John Bolton Greenlights Indian Military Attack on Pakistan

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When I’d first seen this report at aljazeera.com yesterday, I’d wondered about its accuracy, bias, etc: ‘‘India considers action against Pakistan after suicide attack, India’s foreign ministry said US supports New Delhi’s right to self-defence against cross-border attacks, aljazeera.com (with video featuring Sir Namasté Modi), but I’d also seen the Nuclear Clock even closer to midnight, as this seemingly intractable Elephant in the Room, Kashmir, between two nuclear powers…looming once again.

“Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the meeting to build support for action against Pakistan following a deadly car bombing in the disputed Kashmir region that raised tensions with its neighbour.

Modi had earlier promised a strong response after the Pakistan-based armed group, Jaish-e-Muhammad, also known as JeM, claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on a military convoy on Thursday that killed 44 paramilitary officers.

Earlier, India’s foreign ministry has said the United States supports New Delhi’s right to self-defence against cross-border attacks following the Kashmir incident.

In a readout released on Saturday, the foreign ministry said US National Security Adviser John Bolton spoke to his Indian counterpart, Ajit Doval, on Friday night, promising to help bring those behind the attack to justice.

“The two NSAs vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan cease to be a safe haven for JeM and terrorist groups that target India, the US and others in the region,” the foreign ministry said.

“They resolved to hold Pakistan to account for its obligations under UNresolutions.

India‘s government said it had evidence that JeM had Pakistan’s backing and demanded Islamabad take action, escalating the already-tense relationship between the neighbours.”

The article goes on to report that Pakistan had condemned the attack, and that the Pakistani FM Tehmina Janjua held a meeting with Ambassadors from the US, China, Russia, and France to ‘to push back against India’s accusations’, and quoted Janjua as having said that it was a familiar reflexive pattern from India: blaming Pakistan without investigations.

India has for years accused Pakistan of backing separatist groups in divided Kashmir, which the neighbours both claim in full but rule in part.

From the timesofindia.com Feb. 15: ‘After Pulwama attack, India launches diplomatic drive to isolate Pakistan’

The sources said representatives from Germany, Hungary, Italy, Canada, EU, Britain, Russia, Israel, Australia, Japan, Sweden, France, the P-5, all Asian nations, etc. and reports that  ‘all heads of Mission were left in no doubt that Pakistan based and supported the MeJ, and that Pakistan cease all support for terrorist groups under their control ‘sources said’.
(Sorry, the site doesn’t support copy/paste for some reason.)

From outlookindia.com Feb. 17: ‘Fear, Tension Grip Kashmir As Students Complain Of Attacks In Other States; Kashmiri students and businessmen are complaining of being attacked in various states of the country in the aftermath of Pulwama terrorist attack.

“Kashmir Valley observed a complete strike on Sunday as Kashmir Traders Federation has given a call to protest against attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and other parts of the country.
“With politicians, police and media persons getting calls from desperate students and businessmen that they be rescued, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday met the Union Home Minister in New Delhi and sought his intervention.

Sehrish, 25, a student from Kashmir, studying in Dehradun earlier in the day, said that they were attacked by the mob and asked to leave immediately. “We do not know where to go. We are inside the hostel and outside the mob has gathered. They are shouting slogans against us and giving us threats. We do not know what will happen. We want to go home but don’t know how we will go. Some of us have not even told our families,” she said adding that some fellow students from other states were protecting them from the mob.

Another student said that they were thrashed and forced out of their rented accommodation. ” We are hiding. The atmosphere is very fearful. We fear we might be attacked outside, ” he said.  “The landlord told us to leave else his house will be brunt.”

More personal experiences were told, Tweets galore offering shelter from the storm, then this at the end:

“Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that he is deeply distressed by reports of continued attacks on Kashmiri’s in Jammu and other places by “communal goons let loose.” “Those in charge are obliged to ensure the safety and security of Kashmiri’s is not compromised with at a time when anti-Kashmir rhetoric has been ratcheted up,” he said.
While as London based Kashmiri novelist, Waheed Mirza says, “The venom on the streets was brewed in some TV studios.”

Indian government seizes on Kashmir attack to ratchet up tensions with Pakistan’, Deepal Jayasekera, 16 February 2019, wsws.org

“Speaking yesterday, Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister and the head of the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janatha Party (BJP), held Pakistan responsible for the attack. He then vowed that India will make “the terror outfits and those aiding and abetting them …. pay a heavy price.”

