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US unfurls Bangladesh minutes: Aug 15: Untold story
August 19, 2009, 10:24 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, USA

US unfurls Bangladesh minutes: Aug 15: Untold story

The New Nation – August 17, 2009

After killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975 Khandoker Mushtaque Ahmed government was worried about possible Indian military intervention in Bangladesh. David Corn US Consul General posted in Calcutta was instructed by US secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger to keep watch on General Jacob, the chief of the Indian Eastern Command. US Ambassador in Dhaka Davis Booster said, US Calcutta-based Consul General David Corn was adequately briefed in this regard.

The minutes of the US staff meeting on Bangladesh situation released recently said, the coup in Bangladesh had met a very little resistance. There is no sign of counter rebellion in any part of the country. The US had obtained the information from their separate network which was run by the aid workers. Booster said, it was imperative to let India know that Bangladesh was not declared Islamic republic as it was earlier presumed. Seventy-nine years-old Corn is now leading a retired life in Washington.

 

The just-released Bangladesh minutes of the US Foreign Ministry revealed that in a meeting in Calcutta on August 16, 1975 Gen Jacob asked US Consul Corn what more he had on the Bangladesh situation? Corn said, coup in Bangladesh was successful. Gen Jacob retorted, he had information that there were some disturbances outside Dhaka. Jacob said, Bangladesh had least chance of attaining stability adding there was still a possibility of counter-coup. He expressed his concern over declaration of Bangladesh as Islamic republic. When Gen Jacob was asked whether there was exodus of minority Hindus from Bangladesh, he parried the question and said they were watching the situation. David Corn said, he again met Jacob on August 24 at Fort William, the headquarter of Eastern Command.Jacob said, the Bangladesh situation appears to be peaceful. But he hastened to add that he had no source other than the media. When asked about movement of Indian troops around Bangladesh border he said, they were not regular troops. They are border security forces, he said. India has no concern on internal situation in Dhaka. India will be concerned if communal divide persists in Dhaka and there was fresh exodus of Hindus from Bangladesh. He ruled out any military intervention in Dhaka unless there was exodus of minority people from Bangladesh.Jacob told Corn that then President of Bangladesh Khandoker Mushtaque was known in India as pro-Pakistani and pro-Chinese.
William B Saxby, a former US senator and US ambassador in India, in his letter said, the situation in Bangladesh in any way should not be construed as a flick. Indian Press was barred from printing editorial on Bangladesh situation. Ninety three years old Saxby is living in Washington. Saxby wanted to know Indian stand on Bangladesh. Indian reply to Saxby’s query was that Mushtaque wanted to have some sort of adjustment with Pakistan during the liberation war. Now he will undoubtedly try to improve relation with Pakistan, the Indian reply said.
US said, the foreign policy of Bangladesh will remain mostly unchanged. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan can collectively contribute to restore peace in the sub-continent.Earlier India had apprehension that there would be a coup in Bangladesh. Even an Indian diplomat tried to ascertain that it could have been in August. He named a group of ‘disgruntled’ politicians led by Mushtaque behind the plot. He also named a sacked military official who could be Major Dalim behind the conspiracy.Dr Kamal Hossain, former foreign minister of Bangabandhu’s cabinet, in a recent TV interview said, the Bangabandhu was alerted by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the sideline of NAM summit in Jamaica that there might have been destabilisation move in Dhaka and he may be the target. He brushed off the idea and said there was none in Dhaka who can kill him.
A minute of US staff meeting led by Kissinger revealed the US was aware of the plot to kill Mujib. They also alerted Mujib against the sinister move. Atherton, US Assistant Secretary said, the US had lot of indications in March that some quarters were plotting to kill Mujib. But he was little concerned about it. Kissinger remarked he was one of the world’s prize fools.
Atherton naming new Bangladesh leaders said, they are less pro-Indian unlike their predecessors. They did not change the name of Bangladesh as Islamic republic. But they had dropped securalism as state pillar.
Indian foreign minister Y B Chavan had a meeting with US secretary of state Kissinger on October 6 in 1975. Chavan told Kissinger that they were worried about the anti-Indian posture of Bangladesh. Kissinger wanted to know whether Bangladesh Army is anti-Indian. Chavan said, there was some anti-Indians in Bangladesh Army. India expressed her concern that China which had recognised Bangladesh for the first time after killing of Mujib may exploit the new situation in its favour. Chavan sought Kissinger’s good offices to put the thing on right tract. India also told Kissinger that they don’t want to have any exclusive relation with Bangladesh. But they will oppose a move to give Bangladesh an Islamic twist.Henry Byroad, the US Ambassador in Pakistan, in his update to Washington said, Pakistan seems to be over-enthusiastic in recognising the new government in Bangladesh. It was Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto who quickly secured Pakistani and Chinese recognition for the new government of Bangladesh.
US Ambassador Booster said, Mujib was getting isolated from the people very fast. People’s euphoria with the great leader seemed to be over. His telegrams to the State Deptt appear to have been carefully planned so that the course of events of the August 15 coup was not obstructed. Mujib’s regime began to suffer from despotic symptoms. Dynastic reasons were also attributed to his fall.


