Friday, December 28, 2007

Who Killed Benazir?

Former Prime Minister of Pakistan and a leading opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27th December 2007 in a suicide bomb attack at an election rally Liaquat Bagh Park, in garrison town of Rawalpindi. About 20 persons were also killed in the attack.

More than 24 hours after the gruesome incident, there are conflicting theories surrounding the assassination. One theory doing the rounds was that 5 bullets were fired at Benazir by a sniper who later blew himself. Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up. According to columnist Hamid Mir Benazir was shot at by a sniper rifle from close range and a few moments later a suicide bomber blew himself to make sure that she did not survive. It was a determined effort. They made sure she didn't survive the attack. She died due to the injury in her neck. Some reports suggest that Bhutto was shot by two men with AK 47 rifles as she was entering her car after addressing an election rally. She was injured in the head and chest. At the same time a blast took place close to her car. She was rushed to the hospital where she was declared dead at 6.16 pm nearly 40 minutes after the attack. (The spokesman for the Pakistani Interior Ministry, Brigadier Cheema in an interview claimed that Benazir died due to shrapnel injuries and not due to bullets fired at her). Though no terror group or organization has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, the blame game has begun with former PM Sharif blaming Musharraf and the establishment of carrying on the attack. Musharraf in turn has blamed the Islamic militants for the assassination.

An Al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid based in Afghanistan has claimed responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto, whom he described as 'the most precious American asset.' "We terminated the most precious American asset, which vowed to defeat (the) mujahadeen," Al Qaeda commander and spokesman Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Italian news agency Adnkronos International in a phone call from an unknown location. "The radical elements of Pakistan viewed Bhutto as a Westernised heretic and an American stooge and had repeatedly threatened to kill her. Earlier in October, two Pakistani militant warlords based in the country's northwestern areas had threatened to kill her. One was Baitullah Mehsud, head of Tekrik Taliban-e-Pakistan - a coalition of Pakistani Taliban groups, a top militant commander fighting the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan, who has ties to al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban. The other was Haji Omar, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, who is also from South Waziristan and fought with the Afghan Mujahidin against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

Al-Yazid was described by AKI as the 'main Al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.' It reported that the decision to kill Bhutto was made by Al Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri in October. The veracity of the Al Qaeda claims is yet to be verified.

Though Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the assassination, according to British media reports, Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence and Islamist militants are the main suspects in the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto. There is considerable force in this belief as Musharraf and the radical mullahs were the ones who would have benefited most from her death.

A suicide bomber killed nearly 150 people in an attack on Bhutto on October 18 as her cavalcade was passing through the southern city of Karachi after returning home from eight years in self-imposed exile. She narrowly escaped being killed in that attack. Shortly after the failed attempt on her life, Bhutto wrote to Musharraf naming four persons whom she suspected of carrying out the attack. She named Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a rival PML-Q politician and chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Hamid Gul, former director of the ISI, and Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau.

Incidentally, Liaquat Bagh Park is where Pakistan's first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in October 1951. Bhutto's father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in April 1979 at a spot not very far from where his daughter was killed.

Friday, November 16, 2007

US Radars in Sri Lanka: War on Terror or Snooping on India

On 8th November 2007, the US handed over a radar-based surveillance system and Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) to Sri Lanka to enhance its maritime surveillance capabilities and security. The radar and the boats were given to the Lankan navy to help them in their ongoing war against the LTTE. The location of the facility in the Vavuniya region of North-Eastern Sri Lanka is a cause of concern for India as this post can be used to snoop on India’s key strategic assets such as Kalpakkam nuclear station in Tamil Nadu, naval dockyard at Vishakapatnam and the Thumba rocket launch station near Thiruvananthapuram.

The Sri Lankan Armed Forces have been dependent on Indian radar systems. However as a result of the three ‘successful’ air raids by the Tamil Eelam Air Force, questions were raised about the effectiveness of these systems. Whether the Lankans approached India for assistance and if so what was the Indian response is not quite known. India, however, has been unwilling to mediate directly in the conflict despite appeals from both Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers. New Delhi had post-Rajiv Gandhi assassination refused to negotiate with the LTTE, which it has banned as a terrorist outfit. However, at the same time, it has also not implicitly endorsed or armed Colombo's crackdown on the Tamil rebels, since that would have direct repercussions in the present political dispensation and the regional politics of Tamil Nadu. India decided to play safe by steering clear of the conflict. Which is why when approached by Colombo for military aid, New Delhi offered everything else but weaponry. While, India was willing to provide non-lethal military aid, it avoided entering into a defence agreement with Sri Lanka on one or the other pretext, and then had to watch helplessly as Colombo took its military wish list elsewhere, including China and Pakistan. It has also been reported that Pakistan is involved in training the Sri Lankan Air Force. Though Lanka has denied involvement of Pakistan in training its armed forces.

In another move aimed against the LTTE, the US froze all assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), a front of the LTTE, as part of its aim to financially isolate terrorist groups and their support networks.

The US Department of the Treasury on 15th November 2007, announced that it would freeze the US held assets of the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation, a charitable organisation which has been involved in fund-raising and procurement for LTTE.

India, as usual, expressed concern over the induction of the surveillance system. India needs to do better than expressing its concerns. Firstly, it needs to understand that appeasing its alliance partner in government is one thing and national security is totally another. Secondly, India has been perceived to be insensitive to the bona fide defense requirements of Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan media reported that the Lankan government has sought to purchase 3D radars from China. However Lanka acceded to India’s protests and security concerns and accepted 2D radars which India offered. The Lankan authorities later denied this report.

India’s policy or the lack of it has resulted in big powers slowly encroaching in India’s neighbourhood. The Chinese with its string of pearls policy has led to ‘encirclement’ of India. The recent US-Lankan bonhomie has brought the US close to Indian shores. Today the southern neighbour has sought and received military assistance from the US and Pakistan. Because of its intransigence, tomorrow, India may have to face the stark reality of facing a full-fledged US naval facility at Trincomalee. And of course India may very well have lost out on a chance to play a meaningful role in the strife-torn island nation.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

RAW facts

K Shankaran Nair who succeeded Rameshwarnath Kao, the founding father of RAW, as its chief has recently written a book “Inside IB and RAW: The Rolling Stones that Gathered Moss” narrating his experiences. Morarji Desai who became prime minister in 1977 was out to wreak havoc not only on the Gandhi family but also on the top civil servants and intelligence officers. The late PM's policies had a serious impact on intelligence collection and operations.

His hatred for the head of the premier intelligence organization can be seen from the excerpts of the conversation which appeared in the book Inside RAW by Asoka Raina.
M. Desai: I believe RAW was involved in the internal affairs of the country during emergency.

Nair: No Sir. That is not correct, all were external operations.

MD: But your activities were highly immoral, highly irregular.

Nair: These are RAW’s external operations, sir….

MD: This does not reduce the immorality – stop operations you are handling at present.

Nair: If we do that, sir, some of them might mean a loss of faith in our promises and in the credibility of the government.

MD: I do not care. Stop all operations and also reduce the RAW strength by 50%.

This resulted many an operations being aborted and operatives compromised. One such was “Tiger” Siddiqui of Bangladesh who felt betrayed. Mr. Nair is reported to have remarked that Morarji Desai was the greatest enemy of India’s national security. Pakistan certainly would have celebrated on that fateful day.

This act of Desai was nothing short of treason for which he ought to have been severely punished.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pakistan at the Crossroads-I

Experts have been debating about the future of Pakistan given the nature of civil strife and political instability that has dogged that country for the past few years.[1] It needs to be emphasized that Pakistan’s problems are not of yesterday’s making. They are systemic and congenital, if one can use the expression for a nation-state.

The Beginnings

The state of Pakistan was doomed since its birth in 1947. The creation of Pakistan in 1947 was tumultuous and marked by violence unprecedented in the sub-continent. Pakistan came into international limelight by invading Kashmir in 1948 which was contiguous to both India and Pakistan In just over a year after its independence, its first founding father, Jinnah passed away. In October 1951, its first PM Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated. His assassin, an Afghan was killed and hence the causative factors behind the assassination remained unknown. In the absence of leaders of stature and substance to lead Pakistan post-Jinnah and Khan, Pakistan’s troubles began.

Pakistan became a republic on March 23, 1956, with Maj. Gen. Iskander Mirza as the first president. The first Constitution was adopted in 1956, nearly 9 years after its independence. But it was suspended in 1958. The first elected President of Pakistan, Iskander Mirza was deposed in a bloodless coup carried out by martial law administrator, General Ayub Khan.

Thus within a decade of its birth, Pakistani polity started dithering. Institutions of democracy that were nurtured in neighbouring India were not allowed to take roots in Pakistan. Forces of democracy were subverted by the Army, which came to play a pivotal role in its governance. Pakistani society also came to be divided on regional or linguistic lines, with the Punjabi elite dominating the West and the East being dominated by Bengali-speaking Muslims. This division was to cost Pakistan dearly in 1971 with the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent state.

Though political parties such as Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) (led by Z A Bhutto) and MQM emerged, what Pakistan failed to get was an able leader; a statesman who would take the nation on the path of progress and prosperity.

