a stable political system, Pakistan’s elite (which in this case means the army high command and their supporters) have done something no other third world elite has managed. They have armed, trained and encouraged their own executioners in the course of a demented scheme of trying to wrest Kashmir from India while laying the foundation for a mini-empire in central Asia. But the second part of this delusion is the real delusion here. The Pakistani Taliban is not the Bolshevik party; in fact, they are not even the Iranian Mullahs. They were created by the army as an outgrowth of the American-sponsored Afghan jihad. Their leadership is derived from the Madrasahs and think tanks sponsored by Saudi money and inspired by Syed Qutb and the most virulent Wahhabi and Salafist clerics in the world. They were guided by the jihadist faction of GHQ, men inspired by Maudoodi and his children, not by Marx or even Ali Shariati. They have absolutely no workable social or economic plan. If they do overthrow the elite, what follows will be a nightmare of historic proportions. If the whole thing does not dissolve into anarchy, it will be stabilized by an army coup. After purging liberals and hanging Veena Malik, the dictatorship of the mullahtariat will degenerate into an Islamic version of Myanmar, not revolutionary Iran or Castro’s Cuba.

Cia So, coming back to our original topic: does the Raymond Davis affair reflect a lover’s spat or an impending divorce? My guess is that its not a divorce. The US has few options and neither does Pakistan. We are probably in for more of the same, but with a chance that one of these days the ISI will find itself the victim of too much success and will not be able to pull back from the brink of divorce. Meanwhile, when the only tool you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. So I expect the state department to pass out more money to GHQ, I expect the CIA to fund some new insane lunatic fringe to counter their last lunatic fringe, I expect the Pentagon to ask for more money for weapons and a good hard “shock and awe campaign”, I expect professors in San Francisco to blame colonialism, and I expect Islamists to blow themselves up with even greater devotion. May Allah protect us from anything worse.

To read full article : 3QuarksDaily

Let’s give Sindh a helping hand

Gulf News Editorial: Humanitarian bodies must ensure food and medical aid reach those affected by floods

Time has stopped for the hapless survivors in Sindh whose lives were turned upside down by the severe floods that hit the Pakistani province last year.

Surveys carried out in the wake of that disaster have revealed the extent of acute malnutrition in the region. The issue has been highlighted only recently due to prevailing social conditions and the lack of contact between the people and medical experts. Poverty levels have been at an all-time high for decades as a result of which the lives of thousands of children are also at risk.

Unicef has found that the percentage of those hit by the problem is higher than the 15 per cent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and on par with the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa. It has also been noted that women form a larger part of the overall figure.

While efforts are being made to address this problem, humanitarian organisations must galvanise themselves to ensure that the thousands who have been affected can obtain food and medical relief. …

Read more : Gulfnews

Indian budget projects economic growth

India’s government has unveiled its annual budget, saying that the economy is expected to grow at 9% in 2012.

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the growth rate for the current fiscal year was projected at 8.5%.

He said inflation would decrease over the next fiscal year – the current rate is 8.4%. But food price inflation, at 17%, “remains a concern”.

Mr Mukherjee promised action on food security and pledged an increase in social spending. …

Read more : BBC

Security Council Calls for War Crimes Inquiry in Libya

The U.N. Security Council called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens.

By EDWARD WYATT

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously on Saturday night to impose sanctions on Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, and his inner circle of advisers, and called for an international war crimes investigation into “widespread and systemic attacks” against Libyan citizens who have protested against the government over the last two weeks.

The vote, only the second time the Security Council has referred a member state to the International Criminal Court, comes after a week of bloody crackdowns in Libya in which Colonel Qaddafi’s security forces have fired on protesters, killing hundreds.

Also on Saturday, President Obama said that Colonel Qaddafi had lost the legitimacy to rule and should step down. His statement, which the White House said was made during a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, was the strongest yet from any American official against Colonel Qaddafi.

