India-Pakistan War Brews - Potential Nuclear Conflagration Looms
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India-Pakistan War Brews - Potential Nuclear Conflagration Looms

December 29, 2001



MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 12/29/2001: No matter what American and Israeli officials now say in public, at some point the "war against terrorism" as defined in Washington and Jerusalem was likely to begin to quickly expand in unforeseen ways in both the Middle East and the sub-continent. One way or another it now seems likely that some kind of attempt is going to be made to defang Pakistan from its nuclear "Muslim bomb" -- with possibly catastrophic consequences -- and to destroy "weapons of mass destruction" under development by other countries. Furthermore the situations with Iraq, with Hezbollah in Lebanon, with the Palestinian resistance, and with severe internal tensions in Egypt and Jordan, are all tense and still escalating.

The Americans could have said they were just going after those who bombed the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon and in that way maintained a certain credibility. Instead the Americans have pulled out all the ready-to-go crusader-like military/CIA plans and have targeted every and anyone either in opposition to American hegemony worldwide or Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. By doing so the Americans have not only lost their credibility they have sparked new and more dangerous escalations of already existing conflicts that had no direct connection to what happened in New York and Washington. By portraying everything in black and white terms, by insisting that everyone (other than themselves, Israel, and other U.S.-sponsored client regimes) who uses military means regardless of the specific situation and specific means is a "terrorist", by pursuing the broad-based "crusade" to enforce the "new world order" that George Bush first enunciated even though the terminology has now been changed, the sparks of war and destruction are flying in many places and the year 2002 could be catastrophic.


New Delhi (dpa - Sat Dec 29 2001 03:12:37 ET ) - Four Pakistani soldiers were reported killed, 30 wounded and six of their bunkers destroyed when Indian troops opened heavy retaliatory artillery fire across the Line of Control (LoC) in Kopri area of Poonch sector Saturday morning.

The United News of India said Pakistan Army opened heavy, unprovoked fire on forward Indian positions around 0330 hours local time with 81 MM mortar guns and heavy machine guns, targeting bunkers and communication towers.

The shelling continued for an hour. In retaliation Indian troops fired 82 MM mortar shells on Pakistani positions and destroyed three bunkers.

After Indian retaliation, Pakistani troops opened fire from 105 MM guns on Indian positions to which Indian troops retaliated destroying two more Pakistani bunkers.


LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) - It may be a monument to love, but these days the Taj Mahal is poised for war.

As war clouds loom over the neighbourhood, Indian officials are working on plans to camouflage the white marble monument to protect it from attack.

Officials at the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) said on Saturday they planned to drape the shrine in the northern city of Agra with olive green cloth so that it blended with the surroundings.

"We had covered the Taj Mahal with green cloth in 1971 when war broke out with Pakistan. We must keep ourselves in readiness for such an eventuality," ASI's Chief Archaeologist K.K. Mohammad told Reuters.

"Having prepared the blue-print, we are now in the process of carrying out the desired drill."

He said arrangements had been made for scaffoldings and cloth so that everything could be put in place at the shortest notice.

Agra, about 200 km (126 miles) south of New Delhi, was the venue of a failed summit in July between Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

The nuclear-armed South Asian foes have massed troops along their borders and traded tit-for-tat sanctions as relations nosedived after an attack on India's parliament on December 13.

India has blamed two Pakistan-based Kashmiri militant groups for the attacks and even accused them of planning the raid under instructions from Pakistan's spy agency. Islamabad and the two groups have rejected the charge.

Although the most famous symbol of Hindu-dominated India, the Taj Mahal was built in the 17th century by Emperor Shahjahan at the height of Muslim rule over the subcontinent.

Built as a tribute to the emperor's beloved second wife, Mumtaz Mahal, who died in childbirth, the Taj Mahal -- or Crown Palace in Urdu -- has the distinction of being among the seven wonders of the world.

A trip to the famous shrine is considered almost a rite of passage by the millions of tourists who visit India each year.

Musharraf and his wife also played tourists at the shrine during the summit talks.

But many may have to change their path if a war breaks out.

"We will also have to take the unpleasant decision of shutting the doors of the Taj," Mohammad said.

