BuzzFlash.com's World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR DECEMBER 5, 2001
1//Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates--SAUDI PRESS HAMMERS ISRAEL FOR UNLEASHING "WAR" ON PALESTINIAN PEOPLE ("America is losing its credibility. It is losing the right to be an honest sponsor for the peace process after it gave the green light to Sharon to exterminate the Palestinian people" - Al-Watan)
2//Ha'aretz, Israel--BACKGROUND/LABOR PONDERS FUTURE AS IDF HITS PA TARGETS ("Opinion polls, which consistently forecast a drastic decline in the number of seats the party would win in a national election, also serve as a strong incentive to Labor to stay in the government.")
3//Pravda, Russia--PRELIMINARY STRUGGLE FOR POWER IN AFGHANISTAN ("All legitimate decisions will be made at the traditional assembly of Afghanistan. This is the place for the real struggle for power. It is just getting started.")
4//Stratfor Strategic Forecasting, TX--PAKISTAN'S CHIEF WEAKENED BY U.S.-INDIA DEFENSE TIES ("From Pakistan's point of view, it is increasingly apparent that it has lost more than it gained by supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan.")
5//The Hindu, India-"INDA SHOULD BE WATCHFUL ("…former military men are highly apprehensive about the capability and intent of China and have warned that India should be on its guard and not lulled by the present tranquility and peace on the border and Line of Control.")
Times 04 Dec 2001. 19 Ramadan, 1422.
SAUDI PRESS HAMMERS ISRAEL FOR UNLEASHING "WAR" ON PALESTINIAN PEOPLE via Agence France Presse
RIYADH - Israel has unleashed "war" on the Palestinian people, while Washington was fast losing the right to broker a just peace in the Middle East because of its blind support for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Saudi newspapers said on Tuesday.
"Israel is unleashing war on Palestinian people. It is killing thousands of children, women and young men, assassinating Palestinians and destroying the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority," Al-Watan said.
"Still, the White House has justified these crimes by saying Israel has the right to defend itself," the paper added in an editorial. "America is losing its credibility. It is losing the right to be an honest sponsor for the peace process after it gave the green light to Sharon to exterminate the Palestinian people," it said.
The issue for the English-language Arab News was "how much further will Sharon's Israel go, and (US President George W.) Bush's White House agree that it should go, in "defending' itself?
Al-Bilad charged that Washington was applying double standards when it came to dealing with the Arab-Israeli conflict. "Why is America asking (Palestinian leader Yasser) Arafat alone to arrest the Palestinian bombers, while not asking Sharon to arrest the Israeli assassination and murder teams?" the paper asked.
"The American leadership is blind when it comes to who is the real criminal and who is the real victim," the Saudi Gazette said. "If responding to atrocities with full might in order to eradicate oppression is terrorism, then the US leaders cannot justify their actions in Afghanistan where several thousand more civilians have been killed in American bombing raids than those who perished in the US on September 11.
"Will Bush apply the same logic to himself and his military brass?" the paper asked. - AFP
PONDERS FUTURE AS IDF HITS PA TARGETS
As the Labor Party fretted over whether to stay in the unity government, the IDF began putting into effect Tuesday the government decision to declare the Palestinian Authority an "entity that supports terror," and which has precipitated the most serious coalition crisis since Prime Minister Ariel Sharon formed his broad-based coalition in March this year.
Industry and Trade Minister Dalia Itzik said Labor should only leave the government if a decision was taken to reoccupy Palestinian-controlled land. But most Laborites said the party could not afford to leave the government at a time the country was facing a dire security situation. Such a move, they argued, would be punished by the public.
But that does not mean Monday's cabinet showdown has not widened the cracks in the broad-based unity government. The fact that the cabinet did not define Yasser Arafat and his Palestinian Authority as an enemy and pledge to topple the Authority, will enable Labor to stay in the government for now.