Indo-Bangla Relation: A Strategic Analysis
August 7, 2009, 10:55 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, SubContinent
Indo-Bangla Relation: A Strategic Analysis
 
Shah Mohammed Saifuddin
The independence movement under the leadership of Congress was for establishing independent undivided India through eviction of British rulers from the soil of India, but the degeneration of Hindu-Muslim relation into hostility and the demand of Muslim league for a separate state for the Muslims of the region thwarted the dream of an independent undivided India and made the partition of subcontinent inevitable. While the initial proposal for the partition met with steep resistance as most of the senior leaders of Congress namely, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawharlal Nehru, and Moulana Abul Kalam Azad vehemently protested such proposal and termed it as British conspiracy to divide India, the Congress finally gave its nod of approval in the fear that outright rejection of the partition proposal might be used by the British colonial rulers against the independence movement to perpetuate their political domination over the country and in the hope that with a small resource base, peculiar geographic reality that separates both the wings of the country by one thousand miles, and paucity of leaders with political experience, Pakistan would not survive too long and would return to India in the end.

There is no surprise that partition of India came as a shock to Congress leaders and that they could never reconcile themselves to the idea of an independent Pakistan because their freedom struggle was for undivided India, and therefore they wanted to roll back the geographical changes made to Indian subcontinent through partition and their intention was clearly demonstrated to Pakistan from the very beginning, which gave rise to a plethora of problem and a paucity of trust between the two nations.

What Pakistan needed in those formative years was national unity and balanced development in the two wings to ensure security and progress to consolidate its position as a powerful nation in the subcontinent and to thwart Indian attempt to undo the geographical arrangements after partition. But the then Pakistani leaders myopic failure to recognize Bengalis as equal partners and to give them due share of political power and economic resource caused widespread resentment among the East Pakistanis, which was cunningly used by India against Pakistan in the subsequent years. The Indian political leaders in later years used their diplomatic channels and intelligence agencies to cultivate close relations with East Pakistani political establishment in order to involve themselves in almost all political movements in East Pakistan to use the prevailing sense of deprivation among East Pakistanis to their own political advantage and to instigate East Pakistanis against West Pakistanis to accelerate the process of disintegration of Pakistan firstly, to weaken it, and secondly, to bring it back to India’s lap through various political machinations to realize the dream of undivided India.

No amount of political negotiations between the two wings could improve the situation in Pakistan due, mainly, to the stubbornness of West Pakistanis, which gave rise to increasing sense of alienation and deprivation among the people of East Pakistan, and finally when Sheikh Mujib was denied the premiership in 1970, Bengalis decided to get out of the relationship once and for all. So, for the first time and certainly for the last time in history, the disintegration of Pakistan became a common goal for both India and the Bengalis as the former wanted to break Pakistan to realize its vision of undivided India and the latter wanted to establish a separate independent nation to rid themselves of an insensitive and repressive political regime.

As soon as the Pakistani army cracked down on unarmed East Pakistanis, India, under the leadership of Indira Gandhi, took bold steps to help the Bengalis in their just struggle for independence against the fascist regime of Yahya Khan. The Indira government set their objectives to do the following things to ensure a desired outcome in the war for both Indians and East Pakistanis:

  1. To give safe passage to top Awami League leaders to India and to help form Mujibnagar government
  2. To help form Mukti Bahini and to provide necessary training and weapons
  3. To form Mujib Bahini as an alternative force and to use them in special operations
  4. To provide asylum to ten million refugees from East Pakistan
  5. To launch a vigorous diplomatic campaign worldwide through its foreign services to garner support for East Pakistan’s just struggle for freedom
  6. To use its military and intelligence resources to the extent possible to help the freedom fighters sustain a prolonged war against the powerful Pakistan army

India never lost sight of its strategic goal

Some people may argue that India’s decision to help in 1971 was based purely on humanitarian grounds, but the reality is that India’s decision to extend its wholehearted support to Bangladesh’s liberation war was a premeditated one and was primarily based on its own strategic goal of disintegrating Pakistan to undo the changes made through partition. Former Indian foreign secretary Mr. Dixit said, “We helped in the liberation of Bangladesh in mutual interest, it was not a favor,”[1] and a senior RAW intelligence officer said, “Bangladesh was the result of a 10 year long promotion of dissatisfaction against the rulers of Pakistan”[2]. These statements from two top former Indian government officials are testaments to the fact that Indian help for Bangladesh was not an altruistic one, but rather for implementing it’s own strategic goal of disintegrating Pakistan and that the intelligence agencies of India were engaged in fomenting unrest in East Pakistan long before 1971. With their strategic goals in mind, India concluded a seven point agreement with Mujibnagar government to seal the fate of a negotiated settlement between East and West Pakistan and to cripple Bangladesh by depriving it of its sovereign right to raise a standing army and to independently formulate foreign policy. Now, for the benefit of the readers let me briefly describe the points of the ‘seven point agreement'[3]:

