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The Death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi

Friedman then gives vent to the bile he has accumulated against Trump for having been at cross purposes with the Deep State Friedman

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Death, Baghdadi, Terrorism
He notes, satirically, how "effusive Trump was of the intelligence agencies who found and tracked al-Baghdadi to the lair in Syria where he blew himself up to avoid being captured." Flickr

In these dark days when terrorism has become a strategic asset, to bump off a superior practitioner like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has implications. Had he begun to serve the interests not of his original handlers but, possibly, their rivals? Has he been eliminated at all? Does his disappearance leave unprotected those oil wells, which his gang or his patrons profited from? Is the drama in murky light, a bait to drag President Trump back to the West Asian arena, which he is militarily withdrawing from? Death.

From the very beginning, Syria was at the heart of the conflict between Trump and the Deep State, which is now accepted even by the New York Times.

In fact, NYT’s Establishment columnist Thomas Friedman, while applauding the killing of the ISIS leader, reveals which side he is on in the Trump-Deep State conflict. He notes, satirically, how “effusive Trump was of the intelligence agencies who found and tracked al-Baghdadi to the lair in Syria where he blew himself up to avoid being captured.”

Friedman then gives vent to the bile he has accumulated against Trump for having been at cross purposes with the Deep State Friedman so obviously adores. “Well, Mr. President, those are the same intelligence agencies who told you that Russia intervened in our last election in an effort to tip the vote to you and against Hillary Clinton.” What does this line of reasoning mean?

Death, Baghdadi, Terrorism
From the very beginning, Syria was at the heart of the conflict between Trump and the Deep State, which is now accepted even by the New York Times. Flickr

When history is written, Trump will be faulted on a hundred counts, and severely. But it would be uncharitable not to note one truth about him: Trump is the only President in recent history who tried to end military conflicts the US was involved in and who did not start a conflict. There have been 13 military conflicts in recent decades costing $18 trillion, by some estimates.

The Baghdadi image did have its uses. The last time his photograph appeared on front pages of newspapers was after the Easter Sunday massacre in Colombo, Sri Lanka on April 21. On TV too, Baghdadi was shown claiming the massacre as a “revenge” for the attack on a mosque in New Zealand. French experts, among others, soon established that it was a fraudulent clip — a voice had been super imposed on his visage.

Which outfit would like to stir up a conflict between Sri Lanka’s two frail minorities — Muslims and Christians? New Delhi alerted Colombo as early as April 4, that a major terrorist attack can be expected. How did New Delhi know?

At this time, Sri Lanka was sharply divided between two camps: President Maithripala Sirisena had embraced China’s Road and Belt Initiative; Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was in convulsions to sign the (SOFA) Status of Forces Agreement with the US before the next general elections.

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A puzzle remains. The island nation is at the centre of fierce competition between a rising China and a retreating US for influence in the Indian Ocean. Over 300 people are killed; 500 injured. Among those killed are Chinese Marine engineers. Hotels attacked have Chinese links. Whodunit?

There were stories about Saudis leaving because they had advance knowledge. Supposing the al-Baghdadi clip claiming the massacre had been borne out by facts, which direction would the needle of suspicion point to? Islamic terror? What purpose would that narrative serve?

Looking for simple answers would not help. A small island nation, just recovering from a vicious civil war, would be shaken up by the sheer scale of the massacre, warranting the appearance of intelligence agencies from everywhere — US, UK, Israel, Australia, India. An initial pooling in of intelligence would lead to a penetration of systems until the benefactors achieve their hallowed goal: place roadblocks in the way of the Road and Belt project.

That may or may not have been the plan but police sniffer dogs found something extraordinary while walking through the Jaic Hilton hotel. The dogs stopped in front of an apartment and would not stop barking.

