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Revolution in Riyadh

Revolution in Riyadh | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
Revolution in Riyadh, the possible overthrow of the House of Saud, would represent a severe setback to America’s position in the region and provide a dramatic strategic windfall for Iran.

 

By: Bruce Riedel

____________________________________________________

 

 

Revolution in Riyadh, the possible overthrow of the House of Saud, would represent a severe setback to America’s position in the region and provide a dramatic strategic windfall for Iran. Former veteran intelligence official Bruce Riedel drafted this memorandum to President Obama as part of Big Bets and Black Swans: A Presidential Briefing Book.

How has the Arab Spring increased the risk of revolution in Saudi Arabia?How would the overthrow of the Saudi Monarchy roil global oil markets?What should the United States do to ensure stability in the Arabian Peninsula? 

Download Memorandum (pdf) | Download the Presidential Briefing Book (pdf)

TO: President Obama

 

FROM: Bruce Riedel

 

Saudi Arabia is the world’s last absolute monarchy. Like Louis XIV, King Abdallah has complete authority. A revolution in Saudi Arabia remains unlikely but, for the first time, due to the Arab Awakenings, it has become possible. The Saudi royal family has unique strengths and legitimacy; the Kingdom was founded in the 18th century as an alliance between the royal family and an austere Islamic preacher whose followers still partner with the House of Saud to govern the state. Almost alone in the Islamic world it was never conquered by European imperialism. The King is the Custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities. And it has the world’s largest oil company and the world’s largest oil reserves. This combination of religious piety and vast revenues has so far been sufficient to stave off the kind of unrest that has shaken much of the Arab world in recent years.

 

Nevertheless, revolutionary change in the Kingdom would be a disaster for American interests across the board. As the world’s swing oil producer, prolonged instability in Saudi Arabia would cause havoc in global oil markets, setting back economic recovery in the West and disrupting economic growth in the East. Saudi Arabia is also America’s oldest ally in the Middle East, a partnership that dates back to 1945; the overthrow of the monarchy would represent a severe setback to America’s position in the region and provide a dramatic strategic windfall for Iran. The small oilrich monarchies of the Gulf would be endangered, as would the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

 

Recommendation:

Unfortunately, notwithstanding the stakes, the United States has no serious option for heading off a revolution in the Kingdom if it is coming. Since American interests are so intimately tied to the House of Saud, the U.S. does not have the choice of distancing the United States from it in an effort to get on the right side of history. Nevertheless, you should try to reestablish trust with the King and urge him to move more rapidly on his political reform agenda, while recognizing that this effort is likely to have limited results. In the meantime, you should ensure the best possible intelligence is available to see a crisis coming, put in place measures to limit the impact on the global economy of any disruption in oil supply, be ready to shore up the neighboring kingdoms and sheikhdoms, and then try to ride out the storm.

 

Background:

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a proven survivor. Two earlier Saudi kingdoms were defeated by the Ottoman Empire and eradicated. But the House of Saud came back. They survived a wave of revolutions against Arab monarchies in the 1950s and 1960s. A jihadist coup attempt in 1979 seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca but was crushed. Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda staged a four-year-long insurrection to topple the royal family and failed less than a decade ago. Nevertheless, al Qaeda cadres remain in the Kingdom and next door in Yemen.

 

Today, the Arab Awakenings pose the most severe test for the Kingdom since its creation. The same demographic challenges that prompted revolution in Egypt and Yemen apply in Saudi Arabia: a very young population and very high underemployment. Extreme gender discrimination, highly restricted freedom of expression, longstanding regional rivalry with revolutionary Iran across the Gulf, and a restive Shia minority add to the explosive potential. In recognition of their vulnerability the Saudi royals have spent over $130 billion since the Arab Awakenings began to try to buy off dissenters at home. Abroad they have sent troops across the King Fahd Causeway to stifle revolution in Bahrain, brokered a political deal in Yemen replacing Ali Abdallah Salih with his deputy, and sought closer unity among the six Gulf Cooperation Council sheikhdoms. They have also invited Jordan and Morocco to join the “kings club.” But they are also pragmatists and have backed revolutions in Libya and Syria that undermine longstanding enemies of the Kingdom, especially Iran.

