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Civil-military relations in South Asia
The challenges before the Pakistan army
In this issue
Understanding the armed forces in South Asia Khaled Ahmed
India-Pakistan peace? A military power perspective Ayesha Siddiqa
No nuclear war but a nuclear arms race? Bharat Karnad
Militarization and post-war Sri Lankan democracy Swarna Rajagopalan
Military intervention in Bangladeshi politics Shahedul Anam Khan
Resolving Nepal's unending political transition Nishchal N Pandey
Growth and militarization in Sri Lanka Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake
Editor: Imtiaz Alam
Executive Editor: Khaled Ahmed
Associate Editors: Bushra Sultana, Maheen Pracha
Editorial Board: Farida Nekzad (Afghanistan), Dr Imtiaz Ahmed (Bangladesh), Dr S D Muni (India), Publisher: Free Media Foundation
Facilitator: South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) Printer: Qaumi Press
Small and light weapons manufacturing in Pakistan Salma Malik
Integrating Maoist ex-combatants in Nepal Bishnu Raj Upreti
The future of nuclear energy in India P R Chari
South Asia after Osama bin Laden Moonis Ahmar
The Middle East after the “Arab Spring” Hooman Peimani
Counter-narratives to extremism at the grassroots Toaha Qureshi and Sarah Marsden
Obituary: Remembering Saleem Shahzad Umar Cheema
Document: Rising military expenditure in South Asia Varsha Rajan Berry and Jatin Desai
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Civil-military relations in South Asia
outh Asia as a region does not trade much with itself although a movement in favor of free trade areas between its states is under way. In the absence of regionbased commerce, it is only natural that there would be large armies meant to defend uncertain borders yet unpunctured by mutually beneficial trade. Because the armies are expensive to maintain and because of the uncertainty of their remit of “security” duties, they soon give rise to a discussion of what is called civil-military relations. The term is a euphemism that expresses a citizen's fear that the national army may be interfering in the political process of the country. The first thing a state establishes upon coming into existence is a national army, arguably because it fears plots by hostile forces to undo or subjugate it. The next task is to set up a process of representation in which people run the state and the national army obeys their command. But as time passes, doctrines of national security, because of their highly specialized nature, begin to give the military the kind of primacy within the state structure that was not intended. After that it is a question of how strong the political process is in keeping the national army from dominating the democratic institutions of the state. If the state is small and has designated its much larger neighbor as the adversary state, it is likely that the national army will become intrusive with its demands of military readiness. National politics may be divided enough to facilitate the almost permanent dominance of the military in a democratic system based on transition. Both the world and South Asian civil society should be concerned about the arms race, which is reflected in the rise in military expenditure among the states of the region. The trend is of a piece with military spending in the rest of the world, excluding the European Union, but given the challenges of poverty and human development, the beefing up of armies in South Asia is highly incommensurate. In 2008, regional defense spending was USD30.9 billion (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI] 2009), doubling the money spent on this head 20 years previously. The big spenders were India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, but in terms of percentage of GDP, Pakistan headed the list with 3.2%, followed by 2.9% in the case of Sri Lanka, 2.7% in the case of India, 1.7% in the case of Nepal, 1.5% in the case of Afghanistan, and 1% in the case of Bangladesh (SIPRI 2007). It is understood that money spent on the army above 3% of GDP begins to hurt people's quality of life. States keep armies because they fear military attack. Usually they create armies with “defense” in mind and give them the rubric of national defense even if their outlook is revisionist and they wish to use the army for non-defensive purposes. If the state is big and fears no attack from a larger neighbor, the civil-military relations remain normal. India's 'normality' in this regard is variously diagnosed: mature leadership and better
indoctrination in the struggle for independence. But the fact may be that India is a status quo power and can keep the status quo frozen because it can't be challenged. On the other hand, armies on its periphery tend to be trigger-happy, weighed down by antistatus quo expectations. India's fear of China has however been addressed by its political leadership with great pragmatic wisdom—in contrast to other leaderships in South Asia—thus precluding the Indian army seeking the upper hand in civil-military relations. Pakistan and Bangladesh have registered identical pathologies, as will become apparent from the papers contributed to this issue of South Asian Journal. Pakistan has been ruled by the military under martial law for most part of the state's existence; in Bangladesh, the same kind of situation prevailed till 1991. Bangladeshi scholars believe that Bangladesh army was inherited from the Pakistan army, which meant that some of its elitist trends—a tendency to look down upon unruly-looking civilian leaders – were borrowed from Pakistan. But the truth could be somewhere in the middle, owing to the similarity of circumstances between Bangladesh and Pakistan: the Muslim mind vis-àvis state formation, the “fear” of India behind state nationalism, and two dueling political parties unable to sink their differences to face up to the dominance of the military. The similarity with Pakistan in this respect remains quite remarkable. In Sri Lanka, democracy has not been derailed by the military, in which respect it can be compared to India, but the country's militarization during and after the end of three decades of war with The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has raised questions about civil-military relations. In the aftermath, Sri Lanka is spending 20% of its budget on its military, an expense which is second only to Pakistan in the region, although when one looks at the abysmally low growth rate in Pakistan one can only be alarmed at Pakistan's plight. One ominous sign foreshadowing the dominance of the Sri Lankan military is the persistence of emergency rule which once harmed Pakistan and is now challenging democratic governance in Sri Lanka. South Asian states manifest conflictual symptoms with aspects of similarity that cannot be ignored. The army of proxy warriors in Pakistan is loosed on civil society without a clear remit, and the state is unable to assign them a new status. Unable to reconcile to a life without jihad, some of them have joined Al-Qaeda, an organization with an alien ideology that wishes to control and rule the state. In Nepal, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of the Maoists began its career as rebel warriors, but the Maoists were able to get elected to Nepalese parliament after the ouster of the king. Now, the question that exercises the Nepalese politician is related to the “integration” of the Maoist army into the Nepalese army. This is a problem that the Pakistani state faces to some extent vis-àvis the jihadi militias, some of who it is still supporting. Also, there is the alien ideology of Al Qaeda which seeks to guide the Islamic state in what it thinks is the correct direction. Just as many poverty-stricken and neglected communities of Nepal support the Maoists, troubled and insecure Pakistanis in remote and ungoverned areas, too, tend to favor AlQaeda, according to opinion surveys in Pakistan. The “negative” future of South Asia is staring the world in the face in Afghanistan. Unless
the regional states reform themselves and reset their identity paradigms, they may be destined to become the 'failed' state of Afghanistan where only warlords have armies that can fight. The state of Afghanistan is being provided with a new army by the United States but whether it will be “naturalized” as Afghan army is to be seen after the NATO and US forces leave. What kind of relationship will its chief have with the Kabul government? We are forced to reconsider the question of the relationship of the Pakistan army with the Islamabad government, on the one hand, and the armies of the warlords in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, on the other. The world is experiencing a rapid decay of the “geopolitical” strategies favored by professional armies. Geopolitics is the security regime based on the physical location of military threat and its permanence based on the integrity of state frontiers. The opposite of this regime is globalization through trade and investment dependencies between states and the weakening and gradual removal of boundaries by free trade. South Asia as a region aspires to a free trade area and an integrated economic market as envisaged in the various agreements signed at the summits of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Also, the states of the region need a revamping of their theories of national security. Under globalization, the foremost source of security is the national economy and the only threat to it is intrastate conflict and terrorism threatening to destabilize the region.
The challenges before the Pakistan Army As the most organized and powerful institution in the country, the Pakistan armed forces are today faced with challenges not strictly in their constitutional remit. Pakistan's national defense is in the army's hands: it decides how it is going to defend the country with national approval. Earlier this year, to disabuse those who think it calls the shots in Pakistan, it went to a joint session of the Pakistani parliament to legitimize the decisions it might take to act against elements that endanger national security. Unfortunately, it is not enough to get a gathering of elected politicians to pronounce on national security, especially when the media has inflamed public opinion in favor of “action” in the aftermath of the Abbottabad operation by US Navy Seals. If politicians are incapable of taking stock of what is happening in the country and tend to look at national security as “honor” in Pakistan's dealings with India and the US, the army may be called on to essentially fulfill the emotional demands of the common man, not his real needs. The Pakistan Army should meet the elected politicians—including those who are in the government—to put before them a more realistic picture of what Pakistan is faced with. And that does not comprise only military threats on the eastern and western borders. Some of the national security-related concerns the Pakistan Army should consider are these. Pakistan is in the grip of a recession, not a little brought on by macroeconomic remedies imposed on it by the International Monetary Fund and other lenders in order to downsize the national economy. The energy crisis has nearly killed the textile sector, which forms the backbone of the export economy. There is poor tax-collection and the indirect taxes imposed instead of a larger income tax net are making the poor segment of the population forego their meals. There is an overall crisis of governance in the midst of a lack of confidence in the survival of the system and the state itself. Law and order is all but absent and the state's fundamental function of ensuring property rights has been usurped by property-grabbing qabza mafias. On top of it all, there are large areas in the country outside state control from where terrorists strike at will in cities big and small with car- and suicide-bombs. The Pakistan Army is meant to fight external aggression, not internal disorder, which is the jurisdiction of civilian security forces. The GHQ in Rawalpindi knows that Pakistan's civilian establishment is ill-equipped to handle the terrorist threat; and that its police and constabularies need essential training in anti-terrorist response not available in Pakistan but which can be borrowed from friendly states with experience in this domain of national security. The GHQ must keep in mind that it simply cannot overextend itself by being vigilant on the borders and spending big money on sophisticated weapons along with their delivery system and at the same time look after civic disorder. Not only is there terrorism to tackle, there is also an insurgency in Balochistan, and the need to protect whole communities held hostage by terrorists enjoying international support.
There is no way any army in the world can begin to tackle these problems and win in the end. There is a need to take another look at the challenges the Pakistan Army is facing, especially as India's economy continues to grow at a historically unprecedented high rate with expanded capacity to buy expensive military hardware from the world market. Any attempt to meet this challenge with a traditional response will result in an arms race that will simply crush Pakistan's already half-dead economy. On the western border, Pakistan must not react to the exit of international forces in 2014 by increasing its own power projection into Afghanistan but by cooperating with the international community and regional neighbors, including India, to recreate a viable and turmoil-free Afghanistan. In the 1980s, an army-led government in Islamabad made some wrong decisions that landed Pakistan with five million refugees, most of them never to return. The temporary control over Afghanistan that Pakistan earned during the Taliban government never compensated for the damage done to Pakistan's civil society. Handling jihad has brought its own organizational and psychological complications. The emotion-based ideological mindset in Pakistan is hardly conducive to creating realistic options for the survival of the national economy. The military too has imbibed its share of this unrealistic trend and there is increasing evidence that a section of soldiers and officers shares the ideology of those who kill innocent Pakistanis and seek to use Pakistan as a platform to carry out attacks at the global level. This phenomenon presents Pakistan as a state with a split personality with all the symptoms of paranoia and violence associated with stricken individuals. Within its boundaries, the state has “municipal law” that equates all citizens and is enforceable with what is called the state's “monopoly of violence.” If the state is to be called a state, it must enforce municipal law with full force. However, it should be obvious to anyone living in Pakistan that this law is rapidly breaking down. As for international law, as opposed to municipal law, there is no enforcing authority except the UN Security Council where, not law, but the relative weight of the dominant states determines if justice is to be handed down. Responding to this lack of effective international law machinery, states develop not law but “policy” for their international relations, which is usually not made in parliament but by the “foreign policy enclave” made up of experts and the government. The hallmark of “policy” is its flexibility and the hallmark of “law” is its inflexibility. The Pakistan Army must act with flexibility in the face of foreign policy challenges to allow itself the breathing space to focus on the country's internal developments. It is obvious that over a period of weak political process, the capacity of the state to deliver services has become greatly curtailed. It not only fails to collect taxes, it also fails to spend the collected revenue on projects passed by federal and provincial governments. Since it is informally in charge of foreign policy, the GHQ must halt the country's dash toward international isolation and de-emphasize “defiance” as a badge of national honor. Faced by the challenge of global and local terrorism, it must reconsider the unrealistic reference to “sovereignty” in the realm of foreign policy.
In this issue
The views expressed in this journal are solely those of the authors.
Understanding the armed forces in South Asia Khaled Ahmed, a leading political analyst and executive editor of the South Asian Journal, describes how globalization and regionalization have proceeded apace in the world together with intrastate conflict, while South Asia's armed forces have continued to look “backward.” Pointing out that the strategies of national security decided by geopolitics are under threat because of the rising primacy of the national economy and the wealth-gap phenomenon brought about by high growth rates, Mr Ahmed asks whether armies are becoming redundant and if they can be transformed into a cooperative cross-border human resource trained to face terrorism and environmental threats. India-Pakistan peace? A military power perspective Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, a defense analyst and author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's military economy (2007), compares the civil-military relations paradigms in India and Pakistan, arguing that the two countries' differing tactical and strategic objectives are driven primarily by the power and influence of their respective security establishments. Dr Siddiqa traces the growing role played by the Indian military establishment in strategic decision-making vis-à-vis the Pakistani military establishment's far earlier involvement in civilian government. She concludes that only a limited breakthrough in foreign relations will be possible so long as the political leaderships on either side remain reluctant to truly challenge the military's perspective. No nuclear war but a nuclear arms race? Bharat Karnad, a professor of national security studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, identifies all past India-Pakistan conflicts as the residue of the incompletely resolved Hindu-Muslim tensions in the Subcontinent pre-dating 1947. The “organic links” of culture, religion, and ethnicity, however, compel “wars” between the two countries to remain relatively small, controlled, affairs. Even as nuclear weapon states, he says, these constraints on unbridled conflict remain. He points out the flaws in Pakistan's nuclear first-use concept, and suggests that the Pakistan army is too pragmatic to allow any military conflict to escalate to that point owing to the nuclear taboo, the reluctance of China and the US to come to its help, and widening disparities with India. Militarization and post-war Sri Lankan democracy Dr Swarna Rajagopalan, a political analyst based in Chennai, traces the history of the long civil war between the Sri Lankan state and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the context of the growing militarization of Sri Lanka's civil society. She focuses on the Sri Lankan army's last campaign against the LTTE (2008/09), particularly the allegations of war crimes committed by both sides. Dr Rajagopalan suggests that the prospects for Sri Lankan democracy will depend on how far the government is willing to implement the spirit of “truth, justice, and reconciliation” of which it has assured its people, and especially its minority communities.
Military intervention in Bangladeshi politics Brig. Gen. (R) Shahedul Anam Khan, editor of defense and strategic affairs at the Daily Star in Dhaka, asks why the greater part of Bangladesh's history has been predominated by its armed forces in running the politics of the country. He explains how the bloody liberation war of 1971 produced a military with a political hue that claimed a role in the governance of the country, and how this role was manifested in an uneasy civil-military relationship, with the army's last intervention (albeit an indirect one) occurring in 2007. Resolving Nepal's unending political transition Nishchal N Pandey, director of the Centre for South Asian Studies in Kathmandu, asks why Nepal's political parties have failed to draft a constitution and why the country's security situation and economy remains fragile. He highlights key issues that have hampered the drafting of the constitution, which include integrating Maoist ex-combatants into the Nepal army, the structure of the state in the federal democratic republic, and the country's political system. Mr Pandey suggests that Nepal focus on strengthening bilateral ties with India, as tensions with India could be detrimental to the entire peace process. Growth and militarization in Sri Lanka Dr Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake, a social anthropologist and visiting research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (National University of Singapore), describes the “paradox” of post-war war militarization that has come about in Sri Lanka following the end of civil war between the state and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). She projects the concept of a “military business model” of economic development onto Sri Lanka's situation, and analyses its implications for democratic governance, human security, and postwar reconciliation. Dr Rajasingham-Senanayake implies that the need for human security must take precedence over the current hegemonic state-centric security paradigm. Small and light weapons manufacturing in Pakistan Salma Malik, an assistant professor at the Defense and Strategic Studies Department at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, examines the gun-making cottage industry in Darra Adam Khel against the backdrop of the proliferation of small and light weapons in Pakistan's civil society. She traces the expansion of the Darra industry during the 1980s Afghan war, attempts to regularize it in the 1990s and 2000s, and its shrinking economic scale post-9/11. Ms Malik underlines the importance of a well-articulated government policy, follow-up mechanism of accountability, and alternate support schemes to control unregulated weapons manufacturing.
Integrating Maoist ex-combatants in Nepal Dr Bishnu Raj Upreti, a security and conflict analyst based at Kathmandu University, discusses the progress, complications, and implications of integrating and rehabilitating Nepal's Maoist ex-combatants. He points out that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed between the Nepali government and UCPN (M) in November 2006 envisioned integration and rehabilitation as one of the important components of the peace process. Despite this, says Dr Upreti, it has become a controversial “bargaining tool” used for political leverage, and has obstructed the country's peace and constitution making processes.
The future of nuclear energy in India P R Chari, a visiting professor at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi, comments that nuclear energy in India is virtually “an article of faith,” despite the repeated failure of its Atomic Energy Commission to deliver on its goals. He explains why nuclear energy has come under global criticism, following the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. Mr Chari agrees that nuclear energy is vital to a developing country like India, but pointes out that its place in the country's energy security calculus should not be exaggerated.
South Asia after Osama bin Laden Dr Moonis Ahmar, a professor at the Department of International Relations at the University of Karachi, examines how the 2 May killing of the world's “most wanted” man has and could further change the South Asian political dynamic. He focuses particularly on the immediate aftermath of 2 May on relations between India and Pakistan. Dr Ahmar points out the dangerous nexus between terrorist groups and drug/smuggling/trafficking mafias, and concludes that, unless states reign in their nonstate actors, they cannot hope to control the scourge of terrorism. The Middle East after the “Arab Spring” Dr Hooman Peimani, head of the Energy Security Division at the Energy Studies Institute (National University of Singapore), looks at the popular uprisings that began to sweep the Arab Middle East and North Africa in early 2011 in the context of their previous regimes and their economic positions as major oil/gas exporters. He argues that the leadership vacuum in most of these countries implies that they will be subject to significant political instability, while the questionable sustainability of their exports will have national economic consequences. Dr Peimani also underpins the growing role of Turkey and Iran vis-à-vis their Arab neighbors and the implications of this in the new world order.
Counter-narratives to extremism at the grassroots Toaha Qureshi, chairperson of the Forum for International Relations Development in the UK, and Sarah Marsden, a doctoral candidate at the University of St. Andrews, discuss how working with people vulnerable to succumbing to violent extremism could, at a grassroots level, help develop counter-narratives to the increasing radicalization of many Muslim communities. They review the nature of potential partnerships that could help in this work, and outline goals and possible outcomes. The authors hold that engaging holistically with Muslim-led community organizations could offer vital insight into the effective delivery of counter-narratives Obituary: Remembering Saleem Shahzad Umar Cheema, an award-winning investigative reporter with the News, Pakistan's leading English daily newspaper, pays tribute to his colleague, Syed Saleem Shahzad, who was brutally killed while investigating the alleged presence of AlQaeda in the lower ranks of the Pakistan navy. Mr Cheema examines the incident's impact on the journalist community, pointing out that, although not a single other journalist's murder case has been solved, the journalist community remains resilient to violence and intimidation.
Understanding the armed forces in South Asia Khaled Ahmed
he martial tradition in South Asia is a part of the region's history. Since classical historiography was based on narratives of war, South Asia too read its history as a series of wars bestowing honor and status on the kings who were victorious in them (see Creveld 2008, 170).1 Most treaties and legal norms were created in the wake of wars, thus anointing them with the charisma of human advancement. Wars created new states and destroyed old ones through conquest. States were organized to fight wars and wars counted as producers of international law (see Dyer 1985, 157).2 The cult of war was based on the armies that brought honor to the people who nurtured them (see Hobsbawm 1973).3 If war was the norm in classical times, the armies that fought them were looked at with great collective emotion: that of fear, if the army was an invading host, and pride, if it was the national army fighting the outsider. If the invader succeeded in conquering and occupying, he established his own hagiography of the invading army. South Asia is brimming with tales of great military ambivalence. To the extent that the invading ruler was successful in uniting parts of South Asia as a state, the cult of the army remained “inclusive”: those who were invaded learned to admire the army. And that also applied to the invader population who was in time invaded by another invader. After South Asia was colonized by the British, the British Raj created an Indian army, leaning on the symbolism of the old indigenous armies while bringing into being a “professional” army based on the richness of military tradition in Europe. Local recruitment changed the identity of the colonial army from British to Indian. Soon, extra-regional foes were designated to encourage the people of India to think of the Indian army as their own, underpinning it with a kind of all-India nationalism. “Professional” army meant that it was a pluralist army, containing members of all communities, with a forgivable bias in favor of some warlike religious and ethnic identities. This pluralist army was disaggregated in 1947 when India and Pakistan emerged as two separate states in South Asia. Nationalism came to South Asia from Europe with the British Raj. Discussions were held for the first time about “nation” and “state” in a region that had not seen itself in those terms in the past (see Metcalfe 2007).4 In Europe, nationalism was developed as the apotheosis of the state to sanctify the idea of the “just” war (see Walzer 1989, 3).5 If war was the highest point in the development of the state, those who fought the war also became a part of nationalism. Today, as nationalism loses its magic as a collective myth, the army nevertheless gets pride of place in the affection of the people because of its capacity to “defend the homeland.” Without an army, nationalism is a hollow concept
because—even as a defensive concept—it inspires fear in the presumed “invader” threatening the homeland. After the disaggregation of the British Raj army, the bifurcation between India and Pakistan required new narratives of “defense.” In the case of Pakistan, nationalism was created out of the “painful birth” syndrome of 1947 and fear of India as the dominant neighbor bent on undoing Partition and thus putting the “state” of Pakistan to an end.6 The national narrative also imposed on the Pakistan army the task of completing the “unfinished” business of Partition in Kashmir, thus making it an army of a revisionist nationalism. By adding Islam to this nationalism, the normal “deterrence” matrix in the region was disturbed. The Pakistan army had to be a “forward” army seeking to force India to change the status quo in respect of Kashmir. The Indian army, on the other hand, was the army of a status quo power (see Jane's Information Group 2011a).7 India's nationalism was not overtly reliant on the fear of the next-door neighbor. But Indian nationalism sought its “fear matrix” in the Cold War's military implications for South Asia. It saw Pakistan as a part of America's regional war against the Soviet Union, which put at risk a nonaligned India facing an “aligned” Pakistan with foreign military bases on its soil. If Pakistani nationalism's internal problematic was “identity” as the differentiating trait vis-à-vis a culturally coextensive India, India's nationalism was based on the problematic of “unity” in the face of an intraregional encouragement to the creation of more states out of its aspired pluralism. True to tradition, like Pakistan, Indian nationalism was hollow without the mascot of its army. Then, in 1971, Bangladesh inherited an ethnically uniform army carved from Pakistan, somewhat like the disaggregation of the British Raj army in 1947 (see Jane's Information Group 2011b).8 Bangladeshi nationalism was created and equipped with a new narrative to convert it into a national army. This time, the designated enemy was Pakistan on the basis of the concept of the “painful birth” syndrome. Later, national contradictions with India—arising out of an incompletely demarcated border and perceived inequitable use of river waters—indoctrinated the Bangladesh army with its second adversary, India (see Ali 2010, 267).9 Bangladesh itself has a double national narrative—Bengali and Bangladeshi—to which the army has had to adjust. As always, proximity breeds more pressing crises and this has led the Bangladesh army to think of the Indian army as its enemy. Despite its universally admired Theravada Buddhist legacy, Sri Lanka has a martial tradition. Its people are Sinhala (lions) but, of all the nations of South Asia, it is the Sri Lankans who think more readily of peace and less readily of war. Its ethnically focused nationalism, however, has caused it to suffer unspeakable bouts of long violence (see Jane's Information Group 2009).10 India becomes an enemy because of the presence of a Tamil minority in Sri Lanka, presumably linked to an “irredentist” state of Tamil Nadu in India. Add to this the trouble arising out of unresolved maritime boundary issues and you have a Sri Lankan nationalism based on a fear of India. Subliminally, the army of Sri Lanka is a defensive shield warding off threats from the Indian mainland.
Landlocked Nepal and Afghanistan have problems with their transit states. Their armies only inadequately buttress their muffled nationalism, which is based on grievances against the big neighbor. Both are unstable on their porous borders and have compromised on the primary requirements of centralized states. In the case of Afghanistan, two opposed nationalisms focus on Pakistan. Afghan-Pashtun nationalism is anti-Pakistan insofar as it is irredentist vis-à-vis territory inside Pakistan, and for that reason refuses to recognize the Pak-Afghan border. Pakistan's “solution” to the problem of Afghan-Pashtun nationalism has aroused the antipathy of the northern non-Pashtun ethnicities. The Afghanistan army—a ragtag phenomenon at the best of times—has been shaped under a national narrative that is anti-Pakistan. The Northern Alliance army of the warlords is anti-Pakistan because of its perception that Pakistan helps the Pashtuns in their intrastate conflict with the non-Pashtuns. National narratives are more intensely absorbed by rightwing elements. It is the conservative party at the national level that espouses nationalism and its unchanging assumptions more forcefully. The liberal parties accept the national narrative but are always seen to be insufficiently committed to it because of their inclination to “communicate with the enemy.” Therefore, the armies, averse to changing the narrative and its underlying theorem of threat perception, feel themselves close to the rightwing conservative elements in the country. All armies are rightwing in their outlook and are expected to favor rightwing governments in power. After India produced its first credible challenge to the Indian National Congress in the shape of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Indian army began its process of reacting more favorably to it, especially as religion began to penetrate society and state in the country. In Bangladesh, the army soon found that the Awami League, after its struggle against Pakistan, was inclined to lower the intensity of Bangladesh's confrontation with India. (The national narrative in Bangladesh is doubleedged: when anti-Pakistan, it tends to weaken its anti-India aspect; when anti-India it weakens the anti-Pakistan aspect.) It shifted its support increasingly to the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) because of its up-front anti-India posture. Like Pakistan, the Bangladesh army intervened and contributed military dictators as presidents of Bangladesh. Like the Pakistan army under General Musharraf, it also tried to oust both the discredited mainstream political parties from politics; but, like Musharraf, it failed. Small-state armies go through periods when they internalize external threats, impose martial law, and take over civilian governance. They also go through periods when they externalize internal threats and seek to fight the external enemy instead of the internal one. The Pakistan army has repeatedly internalized the threat perception embedded in Pakistani nationalism to impose military rule. The central idea of this move is that elements inside the state are ready to betray it by serving the interests of the external enemy. Today, as intrastate conflict spirals, it is at pains to describe this conflict as fomented from outside, thus preventing the national narrative from being subverted. In both cases, local collaborators are identified before clamping down on the civilian population.
The armies of South Asia are not very different from armies elsewhere, but the national narratives and, consequently, the nationalisms that drive these armies may be becoming outmoded. The nation-state is under assault from globalization, undermining the geopolitical thinking on the basis of which the military has always understood its role (see Khanna 2008).11 Increasingly, the conflict is internal, brought about by unequal economic development as a result of high growth rates or domestic conflict. This has happened in India where uprisings in many parts tend to distract the Indian army from its external focus. In the case of Pakistan, domestic terrorism is forcing the Pakistan army to take its focus away from India and fight an unfamiliar asymmetric war with Pakistani elements aligned with Al-Qaeda. The armies of India and Pakistan are often paid more attention internationally because they both possess nuclear weapons. Treated as a force equalizer by Pakistan, the nuclear bomb has actually encouraged the Pakistan army to become bold in its cross-border challenge. The truth, however, is that after becoming nuclear powers in the eyes of the world in 1998, both armies should have persuaded their civilian rulers to accept the establishment of nuclear deterrence and agree formally on a status quo to usher in an era of peace and cooperation—simply because war had been rendered impossible. If the national economy is growing at a high rate, the task of financing and maintaining a national army becomes easy. It is accepted on all hands that defense spending that stays below 3% of the gross domestic product is affordable because of the absence of any negative impact on the quality of national life. However, any spending above 3% starts to hurt the state's ability to look after its population. Today, the Pakistan army is in trouble because of the abysmal growth rate of the national economy, which is trying to maintain half a million troops. In South Asia, only Afghanistan and Pakistan are in what looks like an economic crisis; the other members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) seem to have broken out of the straitjacket of low growth. Since the Afghan army is being created with foreign funding, Afghanistan does not face the sort of damage that Pakistan's arms race with “big-spender” India inflicts on its economy. South Asia's armies have been reared on intraregional perceptions. On the peripheries, they have infrequently countered extra-regional threats too. India grappled with China in 1962, Pakistan fought a deniable proxy war with the Soviet army in Afghanistan, and Bangladesh has off and on skirmished with the Burmese army. Apart from that, these armies are mostly opposed to one another on the basis of their national narratives. Of them, India has the “big power” perspective, making it transcend the regional framework. Its ability to finance a large army plus nuclearization tends to fulfill the unspoken rule that makes nations eligible for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council. But as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India has pointed out, India can achieve world status if it lives in peace with its smaller neighbors in South Asia. From Nehru, who saw South Asia as a region looked after by “big brother” India with its own version of a Monroe Doctrine, India has travelled a long distance to its “high growth rate” economist prime minister (see Karnad 2005).12
South Asian politicians have started talking peace in response to extra-regional protest against their floundering in the classic conflictual paradigm. But peace actually implies redundancy to the national army: for instance, if India and Pakistan make up, what will happen to the armies? There have been cases in Pakistan when the army has staged a coup saying that the elected government was neglectful of the “national interest and ideology.” The two parties overthrown in recent years both, incidentally, had India policies that the military did not favor. Rightwing elements in Pakistan insist on living in the conflictual paradigm and admire the army for being capable of sustaining it. A kind of troika is in existence in Pakistan, comprising the two mainstream parties who get to rule Pakistan after elections on the one hand, and the army on the other, as the third X factor. But the conflict in South Asia is increasingly intrastate. States suffering from internal infections tend to threaten their neighbors with spillover wars undermining the economies enclosed by national boundaries. Increasingly, too, national armies or their paramilitary supplements are fighting homegrown terrorism that threatens the state itself as well as other states in the neighborhood with global implications. It seems that, in the given circumstances and the growing pressure to allow free trade in South Asia, the armies are becoming a distraction in the region. There is no gainsaying the adage that armies are built to ensure peace, not to fight wars; but the mere fact of an army next door arming itself with the latest military technology remains economically unsettling. It is time that South Asian politicians rethought the idea of an army as a symbol of national power and paid heed to the option of a trade and investment regime in the region, triggering the positive movement of people and goods. The headcount is ominous. Large armies loom over the landscape, bristling with new weapons, conventional and nuclear, complete with delivery systems, while the challenges they face are slipping from the strategic radar. The population of the region is either extremely impoverished or the victim of a rich-poor gap brought about by high growth rates. Standing armies are usually counted but those formed by nonstate actors seldom are. Because of the embrace of asymmetric warfare, private-mercenary warriors are inducted into outfits meant for proxy cross-border war. In Pakistan and Afghanistan, such outfits swell the number of armies formally established by the states. Increasingly, states are less and less called on to fight conventional wars. The new challenge is terrorism, for which conventional armies are not trained. For instance, in Pakistan the jihadi militias once meant for cross-border proxy war are now killing innocent Pakistani population under the Islamic doctrine of jahiliya.13 The Pakistan army, untrained against domestic terrorism, insists that the threat is not internal but external, from India. Another “informal” army in Pakistan comprises the Baloch insurgents who are routinely linked to India's presumably tit-for-tat cross-border proxy war. Geopolitics, preferred by armies because it precludes the periodic rewriting of war textbooks, is alive and well. Pakistan's alliance with the US during the Cold War caused India to formulate its threat perception on the basis of a US-Pak “oceanic” linkage. Today, Pakistan's military feels threatened by an Indo-US “oceanic” linkage backed mysteriously by Israel. The new Indian threat perception is not based on a US-Pak
military linkage as much as on a “continental” Pak-China axis that periodically shows the Bangladesh army in a suspicious light too. Such trends in military thinking push back the idea of a region of cooperation envisaged by SAARC although, increasingly, economists in South Asia are convinced that peace is possible in the region only through intraregional connectivity. Environmentalists point to the menacing pace of ecological change and are successful in setting up a more real “extra-regional” collective foe to the population of South Asia. The armies of South Asia are targeted wrong and therefore block efforts at economic integration as part of their strategic thinking. They are also redundant insofar as they are not trained to handle intrastate conflict. What needs to change is the concept of national security. In South Asia, it remains overwhelmingly military, which means that other aspects of security attached to the national economy can be ignored (see Huntington 1957).14 In the West, where states have passed through periods of militarization and conflict, the national economy trumps all other kinds of security. One reason the West cannot be steadfast in its war against terrorism is its distraction with the national economy. Al-Qaeda simply has to keep its head down and bear the brunt of NATO's military response till the euro suffers a steep decline and there is a loss of jobs in frontline EU states. In South Asia, given its poverty levels, security needs to be looked at from the economic perspective. And war—and the armies that fight it—should be looked at with more realism and less romance. Khaled Ahmed is a leading political analyst and executive editor of the South Asian Journal. Endnotes 1.
Creveld (2008, 170) writes: “When the first history—here understood in the sense of an attempt to record the past in prose, and in a more or less factual way—was written is unknown. What is known, though, is that, from the moment the first historical works were written, war has always occupied a large, often central place in it. Herodotus, in his capacity as 'the father of history,' set the tone for all his followers. His objective, he says, was to investigate and record the great deeds committed by both Greeks and Persians during the war between them so that future generations would not forget them. Though this is not the only reason for writing military history, it remains as important as it has always been.” Dyer (1985, 157) says that “states fight wars because, in the end, that is what they are organized to do. The quarrels that are settled by law if they occur within a state are frequently settled by war between states, because there is little international law and no international aw enforcement. The need to prepare for and wage war has therefore been the decisive influence on the on the evolution of the state. It was practically the sole business of the ancient or medieval monarchy, and it accounts for most of the developments in governmental structure and bureaucratic technique that have shaped the modem state. This may seem a circular argument—wars happen between states largely because states are organized to fight wars—but it is nonetheless an accurate description of the present or of any previous historical period. States are principally organizations for the accumulation of power in the pursuit of security, and their most significant distinguishing characteristic is the possession of military forces.” According to Hobsbawm (1973), “Western parliamentary democracies have not, on the whole, denied themselves the publicity value of military glory. It was not only the Weimar
Republic which elected its most eminent general to the presidency. Marshall MacMahon and General de Gaulle in France, the Duke of Wellington in Britain, and a remarkably long list of presidential generals in the United States ending with Eisenhower, testify to the political appeal of a highly decorated uniform.” 4. Metcalfe (2007) discusses the difference of opinion between the top Muslim cleric of India Hussain Ahmad Madni and Allama Iqbal, Pakistan's founding philosopher, whether there should a nation-state in India at all. 5. Walzer (1989, 3) writes: “Some political theories die and go to heaven; some, I hope, die and go to hell. But some have a long life in this world, a history most often of service to the powersthat-be, but also, sometimes, an oppositionist history… But just war was a worldly theory, in every sense of that term, and it continued to serve worldly interests against Christian radicalism.” The Christian “just war” has already been criticized, but the Muslim concept of jihad, a privatized war that may be fought by nonstate actors, is still to be reviewed critically by the Muslim clergy. 6. States are often created at the end of a war for independence, as for instance the American war for independence. Nationalism is created on the basis of the memory of suffering and sacrifice entailed by this war. The enemy is often also created on the basis of this “painful birth” and the agent who caused the pain. 7. The Indian army comprises 1,100,000 troops plus 300,000 first-line reserves within five years' full-time service; a further 500,000 have commitment until age 50. “[It] is by far the largest in South Asia and has capabilities well beyond those of its South Asian neighbors. India's regional competitor, Pakistan, recognized India's supremacy in the early 1990s by adopting the doctrine of the 'Riposte' which accepts that there would probably be rapid multifront advances into Pakistani territory in the event of a conflict and intends to counter this by a separate thrust (or thrusts) to the east. Despite repeated declarations by successive army chiefs of intentions to create a lean and technology-centric force, the army has not yet achieved this goal. As a result, paramilitary forces have increasingly been used to meet the country's growing counter-insurgency tasks” (Jane's Information Group 2011a). 8. “The Bangladesh Army is institutionally a descendant of the British Indian Army. To this day, the principal arms - infantry, armor, and artillery - are modeled on the British pattern of the 1940s. Support services are regulation-bound and would be of doubtful effectiveness at the higher level of war, but appear adequate for the present role of the army, which is essentially one of border and domestic security. There is movement to restructure the army on US lines and to introduce US-based tactical and other training” (Jane's Information Group 2011b). 9. Ali (2010, 267) explains the pressure the Bangladeshi army feels from the Indian forward policy in the Bay of Bengal: “The challenge the BD army faced in 2008 in the Bay of Bengal was that Myanmar sent South Korean Daewoo and two state-owned Indian companies ONGC and GAIL ships into Bay of Bengal to survey BD waters, but with drills. BD talked to China for mediation, and talked to Seoul and sent in frigates. Earlier, India had escorted an Australian driller into the BD's maritime economic zone. BD sent in its battleships. Indian vessels refused to leave. India invited BD for talks and contested the zone together with Burma.” 10. “The Sri Lankan Army expanded rapidly from the early 1980s until the turn of the century, prompted by the increasing needs of security and defense caused by intensification of the Tamil rebellion. The expansion resulted in modest improvements in professionalism and some modernization of weaponry and equipment, but the tactics of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), including willingness to sustain high casualties, enabled it to inflict heavy losses on security forces. Nevertheless, the army was able to destroy the LTTE's forces during a major military operation between 2008 and 2009, leading to the end of the longrunning civil war in May 2009” (Jane's Information Group 2009). 11. In his introduction, Khanna (2008) says: “Geopolitics is the relationship between power and
space. Globalization refers to the widening and deepening interconnections among the world's peoples through all forms of exchange… The economic interests favoring interdependence could also forestall simmering geopolitical tensions, forever transmuting them into nonviolent competition.” 12. Karnad (2005) focuses on a 1947 endorsement of the Monroe Doctrine by Nehru who thought that such a “policing” doctrine should be proclaimed with respect to Asian countries only to see it morph into the principles of the non-aligned movement, which he helped midwife with other statesmen of the world. 13. Egyptian Islamic scholar and activist, Syed Qutb (1906-66), must be rated as the most influential thinker of Islam today. It is his concept of modern jahiliya that has been embraced by the violent Muslim organizations in the Muslim world. Whether he would have approved of the internal terrorism practiced by such outfits as the Gamaa and Takfir-wal-Hijra is another matter, but the fact is that they are able to declare jihad on Muslim societies on the basis of Qutb's theorization. The pain that Qutb suffered at the hands of Gamal Abdel Nasser gave rise to the desperate theory that even Muslim societies could be designated as jahil (that is, preQuranic), which has unfortunately contributed to the phenomenon of Muslims killing Muslims instead of facing the challenge of modern times as a united community. 14. In his introduction, Huntington (1957) writes that civil-military relations “are one aspect of national security policy. The aim of national security policy is to enhance the safety of the nation's social, economic, and political institutions against threats arising from other independent states. National security policy may be thought of as existing in three forms and on two levels. Military security policy is the program of activities designed to minimize or neutralize efforts to weaken or destroy the nation by armed forces operating from outside its institutional and territorial confines. Internal security policy deals with the threat of subversion—the effort to weaken or destroy the state by forces operating within its territorial and institutional confines. Situational security policy is concerned with the threat of erosion resulting from long-term changes in social, economic, demographic, and political conditions tending to reduce the relative power of the state. Each of these three forms of policy has an operating level and an institutional level. Operating policy consists of the immediate means taken to meet the security threat. Institutional policy deals with the manner in which operational policy is formulated and executed. Civil-military relations [are] the principal institutional component of military security policy.” References Ali, S. Mahmud. 2010. Understanding Bangladesh. London: C. Hurst & Co. Creveld, Martin van. 2008. The culture of war. New York: Ballantine Books. Dyer, Gwynne. 1985. War. New York: Crown Publishers. Hobsbawm, Eric J. 1973. Civilians and military in politics. In Revolutionaries: Contemporary essays. New American Library. Huntington, Samuel P. 1957. The soldier and the state: The theory and politics of civil-military relations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Jane's Information Group. 2009. Army (Sri Lanka). Sentinel Security Assessment - South Asia. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Sentinel-Security-Assessment-South-Asia/ArmySri-Lanka.html ———. 2011a. Army (India). Sentinel Security Assessment - South Asia. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Sentinel-Security-Assessment-South-Asia/ArmyIndia.html ———. 2011b. Army (Bangladesh). Sentinel Security Assessment - South Asia. http://articles.janes.com/articles/Janes-Sentinel-Security-Assessment-South-Asia/ArmyBangladesh.html
Karnad, Bharat. 2005. Nuclear weapons and Indian security: The realist foundations of strategy. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Macmillan India. Khanna, Parag. 2008. The second world: Empires and influence in the new global order. New York: Random House. Metcalfe, Barbara. 2007. An argumentative Indian: Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, Islam and nationalism in India. In Islamic legitimacy in a plural Asia, ed. Anthony Reid and Michael Gilsenan. London: Routledge. Walzer, Michael. 1989. Arguing about war. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
India-Pakistan peace? A military power perspective Ayesha Siddiqa
ndia and Pakistan have started to negotiate peace yet again. The Indian foreign secretary, Nirupama Rao, was in Islamabad in June 2011 to discuss a range of issues with her counterpart, including terrorism, trade, and conventional and nonconventional security matters. Not surprisingly, the talks finished without reaching any conclusive arrangement except that the two sides agreed to continue talks and work on additional nuclear confidence-building measures. One of the major reasons that limited breakthrough is achieved, as this article argues, is due to the differing tactical and strategic objectives of both countries. While Pakistan would like to see the Kashmir issue resolved to its advantage, India would like to eliminate the problem of terrorism. At a tactical level, Islamabad would like the resolution of the Siachen Glacier issue and withdrawal of Indian troops from Indian-administered Kashmir. New Delhi, on the other hand, would like to see the expansion of trade and greater people-to-people dialogue. The primary argument of this article is that one of the reasons for the difference in strategic and tactical goals on both sides is also driven by the power and influence of the two countries' security establishments. The Pakistan military, which has massive influence on political decision-making, does not want any major or minor solution that does not give it a win-win feel vis-Ă -vis India. However, the Indian military is increasingly gaining greater political influence to counter any peace initiatives from its political government. This article aims to analyze civil-military relations in the two countries from the perspective of how it will impact the future of bilateral peace talks. Revisiting the civil-military relations paradigm The term â€œcivil-military relationsâ€? usually refers to the relationship between a central state and its security apparatus. So, if a military force seemingly takes orders from a civilian government, the relationship is deemed as positive for civilian institutions. Such an approach to the civil-military relations debate is driven by Huntington's work on the issue, especially by his book The soldier and the state (2005). Viewed purely from an organizational and command-and-control perspective, Huntington set out to define a professional military as being subservient to civilian control as opposed to praetorian armed forces that control the political and administrative functioning of the state. This definition of military professionalism is used throughout the world. But it is worth recognizing that the peculiar definition of military professionalism and civil-military relations is driven by the European historical experience. Thus, the evolution of the European nation-state system and political structures, and evolution of professional national armed forces took place in a particular context.
Yet, academics were driven by Huntington's definition and used it to define and explain other militaries that did not necessarily conform to the above definition. Later work by Alfred Stepan, Morris Janowitz, and many others on the militaries of South America or other parts of the world tried to grapple with the issue of defining militaries that were not subservient to civilian authorities or that undertook nonmilitary tasks but whose structures grew out of the western military organizational tradition. The structure of many states in the developing world was hierarchical and bureaucratic. This led authors such as Amos Perlmutter to create categories such as liberal militaries versus revolutionary and praetorian structures. He defined a military structure on the basis of what a particular political system allowed. Huntington's definition continues to be significant in shaping arguments about civil-military relations. Needless to say, this definition falls short of explaining the larger relationship between a society and the state. While a military may or may not be subservient to a central state, it could be in a nonrepresentative or coercive relationship with society or parts of it. The command and control of the military is an important aspect but not the only defining variable. Civilmilitary relations, I would argue, must also be viewed from the perspective of the relationship between the state and society. There are two important factors worth considering in the debate on civil-military relations in any state. First, the nature of a society's political environment has a bearing on the relationship between the military and its people. If the society is praetorian, even civilian policymakers will use the military to engage with society or parts of it in an authoritarian fashion, which means that the military will be serving the interests of policymakers but not necessarily of society. The military is essentially a policy tool, and how it is utilized by the ruling class depends on a country's politics. The way in which the military is deployed in turn determines the tenor of its relationship with the public. Internal conflict or coercion is extremely relevant to the analysis of postcolonial state structures such as those in South Asia, where the emphasis has been on maintaining a unitary state, often in pre-industrial, multi-ethnic, and multi-racial societies. The issue then is not just of control but of the use of the armed forces as a tool of coercion by the state. The military is one of the many actors vying for greater influence over the state or within the political system, and a share of the resources. Ultimately, the strength of the political system determines the significanceâ€”greater or lesserâ€”of the armed forces in relation to others. Thus, the military's engagement in internal security is an important indicator of the nature of politics and the military's relationship with society. Second, in situations where the military has been in power or has had an influence on politics for a long time, it can change the behaviour of the civil leadership. So, even if civilian leaders are in control, they may have little ability to make the military subservient to the interests of society or parts of it. Evaluating the dynamic concept of civil-military relations cannot be left to the nature of top-down command and control. A military may follow a particular hierarchical command-and-control structure, which might not explain the organization's influence on policymaking in general, especially issues pertaining to security. More importantly, in a changing security environment, the civil-military relations debate cannot be limited to the formal organization but has to be expanded to include the military fraternity. This
means serving military personal plus retired military personnel plus particular civilians who are directly dependent on the military's power and influence in decision making. The final category would include defence contractors and the military-businessindustrial complex. Therefore, any analysis of civil-military relations must take into account the following factors: l l l l l
Command and control of the armed forces. The military's role in politics. The structure of the higher defense organization. The impact of the military's external role on the organization's significance in policymaking. The conduct and impact of intrastate conflict on civil-military relations.