The Security Council resolution also imposes an arms embargo against Libya and an international travel ban on 16 Libyan leaders, and freezes the assets of Colonel Qaddafi and members of his family, including four sons and a daughter. Also included in the sanctions were measures against defense and intelligence officials who are believed to have played a role in the violence against civilians in Libya. …

Read more : The New York Times

Unfit for Democracy? – NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Is the Arab world unready for freedom? A crude stereotype lingers that some people — Arabs, Chinese and Africans — are incompatible with democracy. Many around the world fret that “people power” will likely result in Somalia-style chaos, Iraq-style civil war or Iran-style oppression.

That narrative has been nourished by Westerners and, more sadly, by some Arab, Chinese and African leaders. So with much of the Middle East in an uproar today, let’s tackle a politically incorrect question head-on: Are Arabs too politically immature to handle democracy?

This concern is the subtext for much anxiety today, from Washington to Riyadh. And there’s no question that there are perils: the overthrow of the shah in Iran, of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, of Tito in Yugoslavia, all led to new oppression and bloodshed. Congolese celebrated the eviction of their longtime dictator in 1997, but the civil war since has been the most lethal conflict since World War II. If Libya becomes another Congo, if Bahrain becomes an Iranian satellite, if Egypt becomes controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood — well, in those circumstances ordinary citizens might end up pining for former oppressors.

“Before the revolution, we were slaves, and now we are the slaves of former slaves,” Lu Xun, the great Chinese writer, declared after the toppling of the Qing dynasty. Is that the future of the Middle East?

I don’t think so. Moreover, this line of thinking seems to me insulting to the unfree world. In Egypt and Bahrain in recent weeks, I’ve been humbled by the lionhearted men and women I’ve seen defying tear gas or bullets for freedom that we take for granted. How can we say that these people are unready for a democracy that they are prepared to die for?

We Americans spout bromides about freedom. Democracy campaigners in the Middle East have been enduring unimaginable tortures as the price of their struggle — at the hands of dictators who are our allies — yet they persist. In Bahrain, former political prisoners have said that their wives were taken into the jail in front of them. And then the men were told that unless they confessed, their wives would promptly be raped. That, or more conventional tortures, usually elicited temporary confessions, yet for years or decades those activists persisted in struggling for democracy. And we ask if they’re mature enough to handle it?

Read more : Wichaar

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk: The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil

The Middle East earthquake of the past five weeks has been the most tumultuous, shattering, mind-numbing experience in the history of the region since the fall of the Ottoman empire. For once, “shock and awe” was the right description.

The docile, supine, unregenerative, cringing Arabs of Orientalism have transformed themselves into fighters for the freedom, liberty and dignity which we Westerners have always assumed it was our unique role to play in the world. One after another, our satraps are falling, and the people we paid them to control are making their own history – our right to meddle in their affairs (which we will, of course, continue to exercise) has been diminished for ever.

The tectonic plates continue to shift, with tragic, brave – even blackly humorous – results. Countless are the Arab potentates who always claimed they wanted democracy in the Middle East. King Bashar of Syria is to improve public servants’ pay. King Bouteflika of Algeria has suddenly abandoned the country’s state of emergency. King Hamad of Bahrain has opened the doors of his prisons. King Bashir of Sudan will not stand for president again. King Abdullah of Jordan is studying the idea of a constitutional monarchy. And al-Qa’ida are, well, rather silent.

Who would have believed that the old man in the cave would suddenly have to step outside, dazzled, blinded by the sunlight of freedom rather than the Manichean darkness to which his eyes had become accustomed. Martyrs there were aplenty across the Muslim world – but not an Islamist banner to be seen. The young men and women bringing an end to their torment of dictators were mostly Muslims, but the human spirit was greater than the desire for death. They are Believers, yes – but they got there first, toppling Mubarak while Bin Laden’s henchmen still called for his overthrow on outdated videotapes.

But now a warning. It’s not over. We are experiencing today that warm, slightly clammy feeling before the thunder and lightning break out. Gaddafi’s final horror movie has yet to end, albeit with that terrible mix of farce and blood to which we are accustomed in the Middle East. And his impending doom is, needless to say, throwing into ever-sharper perspective the vile fawning of our own potentates. Berlusconi – who in many respects is already a ghastly mockery of Gaddafi himself – and Sarkozy, and Lord Blair of Isfahan are turning out to look even shabbier than we believed. Those faith-based eyes blessed Gaddafi the murderer. I did write at the time that Blair and Straw had forgotten the “whoops” factor, the reality that this weird light bulb was absolutely bonkers and would undoubtedly perform some other terrible act to shame our masters. And sure enough, every journalist is now going to have to add “Mr Blair’s office did not return our call” to his laptop keyboard.