The Taj Mahal stands on a marble platform surrounded by ornamental gardens. White minarets grace each corner and two smaller red sandstone buildings balance the postcard-perfect image on the banks of the Yamuna river, which flows into the sacred Ganges.


By Zeeshan Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters - Saturday December 29 1:18 PM ET ) - Pakistan began thinning out troops patrolling its western border with Afghanistan in search of Osama bin Laden, freeing men for possible duty on its eastern frontier as the threat of war with India grew.

President Bush, whose administration has been working to avoid a fourth war between the nuclear neighbors, telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf, state television said.

No details of the conversation were immediately available.

Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar urged caution, saying tensions were so high that one wrong move could ignite conflict between the two nuclear-armed neighbors.

At the southwestern border town of Chaman, a Reuters reporter saw troops pulling out and packing up anti-aircraft guns installed at some checkpoints with Afghanistan.

``We have received orders to move,'' one soldier said when asked why they were leaving the Afghan frontier where several battalions of additional troops had been deployed to keep out Saudi-born militant bin Laden and his al Qaeda fighters.

``You know what's going on there or what may happen,'' he said, referring to the troop build-up on the border with India and fears of war.

The two enemy states have mounted the biggest troop buildup on the border for 15 years following a December 13 attack on the Indian parliament.

New Delhi blames two Pakistan-based militant groups fighting Indian rule in the disputed Kashmir region for the raid, which left 14 people dead, including the five assailants.

It wants the leaders arrested and is furious that Pakistan has not done more to meet those demands.

``The possibility a... small action could trigger a chain of action and reaction leading to a conflict that neither side desires is unfortunately very high,'' Sattar sad.

``Pakistan does not seek any war,'' he told a news conference.

Musharraf would be happy to meet Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to ease the tensions, he said.

``We have made no specific request. If there is a desire on the part of the Indian prime minister, then surely a meeting will be arranged,'' he said.

But he said Pakistan would not request a meeting, after India scrapped talks scheduled for a regional summit in Kathmandu next week.

``I am sure no responsible person would like Pakistan to make a request that would give India the satisfaction of saying they have rejected it,'' he said.

Musharraf said on Friday he was willing to meet if the Indian prime minister wished. ``I don't mind meeting with him but you can't clap with one hand,'' Musharraf told reporters.

India swiftly dismissed any possibility of talks.

Vajpayee vowed to crush what he called cross-border terrorism and said India would do its best to avoid a war with Pakistan.


Sattar said the Indian troop deployments along the recognized international border to the south and along the de facto ``Line of Control'' which divides the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir posed a threat to Pakistan's security.

``If these threats are executed, that will lead to terrible consequences.''

He reminded that the two countries, which stunned the world with their tit-for-tat nuclear tests in 1998, had signed an agreement in the 1990s not to attack each other's nuclear installations in the event of a conflict.

``Any violation of that agreement would entail very serious consequences,'' he said.

Pakistan blocked Indian television news channels on Saturday.

``The Pakistan government has banned showing Indian satellite channels as well as Star channels on cables for their poisonous propaganda against Pakistan,'' the official APP news agency quoted Major General Shahzada Alam Malik, chairman of the state-owned Telecommunication Authority as saying.

Pakistan has condemned the parliament attack but sought evidence from India before taking action against Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad outfits.

Islamabad has already frozen the bank accounts of Lashkar-e-Taiba and detained the head of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Maulana Masood Azhar and some 50 activists of unidentified radical groups.

Azhar, a firebrand Islamic cleric, was released from an Indian jail in a swap for the passengers of an Indian airliner hijacked to Afghanistan in 1999.

Comment on these article(s)

December 2001


U.S. and Israel Now Have Iraq In Their Sights
(December 31, 2001)
Britain's Telegraph Newspaper is well-plugged in with both the Americans and the Israelis, and is helping fan the flames of the likelier than not upcoming collision with Iraq. At the moment the U.S. is short of cruise missiles.

Sub-Continent Rushes Toward Conflagration
(December 31, 2001)
Pakistan and India are readying their military forces - including their ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons - for war.