These variables will be used to analyze the political influence of the Indian and Pakistani militaries, both independently and comparatively. Civil-military relations in India Civil-military relations in India are considered â€œidealâ€? in the region. The military has never stepped out of line as far as its organizational command and control is concerned. Historically, it has remained subservient to the parliament through the civilian Ministry of Defense (MoD). The Indian military is firmly under civilian control and is managed through a committee system that was designed soon after Partition by Lord Ismay. Primary control over defense rests with the defense minister, who exercises authority over the armed forces on behalf of parliament (Figure 1). Figure 1: The Indian military's command-and-control structure
Although the president is constitutionally the supreme commander of the armed forces, s/he acts on the advice of the prime minister, who is in turn guided by the defense minister. In addition, there are 17 committees dealing with defense matters. The defense minister serves as the focal point of interaction between the military and the civilian government. The minister's power was built gradually over a number of years and was linked fundamentally to a reduction in the military's influence. After 1947, the Indian leadership worked systematically to minimize the influence of the armed forces. The British commander-in-chief stationed in India was second in order of precedence to the viceroy (interview with Lt. Gen. (R) V. R. Raghavan, New Delhi, 20 December 2005). However, this situation changed systematically after independence from the British in 1947. Such a transformation was initially achieved through the following measures: l l l
Reducing the significance of the military by strengthening the MoD. Redesignating the commander-in-chief of the three services as chiefs of staff in 1955 (interview with Kapil Kak, New Delhi, 24 December 2005). Initiating the second-file system in 1952, which aimed at giving a larger role to the civilian bureaucracy manning the MoD and, hence, taking away the service headquarters' powers in terms of its input in defense decision-making.1
The defense bureaucracy and its powers were structured with the intent of empowering the civilian bureaucracy. The Indian military of Jawaharlal Nehru's days was not even given the initiative to determine military plans that had a bearing on government's strategic thinking. This was obvious during the 1962 war with China during which strategic planning for war was totally controlled by the defense minister, Krishna Menon, who completely disregarded tactical planning for the immediate threat posed by Beijing in terms of pursuing its plans to occupy territory bordering China. The MoD or defense minister did not therefore give much credence to intelligence reports or to the top military leadership's concerns regarding Chinese movement on the border. Thereafter, the war fought with China in 1962 was lost and proved to be a great embarrassment for the Indian political leadership. According to prominent strategic analyst K. Subrahmanyam, one of the reasons that the 1962 war was lost was because the defense minister had appointed the wrong general to fight the war. This decision was made, in turn, because the parliament did not understand strategic concepts (interview with K. Subramanyam, New Delhi, 14 December 2005). Maj. Gen. (R) Dipankar Banerjee believes that the 1962 crisis made people realize that the army should not be interfered with and, thus, a bargain was struck between the civilian leadership and military in the early days, according to which civilians would not meddle in matters military (interview, New Delhi, 14 December 2005). The realization that the military leadership's opinion should be given importance was appreciated, causing former Defense Minister Swaran Singh to suggest in 1963 that it was useful to have serving military officers in the MoDâ€”three in defense and three in defense productionâ€”although the army never posted anyone to the ministry (interview with Air Cdr. (R) Jasjit Singh, New Delhi, 8 January 2006). This was perhaps the result of the organizational ethos inculcated by the earlier military leadership, such as Gen. K. M. Cariappa. The Indian army chief did not allow any association with political parties or
discussion of politics (interview with Lt. Gen. (R) V. R. Raghavan, New Delhi, 20 December 2005). Since strategy involves the higher politics of decision making, it might have been considered a viable option to keep the military away from playing any role in decision making, including the bureaucracy. However, the failure of 1962 did not necessarily result in a major change in civil-military relations. This was for two reasons. First, there was the fear of military's preponderance. According to Lt. Gen. (R) V. R. Raghavan, the fact that Gen. J. N. Chowdhury moved a brigade to Delhi soon after Nehru's death raised concerns among politicians of the military's intentions (interview, New Delhi, 20 December 2005). Second, by then the civilian bureaucracy had become too powerful to make room for the military. Prominent analyst C. Raja Mohan believes that the civil bureaucracy was a key player in minimizing the military's role in defense decision-making. He further adds that the Indian state is a bureaucratic state dominated by the civil bureaucracy, in which the army was pushed out from its functions and limited to a ceremonial role. The key lynchpin in the Indian power hierarchy is the joint secretary (interview with C. Raja Mohan, New Delhi, 17 December 2005). Given the power of the civil bureaucracy, the popular notion among the armed forces in India and the security community is that military personnel have no input in defense decision-making. The swift shift in the civil-military balance However, this balance began to subtly shift as the top leadership realized that a larger geopolitical role for India required a different kind of decision making and greater clarity between the civilian and military leadership. Much of this change is linked with India's growing desire to establish itself as a global power. The primary goal of establishing India as a powerful regional and global actor has resulted in technological and other changes that affect the role of the armed forces and its relations with civil society and civilians at large. In a nutshell, the Indian military's relative clout has increased, which reflects in certain critical decisions. Therefore, while the military continues to operate in an environment where other stakeholders constantly can challenge it, it has, as an institution, found formal and informal methods to extend its overall influence. Three key factors that have caused the military's overall significance in strategic decision-making to rise are: l l l
Internal security and the war against terrorism. India's expanding geostrategic role. Nuclear deterrence.
The Indian military and internal security The Indian army plays a key role in internal security, which is understandable considering that the country faces numerous insurgencies. However, the army has consistently vied for greater power in dealing with internal security problems. Furthermore, considering the need to restructure the armed forces, internal security is a major activity that helps the army retain its large size. This argument is contrary to the perception that the military's leadership is averse to the involvement of armed forces in internal security. However, such a notion must be
carefully analyzed. A number of senior retired army officers interviewed expressed contradictory opinions. On one hand, they believed that a professional military must focus on external threats and that not be deployed for internal security issues. On the other hand, it is proudly claimed that the armed forces are the only entity with the capacity to fight insurgency and the only institution capable of “pulling the government's chestnuts out of the fire” (interview with Lt. Gen. (R) Vijay Oberoi, New Delhi, 22 December 2005). This remark was made in view of the role played by the army in troubled areas such as Assam, Kashmir, and the northeast. Lt. Gen. (R) B. K. N. Chhibber, for instance, claimed that it was the army that saved the situation in Indian Punjab during the height of the insurgency in the 1980s (interview, New Delhi, 10 January 2006). Although this view is debatable, the fact remains that army officers believe they have a positive role to play in a political environment ridden with corruption and instability. The Indian military's claims of successes in East Punjab are debatable. The available evidence suggests that greater achievement was made through the deployment of police. Yet, the counter-insurgency model of Punjab was not used in other troubled areas such as the northeast and Kashmir. This is possibly due to the fact that, given the changing nature of warfare in South Asia, the primary role that the army can hope for is in tackling counter-insurgency. Considering the debate in India's strategic community on the need for a revolution in military affairs, which would require rightsizing the armed forces, the smaller services (the Indian air force and navy) question the large size of the army. It is believed that the armed forces have to be lean and must be strengthened technologically (interviews with Air Cdr. (R) Jasjit Singh and Air Marshal (R) Vinod Patney, New Delhi, on 8 January 2006 and 24 December 2005, respectively). Such a debate makes the army highly nervous and results in army officers arguing that the army cannot be downsized because of the role it must play in fighting terrorism (interview with Lt. Gen. (R) V. N. Sharma, New Delhi, 19 December 2005). In the past decade or more, the army has increased its power through the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives a larger role to the military in administration and governance in areas experiencing internal violence. There is a civil-military partnership in place as far as civilian reaction to the AFSPA is concerned, which is due to the nature of the Indian state. The military and its coercive capacity are central to the authoritarian dynamics of India's politics. Since, as Ashis Nandy pointed out, the Indian state is ruthless (interview, New Delhi, 12 January 2006), the political élite use coercion as a tool with which to engage with society. Despite the strong tradition of electoral democracy in India, the country is essentially a postcolonial state in which the civil bureaucracy and political élite dominate decision making to guarantee their interests. Violence has increased in all areas, starting from the IndoNepalese border to Bihar, Jharkand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka. This has created a corridor of violence in which public exclusion from the benefits of economic growth and the heavy pressure of a growing population have resulted in resistance against the state.
India: The Asian giant? Over the years, India seems to have been vying for a larger role in geopolitics. Its partnership with the US and the role it can play in relation to Washington builds the country's and, in turn, the military's significance. The Indian military is central to the growing relationship between New Delhi and Washington. It is not only limited to fighting terrorism but extends to larger military cooperation. The recent India-US nuclear deal, which ensures the transfer of civilian nuclear technology to New Delhi, will not only enhance India's technological capabilities but also has ramifications for the country's nuclear weapons program. Implicit in the agreement is an informal and tacit acceptance of India's military program. Furthermore, US-India cooperation is based on Washington's need to partner with New Delhi to counter China's growing military power. The growing significance of India's military and strategic role will necessitate a reevaluation of the civilian government's relationship with its armed forces. For one, it will be imperative to redefine the military's role in issues relating to national security. Already, the government seems to have become more mindful of the military's opinion on key issues. For instance, a decision regarding the withdrawal of troops from Siachen depends on the army agreeing to the plan. Although keenly negotiating an end to years of military engagement with Pakistan, the current Congress government appears to be taking advice from its army headquarters seriously. The army, on the other hand, has strongly advised against demilitarization of the glacier without authentication of present troop positions (Times of India, 13 November 2006). By ignoring the military's advice, civilian policymakers do not want to make the same mistake as they did in 1962. But more important is the fact that Indian politicians have increasingly less capacity to challenge the military on security issues, especially when the country wants to make gains geopolitically. According to security analyst Varun Sahni, politicians have become increasingly illiterate about defense matters and tend to leave these issues to the bureaucracy, both military and civil (interview, New Delhi, 7 January 2006). Nuclear deterrence It is generally believed that the Indian military has no role in nuclear decision-making. Indeed the political government and civil bureaucracy maintain control over issues of the military's conventional or nuclear deployment. However, with greater technological prowess, political decision-makers will depend more on input from the armed forces. Civil-military partnership Over the past couple of decades, India seems to have moved slowly toward a phase of civil-military partnership, the kind found in the US, Israel, UK, and a number of other developed countries. Such a partnership is marked by civilian stakeholders recognizing the significance of the armed forces in attaining the former's political objectives (Siddiqa 2007, 36-40). Structurally, the partnership is expressed in three ways: (i) enhancing the military's role in internal security, (ii) the role given to the military (indirectly through retired military personnel) on the advisory committee of the National Security Council (NSC), and (iii) the increasing significance of retired military personnel in strategic think-tanks.
As far as the NSC is concerned, the 1992 Arun Singh Committee report advocated greater efficiency in defense management. Subsequently, there was also a Group of Minister's (GoM) report in 2000 that influenced its shape. The NSC is designated as the apex body looking into political, economic, energy-related, and security issues. An advisory board, strategic policy group, and joint intelligence committee assist it. The advisory board, which comprises retired military and civilian experts and is mandated to carry out indepth analysis and provide inputs to the NSC, is the most functional sub-organization out of the three proposed to assist the NSC. The council comprises a national security advisor, the ministers of defense, external affairs, home, and finance, and the deputy chairman of the planning commission. According to former Indian intelligence officer B. Raman, an important aspect of the NSC's responsibilities relates to determining the optimum strength of the military and the defense bureaucracy (SAPRA India Foundation 1998). These changes were made to strengthen strategic, especially defense, planning. Think-tanks have played an important role in formulating discussion on securityrelated issues, and retired military personnel play an important role. Not surprisingly, organizations such as the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have opted for an aggressive stance toward Pakistan (FICCI n.d.). From a discussion with various business people in India, it could be argued that the report's tone was a result of its being written by former military personnel. None of the above is to argue that civil-military relations in India will change drastically to a degree where the armed forces will have an active role in politics, as in Pakistan's case. However, the military will not remain a docile bystander (as in Nehru's days) either. In any case, retired military personnel argue fairly aggressively for a shift in the balance of power vis-Ă -vis the civil bureaucracy. One of the most glaring examples of this was the rift between the MoD, the minister of defense, and former naval chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat who was removed by the BJP government when friction emerged between the two sides. The rift between the former Indian naval chief and New Delhi had erupted after Bhagwat refused to accept the government's decision regarding the appointment of a senior officer in the naval headquarters. According to Bhagwat, the MoD and political administration was obliged to adhere to his advice and not make a political appointment to a senior position. However, the admiral pushed the envelope by accusing the government of bias against him on communal grounds (his wife was a Muslim). Rear Admiral (R) Raja Menon, one of the India's top strategic analysts, believes that Bhagwat was not wrong in contesting his right to appoint a senior officer he considered suitable rather than the MoD thrusting an officer on him. Menon added that the rift between the former naval chief and New Delhi actually revolved around the questionable double-file system that had been strengthened during the 1980s by the MoD to increase the ministry's hold over the armed forces. This particular system discourages the service headquarters' voice from reaching political decision-makers (interview with Rear Adm. (R) Raja Menon, New Delhi, January 2006). The incident is crucial because it helped subtly redefine the relationship between the civil bureaucracy and the military. Admiral (R) K. K. Nayyar, a member of the Arun
Singh Committee, is of the view that the senior military leadership has greater power to appoint and promote its officers. Unlike in the past, when even the promotion of colonels and ranks above were decided by the MoD, the present-day military leadership has the freedom to promote officers of the rank of brigadier and above. Moreover, all revenue expenditure has been under the service chiefs (interview with Adm. (R) K. K. Nayyar, New Delhi, 27 December 2005). Lt. Gen. (R) V. R. Raghavan adds that the consultative process has changed tremendously. Three-star generals have a whole range of powers, including over expenditure, allotted to them. Giving the power to spend is not about legality but about trust. Today, military personnel lead weapons procurement delegations abroad, something that was earlier undertaken by civilian bureaucrats. The government views the military as a source of stability, a development that is different from the conditions prevalent during the 1960s and the 1970s, and does not intend to marginalize or downgrade it (interview with Lt. Gen. (R) V. R. Raghavan, New Delhi, 20 December 2005). The Bhagwat incident was not the last time that a senior commander spoke out. In recent years, there has been a tendency among high-ranking military commanders to make their voices, heard such as the statement made by General V. K. Singh on the Cold Start strategy. The fact that senior commanders are allowed not to remain silent, contrary to the old Indian tradition of doing so, indicates a willingness to accept the military as becoming more prominent. In any case, the international community, especially the US, recognizes the role played by the Indian military in hampering the resolution of the more solvable disputes, such as Siachen (see the Express Tribune, 2 June 2011). At present, the Indian army seems to hold the wild card as far as resolution of outstanding disputes with Pakistan and reducing the number of troops in Indianadministered Kashmir are concerned. The Kargil crisis and the Mumbai attacks have embarrassed the military due to the intelligence failure that the two crises indicate. India's coalition politics does not appear to allow any political dispensation to move away from its dependence on the military for advice on military-strategic issues. There is conformity between the political forces and military leadership on the solution of bilateral issues skirting the Kashmir issue. New Delhi would like Pakistan to treat Kashmir as India's internal matter and not as an issue that requires territorial adjustment. However, the political government's increased dependence on the military means that it is also averse to taking any risks on tactical issues. So, while the Indian military would not have a say in influencing major political decisions such as the larger issue of Kashmir, the armed forces will have a greater role to play in defining the future of bilateral relations at a tactical level. Civil-military relations in Pakistan Unlike India, Pakistan denotes the other extreme of the civil-military relations spectrum. Over the years, the armed forces have established their hegemony by penetrating society, the economy, and politics, and exercising intellectual/philosophical dominance by controlling the strategic and foreign policy debate. Politically, the military has always remained directly or indirectly relevant. The table below shows that the military has controlled the state both directly and indirectly for almost half the country's
63-year history. In fact, the only period where the armed forces remained relatively weak and allowed the civilian dispensation to complete its tenure pertains to the five years of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's government. Table : Patterns of rule in Pakistan Type
Direct military rule
1958-1962, 1969-1971, 1977-1985, 1999-2002
Elected government under a military president
1962-1969, 1985-1988, 2002-2007
Elected government under a civilian president 'rule of troika'
1988-1999, 2008 to date
Supremacy of nonparliamentary forces under formal parliamentary rule
Source: Mohammad Waseem . 2009. Civil-military relations in Pakistan . In Pakistan in regional and global politics, ed. Rajshree Jetly. New Delhi: Routledge.
The army's first direct intervention occurred in 1958 when the army chief, General Ayub Khan, abrogated the first constitution of 1956. The general continued in power as a martial law administrator-cum-President (1958-63), and later as an indirectly elected president with deep links with the army until 1969. Ayub Khan passed on power to General Yahya Khan, who then transferred power to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto after the 1971 elections. The pattern was repeated after five years when the then army chief General Zia-ul-Haq sacked the Bhutto government and came into power in 1977. In 1985, he held elections and introduced his version of “guided democracy.” However, the government was sacked after two years and elections held in 1988 after the sudden and mysterious death of the general in an air crash earlier that year. Zia's departure ushered in a decade of elected democracy: a period in which civilian governments were dismissed every two years. The military manipulated the weakness of the political class to remain in power, at least to be able to guard its organizational interests. Moreover, the army chief remained a powerful figure and decisive in terms of power politics. This is what Waseem (2009, 185) refers to as the "rule of the troika,”2 meaning the president, prime minister, and army chief. Even this model proved unstable and a fourth military takeover occurred in October 1999 under the army chief Pervez Musharraf who ruled the country until 2008. During this decade, Musharraf followed the pattern of creating partnerships with handpicked political and civil society players. Such a partnership was also used to elect a civilian government and give the state the semblance of a democracy. Certain unpopular moves by the general (such as the appeasement of India, a deep involvement with American war objectives in the war on terror, and mistreatment of a pliant judiciary) made him highly unpopular, causing his own army to abandon him. The political crisis of 2006/07 resulted in Musharraf's resignation as army chief and president. In 2008, elections were held once again, resulting in a coalition government in the center led by Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. Waseem calls it the “rule of troika” but with changes in what constitutes the troika. Waseem is of the view that the troika currently comprises the
army chief, higher judiciary, and the president (interview, Islamabad, 15 March 2011). Economically, the military dominates the three major segments of the economy, i.e., agriculture, services, and manufacturing. The armed forces run the two largest business conglomerates and operate in the formal, informal, and illegal sectors of the economy. Finally, their philosophical or intellectual presence is denoted by their involvement in education and all major deliberative forums in the country. Retired and serving military personnel have been inducted into all strategic institutions and military regimes have gradually and systematically created a constituency favoring the armed forces among civilian academics and journalists by offering them financial rewards or career opportunities. Furthermore, intellectual dominance is exercised by projecting the country's image as a threatened state that has to be protected by investing a major share of national resources in military security. Hence, at this particular juncture, the military is the state (conference discussant's comments by Hasan Askari-Rizvi, New Delhi, 27 March 2006). Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto challenged the military's control by restructuring the armed forces. He introduced a new structure that was meant to establish the dominance of the civilian authorities (Figure 2). However, Zia's martial law and the changes that were brought about through Article 58 (2)(b) of the 1973 Constitution disturbed the balance that Bhutto had tried to establish. Zia shifted the powers of supreme commander of the armed forces from the prime minister to the president. This particular power has moved from the prime minister to the president and back depending on the nature of the political regime. Figure 2: The Pakistan military's command-and-control structure
In comparison with the military, political actors have limited capacity to challenge the
military's ever increasing power. A primary issue in this regard is that civilian leadership at all levels of the state and society has lost control of the national narrative. The military has managed to remain central to the idea of Pakistan more so than any other political actor or state institution, primarily due to the significance of national security as the state's core objective. As compared with the political leadership, which is largely viewed as corrupt and inept, the armed forces manage to repackage themselves periodically, presenting themselves as a panacea for all ills and the only alternative to and surviving institution of the state. The military's power in relation to other stakeholders also depends on how it manages to legitimize itself, which means justify its excessive power, and frequent political intervention. Although most Pakistanis support the idea of democracy and the democratic process, there is also a tendency among them to seek military intervention in times of political chaos—similar to situations in South America. Since society seems to have become militarized and praetorian, the ruling elite and public, especially from the dominant ethnic group, accept the military's role as a political arbiter. In 63 years, the armed forces have progressed from was defined by Amos Perlmutter as an “arbiter” military to being a “parent-guardian” type (cited in Siddiqa 2007, 78-89). This means that it never returns to the proverbial barracks but ensures the continuity of its influence through legal and constitutional means. Turkey and Indonesia also fall in this category (Siddiqa 2007, 78-89). More importantly, the military does not intend to rely on any political leadership to define Pakistan's national security goals. Historian such as Ayesha Jalal believes that the military's significance in Pakistan's sociopolitics or economy resulted from the significance of the Indian threat. The first war of 1947/48 established the primacy of military security, after which the government allocated about 70% of the estimated budget to defense in the very first year (Siddiqi 1996, 70). This budgetary allocation symbolized the prioritization of military security as the national agenda. According to Pakistan's current ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, after the first war, ”Islamic Pakistan” defined itself through the prism of resistance to “Hindu India” (Haqqani 2005, 15). The country's policymaking élite tends to define “threats” to national security principally in terms of the peril perceived from New Delhi. India's hegemonic policies and belligerent attitude are considered the greatest threats to the state's survival. Over the past 50 years and more, the dominant school of thought that has influenced policymaking believes that the Indian leadership has never been comfortable with an independent homeland for the Subcontinent's Muslims and would lose no opportunity to destroy or invade Pakistan. Policymakers are equally uncomfortable with India's urge to gain regional or global prominence. Any reference to India acquiring a prominent role, especially due to a comparatively greater military capacity, is seen as a potential threat and as inherently antithetical to Pakistan's security interests. Despite the historic friction and deep desire to solve larger territorial issues such as the Kashmir dispute to its advantage, Pakistan's military does not ignore the importance of making tactical gains on minor but related issues such as solving the Siachen and Sir Creek (maritime boundaries) issues. During several rounds of talks, it has showed an inclination to resolve these disputes mainly because of the burden they pose on the
military and the economy. However, such an inclination does not indicate an effort or intent to scale down Indian suspicion or institutionalize peace. Pakistan's stance on ending the jihadi infrastructure that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks or in fighting India in general indicates a dependence on nonstate actors as a bulwark against perceived Indian aggression. Similarly, the military leadership remains reluctant to allow an increase in trade between the two countries lest the Indians view this as an indicator of any compromise on the Kashmir issue. There is an increasing chasm between the thinking of the military and the current political government elected in 2008 on building peace with India. Conclusion The basic argument here is that the Pakistani and Indian positions on bilateral relations have hardened. While Pakistan's position has, historically, been negatively reactive to India and seemingly more pronounced due to the military's political power, the Indian military seems to be reacting no differently. The South Asian reality is that both militaries have gained significance in military-strategic decision-making, making it far more difficult today to resolve bilateral disputes. The political leadership on both sides is less prepared to truly challenge the military's perspective and make a breakthrough in finding peace in the region. Ayesha Siddiqa is a leading defense analyst and author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's military economy (2007). Endnotes 1. According to the two-file system, files from the service headquarters were retained by the MoD and a new file initiated for communication with the political authorities. This system not only made the military subservient to the civil bureaucracy but also positioned the MoD as a barrier between the political establishment and the military. 2. Although Waseem's table does not comment on the more recent years from 2008 onward, this period also falls under the third category of the â€œrule of troika,â€? which basically indicates the power of the army chief in influencing policymaking. References Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. n.d. Task force report on national security and terrorism. Vol. 1. http://www.ficci.com/SPdocument/20032/terrorismreport.pdf Haqqani, Hussain. 2005. Pakistan: Between mosque and military. Washington, DC: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Huntington, Samuel P. 2005. The soldier and the state: The theory and politics of civil-military relations. Belknap Press. SAPRA India Foundation. 1998. India's new national security council. http://www.subcontinent.com/sapra/research/nationalsecurity/img_1998_11_24.html Siddiqa, Ayesha. 2007. Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's military economy. London: Pluto Press. Siddiqi, Abdurrahman. 1996. The military in Pakistan: Image and reality. Lahore: Vanguard Books. Waseem, Mohammad. 2009. Civil-military relations in Pakistan. In Pakistan in regional and global politics, ed. Rajshree Jetly. New Delhi: Routledge.
No nuclear war but a nuclear arms race? Bharat Karnad
alk about a four-node vicious circle! Pakistan is perennially at loggerheads with India, whose conventional military handicap it seeks to overcome with significant arms transfers by China and a stiffening nuclear missile muscle it acquired courtesy Beijing's stance to strategically distract India and keep it preoccupied with the Subcontinent. Pakistan's “chronic sense of insecurity,” write Howard and Teresita Schaffer (Hindu, 13 June 2011)—old South Asia hands formerly at the US State Department—is sought to be addressed centrally with “efforts to counter-balance the Indian threat.” China and the US have helped Pakistan deal with India in the past, and will calibrate their military assistance so as not to alienate India. Indeed, given the precipitous slide in its relations with Pakistan—triggered by the Special Forces operation to kill Osama bin Laden—say Karen DeYoung and Griff White (Washington Post, 15 June 2011), Washington may not play ball at all if the ties do not recover. Considering its size and all-round heft, India is willy-nilly China's natural ideological, political, and economic rival in Asia, the country against whom India's nuclear and conventional forces are principally orientated, even as it maintains sufficient military wherewithal to deter Pakistan's adventurism.1 Besides, India is concerned about the entrenched Sino-Pakistan strategic and nuclear nexus. According to Edward Wong in the New York Times (14 June 2011), China, for its part, apprehends the US—with its considerable military capabilities—in Asia as its main adversary: one that props up an independent Taiwan, which China ferociously covets; that, in alliance with Japan and South Korea in Southeast Asia, limits its options Pacific-ward; and that, in league with many Asian states, encourages resistance against China's territorial claims and prevents the spread of its influence. Then there is the US seeking to extend its status as the predominant power into the new century, and in Asia to fence in China using its own significant military presence, but also in cooperation with traditional allies (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan) and new strategic partners (including India) on the Chinese periphery (for current nuclear inclinations and trends in Asian countries, see Karnad 2008, chap. 1). Add to this combustible mix the likely fuse in the Subcontinent of the Al-Qaeda-inspired global jihadi terrorism that was initially nurtured by the US as a means of unsettling the Soviet occupation order in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and has since been seen by Pakistan as a sometime useful asymmetric sub-conventional military asset to deploy against India. But in its Taliban guise, the militants established themselves as the ruling regime in Kabul and, in the wake of 9/11, have been relentlessly targeted by the US and NATO. In turn, the former have waged a protracted war against the foreign interventionist forces in Afghanistan and North Waziristan in Pakistan. Post-9/11, the Al-Qaeda-Taliban is
feared by the West as potential perpetrators of spectacular acts of terrorism, especially nuclear terrorism. To fight this scourge, an ambivalent Pakistan has been shoehorned by Washington into a frontline role that the former finds difficult to play. This is, among other reasons, because of the Pakistani army Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate's continuing links with the Al-Qaeda-Taliban and lashkar affiliates at home.2 At the same time, Pakistan is not in a position to dictate to Washington. This unsatisfactory compromise has resulted in the Pakistan army fitfully fighting certain factions of the homegrown Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and sections of the Haqqani tribal network at America's bidding, prompting unending terrorist attacks by the TTP and the offshoots—such as Lashkar-i-Tayyaba and Jaish-e-Mohammad—it had previously nurtured against the Pakistani state itself (Indian Express, 4 June 2011). This has added immeasurably to the prevailing unsettled domestic condition: the breakdown of law and order, social and religious violence, and ongoing secessionist movements, such as the one in Balochistan. In this confused milieu with crosscutting motivations and the interests of the four nodal players, isolating the India-Pakistan nuclear tangle is difficult. It has not, however, stopped professional Track-II advocates from trying to do just this. Many of them, trained in concepts such as nuclear risk reduction centers conceived by the Sandia Corporation, seek to implement them in the India-Pakistan context. This may not work because, for starters, both sides would have to disclose the size and quality of their respective nuclear-missile inventories. According to Raja Menon and Lalit Mansingh (Times of India, 20 June 2011), Track II advocates talk of the two sides withdrawing their early generation short-range ballistic missiles—Prithvi-I, Abdali, Ghaznavi—as part of nuclear confidence building measures, which action they hope the foreign secretary-level talks will formalize.3 By making missile draw-downs a two-way street, India has essentially conceded parity, which will complicate its nuclear arsenal buildup to meet the greater threat from China without spooking Pakistan and rendering agreements on mutual reductions fruitless. However, India has lost the opportunity to make serious headway in diluting mistrust and psychologically blunting Pakistani threat perceptions of India, which reciprocal action will not do. What would have worked, as I suggested over ten years ago, would have been for India to unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw its nuclearized Prithvi-I short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) from forward-deployment on the Pakistani border. This could have been safely done as all target-sets inside Pakistan are covered by longer-range Agni missiles fired from hinterland launch points (Karnad 2005a, 572-573). India, China, and Pakistan alike profess “minimum deterrence.” But, for each of these countries, deciding what constitutes the “minimum” nuclear force necessary and “how much is enough” presents insuperable difficulties. It requires each country to ascertain exactly which nuclear forces of what range and other attributes are in the others' inventories. From India's point of view, China's arsenal is its primary concern, particularly if matters worsen owing to internal upheavals within China (see Kathryn Hille and Jamil Anderlini, Financial Times, 3 June 2011; and Roy 2011);4 Pakistan is a secondary worry. From China's perspective, the issue relates to American nuclear wherewithal and, regionally, the Indian nuclear weapons holdings. Pakistan's
imperative is simpler. Given its India-centric security focus, the quality and quantity of Indian nuclear weapons systems and the manner of and preconditions for their use are its only concern. In their different calculi, each government also faces the task of gauging the enemy's intentions, to do which, with any certitude, is almost impossible. Pakistani perceptions of the supposed Indian animus are stark enough, but India has no such reciprocal fear. What has begun to preoccupy New Delhi are the imponderables attending on China's two-pronged nonlinear strategic policy of seeking increased trade and friendly exchanges (including an “annual strategic dialogue”), while (i) diverting the Brahmaputra River, (ii) massing troops on the Tibetan plateau, and (iii) pressuring the Indian military units stationed along the nearly 3,000-km-long-border, particularly opposite Tawang—the center of Tibetan Lama-ist tradition—which, if China were to possess, would enable Beijing to get a handle on the Tibetan “splittist” problem. For New Delhi, these concerns are hugely troubling. A separate concern is what China might next transfer by way of knowledge, materials, and expertise to its “all-weather friend” Pakistan: know-how for boosted fission weapons? thermonuclear weapons? If such transfers do take place, even the most cautious Indian government (of the Manmohan Singh variety) will be compelled to respond in tit-for-tat fashion and, as I have been advocating for some 15 years now, level the strategic playing field by nuclear missilearming Vietnam and other interested states that fear Chinese expansionism, which will roil the over-all strategic “correlation of forces” in Asia (Karnad 2005a; 2008, 30-31). As the third side of this triangle, China is keyed to dealing with the significant US forward military presence offshore on its eastern and southern flanks, and to keeping India offbalance but quiet—with promises of good relations that the Manmohan Singh government has swallowed whole but that successor governments might not—by selectively pressing the pressure points, not excluding the revival of aid and assistance to rebel movements in the Indian northeast (Mall 2011). In the circumstances, the governments of these countries find themselves reasonably assuming the worst of each other and building up so that they are not caught short in a strategic contingency.5 In this situation, it is futile to preach the merits of small nuclear forces as the US and west European governments have done, as the globally active US arms control and nonproliferation lobby have learnt to their dismay. Asian nuclear dynamics are not susceptible to outside influence and blandishments and have, in fact, now become an immutable part of Asia's reality. In the event, India, China, and Pakistan will build to whatever level each state believes will best protect and safeguard its national security interests. By substituting for actual conflict, arms races help stabilize bad situations—such as the one existing during the Cold War or that off and on afflicts IndiaPakistan relations and, to a lesser extent, India-China ties (for a mathematical validation of this proposition, viewed from an economic angle, see Shjak 1976). The only constraint is how much each country is willing and able to spend for how long on beefing up its nuclear forces—an investment that has an “opportunity cost” in terms of strengthening and modernizing the conventional military—and, in this regard, whether Pakistan can sustain an arms race for very long (Karnad 2005a, 563-564).
Pursuing the chimera of parity Double-digit growth rates ensure that India and China will not lack the financial resources for military build-up6 but the sheer paucity of resources handicaps Pakistan. Defense allocations in the fiscal year 2011/12 of PKR495 billion (approximately USD6 billion) indicate an increase of 12% over the previous year but, in absolute terms, comprise around a third less than Pakistan's annual debt servicing obligations of some USD700 billion. Coupled with a projected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 4.25% and an inflation rate of 12%, this amounts in real terms to a receding Pakistani defense budget (Imtiaz Ahmed, Hindustan Times, 4 June 2011). Compare this with the current year's USD37 billion Indian subvention for defense and rising, and the USD92 billion for similar purposes by China, to begin to understand both the extent of disparity and its inevitable impact. Indeed, this level of defense expenditure accounts for only 2.2% of the galloping Indian GDP, for instance. Worse, capital hardware acquisition costs annually rise by roughly 50 to 250%, depending on the equipment. For Pakistan, even armaments that are “gifted” by China, such as the 50 JF-17s or material obtained at cut-rate prices, suck up scarce resources in the shape of operating and maintenance costs—a fact that India has learnt from its long experience of running ex-Russian military hardware acquired at “friendship prices.” There is something else of which Islamabad has to be mindful. Supplying military hardware and nuclear materials and information is one matter. Becoming directly involved in shoring up Pakistan's military position vis-à-vis India is another altogether because it will have a bearing on not just India's tolerance threshold, but that of the US and the West—these China will not brashly cross. It is why China publicly declined to build and develop the Gwadar naval base even when implored to do so by the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (Nation, 6 June 2011).7 Thus, beyond a point, Pakistan cannot depend on China and the West for “rescue.” This realization would actually work to temper the bellicosity Pakistan affects with India, unless the Pakistan army means to sequester its national resources to indulge its conceit of nuclear parity with India. Moreover, considering that Pakistan invests very little in education and health, it finds that it has booby-trapped itself. The pauperization of its people has led to more families in urban and rural Pakistan consigning the futures of their children to the tender mercies of fundamentalist seminaries. These last are talent pools supplying masses of religiously motivated illiterates and semi-literates who constitute cannon fodder for the jihadi cause and fill the ranks of affiliates of the TTP. Mass-produced terrorists and suicide bombers, once believed by the ISI to be easily diverted to Kashmir, end up, as is happening now, attacking Pakistani society and fighting the army (Abbas 2011). Apparently, the Pakistani Chief of Army Staff, General Parvez Ashfaq Kayani, has belatedly recognized that the country is stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Why else would he urge the channeling of US military aid into “reducing the burden of the common man” (cited by Griff White in the Washington Post, 6 June 2011)? Talking up nuclear first-use In the circumstances, Pakistan's reliance on nuclear weapons to deter India is
understandable even if the resulting nuclear stance assumed by an impoverished country resembles, in Mao Zedong's words (September 1961), “a poor man or beggar [walking] out in a beautiful suit” (1998a, 365). The central pillar of this deterrence scheme is to talk up the credibility and imminence of their use in hostilities against India. But Pakistan may have succeeded only too well. It is, after all, the sort of thing that Western audiences are predisposed to hear because it reinforces their prejudiced views of Pakistan as an immature nuclear upstart. It motivates the US and west European governments, strategic enclaves, and powerful arms control lobbies to launch relentless campaigns to bring Pakistan, as also India, somehow into the nonproliferation net and to shackle their nuclear programs in the belief that nothing less will suffice to ensure regional and international peace. Doomsayers have not moderated their tune over the years despite their worst-case scenarios not panning out. South Asian nuclear ambitions are not that easily reined in. Neither the strictest adherence to the 1968 NonProliferation Treaty provisions nor the imposition of numerous capability denial regimes (the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty, Wassenar Agreement, Australia Group, Nuclear Suppliers Group, and Missile Technology Control Treaty) have quite worked. However, homegrown scaremongers among the local intelligentsia on both sides have joined their Western counterparts in stoking nuclear paranoia at home, owing to few among them understanding the characteristics of the India-Pakistan conflict and even fewer appreciating the nuclear dynamics at work. The fear is that New Delhi and Islamabad simply cannot be trusted to be cool in a military crisis and not stumble into doing the “unthinkable” (see Dunn, Lavoy, and Sagan 2000; Wirtz 2000). It is in the country's deterrence interests, believes the Pakistan army's Strategic Plans Division (SPD) in Chaklala—the nuclear secretariat of the Nuclear Command Authority in Pakistan—to make more of the possibility of a nuclear calamity in the offing than is actually warranted by reality. Erstwhile stalwarts—serving and retired—from the SPD arms control directorate (such as Brigadier Feroze Hassan Khan) are sent out to and are absorbed by Western strategic communities, where they paint word-pictures of a situation on the brink as a means of reinforcing the stereotyped view of Indians and Pakistanis pushing their supposedly hair-trigger nuclear situation over the edge. But how “hair-trigger” can the situation be if both countries keep their nuclear weapons safely in a disassembled state? It is, nevertheless, a line indefatigably pushed by US institutions (such as the unit at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory working on geopolitics and the Sandia corporation); a host of American and other think-tanks; and US officials, such as Peter R. Lavoy, responsible for South Asia—God help us!—on the US Intelligence Council.8 The SPD's calculation seemingly is that by raising the specter of imminent or even immanent nuclear war and rooting the idea of this impending catastrophe in Western minds, the US, UK, and other NATO states will be primed to intervene to “save” Pakistan in an actual nuclear crisis. What the Pakistani army, government, and people have to consider is whether and how much such a thesis hurts mainly Pakistan's credibility as a responsible nuclear weapon state and the prospect of legitimating its nuclear status and standing, particularly when juxtaposed against the prevailing view in international
circles of a perennially unstable Pakistan in the throes of social and religious chaos and emerging as both a full-blown “failed state” and “epicenter of global terrorism.” The Indian counterparts of the SPD-Chaklala party (or Chaklalus, for short) purvey the same “Kashmir flashpoint, Danger! Minimal deterrence” thesis as they circumambulate the international seminar circuit with ears cocked to whatever their mainly Western audiences want to hear. In these ranks are opinionated retired civil servants and long-inthe-tooth soldiers reaching for second careers as strategic analysts, liberal, left-leaning, jhola wallahs (as they were earlier called), denizens of local think-tanks—whose “research” is funded by Western foundation monies—and Indian academic types who have got on to the American arms control gravy train and mean to stay on board, and newer ones eager to ride on it. (Fortunately for India, many of the leading lights of this group have left for lucrative stints in Singapore at the cash-rich Rajaratnam School of International Relations at the National Technical University, even as some of them, unfortunately for the cause of clear, realistic, thinking on nuclear deterrence, have returned to muddy the waters.) The views of the latter invariably converge with those of the Chaklalus and of the usual nonproliferation-fixated US academics and think-tank analysts in the business of scaring uninformed audiences witless. After years of hearing the same old alarms, however, these audiences are becoming inured to blockbuster nuclear fright scenarios (witness how few international seminars and conferences deal with this topic any longer). But, to reiterate, the SPD is convinced that all this brouhaha helps their cause of drawing attention to their nuclear plight vis-à-vis India. In fact, Pakistan's tom-tomming of its program of nuclear weapons augmentation and the implied threat of use has had an unintended effect. Given its considerable stockpile of spent fuel/fissile material, the Indian government merely orders accelerated production of weapons/warheads to augment its weapons inventory in response to credible reports of Pakistan's nuclear buildup, and typically turns the subject around to the accessibility of Pakistani nuclear weapons to terrorist outfits and their vulnerability to terrorist action, highlighting the risk of the Pakistani program leaking fissionable material and expertise to the Al-Qaeda Taliban to fashion “dirty bombs” or radiation diffusion devices.9 This results in an up-tick in concerns being voiced in the US and Western policy about nuclear terrorism, ultimately in more pressure on the Pakistani army and government to contain the potential menace, and greater covert efforts by major countries to “map” Pakistan's nuclear weapons and facilities, perhaps as a prelude to preemptively grab and/or destroy them in a crisis (Farooq Hameed Khan in the Nation, 16 June 2011). The net effect of nuclear chest-thumping by Pakistan, in the event, is negative. There are three reasons for the Indian government's relaxed attitude to Pakistani provocations these days. The first is the quiet confidence that, no matter what Pakistan does by way of beefing up its nuclear production wherewithal, India has enough reprocessable spent fuel and weapon grade plutonium holdings to ratchet up the pace of weapons production. So far this action-reaction sequence has remained relatively slow and low-key. But should Islamabad force the pace, New Delhi will resignedly embark on a nuclear arms race that Pakistan will find impossible to catch up, let alone win. In this
regard, it must be borne in mind that, notwithstanding the limitations imposed by the 2006 US-India civilian nuclear deal, India has the 100-MW Dhruva dedicated militaryuse reactor plus eight natural uranium fueled 220-MW power reactors that can run at “low burn-up” to produce weapon-grade plutonium at will versus Pakistan's three or four plutonium-outputting reactors at Khushab, gifted and erected by China. The second factor is a better understanding in Indian official quarters of a fact that I have been stressing since well before the 1998 test: that the salience of nuclear weapons is somewhat tangential to the essentially limited nature of India-Pakistan conflicts, meaning that none of the classical deterrence notions of the Cold War really apply to the South Asian situation, primarily because, ultimately, the extant disparity will be mirrored in the “exchange ratio,” which is extremely unfavorable to Pakistan in an allout nuclear exchange (Karnad 2005b). Finally, the Indian National Technical Research Organization has built up its nuclear forensics data and capability to a point where it can identify any Pakistan-sourced fissile material that the ISI might leak to jihadi elements under its wings to detonate “dirty bombs” in Indian cities. Such a terrorist act will at once catapult the ensuing conflict into the nuclear realm, which Pakistan cannot afford to let happen (Karnad 2009). The nature of India-Pakistan wars In order to dissect Pakistan's stated nuclear first-use strategy, it is important to establish the sociocultural context in which India-Pakistan conflicts occur. To reprise the arguments I have made at length in my writings regarding the essentially constrained nature of India-Pakistan conflicts—which, curiously, Indian and Pakistani analysts/commentators are unwilling to acknowledge and Western experts are unable to refute, thereby ignoring, the more easily to purvey their unsupportable theories of India-Pakistan conflicts (Karnad 1996; 2002/2005, 564-572). These have been remarkably tame, controlled affairs, more “communal riots with tanks”—as the late Indian army Major General D. K. Palit observed with tongue firmly not in cheek—than real wars. Like riots, India-Pakistan “wars” are, firstly, restricted in geographic space: most of the action is localized to the desert and semi-arid tracts of the Thar fronting on Rajasthan and northern Gujarat where there is room for thrust and parry by armored and mechanized formations, and which space for maneuver is unavailable in the plains terrain of the Punjab (on either side) with ditch-cum-bund anti-tank defenses; the aerial bombardment of each other's cities is eschewed. Secondly, the action is limited in time: The longest slugfests, incidentally, were the first operations in Kashmir in 1947/48, which stretched to one and a half years. The 1971 war lasted all of 12 days, and the 1965 war ended in less than a fortnight with both sides, in the last case, coming perilously close to exhausting their ammunition and spare stocks—Pakistan had only a week's war materiel left and India ten days' worth by the time closure was applied. Thirdly, the intensity levels (“intense rates of fire”)—usually high at the start of hostilities—quickly petered out into desultory fighting, with both sides extra-careful to husband their scarce holdings of petroleum, oil, lubricants, ammunition, and spares. Finally, except in 1971—when the military opportunity was too inviting for India to ignore—all the extended skirmishing, which is what the vigorous to-
ing and fro-ing around the border by tanks and mechanized infantry in the IndiaPakistan “wars” have amounted to, eventuated in the usual impasse and, after the inevitable post-conflict confabulations, a return to status quo ante, i.e., a return to the territorial situation as existed prior to hostilities, which included the return by India after the 1965 war of the strategic Haji Pir salient in disputed Jammu & Kashmir, which international law had permitted India to keep. The unique nature of India-Pakistan wars exists because of the still strong organic links of religion, (classical and popular) culture, language, and ethnicity between the two societies and nations and, most importantly, owing to the kith and kinship ties that are continually renewed by communities and families (albeit to a lessening extent as time passes) across the social spectrum, keeping cross-border family ties intact and forging new links of marriage. While Pakistan, post-Zia-ul-Haq's rule, is more radicalized, these social links have not frayed (as is reflected in the fact that the first point on any bilateral “normalization” agenda is usually a mutual easing of visa regulations). Moreover, a politically conscious Muslim electorate in India that wields the swing vote in nearly half the Lok Sabha constituencies will patriotically countenance bloodying Pakistan's nose but may not as readily accept a “war of annihilation” against it, assuming that any Indian government would be fool enough to carry out a war that would end with an additional 180 million Muslims pickled in fundamentalist juices willy-nilly joining the Indian fold.10 A brief dissection of Pakistan's nuclear first-use strategy The most commonsensical view of nuclear weapons is that of Mao Zedong, circa September 1961. Nuclear weapons, he asserted, are “something to scare people [with], [but while producing them absorbs] a lot of money [they are] useless.” However, he added that “the more [of them] there are, the harder it will be for nuclear wars to break out” and further, that if a war were nevertheless to break out in a nuclearized milieu, “it [would] be a war of conventional weapons.” He thereby implicitly supported the notion that a nuclear arms race resulting in more weapons is a stabilizing factor because it will make it harder for nations indulging in conventional military skirmishing to cross the nuclear Rubicon. Mao then explained to the visiting Field Marshal Montgomery just why he did not care for nuclear weapons (and why most conventional militaries have not either). Unlike nuclear weapons, “if conventional weapons are used,” he said, “the arts of war, such as strategies and tactics, can be emphasized, and commanders can change plans to suit the situation.” In a nuclear war, in contrast, the Chinese Communist Party chairman rued, “it will be just a matter of pressing buttons, and the war will be over after a few presses” (Mao 1998a, 365). The Pakistani army, despite enjoying parity with the Indian army in deployable armored and mechanized forces is, apparently, not confident enough about its war-fighting capability or the qualities of its generalship, for it to consider initiating first use of nuclear weapons as soon as the situation begins to turn bad on the battlefield. In this regard, the testing and induction of the Hatf-9 (Nasr) 60-km-range nuclear war-headed SRBM has occasioned some euphoria in Pakistani circles. The Pakistani army now believes that this particular missile provides them the means of stanching a determined
Indian armored advance into their country. The strategy, seemingly, is for the Hatf-9 to be used first, in the full knowledge that India will respond, its declaratory stance of massive retaliation notwithstanding, with its own like missile, the nuclearized PrithviII, on similar Pakistani targets. With this exchange, the Pakistani military is convinced, hostilities will be brought to an abrupt halt by the big powers, unwilling to tolerate further escalation.11 Indian Track II advocates, such as Rear Admiral Raja Menon, incidentally, believe that a whole group of Hatf-9 missiles will enable Pakistan to prosecute a counterforce strategy. How a 60-km, mainly battlefield, missile can be considered a counterforce weapon is anybody's guess, unless what Menon and his ilk think of Pakistani counterforce is only in terms of advancing Indian tanks, armored personnel carriers, and infantry combat vehicles (Raja Menon and Lalit Mansingh in the Times of India, 20 June 2011). There are many weaknesses in the Pakistani strategy. It is wrongly assumed, for instance, that the Indian army's “Cold Start” strategy could, in fact, register the kind of advance by armored formations—the eight independent battle groups (IBGs) reconstituted from the three-strike corps—deep into Pakistani territory. This is to buy into the Indian army's brochures. The truth is that ”Cold Start” will permit the Indian armor to penetrate the same old Rahimyar Khan axis but only to a marginally greater extent than in conflicts past. Moreover, the extent of what will still be “shallow” penetration is sought mostly as a “bargaining chip” in post-war negotiations. The Indian armored advance is, moreover, unlikely to reach deep enough to threaten, say, the north-south Karachi-Peshawar lifeline—a credible “red line” that can be inferred from the otherwise opaque enunciation of the four tripwires by Lieutenant General Khalid Kidwai, director general of the SPD, some years ago. In any case, the IBGs have no great staying power to affect deep penetration, I have argued, in the main, because of the inherent limitations of the logistics load these formations can carry into battle, and the difficulty of firming up, sustaining, and safeguarding a vulnerable supply line stretching into Pakistan to fuel the advance (Karnad 2008, 115-119). For the purpose of analyzing Pakistan military's logic, however, let us assume that, whatever the depth of Indian ingress, the Pakistani army will hit the Indian units in the vanguard with the Hatf-9 in the expectation that it will have to absorb the loss of some of its forward units to an Indian counterstrike. The first thing to remember is that Pakistan's first use of a nuclear weapon will break an extremely strong taboo against such use that has held in the most trying circumstances post-Hiroshima and Nagasaki and is now accepted as an inviolable international norm (Quester 2005). Even China—that most brazen transgressor of international rules—has disavowed nuclear first-use. “How can an atom bomb be used irresponsibly?” asked Mao Zedong in October 1960. “That won't do. We can't use it irresponsibly… To use it irresponsibly means committing a crime” (1998b, 347). Besides, in the India-Pakistan context, it would be an unprecedented action and break the mould of contained India-Pakistan conflicts. Coming as it would in the wake of a conflict that, going by past record, Pakistan will have started12 or substantively provoked, it could be calamitous for Pakistan. While such use will be intended by Pakistan as first and only use, it could turn out to be the first
blow in an ostensibly limited nuclear war that is unlikely to remain limited for the simple reason that an Indian retributive strike in the circumstances will naturally go beyond the contours of “proportional” response and be manifestly punitive. China, the US, and other Western states that Pakistan might expect to step into the imbroglio at this stage may refuse to do so. If they do get involved, they might demand an immediate termination of hostilities but, equally, will deem the disproportionate and hard-hitting Indian punitive retaliatory strike(s) valid, reasonable, and maintainable under international law. The violator of the nuclear taboo will have to pay the price. The Pakistani army could, of course, shrug off international pressure to end the conflict and decide to call the intruding great powers' bluff and escalate—unleashing, in the process, spiraling strikes and counterstrikes. It will prove right the senior official who served in both the Nixon and Reagan administrations, when he likened limited nuclear war to limited pregnancy, saying “there's no such thing” (cited in Kull 1986, 120). Its great power patrons, after their futile good-faith attempt, will withdraw, leaving Pakistan to its condign fate. That is when the little matter of a seriously adverse exchange ratio will kick in. The loss of two or three Indian cities and economic “value targets” will not be recompense enough for the certain extinction of Pakistan.13 The critical question is: Will the Pakistani army place “national pride” above the nation's survival? Past record of pragmatic decisions suggests that the Pakistani army will not allow the situation to come to this pass. Conclusion As I have written elsewhere, Whatever one may think of the Pakistan army, it is a professional force driven by cold calculation. If it thinks it can get away with some outré action against India, it does not hesitate to prosecute it (think Kargil). Equally, it will do an about turn and sue for 'honorable peace' if some adventurist action misfires (recall Pervez Musharraf's prodding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to seek US intervention in the Kargil conflict, and his virtual mea culpa of 12 January 2002 after the 13 December attack on the Indian Parliament the previous year), in order to preempt a punitive Indian response and potentially uncontrollable escalation” (Karnad 2011). When the chips are down, the Pakistani army always makes the right decision and extricates itself from tight corners. Bluff, bluster, and belligerent posturing aside, the question of nuclear war between India and Pakistan does not arise.