Pakistan was under military rule from 1958 to 1972, with two generals Ayub Khan (1958-69) and Yahya Khan (1969-71) being at the helm of affairs. Pakistan went to war twice with India in 1965 and 1971 under both the generals; the 1971 war resulting in the emergence of Bangladesh. Pakistan returned to civilian rule under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1972 after the debacle in East Pakistan in 1971. Under Z A Bhutto, a new constitution was framed which came into effect on 14th August 1973. The constitution represented a compromise consensus on three issues: the role of Islam; the sharing of power between the federal government and the provinces; and the division of responsibility between the president and the prime minister, with a greatly strengthened position for the latter. Neither Bhutto nor his government lasted long. In 1978 he was deposed in a bloodless coup and sent to the gallows and General Zia-ul-Haq took over the reigns of the country. General Zia’s policies took Pakistani society on the path of radical Islam.

In December 1978, on the occasion of the first day of Hijra, Zia delivered a nationwide address to usher in the Islamic system in Pakistan. The government began a programme to enforce Nizam-e-Islam (Islamic system) and established Sharia benches to enforce Islamic law. By enacting draconian laws such as the Zina ordinance and Hudood Ordinance[2], Zia ensured that Pakistan would become Talibanized or at any rate Islamicized.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979 saw Pakistan being catapulted as a frontline state in the war against communism. The Mujahideen backed by Pakistan’s ISI with financial assistance from the West carried out attacks in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Pakistan was deeply involved in this jihad against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. After the pull-out of Soviet troops in the late eighties, Pakistan continued to be involved in the internecine conflict in Afghanistan.

On August 19, 1988, Zia was killed in a midair explosion of a Pakistani Air Force plane. Elections which were held at the end of 1988 brought longtime opponent of General Zia, Benazir Bhutto, into office as prime minister. Civilian rule meant political instability and a constant struggle to survive rather than rule.

The corruption, brutality and incessant fighting of the Mujahideen prompted Mullah Omar and his students, the Taliban, to rid Afghanistan of these rebels. The Pakistan-trained Taliban let loose a reign of terror in the war-ravaged country. The Taliban gained control of the country with the active assistance of Pakistan. The casualty of these policies were economic progress. It is said violence begets violence; these very policies have come back to haunt Pakistan post-9/11.
Part II Pakistan at the Crossroads - The Musharraf Regime

[1] Emergency was declared in Pakistan on the night of 3rd November 2007.
[2] Under Offences Against Property (Enforcement of Hudood Ordinance 1979), the punishment of imprisonment or fine, or both, as provided in the existing Pakistan Penal Code for theft, was substituted by the amputation of the right hand of the offender from the joint of the wrist by a surgeon. For robbery, the law provided for amputation of the right hand of the offender from the wrist and his left foot from the ankle.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Is the LTTE behind Thamilchelvan Killing?

Some experts have speculated that the killing of the head of the political wing of the LTTE may have been an inside job, executed by the LTTE itself to prevent him from becoming a threat to Prabhakaran. And the reason for this primarily was due to the fact that the Air Force did not make any immediate claims of success achieved by the air strike. And that it did not make any sense to kill him especially considering the fact that he was an acceptable and human face of the LTTE. The question then is why has the Air Force claimed ‘credit’ for the killing. It is also quite baffling as to how the body of the slain LTTE leader could have been intact had he been killed in the air raid.

Further the question of the air strike on the basis of precise information defies logic because Thamilchelvan’s whereabouts were not shrouded in secrecy. He was known to receive international mediators and interlocutors at his residence.

The Tamil Tigers has been plagued by groupism since its inception. The biggest fallout of this groupism was the split from the LTTE by the special commander of the eastern Batticoloa-Amparai districts, Colonel Karuna suspected to have been engineered bythe Sri Lankan Army. Even after this split, there has been a lot of infighting among the top leadership of the LTTE for the past 2-3 years. LTTE’s intelligence head Pottu Amman joined by S P Thamilchelvan on one side and the head of international operations Veerakathi Manivannan alias Castro and the Tamileelam Police head P Nadesan on the other side were said to be involved in the in-fighting. Castro has evidently established his own intelligence network within the LTTE.

By eliminating Thamilchelvan, the Castro faction has exerted its authority and has extended the Valvettithurai/Myliddy control over the administration of the LTTE. The LTTE leader Prabhakaran hails from northern fishing village of Valvettithurai. And so also is Nadesan who has succeeded Thamilchelvan. In fact Natesan’s appointment as political head only confirms the Castro faction’s influence over the LTTE.

It is no secret that the LTTE in the past have ruthlessly eliminated rivals and enemies both within the organization and outside by adopting this modus operandi. The killings of Chellakili and Victor in the past were carried out in a clandestine manner to ensure that the control of the organization remained with the Valvettithurai/Myliddy group. It remains to be seen as to what would be the fate of Pottu Amman who hails from Nayanmarkaddu in central Jaffna.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The LTTE: On the back foot?

The much-hyped euphoria after the daring attack on the Sri Lankan Air Force base at Anuradhapura on October 22, 2007 was short lived. Within a span of just ten days of the attack carried out by a 21-member suicide commando team belonging to the Black Tigers on the base, jets belonging to the Sri Lankan Air Force carried out precision raid in an area at Thuruaiaru in Iranamadu, Kilinochi district about 70 kms north of Vavuniya in the early hours of November 2, 2007. 6 top members of the Tamil Tigers were reportedly killed in the air strike. The LTTE confirmed the death of the chief of its political wing Suppaya Paramu Thamilchelvam, self-styled Lt. Col Anupumani alias Alex who headed the “strategic communication division” of the Tigers, Mikuthan, Neathaji, Aadchiveal and Vaakaikkumaran.

According to sources in the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry, the raid was successfully carried out due to the synergy achieved through excellent co-ordination between the military intelligence and the air arm.

On October 31, 2007 the Sri Lankan government decided to impose press censorship under the Public Security Ordinance on news coverage related to military confrontations and offensive operations. The clamp down came in the wake of the recent LTTE raid on Anuradhapura air base. It could also signal the start of a possible ground offensive to be launched by the army in the north to take out the Tigers.

LTTE’s recent setbacks:

Over the past two years, since the breakdown of the truce and the split in the LTTE, the Tigers have been facing reverses on the ground.
Kokkadicholai, approximately 20 km south-west of Batticaloa, fell on March 28, 2007
In July 2007, the security forces had captured Thoppigala (Baron's Cap ), the last stronghold of the Tigers in the east.

The Sri Lankan Navy for the first time in the conflict achieved unprecedented success against the LTTE.

Sri Lankan Navy sank the 10th LTTE ship "Matsushima", with a capacity of 3000 tons was the largest ever arms smuggling vessel that belonged to the LTTE, about 1700 km south of Dondra point, the southern tip of Sri Lanka on 07th October 2007, around 0930 hrs.

“Manyoshi” was destroyed on September 10, 2007 at 7.00 a.m.

The second LTTE ship to be destroyed was “Seishin” on 10th September at 5.00 p.m.

The third LTTE ship, “Koshia”, was destroyed after a hot pursuit, which lasted well over four hours, on the 11th around 3.30 a.m.

Since the bulk of the arms and equipment for the LTTE came from the sea, the loss of the ships dealt a severe blow to their arms shipment network.

It remains to be seen whether the LTTE will retaliate with a sensational strike or a suicide bombing on a high value target to boost the flagging morale of its cadres or has the will to resist been broken with the loss of key leaders and reverses on the ground.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bangladesh - From Secularism to Talibanization

During the British rule, the Wahabis led by one Syed Ahmed declared India 'Darul Harb'[1] and locked themselves in a war against the Sikhs in Punjab and against the British in a bid to establish the 'Darul Harb' brand of Islam. The brand of Islam that had been preached by the Sufis in the sub-continent was by and large liberal. The Sufis were very tolerant towards other faiths and adopted certain elements from Hinduism, Buddhism and the local culture, which helped spread Islam all over India.

In 1947, Pakistan emerged as an independent state as a consequence of the partition of India. Pakistan was divided into the Punjabi-dominated West and a Bengali-speaking East. The Indian land mass divided the two wings of Pakistan. The Bengali-dominated East Pakistan emerged as the independent state of Bangladesh in 1971 after facing ruthless military repression at the hands of the Pakistani Army. An indigenous nationalist movement, the Mukti Bahini with active Indian assistance helped the people of East Pakistan achieve statehood.

