BuzzFlash.com's World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR DECEMBER 21, 2001
1//Pakistan News Service, Pakistan--PASHTUNS HAVE CORNERED OMAR 'AND WILL LYNCH HIM' ("Pashtun troops will mobilise within days to surround Mullah Mohammed Omar's suspected refuge in caves near the village of Baghran in Helmand province, about 100 miles north of Kandahar, said Haji Gullalai, the new Afghan director of intelligence.")
Moscow Times, Russia--RUSSIAN PEACEKEEPERS UNLIKELY IN KABUL ("But…Its
military will continue to orchestrate intelligence gathering there, escort
and protect humanitarian aid efforts and provide equipment and training
to the Northern Alliance.
3//The Pioneer, India--PM WON'T MEET PERVEZ ("India termed Pakistan the "epicentre of terrorism in our region.")
4//Sydney Morning Herald--IRAQI MAN FLEES WITH DOCUMENTS ON WEAPONS ("An Iraqi man hoping to come to Australia today produced documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was producing chemical and biological weapons.")
5//Ha'aretz--IDF WANTS TO PRIVATIZE SETTLEMENT GUARDS ("The army is worried by the damage being done to its training of soldiers for field operations because of their heavy schedules in the territories and believes that handing over guard duty in the settlements to private companies could get soldiers back into training.")
6//Far Eastern Economic Review--MASS APPEAL ("The role of religion receives wider recognition from China's authorities with planned new rules designed to reinforce the reach and control of the Chinese Communist Party in society.")
News Service Updated on 2001-12-20 13:12:43
PASHTUNS HAVE CORNERED OMAR 'AND WILL LYNCH HIM'
KABUL, December 20 (PNS): Afghan forces have tracked down the Taliban's supreme leader to a mountain redoubt in southern Afghanistan and will lynch him after wiping out his diehard followers, intelligence chief said yesterday. Pashtun troops will mobilise within days to surround Mullah Mohammed Omar's suspected refuge in caves near the village of Baghran in Helmand province, about 100 miles north of Kandahar, said Haji Gullalai, the new Afghan director of intelligence.
Spies among Mullah Omar's companions betrayed his flight to a previously unknown cave complex and he would soon be surrounded, captured and hanged, Gullalai said. The mullah went on the run in mountains he knew well, but some of his lieutenants allegedly turned informer to en sure that they would be well treated by the pursuers.
The mystique which partly inspired the devotion of Mullah Omar's followers has taken a battering, first from his flight after vowing to fight, then by the discovery that his compound did not quite match his ascetic image. Meanwhile reported said that his former right-hand man, Hafiz Majid, was said to be negotiating his surrender with the new city governor of Kandahar.
PEACEKEEPRS UNLIKELY IN KABUL
Russia will probably not be among the countries that the UN Security Council picks to deploy peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan, an exclusion that should please both Moscow and Kabul, experts said. But even without peacekeepers, Russia will maintain a military presence in Afghanistan, they said. Its military will continue to orchestrate intelligence gathering there, escort and protect humanitarian aid efforts and provide equipment and training to the Northern Alliance.
What's more, Russia will continue to have thousands of peacekeeping troops on watch in neighboring Tajikistan.
itself has sent mixed signals about whether it wants to ship peacekeepers
to the country that Soviet troops withdrew from in defeat just over a
decade ago. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov hinted that Moscow may send
troops earlier this month. But when asked about it this week, he firmly
ruled out the possibility. "No Russian servicemen will take part
in any armed action on Afghan territory in any form or in any way,"
Ivanov said in Brussels on Monday, Interfax reported.
recent history in Afghanistan makes it unlikely that Afghans, Russians
or the West want it to dispatch peacekeeping troops there, experts said.
Memories linger on about the Soviet Union's promises of short-term military
deployments in 1979 that stretched on for a decade.
"Russia can sit in Tajikistan and say, 'If anything goes wrong, we'll stop you on the border,'" said Alex Vatanka, editor of Jane's Sentinel Russia CIS in London. For the time being, Russia's skeletal presence in Afghanistan shouldn't ruffle any feathers, experts said.
"If the political coalition stays strong, than everything should be fine," said Celeste Wallander, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "But if it doesn't, then the interests of all countries that have been participating will be thrown into question."
A possible conflict between Russia and the United States could surface if the Afghans receiving military assistance from Moscow start acting out of line, a diplomatic source said. During negotiations over the new interim government, representatives of the Northern Alliance first objected to and then begrudgingly approved the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force. Some experts predicted that Afghans will feel uncomfortable with even a limited Russian military presence. "Even the sight of Russian soldiers escorting humanitarian assistance could cause troubles," said Alexei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center.
PM WON'T MEET PERVEZ Shobori Ganguly/New Delhi
A day after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee indicated New Delhi's intention of keeping military options on the table following the attack on Parliament, India termed Pakistan the "epicentre of terrorism in our region."
New Delhi asserted that Islamabad's "attitude" and "unresponsiveness" were not propitious for talks between the two nations.
Amid reports of conflict-clouds gathering over the LoC and India terming Pakistan the "epicentre of terrorism," the unlikelihood of a summit-level meeting has caused a predictable frown on Washington's forehead.
Significantly, while Mr Vajpayee's decision to do some hard-talking vis-a-vis Pakistan-sponsored terrorism has found consensus at home, international support has not been as forthcoming as expected in a world scarred by September 11.
