Showing posts from April, 2013

Prospects of Stability and Progress in Afghanistan - In the light of latest disclosures

Departing French Envoy Has Frank Words on Afghanistan
By ALISSA J. RUBIN, New York Times, April 27, 2013

KABUL, Afghanistan — It is always hard to gauge what diplomats really think unless one of their cables ends up on WikiLeaks, but every once in a while, the barriers fall and a bit of truth slips into public view.

That is especially true in Afghanistan, where diplomats painstakingly weigh every word against political goals back home. The positive spin from the Americans has been running especially hard the last few weeks, as Congressional committees in Washington focus on spending bills and the Obama administration, trying to secure money for a few more years here, talks up the country’s progress. The same is going on at the European Union, where the tone has been sterner than in the past, but still glosses predictions of Afghanistan’s future with upbeat words like “promise” and “potential.” Despite that, one of those rare truth-telling moments came at a farewell cocktail party la…

The Future of Arab Spring ?

The Seven Pillars of the Arab Future
The United States cannot make a success of the Arab Spring. Only the region’s nations can. Here are the ways they need to mature.
Michael Wahid Hanna
Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Issue # 28, Spring 2013

The early days of the Arab uprisings were uncomplicated and inspiring, as they reaffirmed many Westerners’ long-held beliefs regarding universal values, human rights, and democratization. With the fall of long-standing dictators and the spread of unrest and protest, historical parallels were quickly drawn to the transformative events of 1989, which witnessed the fall of the Communist dictatorships of Eastern Europe and the acceleration of events that soon thereafter led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

But as violence assumed a more prominent role in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, the straightforward and attractive image of organic protest against authoritarian rule became muddied. The uprisings and their consequences—the murders in Libya of U.S.…

Boston Bombings: Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston

Living Through Terror, in Rawalpindi and Boston
By HAIDER JAVED WARRAICH, New York Times, April 17, 2013
BOSTON I WAS in the middle of having Chinese food with my wife and friends yesterday afternoon when we heard the dull and deathly reverb. The water in our plastic cups rippled. We looked at one another, and someone made a joke about that famous scene in “Jurassic Park.” We tried to drown the moment in humor. But then a rush of humanity descended upon us in the Prudential Center on Boylston Street, right across from where the second bomb blast had just occurred, near the marathon’s finish line.
People gushed across the hallway like fish in white water rapids. It was a blur of bright clothes and shiny sneakers, everyone dressed up for Patriot’s Day weekend on what was moments ago a beautiful spring day. Instantly, images of the shootings in Aurora, Colo., Newtown, Conn., and Tucson came to mind. I felt my thoughts reduced to singular flashes. My life, all of it, was the first…

The Drone Debate: Dismantling Terrorism Hubs or Creating More Terrorism Recruitment Opportunities

Policing in Karachi - A Tale of Corruption

In Pakistan underworld, a cop is said to be a king
Associated Press, March 30, 2013

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — A corrupt, low-level cop with a healthy dose of street smarts rises to control hundreds of illegal gambling dens in Pakistan's largest city. By doling out millions of dollars in illicit proceeds, he protects his empire and becomes one of the most powerful people in Karachi.
The allegations against Mohammed Waseem Ahmed — or Waseem "Beater" as he is more commonly known — emerged recently from surprise testimony by a top police commander before a crusading anti-crime Supreme Court judge. The story has given a rare and colorful glimpse into the vast underworld in Karachi, a chaotic metropolis of 18 million people on Pakistan's southern coast. The sprawling city has become notorious for violence, from gangland-style killings and kidnappings to militant bombings and sectarian slayings. Further worrying authorities have been sig…