Opinion polls, which consistently forecast a drastic decline in the number of seats the party would win in a national election, also serve as a strong incentive to Labor to stay in the government. A recent survey conducted by Dr. Mina Tzemach, of the Dahaf polling agency, showed Labor declining to a miserly 18 seats (from 26) and the Likud catapulting to 32 (from 19).
But Labor members are unlikely to be surprised if the present government crisis - admittedly, the deepest so far - ends like its predecessors, with Peres telling them that he and Sharon have met and worked out a modus operandi between them that will enable the unity government to remain intact.
PRELIMINARY STRUGGLE FOR POWER IN AFGHANISTAN By Dmitry Litvinovich
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer saved the UN conference from regulation of the Afghanistan problem and prevented the failure of the discussion.
As RIA Novosti reported, Joschka Fischer had a phone conversation on Monday night in order to ask the Afghani President Rabbani to present the list of candidates for the new interim government to the United Anti-Taliban Front in Bonn. The list was presented to the conference about an hour after the phone conversation. This helped to prevent the Bonn conference from failure or another delay; the forum is supposed to finish up with its work this Wednesday.
You wish. The conference in Bonn resembles a market. Each of the parties is looking out for its own profit, and there is no one ready to make concessions. The Northern Alliance was not against the idea of the conference, but it was pessimistic towards its results. Well, this is clear: the alliance has the real power in its hands and it does not feel like sharing it with someone else.
Spokesmen for the Pashtun tribes keep saying that they make the majority and, therefore, like they think that it is they who ought to rule the new country. The USA supports them. America insists on Hamid Karzai's candidacy to become the head of the new government (Karzai is a well-known Pashtun leader). Mohammad Zaher Shah's milieu is actively nominating Abdul Sattar Sirat for the position of the premier (who is the leader of his group in Bonn).
The next stage of the conference will be about distributing the posts among those who were offered in the staff of the administration. This is rather a delicate task in connection with a complicated national and tribal population of Afghanistan.
The participants of the conference agreed that the UN troops must be deployed in Afghanistan as soon as possible. The Pashtun representatives give a certain emphasis to this issue: they are afraid of going back to Kabul (which is under Northern Alliance control) without the stable safety guarantees.
Nothing extraordinary happened during the conference. The peaceful regulation schedule that was passed at the conference existed long before the discussion actually took place. All legitimate decisions will be made at the traditional assembly of Afghanistan. This is the place for the real struggle for power. It is just getting started.
PAKISTAN'S CHIEF WEAKENED BY U.S.-INDIA DEFENSE TIES
Douglas Feith, the U.S. undersecretary of state for defense, arrived in India on Dec. 2 to discuss reinvigorating defense ties between Washington and New Delhi. The visit is part of a broader trend of security cooperation between India and the United States that Adm. Dennis Blair, commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, referred to as "unprecedented in [their] bilateral history."
its ties to New Delhi growing again, Washington is balking at lending
substantial military assistance to Pakistan, despite the fact that Islamabad
made the difficult decision to support anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan.
Washington bluntly refused Pakistan's request for F-16 fighter jets and
has not intervened in a recently revived Israeli offer to sell India --
Pakistan's chief rival -- the Phalcon airborne early warning radar system.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf survived challenges from Islamist
militants and pro-Taliban forces over his aiding U.S. coalition efforts.
But he may face an even stronger challenge from nationalists within his
own military if it appears his assistance to Washington has weakened Pakistan's
Musharraf took a calculated risk in granting overflight rights to Washington and allowing it to base troops on Pakistani soil as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. But as the domestic threat from Taliban sympathizers subsides, Musharraf faces a new challenge from within his own military. Questions are already circulating in Islamabad as to the true benefits or losses Pakistan has incurred by supporting the anti-terrorism coalition, according to sources.
From Pakistan's point of view, it is increasingly apparent that it has lost more than it gained by supporting U.S. operations in Afghanistan. The collapse of the Taliban leaves Afghanistan in the hands of a coalition of Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras. None of these groups are particularly fond of ethnic Pushtuns, who comprise the majority of the population on both sides of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The victories of the Northern Alliance may further increase Russian influence in Afghanistan. That would be unnerving to Islamabad, as Russia and India have close military ties.