In its infancy, religion had very little role to play in Bangladesh polity, primarily because the founding father of Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, following the Indian model, had sought to make the state a secular democratic republic. However, even during the turbulent period preceding the birth of Bangladesh, certain sections of the East Pakistani society, especially members of the Jamaat-e-Islami actively supported the Pakistani Army in perpetrating atrocities and were subsequently accused of complicity in the massacres that took place. Hence they were marginalised after the formation of Bangladesh. Before democratic institutions could take roots, Sheikh Mujib was assassinated and his regime overthrown in August 1975. In November 1975, General Ziaur Rehman seized power. Gen. Ziaur Rahman and his followers met in Kurmitola cantonment and drew the blueprint for a nationwide transformation from democratic secularism to nationalism. Gen. Ziaur Rahman was abetted by many intellectuals including newspaper editors, lawyers, barristers, educationists, businessmen, etc., when the Pakistani trained military man had consolidated his power. He sowed the seeds of radicalism by encouraging return of Islamist elements who had collaborated with the Pakistani Army and built ties with the Jamaat. This was done with a view to legitimizing his rule. General Ziaur Rehman was assassinated in May 1981. There was a brief period of civilian rule under a former Supreme Court Judge, Abdul Sattar. He was also overthrown in a military coup in March 1982. General H.M. Ershad took over the reigns of Bangladesh. During his tenure, both society and state continued to be Islamicized. General Ershad amended the constitution and declared Islam the state religion. Bangladesh limped back to civilian rule after the military ruler was ousted as a result of mass popular uprising. However, by this time the "Military-Islamist Complex" had taken roots in Bangladesh. Bangladesh had embarked on a journey to becoming Islamicized or more precisely 'Talibanized'.

The Militant Islamist Groups

In January 2005, a Bangladeshi human rights group had claimed that 31 Islamic militant outfits were operating in the country targetting non-Muslims and seeking to establish a "greater Islamic nation" including parts of some adjacent Indian states.

The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) is reported to be the youth front of Al Mujahideen, the parent organization that began working in the mid 1990s and which has continued to remain obscure even today. Other organizations, such as Jama'atul Jihad, JMB, Ahle Hadith Andolan Bangladesh (AHAB), Ahle Hadith Jubo Shangha, Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB), Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI), Hizbut Tawhid, Tawhidi Janata, Islami Jubo Shangha, Islami Shangha, Al Falah A'am Unnayan Shanstha and Shahadat-e al Hiqma are believed to be part of the Al Mujahideen network. JMB was reported to have been formed in 1998 in the Jamalpur district. While the exact origins of this group is not clear, its existence became known on May 20, 2002 with the arrest of eight Islamist militants at Parbatipur in the Dinajpur district along with 25 petrol bombs and documents detailing the outfit's activities. Subsequently, on February 13, 2003, the JMB is reported to have carried out seven bomb explosions in the Chhoto Gurgola area of Dinajpur town in which three persons were wounded. The Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (Party of the Mujahideen) aims at establishing the rule of Islam in Bangladesh through an armed struggle. The outfit is opposed to the establishment of democracy and calls for the conduct of government under Islamic law. Thus the JMB's aim is to replace the current state of Bangladesh with an Islamic State. The JMJB follows the ideals of the Taliban militia and propagates a movement based on Jihad.

On March 30, 2007, six top militants of the JMB, including its 'supreme commander' Maulana Abdur Rahman and second-in-command, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai were executed in different jails in Bangladesh. The other senior leaders of the outfit who were hanged were Majlish-e-Shura (the highest decision-making body) members Abdul Awal, Khaled Saifullah and Ataur Rahman Sunny and suicide squad member Iftekhar Hasan Al-Mamun. All of them had been pronounced guilty by the Supreme Court of involvement in the killing of two judges in Jhalakathi in November 2005.

Prior to the March 30, 2007 execution, JMB was led by a triumvirate consisting of its ‘supreme commander’ Abdur Rahman, a former activist of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Siddiqul Islam alias Bangla Bhai of the Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Muhammad Asadullah al-Ghalib, an Arabic language lecturer at the Rajshahi University and chief of the Ahle Hadith Andolon Bangladesh (AHAB). Of these, Maulana Rahman was projected as spiritual leader of the organisation while Bangla Bhai functioned as the second-in-command and the outfit’s 'operational chief'. The outfit is known to maintain about 10,000 fulltime and 100,000 part-time cadres.

The Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami (HuJI) meaning Movement of Islamic Holy War was established in 1992, reportedly with assistance from Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front. It is a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist organization whose activities extend not only within Bangladesh but also in India. On April 30, 1992, several of the HuJI leaders addressed a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka and demanded that Bangladesh be converted into an Islamic State. The HuJI is led by Shawkat Osman alias Sheikh Farid. Imtiaz Quddus is the general secretary of the outfit. HuJI aims to establish Islamic Hukumat (rule) in Bangladesh by waging war and killing progressive intellectuals. It draws inspiration from bin Laden and the erstwhile Taliban regime of Afghanistan. The slogan, Amra Sobai Hobo Taliban, Bangla Hobe Afghanistan (We will all become Taliban and we will turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan) itself speaks volumes about the radicalisation of Bangla society and polity.

With an estimated 2,000 dedicated fighters among 15,000 odd members, HuJI is closely affiliated with Al Qaeda and is a member of Bin Laden’s International Islamic Front.

The coastal area stretching from the port city of Chittagong south through Cox's Bazaar to the Myanmarese border, notorious for piracy, smuggling and arms running, is the principal area of activity of the HuJI.

The madrassas have been a major source of recruits for HuJI. The group reportedly maintains six camps in the hilly areas of Chittagong, where its cadres are trained in the use of weapons. Unconfirmed reports have also indicated that it maintains six training camps near Cox's Bazaar.

The HuJI cadres allegedly also infiltrate frequently into the eastern corridor of India to maintain contacts with terrorist and subversive outfits of the region.

Although there is no authoritative information on the actual cadre strength, most reports mention it to be around 15,000. Several of these recruits were trained in the Kormi and Kasia areas of Bangladesh. Further, many hundred recruits were reportedly trained at various training camps in Afghanistan, primarily during the reign of the Taliban.

The HuJI reportedly receives financial assistance from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan through Muslim Non-Governmental Organisations in Bangladesh, including the Adarsa Kutir, Al Faruk Islamic Foundation and Hataddin.

Since 2002, some of the major terrorist strikes that have been carried out in India (outside Kashmir), have been attributed to HuJI. It is reported to have the backing of some sections of the Bangladesh polity, the army and intelligence agencies and may have been engaged by ISI and other Pakistan based groups to carry out terrorist activities within India.

Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) meaning Awakened Muslim Masses of Bangladesh is an Islamist vigilante outfit that espouses the ideals of the Taliban. It has been reported in the Bangladeshi media that the JMJB is an outgrowth of the Islamist militant outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).

When the JMJB first came in the news in April 2004, it was also known by other names like Mujahidin Alliance Council, Islami Jalsha and Muslim Raksha Mujahideen Oikya Parishad.

JMJB does not approve of the prevailing political system in Bangladesh and that it aspires to "build a society based on the Islamic model laid out in Holy Quran-Hadith." Its stated objective is neutralizing the left-wing extremists, especially the cadres of the PBCP and its professed long-term goal is to usher in an ‘Islamic revolution’ in Bangladesh through Jihad.

The JMJB reportedly has a three-tier organisation. The first tier of the outfit consists of activists called Ehsar who are recruited on a full-time basis and act at the behest of the leadership. The second tier, known as Gayeri Ehsar, has over 100,000 part-time activists. The third tier involves those who indirectly co-operate with the JMJB.

The JMJB created strong bases mostly in north-west Bangladesh, in the districts of Rajshahi, Satkhira, Naogaon, Bagerhat, Jessore, Chittagong, Joypurhat, Natore, Rangpur, Bogra, Chittagong, and Khulna. It has allegedly spread its network to most Madrassas (seminaries) and other educational institutions in these districts.

The outfit also established at least 10 camps at Atrai and Raninagar in the Naogaon district, Bagmara in Rajshahi district, and Naldanga and Singra in Natore district. There have been reports of JMJB recruits being given training through recorded speeches of Osama bin Laden and the video footages of warfare training at the Al Qaeda's Farooque camp (now defunct) in Afghanistan.

Some JMJB leaders reportedly stated that the outfit is headquartered in Dhaka. However, media reports indicated all activities of the organisation revolving around Jamalpur.
JMJB is reported to have 300000 activists across the country and has about 10,000 full-time activists.

JMJB cadres during their vigilante operations in 2004 were seen with firearms. They also reportedly wielded swords, other sharp weapons, hammers and hockey sticks. JMJB also had access to crude explosives.

Purba Banglar Communist Party (PBCP) headed by Mofakkar Chowdhury is one of the many Maoist splinter organizations in Bangladesh. It was formed in 1968 after splitting with the Bangladesh Communist Party (BCP). It has been outlawed since the military regime of Zia-ur-Rehman. However, there has been a spurt in the activities of the PBCP since 2002.

Like Maoist groups around the world, the objective of the PBCP is capturing state power through armed struggle. Its draws inspiration from the Chinese revolution. In the opinion of the PBCP, oppression by the people of the then West Pakistani was the principal reason that lead to the liberation war in the territories of the then East Pakistan following which Bangladesh was formed. The PBCP is strongly opposed to the presence of feudal elements in Bangladesh. Ideologically, it is closer to the Marxist-Leninist groups of India and desires to launch a joint movement along with progressive parties in India, particularly the Naxalites of West Bengal. The PBCP is hopeful that China would, at some time in the future, provide significant assistance in realising its goals. The PBCP operates in south-west Bangladesh, bordering the Indian State of West Bengal. Its presence can be noticed in districts such as Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat, Magura, Meherpur, Narail, Kushtia, Jessore, Jhenidah, Chuadanga and Pirojpur.