Bharat Karnad is a professor of national security studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi. He has been a member of India's National Security Advisory Board, National Security Council, and Nuclear Doctrine Drafting Group.
Endnotes 1. Former Pakistani ambassador, Air Vice Marshal Shahzad Chaudhry writes that “dissension, chaos, and uncertainty,” which he believes have been endemic to Pakistan, are “anathema to a state; when that happens, the void engenders adventurism” (Daily Times, 20 June 2011). 2. Recently, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta made an unannounced trip to Islamabad to provide evidence of ISI links with the Taliban who the US is fighting in Afghanistan and on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas, and to warn the Pakistani army to cease and desist from such ties (Elizabeth Bumiller, New York Times, 11 June 2011). 3. Menon is a retired rear admiral, and Mansingh, a former foreign secretary. Both are participants in the officially sponsored Track-II talks. 4. The 18th Communist Party Congress in September 2011 is expected to feature clashes between various factions as the fifth generation leadership, under Xi Jiping, takes charge. The fear is that the deep differences in dealing with internal dissent and equitable development could mean a hard struggle between the neo-Maoist, Bo Xilai, party secretary from the Chongqing Municipality, and the Deng-ist moderate Wang Yang, party secretary from the prosperous Guangdong region. If the ultra-nationalists subsume the Maoist line, it could eventuate in aggressive policies in the neighborhood. 5. China has a fissile material stockpile equivalent of over 1,000 weapons/warheads. According to SIPRI, India and Pakistan are enlarging their fissile material stocks and machining weapons, with each country's arsenal attaining the 100 weapons/warheads threshold (Times of India, 8 June 2011). 6. Chairperson, Chiefs of Staff Committee, and the Indian Air Force Chief, Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik has called for India, as a would-be great power, to design, produce, and deploy intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. Rahul Singh (Hindustan Times, 11 June 2011) reports Naik to be in favor of “flexing missile power”—a development I have been urging for a long time (Karnad 2005a, 614-647; 2008, 79). 7. For the adverse Western reaction to such Chinese involvement that will enable China to interfere with Western oil shipping routes, see Peter Hartcher in the Sydney Morning Herald (24 May 2011). 8. Lavoy (1999) has talked of India and Pakistan not gaining in “international standing and prestige,” of “the risk of India-Pakistan conventional war seem[ing] higher than ever before, and India's relations with China hav[ing] deteriorated.” He has also ballyhooed the “risks of inadvertent or accidental use because [of] unsophisticated nuclear command and control systems and poorly defined nuclear doctrines.” In hindsight, every one of these conclusions and observations has been proved wrong, at least as regards India. 9. In a recent interaction with the press, the Indian defense minister, A. K. Antony, in part said: “We know Pakistan is strengthening its nuclear arsenal. We are also taking care [to build our arsenal]. We are not unduly worried by it because we are capable of meeting any threat… Our only worry about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is that there is always the danger of it going into the hands of militants and terrorists” (Times of India, 11 June 2011). 10. From my experience, this is a sensitive point with the Muslim intelligentsia in India and especially with Muslim officers in the Indian army, who think that raising such an issue is tantamount to questioning their loyalty and patriotism. 11. Pakistan's position on nuclear Hatf-9 first-use was gleaned from a discussion on the subject principally with defense and army adviser, Pakistan High Commission, Brigadier Sarfraz S. Chaudhri, and secondarily with the naval adviser, Pakistan High Commission, Captain Muhammad Saleem, at a recent dinner party in Delhi. 12. Former Pakistan Air Force Chief, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, and other well known Pakistanis, military and civilian, endorse the historical record that shows Pakistan as having initiated all the conflicts, ranging from Kashmir in 1947 to Kargil in 1999 (Sheikh Asad Rahman, Daily
Times, 14 June 2011). 13. In 1956, Paul Nitze, a senior staffer on the US National Security Council, wrote that, while nuclear war cannot be won, victory can be denoted by “a comparison of the post-war position of one of the adversaries with the post-war position of the other adversary. In this sense it is quite possible that in a general nuclear war one side or the other will 'win' decisively” (cited in Kull 1986, 83). References Abbas, Yaawar. 2011. Pakistan's H-bombs. India Today, 20 June. Dunn, Lewis A., Peter R. Lavoy, and Scott D. Sagan. 2000. Conclusion: Planning the unthinkable. In Planning the unthinkable: How new nuclear powers will use nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, ed. Peter R. Lavoy, Scott D. Sagan, and James J. Wirtz. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. Karnad, Bharat. 1996. Key to peace in South Asia: Fostering 'social links' between the armies of India and Pakistan. Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 338. ———. 2005a. Nuclear weapons and Indian security: The realist foundations of strategy. 2nd ed. New Delhi: Macmillan India. ———. 2005b. South Asia: The irrelevance of classical nuclear deterrence theory. India Review 4 (2): 173-213. ———. 2008. India's nuclear policy. Newport, RI: Praeger Security International. ———. 2009. Preempting and preventing nuclear terrorism. In Confronting terrorism, ed. Maroof Raza. New Delhi: Penguin-Viking India. ———. 2011. Rethinking Pakistan. Asian Age, 31 March. Kull, Steven. 1986. Minds of war: Nuclear reality and the inner conflicts of defense policymakers. New York: Basic Books. Lavoy, Peter. 1999. The costs of nuclear weapons in South Asia. In US foreign policy agenda. Washington, DC: United States Information Service. Mall, Jagdamba. 2011. Vulture's (sic) eye of China on northeast Bharat. Parts I and II. www.epao.net Mao, Zedong. 1998a. Nuclear weapons are to scare people, not to use (24 September 1961). In On diplomacy. Beijing: Foreign Language Press. ———. 1998b. Talk with Edgar Snow on Taiwan and other questions (22 October 1960). In On diplomacy. Beijing: Foreign Language Press. Quester, George. 2005. Nuclear first strike: Consequences of a broken taboo. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Roy, Bhaskar. 2011. Red song over China. www.southasianalysis.org/ papers46/paper4537.html Shjak, K. K. 1976. Competitive analysis of the arms race. Annals of Economic and Social Measurement 5 (3): 22-34. www.nber.org/booksaesm76-3 Wirtz, James J. 2000. Introduction. In Planning the unthinkable: How new nuclear powers will use nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, ed. Peter R. Lavoy, Scott D. Sagan, and James J. Wirtz. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Militarization and post-war Sri Lankan democracy Swarna Rajagopalan
n May 2009, the Sri Lankan army killed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader V. Prabhakaran and declared itself victorious in war. More than two years later, there are more questions than answers—about whether the conflict is over, about what happened in the final campaign, about the future of Sri Lankan Tamils, and indeed, of Sri Lanka itself. These questions have suddenly been brought into the spotlight again with the release of its report by the United Nations Secretary General's Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka (UN 2011), the upcoming release of Gordon Weiss's book, The Cage (2011), and with the BBC-Channel 4 documentary that was screened in early June 2011 (“Sri Lanka's killing fields”). All have reiterated what the University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR) (Jaffna) had reported in December 2009 (UTHR 2009a). The images and accounts of brutality they place before us make us ask, how do people do this to each other, and what cause is worth this cruelty? But perhaps most frightening and most useful is the question of recovery: of a people brutalized, of a society inured to cruelty, and a polity whose democratic underpinnings are more fragile than ever before. The final campaign is one part of the transformation Sri Lankan society has undergone. Chenoy (1998, 101) defines militarization as “the process that emphasizes the use of coercive structures and practices” and militarism as “the ideology that valorizes and glorifies such a reliance and practice.” Militarism is associated with the glorification and justification of war, but it extends well beyond the realm of interstate conflict. As militaristic thinking gains ground, consensus that force is an effective policy instrument (even within state boundaries) is easier to muster and there is growing support for military over political solutions (Jabri 1996, 98-99). While the state's monopoly over legitimate use of force places it at the centre of such a social transformation, civil society and the market sector are also inextricably involved—even complicit. Militarization has been a multilayered experience in Sri Lanka. The escalation of political differences to violent conflict, insurgency, the proliferation of arms, the securitization of daily life, terrorism, and military campaigns have ensured that, for at least two generations of Sri Lankans, everyday life is completely different from that of their parents and grandparents. To assess the impact of militarization on Sri Lanka's politics, one must take into consideration not just the impact of the Sri Lankan army's last campaign against the LTTE but also other events and changes over the last 40 years. In the grip of violent conflict It is important to note that the first violent uprising against the Sri Lankan state took place in 1971 in southern Sri Lanka. It was planned as a “one-day revolution” where the
Janata Vimukti Peramuna (JVP) cadres would attack police stations in retaliation against the arrest of Rohana Wijeweera. Miscommunication resulted in the government hearing of their plan and moving swiftly to brutally suppress the young insurgents. The 1971 JVP insurrection was a reaction to some of the consequences of the development strategies and social policies adopted by Sri Lanka in its early years that provided education without commensurate employment opportunities (see Jayawardena 1987; Fernando 1991). This insurrection, strategized by idealistic but inexperienced youth, was a very mild version of what was to follow in later decades. But, as the first major organized attack on the Sri Lankan state, it left a strong impression on the collective consciousness. Moreover, the violence of the state response also made a forceful impact. Discontent was common to both Sinhalese and Tamil youth, as were some factors: good social policies that had raised a generation of educated youth who were not, however, able to find jobs, partly as a function of language policy. For Tamils, the questions of citizenship and â€œstandardizationâ€? (an evaluation policy that tried to compensate for different levels of perceived privilege) compounded this. Two decades of political engagement in a pattern of petition, negotiation, accord; the subsequent failure of that accord exacerbated the alienation of Tamil youth. The 1972 constitution reinforced the perception that Tamils were lesser citizens of the island-state. In 1976, the Tamil United Front resolved to fight for an independent Eelam, while young people in Jaffna were being mobilized into various militant groups. The 1977 riots tipped the scales irrevocably towards violent conflict and, thereafter, Tamil militant groups fought the Sri Lankan state and each other viciously for almost three and a half decades. The 1983 anti-Tamil riots, which began in Colombo but spread beyond, took a large toll in lives and property, and many who were ambivalent began to support the separatist cause at this time. After 1983, it was not unusual to hear Tamils of all classes and political views state, each in their way, that the presence of the LTTE was all that stood between them and genocide by the forces of a Sri Lankan state identifying itself with the majority community. However, while the conflict between the Sri Lankan state and militant Tamil groups was centrestage, what took violence out of the battlefield and onto the streets, schoolyards, and stations was the fratricidal rivalry between Tamil groups on one hand and the JVP uprising in southern Sri Lanka on the other. In the 1980s, even as violence came to overshadow other forms of political exchange, moderate Tamil parties continued to be a part of mainstream Sri Lankan politics. There were still Tamil politicians working against the odds to contest elections, work on government committees, and lead public debate on reforms. But many of them did not survive those years. The LTTE weathered the early inter-group rivalries, and other survivors, like the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) chose to lay down arms after the 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. After this, the LTTE hit-list was populated not just by Sri Lankan and Indian officials, but also by other Tamil leaders. Tamil political leaders killed by the LTTE include Alfred Duraiyappa, Jaffna mayor (1975); Sri Sabaratnam and Uma Maheswaran from rival militant groups Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) in 1986 and 1989, respectively; Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leaders A. Amirthalingam and Neelan Thiruchelvam in 1989 and 1999, respectively; and
prominent Tamils associated with the ceasefire agreement and peace efforts, Lakshman Kadirgamar and Kethesh Loganathan in 2005 and 2006, respectively (South Asia Terrorism Portal). Between 1987 and 1989, the JVP was reincarnated in an ethno-nationalist mode, bringing forward its socialist, egalitarian leanings to combine with mobilization around a Sinhala Buddhist identity. India's interventions in the conflict, the signing of the IndoSri Lanka Peace Accord, and the stationing of the India Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) in northern Sri Lanka gave impetus to the JVP's mobilization. It accused the Sri Lankan government of leniency toward the Tamil militant groups and of compromising the island-state's sovereignty by allowing India a role in conflict resolution. Stockpiling arms through pilferage and raids, infiltrating the armed forces, and careful planning preceded JVP action this time, which took the form of street protests and assassinations, to be followed at some point (which did not materialize) by revolutionary action. Descriptions of the reign of terror unleashed by JVP cadres in the towns and campuses of southern Sri Lanka are gruesome, but government action against the cadres matched their brutality in capturing, interrogating, and eliminating cadres. President Premadasa's diplomatic maneuvers to manage his three foes, the IPKF, LTTE, and JVP, took an odd turn. Although a signatory to the presence of the IPKF, the Sri Lankan government worked with the LTTE to force an Indian withdrawal, and then turned to crush the southern insurrection. All his problems were political; all his solutions, military. Once the JVP was crushed and the IPKF left, debates about whether Sri Lanka was facing a civil war, an ethnic conflict, an ethnic problem, or something else, were perhaps, in hindsight, academic. The more dramatic usage of “First Eelam War, Second Eelam War” may, in fact, have better captured the highly charged, militarized situation, even in the absence of pitched battles. The almost 20 years between 1990, when the IPKF withdrew, and 2009, when Prabhakaran was killed, witnessed war, acts of terror, reform attempts, talks, and even a significant period under a ceasefire agreement (see also Gooneratne 2007 and Samuel 2010). Looking back now, it is as though the momentum of war was inexorable. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge's 1994 peace mandate was stillborn, and multiple peace and devolution packages remained debating points. Instead, sea attacks on the navy opened new fronts of battle instead and suicide attacks ratcheted the civilian and infrastructural costs of war. This is when I began visiting Sri Lanka as a researcher. The military, diplomatic, and political history of this period is just beginning to be written, but the impact of conflict was already evident in the casual, social conversations I was having in 1996. People were talking (usually to each other in my presence) about hit-lists and people shifting shelters every night; about the futility of planning long-term; about children asking questions about lifelong friends; and about times gone by—there was already a lot of nostalgia for easier times. Everywhere, there was grief and bereavement, and while I did not write about them in my dissertation, I carried with me. In 2000, as an international observer in the Sri Lankan parliamentary election, I heard
concern about increasing levels of election time violence. There were stories about Sri Lankan army soldiers fleeing the front with weapons; in flight from the army, unable to find work, they were mercenaries available to those with an interest in influencing outcomes in everyday political and social life. Remarkably, people still came out early and in large numbers to vote, in spite of violence and intimidation. The elections brought about a change of guard. In February 2002, the Sri Lankan government and LTTE signed a ceasefire agreement. The LTTE dropped its demand for a separate state and the government dropped its ban on the LTTE. It seemed as though things would return to normal, finally. This hope was laid to rest by the failure to work out cooperative processes even in the face of the 2004 tsunami that devastated Sri Lanka. This was surely a dipstick to their peacemaking potential in the broader context. Every round of talks ended in failure; if an agreement was reached, it was breached. The ceasefire bought both sides time to rearm, take stock, and strategize. For six years, the continuance of the ceasefire agreement did not stop suicide attacks, assassinations, or even outright military confrontations. When the government finally officially pulled out of the ceasefire agreement in January 2008, it is now clear that it did so determined to take the war to its logical conclusion. In this brief recap of increasing militarization in Sri Lanka since 1971, the grim picture is offset by two things. First, the widely admired basic-needs approach to development that Sri Lanka had originally put in place provided such a strong foundation that, for a long time, social indicators have remained decent—and still, far better than most other neighboring states. Second, commitment to constitutional democracy remained a political constant for both the political class and across the citizenry. Individual regimes and leaders may be criticized as autocratic, and the switchover to a French-style executive presidency certainly strengthened the executive over the legislature, but there was no abrogation of constitution. Sri Lankan civil society has been a vocal advocate of civic freedoms even in extremely tense times. The 2008/09 campaign against the LTTE The spotlight rests at this minute on how the campaign against the LTTE—the final war—unfolded, and all the recently published accounts show that war crimes were committed by both sides. The ceasefire was hardly a cessation or even a suspension of violent hostilities. It would appear that the final campaign 2008 took place in three stages. First, the army sought to re-establish government control over the key highway going north, A9. In time, key towns like Kilinochchi came under government control after many years. Second, the international media and NGOs were slowly forced out of the north and east, essentially leaving no eyewitnesses. The only accounts of the war soon were those released by the conflict parties. Assessments of the magnitude of the unfolding humanitarian crisis themselves became political exercises. Finally, demarcating a “no-fire zone,” the army encouraged people to move there, ostensibly in the name of removing them from harm's way. Combatants could then exchange fire without unnecessary civilian casualties. In the last days before the end of this military campaign, the no-fire zone was no larger than a couple of square kilometers. Stories about what people experienced at this time have been emerging steadily. The
UTHR, whose reports have played an important part in monitoring human rights violations throughout the conflict, described the condition of civilians in the conflict areas as early as October 2008 (UTHR 2008; see also UTHR 2009a, 2009b). The report asks bluntly: “How many corpses to a political settlement?” It documents stories of soldiers who thought they were going to Badulla being shipped to the front; of the wounded abandoned along the battlefront, but hidden from the sight of new batches of soldiers; parents of conscripted child soldiers who did not leave for fear of persecution in government camps; and of assassinated community leaders. The report also points to the increasingly frequent reports of sexual violence by “paramilitary groups working with the Security Forces,” commenting that “there was fear under the LTTE, but now there is terror, violence and extreme uncertainty under the much travestied label of democracy.” About six months after war's end, the UTHR compiled a special report drawing on eyewitness accounts. The executive summary was clear: What these survivors' stories make clear is that for both parties, the key to military dominance lay not in brilliant strategies, but in an utter disregard for the lives of civilians and combatants alike, driven by their leaders' single-minded pursuit of political power (UTHR 2009a). The report also commented that, Both sides treated truth as an enemy. Outsiders who could bear witness to these events were kept out or silenced; dissent on either side was crushed; the poor and powerless were treated as cannon fodder and in the case of Tamil civilians, ultimately locked up to prevent them from revealing what they had experienced (UTHR 2009, 1). The mandate of the UN Secretary General's Expert Panel was not, in fact, to investigate war crimes; it was to assess how compliant the Government of Sri Lanka was with international accountability norms and to assess how the UN could engage with Sri Lanka on this score. In the course of its work, it found to be credible several of the allegations that both the government and LTTE had violated international humanitarian law and human rights. Five categories of allegations made against the Sri Lankan government were found credible by the UN Panel: (i) carrying out widespread shelling that caused civilian deaths; (ii) shelling hospitals and humanitarian facilities; (iii) denying humanitarian aid; (iv) violating the human rights of conflict victims and survivors, including internally displaced persons and suspected LTTE cadres; and (v) violating the human rights of people outside the conflict zone, including media and civil society members. The LTTE is held accountable on six allegations: (i) using civilians as a human buffer against army fire; (ii) killing civilians who were trying to leave LTTEcontrolled areas; (iii) using military equipment around civilians; (iv) forcibly recruiting child soldiers; (v) forced labor; and (vi) carrying out suicide attacks on civilian groups (UN 2011, 115). There are two clear inferences to be drawn from accounts of the last campaign. First, the army was seeking unfettered space to carry out its actions and, therefore, it was inevitable that it should seek to control news flows. To this end, international aid
workers were urged to leave the northeast and media access was restricted. The LTTE had always sought to control the flow of information through its press corps. Second, both sides violated humanitarian and human rights law with impunity, but governments, as parties to international norms, have more to answer for. While there are indeed stories of Sri Lankan soldiers helping fleeing Tamils cross over, there are also stories of torture and sexual violence that cannot be ignored. Militarization fosters such a culture of impunity—all is fair in war and no one will ask questions—that is inimical to democracy or justice. At war's end Groundviews (2010) reported V. V. Ganeshananthan as saying: “We find the word condolences stunning in its insufficiency for past and future.” President Rajapaksa's Parliament speech offered a first glimpse of the future. On 18 May 2009, LTTE leader V. Prabhakaran was killed by the Sri Lankan army. On 19 May, President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the Sri Lankan parliament. The Sri Lankan army (and, by extension, state) had won the war and the LTTE had lost it. President Rajapaksa reminded the parliament that, For almost three decades the laws enacted by this legislature were not in force in almost one-third of our land. When I won the Presidential Election in 2005 there were LTTE police stations in the North and East. There were Tiger courts. What was missing was only a Tiger parliament. Today we have finished all that forever (His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa 2009). But what about the Tamils? He began by telling Tamils (in Tamil), This is our country. This is our motherland. We should live in this country as children of one mother. No differences of race, caste and religion should prevail here. Over the last thirty years, the LTTE has killed many people Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslims - many have been killed. The war against the LTTE is not a war against Tamil people. Our aim was to liberate our Tamil people from the clutches of the LTTE. Our heroic forces have sacrificed their lives to protect Tamil civilians. The victory we have gained by defeating LTTE is the victory of this nation, and the victory of all people living in this country. Protecting the Tamil speaking people of this country is my responsibility (His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa 2009). The post-war world of Tamils is framed by three realities: defeat, depleted numbers, and decimated leadership. No matter where they stood on the political spectrum, and even if they were apolitical, on 19 May 2009, Tamils belonged to the community that had lost the war—a war that was at least begun in their names. Over four decades of ethnic conflict, thousands of Tamils have left the north and east or even Sri Lanka. In the decades since their flight, a new generation of Sri Lankan Tamils has grown up outside the island, and whether they can and will return remain to be seen. Thousands have been
killed, many who survive have to cope with disability or psychological damage, and many of these include former child soldiers. Finally, as a result of fratricidal rivalry and the defeat of the LTTE in May 2011, it was hard to anticipate from where the political leadership of the Tamils in Sri Lanka would emerge (DeSilva-Ranasinghe 2010). To the already displaced, disheartened Tamil population, President Rajapaksa offered a narrative of gracious rescue and deliverance. In his speech, the president placed the actions of the state in the context of Mahawamsa accounts of island history while a listing of LTTE atrocities obfuscated the politics of ethnic conflict altogether. Indeed, he placed blame squarely on the LTTE for all of the problems faced by Sri Lankan Tamils: The Tamil people who have a great history are today in a tragic and helpless state due to the terrorists of the LTTE. When did it ever happen in the history of the Tamil people that parents forced their young daughters to get pregnant to save them from being dragged into war? Who was it that brought Tamil children who are protected by the Goddess Pattini to this fate? Who was it that abandoned in tents the Tamil people who worshipped the Deity Ganesh at Kataragama, and cared for their health with the antiseptic qualities of saffron water and margosa leaves (His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa 2009)? The LTTE was held responsible for the plight of the Tamils, a peace-loving, devout people, close to nature, and the Sri Lankan army had selflessly rescued them and vanquished their common enemy. As a prelude to talking about the future, the president stated, We are a country with unique precedents. According to the tradition established by kings such as Dutugemunu, we should respect even the enemy that has surrendered or been killed in combat (His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa 2009). The use of the word â€œenemyâ€? demonstrates the attitude with which the Sri Lankan army approached the last campaign, but it also reinforces concerns about the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka: We have removed the word minorities from our vocabulary three years ago. No longer are the Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays and any others minorities. There are only two peoples in this country. One is the people that love this country. The other comprises the small groups that have no love for the land of their birth. Those who do not love the country are now a lesser group (His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa 2009). Unprecedented infrastructural development was taking place in the north and east; Sri Lanka would take care of post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation with no need for advice from the outside, the president asserted. As for a political solution:
It is necessary that we give to these people the freedoms that are the right of people in all other parts of our country [italics added]. Similarly, it is necessary that the political solutions they need should be brought closer to them faster than any country or government in the world would bring. However, it cannot be an imported solution. We do not have the time to be experimenting with the solutions suggested by other countries. Therefore, it is necessary that we find a solution that is our very own, of our own nation. It should be a solution acceptable to all sections of the people (His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa 2009). The use of “these people,” once more raises the concerns flagged by use of “the enemy.” All in all, the tone of President Rajapaksa's speech was triumphant and assertive, not just of the autonomy of the Sri Lankan government to solve its problems, but also of a “now you see it, now you don't” line between Tamils and other Sri Lankans, that could appear when isolation was called for and disappear when assimilation was required. Prospects for democracy in post-war Sri Lanka In a world where democracy is a disposable political value, one of the most remarkable things about Sri Lanka has been the consistent commitment to democracy. Politicians have held and called for elections. Civil society has resisted rights violations and monitored elections. People show up to vote in large numbers. No system works perfectly, but the depth of Sri Lankan commitment to democracy as a political system has been consistent even in the face of such a long drawn-out conflict. At the end of the war, several factors point to the erosion of this bedrock. 1.
The universal disregard for human rights and humanitarian principles in the final campaign of the war militates against a climate conducive to democracy. When freedoms are restricted in a highly securitized climate, there is reluctance to restore them.
With all the confidence of the winner, the Sri Lankan government has approached post-war resettlement and the search for a political solution, intending to set terms rather than have a dialogue. The limitations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission's (LLRC) mandate leave alone the complaints about its working, are especially frustrating given the large body of evidence and testimony available in the public domain (see Groundviews). The LLRC seems to offer its own evidence that the government does not intend to investigate or prosecute the gross violations of human rights that took place in the final campaign. On the LTTE side, much of the leadership has been killed or co-opted, and suspected and surrendered combatants are mostly still in detention.
In any case, it is still not clear who can legitimately speak for the Tamil community, and mainstream national parties do not have a good record of
taking their concerns into accountâ€”that, after all, was the source of the problem. 4.
Either as a war legacy or as a function of the leadership's own political style and ambitions, tolerance for dissent is at an all-time low. Abduction and assassination of journalists and civil society members is commonly discussed, in hushed tones that are new. The killing of Lasantha Wickremasinghe, the editor of the Sunday Leader, is the most high-profile of these occurrences. The court martial and incarceration of General Sarath Fonseka, who led the final campaign, is another instance that dissent and rivalry are now intolerable; the general's own presidential ambitions got him in trouble.
With the 18th Amendment to the 1978 Sri Lankan constitution last year, three key changes were implemented that strengthened the already-powerful French-style presidency: a removal of term limits, a parliamentary council to approve appointments, and a weakened election commission.
The power center is dominated by one family. While dynasties are not new to Sri Lanka, the combination of nepotism and authoritarian tendencies spells trouble for democracy.
It may not be easy to predict the future of Sri Lankan democracy at this stage, but we can identify some parameters that will make a positive difference to its survival prospects. Truth, justice, and reconciliation The world is listening to and talking about the sickening stories of war crimes and wanton shelling that are emerging from survivors of the last campaign. However, unlike the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, the LLRC is only required â€œto inquire and report on the following matters that may have taken place during the period between 21st February 2002 and 19th May 2009.â€? This includes: finding out how and why the CFA collapsed, and who was responsible; finding out what happened thereafter; identifying ways to make restitution to those affected and recommending institutional arrangements for restitution and reconciliation. The LLRC's methodology is to listen to anyone who wishes to share their views, but instances when they have turned away testimonials for shortage of time have been reported. The LLRC's limited mandate raises important questions about the centrality of truth to post-conflict peace building; about impunity and amnesty; about justice and reconciliation. Although these are large debates and outside the scope of this short essay, suffice it to say that government accountability is a pillar of democracy. This includes routine administrative matters but most definitely the actions and policies of the last four decades and the final campaign. Knowing what happened (what happened to people and by what authority they happened) is a right recognized by the writ jurisdiction of the Sri Lankan courts, even in the absence of a right-to-information law. It is equally important to know from example that those responsible for crimes against humanity are also bound by law. Thus, questions about truth, justice, and reconciliation are not at all extraneous to the prospects of democracy.
The question of Tamil citizenship Sri Lankan Tamils may be citizens under the law, but true post-war citizenship will follow from three circumstances. 1.
There can be no citizenship amid ruins and camps. Being able to return and rebuild their homes, in communities that are being reconstructed and with public participation, is one prerequisite. Being settled in a community also means being able to vote from there and participating in its social and political life.
It is important that there be investigations into what happened and who was responsible, as well as some transparent discussion on impunity and amnesty. Social capital—trust between the government and Tamils, between communities on the island—is important to democratic politics, and it can only be built on honesty about the war.
A new Tamil leadership must and will emerge, but they must be leaders who speak for their people, without defining the latter by identity or regional politics alone. Participatory redevelopment projects and local government institutions will be the breeding ground for this sort of leadership.
On their part, the citizenship of Tamils will not be served by nostalgia for the Tigers or by diaspora-driven revivalism. Tamils should not forget that the LTTE was also utterly callous in its treatment of its primary constituency. Two generations have been lost and many remain lost—without homes, education, family, or livelihood—as a result of this war. At this point, it is easier to enumerate Tamil losses in this war than any gains, even apart from life, community, and property. Their pre-independence status as the island's best educated and most prosperous community has been irrevocably lost; their institutions and libraries were all destroyed in the war. The infrastructure of the north and east need to be rebuilt. Their political leaders have died—some at the hand of other Tamils, some at the hands of the army. Death and flight have reduced them in absolute numbers, and it appears that relocation and resettlement are going to cause demographic changes in the north and east. They may have a much reduced majority—ergo, reduced representation—in what were Tamil-majority areas at the start of the conflict. It is in Tamil interests to focus on rebuilding their homes and their communities, and to focus on political activism to further that interest. This includes renewed political education and activism around the issues around which the conflict began, but with a new look at the new global context—of values, ideas, technology, and opportunity—and without violence. Citizenship is also a choice, and one that Tamils would be smart to embrace proactively. Dialogue for a political solution “Why did Tamils fail to communicate their concerns to the rest of Sri Lanka over such a long period?” This was a rhetorical question posed by a Sri Lankan individual during my
recent visit to Sri Lanka. The failure to communicate, in spite of many localized efforts to facilitate people-to-people dialogue, was one of the reasons this conflict took the turn it did. The war against the LTTE is over, but it is far from clear that the conflict is over. The president's May 2011 speech, too, points to the idea that a political solution is pending. That solution cannot be imposed by a triumphant government on people at large. At this time, it is not clear who represents the Tamil people or that, scattered across the island, rebuilding their lives, anyone can actually claim to understand and articulate their interests in a negotiating forum. In fact, experience suggests that narrowly defined talks between self-selected representatives will not go anywhereâ€”they did not, throughout the 1990s and 2000s. This, then, is an opportune moment for public education and dialogue which could take the form of town-hall meetings, film discussions or otherwise, bringing together people with different experiences to speak from their perspective on the events of the last half-century. Civil society organizations, the media and educational institutions are best placed to do this sort of work, but their ability to do so creatively and effectively depend on the regime's willingness to hear critique and tolerate dissent. The fear of reprisals silences the public and dialogue with self-censorship is pointless. A political solution is not possible without free dialogue and sharing, and that is not possible without civic and political freedoms. Civil rights and political freedom This is the most tangible parameter for facilitating democracy: lift the regime's emergency power; roll back constitutional amendments and laws that concentrate power in a few hands; ensure press freedoms; stop the â€œwhite vanâ€? abductions, and allow civil society the space to work and speak freely. This is also the parameter that invites the greatest pessimism, because it depends entirely on the will of the regime to create facilitating conditions for democracy. Recent developments do not inspire confidence. There are still individuals and organizations in Sri Lanka trying to keep freedom alive by speaking out bravely. While one might have faith in their commitment to democracy and in the resilience of the democracy habit, one can hardly urge other people to take risks in this struggle without backing them. This backing cannot come from other states, but it must come from global civil society, which must monitor and stay informed of Sri Lankan events. After all, in this day and age, we are all surely as invested in Sri Lanka remaining democratic as Sri Lankans are. Dr Swarna Rajagopalan is a political analyst and social entrepreneur based in Chennai, and founding trustee of the Prajnya Trust, which carries out policy research, advocacy, and networking in the areas of peace, justice, and security. References Chenoy, Anuradha. 1998. Militarization, conflict, and women in South Asia. In The Women and War Reader, ed. Lois Ann Lorenzen and Jennifer Turpin. New York: New York University Press.
DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Sergei. 2010. Jaffna and the north of Sri Lanka today: Post-war realities, challenges and opportunities (An interview with Dr Muttukrishna Sarvananthan). http://groundviews.org/2010/11/10/jaffna-and-the-north-of-sri-lanka-today-post-warrealities-challenges-and-opportunities/ Fernando, J. Basil. 1991. Modernization vs. militarization: Ethnic conflict and labor in Sri Lanka. Hong Kong: Asia Monitor Resource Centre. Ganeshananthan, V.V. 2010. We regret to inform you that your condolences cannot be accepted at this time. http://groundviews.org/2010/05/20/we-regret-to-inform-you-that-yourcondolences-cannot-be-accepted-at-this-time/ Gooneratne, John. 2007. Negotiating with the Tigers (LTTE) (2002-2005). Colombo: Stamford Lake. Groundviews. LLRC media coverage and submissions. http://groundviews.org/llrc-mediacoverage-and-submissions/ His Excellency The President Mahinda Rajapaksa. 2009. Address by HE President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the ceremonial opening of Parliament, Sri Jayawardhanapura-Kotte. http://www.president.gov.lk/speech_New.php?Id=74 Jabri, Vivienne. 1996. Discourses on violence. Manchester: University of Manchester Press. Jayawardena, Kumari. 1987. The national question and the Left movement in Sri Lanka. In Facets of ethnicity in Sri Lanka, ed. Charles Abeysekara and Newton Gunasinghe. Social Scientists Association. Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee, Sri Lanka. Home page. http://www.llrc.lk/index.php. Samuel, Kumudini. 2010. The centrality of gender in securing peace: The case of Sri Lanka. New Delhi. South Asia Terrorism Portal. Prominent political leaders assassinated by the LTTE. http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/shrilanka/database/leaders_assassinated_byLT TE.htm United Nations. 2011. Report of the Secretary General's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka. New York: UN. http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus /Sri_Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf University Teachers for Human Rights (UTHR). 2009a. Let them speak: Truth about Sri Lanka's victims of war. Special Report No. 34. http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports /Special%20rep34/Special_Report_34%20Full.pdf ———. 2008. Pawns of an un-heroic war. Special Report No. 31. http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport31.htm ———. 2009b. A marred victory and a defeat pregnant with foreboding. Special Report No. 32. http://www.uthr.org/SpecialReports/spreport32.htm
Military intervention in Bangladeshi politics Shahedul Anam Khan
ilitary interventions in under developed and developing countries are neither new nor isolated phenomena. Since the process of decolonization was set in motion, the departing colonial powers created a vacuum that, supposedly, only a well-trained and dedicated establishment could fill. And the military in certain cases seemed to fit the bill very well. In many countries in Africa and Asia the natural consequence of the flux caused by the gap was military intervention (Ghoshal 2009, 65, 67â€“68). This was not seen as offensive to the ideas of democratic values, instead the military came to be recognized as the savior of the people (Pattanaik 2008, 976). Weak politics and even weaker political leadership paved the way for easy military takeover. The effect of regular military takeover in Bangladesh has been so significant, not only on its political culture but also on the psyche of scholars and commentators, that it has come to be recognized as one of three major characteristics of Bangladeshi politics (Moniruzzamn 1994, viii). The most recent military intervention in Bangladesh, indirect in this instance, occurred in January 2007. The caretaker government (CTG), whose charge President Iajuddin Ahmed had arrogated to himself, was dissolved by President Ahmed himself, and another CTG was installed with Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed as its head. This was in stark contrast to, and departure from, what the country had seen since 1996 when the caretaker system was introduced through the 13th Amendment to the Constitution to meet the demands of the opposition that elections be held under a neutral set up. The new innovation underlined the deep mutual distrust between the political parties. This was not the first time that the military, which in Bangladesh is dominated entirely by the army, had sought to influence the political process in the country. The first was through a bloody episode1 in August 1975, in which the Father of the Nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was killed along with his entire family, save his two daughters, by a small group of officers and soldiers under their command. The rest of the military fell in line, either preferring discretion to valor, or choosing to look the other way, along with the public, thus indirectly acquiescing to the bloody changeover (Khan 2004, 5). The reasons continue to be the cause of political debate in the country with no satisfactory conclusions. The next instance was a bloodless takeover by General H. M. Ershad who lasted ten years, and in the process managed to outwit the political parties till people's power forced his exit. But it was after more than fifteen years of the military's hiatus from
politics that it once again took upon itself, on 11 January 2007, the responsibility of ordering the course of the country's political developments and writing its political narrative. It assumed the role of arbiter of political disputes. There is difference of opinion, however, as to whether the situation in January 2007 was imposed on the armed forces by the evolving political situation. Whether the inter-party violence that had taken many lives following the assumption of the caretaker government of President Iajuddin Ahmed in October 2006, and which had the potential of a severe crisis leading to further bloodshed if not addressed immediately, that compelled the army chief, General Moyeen U Ahmed, to prevail upon the president to replace the CTG that he headed, and go for an entirely new dispensation hitherto unknown to Bangladesh. Or whether there were other factors, including extraneous ones that compelled the army to act as it did. Be that as it may, there was, nevertheless, a new dispensation that continued longer than the three months stipulated by the constitution, and which conducted the election in December 2008 where the Bangladesh Awami League (AL) returned to power with an overwhelming majority. The rest is history. To answer these, and host of issues related to the influence of the military in Bangladesh politics, and the prospect of future military interventions, one must look at the following: the history of military interventions in the country; the roots of the military and the military psyche that informs the minds of the military leaders in Bangladesh; the state of politics of past and present and; the power equation between the political authority and the military that has influenced political developments in Bangladesh. It is also essential to see how much has the psyche of the Bangladesh military been shaped by the state of civil-military relation in the country. The burden of the paper, therefore, is to put spotlight on the history of military involvement in Bangladesh politics with a bit of a crystal-ball-gazing into how the armed forces in Bangladesh might behave given the constant volatility that characterizes the country's politics with its potential to take the country to the precipice. The socio-political scenario The internal contradictions Bangladesh was already a nation before it gained statehood. Some aver that the birth of Bangladesh was the mutation of an ethnic unit, which was on the verge of attaining nationhood in the 16th century, to a state in 1971 (cited in Mohsin 1992, 59). But regrettably, we are still to congeal as a state. The internal contradictions and the cleavages at various planes belie the fact that at birth Bangladesh was one of the most homogenous states. The hiatus have widened with every passing day, mainly due to the ineptness of the political leadership in working towards transforming the nation into a single wholesome entity. In fact, if anything, the divide has been exploited for political gains. The secular versus non-secular debate occupies the time of the scholars, politicians and civil society alike. Bangladesh had shed the secular character of its constitution by making Islam the state religion. This was perhaps compelled by, as one scholar puts it,
“two themes most important to hearts of Bangladeshi's – an assertion of the distinctiveness and the fear of domination” that necessitated the expression of the ideological dimension of its nationalism (cited in Mohsin 1992, 63). But whether merely enunciating principles like secularism in a country's constitution makes it really so is a matter of debate too. There are examples where a concept has not found resonance with the majority and, in spite of what the constitution lays down, in a democratic dispensation, secularism may lose out to majoritarianism—Gujarat is a case in point. Not unexpectedly, the issue has spilled over to the political plane too where parties are now influenced by the conflict between the secular and the non-secular debate. This, many feel, will be the single most conflictive factor in defining the future character of the state of Bangladesh. The political situation, with the two leading parties enmeshed in a confrontational mode over the last fifteen years of democratic regime, had allowed the religious parties a political space. In future elections, whether or not they will be able to strengthen their foothold to a position where they might not need the support of any of the major parties to strut them up politically is yet to be seen. Religion, unfortunately, has been exploited by both the major parties for political gains. The 4-Party Alliance was a coalition led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP); its other constituents were the religious and right-of-centre parties like the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami. The AL, the so-called protagonist of secularism, had no qualms either in going for joint political programs against the BNP during 1991–1996, particularly during the movement for a caretaker system, by joining hands with the Jamaat-e-Islami. Currently, a very interesting debate is going on in the country regarding whether and how to reinstate secularism in the constitution. President Khaleda Zia through the 5th Amendment to the Constitution dropped secularism, a guiding principle of the 1972 Constitution. The Supreme Court has recently declared the amendment illegal. The government is also not quite sure whether to drop “Bismaillahir Rahmanir Rahim” as preamble to the constitution, one that was added by President Ershad through the 8th Amendment. This amendment too has been made void by a Supreme Court ruling in April 2011. The Reform Committee has placed its suggestion to the parliament recommending retention of “Bismillah.” However, this was not a unanimous decision. Democracy in disarray The path of democracy in Bangladesh has been very uneven. Even now it survives but rather tenuously. It stumbled from the very start. The very democratic rights, for which the Bengalis fought the Pakistani establishment, were trampled with the formation of one-party rule in January 1975 in the form of Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL). Ironically it was a democratically elected parliament that voted into law the 4th Amendment in January 1975. The brief BAKSAL period, that witnessed the abrogation of democratic values, including the guillotining of the media, ended on 15 August 1975.2 The formation of a one-party system, with Mujib assuming lifelong presidency, did not have the support of all the AL
parliamentarians (E. Ahmed 2004), and certainly did not sit well with the public or the military. And that, perhaps, was also the start of non-pluralistic order with brief intermissions of quasi-democratic regimes. The military interventions and pseudo-democratic rule from 1975 till 1991 had all but destroyed the country's political institutions. But what is even more regrettable is the way the two major parties, the Awami League (AL) and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), that were alternately in power since 1991, chose to conduct politics and practice democracy. The period since January 1991, when democracy was revived, has been marked by mutual hostility and confrontational politics that had at one time made the prospect of direct military intervention in January 2007 very real indeed. Nevertheless, the volatile situation paved the way for the army to indirectly intervene and bring about a caretaker government that lasted for almost two years. However, as things turned out, it was the armed forces that called the shots and pulled the strings from behind, with Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed merely acting as an instrument to implement the military's policies. The situation in the interregnum between January 2007 and December 2008 was exacerbated by the CTG's plans, under the diktats of the military, to have the two major parties, the AL and BNP, get rid of Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia from politics. And the desire of the military, expressed through the CTG, for reform within the political parties divided the political parties down the centre between the reformists and non-reformists (Shahedul Anam Khan in the Daily Star, 21 June 2007). Interestingly, this did not affect the religious parties at all. And contrary to what some political observers felt, that the flux did not help the religious parties, which had been left unscathed by the turmoil, to fill the gap (cited in Shariar 2007).3 The mutual hostility continues between the parties even today. The opposition continues to boycott the parliament. There is a whole range of issues that portends an unstable political scenario in the near future. If this situation prevails it may create grounds for a repetition of 1/11. Presently, the country is encumbered with the question of how the next parliamentary election is going to be held. And this is the focus of political discussions in the country and the reasons for political unrest. The BNP, which had opposed the idea of holding elections under a CTG, has now rejected out of hand the suggestion of election being held under any other arrangement but a caretaker system. Although the AL is sending out mixed signals, the prime minister, while ruling out the idea of continuing with the caretaker system totally, citing legal compulsions, has been suggesting that her party is still open to dialogue and would like the BNP to suggest alternatives as to how the next election can be held under a non-party dispensation. However, even to a layperson it is quite clear where the AL's preference lies. Having moved heaven and earth in between 1994â€“96 for a caretaker system for conducting the parliamentary election it would be quite happy to see the end of it (Shahedul Anam Khan in the Daily Star, 19 May 2011). The BNP had called a general strike on two different
occasions in June 2011 on this count. Many senior leaders of the ruling AL have acknowledged the deleterious consequences of the prevailing situation. Many of them are convinced it is not the army alone who should be faulted for 1/11.4 Even the speaker of the parliament, Abdul Hamid, had been constrained to suggest that unless the political parties put their acts together there might well be a repeat of 1/11. To quote him, "Were they [army] alone responsible for the 1/11 incident? I think the then ruling party, the opposition and other political parties were also partly responsible for that. The 'intolerant behavior' [sic] of the political parties allowed a military-backed government to capture on Jan 11, 2007” (bdnews24.com, 21 May 2011) The Bangladesh military—past and present For greater part since the country's independence up to 1991, the country had been run by the military under martial law or through a pseudo democratic dispensation, where democracy was at best an illusion. It was as if the Bangladesh military was mirrorimaging the Pakistan army whose record of military coups and counter coups have been superseded by quite a long shot by the Bangladesh army. The major difference has been that the ten year cycle of military and civilian rule, led by the army in Pakistan, was less violent while assuming power, In Bangladesh, however, the army killed two presidents and the country endured and indeed survived several dozen smaller upheavals and attempted coups, till things started to settle down from the early 1980s. It is this phenomenon that leads one to wonder why an army, that was born out of a bloody war of liberation, and indeed had led the initial resistance against the Pakistan Army alongside the common people, without much political direction, had developed a craving for power. For this one must look into the history of the Bangladesh armed forces, the psyche that made it react in the way it did from time to time, and indeed the internal flux that has modulated its behavior. An old military in a new state Contrary to what Finer asserted that the first thing a new nation creates is national army, the birth and evolution of Bangladesh army did not follow that definite path (cited in Ahmed 1998, 7). In the case of Bangladesh, not only was there a national army with a fairly well trained core group, and a battle hardy component at its birth, the military had also participated and managed the military aspect of the nine-month-long war of liberation very competently. Bangladesh military has a unique history. Unique in the way it was formed out of the bloody liberation war. But its history goes beyond 1971. Having been a part of the Pakistan military, which in turn was created out of the British Indian and the Indian military, the officer corps of the Bangladesh military, particularly the army, as it existed on 26 March 1971, was trained and reared in the same colonial mindset of the British days; an elitist entity quite detached, in body and mind, from the people with the “sacred” duty to defend the soil of Pakistan. During the time between 1947 and March 1971, it was the land and not so much the people that were given preference by the military. In that vein the democratic rights of the people and their choice of government
were crushed by the army, thrice in 20 years of its history, in 1958, 1969 and 1971. In 1971, the Pakistan army refused to hand over power to the majority party and, eventually, the situation precipitated to a genocidal level, with the Pakistan army indulging in rapacious attacks on the unarmed Bengalis. As a result, the Bengali component of the Pakistan military, particularly those that were stationed in the then East Pakistan, chose the side of their people. They revolted and joined hands with the people in organizing the initial resistance against the Pakistan Army. These elements formed the core of what was to emerge as the Mukti Bahini or the Bangladesh Liberation Force (BLF). The major component of the Mukti Bahini was made up of disparate groups with divergent social and political makeup (Codron 2007). But broadly speaking, what the country inherited was a, “Colonial army transformed into a nationalist army, a revolutionary and freedom fighters army” (Hossain 1991, 47). This, too a large extent, influenced the vision of the military about the country's politics. Following the end of the war it was decided that a national militia would be set up which would absorb all the freedom fighters. The plan stemmed from the idea that there would be no standing army and everyone, including the regular forces, would be subsumed in the national militia. The idea was discarded by Mujib on his return from Pakistan. On 7 April 1972, separate services headquarters was established under the respective service chiefs (Ahmed 1995, 7–8). The military was later beefed up by the repatriated Bengali officers and men from Pakistan. The heterogeneity in the armed forces and the many groups and divisions as well as philosophies on how the armed forces should be organized, and what should be their terms of reference, affected not only the internal mechanism of the military but also the nature of its relationship with its political masters. The state of civil-military relations The state of civil-military relations (CMR) in Bangladesh has to be seen in the context of five very distinct phases that also defined the political profile of the country. These are the periods between 1947 up to March 1971, the 1971 Liberation War, post liberation up to 15 August 1975, post 1975 till 1991 and post 1991 up to 1 /11 and to date. It was an old military that the newly liberated state inherited to the extent that the nucleus was composed of elements that were, till 26 March 26 1971, a part of the Pakistan army. And, in spite of what some scholars claim, that the Bangladeshi army was not a direct legacy of British colonial military culture but the result of a Liberation War, (Codron 2007) the mindset of the senior leaders, most of them of the rank of majors, reflected the training and orientation of the Pakistan days—one of deep distrust of the politicians and politics. This mindset, of mutual distrust, shaped the contours of civil–military relations after the creation of Bangladesh. 1947—23 March 1971: The Pakistan experience To a large extent, the military's experience of Pakistani politics and Bangladeshi politicians during the War of Liberation shaped the psyche of the Bangladesh military post-1971 (Pattanaik 2008, 977; see also Emajuddin 2004; Moniruzzamn 1994).
The army and West Pakistani landowners were seen by the Bengalis as an oligarchy that worked toward securing each other's interests and where the khaki became a symbol of the denial of political rights. This had to do with historical perceptions that went back to the days of British rule. If the role of the British Indian army was resented in Bengal as an instrument of foreign rule and repression against the people (Ahmed 1998, 36), the Pakistan army came to be seen in the same light after 1947 as a coercive arm of a neocolonial government. The mental makeup of the officers of the British Indian army was inherited by the Pakistan army too, where the officers corps in particular was given an anti-political orientation and where politicians were portrayed as “rabble rousers,” “disruptionists,” “scallywags,” and their activities portrayed as merely undermining the social order and systemic solidarity (Ahmed 1998, 34). This rubbed off on the Bengali officers too. 1971—The Liberation War During the Liberation War, according to some commentators, the BLF under General Osmany was quasi-autonomous (Khan 2004; Khan 1984, 104; Ahmed 1995, 3; Hossain 1991, 43–44) but only up to a time. The formation of the Mujib Bahini, composed of hardcore AL cadres and specially selected from this group, created misgivings in the minds of the military leaders. The force was created, “over the head of the Mujib Nagar Government and the Bangladesh Defence Forces, as a doctrinaire elite force kept in reserve for any uncertainties or delay in the late Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's return from Pakistan prison” (ibid.; Pattanaik 2008). But what is of note is the fact that, “It also developed sharp and inimical contradictions with the BDF and the Mujib Nagar government during nine months of the War of Independence” (ibid.). During this time the military and civil establishment came close to each other. But ironically, the familiarity that should have helped to lay out the road to a cooperative and harmonious relationship between the two important elements of the state in the post liberation period bred contempt, and it was not without the attendant consequences that influenced politics and policies of the government. This unhappy state was to last for many years and still exists in some form, although there has been a degree of attitudinal change on both sides, with the increasingly growing awareness that the defense of the state is not the exclusive preserve of the military; there is a need for the civilian counterpart to contribute with their relevant inputs. 1975—Post-liberation The state of civil-military relations during the seminal period of the country's existence had much to do with the experience of Mujib, and indeed the politicians and the Bengalis, with the Pakistan military during the period between 1947 and 1971. The mindset that the Pakistan experience helped create was carried over. Where the khaki had at one time symbolized alienation and mistrust, it was no wonder that the political leadership would marginalize the military in newly formed Bangladesh. The consequence of this was that the military failed to be integrated into the power
structure. The situation then is very well summed up in the following statement. When Bangladesh emerged as an independent state it faced an uneasy situation: on the one hand, most of the military elite was not integrated into the power structure, but rather ideologically contested it, and on the other hand, it was considered with suspicion by the first head of state, Mujib (Codron 2007). Mujib's foreign policy, seen as heavily tilted towards India, did not find favor with the military. This perhaps was reflected in the pattern of voting in the 1973 election in which the cantonments were overwhelmingly anti-Awami League (cited in Pattanaik 2008). Another negative consequence of not integrating the military in the power structure was that the feeling became mutual with the military not only becoming suspicious of the political leadership but also doubtful about its capability to lead the nation in the aftermath of a traumatic liberation war. Brig Khaled Musharraf is reported to have said, “Our friend the Prime Minister is basically a weak man….always afraid of the army” (Jahangir 1989, 21). The situation was further aggravated when the government set up a new paramilitary force, Jatiyo Rakkhi Bahini (JRB). The JRB was trained and organized by Indian officers although the force was under a Bangladeshi brigadier's command. Gradually, the perception that the military was being given the short shrift while the JRB had all the perks and benefits grew in the minds of the rank and file of the military, and not without reason either. The JRB came to be seen as a countervailing force and one that helped reinforce the distrust of the military by the politicians (Jahangir 1989; Khan 2004). But alongside the formation of the parallel force, that did not sit well with the military, certain developments within the military helped not only increase the civil-military hiatus but also made the military question the capability and the sincerity of the politicians to handle crisis situations. The arms recovery and anti-smuggling operation launched very soon after liberation, for example, became a farce when many of those arrested by the army were ordered to be released by the government because of their links with the Awami League (Khan 1984, 105). Instead, some of the army officers who had arrested them were sacked. This distorted the image of the politicians in the eyes of the military. During this time the military came under tremendous stress from within as well when radical thoughts regarding the future shape of the army were espoused by some leftleaning officers, some of whom had played distinguished role in the liberation war and were later sacked by the government. But equally severe was the stress imposed by a spate of intellectual onslaught (it still occurs, but lower in intensity), as to whether, under the changed post-liberation circumstances, there was indeed a need for a standing military at all. In the “absence of a palpable threat” having a standing force was regarded wasteful and non-productive. Around this time the declaration of emergency and the legislation of the 4th Amendment
to the Constitution created a sense of doubt about the AL's commitment to democracy. The armed forces were not altogether impervious to this infectious feeling. During this time there was a serious problem related to military-military relationship owing to the strain caused by the freedom fighter-repatriate tussle. Quite mistakenly, the repatriate officers were perceived as carrying pro-Pakistan ideology. The downturn in the state of CMR during this period can be summarized as mainly due to the civilian mistrust of the military and, in spite of fighting within the military, a shared mistrust of the politicians, putting up with government corruption, harassment of military officers, and raising of the JRB (Khan 1984). 15 August 1975—The first intervention There is a large corpus of literature on the tragic event of 15 August 1975, and its reasons. The answers to whether it was an outburst of a few disgruntled officers, or whether it was an external plot that exploited the undercurrent of internal dissension to remove Mujib, or whether it was a combination of both, are still vague. But the incident initiated a chain of events that were to shape the political developments in the country for the next two decades. It saw the imposition of martial law the head of which, of all people, was the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The situation soon changed but not before another upheaval through the so-called “7th November Sepoy Revolution” through which General Ziaur Rahman formally assumed power, first as deputy and then as the chief martial law administrator. Like all military dictators he sought to legitimize his rule and perpetuate his control through election and formation of a new political party. The period between 1977 and March 1981 can best be described as a period of command democracy, where elections for the parliament and the post of president were held. It was a period which saw militarization of the administration; it was a period that has been characterized by many commentators as one that saw the politicization of the military. But Zia was also responsible for the reintroduction of multi-party democracy, which had been abrogated by the 4th Amendment, and bringing in changes in the operating principles of the constitution by incorporating Bismillah and faith in the Almighty Allah, much to the chagrin of the secularists. This period also saw a number of abortive coups that put serious strain on the integrity of the military, and loss of good number of officers and men. President Zia and his rule came to a violent end with his assassination on 30th May 1981, again by a group of so-called disgruntled officers primarily led by freedom fighter officers and handful of soldiers. General Manzur, the GOC of the largest formation of the army, garrisoned in the port city of Chittagong, gave the lead. He was a Zia critic who nurtured high ambitions and detested Zia's policy of, what he perceived as, pandering to the repatriated officers. Zia was seen by many freedom fighter officers to unduly favor the repatriate officers and use them as a countervailing force (Pattanaik 2008, 980). 24 March 1982—The second intervention The death of Zia, an elected president, saw a peaceful handover of power to the vice president. The armed forces, in the form of the then Chief of Army Staff, expressed
complete obeisance to the elected government. But the fealty was short-lived and so was the Sattar interregnum. The nature of things to come became evident when General Ershad ventilated his views about the future role of the armed forces in running the country. The claim to a participatory role for the military stemmed from the armed force's contribution in the war of liberation. But the underlying tone was that of caution that chances of military intervention in Bangladesh politics would become real if the armed forces were not taken on board in governing the country and involved state building activities. Ershad wanted this role of the armed forces to be incorporated constitutionally (cited in Ahmed 1998, 42). General Ershad was privately admonished by the government for expressing his views publicly. When he realized that his removal as army chief was imminent, he seized power on 24 March 1982 in a bloodless coup from President Justice Abdus Sattar under the general pretext of bad governance including deteriorating law and order situation. Though he claimed he was asked by the president to take over, not many give credence to his claim. However, the opposition AL welcomed the change. General Ershad lasted ten years, and in the process floated a new party, held general elections in which the AL participated, made Islam the state religion, thoroughly politicized the military and militarized the civil administration as a continuation of President Zia's policy, and brought about changes in the structure of the administration through the upazilla system. Critics accuse him of institutionalizing corruption. However, he endeared himself to the armed forces by addressing their logistics problem and by generally improving the conditions of the military. But more importantly, he managed to bring stability within the armed forces that remained till his downfall and beyond up till the morning of 11 January 2007. The Bangladeshi people's will, however, ultimately prevailed, and for once the political parties managed to close ranks to bring Ershad down. Ershad realized the wisdom in choosing discretion to valor, particularly when he saw that his power base, the armed forces, had deserted him and had expressed their loyalty to the people. Ershad handed over power to his vice-president on 7 December 1990. A general election was held under an interim arrangement headed by the chief justice who was considered to be the most neutral person around. The BNP was elected to office and democracy revived in Bangladesh in January 1991. With the revival of democracy after long 15 years, the army returned to the barracks and concentrated on their primary task of protecting the borders. January 2007â€”The third intervention Following its defeat in the 1991 elections, the AL, which had been confident of its win, started a campaign for the introduction of a permanent caretaker system on the grounds that it was not possible to hold free and fair election under the present incumbent government.
After the constitution was suitably amended through the 13th Amendment, the next two elections were held under the new dispensation. In 2006, the AL which was again in the opposition refused to accept the nomination of the retired chief justice as the caretaker head, which was one of the provisions of the 13th Amendment. This prompted President Iajuddin Ahmed to appoint himself as the chief advisor, which provided the spark to the already smoldering cinder. The CTG under him was seen by the opposition AL as an extension of the BNP regime. Between October 2006 and 10 January 2007 there was unprecedented degree of violence which resulted in loss of many lives.5 Compelled by internal as well as external pressures, Army Chief Gen Moin U Ahmed moved to intervene by persuading President Iajuddin Ahmed, who was also the head of the caretaker government, to sack his council of advisors and give up the post of chief advisor and appoint another person as his replacement. Earlier, four members of his council of advisors had resigned as a mark of disapproval at the way he was handling thingsâ€”alleging that he was heavily inclined toward the BNP, the party to which he belonged. Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, a former UN civil servant and an ex-governor of Bangladesh Bank was nominated to head the interim government. The change was welcomed by the people in general who heaved a sigh of relief to see violence decreasing, at least for the time being (Pattanaik 2008, 976). The change was also welcomed by the international community. But there were external pressures exerted on the army chief to act in the way he did to bring in the change (Shahedul Anam Khan in the Daily Star, 19 February 2009). The task of the CTG under Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed was to hold the parliamentary election within the stipulated 90 days. That did not happen for nearly another two years and what followed was an aberration that sullied the image of the armed forces. What happened in the interregnum was not foreseen and in doing so General Moyeen, the army chief, certainly overstepped his bounds (Shahedul Anam Khan in the Daily Star, 18 September 2008). If the CTG is guilty of time over run, the fault is not entirely the CTG's. It had taken up in its hand several issues as demanded by the opposition AL which needed to be resolved satisfactorily before the election could be held. For one thing, there was the small matter of the voters list which, as it turned out later, contained more than a million false names. Then there was the demand for change of the chief election commissioner, which was duly done. There was also the issue of electoral reform that the EC was seized with and it took time for it to come to an amended package that was acceptable to all parties. Moreover, Dr Ahmed as the chief advisor was in reality not the master of his own ship. He was being driven by the military in the backseat, which led to the interim government being termed as â€œArmy backedâ€? CTG. It is no secret that the CTG was acting at the behest of the military, and was going by its diktats that included a drive against corruption, reform of the political parties, and effecting the minus-2 formula, i.e., to get the two major parties to ditch their party chiefs. Every single activity, less the voters list, for which the armed forces deserve accolades, proved ultimately futile.
When it was actually the armed forces that were calling the shots, indirect intervention during this time led to all sorts of new ideas regarding a new sense of direction in politics, and a Bangladeshi brand of democracy were floated. The military involvement ended with the transfer of power to the AL-led grand coalition in January 2009 following a general election. The future dénouement The question now is whether there is a chance that the military might in future indulge in political activism, or whether there might be a new model of intervention which some analyst term as “power-without-responsibility,”' as was witnessed during the 2-year tenure of the CTG under Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, or whether there are chances of the military to interfere by exploiting political instability. There is a sense of misgiving in the government, and indeed all major political parties are wary of military intervention. This has been articulated from time to time by Prime Minister Hasina. On 11 June 2011, Prime Minister Hasina warned the people to beware of the possibilities of what she termed as interference by unconstitutional forces in politics (The New Age, 13 June 2011). However, the worries have been somewhat allayed by the judiciary. In the last three months the apex court has passed three landmark judgments, two of which relate to constitutional amendments effected by Zia and Ershad. The third relates to the caretaker system. The ruling on the 7th Amendment has declared all military takeovers, and declaration of martial law, illegal. The Parliamentary Committee on Constitutional Reform has recommended that military takeover be made a culpable offence through an act of the parliament. But, that notwithstanding, the fickleness of politics in Bangladesh always holds out the prospect of supra constitutional interference in politics. The current state of affairs has all the makings of instability. The ruling AL party has assumed an anti-caretaker stance and is exploiting the Supreme Court's ruling to fulfill its objective of doing away with the system altogether. What is at the back of their mind is the nagging apprehension of likely military interference in the future, in the manner of January 2007. It may be merely coincidental but is interesting to note that the AL has been the beneficiary of all the military interventions but one. Conclusion It is sad but true that the military in Bangladesh has been considered a power center and, to some, even a strong power base. As for the political parties, there has been a tendency to ingratiate themselves to the military and to keep them in “good humor.” With every new government taking power there has been a quantum leap in the defense budget, outdoing the allocations made to defense by the military regimes, in real terms. This practice does not necessarily bear any correlation with the actual needs. The process of politicization of the military goes on subtly. With every change of government, “favorites” are placed at important posts. Competence is not always the main criterion in such postings and promotions. It is no wonder that officers are interested in being on the “right side” of the party in power. No wonder there is a clear divide, at least in the senior ranks, between pro-AL and pro-BNP officers. This in effect is an acknowledgement by the political parties that the military is a strong constituency
that should not be disturbed. The only guarantee against recurrence of military control, either direct or indirect, is a strong democratic culture supported by strong democratic institutions to sustain democracy. Emajuddin Ahmed, a distinguished scholar, opined almost two decades ago, “A democratic order is more likely strike its roots into the political soil of Bangladesh if the political parties can maintain the emerging consensus and political compromise” (Ahmed 2004). Regrettably, compromise and consensus do not occur in the lexicon of our political leaders. And this renders many things subject to wider speculations. Editor's note: On 1 July 2011, Bangladesh's parliament abolished the nonpartisan caretaker government system that oversees general elections, amid protests from the opposition that the ruling parties are trying to rig the polls (CNN, 1 July 2011). Brig. Gen. (R) Shahedul Anam Khan is the editor of defense and strategic affairs at the Daily Star in Dhaka. He served earlier as director of military intelligence and director of military operations at the Bangladesh army's headquarters. Endnotes 1. There is a difference of opinion on whether the killings met the definition of a “coup” (see Khan 2004). 2. The Jatiyo Sangsad passed the 4th Amendment on 20 January 1975. It established one-party rule under BAKSAL (an acronym for the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League). All but four newspapers were closed down. 3. Some US Congressmen also expressed similar apprehensions (Daily Amar Desh, 3 August 2007). 4. An appellation for the changeover to Fakhruddin Ahmed's CTG, which took place on 11 January 2007. 5. See Shahedul Anam Khan's articles “Violence cannot be the arbiter of political problems” in the Daily Star (30 October 2006) and “On a collision course” in the Daily Star (9 November 2006) for an overview of the prevailing situation and the different issues that the country faced at the time. References Ahmed, Emajuddin. 1998. Military rule and myth of democracy. Dhaka: UPL. ———. 2004. The military and democracy in Bangladesh. http://epress.anu.edu.au/mdap/mobile_devices/ch07.html Ahmed, Moudud. 1995. Democracy and the challenge of development: A study of politics and military interventions in Bangladesh. Dhaka: UPL. Codron, Jérémie. 2007. Putting factions “back in” the civil-military equation: Genesis, maturation, distortion of Bangladesh Army. South Asia Multidisciplinary Journal 1. http://samaj.revues.org/index230.html Ghoshal, Baladas. 2009. The anatomy of military interventions in Asia: The case of Bangladesh. India Quarterly: A Journal of International Affairs 65 (1): 67-82. Hossain, Golam. 1991. Civil-military relations in Bangladesh: A comparative study. Dhaka: Academic Publishers. Jahangir, B. K. 1989. The problematics of nationalism in Bangladesh: The Sheikh Mujib era. In Society and politics in Bangladesh, ed. Emajuddin Ahamed. Dhaka: Academic Publishers.
Khan, Enayetullah. 2004. The Bangladesh case in civil-military relations: The limits of power. bdsdf.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=3328 Khan, Zillur R. 1984. Martial law to martial law: Leadership crisis in Bangladesh. Dhaka: UPL. Mohsin, Amena. 1992. Bangladesh-India relations: Limitations and options in an evolving relationship. In Bangladesh, South Asia and the world, ed. Emajuddin Ahmed and Abul Kalam. Dhaka: Academic Publishers. Moniruzzamn, Talukdar. 1994. Politics and security of Bangladesh. Dhaka: UPL. Pattanaik, Smruti S. 2008. Re-emergence of the military and the future of democracy in Bangladesh. Strategic Analysis 32 (6): 975-995. Shariar, Hasan. 2007. Power play in Bangladesh. Newsweek, 24 July.
Resolving Nepal's unending political transition Nishchal N Pandey
epal is a unique case in which a former guerrilla force ended its insurgency and participated in competitive, democratic elections. But the euphoria generated in 2006 has died down to such an extent that it is hard to exaggerate Nepal's problems. Five years down the road, neither does the country have a constitution nor has the security situation or the economy recovered. Instead, four prime ministers have already formed their cabinets, the Constituent Assembly has failed to draft the constitution for the second time in a row, and the people are frustrated with the daily woes of power shortage, scarcity of drinking water and intermittent supply of petroleum products even in the capital Kathmandu. Private sector is reeling under extortion, lack of security, labor problems and load shedding. The Terai, which is the main granary and the industrial corridor of the country, was peaceful and vibrant even during the People's War (1996â€“2006). Today, it harbors dozens of armed outfits that compete with one another in looting, abduction, and assassination. This is not the new, progressive and democratic Nepal promised to the people by their leaders during the people's movement-II. Something has gone wrong somewhere. Though the major hindrances are few, they are complex and inter-woven in mutual suspicion, petty one-upmanship and inexorable thirst for power that political parties have not been able to rise above. Ignoring deadlines, calling for incessant bandhs and strikes amidst sliding into instability, coalition politics has successfully managed to disillusion the common-person in such a short span of time. This article pinpoints some of the key issues that remain unresolved in order to draft the constitution of the nascent federal democratic republic within the extended deadline of 28 August 2011.1 Integrating the PLA into the Nepal army One of the key agreements that led to the formal end of the decade long People's War was that the People's Liberation Army of the Maoists (PLA) would be put in temporary cantonments and verified. Likewise Nepal Army (NA) would also be confined within its barracks. Some 19,000 PLA personnel were to be supervised, rehabilitated and integrated in the security force with their little over three thousand weapons stored in UN monitored lockers. Vague wordings of the document led to misinterpretation and confusion with some political parties insisting that â€œsecurity forceâ€? could also mean the police or the armed police force. Some even argued that the PLA could be assembled and made into a rapid action battalion or a border security, both of which do not exist in Nepal but are greatly needed. Nowhere in South Asia has an insurgent group joined the national army as a unit and Nepal will be a pioneer in this regard; the manner with which it is done will therefore be of importance to the entire region.
Integration issue has thus become a tricky and most formidable hurdle for the drafting of the timely statute because the centrist parties such as the Nepali Congress (NC), a strong faction of the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) and other smaller parties are skeptical of Maoist intentions of ramming their politically motivated cadres into the army as this will â€œcreate an un-even playing field.â€? Having faced defeat at the hands of the Maoists in the Constituent Assembly elections held in April 2008, these parties do not exult in giving more leverage to the former rebels seeing that this could also influence voter psychology in future elections. The real fault lies with the approach taken and the notion of the PLA integration. Foremost, priority should have been given to frame a national defense policy of the country with careful analysis of the nature of future threats and the need of democratization and professionalization of both the NA and the PLA. There is a dire need to reorganize, better train, and equip the NA under a wider security sector governance framework. The Ministry of Defense (MoD) as a lead agency should have taken this forward in a steadfast and determined manner. The issues of democratic control of the army without demoralizing it to an extent that it fails to remain a potent defense against the aggressive posturing of the PLA must have been given adequate attention. The PLA combatants must also be allowed to choose their own destiny with options of vocational training, rehabilitation into the society and other jobs. Unfortunately, without a consensus at the highest political level, the work of the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoists Combatants has been terribly slow and mired in continuous disagreement. Light was seen at the end of the tunnel after second round of verification in which 4,008 verified minor and late recruits were released from cantonments beginning January 2010. Among the released 4,008 ex-combatants from seven main camps and other 21 satellite camps located at various parts of the country, 2,973 were verified minors and 1,035 were late recruits (recruited after 21 November 2006). The United Nations provided four types of rehabilitation packages for released ex-combatants which included vocational training, sponsor school education, health education training, and support for small business initiatives. Another landmark was the surprise proposal put forth by the Nepal Army for integration/rehabilitation of the combatants that had a positive response from the Maoist leadership. A separate general directorate under the command of Nepal Army would be formed comprising of certain number of personnel from the NA, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and Maoist combatants. The general directorate would consist of about 12,000 personnel for deployment for special tasks like border, industrial or forest security and for rescue work in case of natural disasters. In this model, the general directorate will be led by a major general and will have about 200 officers. The force will be divided into smaller units of about 250 personnel and will be led by majors. While the army ruled out bulk integration, the proposal envisaged certain flexibility in the criteria of educational qualification, physical exercises, marital status and age of individual combatants (Chandrasekharan 2011).
Barshaman Pun, senior leader of the Maoist party and member of the Special Committee said that the “integration model proposed is positive [and] it has to be implemented after determining the integration process, number to be integrated and criteria for rank determination” (nepalnews.com, 5 April 2011). Some hope was also seen on the timely completion of the peace process as the Maoists decided to remove dual security for their leaders. But the Army Integration Special Committee missed the 19 June 2011 deadline to finalize the integration model and the parties blamed each other for the delay. “The Prime Minister headed committee on June 12 discussed the issue of integration but failed to reach any conclusion [sic],” said Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire. The only way to go about it is to forge a thorough national consensus on the issue of determining the right size of those to be integrated, rank selection and re-training modules. There cannot be a shortcut solution to this multi-faced problem, which is why, as soon as the Maoists said that the army's proposal was positive, some of the Terai parties also demanded that there should be bulk appointment of 10,000 Madhesi people into the NA (nepalnews.com, 28 May 2011). The people of the Madhes have been discouraged from entering the Nepal Army for decades, partly by intention but also because the Madhesis themselves have been rather reluctant. In fact, the British and the Indian armies too never hired Nepali Madhesis in their respective Gurkha brigades since they are not regarded as a “fighter race.” The problem, however, is that other outfits around the country are also happy at the possibility of getting into the national security services, taking inspiration from the PLA and the Madhesis. Sanghiya Limbuwan Rajyaparishad and the Tharuhat State Council that are waging a struggle to carve out the autonomous states of Limbuwan and Tharuhat, respectively, are thought to be giving military training to their cadres. Such bizarre demands simply brought forward as populist slogans will not only crash the constitution drafting process but also turn the NA into an alumni association of former and future armed outfits. Establishing a layout similar to the PLA integration, with loosely mustered criminal gangs and their numerous factions, will set a dangerous trend. There is the view that a border security force (BSF) could keep strict vigil over the IndoNepal and Nepal-China border, and try to curb activities such as arms and narcotics smuggling, trafficking of women and children, illegal immigration, and even encroachment onto Nepali land (Pandey 2009, 264). Conversely, there are also reservations from some quarters regarding the proposition of allowing radical cadres of various political parties to oversee the Indo-Nepal open border, which has no shortage of armed outfits of all hues, coupled with the fact that the Naxal menace is a becoming a major security threat to the neighboring states of Bihar, Chattisgarh, and Jharkhand. On the opposite side, the northern belt with a porous border with Tibet has been a cause of concern to the Chinese for the last six decades. Tibetan refugees enter Nepal to make their way to India, Europe or the US in a tacit arrangement that allows these refugees to stay at a welfare centre in Kathmandu, operate carpet weaving and handicraft industries, and apply for travel permits, but bars them from engaging in anti-Chinese activities. This unwritten but well understood arrangement has endured ever since the
â€œpeaceful liberation of Tibetâ€? by the Chinese. Suddenly posting large number of ideologically motivated youths, some of who trained in guerrilla warfare at the sensitive Nepal-Tibet border, can raise the anxiety level of the Chinese. Similarly, making them an industrial security force has its own pitfalls. The only option left for Nepal, therefore, is to draft a national security strategy, forge a consensus on army integration, and take both the neighbors into confidence so that a durable solution be reached and sustained. Federalism and its structure Although the People's War has ended officially, the country has faced a more dangerous conflict along religious, ethnic, caste and linguistic lines. Getting rid of the monarchy was relatively easy but the Terai issue is boiling and more complex problems are emerging related to federalism and addressing the long-standing grievances of the Dalits (untouchables) and secluded communities. It seems that the monarchy was a lid on top of a can of worms. This new breed of conflict is brewing in the Terai adjoining northern Bihar, which remains infamous for its innumerable gangs and criminal elements. Misusing the open border, these groups use political sloganeering purely for criminal objectives. Intermittent agitations are being waged not only in the Terai but also in the mid-hills. Most of the demands relate to a federal system and autonomous states under the basis of ethnicity. But in a country with more than 104 officially recognized ethnic groups, carving out states is not a painless exercise. There are many issues currently being discussed in the parliament. These include the structure in the federal democratic republican form of the state; principles and bases for determining the areas of the federal units; delimiting the boundaries and naming each federal unit; division of legislative, executive and judicial powers among the governments in these states; determining the contents of working areas of federal units of various levels; and determining the interrelationship of legislative, executive and judicial powers among federal units. There has been no headway on these issues as the Maoists, who are the pioneers in embracing federalism, have already named these provinces but other parties are not happy with the structure or with the relations with the centre. Mechanism for adjudication of disputes that may arise between the federal units has also not been agreed upon. The Constituent Assembly Committee on State Restructuring and Distribution of State Powers recommended creation of 14 states on 20 January 2010. It recommended the formation of Limbu, Kirat, Sherpa, Newa, Jadan, Tamsaling, Magarat, Tharuwan, and Tamuwan on the basis of ethnicity; the formation of Sun Koshi, Narayani, Khaptad, and Karnali on a geographical basis; and two regions in the Terai-Mithila-Bhojpura-Koch and Madhes. As soon as this was made public, some Madhes parties began to demand the setting up of a single state for the Madhes, which is being contested by the Tharus. The Maoists are now thinking of reducing the 14 states to around seven, but this proposal has opened a Pandora's Box. Raj (2011, 133) reports that, In Magarat Autonomous region, Magars comprise only 31 percent whereas the hill upper castes (Brahmin, Chhetri and Thakuri) are 47
percent. In Tamuwan, percentage of Gurungs is a mere 20 percent, in Newa (Kathmandu), the Newars are only 35 percent and more Nepali speaking people in Tharuwan (54 percent) in Tharuwan [sic]. In India, language became the initial basis for the composition of states but neither ethnicity, religion, nor language can be a sound foundation for Nepal's federal experiment. The problem is not only with the majority population and the boundaries but also with resources. According to Pyakuryal (2011, 108): A total of 24 districts out of 75 are able to generate revenue that is less than 5 percent of their total expenditure and all 75 districts generate revenue less than 10 percent of their total expenditure. This shows the highly centralized financial system of Nepal [which] has created increasing dependency of the local bodies to the central government. In these circumstances, Kathmandu will need to send development budget for all the proposed states in the post-federal Nepal while the revenue generation of the centre may be strained due to differences on who should collect customs duties, toll taxes and taxes from other sources. In addition, natural resources such as forests and hydro-generation may become more complicated with jurisdiction divided and focal institution such as the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) becoming powerless. Similarly, with each state allowed to raise its own police force, a new framework for maintenance of law and order is required. It is evident, therefore, that there is a lot more to do as regards to federalism. Forming a centre-state commission will be the first step. Agreeing on dispute settlement mechanisms will be another. The tragedy is that even the fundamental framework has not been agreed in the last three years. In this context, managing Nepal's ethno-regional diversity will continue to be a tall order. Political accommodation is a necessity regardless of what form federalism ultimately assumes. Political system Embracing pluralism both inside and outside the parliament would lay a foundation for stability in a country where Westminster form of parliamentary democracy has failed three times in the past. The Maoists are probably right that a directly elected powerful head of state like in the US would ensure stability and also end the dichotomous nature of functioning of several of the country's institutions such as the NA. But the Nepali Congress, fearful that a presidential form would lead to dictatorial aspirations, desires to see the Westminster system continue. Afterall, it was the NC that ruled for the longest period since the restoration of multi-party democracy in 1990. A five-member taskforce formed by the sub-committee of the Constitutional Committee of the CA has begun discussions on this aspect and as a middle-way, it is expected that the parties may settle for a directly-elected president with prime minister to be elected by the parliament on a majority basis. â€œThis system popularly known as the French model of democracy is being mooted in the close-door political circlesâ€? (Himalayan Times 16 June 2011). One must comprehend the fact that the French model is not fault-
free; its political framework is semi-presidential as both the prime minister and president participate actively in the affairs of the state. It was only after much trials and tribulations that the fifth republic has brought some degree of strength in the French system. But without the French political culture, this model could introduce another sequel of volatility in Nepal. The moot question for Nepal is the development of a healthy political culture and whichever political system is finally adopted, it will ultimately depend on the politicians to make it work. Radicalism and thirst for power endangers democracy; separation of power ensures a nation's entrenched interests. â€œThe critical elements of the peace process, integration and the constitution, have been reduced to bargaining chips in struggles over power sharingâ€? (Neelakanthan 2011). Whichever party leans in whichever direction, without strong democratic institutions, Nepal risks the recreation of an overly centralized, authoritarian, and ultimately unstable state, which could stoke broader insecurity in the sub-region. Therefore simply drafting a Constitution [sic] and having a government that faces periodic elections does not guarantee political stability nor enhance the strength of the republic. It is the people's confidence toward their leaders that needs to be cultivated at all times. The crisis deepens when the nation continues to wait for a leader to emerge (Pandey 2010, 91). The country certainly needs to be reformed, but it needs good leaders. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, for instance, was a force of idealism, honesty and intellect in office and a perfect symbol of pluralism and secularismâ€”all attributes that helped steer a young nation through the turbulence of the partition and constitution-building. India was lucky for having been ruled by a persona who could not only show a moral authority to the Constituent Assembly but also helped by giving new insights yet steer the debate in the CA in a constructive and practical manner. His party never tried to bulldoze over other parties and force the inclusion of its own election manifesto in the Indian Constitution. As a result, the secular, federal and democratic constitution ratified during Nehru's time is still intact. Imagine what would have happened if Nehru's government had collapsed in nine months and another coalition government formed only to resign due to pressures of the main opposition in about a year. Reduction of the first ever Constituent Assembly to a hung parliament has done tremendous damage to Nepal's infant democracy. Hence, we desperately need an allacceptable personality with a vision and courage to take the leftists, rightists and the centrists along the path to modernism without which every experiment we conduct is doomed to be contested by one or the other group. The country has already had 6 constitutions in the last 6 decades and 19 prime ministers in the last 19 years. Such a mockery of democracy can hardly do justice to a nation clamoring for peace, stability, economic recovery and social inclusion. Relations with India No other bilateral relations are as intimate as between India and Nepal. India's leverages
within Nepal's polity and economy may be strong but there has always been an undercurrent of anti-India feeling within Nepal. True or not, no attempt has been made to set aside some of the contentious issues, to properly inform the common people, or to allow this multi-faceted relationship to blossom in a range of areas. On the other hand, Nepal needs to do a great deal to identify areas of convergence with India's overall strategic interests (both political and economic), to realistically set a demand list both on water and border issues, to try and negotiate for a new treaty that has the positive features of the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, and to reap benefits from the economic progress made by its southern neighbor in the last decade. Nepal also needs to chalk out strategic thrust areas that might be important factors in strengthening bilateral ties. While most Nepali academics and analysts differ on what can be those strategic thrust areas that can mould the excessively political psyche of the Nepalese into mutually agreeable and economically feasible spheres, Delhi too needs to comprehensively reexamine the content and conduct of its Nepal policy since 2006. There should have been no greater priority than taking the peace process to its logical conclusion, draft the constitution and thereby prevent a slide into greater chaos but Nepali actors seem to be engrossed with the familiar preoccupation of forming and dismantling governments. As the country gears for another round of instability with a stymied CA struggling to give itself another extension, bilateral tensions with India could sink the peace process altogether. Nishchal N Pandey is director of the Centre for South Asian Studies in Kathmandu. Endnote 1. A five-member taskforce formed by sub-committee of the Constitutional Committee of the CA led by M.P. Laxman Lal Karna has till June 15, 2011 reached an understanding on as many as 22 issues related to 10 thematic committee reports and other 26 issues which were narrowed down by the Constitutional Committee Secretariat from 78 related to restructuring of the state and distribution of state power. But the issues of federalism, political system and army integration still remain the most controversial. References Chandrasekharan, S. 2011. New proposal of Nepal army on PLA integration: Strike when the iron is hot. South Asia Analysis Group. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/ %5Cnotes7%5Cnote621.html Neelakanthan, Anagha. 2011. Nepal's fitful peace process. Asia Briefing No. 120. Brussels: International Crisis Group. http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/southasia/nepal/B120-nepals-fitful-peace-process.aspx Pandey, Nishchal N. 2009. Security sector reforms in Nepal. South Asian Survey 2 (2): 253-271. ———. 2010. New Nepal: The fault-lines. Singapore: Institute of South Asian Studies and SAGE Publications. Pyakuryal, Bishwambher. 2011. Fiscal federalism: Reviewing the prospects and challenges of new Nepal. Nepal's National Interests Project. Kathmandu: Centre for South Asian Studies and Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung. Raj, Prakash A. 2011. How many states in a federal Nepal? Nepal's National Interests Project. Kathmandu: Centre for South Asian Studies and Konrad-Adenauer Stiftung. Republica. 2011. Discussion on integration modality begins. 13 June.