  1. Bangladesh government will select only those people for administrative posts who have actively participated in the liberation war and any shortfall therein will be filled by the Indian government officials.
  2. A joint force will be formed comprising of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini and this force will be placed under the command of the chief of staff of the Indian army who will lead the liberation war.
  3. Bangladesh will have no standing army.
  4. India will help raise a paramilitary force to protect the internal law and order of the country.
  5. Open market will be the basis for trade relation between the two nations and this arrangement will be subject to periodical reviews.
  6. The Indian army will be stationed in Bangladesh for an indefinite period of time, but the time frame for their gradual withdrawal will be determined through annual meetings between the two governments.
  7. Bangladesh will formulate its foreign policy only in consultation with India.

The conclusion of the seven point agreement only ensured that the Mujibnagar government would continue the war until Bangladesh gained full independence from Pakistan, but it did not give the guarantee that China and America would not interfere in the event the Indian army directly intervened in East Pakistan. So, the Indira government approached the former Soviet Union for a security guarantee against impending Chinese and American threats, and it was made available to them in the shape of ’25 year friendship treaty’ by the erstwhile Soviet Union, which was also seeking to play a substantial role in the subcontinent to expand its own sphere of influence.

The signing of the seven point treaty with Mujib Government and the 25 year friendship treaty with the Soviets removed all obstacles for the Indian forces to directly intervene in East Pakistan, and it took them less than two weeks to overrun the defensive positions of the Pakistan army, which was already exhausted by a nine month long guerrilla war against Mukti Bahini and was at the final stages of disintegration and collapse. At the end of the war, Bangladesh got its much cherished independence and India could break Pakistan into two pieces for which it had been scheming since 1947.

Bangladesh steps into a strategic trap

While the public of Bangladesh, in general, and the Mujib government, in particular, was extremely grateful to India for her help and support in the war of liberation and wanted to maintain the best possible relationship with the Indian people, the political and military establishment of India had already done their strategic planning in line with the seven point agreement to reduce Bangladesh’s relevance as an independent nation through limiting her power to formulate national policies. A strategic trap was set for Bangladesh in the form of ’25 year friendship treaty'[4] which took away most, if not all, options for Bangladesh to independently establish foreign, defense, and economic relations with other nations in the world. I would like to briefly mention a few clauses of the ’25 year friendship treaty’ that had deleterious effects on our foreign, defense, and economic interests:

Article 4: Both the nations will hold regular meetings with each other at all levels to discuss major international issues for mutual benefit.

Article 5: Both the nations will cooperate with each other in the field of trade, transport, and communications on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, and the most favored nation principle.

Article 8: None of the nations will ever enter into a military alliance against each other and will refrain from allowing a third party from using their soil for military purposes that could constitute a threat to national security for either of the nations.

Article 9: Both the nations will refrain from providing any assistance to a third party taking part in an armed conflict against either of the nations to ensure regional peace and security.

Article 10: Neither of the parties will undertake any commitment, secret or open, toward one or more states, which may violate the spirit of the treaty.

Article 4 practically eliminated Bangladesh’s power to devise an independent foreign policy and made it compulsory for Bangladesh to consult India about any major foreign policy matter.

Article 5 created an unequal economic relation between the two nations because contrary to India, Bangladesh, being a smaller economy, was unable to avail itself of the opportunities of most favored nation status.

Article 8 ensured that if there was a military conflict between Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh, as a weaker power, could not seek help from outside world to protect its territorial integrity.

Article 9 was included to protect India’s strategic interest in its insurgency infested North Eastern states by imposing restrictions on Bangladesh to provide help and support to the insurgents, but India itself broke the sanctity of this clause by providing military and political assistance to Shanti Bahini in Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Article 10 restricted Bangladesh’s power to sign a defense deal with a third party to improve its armed forces.

By dint of this treaty India was able to diminish Bangladesh’s power to protect herself and the right to establish political and economic relations with other nations independently, and consequently India became the de-facto power over Bangladesh to whom the new born country had to depend for her security and economic development only to lose her relevance as a sovereign nation. Thus the entrapment of Bangladesh was complete.