 

So far, they have helped ensure that revolution has not unseated any Arab monarch. However, Bahrain and Jordan have become the weakest links in the royal chain. The King of Bahrain is failing to suppress a prolonged rebellion against his rule; the King of Jordan could be next. Unrest in Jordan would threaten the peace with Israel. But the United States – and Israel – can cope with instability in both small states. Not so in Saudi Arabia.

 

If an Awakening takes place in Saudi Arabia it will probably look a lot like the revolutions in the other Arab states. Already demonstrations, peaceful and violent, have wracked the oil-rich Eastern Province for over a year. These are Shia protests and thus atypical of the rest of the Kingdom because Shias represent only 10 percent of the population. Shia dissidents in ARAMCO, the Saudi oil company, have also used cyber warfare to attack its computer systems, crashing over 30,000 work-stations this past August. They probably received Iranian help.

 

Much more disturbing to the royals would be protests in Sunni parts of the Kingdom. These might start in the so-called Koran belt north of the capital where dissent is endemic or in the neglected Asir province on the Yemeni border. Once they start they could snowball and reach the major cities of the Hejaz, including Jidda, Mecca, Taif, and Medina. The Saudi opposition is well-armed with mobile phone technology, which could ensure rapid communication of dissent within the Kingdom and to the outside world.

 

The critical defender of the regime would be the National Guard. King Abdallah has spent his life building this Praetorian elite force. The United States has trained and equipped it with tens of billions of dollars’ worth of helicopters and armored vehicles. But the key unknown is whether the Guard will shoot on its brothers and sisters in the street. It may fragment or it may simply refuse to suppress dissent if it is largely peaceful, especially at the start.

 

The succession issue adds another layer of complication. Every succession in the Kingdom since its founder Abdel Aziz bin Saud died in 1953 has been among his brothers. King Abdallah and Crown Prince Salman are, literally, the end of that breed and both are in frail health; after them there are only two remaining half brothers that might suit and then there is no clear line of succession in the next generation. If Abdallah and/or Salman die as unrest unfolds, and a succession crisis ensues, then the Kingdom could be even more vulnerable to revolution.

 

Like in other Arab revolutions, the opposition revolutionaries will not be united on anything except ousting the monarchy. There will be secular democrats but also al Qaeda and Wahhabi elements in the opposition. Trying to pick and choose will be very difficult. The unity of the kingdom could collapse as the Hejaz separates from the rest, the east falls to Iranbacked Shia and the center becomes a jihadist stronghold.

 

For the United States, revolution in Saudi Arabia would be a game-changer. While the United States can live without Saudi oil, China, India, Japan and Europe cannot. Any disruption in Saudi oil exports either due to unrest, cyber attacks or a new regime’s decision to reduce exports substantially will have major impacts on the global economy. The CIA war against al Qaeda is heavily dependent on the Kingdom; Saudi intelligence operations foiled the last two al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula attacks on the American homeland. The U.S. military training mission in the Kingdom, founded in 1953, is the largest such mission in the world. The Saudis have also been a key player in containing Iran for decades. King Abdallah was the author of the Arab peace plan that bears his name.

 

The other monarchs of Arabia would inevitably be in jeopardy if revolution comes to Saudi Arabia. The Sunni minority in Bahrain could not last without Saudi money and tanks. Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are city-states that would be unable to defend themselves against a Saudi revolutionary regime, despite all their money. The Hashemite dynasty would be at risk as well without Saudi and Gulf money and oil. Only the Sultan of Oman is probably isolated and strong enough to endure. Despite the stakes, the options are as unappealing as those President Carter faced in dealing with the end of the Pahlavi monarchy in Iran. And unlike the Shah who tried half-hearted reforms, the Saudi royal family has shown no interest in sharing power or in an elected legislature.