Growth and militarization in Sri Lanka Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake Post-war militarization On 4 February 2011, nearly two years after the comprehensive defeat of the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), listed as one of the world's deadliest terrorist groups, Sri Lanka celebrated 63 years of independence and democracy with military pomp and fanfare in the sacred southern city of Katharagama under emergency regulations. The emergency regulations confer a level of impunity on the police and armed forces to arbitrarily stop and search civilians. On the same day in the capital, Colombo, the main opposition United National Party (UNP) marched in protest against continued authoritarianism, attacks on and disappearances of media personnel and human-rights defenders, failure to lift emergency regulations two years after the war ended, and the incarceration of former General Sarath Fonseka, the chief architect of the military victory against the LTTE, who had contested the presidential elections on 2010 as the joint opposition candidate. Major Tamil political parties, too, boycotted the independence day celebrations as they have done for decades, in protest against the government's failure to share power, particularly with minority communities. The opposition's protest march was attacked by mobs, reportedly backed by the minister of public relations, as the police stood by in the highly militarized city that was wired with closed-circuit TV cameras for regime security in January 2011. One of the most striking developments in post-war Sri Lanka is its paradoxical militarization of the government, economy, and society, and investment in technologies of surveillance. Even though it has been two years since the end of the war, emergency rule remains in place and the defense sector, including the budget, has not been downsized, right-sized, or restructured for peacetime operations; rather, it has been on a constant rise. The army constitutes over 210,000 personnel in a country with 21 million people. Nonetheless, the army, in addition to the significant navy, air force, and national defense forces, continues recruiting. The current budget allocates 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP) for defense expendituresâ€”far more than other South Asian neighbor except Pakistan. At the same time, Colombo insists that it is a safe tourist destination. It has asked foreign governments to lift travel warnings while maintaining emergency regulations, and keeping up the counterterrorism rhetoric with the assistance of dubious â€œterrorismâ€? experts. Since the war ended, the defense ministry has taken under its wing offices responsible for urban development, land reclamation, development and construction, waterways, and the registration of NGOs. Civilian administrators and experts from the business community are increasingly marginalized. Former or serving military officers are appointed to key central government, local government and foreign-service positions to
the detriment of knowledge-based, people-centered economic development policymaking. The government has also been investing heavily in expensive technologies of surveillance such as closed-circuit TV security cameras and biometric identity cards. The post-conflict economic development model appears to follow the former Indonesian model of military business. Under Suharto, the Indonesian military was given corporate representation in the government. Each military branch had its own foundation, which operated businesses in finance management, travel industry, agribusiness, manufacturing and resource extraction. Similar patterns are evident now in Sri Lanka, where the air force is operating flights to Jaffna, and military elites are being placed on the board of an elite (and controversial) golf club called Water's Edge. Post-war militarization is also indexed in seemingly harmless images of army personnel selling vegetables to bring down escalating food prices. In the navy, personnel are taking tourists on dolphin-sighting tours off the southern coast, and other armed services personnel are engaged in additional commercial operations. In January 2011, the minister of higher education, S B Dissanayake, announced that the army would be enlisted to provide undergraduates “soft-skills training” in response to student protests against conditions in the under-funded public universities. In February 2011, the army commander, Lieutenant General Jagath Jayasuriya, while delivering a keynote address at a workshop on “Strategic Dimensions of Cyber Warfare,” noted that cyber warfare was an emerging threat to the entire world. He noted that, although the physical war waged for 30 years had ended in Sri Lanka, the “cyber war” or the war on the information highway continued (Daily News, 21 February 2011). The paradox of post-war militarization in Sri Lanka can be contextualized in a wider Asian geopolitical canvas. The global war on terror since 9/11 in Afghanistan and Pakistan and the rise of China and its Indian Ocean “string of pearls” strategy, which appear to have triggered a tacit arms race in South Asia, has helped legitimize post-war militarization in Sri Lanka. India, in recent years, has been rapidly modernizing its military and has recently emerged as the world's largest purchaser of arms (Cohen and Dasgupta 2010). Despite the fact that South Asia is home to the highest number of poor people in the world, militarism increasingly seems a way of life legitimated by terrorism discourses and nationalism in several countries in the region. Arguably, an emergent SAARC regional culture of militarism as Asia grows wealthier has helped legitimize postwar militarization in Sri Lanka, whose strategic location on the Indian Ocean sea-lanes has resulted in Asian giants China and India competing to “invest” in infrastructure for economic development in various sectors including security and surveillance. Finally, the paradox of post-war militarization amid economic boom may be contextualized in the wider Asian geopolitical canvas and the Colombo regime's battle with “war crimes” allegations and a UN investigation. The LTTE has also been implicated in war crimes. Mission creep Militarization is often accompanied and legitimated by the assumption that the country's civil society and business community are unpatriotic, incompetent or corrupt, or all three, and that what is needed is a benevolent dictatorship or the military, or both, for a country's development. This logic, that the military can do a better job at tasks
normally performed by civilians, is clearly dangerous; in the past, it has been used to legitimate military coups and/or military rule. Sri Lanka experienced just such a coup attempt in 1962. Military businesses thrive thanks to invisible state subsidies in the form of free land, the use of military assets, and loans to bail them out when they run into trouble, as Dr Ayesha Siddiqa has noted. Military business also gives rise to corruption and is not economically rational, especially in the context of already high public debt. In Indonesia today, as the military is being reformed and state subsidies withdrawn under President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, military businesses have folded. During its 63 years of independence, Sri Lanka has weathered two armed conflicts: the first in the south, against the Marxist-Maoist People's Liberation Front (JVP); the second in the north, against the LTTE. Both conflicts contributed to dramatically transforming civil-military relations and the quality of democracy. Post-war Sri Lanka might have won its “war on terror” but the root causes that escalated into the 25-year conflict remain to be addressed. The process of comprehensive post-war settlement or reconciliation has not begun either. Ironically, the growth pattern and development trajectory might be widening the gap between rich and poor, thereby deepening the roots of social conflict. Militarization poses the possibility of military mission and mandate creep. Almost two years after the end of war, in the context of the failure to repeal emergency regulations, it is clear that it is, ironically, the political leadership of the country that is steering the post-conflict militarization and transformation of civil-military relations in a manner detrimental to democratic institutions and traditions. This might be politically expedient and lucrative for the regime in the short term, but the primary purpose of a well-trained military is to fight external threats to a country. The blurring of civilmilitary roles dilutes this focus and, when coupled with emergency rule, concentrates and centralizes power in the presidency. It also tends to confer a level of impunity to the police and armed forces, encouraging them to disregard civilians' basic rights. The effects of militarization on development policy and practice have become apparent on several fronts. In the name of “city development” and gentrification, the military has been used to displace poor people in urban areas. New development projects include building a new port city in Colombo for a Formula One racetrack, building super malls and five-star hotels for tourists. Along the A-9 road to Jaffna, the military runs teashops, competing with recently returned impoverished internally displaced peoples. In the war-ravaged north and east, it has acquired extensive public and private lands under the banner of providing “security” and is setting up large farms to grow vegetables and fruits in the Mannar district. The ramifications of this, however, have left Tamil and Muslim farmers landless, as some of their lands, now occupied by the military, have been earmarked for business ventures, including a coal-fired power plant, tourism projects, and agro-industries. Siddiqa (2007) helps contextualize Sri Lanka's post-war military business development trajectory, particularly in the context of growing economic and security cooperation
between Sri Lanka and Pakistan, indexed in the recent visits of Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, and the chief of armed forces, General Kayani, to Sri Lanka. President Rajapakse and his brothers had earlier visited Pakistan. Siddiqa analyzes a taboo subject—the range and depth of the Pakistan military's business—coining the term “milibus” (military business) to describe a military's business operations and activities. She defines “milibus” as “military capital” used for the personal benefit of the military fraternity. She estimates that the Pakistan military's private business empire was worth as much as £10 billion in 2005. Retired and serving officers own 12 million acres of public land in a country where poverty is extreme among landless peasants, run secretive business conglomerates, and manufacture everything from cement to cornflakes. Siddiqa also notes that these economic interests of the military have been a major factor in the ambitions of the generals who have ruled the country for more than half of its 60-year history. Pakistan has a history of military rule, extensive military interests in business, along with multiple ethno-religious conflicts that have compounded the country's poverty and conflict trap, now further complicated by the US-led “war on terror.” In Sri Lanka at this time, key civil administration posts, including that of provincial governor remain in the hands of the military, particularly in the northeast, and the revolving door between high military office and private security business is increasingly lucrative. At the lower end, military business competes with small-scale businesses and vegetable traders and farmers, who meanwhile complain that they are being put out of business because they cannot compete with the military, which is subsidized. It is increasingly clear there is need for structural adjustment and downsizing of the defense sector and budget. While downsizing a military presents challenges, since not all may join lucrative UN peacekeeping operations overseas, using navy personnel to farm and army personnel to sell vegetables as the government wages “war on the cost of living” wastes the time of a highly trained military cadre and tax payers' monies. Security trap The new headquarters of the army's 51st Division was ceremonially inaugurated in Kopay, near Jaffna, the northern cultural capital and seat of the insurgency of the minority Tamil community on 4 March 2011, almost two years after the comprehensive defeat of the secessionist LTTE. The new building had been constructed on the burial grounds of almost 2,000 slain LTTE cadres. After decapitating the LTTE, the victorious Sri Lanka military had systematically razed LTTE cemeteries to the ground. The army had also flattened the home of Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the former leader of the group. The 51st Division had just vacated the famous Subash Hotel it had occupied since 1995 in the centre of Jaffna in line with the government's releasing of the private lands and business premises it had occupied and reducing military “high-security zones” after years of protest by civil society groups. The LTTE had run a highly militarized quasi-state in the northeast of the country for some years prior to its defeat in May 2009 and during that time had broken with dominant Hindu cultural traditions in the region of cremating the dead. Rather, in line with the militarization strategy, the group had promoted a “cult of martyrdom” to
support the nationalist struggle for a separate state. Thus large and well-maintained burial grounds had been constructed for martyred fighters. The military rationale for bulldozing the LTTE cemeteries was to erase signs of the group and its violence which had seen the extreme militarization of society in the northeast region where the organization had at times conscripted women and children to fight, and cultivated a “black tiger” suicide bombing unit and a “baby brigade” of child soldiers. At the same time, the military had built a number of monuments and memorials for fallen soldiers in the northeast region that it had “liberated” from the LTTE. The building of the military headquarters on a burial site has been viewed as a calculated insult and humiliation of the minority communities in northeast Sri Lanka, particularly in the absence of a political solution that addressed the root causes of war—marginalization of the northeastern communities in the postcolonial nation building project. A BBC report (9 March 2011) on the opening of the army headquarters noted that the army commander when interviewed on the subject said he was not aware of “unhappiness” over the building site, but a former minister of parliament for Jaffna, MP Shivajilingam, said: “How can the government build national reconciliation like this?” A few months earlier, government officials had forced Tamil schoolchildren to sing the national anthem in the majority Sinhala language rather than in the Tamil language at the official tsunami commemoration on 26 December 2011 in Jaffna where Prime Minister D M Jayaratne had presided. Schoolteachers and the zonal education officer for Vallikamam division, who was killed a week later by unknown attackers, had protested to no avail that the children were unfamiliar with the Sinhala version of the national anthem. The incident had ignited a sense that the victorious state disrespected the language and culture of the minority community. The building of the army headquarters and the enforced singing of the national anthem by children of a minority community in the majority national language in the aftermath of 30 years of war symbolized both the post-war consolidation of the “national security state” and a semi-official culture of humiliation of a marginalized and war-traumatized community. Many members of this community, it must be noted, are simultaneously grateful that the war is over and Jaffna not longer cutoff and isolated from the rest of the county as it was during the war and the years of the LTTE control. At the same time, despite a heavy concentration of military personnel (40,000 army and 10,000 police), the security situation in Jaffna, the cultural heartland of the Sri Lankan Tamil community, has been deteriorating. Recent weeks saw a series of killings, forcing the former Jaffna district MP of the Tamil National Alliance, M K Shivajilingam, to suspect the armed forces' complicity. “How can killings take place without their knowledge?” he asked. “We feel someone is organizing and overseeing these incidents to keep the people of Jaffna in a climate of fear” (BBC, 9 March 2011). The large military presence in Jaffna contributed to the besieged population's sense of insecurity. It is well known that in Jaffna former LTTE leaders are working with military intelligence. Minister Douglas Devananda, a leading ally of the government and one whose paramilitary cadre were also implicated in the killings, has declared that the killings are not simply the result of random criminal activity. The largest bank robbery in Colombo was traced to army deserters and security personnel have been implicated in timber
theft on public and private lands and motorways (AFP, 2 February 2011). The question is: has or how soon will militarization reach the tipping point and become counterproductive in the absence of human and social security, particularly in the northeast? Post-conflict, rather than reaching out to the Tamil-speaking communities and making recovery and reconstruction a priority, the government, after initially denying access, has now sub-contracted reconstruction work to international donors and UN agencies. The Indian government, which is facing its fair share of corruption scandals over construction delays particularly with regard to the Commonwealth Games and the Ardash housing project, is to construct housing for the internally displaced in the north. When will the disaster survivors get their homes? Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan government continues to spend billions on wasteful tamashas such as Bollywood awards nights, the Independence Day Dayata Kirulla Exhibition, and paying an international advertising and public-relations firm, Bell Pottinger, to burnish the government's tarnished post-war image. The government is also bidding to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018 in Hambantota, which could cost the state coffers as much as USD10 billion. The lack of transparency and delays in aid operations after the 2004 tsunami meant that disaster victims were left homeless for years and this contributed to the return of the conflict. The government should, therefore, focus on enabling local government in the northeast to coordinate, monitor and evaluate recovery and reconstruction projects to ensure that recovery projects are completed in the specified time. Although Colombo claims to steer a “middle path” between the socialist closed-market economy and the neo-liberal paradigm that increases inequality and conflict, what we see is a highly unequal, militarized and skewed neo-liberal development model. While select sectors of the economy—the security business, tourism and gambling—are benefiting many other sectors are de-developed and impoverished by the current development model and paradigm. Meanwhile a tourism-centric development policy is benefiting members of the ruling family, related crony capitalists and segments of the security establishment. Violence in Jaffna, despite the heavy military presence, shows the limits of the military paradigm for security, economic development and sustainable peace. Already there is evidence we may be reaching the tipping point of militarization. A military juggernaut once set in motion might not be easily reigned in, while often those who set it in motion also suffer the consequences. Sustainable security can only be achieved by deepening democracy and embracing inclusive development. Otherwise, the regime's dream of turning Sri Lanka into the “wonder of Asia” could morph into an Asian nightmare. Increasingly, traditions of democracy and institutional checks and balances are being diluted by amendments to the constitution, such as the 18th Amendment, which removed presidential term-limits. As democratic institutions are being eroded to create a national-security state and a ruling dynasty, militarization, securitization and surveillance constitute the continuum between war and peace that perpetuates a “culture of humiliation” that has deformed political-economic institutions and processes.
Almost 30 years of war between the postcolonial state and LTTE has resulted in development of a public political culture of humiliating the “other.” At the same time, militarization is being used to safeguard a skewed economic development model beneficial to the Rajapakse regime and its cronies. At the same time a new military elite loyal to the defense secretary and the president's brother is also being nurtured, lending them access to administrative jobs, state lands and business opportunities. Policy planning is afoot for big-budget infrastructure projects to turn Sri Lanka into a development “hub” in areas of maritime capability, aviation, commerce and trade, power and energy, and knowledge. Sri Lanka, with the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and foreign donors, plans to spend around USD1.5 billion to 2 billion a year on road-and-rail development, power production, port facilities, and water and sanitation. But the sustainability of many of these large capital-intensive infrastructure projects and who benefits from them is questionable. Sri Lanka is currently dotted with half-built, unused and abandoned “infrastructure” development projects constructed without adequate research and understanding of people's development needs and priorities, and without consultation and coordination with communities for which they were built. White elephant infrastructure in the absence of comprehensive and integrated urban or rural development planning and expertise merely contributes to the already high public debt. Sri Lanka's welfare state democracy that had once placed the island at the top of the social development index in the developing world despite low per capita income is increasingly being replaced by a militarized neo-liberal developmental state, cloaked in nationalist rhetoric that has little to do with the spirit or practice of the teachings of the Buddha or ahimsa (philosophy of nonviolence and reverence to all life). Sri Lanka still has the best social indicators of health, literacy, and education in the region. This is due to its immediate post-colonial investment in social infrastructure and the welfare state, not in the defense sector. Now that the war is over, Sri Lanka needs to once again lead the way in South Asia. It has to demilitarize and reinvest in human security and social development, particularly in education, and enable power sharing among the island's diverse ethno-religious communities. From national security to human security: power sharing and reconciliation After 18 May 2009, when the LTTE was defeated, Sri Lanka missed an opportunity to redefine itself as part of a kinder, gentler, global community. Instead it heightened nationalist discourse, extended emergency rule, surveillance and militarization, and devised new forms of censorship. The Rajapakse regime seemed set on consolidating its grip on power, hence the hasty passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution that removed the two-term limit on the presidency, rather than reconciliation and restoration of democratic institutions that had been eroded by decades of war. Sri Lanka missed the opportunity to become one of South Asia's more enlightened nations by not reaching out to one of its more battered and war-scarred communities after 18/9. The last three years of war to defeat the LTTE saw a serious erosion of governance structures, democratic institutions, and traditions of multiculturalism and coexistence
among diverse ethnic and religious communities. It is clear that, post-LTTE, the government will need to rethink the military-centric national security state and the repression that it cultivated during the war, which in some ways mimicked the tactics and strategies of the enemy that ran a quasi-state for a few years in the Vanni. Pallmeyer (1992) identifies several characteristics of a “national security state,” the primary one of which is that, the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: they sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of “higher purpose” and vague appeals to “national security.” Thirty years of war had significant impact on democratic institutions in Sri Lanka. During the final push to defeat the LTTE, the government discredited the idea of peace. Those who spoke for human rights and human security were termed “traitors.” When the war ended the government planned to build a war museum rather than a peace and reconciliation museum. The semi-official report commissioned by the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to investigate events at the end of the war in Sri Lanka noted that there were “credible allegations of war crimes” (UN 2011). If this report is intelligently and constructively used, it may help Sri Lanka explore roads not taken, toward a better, brighter and kinder future for all its citizens. As Butler (2004, xii) wrote after 9/11: That we can be injured, that others can be injured, that we are subject to death at the whim of the other, are all reasons for both fear and grief. What is less certain however is whether the experience of vulnerability and loss need to lead straight away to military violence and retribution. There are other passages. If we are interested in arresting cycles of violence to produce less violent outcomes, it is no doubt important to ask, what politically, might be made of grief besides a cry for war? Now, two years after the end of war, it is clear that Sri Lanka as a multicultural country will not be able to “move on” and achieve lasting and substantive peace, until all its communities have put to rest the ghosts of violence. The release of the semi-official report of the experts panel set up by Ban Ki-moon to investigate events leading to the end of war in Sri Lanka, and the release of the Channel 4 video, “Sri Lanka's Killing Fields,” which has seen calls for independent inquiry by the US and UK, has opened a space for discussion of what was repressed in the aftermath of the violence that ended almost three decades of war in the country in the rush to “move on” and leave behind the ugliest chapter of its history. But thus far there has been a lopsided “moving on;” while the south
is growing and flourishing, the post-war northeast has been heavily militarized and remains a space of death and mourning inhabited by ghosts of war in the absence of mourning. An economic boom in the south, it was hoped, would help people forget and heal. For the minority communities, however, the peace that dawned seemed to be a victor's peace. The new military headquarters in Jaffna is a represents a victorious state violating the dead, even if they were terrorists flies in the face of Buddhist and Hindu religious norms and practices of decency, tolerance, and respect for the dead. Preventing mourning disables closure and shows the lack of respect for the defeated, which is counterproductive to reconciliation. Clearly, the wounds of war in northeast Sri Lanka have not yet been adequately cauterized so the healing process of the country as a whole has been delayed. This is one of the reasons for the straightforward language used in UN (2011), which has, in the long run, done the people of Sri Lanka a great service in putting out important information that had been repressed in the public domain, even if it opens festering wounds. In the short term, the report also gives ultra-nationalists on both sides another chance to demonstrate their strength that conceals deep moral anxiety. The Sri Lankan state could have addressed the vulnerabilities after the war, taking limited responsibility for excesses in the context of the fact that all wars are ugly, and reaching out to heal the wounds of war. Instead, the state and its detractors have been locked into a blame game while subscribing to a dominant international myth prevalent after 9/11 that militarization constitutes a global public good and is the best way to secure ourselves from vulnerability and life's precariousness. Militarization on the ground has been the crude materialist response of the state to allegations of “war crimes” from powerful segments of the international community and the Sri Lanka diaspora. The end of war in Sri Lanka amid allegations of “war crimes” by both parities to the conflict consolidated a local-global disjuncture that has configured the course of postconflict peace and reconciliation in the country. A substantive peace would require a change in the currently dominant state-centric national security mindset that relies on high levels of militarization and militarism for regime security. Rather, emphasis should be on release and reintegration of former combatants who surrendered with their communities. The government would need to lift the emergency rule to which successive governments have become addicted. The substantive normalization of the security situation and the lifting of barriers to movement would be necessary. Under emergency rule, detention without informing families, disappearances, and a culture of impunity that gave the armed forces and paramilitaries attached to the government carte blanche flourished. The war saw a systematic erosion of the rule of law and transformed civil military relations in Sri Lanka. The military is far more powerful than in the past. Post-war, downsizing the military along with devolution of power to the northern and eastern regions and the implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which provides for a provincial government, will be essential to ensure sustainable peace. In the context, it is worth noting that a primary reason that Sri Lanka had, and still
has, the best social indicators (health, literacy and education) in the region was the early postcolonial investment in social infrastructure and the welfare state, rather than in the defense sector by leaders of the Independence movement in the island. India and Pakistan because of partition violence and unsettled borders at independence (with China later a hidden signifier in this relationship), invested in militarization, and today both countries have nuclear weapons, and relatively poor human and social development track records. Now that the war is over, Sri Lanka needs to once again lead the way in South Asia: demilitarize and reinvest once again in human resources and the social sectors, particularly education and ensure power sharing among the island's diverse communities. Conclusion: South Asia's culture of militarization A range of internal and external factors have contributed to Sri Lanka's post war militarization. In the past decade, a culture of militarization has developed in South Asia particularly as a result of the US led global “war on terror” in Afghanistan and Pakistan and India's tacit arms race with China. This is despite the fact that the region has the highest poverty count in the world. China's rise and expanding military budget and “string of pearls” strategy in the Indian Ocean, as well as its strategic relationship with Pakistan, has no doubt fuelled the process. Cohen and Dasgupta (2010) have analyzed India's military modernization spending spree. Arguably, an emergent SAARC regional culture of militarism as Asia grows wealthier and the world “re-ORIENTS” to the global economy in the Asian age, has helped legitimize post-war militarization in Sri Lanka whose strategic location on Indian Ocean sea-lanes has resulted in Asian giants China and India competing to “invest” in various sectors in the country, including the military and related service sectors (Frank 1998). In the post 9/11 global context, militarization and securitization have been increasingly conceived as a global public good. Post-war, militarization has moved from the northeast periphery of the post/colonial state to the centre, and has increasingly deformed democratic institutions and process, while foreclosing possibilities for reconciliation and closure and thus leaving space for endemic conflict in Sri Lanka. While the Sri Lanka government has been accused of war crimes by segments of the international community the process of militarization has been relatively unremarked. Militarization in Sri Lanka, one of South Asia's old democracies, has also been legitimized with Asia becoming wealthier and emerging as a global economic growth centre in the context of the international financial crisis, ironically revealing opposite trends to those emerging in Tunisia, Egypt, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa that are grappling with democracy movement. At this time, Sri Lanka may be South Asia's calmest country, but that does not say much for a region that has the world's highest poverty count with soaring defense spending, two nuclear-armed states, and a tacit arms race. Post-war militarization in Sri Lanka has been legitimated by these developments as has the issue of war crimes.
Dr Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake is a social anthropologist and visiting research fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (National University of Singapore). References Butler, Judith. 2004. Precarious life: The power of mourning and violence. New York: Verso. Cohen, Stephen P., and Sunil Dasgupta. 2010. Arming without aiming: India's military modernization. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press. Frank, Andre Gunder. 1998. ReORIENT: Global economy in the Asian age. California: University of California Press Pallmeyer, Jack Nelson. 1992. Brave new world order. Orbis Books. Siddiqa, Ayesha. 2007. Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's military economy. Pluto Press. United Nations. 2011. Report of the Secretary General's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka. New York: UN. http://www.un.org/News/dh/infocus/Sri_ Lanka/POE_Report_Full.pdf
Small and light weapons manufacturing in Pakistan Salma Malik
n annual event, the â€œglobal week of action against gun violenceâ€? was commemorated between 12 and 19 June 2011, during which various public and community awareness campaigns were organized to educate and sensitize people about the negative fallout of firearms and light weapons, which have claimed an unimaginable number of combatants and noncombatants worldwide. What is appalling is the lack of ownership and sensitivity on the part of the larger segment of society toward the problem of proliferation of small arms and light weapons (SALW) and their lethal effect on society. The official figure put forth by the Pakistan government with regard to the loss of civilian and military deaths related to the War on Terror is 30,000 civilians and 5,000 military personnel. This figure could be modest, as independent human rights bodies state that close to 40,000 have been killed and more than 100,000 injured (Bajwa 2010). When looking at the global impact of SALW, the statistics put forth by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey state that, each year, no less than 52,000 people were killed between 2004 and 2007 as a result of direct conflict-related deaths,1 while 245,000 people lost their lives to nonarmed conflict-related violence.2 The number of fatalities incurred by the US's atomic bomb explosion over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (leading to the cessation of World War II) pales in comparison.3 Not only are a huge number of people killed because of firearms, rising internal instability, non-armed conflict violence, a worldwide wave of terrorism, asymmetric warfare, as well as secessionist movements have made firearms a weapon of choice in the hands of armed groups. The economic and developmental cost of the armed violence manifests itself in different forms, ranging from decrease in GDP growth, lost and depressed productivity and economic indicators, forced displacement, erosion of social capital, infrastructural loss, enhanced trafficking and overall socio-psychological deterioration of human lives and quality. It is not only the non-state operatives who shoulder the blame for the increased violence and corresponding number of people killed, but state parties are equally guilty of contributing to this spiraling violence by directly or indirectly instigating gun running. During and after the Cold War, countries on one hand advocated for stringent gun control, trade and manufacturing regulations, and on the other hand were found arming and dealing with non-state actors, militias or warriors by proxy to fulfill their hidden agenda. Thus more often openly flouting the legislations pushed by themselves, creating and exploiting caveats in these laws when and where ever necessary and thus setting a dangerous precedence for others to follow. Trivialized as a non-lethal tool owing to its nomenclature, the sophistication of modern weaponry and the ease and abundance with which it can reach conflict zones, easily makes it the real weapon of mass destruction and indiscriminate killing.
War or what can be better defined as armed conflict4 in recent years has increasingly changed shape. It is no longer restricted to prescribed war theatres, fought by conventional armies through purely conventional tactics. Rather, it has moved into civilian spaces, with combatants belonging to non-state or sub-state groups, at times even recruiting children and women in the ranks. Bound by neither a state legislature nor international covenants, there are no limits to the types of weapons used, tactics employed or atrocities committed. At the same time, in this unconventional, asymmetric exchange, the state-run conventional forces remain constrained owing to the diffused nature of the adversary, and the civilian population caught in the cross fire as a collateral, which is least favorable for the state. The post-Cold War situation, specifically 9/11, has enhanced the sensitivity towards this acute issue. Prior to this many myths and misperceptions surrounded the issue which included: l l l l
SALW proliferation and pilferage is a trivial issue and can be controlled. These weapons are cultural codes in certain societies (such as Pashtun tribes), and cannot be got rid off. Owing to their oft perceived limited life span, they wear out and become redundant in a few years' time. It is justifiable for state parties to arm common citizens or create citizen armies in order to counter and stand guard against local militancy.
Unfortunately, as the above mentioned statistics also indicate, there is nothing trivial or mundane about SALW, whether in an armed conflict or otherwise. These weapons have been the leading cause of death worldwide, and owing to their easy availability and sophistication yet simplicity in usage makes them the best tool for insurgents and non state actors. Contrary to the common belief, once these weapons proliferate out of state control, there is no means to control them as they are the most potent tools in the hands of traffickers, mafia syndicates, warlords and profiteers. Every now and then suspected cargo registered in the name of anonymous dealers are apprehended en route any of the global conflict zones which often is released with interventions from state parties, making this shady business extremely dangerous and formidable. Furthermore, weapons are no longer confined to ornamental status or a mere cultural code. The access to weapons by ordinary citizens empowers them and elevates their status from a non-descript individual to a person in control of his destiny and surroundings. Although the modern state is under increased pressures from both within and outside, yet it still remains (and should ideally remain) the sole manager and authority of violence and power. Out sourcing this authority to its citizens, not only undermines this authority but these agents develop the inadvertent capacity to challenge the writ of the state when it works against their perceived interests. That is why empowering tribal lashkars (armed groups) as proxy warriors may serve beneficial on immediate basis, but proves counter-productive in the longer strategic terms. Last but not least, the common belief that firearms have a limited shelf life and improper care and neglect results in their wearing out also becomes redundant as weapons such as the AK 47, even if made by black market gun smith have the sturdiness to work in adverse
conditions. With the firepower, there is no longer the restriction of such weapons yielding target accuracy. Weapons collected from war zones even today contain inventories from Cold War period, and with imperfect disarmament and demobilization schemes, increased corruption, increasing demand and innovative supply routes, the modern warrior of today has a wide range and variety of weapons to pick and choose from. For Pakistan, weapons manufacturing industry in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region has taken a somewhat legendary status. The narrow gorges of Landi Kotal, Darra Adam Khel have been famous in the art of gun-making for the past century or so. However, these arms manufacturing cottage industries gained almost mythical proportions, since the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s and became fodder for Western semifictional accounts of the heroic Afghan war. The US-led alliance of sorts which collected under the flag of “jihad” against the “infidel Communists,” also contributed to Darra becoming a flourishing arms bazaar. Interestingly, this alliance consisted of a motley crew of Muslim and non-Muslim countries, such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Shiite Iran, Israel, eastern European countries, China and of course the US itself. It was convenient for the international actors, engaged in bringing down the Soviets in Afghanistan to rope in the Darra and similar gun manufacturing private units, for they operated in what is considered as grey market zones i.e. areas where the writ of the government does not extend, and hence the Pakistan Government's Arms Act (encoded since 1883) also does not apply. For this reason firstly, the arms manufactured in these areas can neither be considered purely legal nor illegal as evident by the date. This immunity predates the establishment of the state of Pakistan, as even during the British colonial raj, these tribesmen were given immunity to manufacture their own armament and weaponry in lieu of a safe passage into Afghanistan. However, since 9/11 and increased Afghan operations, the Darra weapons have become largely controversial. At times, Darra has been roped in to sustain the weapons supply line to the anti-Taliban factions, and at other times, Darra has been targeted for providing the same to the Taliban militia. Recently, however, Darra has come under actual fire and been the centre-stage of Talibanization efforts and government's preventive operations. It remains somehow unclear as to when exactly the Adam Khel Afridis settled in this mountain gorge and picked up gun-making as their profession. According to some estimates which gained fame, the British as early as the mid-nineteenth century—in an effort to curb the imperialist Russia from encroaching on the earmarked British territory and areas of influence including the mountainous terrain of Afghania or later Afghanistan—encouraged these Afridi tribesmen to make guns in order to ensure a forward defense strategy against the Russians as well as gain their allegiance and safe passage through the territory (Khyber Gateway 2008). Some attribute the second half of the nineteenth century as the starting point of gun manufacturing in this area coinciding with the time when the British took occupation of the Kohat pass and its adjacent areas in 1850 and Charles Napier, commander in chief of the British Army, personally led the troops to Kohat (see Nevill 1977, 15-16). In successive years, retired soldiers who had training in armory and gun-making came in contact with experienced blacksmiths and local tribesmen, who made purchases from the towns of Rawalpindi as well as Ferozpur,
joined hands and settled down in Darra. Not only did this new vocation turn out profitable, but suited the tribesmen well, as according to Dr Syed Waqar Shah (Quaid-eAzam University), These artisans moved inside into the tribal territory for two purposes: a) here they were not supposed to pay taxes, and, b) there was no restriction on their work. Moreover, as they could not do it in the British territory where they were allowed only to repair the arms under the terms of annual arms licenses (Arms Act of 1883); they found it more convenient to move into the tribal territory (interview with Waris Khan and Sultan Jan, 5 September 1998). Yet another date line is given by the locals such as the arms dealer Malik Rahim Gul, who attributes the manufacturing of the first gun to â€œUstad Rehmatullah in 1901 when he visited Mardan and saw a gun in the Hujra of a landlord there.â€? According to this folklore, the Ustad turned down the British offer of an allowance for not making any guns and so the craft developed (Ghafar Ali in the Daily Times, 27 April 2004). As in those earlier days, these workers still use somewhat primitive and dated hand-operated machine tools and became highly skilled and adept in fashioning bolts, rifle barrels, rifle-buts and turning stocks. During the 1980s, at the height of Afghan conflict, Darra Adam Khel and its skilled artisans became part of an international folklore, where they gained fame for their ability to replicate virtually any kind of sophisticated firearms. These artisans' adeptness and skill were much appreciated and used to optimum best during this time, as the US harnessed all kinds of resources and efforts to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. In the initial days of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Darra proved to be largely the sole source of weapons provision to the fighting mercenaries. The weapons produced at Darra during this period were not as sophisticated, consisting largely of rifles and shot guns. However, as the Soviets consolidated themselves in Afghanistan, the US ambitions to fight the Soviets became clearer and more viable, as they shared this aim with the warring Afghan militia. Though highly motivated, these Afghan resistance groups were scattered and ill equipped to fight a superpower, and here the strategy and money of American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) came to good use. Using its counterpart, the Inter Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) of Pakistan as its contact point, the CIA engaged with, trained, protected and gave money to different Afghan mujahedeen groups and their leaders to fight the war. Weapons were brought in from different sources, with money pumped in by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and also generated primarily from narcotic sales and channeled through financial institutions. The US debacle in Vietnam brought about a massive change in American policies. Post Vietnam, the negative public opinion and criticism over the use of American tax payers' money in a 12-year-long war which had brought home nothing but inflation, a warridden economy and countless body bags made America change its external engagement strategy. Until the early 1990s, the US not only shied away from deploying its military troops in war zones, but also to date maintains the policy of not supplying warring allies
with American-made weapons. Exceptions, however, did occur such as the supply of the famous anti air craft surface–to-air Stinger missiles to the Afghan mujahedeen towards the end, which in itself became a source of major controversy. During the Cold War, as mentioned before, US operators worldwide purchased Soviet-made weapons through a very complex and myriad supply network, a strategy that proved successful both politically and diplomatically. As none of these weapons were of the US origin or could be traced back to the US, the possibility of a direct confrontation with the Soviets became a remote possibility and the US could operate through proxies or conduit actors. The bulk of the weapons used in the jihad was of Soviet origin, brought from China, Egypt, Libya, and even eastern European countries, who were part of the Cold War Soviet alliance structure. The great bulk came from China, Egypt, and later on from Israel. I had no idea that Israel was a source until quite recently, as, had it been known, there would have been considerable trouble with the Arab nations….These were weapons that had been captured in large quantities during Israel's invasion of Lebanon and which they were delighted to sell (Yousaf and Adkin 2003, 28-29). The CIA funneled huge amount of money as well as weaponry into Afghanistan through Pakistan, from about USD 30 million in 1981 to about USD 200 million in 1984 (Coll 2004, 65), and in total this amount roughly estimated to around USD 2 billion worth of aid to the mujahedeen in 1979–1989 (Marsh 2002, 221). Besides these external sources of weapons, Darra and its skilled artisans found a boost to their vocation during this time. Before the Soviet incursion, Darra used to produce mainly 9 mm rifles, shotguns and pistols ranging from 0.22 to 0.32 caliber, etc. The Afghan war made these manufacturers adept at producing very authentic copies of Kalashnikovs, M-16s, Uzis bazookas, and even rocket launchers, etc. One could acquire practically any small arm desired, and that too at a low cost. Some of these weapons were originals left over from the war in Afghanistan, others copies made in back-alley workshops, repaired originals, or copies made from cannibalized parts. Often the only difference between the original and the local designs would be that the locally manufactured barrels were made from inferior quality of metal (BBC, 27 January 2000; see also Abel 2000, 85-87). Since, globally black and grey market channels are driven by the demand and supply principle, it was largely presumed that the end of the Cold War would bring about a foreclosure to such businesses worldwide. Likewise, it was commonly perceived that with the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan, the demand for illicit weapons in the country would drastically go down. Although the Darra business did suffer a setback, two factors played an important role in maintaining the weapons flow. First, a near absent postconflict resettlement process resulted in the continuation of war in Afghanistan, which eventually brought the Taliban in power and then post 9/11 developments maintained the demand factor. Secondly, the neighboring Kashmir resistance movement, and then sectarian strife in Pakistan also kept the Darra business flourishing. Prior to 9/11, in an attempt to curb the rising sectarian strife and militancy in Pakistan,
the then government in office undertook major steps to remedy the situation. Amongst these were steps to ban and crackdown upon certain militant organizations which had gained notoriety not only in the country for their role in spreading sectarian and ethnic strife, but also in fanning militancy outside the country. Another very significant step was to launch a nationwide de-weaponization campaign in the autumn of 2000 (Government of Pakistan 2001). The campaign was spread over three phases. Initially owners were encouraged to register and obtain licenses for their weapons. During the second stage owners could surrender illegal firearms over a two-week amnesty in June 2001. Although the number of weapons received was not expected to be great, the hope was that these measures would break the culture of freely carrying Kalashnikov rifles in public and facilitate future police intervention. The last phase entailed massive crackdown and recovery of illicit weapons. The de-weaponization campaign had a seven-point agenda; starting from mere but symbolic ban on the public display of weapons; non-issuance of arms licenses; collection of data on licensed equipment; weapons buy-back program; recovery of illegal weapons; bringing illegal production under the legal net; imposing a quota system on weapons production (both in legal and illegal sectors). The campaign gained worldwide appreciation and it was cited as one of the most ambitious campaign waged in Asia; however, it could not obtain the desired results. After the initial recoveries and crackdown, it fell victim to political wrangling and was marred by lack of sustained follow-up and proper implementation. One aspect of the de-weaponization campaign entailed harnessing Darra's activities. Amongst the many suggestions given, there were proposals to regularize Darra's products as well as providing incentives to Darra manufacturers to join state run enterprises. This was by no means a small task, as regularizing Darra's activities in a broader sense entailed bringing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) under state control, and abolishing the region's special status along with the Frontier Crime Regulation Act (FCR). The Act has been in place since the early 1900s, and abolishing it is virtually impossible, as it entails major changes in the constitution. With regard to the incentives, in October 2000, a team of five mechanical engineers from the Pakistan Ordinance Factories (POF) carried out a study to survey the arms industries in Darra. The then chairperson of POF also visited the place and discussed the demands of the manufacturers and dealers in greater detail, where-after two sets of recommendations, one at POF level and the other at the government level, were made. At the POF level, it was suggested, and later even tried out, to enroll few batches of youth from Darra in the state run ordnance factories on the basis of their educational qualifications and technical skills. This was suggested in order to provide livelihood to few families and indirectly encourage many others to join national mainstream. A batch of 80 workers did join the POF during 2003â€“2004, but the low monetary incentives discouraged others to follow suit, and even a significant number amongst these also left citing the same reasons. Other suggestions entailed reserving seats for technical training of eligible individuals from Darra in POF Institute of Technology on discounted rates who could then be given employment in different private and public sector engineering
industries in Pakistan. However, the Darra artisans' basic handicap was lack of formal education, but adeptness at their ancestral vocation. Furthermore suggestions such as, establishing a shotgun rifle factory either at Peshawar or Kohat (in settled areas) as a commercial pursuit under Wah Industries Limited (a commercial window of the POF) as per laid down rules with the approval of the board of directors was put forth. Locals in this set-up could be offered to become shareholders. Such a factory would largely comprise of Darra's technicians working under strict administrative, security and quality controls of Wah Industries Limited. Lastly, the POF suggested that prominent Darra manufacturers could get registered as vendors with the state entity and be given specific production orders to produce some spares subject to quality checks by the POF department. At the government level, there were again suggestions such as providing Darra manufacturers' preferential opportunities to seek and apply their skills in related industries such as vehicle, and medical instruments. The idea was that better economic opportunities might discourage them from undertaking illicit arms manufacturing. There could also be alternative job incentives such as setting up factories, or agricultural land or better still, a government controlled and regulated factory could be established within the Darra where modern machinery could be used for manufacturing quality sports guns and other small arms with better steel and the facility of heat treatment shop and adopting quality control methods. The sophistication thus brought in the manufacture of arms would gradually detract peoples' interest in much inferior arms being produced and the owners of the existing units would be compelled to move for modernization under the regulatory control of the government and follow the laid down standards. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government proposed setting up an industrial estate in Darra, thereby offering tribal entrepreneurs to come forward and set up small industrial units to control unemployment in the area (Dawn, 4 December 2003). The Defense Export Promotion Organization (DEPO), a body working under the Ministry of Defense Production, had proposed reorientation of Darra arms manufacturing sector to export hunting and sporting arms and ammunition, in a bid to bring the arms manufacturing sector of Darra under the legal cover (Dawn, 23 November 2005). The DEPO very proudly exhibited promising arms export figures for the year 2001/02. According to Major General Syed Ali Hamid, director general DEPO, Pakistan's export earnings from weapons and defense equipment made a quantum jump of almost 100 percent during 2000–2001 from USD 40 million to USD 85–90 million. “We have managed to export Darra Adam Khel-made weapons worth $1.5 million [sic],” the director-general told in a press briefing. Darra, he pointed out, had now appeared on the world arms trade map for legal trading (Dawn, 11 August 2002). However a similar exercise carried out in Peshawar by Small & Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) in 2003 failed to yield positive results. Its failure was largely attributed to the central government's hasty decision to carry out the exhibition (Intikhab Amir in Dawn, 8 August 2003). However, neither the DEPO nor the SMEDA efforts proved successful due to lack of proper implementation and communication between the Darra vendors and the government.
The Darra manufacturers on their part have raised concerns regarding the easy availability of all kinds of weapons that are traded through the Pak-Afghan border. This easy and cheap availability of these weapons have adversely affected the Darra arms business. In a bid to improve their sales, they sought relaxation in regulations from the government in order to help them export their products to European and American markets. According to these manufacturers, European and American markets provide them great opportunities to export sporting and vintage guns which, given relaxed government rules and loan facilities, could be a source of great revenue generation for the country (Intikhab Amir in Dawn, 10 August 2003). In the face of rising militancy, and insurgency in the country, both the demand and supply side of illicit arms has registered a sharp increase. Not only in the KPK but also in urban metropolis, such as Karachi and Lahore the demand for weapons increased. Since 2007, according to a leading newspaper survey, there was a 1,500 percent increase in the sale of fire arms in the city of Karachi alone (News, 17 February 2008). The reasons for such a sharp increase were deteriorating law and order situation, uncertainty during the election times, political wrangling and lastly, the rampant usage of firearms during celebrations such as weddings, basant, or any other occasion, in spite of bans imposed in city centers (Shahnawaz Khan in the Daily Times, 26 December 2007). At average, citizens when asked, attribute this firearms purchase to the poor law and order conditions and lack of faith in the police to provide adequate protection. The citizens of Karachi even attribute the 12 May 2007 riots that claimed 43 lives to this rising insecurity that is fast spreading in Karachi (News, 17 February 2008). Correspondingly, there is also an increase in the prices of the weapons and ammunition in spite of the various curbs placed by the government. The current military operations in the KPK, where efforts for Talibanization are being resisted by the government, have brought Darra Adam Khel into one of the main areas of operations. The government in an attempt to prevent weapons from falling into the hands of the insurgents, clamped down on Darra. However many reports have come forth, where the Taliban militia or criminal elements taking advantage of the prevalent situation, ransacked the storehouses of the manufacturers and took away weapons and ammunitions. The USled allied forces, time and again hint at the Darra weapons being the main source of weapons supply to the insurgents and militant elements (Washington Times, 5 February 2008). However to the contrary, the locals cite a variety of sources from where these weapons are coming, which range from best quality sniper guns from India to Israeli weapons being brought in from Afghanistan (interview with Naveed Shinwari, chief executive of Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme, Peshawar, 30 October 2008). This has made the government's work all the more difficult in handling the issue. Besides the very hardcore and pertinent military aspect of the problem, is the question of the livelihood of so many people and their future source of earnings attached to this industry. Already, the artisans find their vocational space increasingly shrinking due to government policies, weapons that are entering the region from outside, and the availability of old surplus weapons. The space and fame enjoyed by such manufacturers during the Cold War is no longer possible. Although worldwide sales and trade of
weapons is a highly politicized issue, yet post 9/11, we find the US as the main global actor choosing at will actors with whom to engage. Unfortunately, the developments in the region have not been entirely favorable to the Darra manufacturers, and in this recent Talibanization drive, their source of livelihood has also suffered greatly. Although it is the demand and not the supply that governs market sentiment, yet to minimize the lethality of conflict, and save a highly skilled segment of our population from starvation and despondency, the government must engage the Darra manufacturers into better as well as alternative vocation plans. The government must also not follow an appeasement policy with regards the post 9/11 American engagement in the region. We need to be collectively more proactive in identifying the alien actors involved in destabilizing the country and carry out a much more vigilant and stringent policy to better ensure law and order which by itself is an uphill task. With internal conflicts becoming an unfortunate norm in the contemporary scenario, the need is to take a holistic approach towards solving the problem. The situation is extremely precarious for a country specially like Pakistan, which not only has a demand generated due to insurgencies, failing law and order, politically backed violence at the internal level, but also border conflict zone such as Afghanistan. The few necessary steps range from having a well articulated policy which will address the core issues and have a follow-up mechanism, alternate support schemes which are difficult to implement, owing to the dire economic conditions that are in turn affected by weakening security, law and order situation. The policy should also have mechanisms to check and plug financing sources of insurgents and terrorists, as with stringent global money laundering regulations, since militant organizations have started to indulge in kidnapping for ransom, trafficking etc. For this purpose, all countries affected and concerned, instead of playing a blame game, must take stringent internal as well as regional to global actions and implement them completely. There is a need for stronger border control, for which the role and personnel reliability of border security forces is most important. Incidents such as those at the PNS Mehran in Karachi, GHQ in Rawalpindi, police academy at Manawaan Lahore or storming of military barracks are a proof that not only does the security apparatus need to carry out an internal review and appraisal, but also fortify its physical defenses. Furthermore, radical reforms for the security sector are required, and they must not be held victim to the whims of interest groups, who for narrow parochial interests put the entire country's security at risk. The reforms would also entail better training, better equipment and accountability of the security personnel, so that incidents such as extra judicial killing of high profile political personalities by personal guards, or those of innocent people, can be prevented and checked. Finally, anti-gun legislation needs to be owned and put forth by political and civil society members, along with educating people about the insidious effects of SALW, rather than glorifying them as cultural or religious artifacts. Salma Malik is an assistant professor at the Defense and Strategic Studies Department at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad.