Political change in 1975 and new equation in Indo-Bangla relationship

After the independence, the war ravaged country needed solid leadership with political maturity to overcome the seemingly insurmountable problems created by nine month long war of liberation and to steer the nation to build a society free from corruption, deprivation, and exploitation through creating national unity, establishing rule of law, strengthening democratic institutions, and creating economic opportunities for the people. Unfortunately, within three years of its rule, the new government banned all but four state owned national newspapers, dissolved the parliament to create one party rule, put incompetent party men in different state owned industrial establishments, neglected and humiliated the military, raised an alternative security agency to suppress oppositions to destroy all hopes for the new born country to establish democracy and to attain economic self sufficiency. One of the leading Indian news dailies in one of its recent reports titled “Fifty years of blood and sweat” summed up Mujib’s rule during the period of 1972-1975 as “The truth, however, is that the League’s popularity seemed to have suffered even during Mujib’s brief rule. The 1974 famine and the Mujib government’s inept handling of the situation led to the country being placed under Emergency. Shaken by a breakdown in law and order, Mujib switched to the presidential form of government in early 1975, imposed a one-party system and banned the publication of all newspapers except government-controlled ones. Mujib the liberator had, to many even in his own party, become Mujib the dictator.”[5] This created widespread discontent throughout the country which resulted in a military coup in 1975 to end the rule of this unpopular regime.

The new government was installed and gradually undertook plethora of measures to restore law and order of the country, to bring back discipline in economic sector, to lift ban on national newspapers and political parties, to increase budgetary allocation for the defense forces, and to change foreign policy direction to establish close and productive relationships with China, the U.S.A., Europe and the Middle East so as to diminish Indian influence over the nation. The inevitable result of such a drastic measure by the new government of Bangladesh was confrontation with India which saw it as an attempt to challenge its supremacy in the region and considered it a security, political, and strategic threat from a country which it helped gain independence from Pakistan. Strategically Bangladesh was too important for India to let it slip off her radar so they adopted a new set of strategies to keep Bangladesh within its sphere of influence in light of new political reality. The next section of this article will discuss the strategic importance of Bangladesh and will elaborate the strategies India had undertaken to get a firm hold on Bangladesh.

Strategic importance of Bangladesh

Despite her small size, Bangladesh does have certain geographical advantages that make her important to regional and extra regional powers which may drag her into a complex strategic scenario of big power rivalries. Bangladesh may be seen as a key player in strategic game plan of India, Pakistan, the U.S.A., and China because of the following reasons:

1. Bridge between India and North East: The unique geographic location of Bangladesh which cuts the troubled North East region of India off from the mainland constitutes a significant security weak point for India for the fact that the region shares border with China and that various insurgent groups are active within the region who are fighting against the Indian government for self determination. In light of their experience in Indo-China war in 1962, the Indian defense planners consider the strategic chicken neck to be inadequate and see Bangladesh to be the safest and the shortest route to transport military logistics to North East region in case of a future military conflict. A strategic corridor through Bangladesh is also seen as important to conduct sustained military campaign against the insurgents in North East.

The corridor through Bangladesh has economic significance as well because it is the most cost effective route to connect North East to the rest of India for the transshipment of industrial goods and to improve the economic condition of this land locked region.

2. Bridge between SAARC and ASEAN: Bangladesh, which is seen as a land bridge between SAARC and ASEAN, has enormous geographic advantages for its proximity to Myanmar and to other South East Asian nations to promote inter regional economic, political, and security cooperation. Once connected via Asian Highway and Trans-Asian Railway, the South and South East Asian nations will be using Bangladesh as the main transit point to increase economic interactions amongst themselves. Bangladesh with appropriate policies and infrastructures in place will be playing pivotal role in defining the direction of economic relations between the two emerging regional groups.

3. Gateway to Bay of Bengal: Bangladesh is considered the gateway to Bay of Bengal with its 45000 sq. miles of sea territory in which lies valuable marine resources such as hydrocarbon, fisheries etc. Its well developed sea ports offer enormous economic opportunities because India can use the port facilities to increase trade with its land locked North East region while other South and South East Asian countries and China can use the same facilities to increase inter-regional economic interactions. With the ambition to protect the oil transshipment and trade routes in the Indian Ocean, the Chinese navy is making rapid progress in developing relations with coastal nations such as Myanmar and Bangladesh to gain access to their port facilities so as to conduct sustained naval operations in the sea. In light of recently concluded Indo-U.S. Strategic agreement, it can be assumed that the U.S.A might also seek similar facilities from Bangladesh as a response to Chinese naval presence in the Bay of Bengal. Therefore, the military and strategic significance of repair, maintenance, docking, and refueling facilities of Bangladesh’s sea ports is great.