Israelis Preparing The Way for 2002 - Now a Potentially Cataclysmic Year
(December 31, 2001)
Yasser Arafat remains under town siege in Ramallah, and his personal as well as historical nemesis, Ariel Sharon, continues to attempt to provoke more Palestinian hatred and violence which he will then use to justify still further Israeli military escalations, potentially cataclysmic in the year about to begin.

"We Will Win Nuclear War"! Crisis Escalates Further!
(December 31, 2001)
As the year turns, not since fourty years ago, not since1962 and the "Cuban Missile Crisis", has the world faced the possibility of an iminent orgastic nuclear war between two major countries.

The "Muslim" Bomb - Both Pakistan and Iran now Targeted in addition to Iraq
(December 30, 2001)
The Israelis have a vast arsenal of nuclear weapons; and in fact helped instigate the very regional arms race they are now so worried about; then fueled it further by ongoing attempts to crush and subjugate the Palestinians while colonizing still more territories.

Now, let's talk about terrorism, shall we?
(December 30, 2001)
If you are still shaken by the horrifying scenes of September 11, please observe a moment of silence for the 5,000 civilian lives lost in the New York, Washington, DC and Pennsylvania attacks. While we're at it...

"Internationals" Victorious For The Day Over Israeli Army
(December 30, 2001)
You've got to hand it to these international activists, they are succeeding at the moment at least in drawing attention to what the Israeli occupation is really all about, they are putting their bodies on the line, they have now finally after so many years and provocations begun to organize and demonstrate for real. But there are a few serious problems in this.

India-Pakistan War Brews - Potential Nuclear Conflagration Looms
(December 29, 2001)
No matter what American and Israeli officials now say in public, at some point the "war against terrorism" as defined in Washington and Jerusalem was likely to begin to quickly expand in unforeseen ways in both the Middle East and the sub-continent.

Islamic Militants Attack Israeli Patrol, Defying Arafat's Truce Call
(December 29, 2001)
Ignoring Yasser Arafat's truce order, two members of the militant Islamic Jihad group on Friday attacked an Israeli army patrol in the Gaza Strip in a failed suicide mission.

(December 28, 2001)
"I wouldn't be the least surprised if there were a nuclear explosion in Israel or the United States." Congressman Chris Shays (R-Conn.) Chairman of the House subcommittee on national security

The Real "OBSTACLE TO PEACE", and Egypt Targets Women - MER FLASHBACK
(December 28, 2001)
It's front-page news! Bill Clinton says Israeli settlements are an "obstacle" to peace. But this isn't the real story; nor are settlements the real obstacle.

(December 26, 2001)
Both India and Pakistan in recent days have deployed substantial combat forces to important strategic areas along their borders and with tension continuing to mount the Indian army has ordered residents in border villages to leave.

Pakistan warns of nuclear conflict with India!
(December 25, 2001)
As in Palestine, the Kashmir conflict originally resulted from Western policies in the last century. Now both conflicts threaten to explode into wars of mass destruction in this century.

The Terrible State of the Palestinians
(December 24, 2001)
After all his bluster and threats, Yasser Arafat remains essentially an Israeli prisoner in Ramallah, one of the militarily-surrounded Palestinian Bantustans that Arafat himself helped create when he put his pen to various Israeli schemes for which he received, quite literally, billions of dollars in payoffs and arms which he then distributed to cronies and entourage to keep himself in power.

Holy Land ShowDown - Will He or Won't He?
(December 24, 2001)
An atmosphere of tension and expectation has descended on Bethlehem as Palestinians wait to see whether their leader, Yasser Arafat, will successfully defy an Israeli ban on his travelling to the town for a highly symbolic Christmas Mass.

Israel Searches Convoy for Arafat...Political Brinksmanship Awaits Clock
(December 24, 2001)
As the clock ticks toward Christmas Eve and Midnight a grand game of political brinksmanship is underway between the two old protagonists, Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat.

Israel Prepares For Arafat's "Walk" or Copter to Bethlehem
(December 23, 2001)
It's even possible Arafat could tomorrow win this round in what has evolved into a kind of personal Sharon-Arafat political wrestling match. We're all anxiously waiting to see just how this drama is going to unfold Monday; and whether Arafat can even approach the political skill and timing of Mahatma Gandhi.