 

The United States has no serious options for effecting gradual reform in the Kingdom. The King fears, probably rightly, that power sharing is impossible in an absolutist state. In Bahrain, the Saudis showed clearly their view that opening the door to political pluralism will doom a monarchy. And the King will be distrustful of your counsel on this matter because of the stance that you took against his friend and fellow authoritarian, Hosni Mubarak.


Nevertheless, it is important to try to reestablish trust with the King, who continues to need the United States to counter the external threat he perceives from Iran, and to encourage him quietly to accelerate reforms that he has already indicated a willingness to undertake. But, at the same time, you should plan for the worst. The intelligence community should be directed to make internal developments, not just counter-terrorism, its top priority in the Kingdom now. The U.S. cannot afford a surprise like 1978 and you need to know the players in the opposition, especially the Wahhabi clerics, in depth. You should also take steps to help shore up Saudi Arabia’s smaller neighbors who are staunch allies of the United States and to limit the impact of a disruption of Saudi oil supplies. This will be a formidable challenge but it is essential to preparing for what could be a very black swan.

SASFOR's insight:

PDF files free to download courtesy Brookings Institute.

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A giant art installation targets predator drone operators

A giant art installation targets predator drone operators | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
In military slang, Predator drone operators often refer to kills as 'bug splats’, since viewing the body through a grainy video image gives the sense of an insect being crushed. To challenge this i...
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Recommendation: New Tang Dynasty Television

Recommendation: New Tang Dynasty Television | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it

Headquartered in New York City, New Tang Dynasty (NTD) Television serves more than 100 million potential viewers in China and around the world.

 

Founded by Chinese Americans, and rooted in traditional Chinese culture, NTD serves as a unique bridge between the East and the West.

 

NTD News, the company's flagship program, strives to provide insightful coverage of China with the highest ethical standards of Western journalism.

 

NTD News broadcasts directly into parts of mainland China via satellite, providing a truthful, uncensored Chinese-language alternative to China's state-run media.

 

NTD News also provides its global viewers with important news about China and the rest of the world in more than a dozen non-Chinese languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Persian, and Hebrew.

 

In addition to news, NTD promotes traditional Chinese arts and culture through a wide variety of TV shows and events.

 

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, NTD's New York headquarters (NTDTV.org)—as well as its nonprofit and for-profit affiliate stations around the world—continues to refine all aspects of its programming to meet the needs of its audiences. NTD is funded primarily through by individual donations.
 

Mission & Background

NTD's mission is to:

    • Bring truthful and uncensored information into and out of China

    • Promote traditional Chinese culture

    • Facilitate mutual understanding between the East and West

- See more at: http://www.ntd.tv/en/aboutus.html#sthash.BYYtR6FE.dpuf

SASFOR's insight:

We Recommend: New Tang Dynasty Television to all to all serious #china #Watchers

 

Description on twitter:

 

China Uncensored: The Real Stories.NTD is the largest independent Chinese-language based Television Follow @NTDChinaNews for more #China Coverage

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From his Pakistan hideout, Uighur leader vows revenge on China

From his Pakistan hideout, Uighur leader vows revenge on China | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
DERA ISMAIL KHAN/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Entrenched in secret mountain bases on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, Uighur fighters are gearing up for retribution against China to avenge the deaths of comrades

 

China, Pakistan's only major ally in the region, has long urged Islamabad to weed out what it says are militants from its western region of Xinjiang, who are holed up in a lawless tribal belt, home to a lethal mix of militant groups, including the Taliban and al Qaeda.

 

A mass stabbing at a train station in the Chinese city of Kunming two weeks ago, in which at least 29 people were killed, has put a new spotlight on the largely Muslim Uighur ethnic minority from Xinjiang, where Beijing says armed groups seek to establish an independent state called East Turkestan.

 

Beijing has called the Kunming bloodshed a "terrorist attack" carried out by militants, and says separatists operate training camps across the rugged border which abuts Pakistan andAfghanistan.

 

In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese.

"The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it," he said from an undisclosed location.

 

"China is not only our enemy, but it is the enemy of all Muslims ... We have plans for many attacks in China," he said, speaking in the Uighur language through an interpreter.