4. Energy security: Because of her burgeoning population, high economic growth rate, and rapid industrialization, India has become the sixth largest energy consumer in the world, but she has to import oil to meet 70% of her domestic demand which cost 40% of her total export earnings. She has to diversify import source for uninterrupted supply of energy, but due to international politics importing hydrocarbon from Iran and Venezuela has become uncertain leaving Bangladesh and Myanmar as only cheap and secure sources of energy supply. While Bangladesh has a speculative gas reserve of 33 TCF, its proven reserve is only 12 -15 TCF which is inadequate to meet its own domestic demand so the government has already decided against exporting gas to other countries unless new reserves are found. Even though Bangladesh has expressed her inability to export gas at the moment, India considers Bangladesh a major source of energy in the long run because of its potentials to discover huge hydrocarbon reserves in the Bay of Bengal. Bangladesh also is the most cost effective route for India to import gas from Myanmar, and therefore Bangladesh may emerge as a significant player in regional strategic energy game.

5. Balance of power: Bangladesh is significant because of the complex strategic scenario that has emerged due to India’s strategic alliance with the U.S.A to contain China and its rivalry with Pakistan for regional supremacy. India has to take cognizance of the fact that Bangladesh has established deep military relations with China and has repaired her fractured relations with Pakistan to correct the problem in balance of power situation in her relation with India. So, the possible military role of Bangladesh in case of a war either between India and China or between India and Pakistan could be a strategic concern for India.

Indian strategies to dominate Bangladesh

In light of Bangladesh’s endeavor to take control of her own affairs and her attempt to seek greater independence in foreign policy matters, India formulated a set of strategies to isolate, intimidate, and coerce Bangladesh to submit to Indian domination to reap the strategic benefits of breaking Pakistan. The following strategies have been put into action by Indian foreign and defense services to create pressure on Bangladesh:

1. Delaying tactics to solve bilateral problems: Having shared land and maritime borders, both Bangladesh and India should have demarcated their borders based on mutual cooperation, trust, and interest for the sake of peaceful co-existence, but regrettably, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by Bangladesh, India refused to respond adequately to resolve border disputes in an amicable fashion and employed a delaying tactics to create pressure on Bangladesh. Bangladesh, on the other hand, showing political maturity and the spirit of amicable co-existence has already ratified the border agreement signed between the two governments in 1974 and has also made several diplomatic moves to demarcate maritime border only to be frustrated by lukewarm Indian response. Non ratification of the border agreement by India[6] and its reluctance to find solution to maritime border dispute have caused a gradual deterioration in bilateral relations giving birth to mutual suspicion and mistrust.

2. Show of force: The aggressive posture of its border security forces along 4096 km. Indo-Bangla border and the deployment of its navy near a disputed Island named South Talpatty in the Bay of Bengal in the 80s to erect illegal structures are signals that in case Bangladesh fails to accommodate Indian interests causing further deterioration in bilateral relations, India will not hesitate to use military power against Bangladesh. Mr. Harun ur Rashid, an ex foreign secretary of Bangladesh, described the episode of illegal occupation of South Talpatty by India as, “While bilateral discussions were pending to resolve the dispute, on May 9, 1981, India sent an armed ship “INS Sandhayak” with one helicopter and some military personnel to the island. Some huts, tents, one aerial mast and one pole bearing the Indian flag were seen erected there. Bangladesh was taken by surprise at India’s aggressive mood to claim the island. Bangladesh on 11 May 1981 lodged a strong protest against such unwarranted, unilateral and illegal action of India that was in breach of the agreements reached at the highest political level.”[7]

3. Policy of supporting secessionist movements in Bangladesh: Chittagong Hill Tracts, which is one tenth of the total size of the country, with its enormous natural resources and strategic geographic location is vital for the existence of Bangladesh. Taking advantage of geographic proximity to its Tripura state and the desire of the local Chakma tribes for greater autonomy with an ultimate goal of creating Jumma land—an independent state for Chakmas— India sponsored the worst kind of terrorism in Chittagong Hill Tracks using its military and intelligence resources. The surreptitious Indian involvement in providing money and weapons to tribal insurgents in the Chittagong Hill Tracks since 1976 was acknowledged by Bimal Chakma—a Shanti Bahini official– in an interview with ‘The New York Times’ on June 11, 1989.[8] India used the insurgents against Bangladesh as a tool to gain political and economic concessions which she would not otherwise be able to extract from the government of Bangladesh. Finally, Bangladesh entered into a peace agreement with Shanti Bahini in 1997 to end insurgency and to restore law and order in Chittagong Hill Tracks, but the security and intelligence agencies of the country are still convinced that a lot of ex-Shanti Bahini members and other terrorists are still getting help from Indian security agencies and are hiding in the North East states of India.