Death, Baghdadi, Terrorism
In fact, NYT’s Establishment columnist Thomas Friedman, while applauding the killing of the ISIS leader, reveals which side he is on in the Trump-Deep State conflict. Flickr

The management cited some difficulties in opening that apartment, national security or no national security. After considerable time had lapsed, two persons claiming to be with the US Embassy turned up. In the room were two “explosive detectors”. The detectors, said the two men, were for their personal security. Just look at the cockiness of this stance. They ignored the obvious fact: dogs would only bark if the detectors had been in touch with explosives. These details are part of the investigations conducted by Dr. Michael Roberts of the University of Adelaide.

Those who tried to foist the tragedy on al-Baghdadi were obviously embarrassed. But, even a fraudulent use of the ISIS chief was possible when he was still theoretically alive. He may be missed. Even NYT’s Friedman, I have quoted earlier, had recommended that al-Baghdadi can be creatively used in the American interest. He advises Trump not to waste his time fighting the ISIS. He wants “Trump to be Trump — utterly cynical and unpredictable.” He continues, “Trump should let ISIS be Assad’s, Iran’s, Hezbullah’s and Russia’s headache.”

Friedman has not cooked up the theory of terrorism as a strategic asset on his own. He has acquired this wisdom from leaders, including US Presidents like Barack Obama. In the course of a lengthy interview in August, 2015, he asked Obama a very pertinent question. When ISIS first reared its head in Mosul a year ago, why did the President not immediately bomb it out of existence?

Obama stated quite plainly: “We did not just start taking a bunch of air strikes all across Iraq because that would have taken the pressure off Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al Maliki.”

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Obama’s priority was not the elimination of the founder of the Caliphate. His priority was to exert pressure on Nouri al Maliki to vacate the Iraqi Prime Minister’s office. Why? Because Maliki was “brazenly” pro-Shia and had refused to sign the Status of Forces Agreement with the US. Obama’s “one-two” (to use a term from boxing) worked. US pressure, and al Baghdadi’s menacing presence at the gates of Iraq’s capital, helped ease Maliki out. (IANS)

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Terrorist Safe Havens Should Be Eliminated: Rajnath Singh

Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok that the international community should come together to disrupt terrorist networks

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens. Wikimedia Commons

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Bangkok on Monday that the international community should come together to eliminate terrorist safe havens and disrupt their networks and financing in order to thwart cross-border movements for achieving sustainable regional security is achieved.

Singh was addressing the sixth ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Thailand, which holds the rotating chairmanship of the regional framework this year. Describing terrorism as the most heinous cross-border crime, Singh said some states have been using terror to pursue their political goals.

“It is so much worse when terrorists are aided, abetted, armed, financed and sheltered by States. The interplay between states and non-state actors, used as proxies to foment violence, has worsened this menace. The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is not just a painful cancer, it is also the leading reason for unsustainable security,” said Singh.

Rajnath Singh
Rajnath Singh says that The persistence of State-sponsored terrorism is the leading reason for unsustainable security. Wikimedia Commons

The theme of the meeting this year is ‘Sustainable Security.’ Singh said there is a need for a more cooperative, equitable and consultative paradigm to deal with the broad and complex security challenges to find sustainable solutions.

Singh further said that India’s Indo-Pacific vision is based on the idea of sustainable security as it focuses on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based region in which there is respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all natikons.

“Our region must remain open and welcoming to the interests of all, those who live in it and others whose interests are in it. In short, our approach to security in the Indo-Pacific is sustainable by definition because it emphasises Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR),” added Singh.

On negotiations for a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea, Singh said the outcome of these talks will be in keeping with all relevant international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. He said the forum promotes freedom of navigation, overflight and lawful commerce and also emphasised the need to protect the rights of States that are not party to these negotiations.

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Singh emphasied that India looks forward to the progress made through dialogue in addressing all related issues, including the proliferation trail that links South and East Asia on the issue of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. “As dialogue remains on the table, we hope missile launches and such destabilising activities will cease”, he said.

During the course of his address, Singh said India is eager to co-chair the India-Indonesia Expert Working Group on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the next cycle. (IANS)