Everyone is now telling Egypt to follow the “Turkish model” – this seems to involve a pleasant cocktail of democracy and carefully controlled Islam. But if this is true, Egypt’s army will keep an unwanted, undemocratic eye on its people for decades to come. As lawyer Ali Ezzatyar has pointed out, “Egypt’s military leaders have spoken of threats to the “Egyptian way of life”… in a not so subtle reference to threats from the Muslim Brotherhood. This can be seen as a page taken from the Turkish playbook.” The Turkish army turned up as kingmakers four times in modern Turkish history. And who but the Egyptian army, makers of Nasser, constructors of Sadat, got rid of the ex-army general Mubarak when the game was up?

And democracy – the real, unfettered, flawed but brilliant version which we in the West have so far lovingly (and rightly) cultivated for ourselves – is not going, in the Arab world, to rest happy with Israel’s pernicious treatment of Palestinians and its land theft in the West Bank. Now no longer the “only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel argued desperately – in company with Saudi Arabia, for heaven’s sake – that it was necessary to maintain Mubarak’s tyranny. It pressed the Muslim Brotherhood button in Washington and built up the usual Israeli lobby fear quotient to push Obama and La Clinton off the rails yet again. Faced with pro-democracy protesters in the lands of oppression, they duly went on backing the oppressors until it was too late. I love “orderly transition”. The “order” bit says it all. Only Israeli journalist Gideon Levy got it right. “We should be saying ‘Mabrouk Misr!’,” he said. Congratulations, Egypt!

Yet in Bahrain, I had a depressing experience. King Hamad and Crown Prince Salman have been bowing to their 70 per cent (80 per cent?) Shia population, opening prison doors, promising constitutional reforms. So I asked a government official in Manama if this was really possible. Why not have an elected prime minister instead of a member of the Khalifa royal family? He clucked his tongue. “Impossible,” he said. “The GCC would never permit this.” For GCC – the Gulf Co-operation Council – read Saudi Arabia. And here, I am afraid, our tale grows darker.

We pay too little attention to this autocratic band of robber princes; we think they are archaic, illiterate in modern politics, wealthy (yes, “beyond the dreams of Croesus”, etc), and we laughed when King Abdullah offered to make up any fall in bailouts from Washington to the Mubarak regime, and we laugh now when the old king promises $36bn to his citizens to keep their mouths shut. But this is no laughing matter. The Arab revolt which finally threw the Ottomans out of the Arab world started in the deserts of Arabia, its tribesmen trusting Lawrence and McMahon and the rest of our gang. And from Arabia came Wahabism, the deep and inebriating potion – white foam on the top of the black stuff – whose ghastly simplicity appealed to every would-be Islamist and suicide bomber in the Sunni Muslim world. The Saudis fostered Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida and the Taliban. Let us not even mention that they provided most of the 9/11 bombers. And the Saudis will now believe they are the only Muslims still in arms against the brightening world. I have an unhappy suspicion that the destiny of this pageant of Middle East history unfolding before us will be decided in the kingdom of oil, holy places and corruption. Watch out. ….

Read more : The Independent.co.uk

Oman police fire tear gas at protesters

Oman police fire tear gas at protesters: witnesses, Agence France Presse

Omani security forces fired tear gas on Sunday at protesters who tried to storm a police station in Sohar, northwest of the capital Muscat, witnesses said.

The protesters attempted to attack a police station near Earth Roundabout, where some 250 demonstrators were holding a sit-in, before security forces forced them back with tear gas, the witnesses told AFP.

There were casualties among the protesters, who were mostly unemployed and were demanding jobs, better salaries and measures to curb corruption, the witnesses said. …

Read more : YahooNews

The great war of the 21st century?

Gerald Celente, the man behind the famous Trends Journal, is Max Keiser’s guest for this edition of Press TV’s On the Edge. The main focus the show is on the relationship between Middle East uprisings and financial changes as a result of such political transformations. Enjoy.