Endnotes 1. According to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey, between 2004 and 2007, at least 208,300 violent deaths were recorded in armed conflicts—an average of 52,000 people killed per year. “This is a conservative estimate including only recorded deaths: the real total may be much higher.” 2. According to the Small Arms Survey, non-conflict deaths are often distinguished from the deaths that arise from armed conflict based on the organization of the killing and include homicides, suicides, extrajudicial killings, and other forms of death or injury, such as those resulting from domestic violence or gender-based armed violence, social cleansing, or disappearances and kidnappings. Approximately 60 percent of all violent deaths are committed with firearms, with variation from a low of 19 percent in West and Central Europe to a high of 77 percent in Central America, based on data from 45 countries. That represents 245,000 firearms deaths per year. 3. Collectively, 80,000 to 140,000 people were killed and 100,000 more were seriously injured in the Hiroshima attack whereas 74,000 people were killed and another 75,000 sustained severe injuries in Nagasaki. 4. According to the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, Uppsala University Sweden, Armed Conflict database, “An armed conflict is a contested incompatibility that concerns government and/or territory where the use of armed force between two parties, of which at least one is the government of a state, results in at least 25 battle-related deaths in one calendar year.” References Abel, Pete. 2000. Manufacturing trends: Globalizing the source. In Small arms control: Old weapons, new issues, ed. Lora Lumpe. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Limited. Bajwa, Imran. 2010. Pakistan: Forty thousand killed and more than one hundred thousand injured during War on Terror. Hong Kong: Asian Human Rights Commission. Coll, Steve. 2004. Ghost wars: The secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet invasion to September 10, 2001. London: Penguin Books. Government of Pakistan. 2001. Report on analysis of column no. 29 (arms license) in National Database Form (NDF). Islamabad: National Database Registration Authority, Ministry of Interior. Khyber Gateway. Darra Adam Khel. http://www.khyber.org/places/2005/ DarraAdamKhel.shtml Marsh, Nicholas. 2002. Two sides of the same coin? The legal and illegal trade in small arms. Brown Journal of World Affairs 9 (1): 221. Nevill, H. L. 1977. Campaigns on the North-West Frontier Province. Lahore: Sang-e-Meel. Small Arms Survey. Direct conflict deaths. http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/ index.php?id=296 Uppsala University. Uppsala conflict data program: Definitions. http://www.pcr.uu.se/research/ucdp/definitions/ Yousaf, Mohammad, and Mark Adkin. 2003. The bear trap: Afghanistan's untold story. Lahore: Jung Publishers.
Integrating Maoist ex-combatants in Nepal Bishnu Raj Upreti
odern Nepal has been subject to numerous violent activities waged by different political actors/forces. The decade-long armed conflict waged by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [UCPN (M)]1 between February 1996 and November 2006 has been the most serious. This essay is limited to the integration and rehabilitation (I&R) of Maoist ex-combatants2 once the warring parties had signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on 21 November 2006. The objective of this essay is to examine the dynamics of integration and rehabilitation in relation to Nepal's peace process. The Maoist insurgency and regime change On 13 February 2006, the UCPN (M) waged an armed insurrection, blaming the then government failure to respond to their 40-point demand. However, the debate about armed insurgency within the UCPN (M) started in 1986. Paradoxically, the armed conflict began at a time when multi-party democracy had just been restored six years ago by ending the autocratic party-less panchayat political system through a people's movement and, in which, the UCPN (M) was also a junior partner. On one side, within five or six years, the UCPN (M) had successfully expanded its insurgency across the country, building on social cleavages, poverty, inequality, discrimination, and the feeling of injustice widely prevalent in the country. Successive governments were neither able to suppress nor negotiate to end the insurgency peacefully, and the situation had almost reached a strategic stalemate (Upreti 2009). On the other side, the government and parliamentary parties were engaged in corruption, mal-governance, intra-party tensions, and the abuse of state power and resources. Gravely miscalculating, the new king (who was installed immediately after the royal massacre in 2001) asserted his active role in politics, going beyond constitutional provisions. King Gyanendra tried to form an alliance with the UCPN (M) to sideline the parliamentary political parties and succeeded for some time (Shah 2011). However, the king ambitiously took over power on 1 February 2005 by imposing a state of emergency, and arresting and/or detaining political leaders, human rights activists, journalists, and civil society leaders. Consequently, the political dynamics changed drastically and the UCPN (M) shifted to collaborate with the parliamentary parties against the king. India informally and unofficially facilitated the process of bringing these two forces together against the king. The UCPN (M) and Seven Party Alliance (SPA) (formed by the parliamentary political parties to fight against the direct rule of the king) reached a 12point understanding. When these two forces came together, the existing power relations changed from
tripartite [the Palace, the parliamentary parties, and the UCPN (M)] to bipolar, i.e., the UCPN (M) and SPA vs. the Palace). Ultimately, they succeeded in ending the direct rule of the king. This created a favorable environment for a peace agreement and, consequently, the CPA was signed between the SPA-led government and the UCPN (M), ending a decade-long bloody conflict and paving the way for an end to the centuries-old institution of monarchy. Within the framework of the CPA, the government and UCPN (M) signed the Agreement on Monitoring of Management of Arms and Armies (AMMAA) (among others), which details the I&R of Maoist ex-combatants. The United Nations Mission in Nepal3 (UNMIN) was invited to support the peace process. An interim constitution was promulgated in 2007 and the Constituent Assembly (CA) elected in April 2008. UNMIN was assigned to verify Maoist fighters4 and a joint monitoring and coordination committee chaired by UNMIN was assigned to resolve any complications that might arise and to coordinate the verification process. The UCPN (M) ex-combatants verification process was concluded in December 2007. I&R and constitution making Disarming and reintegrating former combatants into society and security sector reforms are common tasks in peace building and state-building measures in countries emerging from conflict (Upreti 2009; H채nggi 2009). In this context, the CPA and interim constitution envisioned a six-month timeframe for the completion of I&R and two years for the promulgation of the new constitution. However, this timeframe was not adhered to. Since the CPA was signed, four years have passed without much progress, mainly because of tensions over power sharing and the different positions taken by major political parties on I&R. The CA failed to put forward the new constitution by the originally stipulated time of 28 May 2010, and thus its term was extended for a year. However, it was again unable to draft the new constitution because of the power struggle among the three big parties. On 28 May 2011, they agreed to extend the term of the CA with the following five-point agreement: l l l l l
The basic tasks of the peace process would be completed within three months. The first draft of the constitution would be prepared through the CA within three months. Various past agreements with the Madhesi Front, including the agreement to make the Nepal army an inclusive institution, would be effectively implemented. The CA's term would be extended by three months. The prime minister would resign and pave the way for the formation of a consensus national united government.
Many political decision makers perceive the I&R of UCPN (M) ex-combatants as completing the peace process, thus undermining its other elements. A critical look at the five points mentioned above clearly demonstrates the tension among the political parties. However, after this agreement, some progress was made in I&R, e.g., the UCPN (M) ended its dual security system (it was using its own army in addition to state security forces) and returned them to the cantonments.
Different school of thoughts in I&R There are three schools of thought concerning the I&R of Maoist ex-combatants. The first is not in favor of integration and emphasizes rehabilitation. However, it is constrained by the provisions of the interim constitution and CPA because both clearly state provisions for I&R. The interim constitution states that, â€œverified Maoist combatants who chose integration [will] be deemed eligible for possible integration with the security bodies, after fulfilling the standard requirements.â€? The second school believes in a problem-solving approach and highlights the need for compromise midway by integrating some ex-combatants and rehabilitating some. It argues that strictly following the Nepal army's recruitment norms may not be applicable and that they need to be flexible. The third school of thought argues that the maximum number of ex-combatants be integrated into state security forces, demands group entry, and rejects the Nepal army's criteria of recruitment in the integration of ex-combatants. The UCPN (M) belongs to this school. All I&R proposals or opinions expressed in the public domain and ongoing negotiations are overtly or covertly guided by these three arguments. Contested issues in I&R At the global level, disarming, decommissioning, and reintegration (DDR) is a commonly used term (Gleichman et al. 2004). However, the UCPN (M) does not accept DDR, arguing that it undermines the contribution of their fighters to the political change. The concept of I&R was thus introduced, although it remains one of the most contested and debated political issues in Nepal. Nevertheless, it is debated in an isolated way and is not linked with holistic security sector restructuring, national security policy, the professionalization of the Nepal army, and modes of security in the federal political system. It has often been used as a political bargaining tool. The figure below shows why political parties take strong positions on the I&R of ex-combatants, thus adding complications. The experiences of Angola, Burundi, CĂ´te d'Ivoire, Eretria, Liberia, Haiti, Ache of Indonesia, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo show that dealing with excombatants is very complicated and often politicized (Aditya et al. 2006; Pathak 2011). Thus, Nepal is no exception. If there was full commitment, I&R would not be difficult. If the political decision makers really want to integrate ex-combatants, the following general criteria could be used (Upreti 2007): l
l l l
Individual ex-combatants should opt for integration, rehabilitation, or voluntary retirement. They should then be regrouped and rehabilitation packages designed for those who wish to reenter the community. The party membership of people want to integrate should be terminated. Physical fitness should be a criterion for security forces. Basic criteria should be met with some flexibility, since this is a problem-solving arrangement.
Figure: Contested issues in I&R in Nepal
Ideological indoctrination leads to politicization of Nepal army Standard criteria of Nepal army and group entry vs. individuals
Problems of adjustment in senior ranks
Contested issues in integration and rehabilitation Numbers and modality
Opens door for integration from other armed groups
No entry to those violating human rights
The system should be inclusive and representative across caste, geographical region, and gender. Ex-combatants should have no record of grave human rights abuses.
Those who are qualified for integration into the security forces should be separated from those who want to opt for voluntary retirement and rehabilitation in communities. Further steps would have to be designed accordingly. Options for the integration of ex-combatants include: (i) the existing security forces, such as the Nepal army, police, armed police force, and private security companies; or (ii) the creation of new forces, such as industrial security, special force for post-conflict reconstruction and development, and border security. Different proposals have been discussed at the political and public levels, but there is no agreement yet (see table below).
Table: Overview of the positions of major political parties for I&R in May-Jun 2011 Contested issues
Positions of major political parties
Three options: Form separate force of excombatants, integrate into existing forces, or form mixed force.
Integrate into Integrate into existing Integrate into existing existing forces only. forces or form mixed forces. force (bring in people from all security forces).
Nepal army criteria not applicable.
Nepal army criteria applicable.
Flexible in age, education, marital status, etc.
Flexible in age, education, marital status, etc.
As per Maoist PLA ranks (equivalent to Nepal army position).
Rigid. Existing criteria to decide.
Flexible. Adapted criteria to decide.
Rigid. Existing criteria to decide.
NPR1,000,000 for voluntary retirement, package of NPR1,000,000 for rehabilitation.
NPR300,000 in installments for voluntary retirement, package of NPR300,000 for rehabilitation.
NPR500,000 for voluntary retirement, some cash and rehabilitation package.
In the last four years, different options have been discussed and partiesâ€™ positions change frequently. This reflects only the current discussion.
Madhesi parties demanded the group entry of 10,000 Madhesi people in the Nepal army, together with the integration of Maoist ex-combatants, adding another complication.
Source: Compiled by the author from the Kantipur Daily (19 May 2011), the Kathmandu Post (9 June 2011) and various documents.
Despite the numerous discussions and meetings, political parties were not able to find a solution for nearly three years. However, in May 2011, the Nepal army submitted a proposal for the integration of UCPN (M) ex-combatants, which is now largely accepted by all major political parties including the UCPN (M). The main points of the proposal are: l
The creation of a Development and Security Directorate under the Nepal army to be led by the army general by bringing together forces from the police, armed police, Nepal army, and Maoists, who fulfill the army's standard criteria. The major tasks of the Directorate are the construction of national development infrastructure, rehabilitation at the time of natural disasters, industrial security, and forest security (except national parks and reserves). The number is to be mutually decided, but the ratio is 35% from the Nepal army, 35% from qualified UCPN (M) ex-combatants, 15% from the civilian police, and 15% from the armed police. However, they will not possess arms (weapons will be given only to some for self defense). Flexible until certain ranks.
Currently, this proposal serves as the basis for the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC) chaired by the prime minister to negotiate the integration of Maoist ex-
combatants. Earlier, the Nepal army was less flexible with respect to integration and, therefore, the political parties were not able to decide. Once the Nepal army had come up with a problem-solving proposal, it created a favorable environment for progress in the integration of Maoist ex-combatants. On 8 June 2011, the UCPN (M) organized a meeting of its senior ex-combatant officers at which the UCPN (M) chairperson ordered them to prepare for I&R (Kathmandu Post, 9 June 2011). However, there has been less progress in designing rehabilitation packages for ex-combatants. The UCPN (M) has demanded NPR1,000,000 per person to be rehabilitated, but other parties are not willing to do so. Role of the AISC The constitutionally established AISC is chaired by the prime minister and represented by leaders of the major political parties. It is, overall, responsible for the I&R of excombatants (Upreti 2009). The AISC was assisted by the Army Integration Technical Committee in technical matters. The latter was later changed to the AISC Secretariat, although it can effectively work only when the AISC makes positive decisions for I&R. The AISC also has a role in implementing the provisions of the AMMAA. The AMMAA highlights four phases of planning to reintegrate and rehabilitate UCPN (M) excombatants and to manage the Nepal army. These are: (i) reporting and verification, (ii) redeployment and concentration of forces, (iii) Maoist army cantonments, Nepal army barracking, and arms control, and (iv) full compliance with the agreement. The joint monitoring coordination committee (JMCC) chaired by the UN with members from the UCPN (M) ex-combatants and Nepal army was set up to monitor, report, and coordinate the implementation of the agreement. The JMCC was monitoring the cantonments5 till the closure of UNMIN in mid-January 2011, after which, its responsibility was transferred to the AISC. The political decision-making process in Nepal is often informal, nontransparent, and occasionally irrational. Therefore, formal mechanisms such as making the AISC responsible for decision making are bypassed. However, at present the AISC is active in resolving some contentious issues, such as ending dual security. The complications: Reflecting on the past I&R: Bargaining tools or nonstrategic thinking? In the last four years (until the second extension of the CA on 28 May 2011), I&R has been used for political bargaining. Even simple issues that could be easily solved by the AISC were deliberately kept aside: â€?designed deadlocks.â€? No systematic efforts or holistic approaches were used. For example, policymakers did not engage in developing a national security policy, without which, successful implementing I&R is extremely difficult. No proper assessment has been made in Nepal of strategic and operational security threats and risks (what, from whom, how, severity, potential, etc.). Without assessing national security threats and risks, it is difficult to define the types of security forces needed (army, armed police force, civilian police force, industrial security forces, border security force, national parks and protected areas security forces, etc.), their strengths
(numbers), and structures and functions. Nepal is to be federal country if policymakers implement the provisions of the interim constitution. In this context, it is essential to make a security assessment considering the federalization of the country, as it demands different levels of security administration. Before the election of the CA on 10 April 2010, the then prime minister deliberately delayed the I&R process for two possible reasons. First, he perceived a potential threat from the suspended king against the 2006 political change. Hence, he kept the Maoist fighting forces intact. Second, he might have been hoping that the election results would determine the size of the UCPN (M), which was in third position after the Nepali Congress Party (NCP) and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) (CPNUML). That would provide leverage to implement I&R according to his desire. Thus, he did not take seriously the implementation of I&R within the timeframe stipulated in the CPA and AMMAA. If he had made sincere efforts, it would have been possible to accomplish I&R before the CA election, as a high level of trust existed between him and the UCPN (M) chairman. However, the results of the CA election went against all predictions and the UCPN (M) emerged as the largest party. It then started undermining the NCP and CPN-UML. As mistrust mounted, the changed political power relationship became an obstacle to I&R. Once UCPN (M) chair Prachanda became prime minister of the coalition government (formed with the help of the CPN-UML), he did not give priority to the IR& of Maoist excombatants, mainly because he wanted to use it as bargaining tool for favorable political negotiations. It is important to ask why both prime ministers, Girija Prasad Koirala and Prachanda, who were also signatories to the CPA, did not give priority to completing I&R despite their ability to do so and despite the constitutional provision for completing it within six months. One possible answer is “designed deadlock”: keeping aside integration until one's own conditions/interests have been met. Using I&R as a bargaining tool is not new. Experiences of different post-conflict countries show that it is common (Born and Schnabel 2009; Aditya et al. 2006; Pathak 2011; Hänggi 2009; Schnabel and Ehrhart 2005). Mistrust and suspicion Nepal's current politics are largely characterized by mistrust and suspicion. Public mistrust is so deep that political decision makers suspect not only the intentions of other parties but also those of leaders from their own parties. Thus, the three big national parties are divided into three groups and the three big regional parties from TeraiMadhes are divided into at least two groups, all of who suspect each other. The UCPN (M) officially labelled the NCP as the ”main enemy” after the abolition of the monarchy, and called for a “people's revolt” as its strategy (at the Bhaktapur meeting in 2009 and Palungtar meeting in 2010);6 in May 2011, it changed its tune to full commitment to the peace process. In a leaked video tape in 2007, Prachanda was reported explaining to ex-combatants in one of the cantonments that he would be able to
increase the number of ex-combatants fourfold during registration, allowing some 19,602 ex-combatants to be verified compared to the real number of 7,000 to 8,000. The party was unwilling to return the private properties it had captured during the war, and terminated the army chief (whose natural retirement time was just four months away). The NCP accused the UCPN (M) of using double standards.7 Similarly, the UCPN (M) became suspicious of the NCP once it was forced to change the consensus provision of the interim constitution to majority provision. It was not willing to implement the provision to “democratize” the Nepal army and ”determine the right number” as stated in the interim constitution and CPA. The NCP pressured the president (himself an NCP leader) to reinstate the terminated chief of army staff. Meanwhile, the third-largest party, the CPN (UML), was divided between supporting the NCP and UCPN (M), creating confusion and partitioning the political process. The resulting mistrust ultimately hampered I&R efforts. Further, political parties accused the UCMN (M) of using ex-combatants to collect money for the party. They argued that the UCPN (M) was extracting the monthly salaries paid by the state to 19,000 odd ex-combatants staying in the seven cantonments and 21 satellite centers, who had to pay party membership fees from their salaries. Similarly, the UCPN (M) was accused of taking ex-combatants to political meetings (e.g., in the highly controversial Palungtar plenum) and using them to threaten civilians and cadres of other political parties, and even engage them in extortion. Based on these allegations, the other major political parties suspected the UCPN (M)'s intention to delay I&R to reap these benefits from ex-combatants. Dixit (2011) argues that the UCPN (M) used every possible option to impose communist autocracy. One of the most publicly expressed concerns by political parties and analysts has been the possible use of ex-combatants by the UCPN (M) for political gain. The source of this concern is the resistance of the UCPN (M) toward detaching itself from ex-combatants, handing over the weapons kept in cantonments, and regrouping for I&R. This suspicion is further strengthened by periodic threats from Maoist leaders that they will use their ex-combatants if their model of state restructuring and federalization is obstructed. Moreover, the revelations of the Shaktikhor video8 in 2009 created severe suspicion of the intentions of the UCPN (M). International dynamics of I&R The international community has largely realized that the I&R of ex-combatants is one of the main tasks necessary to accomplish Nepal's peace process, but its role has also been controversial. UNMIN was assigned to assist the I&R process, especially verification, joint monitoring, and technical aspects. Although it was strongly backed by the European countries, India was not happy. Nonetheless, UNMIN completed the verification process. However, the NCP and some other small parties questioned its neutrality, alleging that it was biased toward the UCPN (M). Hence, UNMIN's last term was terminated in January 2011 before it could accomplish all the originally envisioned tasks. India, the most influential external player in Nepal's internal politics, is not in favor of
integration. The relationship between India and the UCPN (M) soured after the latter's government fell, and the UCPN (M) blamed India for this, taking a confrontational approach. Consequently, India tried to cut the UCPN (M) down to size by keeping it out of power (even though it was the largest party in parliament) or obstructing its political achievements, affecting the I&R process. The European countries strongly supported integration. They had also strongly supported UNMIN, but had failed to retain it once the NCP opposed any extension of its term. The US, another big player in Nepal, played only a limited technical role (bringing in technical experts and developing the knowledge of political leaders). In short, the international community was divided with the European countries in line with the UCPN (M) and India with the NCP. Since the leverage and influence of India was higher, the I&R process became complicated. The implications The indecisive process of I&R over nearly four years has had several political, economic, and social implications: suspicion of the intentions of major political parties, public confusion, uncertainty among ex-combatants, delays in constitution making, accelerated transitional insecurity, reduced efficiency of the Nepal army (provisions of the CPA and AMMAA restrict some of its activities), and wasted resources (maintaining temporary cantonments and satellite centers). Delays in constitution making One of the main reasons for delays in the drafting of a new constitution by the CA has been the lack of agreement among the major political parties on the process, modality, and numbers involved in integrating ex-combatants. The UCPN (M) was unwilling to do this before making the constitution, arguing that if I&R was completed before finalizing the new constitution, parliamentary parties would not bring about a progressive constitution and opt for the deposed 1990s constitution. On the other side, other parties wanted to complete I&R before the constitution was made, as stated in the interim constitution and CPA. Uncertain future of ex-combatants A serious implication is the frustration of ex-combatants with the indecisive attitude of political decision makers. Ex-combatants feel worried for their future given that no decision has been made in four years, although this was supposed to have been done within six months of signing the CPA. Instead, they have become the subject of sharp criticism and a bargaining tool for the benefit of the political parties. Consequently, some ex-combatants have left the cantonments to join other radical groups and splinter parties (such as the one led by Matrika Yadhav). Psychologically and politically, it is risky keeping an active militant force without making any decision about its future for so long. Economic implications Economically, a huge amount is invested in maintaining the temporary cantonments and monthly salaries (the original amount was NPR3,000 per month but it was increased by the Maoist-led government to NPR5,000), food, construction of infrastructure, and monitoring, etc. The budget allocated for cantonments and salaries is used by the UCPN (M) as a regular source of income for the party, as it deducts a
certain portion (up to 25%) of ex-combatants' salaries. Every year, the government spends more than NPR6 billion on operating the cantonments, which could be use for social services if the I&R process was completed in time. Security implications Media reports reveal that some ex-combatants engage in extortion, threaten the public (especially supporters of other political parties), leave the cantonments, and create fear in the community. The UCPN (M) cadres and its youth wing have behaving coercively on the pretext of ex-combatants, in response to which other political parties have also created coercive forces such as the Madhes Rashya Bahini to counter them. Hence, state security forces, which should be engaged in addressing other transitional security challenges in the country, have to deal with such instances of violence. The challenges Intra-party tussles and inter-party tensions among all the major political parties could potentially damage the I&R process and the peace process. Within the UCPN (M), a hardliner faction is not happy with the party's decision to decommission ex-combatants, end the dual security of leaders, and send bodyguard combatants to the cantonments. Similarly, one faction of the CPN (UML) is opposing to integrating ex-combatants in the Nepal army, insisting on their rehabilitation instead. Finally, a powerful faction within the NCP is resistant to collaboration with the UCPN (M) in the peace process. Transforming the UCPN (M) into a nonviolent political party is another major challenge as it has not yet fully gave up the call to arms for political change. Equally important is to change the mindset of other major political parties to accept the UCPN (M) for the badly needed change and political reform process in Nepal. Finally, the peace process is also stalled by the ideologically guided positions of the political parties. For example, the UCPN (M) wants a powerful executive president and a judiciary under the parliament, while the NCP wants the president as a figurehead of the state and a powerful elected prime minister. Further, the UCPN (M) is in favor of ethnic federalism with the right to self-determination, while other parties are against these issues. Here, I&R could again be used to bargain on these issues. Author's note: This paper is mainly the outcome of research conducted in Nepal under the auspices of the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. The contents of and views expressed here are entirely those of the author and do not represent the views of NCCR North-South. The author is grateful to NCCR North-South for providing a conducive environment in which to develop this paper. Dr Bishnu Raj Upreti is regional coordinator at the South Asia Coordination Office of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR)-North-South, based in Kathmandu. He also teaches at Kathmandu University. Endnotes 1. In January 2009, the CPN (M) and Unity Center (another communist party) united to form the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN) (Maoist). The name UCPN (M) is used here even in the pre-2009 context.
The term “People's Liberation Army” (PLA) is often used in public discourse. However, the Agreement on Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Army (AMMAA) defines them as “Maoist army combatants,” who include regular active duty members of the Maoist army who joined service before 25 May 2006, are not minors, and are able to demonstrate their service record through their CPN (M) identity cards or other means agreed to by the parties. The 5,622nd meeting of the UN Security Council established the United Nations Political Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) by unanimously adopting Resolution 1740 (23 January 2007) on the request of the Government of Nepal and CPN (M). A total of 19,604 people have qualified through the UNMIN verification process. According to the provisions of the CPA and AMMAA (signed 28 November 2006), CPN (M) ex-combatants were kept in seven cantonments (temporarily designated and clearly defined geographical areas for encampment and provision of services for Maoist combatant units, including weapons, ammunition, and equipment) and 21 satellite centers with their weapons. The weapons storage depots consist of white storage containers furnished with shelves for safe weapons storage and easy control, with a complete inventory (weapon type, caliber, and serial number). The containers are locked using a single key provided by the UN for each storage container, and monitored by the UN office in the cantonment through a 24-hour surveillance camera system and alarm system connected to sirens located in both the UN office and the camp commander's office. UN monitors inspect the arms storage area and containers in the presence of a Maoist army representative. Weapons are kept in secure arms storage areas, which are either military barracks with regular armory stores used to store weapons, munitions, and explosives; or storage containers established in special perimeters at cantonment sites controlled and guarded by the responsible unit. The council of ministers was assigned by the CPA to take responsibility for the management, integration, and rehabilitation of PLA members. Although the Central Committee meeting of the UCPN (M) in the last week of April opted by majority for “peace and constitution” instead of the “people's revolt” proposal put forward by its senior vice chairperson, Mohan Baidhya “Kiran” (Himalayan Times, 1 May 2011), the NCP still suspects the intentions of the Maoist leader, Puspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, because of his duality. In the UCPN (M) Palungtar Plenum four months ago, he was in favor of a people's revolt but is now in favor of peace and constitution. However, Baburam Bhattarai, another vice chairperson and UCPN (M) ideologue, has been consistent over the last six years in advocating peaceful politics. At both meetings (the Palungar Plenum four months ago and the recent Central Committee meeting), he strongly spoke in favor of peace and constitution. On 30 April 2011, the president of the Nepali Congress, Sushil Koirala, said that “the country's political crisis has been caused by none other than the double standards maintained by the Maoists.” Similarly, senior leader and former Prime Minister Ser Bahadur Deuba said that the “promulgation of the constitution was not possible until the Maoists returned seized properties, dismantled the YCL [Young Communist League, a militant Maoist youth wing] paramilitary structures, and prepared a credible modality for integration of their combatants” (Himalayan Times, 1 May 2011). The UCPN (M) head Prachanda's controversial video speech to ex-combatants in late 2007 was leaked to the public. In his speech, the CPN (M) head told his fighters that they were able to present five times the number of their combatants than the actual size of 7,000-8,000 to UNMIN. This led to the verification of 19,000 combatants by UNMIN. However, if they had presented an actual size of 7,000-8,000, the number of verified combatants would be a few thousand only. In this way, the strategy of the CPN (M) to increase the number of people being integrated in the army was successful. Prachanda also said that, if needed, they were ready to continue fighting the war and defeating the NA. This video ignited severe suspicions as to the intentions of the CPN (M) and its commitment to the peace process, and deepened the
mistrust among the NA, political parties, and international actors. These opposing arguments and positions have created severe mistrust and, ultimately, obstructed the integration and rehabilitation process. References Born, Hans, and Albrecht Schnabel, eds. 2009. Security sector reform in challenging environments. Geneva: LIT Verlag. Dixit, Kanak Mani. 2011. Peace politics of Nepal: An opinion from within. Kathmandu: Hymnal Books. Gleichman, Colin, Michael Odenwald, Kees Steenken, and Adrian Wilkinson. 2004. Disarmament, demobilization and reintegration: A practical field and classroom guide. Frankfurt: Swedish National Defense College, Pearson Peace-keeping Center, German Technical Cooperation, and Norwegian International Defense Center. Hänggi, Heiner. 2009. Security sector reform in post-conflict peace building. In Post-conflict peace building: A lexicon, ed. Vincent Chetail. Geneva: Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Pathak, Bishnu. 2011. Modeling the integration of the Maoist combatants: DDR or SSR? Unpublished report. Kathmandu: Conflict Study Center. Schnabel, Albrecht, and Hans-George Ehrhart, eds. 2005. Security sector reform and postconflict peace building. New York: United Nations University Press. Shah, Vivek Kumar. 2011. Maile dekheko darbar: Sainik sachibko smaran (My witness of the palace: Memoirs of a military secretary). Kathmandu: Yeti Publications. Upreti, Bishnu Raj. 2007. Security sector transformation in the changing political context: Special reference to Nepalese army. Discussion paper presented at the Seminar on Democratic Transition and Nepalese Army Reforms organized by the Nepalese Army Command and Staff College, Army Headquarters, 23-24 August 2007, Kathmandu. ———. 2009. Nepal from war to peace. New Delhi: Adroit Publishers.
The future of nuclear energy in India P R Chari A long preamble A set of unpredictable and coincidental events precipitated the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster involving its complex of six boiling water reactors in northwest Japan. An earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale was followed, almost immediately, by a tsunami with a wave height of 14 meters. At that moment reactors 1, 2, and 3 were functioning, whereas reactors 4, 5, and 6 were under maintenance. When the earthquake struck, the functioning reactors began switching off automatically, according to standard operating procedures. But the tsunami that followed damaged the auxiliary power systems leading to power outage, and affecting the cooling systems. In consequence, the water used for cooling these reactors evaporated and they began heating leading to the melting of zirconium “cladding” of the fuel roads, a rapid production of hydrogen and the outer containment dome cracking under pressure. A problem also arose in reactor 4 as its spent fuel rods, cooling in pools of water, began heating up (Hindu, 14 March 2011). Radiation clouds from the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear complex reached the west coast of the US. Plutonium leached into the soil from these reactors, which has serious implications for future agriculture and pasture. Radioactive wastes also discharged directly into the ocean around these reactors, and its effects on marine life, will manifest in time (P R Chari in the Tribune, 13 April 2011). Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan indicated that a fundamental review would be undertaken of Japan's current reliance on nuclear energy. Safety would be given high priority and carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel plants would be reduced; natural energy resources and energy savings would be the twin pillars of Japan's future energy policy (P S Suryanarayanan in the Hindu, 11 May 2011). The full implications of this nuclear accident are still unfolding, and its longterm effects lie in the realm of speculation. But the latest (18 May 2011) disclosures indicate that nuclear fuel has fully melted within reactors 2 and 3 of the FukushimaDaiichi nuclear complex. Melted fuel is likely to have caused the venting from reactor 2 (Global Security Newswire citing Asahi Shimbum Asia Network, 17 May 2011). The discovery of technetium and radioactive contaminants in the fluids around reactor 3 suggests that overheated nuclear material produced openings in the system's inner container. This major accident has occurred when the global nuclear industry was poised for a renaissance. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India—an adjunct of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)—lost no time in analyzing the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear disaster, and reassuring the general population in India that further safety precautions would be taken to secure the Indian program. These include a detailed inspection of the
safety features in the AEC's nuclear complexes; constructing tsunami bunds to increase shore protection; ensuring the automatic shutdown of reactors if appreciable seismic activity is detected; establishing a greater water inventory for cooling and; increasing independent power availability (Business Line, 11 May 2011). Meanwhile, a public agitation had commenced in Jaitapur in Maharashtra, where a similar complex of six power reactors is being planned by the AEC. This agitation speedily acquired political overtones with the Shiv Sena—an opposition party in Maharashtra—assuming its leadership. But intra-Congress rivalries are also operating while the ruling Congress government that is in power is desperately trying to appease the local farmers without compromising on its commitment to nuclear energy. A political decision to continue this project has already been taken. Additional compensation is being sanctioned for the oustees; environmental concerns will be more rigorously assessed while nuclear safety concerns will get more attention. An important measure announced is that an autonomous organization would be established to inspect and regulate the nuclear power industry. Currently the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board performs this regulatory function, but it has little credibility since it functions within the AEC (Business Line, 26 April 2011). This new organization should ideally function under a different concerned ministry of the federal government such as public health. Japan is also thinking along these lines. Meanwhile, new concerns have arisen regarding the European pressurized reactor (EPR) technology that is being utilized by Areva to construct the Jaitapur reactors with French collaboration. These reactors are also being supplied to Finland and China. The Finns recently expressed their dissatisfaction with Areva since it lacked the “requisite competencies, without experienced partners, and without completing design and engineering work before it started construction” (Priscilla Jebaraj in the Hindu, 18 May 2011). The Finns were particularly critical of the fact that Areva's main sub-contractor for supplying components had gone out of business, which placed a question mark over its ability to adhere to planning schedules and cost estimates. Naturally, the French ambassador in New Delhi is quite sanguine about these problems, and has drawn attention to the advanced safety features of the EPR reactors like an automatic release of oxygen in case hydrogen pressure builds up within the reactor during a mishap; they would interact together to produce water for cooling the impaired reactor (Hindu, 19 May 2011). An examination of these technical issues is beyond the scope of this paper. However, it is evident that the local population remains unconvinced about the safety features of these reactors; indeed, another agitation is taking shape in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, where a 6,000-MW nuclear power station is planned for construction Inter alia, the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster has wonderfully focused the minds of India's pro- and antinuclear energy lobbies, and inspired a vigorous debate on its technological and economic viability. The supporters of nuclear energy have redoubled their efforts to assert that nuclear power is the ultimate answer to India's energy security problems. They emphasize its major advantage that it is clean. It generates no particulate matter or greenhouse gases to increase atmospheric pollution, global warming and climate
change. But the anti-nuclear lobby has responded by recounting details of the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster. It has also recalled the major nuclear reactor accidents that had occurred earlier such as meltdown of the nuclear reactor in Chernobyl (1986) in the former Soviet Union. The 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl incident occurred recently and highlighted that large areas around the reactor still remain uncultivable, while cancer related deaths in the population exposed to the radiation were much higher than for control groups (World Nuclear Association 2011). The earlier Three Mile Island accident (1979) in the US was caused by the partial meltdown of one reactor. Fortunately, the meltdown did not cause any venting of radioactivity, but did lead to the loss of coolant, and release of less hazardous radioactive materials (US Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2011). It also dramatized the dangers of nuclear power generation, leading to a worldwide decline in formation of new reactors. The foregoing provides a backdrop to the current controversy in India on pursuing nuclear power to ensure its energy security. The parameters of this debate need discussion. What is the history of the nuclear program in India? What are its present contours? What are its future plans? These descriptive narratives provide the backdrop to discussing whether nuclear energy, all things considered, is the silver bullet that will resolve India's energy security problem. Both sides of this proposition will be argued to urge that it would be an exaggeration to suggest that nuclear energy is the only answer. The linked issue of what could be a viable policy for India to ensure its energy security is then discussed. The Indian nuclear program India was the first country in Asia to realize the potential of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Its origins are traceable to the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research established in 1946, and owed greatly to the vision of Homi Bhabha. In addition to being a gifted physicist, he enjoyed close relations with, and great influence over, Jawaharlal Nehru. The latter had noticed that, “…the application of nuclear energy to peaceful and constructive purposes has opened limitless possibilities for human development, prosperity and overabundance. This major challenge now confronts our times with a choice between co-destruction and co-prosperity” (Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting 1949, 24-25). The Indian Atomic Energy Commission was constituted in 1948. Its nuclear program was expressly designed to achieve autonomy in all its aspects, including research, the production of isotopes for medical and agricultural purposes, generating atomic power, but also establishing the wherewithal for developing a military program if the need arose in future. Bhabha was thereby enabled to articulate a clear vision for developing nuclear energy. His famous three-stage nuclear program called for pressurized heavy water reactors (PHWRs) to be established in the first phase. They would use natural uranium and produce plutonium-239 alongside atomic power. In the second phase, this Pu-239 would be reprocessed and separated to fuel fast breeder reactors (FBRs) that produce more plutonium than they consume, which could be used to fuel more reactors. Finally, in the third phase, advanced heavy water reactors (AHWRs) would use uranium-233 (U233) in their cores and thorium in their blankets to produce U-233 in a self-sustaining
operation. The Bhabha plan was informed by two governing realitiesâ€”the paucity of natural uranium in India, but the abundance of thorium. Some 70% of the world's thorium is in India, which provides the rationale underlining the role of fast breeder technology in this program, despite its difficult technological challenges. The birth of India's nuclear energy program can be traced back to 1963 when India entered an agreement with Westinghouse of the US to supply two 210-MW reactors for a location in Tarapur. These were light water reactors, and the low enriched uranium (LEU) to fuel them was contracted to the US for supply over their 30-year life cycle. India had earlier sought Canadian technology based on natural uranium and heavy water for its 40-MW CIRUS research reactor. This technology has been the mainstay of its nuclear power program, starting with its two 220-MW reactors for the Rajasthan Atomic Power Plant. Following India's â€œpeaceful nuclear explosionâ€? in 1974, the contractual arrangements for the supply of LEU fuel was abrogated by the US after the passage of its US Nuclear Nonproliferation Act in 1978, leading to a bitter controversy between India and the US. Canada also stopped the supply of heavy water and nuclear technology for the Rajasthan power reactors. Additionally, the establishment of the London Club in 1974, led to comprehensive sanctions being imposed on India, which seriously restricted its access to nuclear materials, equipment and technology, and greatly slowed down its infant nuclear program; even modest targets could not be achieved. One must digress here to point out that the most important fissile materials (atoms capable of being split and release energy) that find use for civil and military purposes are uranium 235 (U-235) and plutonium 239 (Pu-239). Uranium-235 constitutes 0.7% of natural uranium, which occurs in nature, but needs to be separated by a costly process. Pu-239, on the other hand, is artificially created in an atomic reactor when uranium238, which constitutes 99.3% of natural uranium, absorbs a neutron. Pu-239, however, needs to be separated from the spent fuel produced in the reactor by an arduous process in a reprocessing or separation plant. Uranium supplies for the growing numbers of PHWRs in the Indian program had become critical before the Indo-US nuclear deal was finalized, since more uranium mines had not been opened due to financial constraints and opposition by local environmental groups. The nuclear deal has relieved this pressure and led to a spate of contracts with foreign suppliers to obtain natural uranium. Apropos, breeder reactors, that are the intermediate goal of the Bhabha three-phase program, have greatly distressed the nonproliferation community, since they are a prolific source of plutonium that can be used to make nuclear weapons. India refutes these suspicions by arguing that the proliferation danger only arises if the plutonium in these reactors is reprocessed and separated; not until then. But reliance on breeder reactors would permit India to gain autonomy from dependence on foreign suppliers for uranium supplies, which is the cherished goal of the Indian establishment. Official projections of India's future atomic energy generation have been quite ambitious. The earliest plan, articulated in the Sarabhai Profile in mid-1970, pertained
to the 1970/80 decade (Government of India 1970), and envisaged a modest target of 2,700 MW by 1980–81. At that time India's nuclear power generation was only 420 MW from the two Westinghouse-supplied Tarapur reactors. No indigenous reactors were in operation. Future assessments of India's total energy requirements have been made by the AEC. Anil Kakodkar, while heading the AEC, stated that, on the basis of “a fairly detailed and fairly elaborate study,” the AEC had concluded that “we will have to reach an installed capacity of something like 1,300 GWe by the year 2050 [1 GWe is equal to 1,000 MWe]” (Kakodkar 2009). This estimate was repeated by him in several forums, and is compatible with the estimates made by the Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) that envisages India's electricity requirement in 2031 to be 795 GWe (Srivastava and Mathur 2009, 4). Official projections of future nuclear energy production in India are quite fanciful, and the naive belief persists that it is poised for exponential growth. The present Indian ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, has predicted that India was poised “to increase our installed capacity more than seven-fold to 35,000 MWs by the year 2022, and to achieve a target of 60,000 MWs by 2032 [sic].” Her predecessor, Ronen Sen, had predicted that “nuclear energy could meet as much as 20% [sic] of the energy demand in India by 2050.” This would amount to 260,000 MW on the basis of Kakodkar's estimate of India's requirement of 1,300 GWe by 2050. Kakodkar had informed the press after the Indo-US nuclear deal was reached in end-2008 that nuclear energy would provide some 35% of India's total installed capacity by 2050, which amounts to 455 GWe, an estimate that he repeated in 2009 (Srivastava and Mathur 2009, 4). Obviously, a Barmecidal feast is in progress. All these estimates have one factor in common—they are unconcerned with facts. They have something else in common; they do not appreciate India's past record. Its installed capacity for nuclear power generation is only around 4,000 MW at present, which is about 2% of its total energy generation, while another 3,000 MW capacity is under construction. This has taken India a half century to achieve. There are obvious problems in achieving the exponential growth that is promised on such a small base. One also needs to appreciate the long gestation periods involved in establishing atomic power plants, and the difficulty in locating suitable sites for constructing them due to the resistance of the local population, apart from the major difficulty in financing them from either private or public funds. Much euphoria obtains about India's rapid economic growth, calculated to rise above 9% of its gross domestic product (GDP), but this obscures the reality that its current account deficits have also risen above 10% of its GDP, and inflation obstinately remains in the double digits. What all this implies is that raising the massive investments needed for an ambitious nuclear energy program may not be possible within the country. Foreign direct investment is glibly suggested and it is also suggested that intending suppliers will bait their offers with attractive long-term, low-interest credit terms. All this optimism does not appreciate that there is a global recession. Further, atomic energy is only produced in the public sector in India and the private sector is excluded on security considerations, which further dims the prospects of raising finances.