After counselling restraint, a suggestion duly rebuffed by Mr Vajpayee, Washington on Thursday said it needed India to provide evidence of Pakistan-based terrorist groups' involvement in the December 13 attacks. This follows the suggestion that India share the evidence with Pakistan.
On its part, New Delhi acted on this recommendation with the MEA "going ahead" with the process of making the evidence available to key capitals. The Ambassadors of Britain, United States, Germany and France met Foreign Secretary Chokila Iyer in South Block on Thursday in this regard.
For the moment, however, India's contention that Pakistan is sponsoring crossborder terrorism has found few takers in the international arena. The tone has been set by Mr Boucher: "It is not the time for India and Pakistan to start taking action against each other. So this has been an issue that we have worked on. We have worked on it very closely with the leaders of these countries and each of them in their own way is important to the fight against terrorism."
On a day US Secretary of State Colin Powell congratulated President Musharraf for his "superb" cooperation in the war against terrorism, India's contention that Pakistan is a State sponsoring terrorism has struck a discordant note. The US, while considering terming LeT and JeM Foreign Terrorist Organisation (FTOs), has sought to draw a distinction between terror organisations operating in Pakistan and the Government's role in it.
This brings little comfort to India, especially after it experienced a euphoric phase of universal support against Pakistan during Kargil. However, India's war against terrorism, as indicated by Mr Vajpayee on Wednesday, would be a lone one. "We do not say that somebody should fight our battle... we will fight terrorism on our own strength," he had said.
MAN FLEES WITH DOCUMENTS ON WEAPONS
An Iraqi man hoping to come to Australia today produced documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was producing chemical and biological weapons.
The documents are so detailed that former United Nations weapons inspector Richard Butler believes they are authentic. There was a real chance that Iraq was back in the business of producing weapons, Mr Butler said.
"I've read a lot of such reports from defectors, from people who have left Iraq. I can't tell you how many," Mr Butler told ABC radio. "And you get a feel about them. "And as I read what he said I thought, my goodness this has a real ring of authenticity about it - just the detail, the names of places, the sorts of stuff he was discussing. "I thought this is true."
The Iraqi man told ABC radio he worked for nine years as a chemical engineer at Saddam Hussein's top military plants. He pinpointed hundreds of plants and provided detailed information. The man, a Kurd, said he was a contractor to Hussein's military industry organisation from 1992, working on sealing top secret factories and bunkers to prevent the escape of chemical and bacterial agents. He was eventually arrested and tortured for six months earlier this year before bribing guards to escape and now wants to move to Adelaide to live with family.
Mr Butler today said documentation of the 150 secret military projects, included diagrams of exact locations of sites used to produce weapons and missiles to deliver them.
IDF WANTS TO PRIVATIZE SETTLEMENT GUARDS By Amos Harel
The Israel Defense Forces is considering a plan to privatize the security details in the settlements and along the Green Line. The army is worried by the damage being done to its training of soldiers for field operations because of their heavy schedules in the territories and believes that handing over guard duty in the settlements to private companies could get soldiers back into training.
Some 1,000 soldiers a week are now involved in guard duty at residential communities, primarily in the territories. At the start of the hostilities in October 2000, the IDF suffered serious interruptions in its training schedules, as units were called from exercises to the field. Since then, there has been an effort to mitigate the damage to the training schedules by allocating a set period of time (usually two weeks) that a unit can be sent from training to the territories.
But according to a senior IDF source, "Defending the settlements continues to affect training, which we have to protect at all costs. The IDF can hand over the settlement security to private companies. And there's economic value to it too; it could help lower unemployment."
A detailed plan for privatization of the security operations will be presented in the near future. The plan involves privatization of "simple" security details, such as guarding settlement entrances and observation posts within them. The army would continue its operational activities outside settlements.
Two years ago, Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz approved a plan to dramatically decrease the number of soldiers on guard duty at the settlements. Among the many reasons for the plan was the large number of accidents involving rear-echelon soldiers who had been sent to perform guard duty. Due to the conflict in the territories, there has been a dramatic rise in the number of soldiers on guard duty at the settlements.
The role of religion receives wider recognition from China's authorities with planned new rules designed to reinforce the reach and control of the Chinese Communist Party in society.
China's highest-level working conference on religious affairs opened in Beijing on December 10. The three-day event, which was attended by all seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee, was described by diplomats and religious sources as highly significant. It received prominent coverage in the People's Daily and is a further extension of President Jiang Zemin's efforts to expand party influence into dynamic, expanding areas of Chinese society.
The new draft rules are primarily aimed at Protestant churches, but analysts say they could also be used to bring in from the cold those underground Catholics who refuse to register with the official Patriotic Catholic Church but are willing to be registered directly with the government. In the event of any eventual rapprochement between Beijing and the Vatican, the new regulations could be one aid to healing the split within the Chinese Catholic Church. China expelled foreign clergy and broke links with the Vatican in the 1950s.
In his address to the religious work conference, Jiang praised the role of the "broad believing masses" in society and stressed the social contributions of religion, including in the area of disaster relief. Echoing his remarks, a commentary in the party People's Daily on December 12 said: "Workers, farmers, intellectuals, scientific and technical workers with different religious beliefs are working hard at their respective work posts."
new high-level focus on religion stems partly from a desire to separate
what the party sees as legitimate religions that can contribute to social
stability from movements such as Falun Gong,
Copyright 2001, Gloria R. Lalumia
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otherwise noted, all original