Islamabad gambled that Washington would control the transition of power in Afghanistan so that much of the control would go to ethnic Pushtuns, who would be more amenable to Pakistan. The Musharraf regime also counted on receiving economic and military aid from the United States and Europe in return for cooperation in stemming the flow of Muslim militancy from Afghanistan. Although it did receive promises of economic aid, debt relief and loan rescheduling, the military assistance has been scarce.
During his visit to Washington in November, Musharraf requested delivery of 28 F-16 fighters that Pakistan paid for in the 1980s. The U.S. response was a swift and unequivocal no. Washington cited a deal with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in which Pakistan was reimbursed. An underlying reason for the refusal, however, is that the F-16 is considered Pakistan's chief delivery system for nuclear weapons, and neither Washington nor New Delhi wants to see Pakistan increase its nuclear capabilities.
Meanwhile Washington is also giving tacit approval to Indian military improvements. In late November, Israel and India agreed to greater military cooperation on several issues, including the sale of at least one Phalcon airborne radar system to New Delhi.
The deal originally was proposed in September 2000, after Washington dissuaded Israel from making a similar sale to China, but was stalled due to continued U.S. sanctions against India. These sanctions were dropped as part of Washington's anti-terrorism campaign, and U.S. officials have shown little overt concern about the renewed agreement.
With Washington offering both overt and tacit military support to New Delhi without giving equal treatment to Islamabad, factions in Pakistan are concerned that Pakistan itself may be the loser in the U.S. war on terrorism. Musharraf's cautious support for U.S. operations in Afghanistan has won his country a potentially hostile neighbor on its northwest border, a militarily invigorated India to the southeast and little long-lasting strategic support from the United States.
Musharraf has been able to count on support from the secular military until now. That support may become less stable if the president cannot prove to his fellow generals that Pakistan is better off for aiding Washington than it would have been had it refused to intervene in the Taliban's destruction.
SHOULD BE WATCHFUL"
MUMBAI, DEC. 3. Some of the most distinguished former military men are highly apprehensive about the capability and intent of China and have warned that India should be on its guard and not lulled by the present tranquility and peace on the border and Line of Control.
China has been building new roads in Tibet leading to the Indian territory and improving the existing one, even while laying a railway line to facilitate movement of large number of troops and their maintenance in the forward areas.
The Chinese, working for total supremacy in Asia, had found India to be their only rival in the race, though they are already leading in many areas. But now they want time so that their economic development progressed and their military strengthened.
The view emerged at a seminar organised by the Leslie Sawhny Programme in Mumbai on Sunday, that addressed itself to: ``India's Security Strategy - Historical Lessons and Future Responses.'' The former Chief of Army Staff, Gen. K.V. Krishna Rao (retd.), who presided over the deliberations, endorsed the views put forth by Maj. Gen. Eustace D'Souza who thought that the Chinese might wait till 2007 when they were hosting the Olympics. Gen. Rao said that it could be even earlier.
Gen. Rao also pointed out that no matter whether a civilian or military government ruled Pakistan, the neighbour would remain inimical to the Indian security and interests, for it thought that India could be wrecked and fragmented and that would serve its national interests.
The General, however, asserted that though India did not have any territorial ambitions and desire to attack anybody, it had developed tremendous counter-offensive capabilities. But that would hardly comfort his former colleague, Lt. Gen. K.S. Brar, who maintained that the Chinese need not take any road to India and they could easily exploit the unrest in the North East. He called for sustained and proactive measures to settle the differences. He blamed the rulers, past and present, for the disunity and disaffection and alienation of the local people. ``This is the time for them to show what the good governance is about, the fault (in the National Security) is lying in New Delhi,'' he said.
Copyright 2001, Gloria R. Lalumia
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otherwise noted, all original