Meanwhile the “civil liability” issue has reached centre stage, which will discourage the major supplies of nuclear technology like France, the US, and Russia. India recently enacted a Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, which fixes the liability for compensating victims of a possible nuclear accident on the operator of the concerned nuclear facility; this is capped at around USD10 billion. For damages exceeding this amount, and up to SDR300 million, the central government takes responsibility. This provision applies only to the central government, since the Atomic Energy Commission is the primary and only nuclear operator in India. The private sector cannot enter this area for “strategic” reasons, but can be “suppliers” of nuclear equipment. The problem with this arrangement lies in Section 17 (b) of the impugned Act. It envisages that the operator has a right to “recourse” i.e. to obtain compensation from the supplier if the accident occurs due to the fault of the supplier or his/her employees, which includes supply of defective equipment, material or sub-standard services. Foreign suppliers are leery of entering into a contract with the Indian AEC with such uncertain liabilities, which has serious insurance implications. In contrast, the international law viz. the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage lays this responsibility for compensating victims of nuclear accidents squarely on the operator and confers no right to “recourse” (Chari 2010). The AEC's case These developments, aggregated together, portend a slower growth of nuclear energy than predicted by the AEC. This is unacceptable to the AEC and the pro-nuclear energy lobby. Consequently, the proactive methodology pursued by them is to press their brief by highlighting the disadvantages of the other energy sources. Thus fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas—are stigmatized as causing atmospheric pollution, global warming and climate change. Moreover, the sources of fossil fuels are depleting and new sources are being frantically sought, although their availability and costs are quite unpredictable. Besides, future supplies of oil and gas will always remain uncertain as they occur in volatile regions of the world like the Gulf and the Middle East. Hence, their costs are unpredictable. The global recession has currently eased demand and moderated oil prices; but the current unrest in the Middle East—the “Arab Spring”—could lead to a reduction in production and pressure on oil prices. New oil fields are being discovered that could bring down prices, but a major accident like the one related to British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico could lead to increased prices. In brief, the range of positive and negative factors is too wide to permit any meaningful predictions about future oil supplies and prices; the same applies to gas and coal. But such holistic considerations have not informed the AEC and the pro-nuclear lobby to continue their tirade against fossil fuels of any description. It is argued instead that fossil fuels, being nonrenewable, depleting and exhaustible, have a finite life; hence the need to develop nuclear energy, which is environmentally clean. Moreover, the energy available per kilogram of fissionable material in the ore is far greater than from a similar quantity of fossil fuels. Much hype has been currently generated by expectations of a nuclear renaissance, based on fears of depletion of fossil fuels and inexorable rise in their prices. The nuclear industry, which went into decline in
the US and the West after the Three Mile Island accident, had begun to revive. But this will be adversely affected now by the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster. Coming to other energy sources, the most significant in India is hydroelectricity, which accounts for some 20% of its total power generation. At present, only about a third of India's hydel potential has been harnessed. There is enormous potential therefore for expanding this energy resource, especially through micro-hydel schemes that could serve remote communities, while reducing the load on the national grid. Hydel power, moreover, is environmentally clean and has the unique advantage of being able to meet “peaking” power, i.e., spikes in demand, like in the early hours of the night. The downside of hydel power is that its sources are mainly located in northern and northeastern India; hence transmission and distribution losses to the major consumption centers in the country are appreciable. The major problem with hydel power, however, is the displacement involved of population and deforestation due to the “pondage” created, which has sparked violent opposition from human rights groups and environmental lobbies. This is no different, incidentally, from the current agitations against nuclear power plants being located in Jaitapur and Bhavnagar. Then there are the several renewable sources of energy, which includes wind power, biomass converters, geo-thermal and solar power, tidal waves and so on. Due to their site-specific character, renewables are better suited, like micro-hydel schemes, to cater for the needs of local communities; they cannot obviously meet the large-scale requirements of industry and major urban centers. Their exploitation, however, will reduce the draw on the national grid. The other advantage of renewables is that they are eco-friendly; hence greater utilization of renewable energy sources reduces the dependence on polluting fossil fuels. However, their disadvantages and shortcomings are emphasized by the pro-nuclear lobby. Thus, biomass converters would lead to deforestation. Wind power, which already provides some 4% of India's total power needs—hence, more than nuclear energy—is criticized as being unreliable and dependent on the weather. Solar energy, based on photovoltaic cells, is dismissed because of its greater expense. Moreover, solar arrays require large surface areas. The case is made, in this negative fashion for enlarging nuclear power generation, without appreciating its attendant problems like local resistance to reactors being situated in their neighborhood, difficulties in securing capital, problems of waste disposal and so on. Still, the official support for nuclear energy in India has been unequivocal since its inception. The question, however, does persist: why its growth has not proceeded more rapidly? Undoubtedly India's access to nuclear technology was seriously restricted after its Pokharan PNE in 1974; its nuclear energy program was especially inhibited by difficulties in securing enriched and natural uranium fuel from abroad. India also faced much difficulty in financing these programs from national or international sources due to their long gestation periods (eight to ten years) in constructing and operating nuclear power reactors and the consequent high interest charges. Undoubtedly, the future of nonenergy-related uses of nuclear technology in medicine, agriculture, biological
research, space exploration, and industry is secure, and could advance rapidly, since it enjoys public support. But, concerns with safety and security issues persist, which explains why nuclear energy has expanded much more slowly in India than anticipated. Two issues are of cardinal importance for India's nuclear energy program. First, it is heavily premised on its fast breeder reactors (FBRs). But this technology has been abandoned by the US, UK, France, Germany, and Japan on cost and safety considerations. Only Russia and India are pursuing fast breeder technology. Incidentally, India's FBR program comprises an operating 15-MW experimental fast breeder reactor (EFBR). A 500-MW prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) is under construction. Little is known about the working and performance of the EFBR. A peer group review is urgently needed, therefore, to re-examine India's reliance on fast breeders, especially after the Indo-US nuclear deal assures India of access to uranium fuel, which was its huge vulnerability earlier. Second, the problem of waste disposal confronts the Indian nuclear energy program, which was also highlighted in the Fukushima-Daiichi disaster. The AEC continues to store spent reactor fuel in large “swimming pools” under water. There are vague plans to fuse this spent fuel with sand to produce “silica logs,” and store them in dedicated facilities. The major deterrent here is the cost, which encourages the belief that spent fuel contains useful isotopes like plutonium-239—a resource with civil and military applications. Hence, it should not be permanently lost. The American experience is instructive here. The Obama administration has cancelled its long pending plans to establish an atomic waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada, which was apparently done for “policy reasons, not technical reasons [and] there is no guarantee that a more acceptable or less costly alternative will be identified" by a blue-ribbon panel established for this purpose (Global Security Newswire, 10 May 2011). The greater likelihood is that these atomic wastes will be held in over-ground concrete and metal structures for decades, which has obvious safety implications. Other options are creating a new type of reactor to convert reactor wastes into materials that are more easily managed or recycling used fuel to extract plutonium for further use (Matthew Wald in the New York Times, 12 May 2011). But it is apparent that no acceptable solution to the waste disposal problem has been found. The Indian nuclear program is no exception to this central anomaly. So, what is the alternative? No review of energy sources in India, their challenges, advantages and disadvantages would be complete without reviewing the dynamics of supply and demand; more specifically, by addressing the issue of wastages in energy utilization and the need to conserve energy, which involves questions like the economic pricing of electricity, improving the efficiency of electrical equipment, avoiding its unproductive use, and so on. Difficult policy decisions need to be taken since the challenge of ensuring energy security is inextricably linked to questions of politics and governance, quite apart from its related technical dimensions. The disastrous policy, for instance, of subsidizing electricity for agricultural purposes and often supplying it free of cost for purely electoral
advantage, encourages its wasteful use in rural areas. Drip irrigation has repeatedly been advocated to conserve water for irrigation, but it continues to be wasted through unlined canals. The metering of water used and collecting irrigation dues in a vigorous manner would quickly put an end to such wastage of irrigation water, but the political will to impose this discipline is sadly missing due again to electoral considerations. Another anomaly here is the establishment of power intensive electric arc furnaces in rural areas to avail of the price subsidies from low or nonexistent agricultural rates. The subsequent cross-subsidization of this largess by passing on the financial burden to the industrial sector raises their costs to uneconomic levels, resulting in closures of industry, unemployment and general misery. The major reason for this state of affairs is populism, which has converted several energy manufacturing and supplying companies into sick organizations. The state electricity boards are sterling examples of this perverse public policy that are helplessly dependent now on periodical state subsidies to rescue them from bankruptcy. Wasteful subsidies, therefore, need to be eliminated by adopting a realistic pricing policy in the energy sector. The possibility of increasing energy efficiency and energy conservation is huge in India, which suggests the adoption of modern technology. The regulatory process must be revamped to ensure energy security. This would also require universalizing the access to electricity to all parts of India, which would positively impact gross domestic product (GDP) and per capita income. But care also must be taken to ensure that this rapid progress in the energy sector and the development process does not lose sight of its remaining sustainable and respectful towards the environment (Srivastava and Mathur 2009, 14â€“16). As emphasized earlier, the protagonists of one or the other source of energy and those involved in the related industry are fiercely partisan in their advocacy of their special interests. This is an unfortunate aspect of the Indian discourse that cannot be ignored. The decision makers, therefore, must rise above the fray and appreciate the need to develop all available sources of energy that could be exploited at affordable costs, taking into account its environmental impact and amortized price based on life cycle costs. Efforts are proceeding to develop new reactor concepts that are safer and will be proliferationresistant. But the high costs of establishing these reactors and the technical and commercial problems involved could prove daunting. Conclusion Practical wisdom informs that the imperative of sustainable development cannot be ignored in pursuing the siren lure of energy security. Within this framework of reference how has the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change balanced the ensuing dilemmas? It has emphasized the enlargement of renewable technologies, which is growing the fastest in the world. Between 2008 and 2009, for instance, 140 GW out of some 300 GW of new energy sources that were developed came from renewables, notably wind and solar power. Biomass offers the greatest opportunities if the attendant problem of soot generation by its burning could be addressed, otherwise the problems of global warming and climate change would also get aggravated (Fiona Harvey in the Hindu, 12 May 2011). On the horizon are more exotic sources of energy that envisage the
high temperature generation and direct use of hydrogen as fuel. Fusion power, however, still remains a gleam in the eye, and there are no indications of it becoming available for commercial exploitation very soon. But India is among the seven countries in the world that are working towards developing a thermonuclear experimental reactor; should this fructify, it could be the ultimate answer to global energy security. Significantly, the Annual Energy Outlook of the US Energy Information Agency informs us that, â€œnew [nuclear] reactors starting up in 2016 will produce power at a cost of $ 114 [sic] per megawatt-hour. Offshore wind turbines, geothermal, and biomass power plants all beat that priceâ€Ś(as do gas-fired power plants that capture and sequester their carbon emissions)â€? (Fairley 2011). No doubt the costs of the more esoteric renewables are not yet competitive, but this only highlights the need to mobilize international efforts to make greater investments in research and development for this purpose. Costs and finances are definitely a basic issue, but public policy (read public prejudices) is equally important. What is happening in Jaitapur and Bhavnagar is instructive in this regard. Enabling laws to reduce demand and diversify the supply base become important here. Insistence, for example, that high-rise buildings must utilize their rooftops to exploit solar energy would help to achieve energy security. Germany has led this effort. Green influence has informed its aggressive policy to ensure that buildings will have to install solar panels on their rooftops for heating and lighting purposes, with subsidies being provided to encourage this purpose. Chancellor Merkel has radicalized the debate by pledging to phase out nuclear power in Germany by 2022, while setting plans to increase power generation derived from renewables from the present 17% to 50% by 2030. Similar considerations have informed Switzerland to set 2034 as its target date to phase out nuclear power generation. Japan, France, China and the US are rethinking their unequivocal commitment to nuclear energy (Fairley 2011). No doubt, India's energy situation is not strictly comparable to these countries. Indeed it is arguable that, given the structural changes occurring in the economies of the world, the need for energy is central to their health. And, without an assurance of adequate and affordable energy, global economies would disintegrate as surely as the Sumerian civilization in the past when water became unavailable. India's energy requirements are growing. It ranks sixth in the world in terms of annual energy consumption. Disconcertingly, its annual per capita consumption is only around one sixth of the world's average. This deficit will increase as its population steadily increases. Peering into the future it seems that, all things considered, political and financial support for nuclear energy in India will remain modest. Pragmatism, therefore, informs that no energy source can be privileged over all others in appreciation of the mounting crisis to ensure energy security. Equally, no energy source can be abjured on ideological or political considerations. P R Chari is a visiting professor at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies in New Delhi, and a former director of the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses.
References Chari, P. R. 2010. Civil nuclear liability: Fact and fiction. Article No. 3270. New Delhi: Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. Fairley, Peter. 2011. A worldwide nuclear slowdown continues. Technology Review, 18 May. http://www.technologyreview.in/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id+37595 Government of India. 1970. Atomic energy and space research: A profile for the decade 1970-80. Bombay: Government of India. Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. 1949. Jawaharlal Nehru's speeches. Vol. 1, September 1946-May 1949. Delhi: Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Kakodkar, Anil. 2009. Nuclear energy in India: The way ahead. Annual (Fifteenth) Lalit Doshi Memorial Lecture, 4 August, Mumbai. http:// www.ldmf.org.in Srivastava, Leena, and Ritu Mathur, 2009. India's energy security. In Energy security: Priorities, constraints, and strategies for India. New Delhi: Oxford University Press and Asian Development Bank. US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 2011. Backgrounder on the Three Mile Island accident. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-cpllections/fact-sheets/3 mile-isle.html World Nuclear Association. 2011. Chernobyl accident 1986. http://www.worldnuclear.org/info/chernobyl/info.html
South Asia after Osama bin Laden Moonis Ahmar Introduction On 2 May 2011, in a bizarre commando action, US Navy Seals killed the most wanted alleged international terrorist and the founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, in a compound in the garrison city of Abbottabad, Pakistan. The event, which closed an important chapter in the world after 9/11, raised however some fundamental questions about the implications of bin Laden's death for South Asia, the culture of jihad, and the future of terrorism in the region. Not only was bin Laden perceived as an icon of terrorism by some circles, he also represented an ideology that called for the destruction of the West, particularly the US, on account of what he termed “unjust” policies against the Muslims, especially in the Arab Middle East. While his claim that he had waged Islamic jihad against “infidels” can be disputed, his followers—whether belonging to Al-Qaeda or the Taliban—have unanimously agreed to continue his mission. The news of bin Laden's killing was heard with much interest but with mixed feelings and reactions. One school of thought celebrated his killing because of his age-old involvement in fomenting terrorism, particularly against the US, the West, and proAmerican regimes. The other considered the event to have been merely a “target” or ”extra-judicial” killing. While one cannot have a soft corner for bin Laden or Al-Qaeda, the manner in which he was physically liquidated raises a number of questions about the inhuman characteristics of the US-led war against terror. As rightly remarked by Richard Jackson (The Hindu, 6 May 2011), The fact that Osama bin Laden, a man who fought his enemies with violence that frequently killed the innocent, is now dead is from many perspectives a positive development. That the world now has one less influential leader who is willing to kill and destroy as a mean of endangering political change is hopefully a small step towards a more peaceful world… But it is a pity that the US chose to pursue a massive war on terrorism as a response to bin Laden's violent campaign, a war in which far more innocent people have been killed and injured than bin Laden's initial attacks. Their deaths are also part of this story and must be counted and acknowledged in our reflections on the real costs of this so-called act of justice. Furthermore, was there any sense in taking for granted that, with bin Laden's death, hardcore militancy would end and the world would become a safer place? Was only he responsible for threatening the West with his terrorist acts or is it the ideology that led to
the creation of Al-Qaeda that motivates thousands of Muslims all over the world to wage jihad? Will Pakistan become a better place in terms of protecting its citizens from sustained acts of terror after his death? The editorial in The News (3 May 2011) tried to respond to such questions when it argued that “the Western jubilation we are seeing on our television screens should not distract us from the fact that militancy will continue. It has not died with bin Laden.” The editorial also pointed out that, “for Islamabad, the whole business is something of an embarrassment. Despite years of fervent denial, Osama had been found on Pakistani soil. And now that the brazen US action in Abbottabad has happened, there may be other attempts to go after key militant figures in different urban centers.” The Dawn editorial (3 May 2011) questioned primarily the denial strategy that Pakistan has pursued concerning bin Laden's presence in Pakistan: As for Pakistan, the time for denial is over. Osama bin Laden was not holed up in a cave in the tribal agencies. He was living in a large house surrounded by high walls topped with barbed wire in a garrison town housing a military academy. The idea that the world's most wanted criminal was spending his days there unnoticed by Pakistani intelligence requires either suspension of disbelief for the conclusion that the authorities are guilty of a massive intelligence failure. The implications of bin Laden's death raises several questions for South Asia. Although he had a global following, in South Asia—stretching from Afghanistan to Bangladesh and Nepal to Sri Lanka—his message of jihad not only divided and polarized the region's Muslim community, it also gave new shape to the phenomenon of terrorism. He was either condemned or supported for his acts and the ideology he had advocated. This article will examine the implications of bin Laden's death for South Asia by examining the following questions: l l l
l l l
How are nonstate actors in South Asia a cause of terror and political instability in the region? To what extent have bin Laden and Al-Qaeda shaped the strategic environment of South Asia post-9/11? Can bin Laden's death be a source of opportunity for better counterterrorism cooperation between India and Pakistan or can it cause further rupture in their relations? Will jihadi forces in South Asia be weakened as a result of bin Laden's death or will they get a new lease of life? Will foreign involvement in Afghanistan and Pakistan deepen post-bin Laden or will the exit of NATO-ISAF forces cause further instability in South Asia? Can there be a regional approach to dealing with the menace of terrorism?
Seldom in modern South Asian history has the death of one person become the cause of so many concerns, fears, challenges, and opportunities. Bin Laden, alleged to have been responsible for terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere, was also considered a major
security threat to South Asia—a concern narrated during counterterrorism meetings held under the aegis of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and at other forums. The issue of a nexus between terrorist groups—whether belonging to the Taliban, Al-Qaeda, or others—and drug mafias, is also cause for concern for South Asian governments because effective measures to neutralize a terrorist network cannot render positive results unless other nonstate actors involved in smuggling, drugs, or the weapons trade are also liquidated. As in other regions of the world, in South Asia too, there has been a surge of nonstate actors who challenge the writ of the state by conducting acts of terrorism and violence. Instability in Afghanistan is termed a major cause of fomenting terrorism in parts of the region. Others hold Pakistan responsible for not controlling nonstate actors who are held responsible for committing acts of terror in India and Bangladesh. Nonstate actors and terrorism The phenomenon of nonstate actors in South Asia is not a myth but a reality for three main reasons. The first is the failure of state authorities to resolve issues that cause insecurity and instability in society. Taking advantage of the state's failed approach and policy, nonstate actors—whether belonging to ethnic or religious group—have found adequate space in which to carry out their militant and terrorist activities. This applies in the case of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, the Liberation Tamil Tigers Ealem (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami in Bangladesh, and militant Maoist groups in India and Nepal. Furthermore, banned sectarian and militant religious organizations in Pakistan and Bangladesh also come under the framework of nonstate actors. The second reason is that some nonstate actors in South Asia gained influence after 9/11 when the US launched an attack to dismantle the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. Primarily based in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, these nonstate actors—instead of building popular support for their cause—have used militancy and terrorism as strategies to accomplish their main objectives, i.e., to wage jihad against what they term the occupation of “infidels” in Afghanistan, to liberate Indian-administered Kashmir, and to fight against pro-American regimes. The third reason is that the permeation of this culture of drugs, weapons, and smuggling has further encouraged nonstate actors as they aim to seek funds in order to continue their activities. There is a thin line between state and nonstate terrorism: both aim to create fear, panic, and chaos to accomplish their objectives. But it is nonstate or faceless terrorism that is termed a major threat to human survival. One can identify a state actor but nonstate actors are not as easily identified, and the surge of nonstate actors is considered a major challenge to world security. Al-Qaeda is defined as a nonstate actor with a global standing and an ideological agenda. According to Migaux (2007), The name al Qaeda, which instantly became the focus of media attention following the August 1998 US embassy bombings, had long had mythical status. Osama bin Laden himself had contributed to the mystery surrounding the name by never uttering prior to the events September 11. The group's leaders, in their internal communication,
usually referred to it as “the society” an intentionally neutral appellation. In fact, it was Abdullah Azzam who had named the organization. In 1988, at the first signs of a Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, Azzam decided that he would not disband the army of Arab volunteers he had created four years earlier but would use it to undertake a much vaster mission, the re-conquest of the Muslim world. Further tracing the origins of Al-Qaeda, Abdel Bari Atwan (2006)—a guest of bin Laden in a cave in the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan in November 1996—stated that, In 1998, he [bin Laden] established an office to record the names of the mujahidin and inform the families of those who were killed. The name of this register was al-Qaeda (the base or foundation) and that is how the organization got its name. Very few people could visualize that Al-Qaeda, which emerged following the Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan, would gain so much clout in the arena of regional and global terrorism. Al-Qaeda not only condemned the persecution of Palestinian Muslims, it also supported the armed struggles of Chechen, Kashmiri, and Philippine Muslims. It is the only nonstate actor that has managed to inflict enormous damage to the state authorities and structures of Pakistan and threatens the same in Afghanistan, India, and Bangladesh. Unlike the LTTE, which is based in Sri Lanka but involved in numerous terrorist activities against the Sinhala-dominated government, Al-Qaeda operates globally. What the two organizations have in common, however, are the violent deaths of their respective leaders—bin Laden and Prabhakaran. It is another matter that after bin Laden's death, his supporters vowed to avenge his death, whereas the LTTE virtually ceased to exist after the death of Prabhakaran as a result of the military operation led by the Sri Lankan army. The tale of two nonstate actors, Al-Qaeda and LTTE, both fighting for a different cause, is different but both operated with professional expertise. Bin Laden's death: An opportunity for cooperation or the deepening of the Indo-Pak schism? If the terrorist events of 9/11 had far reaching implications for the entire world, can the death of bin Laden—an icon of global terrorism—make any difference to the security and strategic dynamics of South Asia? Four important factors that could help seek a better understanding of how bin Laden's death might have implications for South Asia are as follows: l l l l
Augmentation of anti-Americanism, particularly in the Muslim countries of South Asia. Surge in terrorist activities and the deepening of the nexus between drug dealers, smugglers, and terrorist groups. Better mechanism for counterterrorism measures at the regional level. Efforts for peace and stability in those areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan that are heavily affected by terrorist acts.
Anti-Americanism is now considered a given in today's world because of Washington's less-than-benign behavior and excessive military involvement in different parts of the world. Even India, which overcame its quandary of losing its principal backer, i.e., the Soviet Union, by readjusting its foreign policy priorities and developing close strategic relations with the US, does not endorse the latter's aggressive and perceived arrogant behavior. There is no admiration for Al-Qaeda or bin Laden, but the narrative that the US war against terror tends to augment radicalization and militancy in South Asia holds true. Hence, in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism is sometimes considered synonymous with anti-Americanism. Chellaney (2002), while examining terrorism in South Asia argues that, The sphere of militancy and terrorism in Southern Asia is linked to the Afghan war of the 1980s and the US and Saudi funneling of arms to the anti-Soviet guerrillas through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. The Afghan war veterans have come to haunt the security of India, the United States, and several Muslim states. Many returned to their homelands to wage terror campaigns against governments they viewed as tainted by Western influence. When the news of bin Laden's killing was reported on the morning of 2 May 2011, the Indian reaction was not unexpected. The Indian home minister, P. Chidambaram, stated that, We take note with grave concern that part of the statement in which President Obama said that the firefight in which Osama bin Laden was killed took place in Abbottabad deep inside Pakistan. This fact underlines our concern that terrorists belonging to different organizations find sanctuary in Pakistan (The Times of India, 3 May 2011). Immediately after bin Laden's death, some Indian circles began to talk in terms of a similar operation to be launched by India against the alleged terrorist hideouts in Pakistan. This hawkish mindset was, however, neutralized by those who termed such an action highly dangerous and counterproductive. Therefore, a major implication of bin Laden's death for South Asia has been the prevalence of political prudence both in India and Pakistan to avoid another phase of post-Mumbai attack-like confrontation. At least, saner elements in New Delhi and Islamabad have prevailed over warmongering rhetoric. Particularly, a section of the Indian press cautioned against embarking on any type of adventurism against Pakistan in the wake of bin Laden's killing. A well-written editorial in The Hindu (6 May 2011) stated that, New Delhi has done right to make it clear that the agenda of the talks between India and Pakistan will remain unaffected by the death of Osama bin Laden. Since the killing of al-Qaeda leader in a US operation in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, many fanciful notions
have gained ground in India among them the suggestion that, like the US, India must not hesitate to use force in the quest for justice for the victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Nothing can be more absurd. India and Pakistan are both joined and divided; the sum of the ties between the two is different from that between Pakistan and the United States. There is no alternative to normalizing relations between the two countries. Undoubtedly, the bin Laden episode has reinforced long-held Indian suspicion about the Pakistani establishment and its dubious role in nurturing militants on its territory. Similarly, an editorial published in The Times of India (9 May 2011) stated that, Nationalist chest-thumping in certain quarters in India hasn't helped matters. And, though made in response to a query, army chief General V. K. Singh's statement that Indian forces can carry out Abbottabadtype operation was avoidable. An India-Pakistan dialogue process is on. Continuing to engage Islamabad is the way forward for us, even as Abbottabad is leveraged to both persuade Pakistan behind the scenes to clean house as well as to support it in effort to do so. Fortunately, the resumed Indo-Pak dialogue process has remained unhurt by bin Laden's death as the two countries discussed a host of issues in Islamabad and New Delhi, ranging from water to Siachen to trade and security matters. More so, Anita Joshua rightly argued in The Hindu (11 May 2011) that, The “sabre-rattling” from different quarters in the Indian civil and military hierarchy has reinforced the growing perception in Pakistan that a hawkish security mindset and establishment is determining the mainstream narrative in India vis-à-vis Pakistan and the wellmeaning Prime Minister Singh may not be able to stay the course of dialogue. This was articulated in no uncertain terms by Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir who described the post-“Operation Geronimo” remarks by senior Indian political and military leaders as symptomatic of trends and tendencies within India, which were trying to subvert Dr. Singh's agenda of normalizing ties with Pakistan… That Pakistan's civil and military leadership should warn of terrible catastrophe if India took this route was only be expected and after the media have picked up comments made by Indian Army Chief V. K. Singh and Air Chief Marshal P. V. Naik about India having the capability to carry out a similar stealth operation. The approach that held Pakistan responsible for not controlling nonstate terrorist actors but advised the Indian government not to pursue an adventurist policy against its neighbor prevailed over those who wanted Abbottabad-style action. The Indian chief of army staff stated his resolve to conduct an anti-terrorist operation against Pakistan if asked by the government, which provided hawkish elements an opportunity to express their support for launching such an operation. That bin Laden was found and killed in a
compound in the vicinity of the Pakistan Military Academy is embarrassing for Islamabad. For years, Pakistani leaders had denied the presence of bin Laden or other key Al-Qaeda figures and argued that the leadership of the terrorist organization must be hiding in Afghanistan. Post-bin Laden, Indian hawks have left no opportunity to term Pakistan a â€œsafe havenâ€? for terrorist groups and put pressure on its military to desist from supporting elements that are a cause of major insecurity not only in South Asia but in other parts of the world. Dipanker Gupta follows the same line when he writes that, What Indian hawks miss out in their posturing is that the Kashmir problem will not be resolved by capturing or killing some unbelievably evil people in Pakistan. Terrorists have a way of breeding rapidly if they receive political patronage. Sadly, the Abbottabad incident shows that Pakistan is unwavering in its support to jihadis. Now that it has been shamed in the open, Pakistan must quickly make up its mind: will it hit back or think about peace (The Times of India, 6 May 2011). Furthermore, some Indian writers have urged the US to seize the opportunity to break what they call the army-jihadi nexus. Siddarth Varadarajan suggests that, What America can and must do, however, is to choose its friends wisely and to use its economic and political clout to ensure the Army's nexus with jihadi groups in Pakistan is weakened and destroyed. If indeed, the ISI was kept in the dark about Abbottabad, this is a bad augury for the Pakistan military. But unless the US is prepared to go further down that fork in the road, the terrorists who are already preparing themselves to take bin Laden's place will continue to find fertile ground inside Pakistan (The Hindu, 2 May 2011). India's biggest quandary is that, if the US/NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan results in weakening Hamid Karzai's regime, causing it to collapse, it will be difficult to prevent the Taliban from seizing power in Kabul once again. There is no indication that bin Laden's death has broken the back of the insurgency in Afghanistan because the causes of instability in the country are centuries of Afghan rejection of foreign interference and occupation, and the fragility of Kabul regime whether supported by the Soviets or the Americans. On 4 May 2011, Reuters reported that, India may nervously wonder if Osama bin Laden's death will hasten a triumph list US withdrawal from Afghanistan and leave New Delhi exposed to an unfriendly, Pakistan-dominated neighborhood and unfettered military in its backyard. For India, bin Laden's death deep inside Pakistan confirmed what it had long suggested: that a so-called Western ally was turning a blind eye to militant networks on its soilâ€”a fear reinforced by the 2008 Pakistani militant attack on Mumbai.
But even more worrying for New Delhi would be any sign that President Barack Obama will use the death to speed up withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan, leaving a vacuum that its nuclear-armed foe Pakistan and the Taliban may be too happy to fill. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh thinks differently, however, about the implications of bin Laden's death for Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan. At a press conference in Kabul on 12 May, he indicated that bin Laden's death could be an opportunity to put aside decade-old regional rivalries and work for peace across Afghanistan and Pakistan. Surely, bin Laden's death provides the two countries a unique opportunity to develop some sort of consensus on how to deal with the menace of terrorism in South Asia. However, this depends on four important factors. 1.
There is the deep-rooted mistrust and suspicion between New Delhi and Islamabad as the two sides blame each other for fomenting violent and terrorist acts. More so, it is the Indian leadership, whether civilian or military, that leaves no opportunity to prove what it calls the Pakistani state's role in promoting terrorist groups within its safe havens.
How effectively and successfully can Pakistan implement damage control measures by liquidating nonstate actors who are involved in terrorist activities not only in its own neighborhood but also outside? Islamabad needs to come clean concerning serious allegations of state patronage of those jihadi groups that have an anti-Indian terrorist agenda. Without eradicating from its fold the militant and terrorist groups that have given Pakistan a bad name by being involved in numerous terrorist acts including the one in Mumbai, there is little likelihood of India and Pakistan coming together to deal with a threat that is both lethal and a major destabilizing force in South Asia.
Both India and Pakistan must realize that bin Laden's killing will not weed out Islamic militancy or terrorism from the region because there are structural contradictions in South Asia that give Al-Qaeda and likeminded terrorist nonstate actors the opportunity to gain support from disenchanted groups for their â€œcause.â€? Without economic and societal reforms to alleviate the plight of people and create conditions for human security and development, the threat of terrorism cannot be eradicated.
Finally, Al-Qaeda is not the only terrorist organization in South Asia. There are scores of nonstate actors, ranging from the Maoists to the Naxalites, who are responsible for carrying out their terrorist agendas.
Implications for other South Asian countries No South Asian country is free from the menace of violence and terrorism. However, that Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka are most vulnerable to terrorism is beyond any shadow of a doubt. The case of India and Pakistan has been discussed earlier and now reference to other South Asian countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) needs to be made. The threat of terrorism in Bhutan and the Maldives is negligible since there is no obvious trace of Al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations in
these two states. Bangladesh, the world's third-largest Muslim country, is moderate but not secular in political terms. Although the 1972 constitution of Bangladesh declared the country to be secular, under the military rule of General Ziaur Rehman and General Ershad these secular characteristics were erased and Islam was declared the state religion. Even then, unlike Pakistan and many other Muslim countries where religious militancy and fanaticism became major security threats, Bangladesh has been fortunate not to experience large-scale suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism. Yet it is wrong to say that Bangladesh remains unaffected by religious militancy. Bin Laden was a source of admiration for those Bangladeshi groups that supported his call for jihad against the US. Many Bangladeshis went to Afghanistan to be trained in Al-Qaeda camps for the purpose of waging jihad against “infidels” and for the imposition of Islamic sharia in their own country. The events of 9/11 were considered a landmark for the assertion of pro-bin Laden elements in Bangladesh that viewed the US attacks on and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq clear evidence of US/Western designs against Muslims. The Economist (27 September 2001) carried a story revealing the impact of bin Laden on the October 2001 election campaign in Bangladesh: Posters in support of Osama bin Laden are competing for wall-space among those of the official candidates in Bangladesh's general election campaign. The caretaker government that has been running the country during the election period has assured the United States of its support, even offering the use of its airspace. Both the main parties, the previously governing Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party have said they are solidly against terrorism. Every one has been shocked that at least 50 Bangladeshis appear to have died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11. The electoral rout of the Awami League and the landslide victory of the BNP-Jamaat coalition were attributed to the growing influence of Islamists after 9/11. The Awami League and opposition parties during the BNP-Jamaat coalition government alleged that Bangladesh had become a sanctuary for Islamic militant and radical groups. When news of bin Laden's death was released on 2 May 2011, the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry stated that it was a major development in the global war on terror. International relations scholar Imtiaz Ahmed remarked that “the relatively smaller militant groups in Bangladesh now are expected to realize that they too will not be able to escape their consequence” (BSS, 2 May 2011). It has yet to be seen whether bin Laden's death will marginalize or revive Islamic radical groups. Sri Lanka faced decades of terrorism caused by large-scale ethnic strife after 1983. The military defeat of the LTTE at the hands of the Sri Lankan army in 2009 was considered a turning point in Sri Lankan history. While there is no clear-cut nexus between the LTTE and Al-Qaeda, the two shared their anti-American and anti-Pakistan rhetoric. Pakistan had helped the Sri Lankan government militarily against the LTTE, a fact appreciated by the Sri Lankan government in Colombo but that led to the attack on the Sri Lankan
cricket team in Lahore in March 2009 and the attack on the Pakistani high commissioner in Colombo in August 2006. Both these attacks depicted the LTTE's strong position against Pakistan. Drawing a parallel between the deaths of bin Laden and Prabhkaran and questioning the legality of the US operation in Abbottabad, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, D. M. Jayaratne questioned whether the killing of bin Laden by US forces was a violation of international law: “How can another country enter another sovereign state to kill a person on an order? We never ordered to kill Prabhakaran. He died when the war was still going on. That is the difference between the two deaths” (Daily Mirror, 3 May 2011). Nepal, like Sri Lanka, has also witnessed large-scale violence causing enormous loss of life. Before joining mainstream politics and becoming a part of the Nepali power structure, the Maoists were considered terrorists and a major destabilizing force, particularly by their opponents and the monarchists. Commenting on the death of bin Laden, the Nepali Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that “the announcement of the death of Osama bin Laden in an operation conducted by the US forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan after a hunt is a major achievement in the fight against global terrorism.” For the majority of the Nepali population, bin Laden and Al-Qaeda may not be a major issue but the fact that, for some circles, bin Laden's death has been termed a setback to terrorism is a positive sign as far as dealing with the threat of terrorism in Nepal is concerned. Unlike in India, where Islamic militancy and extremism are attributed to the presence of the Muslim minority, the small Muslim population in Nepal is not perceived to have links with extremist groups. The way forward Regardless of the doubts and controversies that still cast a shadow over bin Laden's death, the threat of terrorism in South Asia and the world still looms large. As mentioned earlier, bin Laden was not merely an individual who founded Al-Qaeda following the Soviet military withdrawal from Afghanistan; he represented a mindset and an ideology. As long as the issues that shaped this mindset and ideology remain a source of inspiration and motivation for a segment of Muslims all over the world, one cannot expect Islamic extremism and radicalization to be marginalized. Furthermore, the irresponsible and ruthless character of certain state actors in dealing with their public's economic and political sense of deprivation will worsen extremism and militancy. The way forward post-bin Laden depends on changing the perception and policies of those who wield considerable influence in the global order and those who happen to be nonstate actors with a mission to accomplish at any cost. This mission is dangerous because of its commitment to sanction terrorism and the killing of people who might be termed “enemies” of Islam. When, in early 1998, bin Laden invited a group of 14 Pakistani journalists to an Al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, he clearly explained his organization's position on terrorism (Richardson 2006): Terrorism can be commendable and it can be reprehensible. Terrifying an innocent person and terrorizing him is objectionable and unjust, also unjustly terrorizing people is not right… terrorizing oppressors and criminals and thieves and robbers is necessary for the safety of
people and for the protection of their property… The terrorism we practice is of the commendable kind. It is another story that the kind of terrorism sanctioned by bin Laden targeted and killed hundreds of innocent people at the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam in August 1998. With the passing of each year since then, Al-Qaeda has resorted to terrorist acts in which there was no distinction between combatants and noncombatants. Even after bin Laden, there is little likelihood of Al-Qaeda and its allies changing their approach to confronting what they call “infidels” and their allies. It is up to the South Asian countries and their governments as to how best to cope with those nonstate actors that continue to create fear and panic among their people. Counterterrorism measures with a regional approach are the best way to deal with a threat that remains a source of enormous insecurity to millions of people, not only in South Asia but all over the world. Dr Moonis Ahmar teaches at the Department of International Relations, University of Karachi. He is currently a DAAD visiting professor at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, University of Erfurt, Germany. References Atwan, Abdel Bari. 2006. The secret history of Al-Qaida. London: Saqi. Chellaney, Brahma. 2002. Fighting terrorism in southern Asia: The lessons of history. International Security 26 (3): 94-16. Migaux, Philippe. 2007. Al Qaeda. In The history of terrorism from antiquity to Al-Qaeda, ed. Gerard Chaliand and Arnand Schneider. Berkeley: University of California Press. Richardson, Louise. 2006. What terrorists want: Understanding the enemy, containing the threat. New York: Random House. Wright, Lawrence. 2006. The looming tower: Al-Qaeda and the road to 9/11. New York: Vintage Books.
The Middle East after the “Arab Spring” Hooman Peimani Introduction The current expanding political instability in just about all the Arab nations of the Middle East, consisting of the West Asian and North African Arab countries, started in December 2010. A Tunisian street vendor's ill-treatment by a police officer eventually led to the former setting himself on fire as a show of his frustration with the status quo not in tune with his country's reality. Yet this act of self-mutilation symbolically demonstrated the frustration of the majority of Tunisians who then took to the streets in a show of defiance against the Tunisian elite, leading to the rapid removal from power of Tunisian President Zine-al-Abidine Ben Ali. As an external factor, the change of guard in Tunisia, but not its political system, following mass protests triggered the rise of an antigovernment movement in Egypt, which also had suitable ground for a mass antigovernment movement with the same result, i.e., the removal of its president while leaving the political system intact. The significant, but not fundamental, political changes in the two North African Arab countries during December 2010-January 2011 have had a domino effect on practically all Arab states from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, of course to a varying extent and in different forms. The expression of dissatisfaction of the Shiite minority, disenchanted Sunnis, and marginalized women demanding equal rights with men in early 2011 were immediately suppressed in Saudi Arabia, but mass dissent in Libya and Yemen has developed into civil war. The apparent efforts of Western powers (the US and European Union [EU]) to take advantage of the expanding instability in the Arab countries to achieve their long-term strategic interests have complicated the situation. These include secured direct access to the latter's vast oil and gas resources and the replacement of the undesired Arab elites with pro-Western segments. This external factor has practically denied the respective countries, at least in certain cases (e.g., Libya), the resolution of their conflicts through their own efforts. The expansion of popular dissatisfaction with the status quo in these Arab countries has affected them in different ways. Apart from the obvious negative impact of instability on their political, economic, and social sectors, this phenomenon has had political and economic implications beyond their territorial boundaries. As a factor, the lower production (and thus export) of oil and gas by countries seriously affected by the socalled “Arab Spring” (e.g., Libya and Yemen) and the potential of this instability to expand to major Arab oil/gas exporters in the Persian Gulf (e.g., Saudi Arabia) have helped push up oil prices. Moreover, this has ensured high oil prices in the foreseeable future due to the prevailing uncertainty about these countries' ability to export oil and gas in a sustainable manner.