You Tube

 

JSMM leader picked up: wife

HYDERABAD, Feb 25: A woman has appealed to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and the Chief Justice Sindh High Court to take notice of the disappearance of her husband and help her to know his whereabouts.

She also sought assistance of international human rights organisations, nationalist leaders, writers and intellectuals in finding out where he was being kept and urged them to protest over his detention.

Saima Bhutto – wife of Muzaffar Bhutto, General Secretary of the Jeay Sindh Mutahedda Mahaz (JSMM) – has alleged that her husband was arrested by secret agencies at the New Saeedabad Toll Plaza when he was going to Hyderabad in his car on Thursday night.

She said at a press conference on Friday that her husband struggled for liberation of Sindh under the leadership of JSMM Chairman Shafi Mohammd Burfat. ….

Read more : DAWN
M
ore » http://www.dawn.com/2011/02/26/jsmm-leader-picked-up-wife.html

Freedom is ‘God’s gift to humanity’

By SALIM MANSUR, QMI Agency

As people’s insurrections spread in the Arab world, it might be useful for those watching the mayhem gather pace to take time out from television and reach for some historical perspective.

There is no substitute for such perspective to put in context the Arab drama unfolding before our eyes. And like a play of several acts, it will have many scene changes before the curtain eventually comes down.

From North Africa to the Persian Gulf, Arab regimes are trembling. Some will fall and others will change colours to barely survive.

The Libyan thug Moammar Gadhafi did not imagine his thugocracy could so quickly unravel. He might meet the fate of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, executed by his rebellious soldiers, or that of Saddam Hussein, with a noose around his neck.

But as the drama unfolds, three things will increasingly stand out.

First, former president George W. Bush, despite those who ridiculed him, was right in insisting, “Freedom is not America’s gift to the world; it is God’s gift to all humanity.” …

Read more : TORONTO SUN

Poverty and Richness

By: Bhittai

We want to be rich to be happy, but if we are not happy after being rich then the effort is useless. Most of the time we think that rich people are very happy and the poor are unhappy but that’s not true. The real joy in life comes from the friends, family, the environment and atmosphere, in other words from the society we live in; not the riches. If we knew the truth behind happiness we would like to work more for the betterment of the society than our own self.

Richness either comes from luck/inheritance, hard work or injustices. If we work too hard to be rich then that is useless if it makes us sick and tired. If we get rich by hurting people and by doing injustices then we are causing lawlessness and disorder in the society which will make everybody unhappy eventually. If we are rich because we are lucky then it is a gift from God and we should be thankful; and to be really thankful is to share the bounty among the poor.

More over when we are rich we have normally bad life style which hurts our own self and our health than anybody else. Rich people have responsibility to take care of the downtrodden otherwise there will be rage and revolt which will bring discomfort and destruction to all. Not only that, the rich people are in the laundry list of the criminals who want to rob them of their riches. The wealth which we think will make us happy in fact makes us worrisome.

We don’t live in seclusion, we live in a society. We like to socialize as we are social animals. Our life would come to an end and we will be very unhappy if we are cut off from the society. We know this but we don’t realize that much. If society is corrupt, immoral, full of criminals and with the most corrupt people as our custodians then unhappiness, anger and sadness is our destiny. Therefore we should always strive to build a great society and culture rather than deceiving ourselves with the riches.

Courtesy: http://bhittai.wordpress.com/2011/02/26/poverty-and-richness/

Godhra Train Burning: A Conspiracy BUT not by Muslims

BURN AFTER READING

If there was a “conspiracy” in Godhra, it was not by the Muslims. ASHISH KHETAN picks apart Judge Patel’s verdict and shows how a devious lie was constructed.

THE HORRIFIC burning of 59 Hindus in coach S-6 of the Sabarmati Express at Godhra on 27 February 2002 and the deadly Muslim pogrom that followed is one of the worst ruptures in recent Indian history. …

Read more : Tehelka.com

Controversial Kalabagh Dam will hurt the interests of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh and Pakistan as well

A Case Against Kalabagh Dam: Aziz Narejo

Filling in the Dots: Why PILDAT is Reviving Kalabagh Debate: Introductory Note by Kamran Shafi

Kalabagh Dam is a very bad idea indeed. If ONLY for the reason that 3 out of 4 federating units of this blessed country have rejected it.