“Let me assure the nation,” Modi continued, “those behind this attack, the perpetrators of this attack will be punished.” He said his government has given India’s security forces “complete freedom of action.”

He adds that the suicide bombing was allegedly carried out by 20-year-old Kashmir laborer Adil Ahmed Dar, who’d grown up only a mile or two from the site of bomb blast. His parents had said that Dar had been radicalized after he and some of his friends had been arrested and tortured three years ago as they were walking home from school.

“Modi has repeatedly boasted that the cross-border military strikes he ordered on Pakistan in September 2016 in retaliation for a terror attack on an Indian army base in Jammu and Kashmir, have freed India from the shackles of “strategic restraint.”

Seeking to whip up war-fever, Modi declared yesterday: “The blood of the people is boiling… Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally, is in a state of illusion, [and] thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise.” [snip]

In recent months, the Modi government has been shaken by growing worker and farmer protests—including a two-day nationwide general strike in January in which tens of millions participated.

Moreover, in December the BJP suffered electoral defeats in three Hindi-heartland states that hitherto were among its strongest bastions. This has placed a large question mark over whether the BJP will prevail in the national elections to be held in multiple phases this April and May.

Yesterday, the BJP and its Hindu extremist allies organised protests in several cities, including New Delhi, at which demands for military action against Pakistan were raised.”

Jayasekera notes that none of the opposition parties objected to the calls for India’s geo-political stands against Pakistan, including Modi’s ‘surgical strikes in 2016’ when the two nations teetered on the brink of nuclear war’, and that the Stalinist Communist Party (CPM) ‘have issued only tepid criticisms of the BJP government’s brutal crackdown on popular opposition in Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, and its belligerent stand against Pakistan’.

He writes that divided Kashmir has its roots in the 1947 communal partition of the subcontinent into a Muslim Pakistan and a Hindu-dominated India as the British colonial overlords were exiting, the rival communally-based wings were ‘led respectively by the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress.”

I can’t speak to that formula, but he writes that later Kashmir divided ‘by intrigue and war’ into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-held Azad Kashmir.  Jayasekera also contends that the elites of both India and Pakistan ride roughshod over the rights of the Kashmiri people, and that Pakistan has manipulated the opposition and promoted Islamist insurgent groups in a bid to undermine rival India.’

Again, I’m agnostic on that, but in none of this coverage was there a repeated call to hold the UNSC’s 1047 mandate to hold a plebiscite election for self-determination, approved by Nehru long ago, and I’d thought promised by Modi as well.  You’ll likely find the history at kashmirwatch.com.

He finishes:

“Adding to the explosiveness of the situation is the US drive to harness India to its military-strategic offensive against China. As a result, the Indo-Pakistan conflict has become increasingly enmeshed with rising US-China tensions, with New Delhi allied with Washington and Islamabad with Beijing.”

I’d add that Modi’s India’s population is 1.4 billion, and recently US/Indian bilateral trade is brisk, and Amerika’s ninth largest trading partner, having exported $25.7 billion of goods to India in 2017, according to the US Trade Representative website.  You may recall that Modi had been denied a visa by the State Department in 2002 for alleged genocide in Gujararat Province while he was governing it, and was allowed to return in 2012, then again in 2015 when according to the WaPO:

“Modi returned to the United States for the second time [accompanied by Tulsi Gabbard], this time to meet with Silicon Valley leaders such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai to win support for his Digital India campaign, a plan to link millions of Indians with the Internet and digital government services.”  His tour guide and charm offensive for both visits were handled by Tulsi Gabbard, who, according to progressivearmy.com’s ‘In Defense of Tulsi Gabbard’:

“Soumya Shankar, however, highlights valid concerns such as Gabbard’s opposition to House Resolution 417 which chided India to protect “the rights and freedoms of religious minorities” and recommended that Modi should continue to be denied a U.S. Visa. This was a response to Modi’s negligence in the 2002 Gujarat riots which claimed over a thousand lives, most of them Muslims. Gabbard opposed the [2013, Intercept link w/ her Hindustani contributors] resolution, arguing that it “weakens, rather than strengthens, the friendship between the United States and India.” Gabbard also downplayed Modi’s involvement, stating that there is a lot of misinformation. I disagree with Gabbard, and her comments should be challenged. Despite a lack of evidence, Modi maintained that a Muslim mob attacked the Godhra train that sparked the violence. Fareed Zakaria also opines that “[i]t is a dark episode in India’s history, and Modi comes out of it tainted.” But Zakaria agrees with Gabbard’s position, saying that denying Modi a visa “has been selective, arbitrary and excessive.”