Added to the economic/energy impact of the Arab uprising, the expanding revolutionary situation in many Arab countries has practically removed from the regional and global agenda the long-lasting unsettled Arab-Israeli conflicts. This is especially true for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was sidelined even before the current development. This unresolved conflict, along with the Syrian-Israeli and Lebanese-Israeli conflicts, ensures the persistence of tensions and disputes with major negative social and economic implication for the region in general, and for the affected nations in particular. If the current situation continues, the resulting consequences will have a long-term negative detrimental impact on both the Arab countries and also on the many large and small economies that are emerging weakly from the devastating recession of 2007-10. Predictably, there will be a long period of political and social instability in many Arab countries to retard or completely stop their current meager economic growth and social development. This will ensure periodic instability due to the unsettled sources of popular dissatisfaction (e.g., poverty, low income, income disparity, poor education, dictatorial rules). Finally, the continued instability in the Arab countries will affect the global energy market and just about all large and small countries dependant on oil and gas imports, pushing many, especially the weaker Western economies, into recession or low economic growth. The ongoing Arab uprisings The â€œArab worldâ€? is surely wrong terminology, although used by many journalists and some scholars. The Arab countries, which spread from the southern Persian Gulf to North Africa, have different historical backgrounds that are significant enough to divide them into various categories. Yet, even within these categories, there are many differences in terms of their social, economic, financial, political, and military development and capabilities, added to their regional and international significance as oil/gas exporters, for instance. Within this context, perhaps, the only major commonality, which could justify the mentioned terminology, is their having undemocratic political systems with a very weak social basis, of course with different characteristics and in different forms. Small wonder then if just about all the Arab countries have had a share of the Arab Spring since December 2010. Starting in Tunisia, perhaps the most democratic Arab country compared to the others, the rise of mass dissent and the decision of its elite to preserve the status quo by accepting superficial changes, including sacrificing the unpopular president, now the target of popular anger, encouraged mass movements in many other Arab countries populated by equally dissatisfied peoples. The Tunisian model adopted by the Egyptian elite has kept its regime in power without its long-lasting president, Hosni Mubarak. In the absence of a popular leadership to lead the Arab mass movements, the lack of a credible alternative to the existing regimes has helped the survival of the rest. Mindful of the predictable detrimental impact of the Arab Spring on the status quo, the richest Arab states, i.e., the Persian Gulf oil and gas exporters (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates [UAE], and Oman), have suppressed in different forms any sign of dissent before it could turn into a mass movement to undermine the authority of their political systems. The importance of these oil/gas suppliers for the major Western (the US and EU) and Asian (China, India, Japan, and South Korea) economies has ensured
their elites the implicit or explicit approval and support of those economies. As another major oil/gas exporter, North African Algeria has experienced a serious challenge, but a precedented one, as it experienced, perhaps, a more menacing and organized antigovernment movement leading to a civil war in the 1990s, following the disputed elections of 1991. Yet, there is no evidence to suggest that the very existence of its regime is at stake in the absence of an organized and credible alternative enjoying the backing of the majority of Algerians. Nevertheless, its current prominent guards may well have the same destiny as their Tunisian and Egyptian counterparts. The only major exceptions to this situation are Yemen and Libya, whose popular antigovernment movements have gone beyond peaceful expression of dissatisfaction (demonstrations). In both cases, the popular opposition has developed into armed struggle, which is limited in the case of Yemen, extensive in the case of Libya. In the latter, the armed opposition enjoys the backing of the US and EU, translated into NATO's direct military engagement in the armed conflict in favor of the opposition. As in the case of Libya, the emergence of an anti-government movement in Syria has gained the attention of Western countries. Seen as a troublemaker or â€œrogue stateâ€? with regional objectives conflicting with those of other countries for some time, the Syrian political system has been the target of a range of economic, political, and military measures, especially since the last decade. These have aimed to weaken and eventually replace the system with a regime in tune with Western interests and, of course, with those of Israel. Thus, it is no wonder if both the EU and US have sought to encourage the continuity of the current localized anti-government movements steaming their roots in the realities of Syria by putting the Syrian government under pressure. The ongoing political and social unrest in these Arab countries has certain implications that are not just confined to these countries alone. Needless to say, they will tolerate the brunt of the event, but the ongoing development has also political, economic, and energy implications affecting regional and international affairs. Political affairs National level The eruption of mass political dissent targeting the political establishments of many Arab countries is not likely to lead to a change in their political systems. The reason lies in the absence of strong and popular opposition groups capable of organizing and leading the mainly spontaneous expression of mass dissatisfaction along a clear program to replace the existing Arab states with qualitatively different ones. Decades of suppression of anti-government groups have practically denied the ongoing popular movements of strong leading groups. Thus, although various religious and secular opposition groups have been visible in these countries, by and large, they are too weak organizationally and their ideologies and/or political platforms too unattractive for the majority of their populations to secure them a leading position at the national level. In fact, given this situation, the popular opposition movements have been shaped mainly along what the Arab peoples do not want today in their respective countries, and not along what they want to achieve and build after the toppling of their political leaders. Owing to this reality, as experienced in Tunisia and Egypt, at best, the popular
movements in those Arab countries with a very thin social basis for their respective political systems (e.g., Yemen) could prompt the replacement of their leading figures while leaving their political systems mainly intact. In other countries, where their political systems are coherent and have significantly mobilized social support, they will run out of steam as a result of suppression and the absence of a unifying leadership. While no one can predict the exact form that the post-revolutionary era might take, it is certain that, in both cases, their societies will remain vulnerable to periodic instability on various scales and scopes, given that the main causes of popular dissatisfaction (e.g., poverty, low income, uneven distribution of income, rampant corruption, repression, and dictatorship) will remain untouched or cannot be addressed fast enough for their frustrated peoples. The situation in those Arab countries that are engulfed in armed violence and, specifically, civil war (currently Libya and potentially Yemen) turning also into an interstate war (currently only Libya) will not be any different in essence. It is still unclear whether the Libyan armed opposition can expand its control to the entire country even with the backing of NATO. In case of its failure, the continuity of the uprising's raison d'ĂŞtre manifested in the survival of the Qaddafi regime will ensure the social and political fragility of the country. It will therefore leave room for the same scenario to be revisited in the near future, but, most probably, for the emergence and expansion of extremist ideologies and clandestine opposition groups to signify their frustration with the status quo against a background of a divided society (pro- and anti-Qaddafi Libyans). Nevertheless, even in the case of a successful change of leadership, Libya will most probably experience a long period of instability for at least three reasons. Firstly, the Libyan armed opposition does not seem to be qualitatively different from the Libyan government, i.e., it has not yet proved its credentials as a democratic alternative. At least up to this point, there is no indication as to its ability to establish and foster a democratic political system to address the existing sources of popular discontent, apart from introducing a different form of the existing undemocratic polity. In short, the latter's continued existence will ensure the social and political instability of Libya in the postQaddafi era. Secondly, disarming the thousands of armed Libyans who subscribe to different political views and ideologies, secular and religious, and who are now united only against a common enemy, will be a Herculean task especially in the context of a divided country suffering from all the difficulties of a post-armed conflict era. Thirdly, the severe damages to Libya's infrastructure, industries, and energy sector since the instigation of civil war will pose major challenges for the new administration as it will likely be unable to restore to the pre-conflict era all the mentioned sectors in a short period of time. Briefly, economic difficulties worsened by the damage to the energy sector (i.e., the government's main source of income) are likely to frustrate the Libyans enough to challenge the new establishment. Regional level The ongoing political development in the Arab countries also has regional implications. The Middle East, if one should continue using this colonial term of no geographical value, has been experiencing the gradual sidelining of Arabs since the establishment of Israel in 1948, but not just because of that. Apart from the various internal problems of
the Arab countries, this development, as a major external factor, initiated the process of weakening the major Arab states with a claim to regional power status, namely Egypt, Syria, and Iraq. Israel's defeat of these states, along with Jordan in 1948 and Egypt, Syria, and Jordan in 1967 and 1971, discredited them and their leaders in the “Arab world” where they wanted to establish themselves as Arab leaders. Thanks to its industrial, technological, scientific, and military capabilities, Israel has established itself as a regional power in western Asia and the Mediterranean region, proving not only its strength but also the weakness of the major Arab countries. After over one and a half centuries, the gradual re-rise of Iran in the second half of the 20th century also helped sideline the Arab countries, particularly its aspiring leaders. After two decades of sustained economic growth and extensive infrastructure building backed mainly by its oil exports, the rise of Iran as a regional power relying on its impressive military might further weakened the power and status of the mentioned Arab states. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 weakened Iran initially and that weakness encouraged the Iraqi invasion of Iran in September 1980. The invasion, which led to an eight-year war, not only received the full backing of the Western countries concerned about Iran's rising as a regional power in a strategically important region, but also of all the Arab states (excluding Syria) who were afraid of a potentially powerful non-Arab state in their proximity. While Iran is still suffering from a host of political, economic, and social problems, it has established itself as a regional power with claim to a higher status and growing influence not just in the “Arab world,” but also in other regions in its proximity, including Central Asia and the Caucasus. As well, it has made an inroad into farther regions such as eastern and southern Africa and Latin America. Iran's rise as a regional power and its growing influence in many Arab countries (Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, and the occupied Palestinian territories) has indicated the weaknesses of the major Arab countries apart from revealing Iran's strengths. Turkey is a rising power that has kept a low profile for various reasons, including its NATO membership and candidacy for EU membership. However, it is a dissatisfied regional power unhappy about its treatment post-World War I, which had led to its loss of territories, including the energy-rich parts of northern Iraq. After over four decades of efforts to secure EU membership, the EU's refusal to accept Turkey as a member, among other factors, has made the Turks determined to seek a future as an independent Asian power outside the EU framework. Accordingly, Ankara has sought to expand influence in its former Ottoman territories, which consist of many Arab countries from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. To the dismay of Israel, their long-term friend and ally, the Turks have been successful to a significant extent in this regard, for which they have settled many of their disputes, including water-related issues, with their long-term neighboring Arab enemy, Syria. Their new “pro-Arab” foreign policy has weakened ties with Israel. While maintaining ties with the US and NATO, which has military bases in its territories, Turkey has gradually expanded its economic and energy (oil and gas) ties with Russia as manifested in its 2010 nuclear agreement with Russia, which provides for Moscow's financing, building, and operating four 1,000-MW nuclear power reactors in Turkey
(Aljazeera, 12 May 2010). In short, the Arab states that claimed regional power status have all lost their bid for this objective thanks to their internal weaknesses (economic, social, and political) and also as a result of the rise of three non-Arab regional powers (Iran, Israel, and Turkey). The “Arab world” no longer has rising stars as it did in the 1950s (Egypt) and the 1960s/1970s (Iraq and Syria) capable of rallying support around themselves. Of course, there are Arab financial powers of both regional and global significance, including just about all the southern Persian Gulf Arab oil/gas exporters, particularly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. Added to their energy-generated revenue, they owe this financial status to their extensive investment abroad both in the West (Europe and North America) and, increasingly so, in Asia to include the major Asian economies (e.g., China) and the emerging ones (e.g., Malaysia). However, these countries are unable to rise as regional powers due to many internal factors. These include their small populations or size and/or heavy dependency on imports due to weak or small industrial, technological, educational, and scientific sectors, added to their lack of political or ideological appeal to the majority of Arabs. To this, one should add their close ties with the Western powers, particularly the US, which is reflected in their pursuing foreign and defense policies in tune with or, at least, not opposite to those of the latter; their taking sides with them on sensitive issues for the Arabs (e.g., the 2006 Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon); and their hosting Western military bases. This closeness to pro-Israeli foreign powers has further decreased their appeal to many Arabs who have felt humiliated for over half a century at having been defeated or invaded by Israel. Against this background, the ongoing political upheaval in many Arab countries is further weakening the power and status of the “Arab world” in general and those of its major states. As a byproduct, this development is strengthening the power and status of the three non-Arab powers, giving them the opportunity to consolidate themselves while helping them expand in western Asia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean. International level The current development in the Arab countries is likely to have long-term international implications as well. The changing regional political landscape will help Western powers, the US, and EU regain power or solidify their power and influence in a strategic region both for geopolitical (e.g., removing or weakening potential challengers) and energy (accessing vast oil and gas reserves) considerations. The removal from power or, at least, the weakening of the Libyan regime for its subsequent removal will not only rid them of a long-term source of concern in a strategically important region, it will also help them control the country's vast oil and gas resources, enhancing their energy security by guaranteeing long-term access to those resources. This is especially important for the EU countries, which are heavily dependent on imported oil and gas and thus vulnerable to potentially unreliable Arab suppliers. Other North African Arab states are oil and gas suppliers to the EU (Egypt and Algeria) or serve as a transit route for such exports (Tunisia)—a major factor in the deep interest of the EU and NATO in the ongoing developments in this part of the world, added to its proximity to the EU. Of course,
instability in these countries is a source of concern for the EU for its negative impact on energy security, especially at a time when many EU economies are quite weak in the aftermath of the 2007-10 economic/financial crises, while many of them are in considerable trouble (e.g., Greece, Portugal, and Ireland). Nevertheless, provided the current developments result in weakening the North African states that have a much weaker social basis, their regimes' need for more reliance on the EU and US to ensure survival will likely put the latter in a stronger position vis-Ă -vis those states in their bilateral relations, including energy ties. The weakening or replacement of the Syrian regime with a pro-Western one will also help allay Western and, of course, Israeli concerns about Syria's regional ambitions (forming a Greater Syria with Lebanon) and its ties with Iran. In either case, a weakened or hostile Syria would decrease Iran's influence in the region by denying it a regional ally with natural ties with other Arab countries (e.g., Lebanon) and access to the Mediterranean Sea. Moreover, the possibility of a spillover of the current instability to the major Persian Gulf Arab oil and gas supplier has a major international implication, given their pivotal role in supplying oil and gas (especially LNG) and setting global oil prices, in particular. Given the role of these states as Western and, particularly, American allies, the rise of mass anti-government movements in these countries (all of which have already experienced a degree of dissent, albeit suppressed quickly) will inevitably take an antiWestern turn. This development will weaken, in one form or another, the Western economies and powers, not only in the Persian Gulf region, but eventually globally, given the importance of these Arab states as oil/gas suppliers, as oil price setters in favor of the West, and as major financers and large importers of military and nonmilitary Western products. Hence, major political shifts in these countries, if they result in uncertainty or unavailability of oil and gas supplies and/or if they bring to power extremists with hostile stands against all or some of the economies currently dependent on them for oil/gas supplies, will have major negative implications for countries ranging from the Western economies to the major Asian ones (China, India, Japan, and South Korea). Economic affairs The ongoing developments in the Arab countries also have an economic dimension that goes beyond the national level to have regional and international implications. None of the affected Arab states is a major exporter of nonenergy products, as a result of which, the major economic impact of the current instability is mainly related to oil and gas (including LNG) exports. Algeria, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen all export these energy items with a differing significance for the global energy market while Syria's oil and gas production mainly satisfies its domestic needs. So far (June 2011), Libya is the only Arab country affected by the Arab Spring whose oil/gas industry has severely damaged and, in general, been affected by the ongoing intra- and interstate war. As a result, its ability to export oil has sharply decreased, given a drastic reduction in its oil production down to 250,000 to 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) in April 2011 (Live Charts, 8 April 2011). Despite its importance, Libya's oil exports (1.69 million bpd in early 2011 [AFP, 28
March 2011]) are not large enough to determine global oil prices, even if they should totally stop oil exports. However, the Arab Spring has been a factor in oil and gas price hikes for six main reasons. First, instability and political uncertainty in oil and gas exporting countries has created concern about the sustainable availability of their supplies in the foreseeable future. Added to uncertainty about the future of Egypt—whose “democratic” revolution has so far resulted in the replacement of President Mubarak with his appointed top soldier, the chairperson of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (General Mohammad Hussein Tantawi)—is the potential for civil war, especially in Algeria (with its recent history of such destructive phenomenon) and Yemen, which is, in a sense, already engulfed in a low-level civil war. All this suggests the possible unavailability of oil/gas supplies for an unknown period of time. Second, the unsettled reasons for the Arab uprisings, even in those countries that have experienced a change of leadership (Tunisia and Egypt), have preserved the ground for the continuity of these uprisings, even for their developing into violent and extremist movements in the future. Against the background of brutal suppression of dissent, the frustration of people demanding fundamental changes in their countries with their respective regimes failing to heed their demands (e.g., Algeria and Syria) or embarking on only superficial changes (Egypt and Tunisia) could radicalize the uprisings. If this situation continues, their leaders will leave them with no choice but to resort to violence to topple them as a necessity for starting the changes demanded. In such a situation, extremist views, ideologies, and groups will find a suitable ground for expansion among disillusioned peoples. The result will be twofold. The affected countries will likely experience a long period of political and social instability with an unpredictable outcome, although its negative nature for the respective countries is predictable. The continued instability in these countries could well spill over to other Arab countries, particularly the major Persian Gulf oil/gas exporters, notably Saudi Arabia. All these countries have experienced a degree of mass dissent that was quickly suppressed before getting out of hand. The quick suppression helped their elites prevent the expansion of dissent, which could cost them their rule. However, the persistence of the roots of dissent has ensured the vulnerability of the Arab Persian Gulf states to mass uprisings, which are now pending a trigger. These major oil/gas exporters could therefore found themselves in the midst of revolutions that will negatively affect their oil/gas exports, including a total cut of their exports for an unpredictable period of time. Third, there is concern about the availability of Arab/African oil supplies owing to the plan for the independence of Sudan's southern part—which contains about 90% of the country's oil reserves—scheduled to become official in July 2011. While the two sides talk about the continued sharing of their oil reserves after the separation, it is uncertain whether such arrangements will be sustainable, even if officially agreed on. Fourth, there is also concern about the availability of Iranian oil/gas supplies due to the expanding UN-approved and also unilateral sanctions on Iran by the EU and US. Iran
has the world's second-largest oil and gas reserves and is a major oil exporter, and concern about the effect of such sanctions on its ability to export oil has worried many oil importers about the availability of adequate amounts of oil in the international market when another large oil exporter (Nigeria) is facing major difficulties in exporting oil. Fifth, this situation is especially worrisome at a time when Iraq is still striving to restore its pre-2003 oil export capability—a difficult task given that the country has been engulfed in a devastating civil war. After over a decade of sanctions that have weakened the Iraqi oil/gas industry, civil war has severely damaged the industry whose facilities, including export pipelines, have been a constant target of acts of sabotage. The civil war has expanded with no realistic end in sight, resulting in Iraq's continued inability to increase its oil exports in a sustainable manner. Sixth, Japan's increased consumption and thus importation of fossil energy, including oil, post-Fukushima has created additional demand for such fuels, particularly oil and gas. Japan's objective is to compensate for the loss of its nuclear facility's power generation in Fukushima by increasing the power production of its fossil-fired power generators. In such a situation, there is also concern about increasing oil and gas demand in Europe, where some countries have expressed their intention to give up or scale down their nuclear energy industries. The ongoing Arab Spring has thus contributed to high oil prices, which will remain in place in the foreseeable future and will be a major factor in slowing down global economic growth. All the Western economies have recently emerged from a deep recession with no realistic prospects of a rapid and significant recovery, even without the new round of oil price hikes caused by the instability in Arab oil-exporting countries. In fact, many of them now face deepening economic contractions and major debt crises while others are barely out of recession. Other economies, including those of Asia, which did not experience contractions during the 2007-10 recession (e.g., China and India) and others, which recovered faster from the recession to register significant gross domestic product growth rates (e.g., Malaysia and Indonesia) will also suffer because of high oil prices, given that most of them are heavily dependent on large oil and gas imports. Conclusion: Major trends The ongoing mass demand for change in many Arab countries may change its form of expression depending on the specifics of a given country. Popular movements could expand or contract in response to their respective governments' reaction and their degree of willingness to appease their people's demands. However, it is certain that most Arabs are dissatisfied with the status quo and demand a fundamental change to address their numerous problems—political, economic, and social. So long as these problems are not addressed in a satisfactory manner, the Arab countries affected by the “Arab Spring” will go through periodic political instability with a direct negative impact on their economic development. The ironclad approach to the ongoing movements or removal of unpopular leaders without changing the status quo could buy some time for the Arab political systems, but cannot possibly root out popular discontent. In the meantime, events such as a street vendor's self-immolation could trigger new round of mass
movements targeting those Arab regimes that continue to resist change. Dr Hooman Peimani is head of the Energy Security Division at the Energy Studies Institute (National University of Singapore). He has also been associated with the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces.
Counter-narratives to extremism at the grassroots Toaha Qureshi and Sarah Marsden Introduction The issue of “radicalization” and the terrorist violence with which it is becoming synonymous has developed a considerable profile in recent years at both the global and local level (Bux 2007). To the detriment of a more focused discussion of the issue, debate has often confounded acceptable, nonviolent, “radical” attitudes, with the behavior of a minority who carry out illegal acts of violence. The aim here will be to offer an insight into how those working with people at risk of violent extremism and individuals convicted of terrorist offences could attempt attitudinal and behavioral change from a grassroots' perspective.1 SGCS is a Muslim-led community organization established in the late 1990s, which is positioned in the midst of the community it serves. This has seen it witness the rise of the post-9/11 discussion on radicalization, and the effects, both of the debate and of the terrorism with which it is associated. During this period, SGCS has instigated a variety of initiatives aimed at reducing social exclusion and extremism; both significant problems in the local area. It is hoped that, by offering an overview based on our understanding of the organization and its work, a clearer picture might emerge as to routes of engaging with those involved in extremist violence. This will consider the comprehensive and pervasive nature of the counter-narrative which needs to be promoted, and its relationship to a variety of direct and indirect delivery methods. This chapter will start with a review of the nature of the partnerships that can help in this work, and consideration of those who should be involved; including organizers, beneficiaries and the relationship to the community at large. Subsequently, counterradicalization project goals and outcomes will be outlined, taking into account the varied and holistic nature of the methods that should be considered. Focus will then move to the counter-narratives that are integral to this type of work. Next, the impact of the various local programs will be examined, along with the long-term nature of the commitment that is needed in order to achieve success and be able to assess its effects. Finally, challenges and obstacles will be discussed, followed by the implications for future efforts, and conclusions will be drawn in relation to the prospects of this type of grassroots project. A partnership approach The community can and should be considered the starting point of work in this field (McMillan and Chavis 1986). However, one should not make the mistake of oversimplifying the complex and multi-layered nature of Muslim communities. These communities often encompass multiple ethnicities, languages and cultures. Thus, the more flexible and inclusive the approach taken, the greater the chance of reaching those
at risk. This can be attempted by engaging with local people and community leaders as well as statutory bodies. This comprehensive model of engagement fosters a more collaborative approach to issues of extremism, anti-social behavior and economic disadvantage. It also operates to build trust between grassroots organizations, the community and the authorities, which is vital for the success of intervention work (see, for example, Tonkiss and Passey 1999; Hirst 1995). In order for the impact of community-centric efforts to be maximized, there needs to be a level of trust between the community and the authorities. The presence of a formal organisation, consisting of people perceived to be representatives of the local community, provides a platform where the community and various statutory and nonstatutory organisations can engage with one another. The inclusion of the local community acts to empower those involved, and enhances the effectiveness, and reach, of voluntary organizations (Couto 1998; Berman and Phillips 2000). It also provides a broad base of influence: more individuals successfully encouraged to engage with the problems the community faces means a greater support network exists to help those that may become involved in extremist ideology, or show signs of other deviant behavior. This approach aims to build trust, ownership and a shared sense of responsibility. It also facilitates a more positive model for interaction between historically antagonistic parties (for example the police and young Muslims), encouraging a more cooperative relationship. Crucial to this multidimensional approach is the role of community and religious leaders, as they lend vital credibility to such initiatives. The support of the local Mosques is particularly important in the positive engagement of the community, and the success of delivering an authentic religious message which responds to the concerns of its constituency. The Mosque can act as a place where people meet, and provides guidance to its congregants. Thus, the positive engagement of religious leaders is important to any efforts that concern violent ideology. This commitment to trust-building, alongside the credibility conferred by the support of the Mosque, enables a more concrete foundation from which to deliver an alternative message to counter those promoting violent extremism. All members of the community have a role to play in this; the broader the network of support for the grassroots project, the greater is its likely impact. Where families and friends are aware of the issue of radicalization, they may be more inclined to refer people to the project about whom they are concerned. When women are given the skills to recognize maladaptive internet use, they are better equipped to engage with their children. And where communities and their constituents feel there is somewhere to go that does not immediately and necessarily involve the authorities, they are more likely to raise issues of concern and become involved in providing a response. Therefore, depending on whether the aim is engaging with someone who has been convicted of terrorist offences, or whether the hope is to counter the extremist narrative that seeks to influence the community at large, an inclusive approach to engagement is necessary for a comprehensive response to the issue (Berman and Phillips 2000). In this context, if the attempt to engage with extremism is considered a state-led, top-down initiative, it has
much less chance of success. Empowered, community-led work is needed; this requires the support of statutory agencies, but should have its origins in the context with which it is trying to engage. Project goals and outcomes The ultimate goal of any grassroots organization working in the context of violent extremism is to divert those involved, or at risk, away from maladaptive attitudes and towards positive social integration. Using educational, recreational and social programs is an ideal way of working towards this end. The exact requirements of the project are most likely to succeed if they are developed in collaboration with the community they aim to serve. This facilitates the development of a more personal interaction and relationship between project organizers and beneficiaries, which enables the organizers to better identify their attitudes and needs. Project outcomes involve a number of explicit and implicit aims. On an overt level, programs should aim to enhance the attractiveness of the organization and encourage participation. They should also deliver education and training to enhance skills and the chance of employment, and/or provide enjoyable diversionary activities. However, less explicit outcomes are developed alongside these concrete skills, such as building personal capacity and self-efficacy. It is within this context of personal development that there should be a concerted effort to engage with the attitudes of those considered at risk of becoming involved in violent extremism. It is important to note, however, that the aim should not necessarily be the complete deconstruction of the â€œradicalâ€? attitudes that some consider underpins violent extremism. Rather, efforts should be directed towards counteracting the belief that violence is a legitimate response and natural corollary of such attitudes. The variety of programs through which beneficiaries are engaged should be multifaceted and responsive to the needs of the community. They can include formal training through accredited courses, mentoring and religious teaching. Other routes are language training in Urdu, Arabic and English; open days focusing on particular themes such as self-employment, training opportunities and citizenship; as well as matters such as childcare and parenting skills. Work on issues of personal development is another important strand of work, which can be delivered through seminars. These can focus on a particular area of concern, for instance anger management, drug and alcohol awareness, or guns and gangs. Offering a presentation, with subsequent scope for discussion, engages beneficiaries. Through discussion, the views of the participants will become apparent, and issues of concern may be raised and discussed in an open manner. For example, the grievances of the participants could be encouraged in relation to questions on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The consequence of this discussion is twofold: firstly, it enables the leaders of the project to identify those who hold extremist views; and secondly, it allows for an open dialogue in which appropriate, authentic, Islamic views may be introduced. This can involve inviting respected Islamic Scholars to speak and discuss appropriate and non-violent responses to issues of concern based on the Quran.
Project example: PROSEED - Providing Seal Opportunity and Support for Employability Enhancement and Development PROSEED was instigated by SGCS in recognition of the growing levels of social exclusion and extremism in the local Muslim communities. A diverse range of beneficiaries were recruited, either through referral from concerned friends and family, through personal contact with project leaders in the community, or at the Mosque. Engagement took place via personal development seminars, for example on drug and alcohol awareness; training and education courses, such as web design; and personal mentoring from project leaders. Through these activities, beneficiaries' ideas and beliefs became known. Those attracted by extremist ideology were then targeted by mentors and religious scholars, and their attitudes explored and challenged. This was operationalized through discussion, debate and Islamic teachings. The project also acted as a community-appropriate centre for training classes, acting to build personal capacity and esteem in the community at large. For example, SGCS offered a womenonly ICT course, enabling traditionally “hard-to-reach” groups, such as Somali women, to team about computers and the internet. This better equipped them to deal with problems such as online extremist forums their children may come into contact with. The initiative successfully engaged a considerable number of the local community, including some of those most likely to progress towards violent extremism. This suggests the project was able to attract beneficiaries and deliver practical tools for academic, personal and social development, enabling SGCS to act as a continued site for engagement with those at risk of radicalization. Importantly, contact with many beneficiaries was maintained after the delivery of courses and seminars was completed, with a number of people becoming actively engaged with SGCS as employees or volunteers. Whilst a full evaluation of the impact of the program demands a long-term approach, there are parallels with successful programs dealing with similar issues of social exclusion and maladaptive attitudes. This gives considerable cause for optimism that attitudinal change and diversion away from radical ideology has been affected in the beneficiaries. Goals may therefore be considered to consist of “hard” and “soft” outcomes. Hard outcomes are those related to skills development, training and education, as well as help with issues like housing or social welfare which project leaders should also be equipped to assist with. These are targeted to help beneficiaries move towards employment and integration into the mainstream economic environment. Soft outcomes involve such aspects as self-confidence, motivation, promoting social-inclusion and pro-social attitudes, as well as trying to develop a sense of belonging in the local and wider community. This is allied to the aim of fostering a more accurate and non-violent understanding of Islam, with the hope that this will promote a less extreme and antagonistic attitude towards the wider society. When combined, this approach provides a platform where individuals can increase their personal capacity, and interact with others who are able to introduce alternative perspectives on issues of social, political and religious concern. Grassroots organizations may offer a culturallyappropriate, nonjudgmental forum for exploring those issues where non-violent
religious, social and political perspectives on subjects such as Islamophobia, foreign policy and social deprivation may be presented and discussed. The overall aim should be to encourage movement towards community integration through economic, spiritual and personal development. A key aspect of engagement with beneficiaries is personal communication and mentoring. When those at risk of radicalization are identified, targeted mentoring by project leaders can challenge their maladaptive beliefs through dialogue and religious scholarship, and through using training and seminars to divert them. Project leaders, mentors and workshop facilitators drawn from the local community generate a space of acceptance and understanding of the personal circumstances of the beneficiaries through shared experiences (Maton and Salem 1995). This is important as it gives them greater credibility with beneficiaries, who may identify with them, hence facilitating a more positive relationship in which those mentors may act as role models (Blackburn 1993). The aim is to foster increased integration into society (Bowers, Sonnet, and Bardone 1999) through a regular platform for interaction, providing support and a stable interpersonal relationship with the beneficiaries. This mentor-mentee relationship is part of a socialization process aimed at influencing the individual positively (Ford 1999) and encouraging the move away from maladaptive behavior and attitudes (Shiner et al. 2004). To maximize the likelihood of success, mentors should have a background similar to that of the beneficiaries. Being from the same - or at least a comparable -community provides a level of understanding that is effective in building trust and encouraging the individual to engage with alternative ways of perceiving and interacting with society. Hopefully, this brief exploration of the multi-dimensional nature of the goals implied in this type of work illustrates that the counter-narrative beneficiaries are introduced to is a pervasive one that should be represented in the organization's aims and methods. This may be better characterized as the foundation of the organization's ethos, rather than an explicit “message” that is directly promoted as such. The values of social responsibility, economic self-sufficiency, personal empowerment and achievement and, most importantly, an authentic understanding of Islam based on a nonviolent approach, are crucial in engaging those at risk. Hence, individuals are not always explicitly “told” or “taught” the details of the counter-narrative; rather, they are encouraged to engage with problems and concerns within the framework of the values outlined above. This is operationalized through change agents drawn from the local community, who act as mentors to the beneficiaries. These individuals generate and promote this wider ethos and deliver the more direct elements of the counter-narrative through ongoing dialogue. Multiple avenues for engagement allow for issues to be addressed at several levels, including the personal skills of the individual as well as their attitudes and beliefs. They also enable the promotion of an alternative set of responses via a set of attitudes founded in authentic Islamic scholarship, social integration and personal responsibility. The nature of counter-narratives The concept of a “counter-narrative” at the grassroots level may thus be better characterized as a philosophy or ethos, within which those from the community are
encouraged to explore issues of concern. However, this does not deny the need to challenge maladaptive or inaccurate attitudes and beliefs which are used to support violent extremism, concerning both society and Islam. It is these utterances that may be more explicitly targeted by a counter-narrative, or an alternative set of interpretive tools which can be promoted and openly discussed with the beneficiaries to encourage positive attitudinal and behavioral change. However, it is important that these are delivered in a culturally-appropriate and inclusive context, and as part of the ethos already described. In considering such counter-narrative programs, it is important to identify the difference in political, religious and social themes. Religious Central to any response to violent, extremist ideology is an accurate, authentic interpretation of Islamic doctrine. This centers on the tenets of the Islamic faith, and asserts that killing is wrong, and that suicide is forbidden. Furthermore, alternative interpretations of the Quran and Hadith that espouse a violent response should be argued to be inaccurate, and often espoused by those uneducated in the true way of Islam. This type of counter-narrative is best delivered by Islamic scholars, whose position as respected members of the religious community and as experts on Islamic scripture gives them immense credibility (Hovland and Weiss 1952). It can also be helpful to bring in Islamic scholars from outside the area, as this increases their standing as impartial judges on matters raised in a specific context. It is vital that any discussion takes place in an open and inclusive environment. This allows a dialogue to begin with those at risk, or those already engaged in violent extremism. This should be part of an ongoing process to present an authentic reading of the Islamic scriptures, and openly discuss issues of concern. Such open discussions enable the Imams to respond to the often legitimate concerns of the Muslim communities, and provide authentic answers to issues such as foreign policy, disenfranchisement and discrimination. Political The disadvantages that many in the Muslim communities experience are a powerful driver of discontent (see, for example, Murshed and Pavan 2009). Their foundation in discrimination, recently coined “Islamophobia” or the “clash of civilizations” (see Runnymede Trust 1997; Esposito 1999), where the “West” is implacably antagonistic towards Islam, offers a cogent explanation for the personal experience of disenfranchisement that many have gone through (The Change Institute 2008). Responses to this notion should include the recognition of the often disenfranchised position of Muslim communities, and acknowledge the discrimination and social inequality which contribute to it. Crucially however, emphasis should be placed on the individual to respond to this situation positively. This entails clarifying the roles and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as acknowledging the position and associated rights and responsibilities of the authorities and the state in relation to social issues and security (Dwyer 2000; Crick 2000). Underpinning this is the personal responsibility of the individual; this reframes the question of “who is to blame for my position?” to “what am I going to do about the
position I am in?â€? Focusing on active citizenship and personal responsibility negates the extremists' view that they should not be part of the (political) solution for the sociopolitical status of the Muslim communities in both the local and global context. Rather, it encourages them to stop fighting the system, and become part of it by increasing their engagement through the prism of personal growth and achievement. This does not imply an acceptance of the way in which the authorities behave, but encourages a response aimed at constructive, non-violent engagement. This is a proactive approach, which has the Islamic community at its centre (see, for example, Metcalf 1996). The goal is to see individuals and communities ultimately take ownership of the problem of terrorism and violent extremism, and it is in grassroots organizations that this participative and empowering approach is particularly effective (see, for example, Milligan and Fyfe 2005). Social Closely related to the political counter-narrative is a message of social inclusion. This narrative concerns the positive framing of social engagement, integration and citizenship. Again, this is founded in personal responsibility in relation to empowerment that is aimed at identifying and realizing the individual's goals (see, for example, Fetterman, Shakeh, and Wandersman 1995). Central to this social counter-narrative is the aspiration and promotion of a positive future, in which hope, social inclusion and achievements are motivators for personal change. Through successful and identifiable role models, who have often come from a similar background, hope may be promoted, as well as the movement towards an individual's goals through enhanced self-efficacy (Bandura 1989). A good connection with project leaders is also important; their investment in the individual and the community at large encourages a positive, reciprocal relationship (see, for example, Regan 1971). This counter-narrative is tailored and directed at the individual, and it is this person-centric engagement in the community context that can ultimately lead to increased social quality (Berman and Phillips 2000). In turn, this relates to social inclusion. If an individual feels part of society, he or she may have a greater willingness to engage in social and economic life and develop a more positive relationship with the community at large (see, for example, Beck, Maesen, and Walker 1997). Thus, a counter-narrative strategy should be a multi-faceted process of holistic engagement with the individual. Its exact nature will be dictated by those at the receiving end, as they will have specific concerns which will need to be addressed through exploration of particular issues. However, primary, reoccurring themes are, firstly, the nonviolent nature of Islam and a rejection of violence as a route to addressing grievances. These can be successfully delivered by authentic Islamic scholars and explored and reinforced by mentors. Secondly, there should be recognition of the often disadvantaged position of members of Muslim communities, both at home and abroad. This political message should be allied to a narrative of self-empowerment, in which the individual is encouraged to take responsibility for his or her situation and attempt to better it through training, education and self-improvement. Thirdly, there should be a narrative incorporating the benefits of social inclusion and pro-social citizenship. This aspirational message, together with the political counter-narrative, recognizes the
issues affecting Muslim communities, whilst at the same time encouraging individuals to improve their own circumstances through self-development. Only such a holistic and inclusive counter-narrative approach is likely to be successful. Successful counter-narratives at the local level Despite its importance, there are considerable challenges in assessing the impact of intervention work, challenges that may be particularly acute at the grassroots level. First and foremost, the causal relationship between a program and attitudinal and behavioral change is difficult to isolate (see, for example, Nichols and Crow 2004). There are also issues relating to the most useful measure of impact (Brewer 1983); to identifying and collating data; to identifying the most appropriate tools; to the dynamic and evolving nature of grassroots organizations; and to allocating scarce resources for evaluation work (see, for example, Cook and Shadish 1986). Furthermore, it is necessary to appreciate the long-term nature of this effort, since effects may not be seen for quite some time. Nevertheless, it is possible to draw on best practices from experience to identify those approaches that may be considered most likely to have a positive impact. With these issues in mind, it is perhaps useful to look at what successful engagement with violent ideology should look like. It must be noted, however, that each community context is different, and all efforts require a flexible approach to maximize their potential effectiveness. What follows are therefore only guidelines as to what might constitute effective engagement in the area of violent extremism, looking at organization-, community-, and individual-level measures. In terms of the organization that delivers the counter-narratives, issues of infrastructure and governance are quintessential. In the grassroots context, a central position in the community and positive relationship with the local mosques are vital to ensure the actor has sufficient reach and credibility in order to engage with those at risk of radicalization. Links between the organization and broader statutory bodies should also be developed. However, a careful approach should be taken here, as the credibility of the organization can be eroded if it is perceived to be an extension of the state. Successfully marshalling these resources and relationships requires a degree of trust to be present between the various parties, which can take some time to develop. Inclusivity is an important factor in building this trust, and is assisted by creating a physical site for interaction and knowledge sharing. This involves including all aspects of the community with the aim of empowering and building the capacity of the local constituency, trying to construct a more resilient infrastructure through which issues of disenfranchisement and radical ideology may be addressed. Project leaders are key to this. They should be drawn from the local area, and be able to advocate on behalf of the community and interact with statutory bodies, community groups, religious figures and individuals effectively. Projects should be tailored to the specific community, sensitive to the needs of its users, and ideally be positioned in the centre of that community, as this enables a swift response to emerging problems. Positioning programs in this way helps to foster a vital sense of ownership; the problems the community faces are perceived to be the responsibility of the entire constituency, and all will benefit if the issues are successfully resolved. Goals of such programs include
the enhancement of social capital (Putnam 1993), which is of vital importance for informal social control, social cohesion and trust (Lehning 1998). With respect to the individual beneficiaries, trust building and credibility are fundamental to successful engagement. A mentoring relationship between project leaders and beneficiaries may achieve this, as illustrated by its various successes in respect to the movement away from more “traditional” forms of crime (Shiner et al. 1990). Assessment and appreciation of individual needs are likely to enhance the success of any intervention, and have seen positive benefits in encouraging the social integration of disenfranchised young people (Bowers, Sonnet, and Bardone 1999). A further element at the individual level is the interaction between the beneficiary and a religious scholar, and the support of the religious community at large (Pierson 2001). This is a particularly important part of the engagement process in Muslim communities, and it is vital that the beneficiary should consider the scholar to be a credible and impartial source of information on Islam. Formulating the aims of the engagement process, based on the needs of an individual, is a complex effort. Each individual will have his or her own requirements that need to be addressed, so evidence of behavioral and attitudinal change will be specific to that person. In general however, ideal outcomes include a rejection of violence as a route to addressing perceptions of disenfranchisement, and a positive and aspirational engagement with society. Work towards this final goal is not a swift, or unidirectional process. Attitude change takes time and commitment, and it may result in both backsliding and progress. Assessment of such change can also be complicated, as some beneficiaries may “say the right thing” in line with perceived expectations. However, a close relationship often enables the mentor to pick up on this, which allows him to continue to work towards real, internal change. This is most obviously manifested in engagement with the project itself. There have been a number of occasions in the existence of SGCS where beneficiaries have become volunteers or staff-members. This facilitates their personal development, helps the organization and enables an ongoing relationship with the individual encouraging permanent change. Quantitative measures of impact can be combined with qualitative measures to provide a more holistic overview of the effects of a program. This can involve identifying the number of beneficiaries, demographic information and number of courses attended. It can also include matters such as the number of people directed towards employment and the provision of infrastructure (e.g. word-processing programs and Internet access), and community-appropriate facilities. “Soft” outcomes such as increased selfconfidence, feelings of social inclusion and integration can also be taken as proxies for the aim of moving people away from violent ideology (see, for example, Youniss, Yates, and Su 1997). A further aspect, which can be drawn from work on engaging with criminogenic attitudes, is the development of goals which are linked to personal growth (Catalano et al. 2004). These are thought to encourage social development and lead people away from crime and economic marginalization (Community Service Volunteers 2003). Finally, promoting hope, self-respect and empowerment is also important, alongside enabling beneficiaries to come into contact with new ideas and experiences
(Zeldin 1995). This has been effective in various successful youth programs (see Roth and Brooks-Gunn 2003, 2000), and may be of assistance when trying to introduce alternative ways of adapting to the community to those attracted by violent ideologies. All of these measures however, do not belie the complexity of engagement with those who are engaged in, or are at risk of getting involved in, violent extremism. Each individual will require a tailor-made approach, which takes into account their personal, emotional, spiritual and practical needs. As part of this, constant evaluation and assessment at the individual, organization, and community-levels are important to ensure that lessons are learned, and the processes hypothesized to be at work are more concretely understood and verified. Challenges in delivery When engaging with violent ideology in a grassroots context, there are obvious challenges operating at the individual level that relate to the beneficiaries with whom one is working, as well as issues dealing with the community and statutory bodies. The predominant challenges are the importance of gaining trust and credibility, and the degree of capacity existing in the community. Grassroots organizations are generally heavily dependent on the local community for practical support, requiring skills which may not yet be in place in the local context. The recognition of these gaps and efforts to build the capacity of members of the local community is therefore important in itself (see, for example, Charity Commission 2000). However, such capacity building is also relevant for dealing with wider social and political issues such as extremist ideology. By enhancing community capacity, society becomes more robust to both internal and external challenges (Richardson 2004). In turn, this can lead to enhanced social cohesion and improved informal social control (see Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls 1997), both of which may be considered important in creating a more resilient community that is better equipped to deal with the issue of violent ideology. As discussed, when engaging with individuals who advocate or have sympathy for violent extremism, there is a huge hurdle of gaining trust to overcome, and a consequent need for a long-term commitment to relationship building. The grassroots, Muslim-led approach has a number of advantages in this regard, as there is usually already a degree of shared cultural and religious understanding between the organization and the beneficiaries (see Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls 1997). If a grassroots organization employs effective advocates, its central position in the community will facilitate a multilevel engagement strategy, in which all parties are encouraged to take ownership of the problem. This interaction between groups and the related knowledge-sharing should aim to improve relations and increase understanding. This acts to build trust, and can also act as a site of advocacy for marginal groups (Hirst 1995). Lastly, there remains the issue of those who are resistant to an alternative approach and who resist any form of counter-narrative. These are among the most challenging beneficiaries, and require ongoing, long-term work to try and address their maladaptive attitudes. As discussed, an individual-level, dynamic process of assessment and intervention is needed to identify which elements of a multi-dimensional approach, such as the one proposed here, should
be emphasized. It is this person-centric approach that has the greatest chance of success. Conclusions and implications for future work Through this discussion, we hope to have illustrated the value and necessity of grassroots, Muslim-led community organizations as a site for engaging with issues of social exclusion and violent Islamist extremism. Their understanding of the community in which they are situated offers vital insight into the appropriate and effective delivery of counter-narratives and execution of programs. Partnership work is central to this, and needs to include the local community, religious leaders and statutory bodies that together aim to promote a sense of ownership and shared responsibility. Leadership from within the civil and religious communities is a vital part of such a strategy, conferring credibility, trust and a true, non-violent interpretation of Islam. A key feature to the success of delivering narratives to counter extremism is the holistic and pervasive nature of the message. The counter-narrative needs to be delivered both explicitly, where maladaptive beliefs are robustly challenged, and implicitly, through the ethos of the organization and its approach towards social, political and religious issues. Education and social programs are ideal vehicles through which these can be communicated. The combination of “hard” and “soft” outcomes that result from successful engagement through these routes is important in maintaining an attractive offer to potential beneficiaries. It also provides an open forum for discussion and interaction on issues such as socio-economic disadvantage, foreign policy and social exclusion, allowing a personal relationship to be built between organizers, mentors and beneficiaries. This should be underpinned with an authentic interpretation of Islamic doctrine, and is key to influencing those at risk of participating or currently involved in violent extremism. Authors' note: This article is based on the first author's experience as chief executive officer of Stockwell Green Community Services (SGCS) in London, and the second author's understanding based on her work with SGCS over the last three years. This article has been adapted for publication from Countering violent extremist narratives (published by National Coordinator for Counterterrorism 2010) by kind permission of the authors. Toaha Qureshi is chairperson of the Forum for International Relations Development, Stockwell Green Community Services, in the UK. Sarah Marsden is a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the University of St. Andrews. Endnote 1. This includes evaluation work funded by London Probation and the AGIS 2006, Reducing Hate Crime in Europe. References Bandura, A. 1989. Human agency in social cognitive theory. American Psychologist 44 (9): 11751184. Beck, W., L. J. G. van der Maesen, and A. Walker, eds. 1997. The social quality of Europe. The
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Obituary: Remembering Saleem Shahzad Umar Cheema
aleem Shahzad is no more. His brutal killing has drawn tears and fear. It has shaken the journalist community and common folks alike. For those curious to know about the murky world of militancy, his death has come too early.
Saleem, the bureau chief of Asia Times Online, has been silenced for letting exposing uncomfortable truths. He knew the militants in heartland and hinterland like the back of his hand. The slain journalist was well aware of the contours of insurgency and had access to almost all those wanted by the world. Saleem could have been utilized for combating this menace, and neutralizing the militants. He was eliminated instead. Forty-year-old Saleem disappeared in Islamabad on the cloudy evening of 29 May 2011. He was picked up on his way to Dunya TV to attend a talk show on security threats to Pakistan, only to resurface dead on 31 May, 265 kilometers outside the federal capital. Saleem was mindful of the threats doled out to him but never imagined they could be fatal. Conflict reporting was Saleem's forte and it landed him in a grave. He started his career in 1990 in the port city where he was born and raised—Karachi, the hub of ethnic and sectarian clashes. Saleem would go after stories linked with ethnic, sectarian or Islamist terrorism, recounts Mazhar Abbas, a senior journalist, then his chief reporter in Karachi-based daily Star: “He was always outspoken.” He would travel from Khyber to Mehran and Afghanistan, sometimes Middle East too, meeting the militants in search of stories. Doing so was not without risk. Saleem was held by Taliban in November 2006 in Helmand province of Afghanistan. After his release, he wrote a detailed account in series about the time he spent in their captivity. Karachi was his home until 2009 when he left after receiving death threats from multiple sources. He then settled in Islamabad with wife and three children (two sons and one daughter). But death kept chasing him even in Islamabad. Friends would often ask him questions like “Don't you feel scared traveling in the Tribal Areas.” The question was pertinent given the fact that several noted persons were held captive, and then shot dead by Taliban and the videos released making them horrible examples for others. But Saleem was quite confident and would explain he always went to the area after making sure he would not fall in wrong hands. Winning trust of the sources is very important in the world of journalism if one has to deal and extract information from them, even if the sources are criminals. Saleem knew this art and would manage safe return from the unsafe areas. But he never forgot to
alarm his friends that he could be killed in Islamabad. His concerns about life multiplied as his book was about to hit the stands. “Inside al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond bin Laden and 9/11,” carries many explosive details—sufficient enough to embarrass the security establishment. “They won't let me live peacefully after this book,” Saleem said to a journalist friend, Tahir Ali, a few days before his death. He also shared his plan of migrating to Turkey or the UK. But Saleem disappeared before the book appeared in the market. Apparently, his 27 May story about al-Qaeda's sleeper cells inside Pakistan Navy landed him in trouble. It was as shocking for the readers as was the attack on the nerve center of Pakistan Navy, PNS Mehran in Karachi, carried out on 22 May which destroyed vital defense assets. Saleem alleged in his story that the security establishment had been in talks with alQaeda to negotiate a deal that would prevent future attacks on the navy personnel. He had told a friend a day after the report was published that this was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg and that he would be filing a couple of follow-up stories that would rattle many. Before he did so, Saleem was abducted. Tahir Ali, our common friend, rang me the next day to tell about his disappearance. I shared the information with other colleagues. Everyone was concerned but nobody thought he would be murdered. My personal experience was one of the reasons for our guarded optimism. Like Saleem, I was also abducted from Islamabad, stripped down and whipped last September. Later I was dumped 120 kilometers outside Islamabad. My writings about national security had landed me in trouble. Saleem was on the same page, rather a step ahead. Another reason to keep hope about Saleem's safe return was a statement by Human Rights Watch (HRW) that it had established through an interlocutor Saleem was held by Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and would be released soon. Since I was also abducted presumably by the same agency, the pattern suggested the abductors give lease on life to the captives. The ray of hope of returning alive alleviates one's pain inflicted through torture. I thought likewise of Saleem. But my heart started pounding on the afternoon of 31 May when we heard his car was found abandoned somewhere between the garrison areas of Jhelum and Kharian. While my journalist colleagues still hoped for the best, I knew the worst had occurred. In no past case had the vehicle of a living victim ever been found abandoned. It had always been returned with the victims asked to drive themselves home. Finally, the breaking news that his dead body had been found played havoc with all of us. I couldn't speak for the next ten minutes. Being the second last victim, I thought as if the message was for me too. My colleague whispered in my ear: “I feel as if my body has been paralyzed.” Later, I found the panic spread all over the journalist community. The majority was hesitant to talk over the phone on the issue, lest they were being monitored. Several refused to appear in talk shows held to discuss his murder, fearing “Big Brother” could be watching. My colleagues in the office joined heads to explore a way to react on the incident without
inviting trouble. I, and many other journalists, couldn't sleep the night his death was confirmed. As Saleem's body was to fly to Karachi, his hometown, early next day (1 June), it was decided the journalists should hold his funeral service in absentia in front of the Islamabad Press Club. To my shock, the senior management of the press club was reluctant to allow it out of fear of the backlash from those involved in his murder. The pressure was, however, resisted and the funeral prayers were offered. The funeral service was followed with a protest; the slogans raised in the beginning were the usual condemnation of the civilian government. A slogan emerged from the back row alleging the intelligence agencies of terrorizing journalists; very few voices repeated it. As elsewhere, there are two major categories of journalists in Pakistan. There are those who speak through their work, and the rest who speak about their work and speculate about the possible sources. If a journalist struggles and produces good news stories, it can become a source of heart-burn for others. Instead of going into the field and digging out information, the latter lot does guesswork about the possible sources of major stories and finally ends at the intelligence agencies, without any thought given to whether findings in this respect are right or wrong. I remember laughing off different speculative sources which would be attributed to my work. The field-shy journalists have a firm belief that nobody can produce a great story unless s/he has blessings from the establishment. These suspicions were removed only after my kidnapping presumably by the same agency which was not happy with my reporting. Saleem's case was not different either. He was also considered the agency's guy and he knew about this perception. “I will be shot dead and so will you because of the work we do, and then all those who branded us ISI, CIA and all sorts of other names will be calling us martyrs,” he once said to a friend, Ali K. Chishti. It's true about the suspicions. Every journalist, explained Ali, who I met in private, be they foreign or local, always asked me one question: “What is Syed Saleem Shahzad's story?” Many in the journalistic community are plagued with serious complexes and competitive streaks and to them Saleem Shahzad had always been “a tool of the ISI”. Saleem in contrast thought he was under threat from the agencies. Nobody knew this fact except a few of his friends. The world came to know about it only after his abduction when Human Rights Watch (HRW) disclosed the contents of an email it had received from Saleem. In it, the slain journalist had provided details of a meeting an ISI officer had with him that were laced with subtle threats. The suspicions about the kidnappers strengthened further when HRW claimed it had learned through a credible source that he was in the same agency's custody. The news of his murder ran parallel with a rare clarification issued by the ISI, rubbishing the allegations about its involvement only to be confronted by a powerful media mogul, Hameed Haroon, the publisher of Dawn and the president of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS). His disclosure was more startling. Saleem had confided in him that he had received threats thrice in five years from the ISI officers, a press release issued by
APNS on behalf of Haroon said. Regardless of the allegations, the question emerges whether this murder will be resolved? If the history is any guide then it does not seem likely. More than 70 Pakistani journalists have been killed but in not a single instance, the challan has been completed and submitted for prosecution, let along bring the culprits to justice. Only one case was resolved which was of Wall Street Journal reporter, Daniel Pearl, murdered in Karachi by militants. No matter how grim the circumstances, Pakistani journalists have learnt the art of resilience. Those who felt shaken after Saleem's murder have returned to normalcy putting on a brave face to obscurantist elements. Their situation reminds me of â€œWhistling of Birds,â€? an essay by H. E. Lawrence. Most of the birds had died in biting winter accompanied by heavy front and lay on the ground rotting, partially eaten by other animals. The other birds were scared and stunned. Soon after the onset of spring, those who managed to survive started chirping and singing. It was quick transition from winter to spring because they had seen it happening since ages. Pakistani journalists are like the surviving birds waiting for their spring. Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter with the News, Pakistan's leading English daily newspaper. He is a recipient of the Tully Free Speech Award (US) and the Martha Gellhorn Special Award (UK).
This document was originally published by Focus on the Global South, India, and has been reproduced by kind permission of the authors and publisher.
South Asian Journal, a quarterly periodical of South Asian journalists and scholars, July-September 2011. Editor Imtiaz Alam
Published on May 2, 2013
South Asian Journal, a quarterly periodical of South Asian journalists and scholars, July-September 2011. Editor Imtiaz Alam