 

"We have a message to China that East Turkestan people and other Muslims have woken up. They cannot suppress us and Islam any more. Muslims will take revenge."

 

Mansour spoke on a crackly line using a mobile phone with an Afghan SIM card in a brief statement which gave Reuters no chance to ask about the Kunming attack.

 

The separatists hide mainly in the troubled North Waziristan region, where they are treated by their Pakistani Taliban hosts as guests of honor, militant and Pakistani intelligence sources say.

 

The Turkestan Islamic Party, which China equates with the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), keeps a low profile in Pakistan. Unlike the Taliban, it almost never posts videos promoting its activities or ideology. Its exact size is unknown and some experts dispute its ability to orchestrate attacks in China, or that is exists at all as a cohesive group.

 

Getting hold of leaders such as Mansour is almost impossible and interviews are usually very brief and conducted from undisclosed locations through a Pashto-speaking translator.

 

Pakistani intelligence sources say they number about 400 fighters, and are clustered around the remote Mir Ali area, sharing bases with other foreign insurgents, particularly Uzbeks, who speak a similar language.

In Afghanistan, two security reports sent to expatriates working there this year warned of attacks on a Chinese hotel, Chinese companies and other targets in Kabul. There have been no attacks so far.

According to Afghan Taliban sources, there are about 250 Uighur militants in Afghanistan's Nuristan and Kunar provinces.

 

"They live here with us but are always concerned about their people and mission in China. They are nice people, good Muslims and the best fighters," a senior Taliban commander said.

 

He added that Uighur militants were not fond of guns, and resorted mostly to knives and daggers.

 

China has stepped up security in Xinjiang after a vehicle ploughed into tourists on the edge of Beijing's Tiananmen Square in October, killing the three people in the car and two bystanders. China labeled it a suicide attack by militants from the region.

 

Mansour released a Uighur-language video weeks after the Tiananmen incident, calling it a "jihadi operation" by its holy warriors.

SASFOR's insight:

In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese.

 

 

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‘This Isn’t the Democracy We Want’: Some Chinese Dismayed by Taiwan Occupation

‘This Isn’t the Democracy We Want’: Some Chinese Dismayed by Taiwan Occupation | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
As students and activists begin their third day occupying Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan in protest of the ruling Kuomintang party’s decision to pass a controversial China trade pact without the agreed-upon review, a report from the Economist summarizes...
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Chinese Officials Ask Muslim Women to Unveil in the Name of Beauty

Chinese Officials Ask Muslim Women to Unveil in the Name of Beauty | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it

Via Glenn Morris
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China — looking terror in the eye -

China — looking terror in the eye - | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it

A recent terror attack at China’s Kunming Railway Station (spring city of China) by knife-wielding attackers resulted in the massacre of 33 people (28 civilians and five terrorists) and injured scores of others. It is believed to have been orchestrated by, at least, 10 male and female terrorists, leaving a gory scene at the train terminal with photos and videos showing bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor. Chinese authorities are terming this an “organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack.” The witnesses have described the assailants to be dressed in black, charging through the station and slashing indiscriminately with large knives and machetes.

The attack follows an earlier act of terror in October last year when militants drove a jeep through pedestrians in the ‘Forbidden City’, killing two tourists as well as the three occupants of the vehicle –– leaving another 40 people injured.

These despicable killings have been blamed on militants from the western region of Xinjiang, which is home to tensions between the government and separatists, who feel that their culture is being overrun by the Han Chinese. The region borders Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Pakistan and its eight million Turkish-speaking Uyghurs are an ethnic group that share close linguistic and cultural links with Central Asia, distinct from the majority Han community. Several attacks have already been blamed on militants residing there, exhibiting anger and dissatisfaction against the Chinese government.

In the wake of these attacks, the Chinese president has instructed law enforcement agencies to “severely punish, in accordance with the law, the violent terrorists and resolutely crack down on those who have been swollen with a rampant attitude.” He has ordered firm suppression of the momentum that the terrorists are trying to generate.