I am familiar enough with the Mardan-Nowshera-Charsadda area well enough to know that when without this monstrosity there is water standing along the roads just three feet below the level of the road there has to be a big problem of water-logging already.

I can only hope that sense prevails and that our already frayed federation is not damaged further.

We also must ask the question WHY an organisation whose goal is “to strengthen and sustain democracy and democratic institutions” in this poor country should re-raise a hugely contentious issue like the Kalabagh Dam? Which has been DEMOCRATICALLY rejected by three-fourths of the country.

– = – = – = –

A case Against Kalabagh Dam – by Aziz Narejo

A recent seminar in Karachi organized by an NGO, PILDAT has again brought the issue of Kalabagh Dam to the fore. Especially an irrational and unscrupulous statement at the seminar by IRSA chairman (from Punjab) has flared up the emotions among the stakeholders.

Actually he is not alone in this. There is a certain lobby in Pakistan, which continues to insist on the construction of Kalabagh Dam on Indus River ignoring the fierce opposition from the provinces of Khyber- Pakhtoonkhwa and Sindh …

Read more : Indus Herald

PAKISTAN: Two more disappeared persons are extrajudicially killed in Balochistan to destroy evidence of abduction by law enforcement agencies

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the bodies of two disappeared persons have been found in a remote area. The bodies bore bullet wounds and marks of torture. Both victims were abducted from Karachi, Sindh province at different times but their bodies were found together 500 kilometers near the Gwader district, Balochistan province. Both the bodies were lying side by side in an abandoned place. It was witnessed that both were abducted by persons in uniformed and in plain clothes that identified themselves to the onlookers as being from the state security agencies.

Disappearances in Balochistan have become the routine work of the Frontier Corps (FC) and state intelligence agencies. Since last year the law enforcement authorities have introduced a new trend in which they kill the disappeared person extra judicially so as to destroy any possible evidence of their involvement. …

Read more : AHRC

Yemen Protests: How Long Can They Hang Tough Against the Thugs?

By Oliver Holmes / Sana’a

The mood at the makeshift camp is almost festive if it were not for the angle — small tents encircle an obelisk that men climb to scream mantras against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the military leader who has been in power in Yemen for over three decades. People hand out food, sing and even spend their days dancing in this spot in front of the University of Sana’a in the capital. Numbering around 2,000, they are the true believers of the anti-regime cause, desperately trying to rally in bigger numbers, explaining their relatively small numbers (compared to the massive turn-outs in Egypt) by saying that their fellow citizens are staying away due to a mixture of apathy and fear.

Fear is just up the road, almost out of sight but never out of mind. There, the baltegeya, the thugs, are waiting, armed with guns, rocks, shards of concrete and wooden batons.(See the woman leading Yemen’s protests.)

Read more: Time.com

In the US, where 45 per cent of young African Americans have no jobs and the top hedge-fund managers are paid $1bn a year on average, mass protests against cuts in services & jobs have spread to heartland states such as Wisconsin

Behind the Arab revolt lurks a word we dare not speak

BY John Pilger

The people of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan and Libya are rising up not only against their leaders, but also western economic tyranny. …

Read more : NewStatesman

Youths protest against democracy in Punjab!?

Youths protest against democracy

By Rameez Khan

LAHORE: Some 150 youths gathered at the Liberty roundabout on Sunday in a protest organised via social networking site Facebook, to demand that Pakistan scrap its democratic political system and replace it with an “Islamic” system of governance. …

Read more : The Express Tribune

PRO-DEMOCRACY” MOVEMENTS BREAKING OUT ALL OVER?

by Kam Zarrabi

How could we refer to the recent upheavals in Tunisia and Egypt or, for that matter, the 2009 post elections demonstrations in Tehran, as “pro-democracy” movements when we cannot even define what this deceptively alluringly sound-bite really means? What do we or the news media and our official Administration pronouncements refer to when labeling the demonstrations in Tahrir Square as “pro democracy”? …

Read more: Iranifc