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Archive for January, 2007

Regional Complications

One of Ariel Sharon’s last actions as PM in December 2005 before he had a stroke and slipped into coma, in which state he remains today, was to activate Unit 262 (equivalent of US Special Forces and our Special Services Group) and 69 Squadron of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), mandating it to be ready for action by end March 2006. F-15s from 69 had successfully carried out the June 7, 1981 Osirik raid to destroy Saddam Hussein’s nuclear ambitions. Israel, and thereby by default the US, have treated Iranian President Ahmednijad’s threats quite seriously, and have said so, focussing on that as “casus belli”. Iranian nuclear sites will be targeted by surgical strikes, sooner rather than later.

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Migrants and Pakistan

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Geneva, Switzerland chose Islamabad for a Coordination Meeting to be participated in from Jan 17 to Jan 19, 2007 by about 10-15 members from various IOM Missions in West and Central Asia as well as from their HQs in Geneva. To give migration issues in Pakistan due exposure, as well as give reciprocal exposure to stakeholders in Pakistan to migration issues, as a member of the IOM’s Business Advisory Board (BAB) I requested IOM to take time out and use the opportunity for inter-active Seminars in Karachi and Islamabad. IOM detailed three of their Principal Officers, Ms Anne-Marie Buschman-Petit, Special Assistant to the Director General (DG) IOM, Ms Jill Helke, Executive Officer to the DG IOM, and Mr Richard Danziger, Head of Counter-trafficking IOM, to participate in two inter-active Town Hall format Seminars in Karachi and Islamabad, held on Jan 15 and 16 respectively in association with the Karachi Council of Foreign Relations, Economic Affairs and Law. One must commend the excellent work of the Secretary General, Ahsan Mukhtar Zuberi.

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Iraq Beyond Saddam

The problem in being a compromise choice for leader is that unless you are an extraordinary person capable of standing your ground (given that you have the genius to sift the mundane from the important), you will be pummeled from all directions and unable to satisfy the individual and/or collective demands of all your masters (or mistresses). Or worse, you could fall back on only protecting the vital interests of your prime sponsor and thus compromise good judgment and principles. While many Iraqis hated Saddam for what he was, a brutal murderer with no qualms about human life, and a fair amount of the population looked forward to his climbing the steps of the scaffold, the timing of his execution and the manner it was carried out was atrocious. Iraq’s PM Nur Maliki managed to sacrifice the parameters of good governance on which he had advertised his ascendancy to the PM’s post, he might as well have thrown national unity to the wolves. Displaying profound bad judgment, he proclaimed his allegiance, neither to Iraq nor to muslims, but only to Moqtada al Sadr’s so-called “Mahdi” army. It will have long-term repercussions for Iraq, for the region, and as a result for the world. That the US will dump him is only a matter of time, Nur Maliki will more likely pre-empt his dismissal by resigning, sooner rather than later.

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