Pakistan has “strongly condemned the barbaric terrorist attack at a train station in the Yunnan province of China” and has “extended all possible cooperation to China in combating this menace.” The Chinese would definitely be requiring Pakistani support in countering the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which is considered to be the source of such attacks.

On the political front, the Chinese government is planning ambitious social, economic and political reforms outlined during November’s Third Plenary Session to attempt to bridge the widening economic gap between its western and eastern parts. Now it is up to President Xi Jinping and his administration to implement these reforms, while managing all the inherited pressures of China’s economic slowdown.

In the course of implementation, China is likely to experience frustrations in trying to balance change against growing social and political constraints and is hence, likely to gradually shift away from the earlier consensus-based decision-making to a more decisive model. An incremental and cautious approach is needed, both in applying reforms domestically and in trying to define a sphere of influence in its neighbourhood.

From the look of things, the Communist Party is showing signs of moving beyond its model of collective leadership to build a more consolidated party centered on President Xi. Deng Xiaoping’s strongman leadership model has become attractive, based on the belief that it would help the country take critical decisions at a time of some unprecedented domestic and international challenges.

SASFOR's insight:

"
While condemning the dastardly terrorist acts, China has to ensure that it does not place the onus of hatred generated by these attacks on one ethnicity or religion. The Chinese leadership needs to address the situation with its traditional vision and calm; much more than a kneejerk reaction is required. Brutal repression is likely to generate further tensions and complications and give an opportunity to external actors to voice their concerns. The response has to be calibrated with an amalgamation of economic incentives, religious freedoms and effective implementation of the rule of law. Is President Xi up to the challenge?"

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Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China

Tibetan monk sets himself on fire in China | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
A monk set himself on fire Sunday in an ethnic Tibetan area of northwest China, the country’s official news agency reported.
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Relentless Saudi/Wahhabi attack on Islamic history – by Mukhtar Karbalai

Relentless Saudi/Wahhabi attack on Islamic history – by Mukhtar Karbalai | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it

Over the past two centuries, Takfiri (Salafi) Wahhabis have been desecrating and demolishing some of the most sacred sites held dear by Muslims the world over. But it is strange that while Muslims may decry the desecration of mosques by others (the Babri Mosque episode is an example), most believers remain mysteriously quiet over the sacrilege committed by the Wahhabi\Takfiri\Saudi combine. In the early 19th century Wahhabi raiders attacked the sacred resting place of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala al-Muallah, Iraq, a site revered by Muslims across the globe. Around the same time the Baqi cemetery in Madina al-Munawwara containing the graves of some of the closest members of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) family, as well as his companions and later Muslim luminaries, were destroyed. Around a century later, in the 1920s, this ugly history repeated itself as the ascendant Saudis under Najdi ruler Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, who would occupy Hejaz and other parts of the Arabian peninsula and create the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, entered the holy cities of Madina and Makkah al-Mukarrama.

SASFOR's insight:

"Ten years ago, a mosque which belonged to the Prophet’s grandson was dynamited. Pictures of the demolition that were secretly taken and smuggled out of the kingdom showed the religious police celebrating as the building collapsed. http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2012/10/29/why-are-the-saudis-demolishing-ancient-islamic-sites-to-construct-a-mega-mosque/ - See more at: http://lubpak.com/archives/309189#sthash.mG28zRMk.dpuf";

 

______________________________

 

The Full story is here: 

Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/medina-saudis-take-a-bulldozer-to-islams-history-8228795.html

 

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Iraq suicide bomb attack leaves dozens dead in Hilla

Iraq suicide bomb attack leaves dozens dead in Hilla | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
At least 50 cars set ablaze with passengers inside after bomber detonates minibus packed with explosives at checkpoint
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Conference urges country to unite against terrorism

Conference urges country to unite against terrorism | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
LAHORE: Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain said that the entire country has to unite on a common front to fight terrorism.Speaking to MQM leaders and activists over the phone at the Sufiya-e-Kiram Conference organised by his party in Lahore, the MQM chief said that if terrorism was
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Inching towards military operation?