PBCP cadres have reportedly been involved in acts of murder, robbery, extortion, land grabbing and abduction for ransom. Like the mafia, they are allegedly involved in settling land disputes in rural areas. In the process of adjudicating disputes, PBCP cadres collect money through their strong-arm tactics from both the parties to a dispute. In its strongholds, the PBCP levies a ‘tax’ on civil contractors who undertake construction works such as laying roads and bridges and constructing culverts and schools. This has resulted in impeding development work in southwest Bangladesh. The PBCP also publishes a journal Purba Bangla, meaning East Bengal.

Islami Chhatra Shibir is the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, which came into existence in 1941.

A person at the time of joining the organisation is considered as Karmi, meaning worker. When a Karmi meets a predefined standard of knowledge, rituals, moral status and leadership quality, he is promoted to a Shathi meaning comrade. When a Shathi is able to meet a higher standard of knowledge, rituals, moral status and leadership quality, he is promoted to a Shadashawa meaning member.

Nurul Islam Bulbul is the Central President of the ICS. Mohammed Nazrul Islam is the Secretary General of the outfit. Other important leaders are: Kamal Ahmed Sikder, A S M Faruq, Muhammad Mujibur Rahman Manju, Muhammad Raisul and A S M Ashraf Mahmud Uzzal. The Executive Council is the highest decision-making body of the outfit.

The group's objectives, inter alia, are to change the existing system of education on the basis of Islamic values, to inspire students to acquire Islamic knowledge and to prepare them to take part in the struggle for establishing Islamic way of life. A very important aim of the outfit is to establish an Islamist regime on the Taliban model in Bangladesh similar to the one that existed in Afghanistan. Consequently, the outfit is opposed to forces of modernization, secularism and democracy. The group is one of the strongest student fronts in the Universities of Chittagong, Dhaka, Rajshahi and Jahangirnagar. It is also emerging as a dominant group in the Khulna and Sylhet Universities. Within the vast madrassa (religious seminary) structure in Bangladesh, this group is reported to be a dominant and uncontested organisation.

The Shibir also been maintaining close links with the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and has been working to support Islamist subversive agenda particularly in areas bordering Bangladesh. It is also reportedly has close links with various terrorist outfits operating in South Asia and Afghanistan.

(to be continued)

[1] "Abode of War." A land ruled by infidels that might, through war, become the "Abode of Islam," dar-ul-Islam. In the nineteenth century, some Muslims argued that India had become dar-ul-harb because of British rule.
1. South Asian Terrorism Portal
2. Wikipedia

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

China’s String of Pearls Policy: A Perspective

The String of Pearls: The “String of Pearls” is not merely a naval or military strategy. Neither is it just a regional strategy. It is a manifestation of China’s ambition to attain great power status and secure a self-determined, peaceful, and prosperous future.

An examination and analysis of Chinese policy towards the South Asian region in general and India in particular shows that China has been making in-roads into India's neighbourhood by forging ties with countries in the sub-continent and South East Asia.

According to Lt.Col. Christopher J. Pehrson[1] The “String of Pearls” describes the manifestation of China’s rising geopolitical influence through efforts to increase access to ports and airfields, develop special diplomatic relationships, and modernize military forces that extend from the South China Sea through the Strait of Malacca, across the Indian Ocean, and on to the Arabian Gulf.

There is a view that this geopolitical strategy has evolved because of increasing Chinese dependence on energy resources from Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and the Americas and the need for securing the energy supply routes and its maritime trade.

Each “pearl” in the “String of Pearls” is a nexus of Chinese geopolitical influence or military presence. For instance, Hainan Island with recently upgraded military facilities is a “pearl.” An upgraded airstrip on Woody Island, located in the Paracel archipelago 300 nautical miles east of Vietnam, is a “pearl.”

China and Pakistan signed an agreement of US$ 22.26 million for additional dredging of the Gwadar Deep Sea Port Project on March 24. The development of the port is regarded as a shining example of Pakistan-China cooperation and the port is expected to be ready for operation by 2007.[2]

Beijing has already established electronic eavesdropping posts at Gwadar. The posts monitor vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz and the Arabian Sea.

China has deepened ties with the Bangladesh government and built a container port facility at Chittagong. In that country, China has sought extensive naval and commercial access.

China has developed close ties with the military regime of Myanmar and has turned the country adjacent to the Malacca Straits, through which 80 percent of China’s total crude oil imports pass, into Beijing’s satellite.

In November 2003, China and Cambodia signed a military agreement on providing training and equipment. Cambodia has helped China construct a railway from southern China to the sea.

China may have economic interests which requires to be safe guarded. However, what is disturbing is the listening post in Coco Island (taken on lease from Myanmar in 1994). Coco Island and the northern-most tip of the Andamans are separated by just 18 kilometers of sea. Officials say that Coco is visible from the Andamans. The Coco Islands are thus an ideal location for monitoring Indian naval and missile launch facilities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands to the south and movements of the Indian Navy and other navies throughout the eastern Indian Ocean. Construction of the Great Coco Island station began in late 1992 with the emplacement of a 45-50m antenna tower, radar sites and other electronic facilities forming a comprehensive SIGINT collection facility. With China controlling the Myanmar ports of Akyab, Cheduba and Bassein, India's approaches to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be threatened.China has another listening post at Hainji Island.

China has been working aggressively towards building a blue water navy including acquiring aircraft carriers and long-range nuclear submarines. China's acquisition of Varyag, the ex-Soviet vessel, ten new destroyers, mostly from Russia and two Sovremennyy-class destroyers (now renamed the Hangzhou and Fuzhou, respectively) equipped with 200-km-range supersonic SS-N-22 Moskit Anti Ship Cruise Missiles (ASCMs) are part of the modernization programme undertaken to build a blue water navy.

The modernization of the PLA is a tangible manifestation of China’s growing national power. According to the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, of the major and emerging great powers, China is considered to have the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could, over time, offset traditional U.S. military advantages. Regardless of China’s intent today, powerful and modernized armed forces provide China with military capabilities that the United States must consider. With near-term focus on Taiwan, PLA modernization efforts appear to be aimed specifically at combating U.S. maritime forces that might be called to defend Taiwan and at denying the United States access to regional military bases in locations such as Japan and South Korea. Many of China’s new weapon systems are applicable to a range of operations beyond the Taiwan Strait. The expanding capability of China’s military power threatens not only Taiwan—and therefore the United States—but also challenges U.S. friends and allies throughout the Western Pacific, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. Unchecked or disproportionate, China’s military modernization could lead to a major reordering of the balance of power throughout the Pacific. China began modernizing its armed forces and procuring sophisticated weapons after observing the overwhelming success and technological prowess of the U.S.-led coalition during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. This was signaled by the PLAAF’s purchase of 24 Su-27 advanced all-weather fighters from Russia in 1992, China’s first venture into fielding a first-rate air force. In 1993, China began the acquisition of advanced surface-to-air missiles, towed-array anti-submarine sonar, multiple-target torpedo control systems, nuclear submarine propulsion systems, and technology to improve the range of its undersea launched cruise missiles. The Su-27s and these other military systems procured from Russia enhanced China’s power projection capability and heightened the threat to Taiwan. In 1999, China signed a contract with Russia for 40 Su-30 ground attack aircraft and a contract for approximately 40 more was signed in 2001.

In the 1990s, the PLAN expressed interest in acquiring aircraft carriers, and more recently military leadership has stated China’s intent to build aircraft carriers, true instruments of power projection. Rhetorical statements aside, there is no evidence of China’s furthering this ambition, either because of Chinese restraint and strategic forethought in accordance with the country’s overall “peaceful development’ strategy, or because the PLAN is not robust or mature enough to put a carrier to sea without incurring substantial risk. Deploying an aircraft carrier would not occur overnight, and the PLAN is certainly many years away from actually launching one. Since the inception of the People’s Liberation Army Navy in 1949, submarines have constituted an important component of its fleet. The importance of the submarines increased, when in the 70s, China moved from a coastal-defence strategy to a blue-water strategy. In 1994, China began modernizing its submarine fleet with the purchase of four Russian Kilo-class attack submarines, followed by a subsequent agreement to purchase eight more in 2002. On 18th September 2007, the People’s Daily published photographs of China’s new class of nuclear powered submarine belonging to Shang Class (Type 093). According to naval experts, China started working on this class of submarines sometime in the 80s to replace the older Han-class (Type 091), which were considered to be very noisy. However, the research did not make any significant progress till the St. Petersburg-based Rubin Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering were engaged to render assistance in the development. The new submarine was launched by the end of 2002 and commissioned in 2006. This new platform has noise reduction measures, underwater sensors and sophisticated bow-and flank-mounted sonar arrays. China is also reported to be working on the Jin-class (Type 094) submarines. With this new Jin-class submarine, the Chinese navy would be in a position to cover the Indian Ocean. These recent strides made by the PLAN will have to be seen in the context of the “string of pearls” surrounding India.
[1] String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power Across the Asian Littoral
[2] Daily Times, March 25, 2006

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Operation Orchard – How the Raiders Sneaked In?

