Analysis, Side Feature

Views on the News – 23 Dec 2016


  • Trump: Berlin Attacks Prove I was Right on Muslim Ban
  • Sisi’s Egypt: The March of the Security State
  • East Pakistan would be given Independence, Pakistan President told US in November 1971


Trump: Berlin Attacks Prove I was Right on Muslim Ban

Donald Trump has said Monday’s attacks in Berlin and Ankara proved he was right to propose curbing Muslim immigration in the US. When asked if the attacks had changed his stance on a “complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US, the President-elect said he was “100% correct” over the proposal. He said: “You know my plans. All along, I’ve been proven to be right. What’s happening is disgraceful.” Mr Trump added that the Berlin Christmas market lorry crash “was an attack on humanity and it’s got to be stopped”. During his Republican primary campaign, Mr Trump pledged to introduce a ban on Muslims entering the US “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on”. He claimed the proposal was in response to the level of hatred toward Americans among “large segments of the Muslim population”. The comments prompted a wave of criticism on both sides of the Atlantic, with former Prime Minister David Cameron calling them “divisive, stupid and wrong”. After becoming the Republican presidential nominee, Mr Trump shifted his rhetoric to focus on temporarily halting immigration from an unspecified list of countries with ties to terrorism. [Source: Sky News]

Trump is very clear about his plans to ban Muslims, however, the rulers of the Muslim world are vague about their plans. When are they going to ban Western intervention in Islamic lands?


Sisi’s Egypt: The March of the Security State 

Unlike many leaders around the world, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is delighted with the election of Donald Trump. While few governments took the real estate developer seriously during the campaign, the general-turned-president sought him out for a September meeting during the UN general assembly in New York. He was also the first leader to congratulate him on his victory.

The Egyptian media has marvelled at the “chemistry” between the two men, who share a populist streak and a worldview in which Russia is a benign geopolitical power and worthy partner. Above all, Mr Sisi finds in his new counterpart a kindred spirit who considers political Islam as threatening as jihadism.

In an interview at the presidential palace in Cairo, a former arabesque-style hotel with elegant marble hallways, Egypt’s 62-year-old strongman tells the Financial Times that he is “very optimistic” about Mr Trump’s election.

“President-elect Trump is tackling terrorism with more resolve and seriousness and that’s exactly what’s needed now,” he says. Co-operation between Moscow and Washington, he adds, would be a boon for stability in a conflict-ridden Middle East.

For Mr Sisi, terrorism extends well beyond the jihadis of Isis who are leading an insurgency in the Sinai that has reached the heart of Cairo, where a Coptic church was bombed last week, killing 24 worshippers. Crucially, his definition includes the Muslim Brotherhood, the political movement he ousted from power as army general in 2013 and has since brutally crushed. The hope in government circles is that instead of an Obama administration that was accused by Egyptians of sympathising with the Brotherhood, Mr Trump would legitimise the security campaign and support the Sisi regime at a time of growing economic strain. How much help Mr Trump will bring, if any at all, remains to be seen. But nearly six years after the revolution that captured the global imagination and raised hopes of a democratic transformation in the Middle East, the Arab world’s most populous nation is back in the grip of an authoritarian state. Egypt’s social, economic and political problems today are deeper than those that sparked the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak, the former president. People familiar with the workings of the regime say a “shadow” cabinet made up of security agencies in effect operates alongside the civilian government and weighs economic decisions according to the risks of popular unrest. In the interview, Mr Sisi is indignant at the suggestion the army could be looking to profit from business. “The Egyptian military is sparing no effort to help the country. It is so dangerous to accuse it of such things.” The military economy accounts for 1.5 per cent to 2 per cent of gross domestic product, he contends. Military businesses are designed to ensure self-sufficiency for its personnel and relieve burdens on the market, not to compete with the private sector, he says. The other role it plays is “management and oversight” to guarantee “efficiency, compliance, timeliness and zero-tolerance of corruption” in contracts that are executed by private and public companies. Officials say Mr Sisi had no choice but to rely on the army to meet people’s expectations and address the post-revolution collapse of investment. But fear of competition from such a powerful and unaccountable institution discourages private sector participation. As one businessman says: “It’s the perception that tomorrow they [the army] can enter a sector that is the issue.” [Source: Financial Times]

In truth there is very little difference between Obama and Trump. Obama is sweeter in tongue while Trump is direct. It appears that Sisi is waiting for new a green signal from the US to wage war on Islam and Muslims on the domestic front.


East Pakistan Would be Given Independence, Pakistan president told US in November 1971

One of the world’s most famous and reputed diplomats Henry Kissinger has revealed in his latest interview to the magazine ‘The Atlantic’ that the then Pakistan’s president and its army chief had told United States President Richard Nixon in November 1971 that Pakistan would grant independence to East Pakistan. This is stunning revelation as in November, 1971 India had not invaded East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. India invaded East Pakistan on December 3, 1971. Henry Kissinger was 56th US Secretary of State and served from September 22, 1973 to January 20, 1977. While narrating events of 1971 in context of US’ opening to China and Pakistan-India Bangladesh issue, Kissinger said, “After the opening to China via Pakistan, America engaged in increasingly urging Pakistan to grant autonomy to Bangladesh. In November, the Pakistani president agreed with Nixon to grant independence the following March.” It is impossible to go into detail in one far-ranging interview. However, allow me to outline some principles:

1- The opening to China began in 1969.

2- The Bangladesh crisis began in March 1971.

3- By then, we had conducted a number of highly secret exchanges with China and were on the verge of a breakthrough.

4- These exchanges were conducted through Pakistan, which emerged as the interlocutor most acceptable to Beijing and Washington.

5- The Bangladesh crisis, in its essence, was an attempt of the Bengali part of Pakistan to achieve independence. Pakistan resisted with extreme violence and gross human-rights violations.

6- To condemn these violations publicly would have destroyed the Pakistani channel, which would be needed for months to complete the opening to China, which indeed was launched from Pakistan. The Nixon administration considered the opening to China as essential to a potential diplomatic recasting towards the Soviet Union and the pursuit of peace. The US diplomats witnessing the Bangladesh tragedy were ignorant of the opening to China. Their descriptions were heartfelt and valid, but we could not respond publicly. But we made available vast quantities of food and undertook diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation.

7- After the opening to China via Pakistan, America engaged in increasingly urging Pakistan to grant autonomy to Bangladesh. In November, the Pakistani president agreed with Nixon to grant independence the following March.

8- The following December, India, after having made a treaty including military provisions with the Soviet Union, and in order to relieve the strain of refugees, invaded East Pakistan [which is today Bangladesh].

9- The US had to navigate between Soviet pressures; Indian objectives; Chinese suspicions; and Pakistani nationalism. Adjustments had to be made—and would require a book to cover—but the results require no apology. By March 1972—within less than a year of the commencement of the crisis—Bangladesh was independent; the India-Pakistan War ended; and the opening to China completed at a summit in Beijing in February 1972. A summit in Moscow in May 1972 resulted in a major nuclear arms control agreement [SALT I]. Relations with India were restored by 1974 with the creation of a US-Indian Joint Commission [the Indo-US Joint Commission on Economic, Commercial, Scientific, Technological, Educational and Cultural Cooperation], which remains part of the basis of contemporary US-India relations. Compared with Syria, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the sacrifices made in 1971 have had a far more clear-cut end. [Source: News International]

Once again, America has confirmed that Pakistani rulers were complicit in the division of Pakistan into West Pakistan and Bangladesh. All of the major atrocities against Pakistan seem to happen under instruction from the West and Pakistani leaders willingly comply.