4. Policy of proving Bangladesh as a safe haven for Indian insurgents: Because of India’s step motherly attitude towards its landlocked North Eastern states, a growing sense of deprivation, exploitation, and insecurity is prevalent among the people of this region, which has contributed to give birth to a number of insurgent groups who have taken up arms against their own government for self-determination. India’s myopic decision to crush insurgency through military means without finding the root causes to better understand the problem and the absence of a mature policy of providing economic and social incentives to remove inequalities have created myriad of problems causing further alienation of indigenous people. India in an attempt to portray itself as a victim of terrorism is now trying to find a scapegoat in Bangladesh to blame for the insurgency and to conceal its failure to contain insurgencies in the North East and to disprove its own involvement in secessionist movement in Chittagong Hill Tracks. Bangladesh, however, boldly rejected all such false allegations by India.[9]

5. Media propaganda: Notwithstanding its small landmass, Bangladesh, in terms of population, is the seventh largest country in the world and a home for 130 million Muslims. She has been playing a major role in international peace efforts and war against terrorism through contributing the second highest troops to U.N missions and through introducing tough anti terrorism ordinance with a provision of death sentence for those convicted of terrorism. Bangladesh was termed as a unique example of democracy in South Asia region by the then U.S. Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns and as a model for democracy and tolerance by Harry K Thomas—ex U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh. Disregarding the support and appreciation of International community for Bangladesh’s role in the war against terrorism, Indian media keeps inventing fictitious stories about Bangladesh’s alleged inability to respond to the security needs of India, in particular, and the world, in general to create pressure on the government of Bangladesh. But the fact of the matter is, Bangladesh is taking regional and global security matters seriously and is working closely with the international community to stop her soil from being used by elements inimical to regional and global security. It can be mentioned that the international community including the United States has welcomed Bangladesh’s dismantling of the terror network of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and its execution of the top terror leaders after following due process of law and has termed Bangladesh as a valuable partner in the war against terrorism.

6. Trade imbalance: In bilateral trade relations with its neighbors, India follows a policy of deriving maximum benefits by securing duty free access for its commodities, by cornering other smaller regional countries by not allowing them to have similar privileges, and by imposing non tariff barriers on their exports. The SAARC trade leaders have also termed India as the major roadblock in boosting regional trade.[10] Bangladesh is a victim of the same exploitative Indian trade strategy and suffers from a trade deficit to the amount of $2 billion with India which can be attributed to non removal of tariff and non tariff barriers on her exports. To offset the negative impact of this yawning trade gap, India has so far not offered any significant amount of investments and loans to Bangladesh.

7. Water sharing: The Indian strategy of bilateral ism and non implementation of water sharing treaties has caused enormous difficulties to its lower riparian neighbors because India uses prevailing asymmetry of power to its own advantage to deprive its neighbors of their due share of water. This has caused enormous ecological damage to riverine Bangladesh as supply of water during dry season has dwindled at an alarming rate. Renowned water expert, Dr. Ainun Nishat in an interview with a local daily said, “But Article-2 (2) stipulates that India will protect the flow at a specified level. Unless this protection mechanism is in operation the residual flow that arrives at Farakka may not be the flow that matches 40 years average condition. In short, the flow distributed has not been protected by India as per provision of the treaty…………..What India is doing now is that it is supplying residual water to Farakka to be shared by Bangladesh as India is either withdrawing water from upper riparian rivers or diverting water flows to other rivers within India by river linking projects.”[11]

Asymmetry in power and strategic options for Bangladesh

With 20 times larger landmass, 10 times larger population, and 10 times larger military, India is placed in an advantageous position to negotiate with Bangladesh from the position of strength to define the bilateral relation that suits its own political, strategic, and economic interests.

Being the weaker party, Bangladesh has to be creative in devising strategies to utilize India’s geographical and security vulnerabilities to her advantage through using her own geographical advantages, through forming alliances with strong friendly nations, and through being part of powerful international security forums to reduce her strategic vulnerabilities that arise from asymmetry in power vis a vis India and to protect her national interest.

The government of Bangladesh will define the responsibilities of different agencies to design, to implement, and to enforce strategies to deal with existing power inequalities with India, and they will also establish policies to review the current strategies to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses to ensure effectiveness to respond to current risks and to adjust to future risks.

No single strategy is enough to deal with a country as big and powerful as India, so Bangladesh has to employ several different strategies to diminish India’s strategic advantages over Bangladesh through identifying India’s security weak points and using them as Bangladesh’s own strategic assets, and through internationalizing bilateral issues to seek help from powerful friends and international forums so as to force India to resolve any disputes on the basis of justice, equality, and mutual respect.

In light of the above discussion, Bangladesh may employ following strategies to protect her national interest vis a vis India:

1. Diplomacy: To use bilateral diplomatic channels to resolve disputes in an amicable manner, and if that fails then use regional forums to raise the issues and involve other regional actors in the dispute resolution processes, and if still that doesn’t work then use the United Nations to take diplomatic actions to prevent disputes from escalating into conflicts.

2. International security forums: To make exhaustive efforts to raise bilateral security issues with India in ASEAN Regional Forum in an attempt to engage all the members of the forum in constructive security dialogues to resolve disputes through confidence building or through preventive diplomacy.