The question is how did the fighters belonging to the Israeli Air Force manage to avoid detection by Syrian air defense? Neither F-15s nor F-16s used by the Israeli air force in the raids are fitted with stealth technology. The answer lies in the Suter or technology akin to Suter which may have been developed by the Israelis. According to U.S. aerospace industry and retired military officials Israel used a technology similar to the “Suter” airborne network attack system developed by BAE Systems and integrated into U.S. unmanned aircraft by L-3 Communications. The system is reported to have been used or at least tested operationally in Iraq and Afghanistan. The technology allows users to invade communications networks, see what enemy sensors see and even take over as systems administrator so sensors can be manipulated into positions so that approaching aircraft can’t be seen. The process involves locating enemy emitters with great precision and then directing data streams into them that can include false targets and misleading messages algorithms that allow a number of activities including control. It hacks into enemy air defense systems so that they can be taken over. Suter includes some powerful sensors for detecting a large assortment of electronic emissions. Computer software can identify the emitters based on a database of known emitters. Based on this information potential entry points into air defense systems can be exploited. Suter can monitor enemy emitters, mislead them or shut them down. Suter 3 was tested last summer to add the ability to invade the links to time-critical targets, such as battlefield ballistic missile launchers or mobile surface-to-air missile launchers. Aircraft involved in the Suter programs include the EC-130 Compass Call, RC-135 Rivet Joint and F-16CJ strike aircraft specialized for suppression of enemy air defenses.

A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Russian experts were studying why the two state-of-the art Russian-built radar systems in Syria did not detect the Israeli jets entering Syrian territory. Syria reportedly recently bought two state-of-the art radar systems from Russia, reckoned to be Tor-M1 launchers that carry a payload of eight missiles, as well as two Pachora-2A systems. Iran recently bought 29 of these Tor launchers from Russia for $750m in order to defend its nuclear sites. Iran reportedly had asked the same question, since it was buying the same systems and might have also paid for the Syrian acquisitions. The failure of these systems in detecting and responding to the Israeli raid therefore poses questions for arms manufacturers and armies all the way from Damascus to Moscow and over to Tehran.

For Aviation Week's story click here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mystery Behind the Israeli Raid on Syria – Operation Orchard Unveiled

In 2001, Mossad was profiling Syria's new President Bashar al-Assad. Around the same time, Aman, Israel's military intelligence directorate was closely observing visits made by North Korean officials to Syria which focussed on advance arms deliveries. Aman was of the opinion that nuclear arms were being discussed. In 2004, US intelligence picked up several communications between Syria and Pyongyang and calls were traced to a Syrian desert location called al-Kibar. Israel's Unit 8200, a unit responsible for collection of signals intelligence and code-breaking, also started keeping a close watch on this location.

In April 2004, a massive explosion on a North Korean freight train headed for the port of Namp'o alerted the Israelis. Mossad learned that dozens of Syrian nuclear technicians travelling in a compartment adjoining a sealed wagon were killed in the blast. Their bodies were flown in lead encased coffins aboard a Syrian military plane.A wide area around the explosion site was cordoned off for days as North Korean soldiers in anti-contamination suits collected wreckage and sprayed the area. Mossad analysts suspected they were trying to recover weapons-grade plutonium. Since the explosion, the Mossad tracked about a dozen trips by Syrian military officers and scientists to Pyongyang.

The Daily Telegraph, citing anonymous sources, reported that in December 2006, a top Syrian official arrived in London under a false name. The Mossad had detected a booking for the official in a London hotel, and dispatched at least ten undercover agents to London. The agents were split into three teams. One group was sent to Heathrow Airport to identify the official as he arrived, a second to book into his hotel, and a third to monitor his movements and visitors. Some of the operatives were from the Kidon Division, which specialised in assassinations, and the Negev Division, which specialised in breaking into homes, embassies, and hotel rooms to install bugging devices. On the first day of his visit, he visited the Syrian embassy and then went shopping. Kidon operatives closely followed him, while Negev operatives broke into his hotel room and found his laptop. A computer expert then installed software that allowed the Mossad to monitor his activities on the computer. When the computer material was examined at Mossad headquarters, officials found blueprints and hundreds of pictures of the al-Kibar facility in various stages of construction, and correspondence. One photograph showed a North Korean nuclear official meeting with Ibrahim Othman, Syria's atomic energy agency director. Though the Mossad had originally planned to kill the official in London, it was decided to spare his life following the discovery.

A senior U.S. official stated that, in early summer 2007, Israel had discovered a suspected Syrian nuclear facility, and that the Mossad then "managed to either co-opt one of the facility's workers or insert a spy posing as an employee" at the suspected Syrian nuclear site, and through this was able to get pictures of the target from on the ground." Two months before the strike, Israel launched the Ofek-7 spy satellite into space. The satellite was geo-positioned to watch activity at the complex. 

Intelligence and Planning:
Early in the summer, the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had ordered the doubling of Israeli forces on the Golan Heights bordering Syria in anticipation of a possible Syrian retaliation in the event of air strikes by Israel. According to American sources, Israeli intelligence tracked a North Korean vessel identified as “Al Hamed", a 1700-tonne cargo ship that was previously owned by North Korea, purported to be carrying a cargo of nuclear material labeled “cement”. The vessel registered itself as a South Korean ship when it traveled through the Suez Canal. On 28th July the vessel docked at the Syrian port of Tartous. The ship returned on 3rd September and is said to have unloaded the cargo of “cement”. The Israelis continued to keep track of the cargo as it was transported to the small town of Deir ez-Zor, in north-eastern Syria near the Turkish border. Israeli sources revealed that the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was redirected from Iran to Syria. The satellite sent high quality images of the north-eastern area every 90 minutes enabling the air force specialists to spot the facility. Three days after the consignment arrived, the final phase of Operation Orchard got underway. According to Sunday Times, around mid-August 2007 a team belonging to Sayarat Matkal covertly raided the suspected Syrian nuclear facility and brought soil samples and other material back to Israel. This confirmed that the cargo was nuclear. Once the material was tested and confirmed to have come from North Korea, the Israelis decided to carry out the attack.

Such was the secrecy that the target of the attack was revealed to the pilots only while they were airborne. All that the pilots were told was that the target was a northern Syrian facility that was labelled as an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates River, close to the Turkish border. So also the pilots who were assigned to provide air cover for the strike jets were not briefed about the mission till they too were airborne. The air cover was not required; thanks to the stealth technology and the sophisticated electronic systems, Syria’s Russian-made anti-aircraft systems were blinded. There was speculation that Israel may have used technology similar to Suter airborne network attack system used by the US, to enable its aircraft to pass undetected by Syrian radar. This system makes it possible to feed enemy radar with false targets and even manipulate enemy sensors directly.

The Raid and After:
According to Times Online, just after midnight of 6th September 2007, the 69th Squadron of Israeli Air Force comprising of F-15Is and F-16s equipped with AGM-65 Maverik missiles, 500lb bombs and external fuel tanks crossed the Syrian coastline. The raiding team consisted of 8 aircraft including an ELINT aircraft. On the ground, Syria’s air defences went dead. Operation Orchard was underway. A daring attack on a Syrian target in Deir ez-Zor or Dayr az-Zwar near the village Tal Abyad in northern Syria near the Turkish border had begun.

At a rendezvous point deep inside Syrian territory, a commando team from Shaldag air force commando waited to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up positions near a large underground depot. Shortly thereafter the target was destroyed.

The only piece of evidence which was left behind were two detachable tanks from an Israeli fighter were found just over the Turkish border (Hatav and Gaziantep provinces) which according to Turkey, belonged to a Raam F15I - the newest generation of Israeli long-range bomber, which has a combat range of over 2,000km when equipped with the drop tanks.

Though Israel did not issue any statement acknowledging or denying responsibility for the attack, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that the IDF was demonstrating unusual courage. And added that it could not naturally reveal to the public everything.

Former officials familiar with both Syria and North Korea have pointed out that an almost bankrupt Syria has neither the economic nor the industrial base to support the kind of nuclear programme described, adding that Syria has long rejected going down the nuclear route.

At this point in time, it is difficult to verify the truth of the allegations against Syria - and Israel has a long history of employing complex deceptions in its operations - the message being delivered is quite clear: if Syria's ally, Iran, comes close to acquiring a nuclear weapon, and the world fails to prevent it, either through diplomatic or military means then Israel will stop it on its own. 

The Killing of Brigadier Suleiman
As mysterious as the raid, was the killing of Mohammed Suleiman, an officer in the Syrian Arab Army. Brigadier General Mohammed Suleiman, 49, was shot dead on  the night of 1st August 2008 at his chalet in the Rimal al-Zahabieh luxury resort nine miles north of the port city of Tartous on the Mediterranean. He was shot in the head and neck by sniper/s from a yacht which was about 50 metres from the coast.