All the signs point towards the government inching slowly but surely towards a recognition of the inevitability of a military campaign if the current on-again-off-again talks with the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fail. Defence Minister Khwaja Asif, widely considered till now amongst the
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Spinelessness is self-defeating

A series of high level discussions point to the imminent demise of the peace process as it stands, and the reorganisation of negotiations between the government and the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) directly. Major (retd) Amir from the government negotiating committee has said he believes the
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Rassoul boosted as Karzai’s brother exits Afghan election race

Rassoul boosted as Karzai’s brother exits Afghan election race | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
KABUL: The brother of President Hamid Karzai dropped out of Afghanistan’s election on Thursday and endorsed former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul, an announcement seen as signalling the current leader’s preferred successor.The first major move in the election campaign before polling
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China's Modern Martyrs: From Mao to Now (Part 3) - Catholic World Report

China's Modern Martyrs: From Mao to Now (Part 3) - Catholic World Report | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
China's Modern Martyrs: From Mao to Now (Part 3) Catholic World Report The Maoist era marks one of the darkest hours of the Church's history in China, and Chinese Catholics are begging to let the world know about the sacrifices of holy men and...
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Uighur activist's detention rallies China's dissidents to his cause - Al Jazeera America

Uighur activist's detention rallies China's dissidents to his cause - Al Jazeera America | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
Al Jazeera America Uighur activist's detention rallies China's dissidents to his cause Al Jazeera America Uighur separatist groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement have been implicated in sporadic attacks and riots, and the United States...
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Widespread Twitter Outages in Turkey After PM Threatens Ban

Widespread Twitter Outages in Turkey After PM Threatens Ban | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
Twitter users in Turkey reported widespread outages on Friday, hours after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan threatened to shut down access to the social media platform as he battles a damaging corruption scandal.
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China rejects UNHRC Report on North Korean Crimes Against Humanity

China rejects UNHRC Report on North Korean Crimes Against  Humanity | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
On 7 February 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) released a report regarding the human rights situation in North Korea. The chief author of the report was Michael Kirby, a retired Judge of the High Court of Australia.


A Commission of Inquiry was created by the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate “widespread and grave violations of human rights” in North Korea. To accomplish this, the Commission questioned 80 witnesses and experts in public hearings held in four countries. The Commission also conducted over 240 confidential interviews of witnesses and experts who feared reprisals against them or their family from North Korea. The Commission also requested submissions, reviewed previously published findings, and worked with States and international organizations.

 

Throughout the entire process and despite numerous invitations from the Commission, North Korea refused to cooperate with the Commission. North Korea refused to allow the Commission into their country and did not respond to invitations to participate in the research or drafting of the report.

 

The report concluded by stating that human rights abuses that in many cases rise to the level of crimes against humanity are being committed in North Korea. The report called on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. On 17 March 2014, the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) demonstrated it would continue to protect North Korea by refusing to accept the report.

SASFOR's insight:

Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy  (TCHRD)  tries correctly to link China's motives to HR violation in Tibet, "There are many explanations for why the PRC took such a strong position against human rights. One is that the PRC is implementing similar tactics in Tibet. Like in North Korea,crimes against humanity are being committed in Tibet. To avoid international scrutiny the PRC has prevented diplomats, UN representatives, and foreign journalists from entering Tibet. The PRC has been so successful at blocking access to Tibet that there are less foreign journalists in Tibet than North Korea.  By the PRC’s standards, their success in blocking access to Tibet guarantees impunity and deniability for crimes against humanity committed in Tibet."

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Turkestan Islamic Party Expresses Support for Kunming Attack - the Diplomat

Turkestan Islamic Party Expresses Support for Kunming Attack - the Diplomat | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
the Diplomat Turkestan Islamic Party Expresses Support for Kunming Attack the Diplomat However, the Turkestan Islamic Party (which Beijing conflates with its predecessor, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement) has expressed its approval of the attack...
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Sourcing the Arab Spring: A Case Study of Andy Carvin's Sources on Twitter During the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions - Hermida - 2014 - Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication - Wiley Online ...