3. Strategic alliance: To form strategic alliance with China to obtain security guarantee in the event of a military conflict with India, and to obtain political guarantee that China will use her veto power to thwart Indian attempt to use the United Nations Security Council to legitimize its actions with respect to disputes with Bangladesh. Bangladesh will also work with China on matters that affect Chinese security interests based on mutual cooperation, interest, and utmost respect for each others sovereignty.

4. Strategic chicken neck: To consider the ‘chicken neck’ as strategic asset and to take political decision based on national consensus to not allow India to get transit rights on a bilateral basis through Bangladesh to transport goods, military or industrial, to its North East region. This will give Bangladesh a clear strategic advantage over India because the latter will be forced to rely on Bangladesh for stability and economic development of its North East region.

5. Military strength: To gain substantial military power to tie the entire Eastern Command of India in a long term war to cause erosion in its ability to fight a simultaneous war against Bangladesh and China or the insurgents in North East region, and to give Pakistan an opportunity to escalate the dispute over Kashmir into a major conflict on the Western side.

To the path of cooperation and partnership:

Despite having divergent strategic and security outlook, Bangladesh and India, being so close neighbors and part of so many regional and international forums, should try to take solid actions to minimize differences to foster understanding and cooperation in various socio-economic and security issues for amicable co-existence and regional stability. The following set of actions are recommended to achieve a peaceful bilateral relation:

  1. To promote regional cooperation to harness water resources for the benefit of agriculture and electricity production
  2. To provide duty free access for each others commodities to promote greater economic cooperation
  3. To take prompt diplomatic actions to demarcate land and maritime borders in the spirit of justice, equality, and good neighborliness
  4. To work closely to combat sea piracy, illegal arms trade, drug trafficking and human trafficking for the sake of regional security and stability
  5. To create culture of non-interference in each others internal affairs to promote trust, confidence, and cooperation

    References

    1. J N Dixit, Congress to follow cooperative policy with Bangladesh and SAARC neighbors
    http://www.bssnews.net/index.php?genID=BSS…-04-11&id=7
    2. RAW: Top-Secret Failures, p: 5
    3. Dr. Kalidas Baidya, Bangalir Muktijudhe Antoraler Sheikh Mujib, p:166-167
    4.
    http://meaindia.nic.in/treatiesagreement/1972/chap452.htm.
    5.
    http://www.indianexpress.com/ie/daily/19990624/iex24073.html
    6. http://www.newagebd.com/2009/jul/25/oped.html
    7. http://www.thedailystar.net/2003/10/01/d31001020323.htm
    8. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/06/11/world/ba…rting-them.html
    9. http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=64752
    10. http://nation.ittefaq.com/artman/publish/article_34202.shtml
    11. BD deprived of Ganges water as India violates treaty, The Bangladesh Today – February 17, 2009



Osama Bin Laden worked for US until 9/11
August 7, 2009, 10:35 am
Filed under: Islam, SubContinent, USA

Osama Bin Laden worked for US until 9/11

Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds dropped a bombshell on the Mike Malloy radio show, guest-hosted by Brad Friedman (audio, partial transcript).

In the interview, Sibel says that the US maintained ‘intimate relations’ with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, “all the way until that day of September 11.”

These ‘intimate relations’ included using Bin Laden for ‘operations’ in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These ‘operations’ involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner “as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict,” that is, fighting ‘enemies’ via proxies.

As Sibel has previously described, and as she reiterates in this latest interview, this process involved using Turkey (with assistance from ‘actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia’) as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army.

Control of Central Asia

The goals of the American ’statesmen’ directing these activities included control of Central Asia’s vast energy supplies and new markets for military products.

The Americans had a problem, though. They needed to keep their fingerprints off these operations to avoid a) popular revolt in Central Asia ( Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), and b) serious repercussions from China and Russia. They found an ingenious solution: Use their puppet-state Turkey as a proxy, and appeal to both pan-Turkic and pan-Islam sensibilities.

Turkey, a NATO ally, has a lot more credibility in the region than the US and, with the history of the Ottoman Empire, could appeal to pan-Turkic dreams of a wider sphere of influence. The majority of the Central Asian population shares the same heritage, language and religion as the Turks.

In turn, the Turks used the Taliban and al Qaeda, appealing to their dreams of a pan-Islamic caliphate (Presumably. Or maybe the Turks/US just paid very well.)

According to Sibel:

This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.

Uighurs

Sibel was recently asked to write about the recent situation with the Uighurs in Xinjiang, but she declined, apart from saying that “our fingerprint is all over it.”

Of course, Sibel isn’t the first or only person to recognize any of this. Eric Margolis, one of the best reporters in the West on matters of Central Asia, stated that the Uighurs in the training camps in Afghanistan up to 2001:

“were being trained by Bin Laden to go and fight the communist Chinese in Xinjiang, and this was not only with the knowledge, but with the support of the CIA, because they thought they might use them if war ever broke out with China.”