Suleiman had been a key aide to Assad since the mid-1990s, when Bashar was being groomed to succeed his father, Hafez al-Assad, as president. Suleiman, who belonged to the same Alawite religious sect as the Assad family, supervised several portfolios, and oversaw Syria's weapons research and development program. After Assad became president in 2000, Suleiman handled his intelligence affairs and was reportedly also in charge of arms transfers from Syria to Hizballah in neighboring Lebanon. A 2007 cable from the US embassy in Damascus, published by Wikileaks in 2010, described him as "special presidential adviser for arms procurement and strategic weapons". He was probably targetted for his involvement in the uranium procurement and Syrian nuclear programme.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Mystery Behind Israel’s Air Strike on Syria

There has been speculation of sorts as to what happened in northern Syria on 6th September 2007. Reports emanating from Syria suggested that on 6th September 2007, aircraft belonging to the Israeli Air Force (Hel HaAvir) penetrated Syrian air defenses and dropped some ordnance in a deserted area some where in the north of the country. The aircraft then fled towards the Mediterranean. Turkey, later announced that two Israeli fuel tanks had been dropped inside its territory, one in Gaziantep province and the other in the Hatay province. Dropping of the tanks by the aircraft indicates that it (or they) had come under fire from Syrian air defences and the plane dropped the tanks to increase speed and maneuverability. Apart from these sketchy details, none of the parties, Israel, Turkey or Syria came out with any official statements on the incident. The United States which was probably aware of the goings on chose to keep mum.

A few weeks after the incident, leaks from the American side hinted that the operation was something more than mere testing of Syrian air defenses or reconnaissance. The leaks from the US indicated that a shipment which had been delivered to Syria from North Korea may have contained nuclear equipment. Speculation was rife that Israel was probably preparing for an air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities and that this was a dry run. Some reports even suggested that the target of the Israeli strike was shipment of arms from Iran to the Hezbollah or a nuclear installation being constructed with North Korean assistance. Israel undertaking such a mission fraught with risk only to destroy a shipment of arms is unlikely while in the latter scenario it was only to be expected.

According to a report appearing in the Sunday Times Israeli commandos were involved in a joint operation with its air force under the direct supervision of the Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. The operation was targeted against “nuclear material” provided by North Korea to Syria. The operation was reminiscent of a similar attack carried out by the Israeli Air Force on the nuclear facilities on the outskirts of Baghdad[1].

On 1st October 2007, the Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad acknowledged that a strike had taken place and that an unused military building was hit.

Israeli silence on the incident was understandable. But what was intriguing was the Syrian silence. Normally, Syria would have been expected to cry hoarse over the Israeli incursion and would have threatened to take the issue to the UN Security Council and other fora. The inference that can certainly be drawn is that Syria was upto something sinister and hence did not raise this issue before any international forum. What? Was it working on its own nuclear program? Was it acting as a conduit for facilitating illegal transfer of nuclear material or equipment? If so, to which country? These questions will remain unanswered for a long time to come. But the fact remains that Israel will not tolerate a nuclear Arab state in its neighbourhood. And also that it would not hesitate to use force if its very existence is threatened.

All said and done, the attack was probably to send a strong signal to the Arab states, particularly those nursing ambitions of acquiring nuclear weapons, that Israel and the US would not tolerate the induction of nuclear weapons in the conflict-prone region. The raid also served a warning to Iran that its nuclear facilities were not safe against an Israeli strike (with or without US backing) and that it should desist from going ahead with its nuclear program.

[1] Operation Opera (also known as Operation Babylon and Operation Ofra) was a surprise Israeli air strike against the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor. On 7th June 1981, a squadron of Israeli F-16A aircraft with an escort of F-15As bombed and heavily damaged the Osirak reactor. The plant, which was intended for the production of nuclear weapons, was destroyed before it became operational; had Israel waited much longer, an attack would have caused radioactive fallout in the area around Baghdad. The attack removed the nuclear threat to Israel.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quadrilateral Initiative: The View from Beijing and Beyond

India’s participation in the Quadrilateral Initiative marks a major shift in its foreign policy. Since its independence in 1947, India’s policy has been governed by the principles of not aligning itself with either of the power blocs. India’s principles of non-alignment however sound they may have seemed during the period of Cold War are no longer relevant today. Today, India’s inclusion in the 4-nation grouping is the recognition of India’s geo-strategic importance and the role that it can assume and play in the power game of South East Asia. According to political observers, the idea of a quad cooperation was revived in the aftermath of the tsunami and the relief efforts which were based on the cooperation of the navies of US, Australia, India and Japan.

The Quadrilateral Initiative serves to further and secure US interests in Asia-Pacific region. The US sees the growing Chinese influence on the littoral states of the region as a potential challenge in the future. Therefore the US seeks to contain China in much the same way China itself has sought to contain India and Japan.

What are China’s concerns?

China’s relationship with the South East Asian states and particularly the two main political actors in the region, viz. Japan and India is not very cordial. The Chinese are more concerned about a militarily assertive Japan than of a rapidly developing India.

The Beijing Review[1] in an article – “A Broader Asia Without China” has expressed concerns over the forging of a new 4-nation alliance comprising the US, Australia, India and Japan. According to it this alliance is aimed at China. The article attacks the former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe for this new grouping and states that the former PM’s vision of quadrilateral grouping aimed to expand Japan’s diplomatic frontiers and to marginalize China by citing common democratic values and besiege the country geopolitically.

According to Li Yan, a scholar at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR): "Abe's attempts to promote 'value-oriented diplomacy' and construct a 'four-nation alliance' are apparently directed at China.” Li pointed out that the United States is concerned that Japan's quadrilateral initiative may provoke China into fierce reactions, which could harm Asia-Pacific security and stability. The United States needs to cooperate with China on a series of issues such as the North Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and anti-terrorism, he said. Provoking China is not in the interest of the United States, he added. Liu Jiangyong, professor at the Institute of International Studies of Tsinghua University, while agreeing, stated that the United States has no intention to shape a strategic alliance against China today, although it made such futile attempts during the Cold War, he said. American national interests demand that the United States collaborate with China instead of running into conflicts with the country.

The Chinese have been suspiciously watching as different aspects of India’s strategic relationship with the US has been evolving and are quite concerned about the quadrilateral grouping between the US, Japan, Australia and India that clearly spans China's borders along the Asia-Pacific rim. During the trip of Indian PM to China last year, the Chinese had clearly indicated that it clearly did not want a strategic alliance, formal or informal, between Japan, India and the US. Though India was initially reluctant to be drawn into any kind of strategic partnership with the US, Australia and Japan, the then PM Abe’s diplomacy seemed to have persuaded India to join the grouping.

What is interesting is that while China was not aligned with either the US or the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it has played a key role in the formation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization[2]. According to Western observers the Shanghai Cooperation Organization or (SCO, for short) was formed as a counter balance to NATO. (Interestingly, India has an observer status in SCO along with Mongolia, Pakistan and Iran). The SCO is primarily centered around its member nations' Central Asian security-related concerns, often describing the main threats it confronts as being terrorism, separatism and extremism. Members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization during a summit held in June 2006 forcefully asserted their right to regulate affairs in Central Asia. A declaration signed by the heads of state of all six-member states, including Russia and China, was widely viewed as placing the group in direct opposition to the United States in the regional geopolitical contest. This coupled with the rejection of a US application for membership in the SCO is viewed as a bloc aimed at countering the US in Asia. Whether the Quadrilateral Initiative was formed to counteract the SCO, only time will tell.

[2] The Shanghai Five grouping was originally created April 26, 1996 with the signing of the Treaty on Deepening Military Trust in Border Regions in Shanghai by the heads of states of Kazakhstan, the People's Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. April 24, 1997 the same countries signed the Treaty on Reduction of Military Forces in Border Regions in a meeting in Moscow. In 2001, the annual summit returned to Shanghai, China. There the five member nations first admitted Uzbekistan in the Shanghai Five mechanism (thus transforming it into the Shanghai Six). Then all six heads of state signed on June 15, 2001, the Declaration of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, Source Wikipedia

Sunday, August 19, 2007


Introductory Note:

Self-determination is a politico-legal concept, which advocates the idea that a homogeneous people has the “right” to determine its own destiny as a distinct sovereign nation or the right to maintain its own national traditions within a larger political entity. Yet, ever since the establishment of China in 1523 BC as the first recorded nation in history, the meaning of the basic concept has been highly controversial. Its validity as an absolute and legitimate right to be exercised in the political process within and among nations has been frequently challenged.

Since the establishment of the UN, the principle of self-determination has been espoused with greater vigour. In the past 50 years, the political map of the world has been re-drawn and numerous sovereignty changes were witnessed: dependent areas that have received their independence; dependent areas that have received their independence; dependent areas that have been incorporated into independent entities; territorial transfers from one country to another; creation of new or changed political entities as a result of dissolution of sovereign governments. These changes, some of which have been radical and implemented by force have given impetus to terrorism, guerrilla warfare, insurgency and international conflicts.

Critics of this concept state that it is first and foremost a political weapon, inequitable in its application and unreasonable in its result. Confusion over the nature of the process, and misapplication of its meaning, have distorted self-determination in practice and weakened its potential resolutory role. The concept contributed to promoting conflicts rather than solving them.

