There are embryonic signs that Washington is all set to turn the heat on Myanmar next. The UN Security Council finally agreed unanimously on December 2 to a US request for a “one-off briefing” by the Secretary-General on “the deteriorating situation” in Myanmar. The US request followed the Tatmadow’s extension of Aung San Suu Kyi’s house arrest and a UN Committee resolution condemning Myanmar’s human rights abuse.
In 2001, Uzbekistan opted to become the linchpin of US policy goals in Central Asia. It was then argued that Washington would guarantee the nurturing of geo-political pluralism in the region. This was viewed against the backdrop of the historical ascendancy of China and the imperial decline of Russia. Much has happened since then. Today the US is facing a deadline to quit its airbase in Karshi-Khanabad (K-2), set up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, because of Tashkent’s suspicion that Washington had plotted the revolt in Andijan on May 13, which led to a bloody massacre.
The resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from the ruling Likud party in Israel has set off reverberations not only within Israel but at the regional level as well. Many Israelis and Palestinians, both politicians and scholars, believe that Sharon’s decision to leave the Likud has brought about a political earthquake that could realign not just the political configuration within Israel but also have a significant effect on the peace process.
The 34th anniversary of the liberation of Dhaka and the creation of Bangladesh on December 16 is an occasion for concern and deep introspection about the nature of the internal turbulence in that country and the related implications for India.
It may be recalled that prior to December 16, 1971, what is now known as Bangladesh was East Pakistan and for almost 24 years from August 1947, the military leadership of Pakistan treated the eastern part of the country as a poor relative.
The 13th SAARC summit concluded in Dhaka on November 13 with a declaration, which notwithstanding its rhetorical flourish and ambitious objectives, reflected the structural constraints that have hobbled the organization for two decades and are likely to do so for the near future.
Last week witnessed a major development on the India-China energy front with the joint bidding plan for Petro-Canada's Syrian assets by India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). In September this year Petro-Canada expressed interest to sell off its 38 per cent stake in the Al Furat field, which produces about 70,000 barrels of oil daily accounting for 50 per cent of Syria's total output. This is the first time that Indian and Chinese firms have joined together to secure stakes in an overseas energy facility.
The Indian vote at the IAEA in Vienna last week has attracted considerable domestic attention and the fact that New Delhi went along with the US-EU position is being interpreted as a case of being anti-Iranian and furthermore, as a betrayal of the non-aligned block and Third World solidarity. This is invalid and the facts as they have emerged need to be carefully analyzed.
The breakthrough achieved on September 19 at the six-party (US, North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan) talks in Beijing has the potential to satisfactorily resolve the North Korean nuclear imbroglio that has been festering since 2002 when Pyongyang unilaterally withdrew from the international agreements that it had entered into over its domestic nuclear programme.
June 2, 2005 will go down as a red lettered day in the history of Maldives. On this day, the Maldivian parliament voted to allow multi-party democracy for the first time in the tiny atoll nation that has been ruled by President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom since 1978. The parliament unanimously approved a resolution to allow political parties to seek recognition and contest elections, ending the no-party system in the nation. The motion was moved on the basis of a request from President Gayoom to review its earlier decision not to allow political parties in the country.
A series of 434 bomb blasts that rocked as many as 60 of 64 districts in Bangladesh on August 17 may have been 'mild' by way of the number killed – just two people – but the symbolism is very significant and perhaps inversely proportional to the damage caused.
Leaflets recovered from some of the blast sites demanded that the country become more Islamic and the needle of suspicion points to the banned Islamic group, the Jamaat-ul- Mujahedin. And while investigations are continuing, the implications of this incident are of potentially grave import.