And also that:

“Afghanistan was not a hotbed of terrorism, these were commando groups, guerrilla groups, being trained for specific purposes in Central Asia.”

In a separate interview, Margolis said:

“That illustrates Henry Kissinger’s bon mot that the only thing more dangerous than being America’s enemy is being an ally, because these people were paid by the CIA, they were armed by the US, these Chinese Muslims from Xinjiang, the most-Western province.

The CIA was going to use them in the event of a war with China, or just to raise hell there, and they were trained and supported out of Afghanistan, some of them with Osama Bin Laden’s collaboration. The Americans were up to their ears with this.”

Rogues Gallery

Last year, Sibel came up with a brilliant idea to expose some of the criminal activity that she is forbidden to speak about: she published eighteen photos, titled “Sibel Edmonds’ State Secrets Privilege Gallery,” of people involved the operations that she has been trying to expose. One of those people is Anwar Yusuf Turani, the so-called ‘President-in-exile’ of East Turkistan (Xinjiang). This so-called ‘government-in-exile’ was ‘established‘ on Capitol Hill in September, 2004, drawing a sharp rebuke from China.

Also featured in Sibel’s Rogues Gallery was ‘former’ spook Graham Fuller, who was instrumental in the establishment of Turani’s ‘government-in-exile’ of East Turkistan. Fuller has written extensively on Xinjiang, and his “ Xinjiang Project” for Rand Corp is apparently the blueprint for Turani’s government-in-exile. Sibel has openly stated her contempt for Mr. Fuller.

Susurluk

The Turkish establishment has a long history of mingling matters of state with terrorism, drug trafficking and other criminal activity, best exemplified by the 1996 Susurluk incident which exposed the so-called Deep State.

Sibel states that “a few main Susurluk actors also ended up in Chicago where they centered ‘certain’ aspects of their operations (Especially East Turkistan-Uighurs).”

One of the main Deep State actors, Mehmet Eymur, former Chief of Counter-Terrorism for Turkey’s intelligence agency, the MIT, features in Sibel’s Rogues Gallery. Eymur was given exile in the US. Another member of Sibel’s gallery, Marc Grossman was Ambassador to Turkey at the time that the Susurluk incident exposed the Deep State. He was recalled shortly after, prior to the end of his assignment, as was Grossman’s underling, Major Douglas Dickerson, who later tried to recruit Sibel into the spying ring.

The modus operandi of the Susurluk gang is the same as the activities that Sibel describes as taking place in Central Asia, the only difference is that this activity was exposed in Turkey a decade ago, whereas the organs of the state in the US, including the corporate media, have successfully suppressed this story.

Chechnya, Albania & Kosovo

Central Asia is not the only place where American foreign policy makers have shared interests with Bin Laden. Consider the war in Chechnya. As I documented here, Richard Perle and Stephen Solarz (both in Sibel’s gallery) joined other leading neocon luminaries such as Elliott Abrams, Kenneth Adelman, Frank Gaffney, Michael Ledeen, James Woolsey, and Morton Abramowitz in a group called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya (ACPC). For his part, Bin Laden donated $25 million to the cause, as well as numerous fighters, and technical expertise, establishing training camps.

US interests also converged with those of al-Qaeda in Kosovo and Albania.

Of course, it is not uncommon for circumstances to arise where ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend.’ On the other hand, in a transparent democracy, we expect a full accounting of the circumstances leading up to a tragic event like 9/11. The 9/11 Commission was supposed to provide exactly that.

State Secrets

Sibel has famously been dubbed the most gagged woman in America, having the State Secrets Privilege imposed on her twice. Her 3.5 hour testimony to the 9/11 Commission has been entirely suppressed, reduced to a single footnote which refers readers to her classified testimony.

In the interview, she says that the information that was classified in her case specifically identifies that the US was using Bin Laden and the Taliban in Central Asia, including Xinjiang. In the interview, Sibel reiterates that when invoking the gag orders, the US government claims that it is protecting ” ’sensitive diplomatic relations,’ protecting Turkey, protecting Israel, protecting Pakistan, protecting Saudi Arabia…” This is no doubt partially true, but it is also true that they are protecting themselves too, and it is a crime in the US to use classification and secrecy to cover up crimes.

As Sibel says in the interview:

I have information about things that our government has lied to us about… those things can be proven as lies, very easily, based on the information they classified in my case, because we did carry very intimate relationship with these people, and it involves Central Asia, all the way up to September 11.

Summary

The bombshell here is obviously that certain people in the US were using Bin Laden up to September 11, 2001.

It is important to understand why: the US outsourced terror operations to al Qaeda and the Taliban for many years, promoting the Islamization of Central Asia in an attempt to personally profit off military sales as well as oil and gas concessions.

The silence by the US government on these matters is deafening. So, too, is the blowback.

http://pakalert.wordpress.com/2009/08/06/bombshell-osama-bin-laden-worked-for-us-until-911/