Sourcing the Arab Spring: A Case Study of Andy Carvin's Sources on Twitter During the Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions - Hermida - 2014 - Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication - Wiley Online ... | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
"Sourcing Arab Spring: Case Study of Andy Carvin's Sources on Twitter During Tunisian & Egyptian Revolutions" http://t.co/T9ZKphnb9G
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Ayaz Amir’s analysis of the Pakistan-Saudi alliance against Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad

Ayaz Amir’s analysis of the Pakistan-Saudi alliance against Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
The Lord gave us some of the world’s most fascinating rivers, the tallest mountains, and a broad expanse of the bountiful sea.

 

.....................................................................

 

Whenever something new comes up, trust us to remain true to this inheritance. Take the current split in the world of Islam, the split playing out most violently in the killing fields of Syria. All the conservative Arab states, with no small help from Turkey, are ranged on one side, supporting the opposition to Bashar Al-Assad, and a slightly radical coalition on the other side represented by the Assad regime, and its principal backers: Iran, Hezbollah and Russia. And Pakistan has to be on the conservative side.

 

What may or may not have been agreed with our friends from the holy kingdom we do not know. But in a joint communiqué we have called for an interim regime in Syria which amounts to saying that Assad must go. And our friends have given us a cash transfer which has helped bolster the falling fortunes of the rupee. So it doesn’t take much to conclude that our sympathies now lie with the anti-Assad camp. What is also fairly visible is the coolness which has descended on our ties with Iran – this for no interest of our own but merely to please our desert friends.

 

Bashar Al-Assad is no angel but then who is? Meanwhile the opposition to him is attracting the worst extremist elements in the Islamic pantheon, kindred in spirit to what used to be the Afghan mujahideen. From across the world of Islam the worst bigots were drawn to the Afghan ‘jihad’ as they are now being drawn to the Syrian civil war and Pakistan, thanks to its historic conservatism and its desert friends, finds itself in this august company.

 

SASFOR's insight:

" About the one bold thing Pakistan ever did in its history was under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto when at the time of the 1973 Arab-Israeli war PAF fighter pilots were sent to Syria where they took to the skies and performed meritorious service, earning the undying gratitude of Bashar’s father, the ‘Lion of Damascus’ Hafez Al-Assad. If we wrack our minds other instances too might come to the fore but this stands out. But then that was Bhutto who, for all his faults, was no run-of-the-mill politician. If only he had been able to check his overweening ambition and live with the Baloch nationalist leadership the history of Pakistan might have been different."

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Five Egyptian soldiers shot dead in Cairo

Five Egyptian soldiers shot dead in Cairo | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
Cairo (AFP) – Gunmen killed six soldiers at a Cairo checkpoint Saturday in a brazen attack which the military blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood movement of Egypt’s deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Via Poppen Report
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Nawaz visits drought-hit Tharparkar today : Govt vows to help drought victims ‘beyond politics’

Nawaz visits drought-hit Tharparkar today :  Govt vows to help drought victims ‘beyond politics’ | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
MITHI/ISLAMABAD/ RAWALPINDI: Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid on Sunday said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had cancelled important engagements and would visit Tharparkar today (Monday) to meet drought-affected people. Talking to various private news channels, he said that Thar
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Taliban splinter groups threaten peace talks

Taliban splinter groups threaten peace talks | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has hailed progress in peace talks with the counry’s main Taliban faction, but attacks claimed by mysterious splinter factions are threatening to undermine the process.The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) declared a one-month ceasefire last weekend, but that was swiftly
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Colombians to vote for congress ahead of FARC peace accord

Colombians to vote for congress ahead of FARC peace accord | "Asian Spring" | Scoop.it
BOGOTA: Colombians vote on Sunday for a new congress that will tackle legislation for the next president and play a historic role in creating laws to end five decades of conflict if peace is reached with Marxist FARC rebels.The ballot is likely to consolidate President Juan Manuel Santos as the
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Pakistan’s original sin

For the past few weeks, it is with consistent and increasing frustration that I write in this space. It appears to me that the weekly scribble is only done to waste newsprint as they are words having no impact. I wonder if others like me, who indulge in this weekly exercise, share this
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