Self-determination is often considered to be the right of a people to shape their own political, economic and cultural destinies.

According to Woodrow Wilson, self-determination is not a mere phrase. It is an imperative principle of action, which statesmen will henceforth ignore at their own peril.

This area is one of great controversy and must be related to the alleged right of peoples fighting for self-determination to seek support from outside states.

As regards the forceful suppression of a people fighting for self-determination, one must not forget the sharp distinction between the legal right of self-determination and the political concept, which is very much wider and vastly more destabilising. States being creators of International Law, it is unlikely that they will agree to a law that allows for a break-up of established states by allowing distinct groups within them to achieve self-determination without using force to suppress them. If such were the case then the Spanish security forces would be illegally using force against the Basque Separatists and the Nigerian government would have been violating Article 2(4) by putting down the rebellion in Biafra in 1967. These are just 2 examples in the vast catalogue of ethnic groups who have sought or are seeking independence from established states. To imbue such a people with a legal right would be tantamount to encouraging civil wars rather reminiscent of the Hobbesian state of nature. Similarly there is little state practice to suggest that the right of self-determination extends to the majority within an already established state.

Origin – The origin of the principle of the phrase self-determination can be traced back to the American Declaration of Independence (1776) and the French Revolution (1789), which signalled the end of the notion that the people as subjects of a monarch were objects to be transferred, alienated, ceded or protected in accordance with the interests of the monarch. The core of the principle lies in the American and French insistence that the government be responsible to the people.

In France, self-determination was propounded as a criterion concerning the transfer of territory. Though proclaimed in 1790, it was incorporated in Article 2 of Title XIII of the Draft Constitution presented by Condorcet to the National Convention on 15th February 1793. Though the French proclaimed a lofty principle, they misapplied it in actual practice. More specifically they used this principle to justify annexation of lands of other sovereigns. As long as the results of a plebiscite held were in France’s favour, annexation was legal.

The contradictory nature of self-determination:

Internally self-determination could be used and has been used as a vehicle for enfranchisement, forever expanding circles of citizens against all manner of ancien regimes. On this score the ‘self’ of the nation has shifted: it is no longer embodied in a Monarch ruling over a state but in the citizens of the state. Self-determination is thus the reflection in international law of a movement that began with the French and American Revolutions and reached its climax in 20th century notions of universal suffrage.

Externally, self-determination has been no less of a challenge to established authority – that of the small circle of ‘civilised nations’ which constituted the international legal order. Self-determination was the vehicle through which the international ancien regime could be challenged by the admittance of new members. One of the major developments of the 20th century international law has been the expansion of the family of nations to include, sometimes after bloody conflict, states of the so-called Third World – a development in which the notion of self-determination was at the conceptual centre.

The notion of self-determination must be viewed in the light of the change in the composition of the world community that has occurred since 1945, with the vast increase in the number of states resulting from decolonisation. It was natural that this new majority would wish to see all colonies become independent, a desire that quickly became embodied in the principle that colonial peoples had the right of self-determination.

Generally the term self-determination is associated with independence and it is assumed that the UN Charter provides for self-determination, when in fact, it does not. The Charter contains very few references to self-determination. The first reference is in Article 1(2), which provides that one of the purposes of the UN is ‘to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples’. The second reference is in Article 55 - to promote higher standards of living, solutions to health and cultural problems, and universal respect for human rights in order to create conditions necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations ‘based on equal rights and self-determination’.
In recent times, existing states, in Eastern Europe under Communist rule broke up. The component units of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia claimed independence as separate states.

Who exactly is entitled to the right of self-determination? The question can be answered only after understanding the relationship between self-determination and national unity. The evolving norms on self-determination contained—undeniably and consistently---an anxious refrain whereby self-determination is to be harnessed to, and not the enemy of, territorial integrity. Both GAR 1514 (XV) on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Peoples and GAR 2625 (XXV), the Declaration of Principles on Friendly Relations which place emphasise on self-determination caution against the violation of territorial integrity. Resolution 1514 provides that any attempt aimed at the partial or total disruption of the national unity and the territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the UN. Resolution 2625 provides: ‘Nothing in the foregoing paragraphs shall be construed as authorising or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair, totally or in part, the territorial integrity or political unity of sovereign or independent states….’
The Canadian Supreme Court in the Reference Re Secession of Quebec case declared that international law expects that the right to self determination will be exercised by peoples within the framework of existing sovereign states and consistently with the maintenance of territorial integrity of those states and that the right to unilateral secession arises only in the most extreme of cases and even then under carefully defined circumstances. The only arguable exception to this rule that the right to external self determination applies only to colonial situations might be where the group in question is subject to ‘extreme and unremitting persecution’ coupled with the ‘lack of any reasonable prospect for reasonable challenge’ but even this is controversial not least in view of definitional difficulties.

Kashmiris’ right to self-determination:

In March 1995, a Geneva-based international human rights organisation, the International Commission of Jurists had stated that the right to self determination acquired by the people of Jammu & Kashmir at the time of partition of India had neither been exercised nor abandoned and therefore was capable of being exercised. The views of the Commission was reported by Mr Subhash Kirpekar in the Times of India (Mumbai Edition) dated March 4, 1995.

Following are excerpts of the report and the views of the members of the ICJ mission which was published by the above-mentioned daily.

The report said, “The state of J & K comprises a number of different units which should be allowed to exercise the right of self-determination separately. Full or limited independence for Kashmir is a possible option.” The members of the ICJ mission concluded that because of the extent of support for independence within Kashmir, a single plebiscite of the whole state offering a choice between accession to India or to Pakistan would be disastrous. The state contained a number of different units which should be allowed to exercise the right to self-determination separately, if possible, by a referendum approving a previously negotiated solution.

Sir William Goodhart, QC (UK) who headed the mission, while replying to questions posed, stated that the governments of India, Pakistan and the Kashmiri community should negotiate a solution, which should then be put up for approval to the peoples of the state through a referendum. When asked specifically as to who represented the Kashmiri community, Sir William replied that they were an extremely divided lot and had a capacity for dividing into very small units.

Reacting to the Indian government’s criticism of bias Sir William claimed that the report was equally critical of India, Pakistan and the militants, and maintained that if the people of Kashmir had a right of self-determination, “it follows that the insurgency is legitimate. It does not however follow that Pakistan had a right to provide support to militants, as such action would be in breach of the provisions of the Simla agreement.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Recognition of Insurgency and Belligerency

When insurrection or civil war breaks out in any State, third States generally will not interfere in the domestic affairs.

The recognition of belligerency is merely an assertion of the fact that the rebels are in a position to exercise authority over the territory in their possession. The recognition does not give cause for any offence to the State concerned. And according this recognition is not a violation of neutrality either.

What is the meaning of the term ‘insurgency’? Insurgency means rebellion, revolt, or mutiny by a section of the citizenry of a State against the established government. It denotes a sustained armed struggle carried out by dissident forces in a State against the established order. It is an internal situation wherein dissident forces resort to the use of violence for the replacement of an existing socio-political order or in order to assert their political rights or overthrowing an existing government. This struggle is carried out for the purpose of obtaining power or self-rule.

International law treats insurgencies and civil wars as internal matters falling within the domestic jurisdiction of the state concerned and it is up to the municipal law to deal with it. Generally, as a rule, States do not interfere in the internal affairs of other States, and especially so when civil strife or condition of insurgency exists within a State. However, when rebels or insurgents come to occupy and effectively control a substantial part of the State territory, it may become necessary for the recognizing States to take cognizance of the state of insurgency. A civil war may not reach a stage to call for the recognition of a formal condition of belligerency by outside powers. The rebel forces may not be acting under an organized command structure and may not be following the laws of war. In such circumstances, outside States may grant the rebels only a form of recognition, viz. as insurgents and refrain from treating them as law-breakers and recognize their de facto authority in the territory under their occupation. They maintain such relations with the insurgents as may be necessary for the protection of their nationals, commerce and for such other purposes connected with hostilities. Belligerency is a formal status involving rights and duties.

Some of the conditions essential for the recognition of insurgency may be enumerated as under:
a) The insurgents must have control over a considerable part of the territory;
b) A majority of the people inhabiting the territory must lend support to the rebels out of their own free will and not as a result of coercive measures adopted by the insurgents;
c) The insurgents must be capable and willing to carry out international obligations imposed upon them.

If the rebels are accorded the status of belligerents, they become subjects of international law and can be held responsible for their acts. Further, the rules governing hostilities become applicable to both the sides.
The concepts of insurgency and belligerency are quite vague and are extremely subjective in that a state or states for political considerations may choose to accord recognition to a rebel group. The issue has gained considerable importance in the years following the Second World War for the colonies resorted to struggle for liberation and independence, many a times by armed means.