To Tulsi Gabbard’s credit, she is starting to distance herself from far-right Hindu nationalists when she decided to withdraw from Chair of the World Hindu Congress. Soumya Shankar reports that “[d]ispleasure with Gabbard’s recusal from the World Hindu Congress was widespread.

At least the WaPo’s coverage had included these paragraphs in their Feb. 15 AP coverage, ‘India warns of ‘crushing response’ to Kashmir suicide attack’:

“Pakistan’s ruling party rejected Modi’s allegation, saying India’s governing party was blaming Islamabad for political gains in the upcoming national election.  “The Indian allegations against Pakistan over yesterday’s incident are part of the election campaign,” said Naeemul Haq, a senior leader of the Tehreek-e-Insaf party, which came to power in last year’s parliamentary election. He said the violence in Kashmir was “the result of the brutalities of Indian occupied forces in Kashmir.”

“Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the country condemns acts of violence anywhere in the world and denied any involvement. “We strongly reject any insinuation by elements in the Indian media and government that seek to link the attack to Pakistan without investigations,” it said in a statement.

Rebels, many of whom want Kashmir united with Pakistan, have been fighting Indian control since 1989. But the Muslim-majority region has experienced renewed attacks and repeated public protests in recent years as a new generation of Kashmiri rebels, especially in the southern parts of the region, has challenged New Delhi’s rule with a mixture of violence and social media.”

But let’s hear from Arundhati Roy and her ‘Arundhati Roy: #Me Too Urban Naxal, To be lynched is a crime. To be poor is a crime. To defend the poor is to plot to overthrow the government.’ at scroll.in, Aug. 2018

New Delhi: Writer and activist Arundhati Roy addresses a press conference on the recent crackdown on rights activists, in New Delhi on Thursday, Aug 30, 2018.

A few outtakes from a lengthy and fascinating piece:

“Recent analyses of real voter data as well the Lokniti-CSDS-ABP Mood of the Nation survey have shown that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are losing popularity at an alarming pace (for them). This means that we are entering dangerous times. There will be ruthless and continuous attempts to divert attention from the reasons for this loss of popularity, and to fracture the growing solidarity of the opposition. It will be a continuous circus from now to the elections – arrests, assassinations, lynchings, bomb attacks, false flag attacks, riots, pogroms. We have learned to connect the season of elections with the onset of all kinds of violence. Divide and Rule, yes. But add to that – Divert and Rule. From now until the elections, we will not know from when, and where and how the fireball will fall on us, and what the nature of that fireball will be. So, before I speak about the arrests of lawyers and activists, let me just reiterate a few points that we must not allow our attention to stray from, even while it rains fire, and strange events befall us.”

She then describes the disastrous effects for small businesses and the poor of Modi’s demonetization (cashless society) scheme, the burgeoning wealth of the BJP, the speed at which educational facilities including universities are being dismantled, the ‘re-Brahminisation of colleges, then number 5:

“5. Massive distress in the agricultural sector, increasing numbers of farmers’ suicides, the lynching of Muslims and the relentless attack on Dalits, the public floggings, the arrest of Chandrashekhar Azad, leader of the Bhim Army who dared to stand up to attacks by Upper castes. The attempt to dilute the Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocity Act.”

“It has been important for governments, both the Congress-led UPA and the BJP to disguise their attacks on Adivasis, and now, in the case of the BJP, their attack on Dalits – as an attack on “Maoists” or “Naxals.” This is because, unlike in the case of Muslims who have been almost been erased from electoral arithmetic, all political parties do have an eye on those Adivasi and Dalit constituencies as potential vote banks. By arresting activists and calling them “Maoists’, the Government manages to undermine and insult Dalit aspiration by giving it another name—while at the same time appearing to be sensitive to “Dalit issues.” Today, as we speak, there are thousands of people in jail across the country, poor and disadvantaged people, fighting for their homes, for their lands, for their dignity—people accused of sedition and worse, languishing without trial in crowded prisons.”

God help us to get our country back.”

Arundhati Roy
August 30th 2018

You get the gist, but she supports the Kashmiri plebiscite for the obvious reasons, and has been threatened to be arrested for sedition for stating her views in public.  My guess is that Democracy Now! will have Ms. Roy on again soon.

#Kashmir on Twitter

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

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