Arab Regimes Helped Bring Sharon To Power - MER FlashBack
(December 23, 2001)
It was the Arab client regimes themselves, especially the Hashemites in Jordan and the Egyptians, who actually helped bring Ariel Sharon to the pinnacle of power in Israel. This from MER archives four years ago:

"It's a humiliation for the entire Palestinian people"
(December 23, 2001)
"This is an example of the arrogance of occupation. It's a humiliation for the entire Palestinian people, Christians and Muslims... Sharon is playing with fire -- he wants blood and tears instead of Christmas carols."

Yasser's Historic Moment Monday To Walk Peacefully Into History
(December 22, 2001)
As we said the other day, we're all aware that Yasser Arafat's record of doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons in the right way is rather tarnished, to say the least. But even tarnished almost consumed historic figures sometimes have their possible moments of historic redemption.

War Year 2002 - Stage Set for "Transferring" Palestinians, "Jordan is Palestine"
(December 22, 2001)
If major wars and more "terrorist incidents" break out in the Sub-Continent and elsewhere in the Middle East region, as now seems likely in the weeks and months immediately ahead, that is just what Ariel Sharon and the "right-wing" Israelis -- with at least acquiescence from Barak, Peres and the so-called "left-wing" Israelis -- have been waiting for.

Darkness in the Once Holy Land
(December 21, 2001)
"The Oslo agreements were a sham... The understanding on the Palestinian side was that Oslo would eventually lead to Israeli withdrawal from the territories. In fact, the accords turned into a state-run land grab of astounding proportions..."

Arafat Threatens to Walk to Bethlehem - NewsFlash!
(December 21, 2001)
Just a week ago now MER wrote of the urgent need for Arafat to "do a Gandhi". "Message to Arafat - Do a Gandhi, right now, before it's too late!" was the title of the MER article published last Friday at this time. And it seems MER's impact is even greater than we imagined!

U.S. and Israel Cozier And More Intertwined Than Ever
(December 21, 2001)
The United States plans to offer Israel an expanded missile defense cooperation relationship. The cooperation is meant to follow the model of the current U.S.-Israeli Arrow-2 joint program.

Time to Suspend Israel from the U.N. General Assembly
(December 20, 2001)
The General Assembly could act seriously today; it has the power. And there is the precedent as well -- South Africa in the days of Apartheid. The U.S. has no veto in the GA; something that under today's conditions, and precisely because of last week's "astounding" Security Council veto, should be acted upon.

"So let's hope the president will resist the siren calls for new wars"
(December 20, 2001)
Warnings have already come, and in public, from all over. The Germans, the French, the U.N., there's already quite a long list. But the Americans are definitely planning to march forward on their crusade...there are many "phases" already not just planned but in various forms of execution.

Peres Himself "Shudders"; and "Evil" Israeli-Style Unleashed
(December 19, 2001)
Shimon Peres ought to know. This is hardly the first time the Israelis have been caught at what for most of the world deserve to be categorized as "war crimes." And for every time they have been caught there are ever so many other times that the dastardly things they have done have been successfully hidden from view, so far that is.

Thank You Der Spiegel
(December 18, 2001)
We've yet to see the full English translation of yesterday's important article by Publisher Rudolf Augstein of Der Spiegel. But right away we can certainly comment that it's about time German intellectuals and journalists realized that precisely because of their past they have a special obligation to stand up against racism and facism and brute militarism -- from whatever quarter it rears its ugly tentacles.

LIES, TRICKS, DECEPTIONS...then and now?
(December 17, 2001)
Was what the world watched a few days ago, originally broadcast direct from the Pentagon no less, the real OSB and the whole truthful story of the conveniently found and timed tape? Was this just a part of the real but more more complex and convoluted story? Was there a CIA Sting involved as has been reported by the establishment British press in London over the weekend?

Destroying Saddam/Bathist Regime Being Planned by US, Israel
(December 17, 2001)
When you send a recently retired Marine Corp General and regional Commander to the Middle East as your "Peace Negotiator" it's war not peace you have in mind. But the popular press is ever-so-gullible and compliant of course.