International Law - Use of Force - A Historical Analysis

Historical Analysis:
International Law to a great extent was influenced by the jurists during the Medieval Age, when modern nation-states began emerging after the collapse of religious empires. The mid-seventeenth century was a watershed in international law for, state practice replaced writings of jurists as a major source of international law. In the period preceding the Roman Empire there was some evidence to suggest the existence of rules regulating the conditions in which groups could resort to the use of force against each other. The concept of just war (bellum justum) emerged as an enduring legal concept during the Roman era and it gained acceptance among Christian theorists like St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. According to St. Augustine, “just war was that which God Himself Ordained”, thereby imbuing it with substantive moral conduct. St. Aquinas, in the thirteenth century, wrote that a war was just only if the other the party was at fault, and the attacking sovereign intended ‘advancement of good’ or ‘avoidance of evil’. This principle put forth by St. Aquinas did not lay down any clear rules as to the use of force. However, Thomas Aquinas, who wrote in Summa Theologia in the thirteen century about war stated the three basic elements for the presence of a just war: These three elements were (1) lawful authority, (2) just cause, (3) right intention[1]. Some attributed the lawful authority to wage war only to an emperor or in some cases to the Pope. Some like William of Rennes widened it so as to include all feudal lords who have no superior inside the feudal hierarchy. Some like Pope Innocent IV also concluded that the right belongs to the authorities who have no superior to them[2].

There seems to have been a link between the ready acceptance of this doctrine and the religious wars that were fought quite regularly during the medieval period; a strong link seems apparent between the religious dominance in societies in the 16th and 17th centuries and the just war theory. The emergence of the modern nation-states after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 led to a significant change in the laws of warfare.

Nicolo Machiavelli, wrote in the early 16th century that the sovereign had the absolute right to wage war whenever it was felt necessary and this revolutionary philosophy became strongly embedded for nearly four hundred years. However, other writers like Grotious in 1625 following the just war concept attempted to compile a list of just and unjust causes. Others adopted the Machiavellian view that war was permitted in cases of necessity and expediency as well as in self-defense.

The theory of absolute sovereign power of a state swept away any vestige of control over the use of force in international relations. According to Ian Brownlie, state practice in the period between the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the advent of the League of Nations in 1919 reflected an unlimited right to go to war. The only limitation or a pre-condition for parties to go to war was that they had to first attempt to settle disputes through negotiation, mediation, conciliation, arbitration etc. and these pacific means of settlement should have failed. The limitation on the right to resort to war was embedded in such treaties as the Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of 1907, and was reflected to a certain extent in state practice. The machinery for the pacific settlement of disputes also proliferated in this period with, for example, the setting up of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 1899.

It may have been because of these procedural limitations on the right to resort to war, combined with the odium of waging increasingly destructive, less localized conflicts, that states began to make a self-serving distinction between war, on the one hand, and other uses of force, on the other. The same factors may have led to ‘war’ taking on a conceptual, juridical status, often divorced from the factual analysis of the state of hostilities. Thus a full-scale armed conflict could have occurred without either state being at ‘war’ with the other. On the other hand, states could be at ‘war’ without even firing a shot. Whether there was a ‘state of war’ depended on the subjective considerations of the governments concerned. Not to declare ‘war’ had the added advantage for states engaged in hostilities of enabling them to avoid those accepted laws, which regulated the conduct of warfare- the jus in bello such as the laws of neutrality. In the period prior to the establishment of the League of Nations, states concentrated on developing a doctrine of lesser uses of force, which seemingly escaped any requirement that methods of pacific settlement be exhausted and also any of the jus in bello. The principal method was the use of the reprisal, which was designed to punish a previous breach of international law by a state or its nationals. In the Naulilaa Case, Germany carried out an armed reprisal from its colony in South-West Africa against the Portuguese Colony of Angola in October 1914. These hostilities were not formally part of the First World War because Portugal was, at the time, a neutral power. The initial injury to Germany arose out of an incident on the Angolan/ South West African border, which resulted in the killing of three German soldiers. The German army responded by mounting a military expedition into Angola, which caused considerable damage and loss of life. The arbitral tribunal accepted that reprisals could be lawful in response to a prior act contrary to international law. However, Germany had not acted lawfully, on this occasion, in that it had not first made an unsatisfied demand that Portugal remedy its unlawful actions and also because the reprisal was out of all proportion to the wrong that had provoked it. The requirement that a demand be made before any force was used in a procedural limitation of sorts, but it is not as onerous as the requirement that all pacific methods of dispute settlement be exhausted.

The constraints on armed force were not sufficient to prevent the devastation of the First World War. The total nature of the 1914-18 hostilities had profound effects on public and governmental thinking. According to Philip Noel Baker, the League of Nations was the first attempt in history to furnish the international society of nations with a permanent and organic system of International Political Institution. This attempt was an outcome of the World War. The League of Nations thus is often referred to as ‘A Child of War’. Although the desire for the establishment of an effective international organisation had been expressed long before the First World War and the earlier Concert of Europe served as a model for the world body, the League of Nations was given a concrete shape only after the adoption of the Covenant by the Inter-Allied Conference on April 28, 1919. The League of Nations represented the first of two attempts to establish an international body ‘to achieve international peace and security’ by making collective interests of nations paramount over national interests. In the case of the League this was to be achieved, in part, by making states accept an obligation ‘not to resort to war’ in the preamble of the Covenant.

However, as is consonant with the world’s first attempt at constructing such an organisation, the detailed obligations imposed and rights granted in the body of the Covenant were unclear and contradictory. By art.10 of the Covenant, members of the League undertook ‘to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League’. When combined with the obligation in the preamble, this provision could not have been constructed so as to constitute an obligation not to resort to war. Indeed art.11 (1) seemed to complement a ban on war by supporting the idea of collective security in stating that ‘ any war or threat of war.... is hereby declared a matter of concern to the whole League, and the League shall take any action that may be deemed wise and effectual to safeguard the peace of nations’.

Unfortunately, subsequent provisions effectively undermined any purported ban on war by allowing for the lawful resort to war in certain circumstances. The Covenant at the first instance provided that members were under an obligation to settle their international disputes through arbitration, judicial settlement or inquiry by Council. Art. 12(1) obliged members to submit their disputes to arbitration or to the Council and not ‘ to resort to war until 3 months after the award by the arbitrators or the report by the Council’. Art 13 (4) obliged members to carry out arbitral awards and not to ‘ resort to war against a member of the League which complies with’ such an award. Art 15 obliged states to submit all disputes to the Council, which, by para 4, was empowered to make recommendations for the settlement of the dispute. Art 15 (6) ‘... the Members of the League agree that they will not go to war with any party to the dispute, which complies with the recommendations of the Council’s report’. However, if this report was not unanimous, then art 15 (7) reserved the right of member states ‘to take such action as they consider necessary for the maintenance of right and justice’.

Hence, articles 12, 13 & 15 preserved the rights of states to go to war; all that was imposed were certain procedural requirements which were more elaborate, perhaps, but no less ineffectual than the Roman concept of the just war.

The obligation in article 10 not to resort to aggression, albeit ambiguous in itself, was totally undermined.

It may be argued that although the Covenant did not totally prohibit war, the loopholes were actually reasonably well defined and relatively quite limited. However, the loopholes in the Covenant did suggest that embarking on a war was simply a question of procedural formalities, and that, despite the vague wording of art 10, there was no substantive prohibition in the Covenant outlawing war. States like Italy, Japan and eventually Germany were not inhibited by a set of procedures. The point is that the loopholes created an inherently unstable edifice. States did not exploit the loopholes; instead they simply knocked down the structure of the League. The events that hampered the functioning of the League and eventually led to its dissolution are summarised below:
(1) In 1923, Italy attacked the island of Corfu, which was under Greek sovereignty. Greece brought this violation to the notice of the League, which instead of providing assistance to Greece to resist the Italian invasion gave advice in favour of Italy.
(2) The League Council watched helplessly as Japan, in 1931 attacked and conquered Manchuria and planned the conquest of China.
(3) In December 1934, Italian and Ethiopian troops clashed at Wal Wal, about fifty miles inside Ethiopian territory. Both sides appealed to the League. But the Council took cognizance of the dispute only in September 1935. Sanctions against Italy were approved by votes of fifty-one states but its effectiveness depended upon the full support of Britain and France, which were not forthcoming.

Nevertheless, the absence of a general clear prohibitory norm appeared to have been remedied by the Treaty Providing for the Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy. (Pact of Paris) of 1928.
Art 1 - declaration by the parties that they condemned recourse to war for the solution of international controversies and renounced war as an instrument of national policy.
Art 2 obligated parties to treaty to settle their disputes by pacific means.
Both the Pact of Paris and the League Covenant had a serious defect. Neither of them mentioned a prohibition on the so-called armed measures short of war. Neither covered a situation in which full-scale hostilities were occurring but technically there was no ‘war’ because neither party recognised a state of war to exist. This meant that neither reprisals, which could escalate into warfare, nor warfare itself, in the absence of a formal declaration, were covered by the Covenant or the Pact, and that both could be viewed as lawful.

[1] Lawrence T. Farley, Plebiscites and Sovereignty: The Crisis of Political Illegitimacy, (London: Westview Press, 1986), p.141

[2] Frederich H. Russel, The Just War in the Middle Ages, (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1975) pp. 298-9