Neighborhood Bully - A Former U.S. Attorney General on American Militarism
(December 15, 2001)
When I picture a high-ranking government official, I think of someone who is corrupt. I think of a corporate shill. I think of someone who is not a friend to the people of this country. I think of Lord Acton's famous line about power corrupting, and absolute power corrupting absolutely.

Israeli Stage Set For Regional War and Destruction
(December 15, 2001)
"Arafat's real crisis is among his own people. They see him as just an Israeli sheriff who happens to speak their language."

Message to Arafat - Do a Gandhi, right now, before it's too late!
(December 14, 2001)
Palestinian support groups in the US and elsewhere are pathetically weak, terribly lead, and still engaged most of the time in rather juvenile uninformed internal debates about who is who and what is what. But even so, once and awhile there's a good idea circulated in their incestuous and bloated email forums, though there is hardly ever any follow-through in any serious way.

Arafat's Last Stand... European Betrayal... Devastation and Catastrophe...
(December 14, 2001)
"Arafat came as collaborator as much as liberator. For the Israelis, security - theirs, not the Palestinians' - was the be-all and end-all of Oslo. His job was to supply it on their behalf."

Arafat in Bunker; Israeli Missiles Seek Bin Laden; Propaganda Campaigns Escalate
(December 13, 2001)
Greatly emboldened because there have not been the kinds of major demonstrations and violent clashes in Arab and Muslim countries that some predicted, the U.S. and Israel have decided to push forward with crushing military power, still more covert CIA actions, and further administrative and financial restrictions worldwide.

Israelis Spies Held by U.S. While Israelis Unleash More Death and Destruction
(December 13, 2001)
The very day the White House went to great lengths to position the Israeli flag right behind the President, and to purposefully highlight the Star of David to the greatest degree possible, the whole subject of Israeli espionage against the U.S. has also unfurled once again.

Israeli Spying in USA, Part I
(December 13, 2001)

Israeli Spying in USA, Part II
(December 13, 2001)

Israeli Spying in USA, Part III
(December 13, 2001)

Israeli Spying in USA, Part IV
(December 13, 2001)

Boycott the USA Says Famous Egyptian
(December 12, 2001)
When Egypt's most popular television commentator, Hamdi Qandil, called for a boycott of U.S. goods, which his government opposes, it got past the censor. But he was stopped from repeating it.

Israel: The 51st State?
(December 12, 2001)
September 11th, 2001, has become the tragedy of opportunity for Israel; a perfect turning point in which the "war against terrorism" analogy has been fully exploited by Ariel Sharon's radical right-wing government to sustain, even intensify, the horrors of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

What Drives A Bomber to Kill the Innocent Child? MER FLASHBACK
(December 11, 2001)
I once asked the head of the Lebanese Hizbollah if he could explain to me how the mind of a suicide bomber works. Sayed Hassan Nasrallah was dressed in his black turban and robes. He had formerly been the Hizbollah's military commander in southern Lebanon and from his legions had emerged the first Arab suicide bombers who would - after more than a decade and a half - sap the morale of Israel's retreating army.

"...Symbol of Hatred and Fury of This Filthy War"
(December 10, 2001)
They started by shaking hands. We said 'Salaam aleikum' - peace be upon you - then the first pebbles flew past my face. A small boy tried to grab my bag. Then another. Then someone punched me in the back. Then young men broke my glasses, began smashing stones into my face and head.

Robert Fisk Nearly Beaten to Death
(December 9, 2001)
Robert Fisk is one of the world's preeminent experts about the Middle East and world affairs. He is the longest serving Western correspondent in the region. He is also an extraordinarily courageous person who always conducts himself with great determination, fortitude, and professionalism.

Just Call Me 'Uncle Jim', Saudi Propaganda, Academia Subverted - MER FLASHBACKS
(December 4, 2001)

Lies About "Peace" and a "Palestinian State" - Then and Now
(December 1, 2001)
More than twenty years ago now another American President was promising a complete "settlement freeze" and a "transitional period" leading to a "Palestinian State". The notion that George W. Bush is doing so for the first time, sui generis, is not only blatantly historically fallacious but downright disingenuous.

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