Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Can Ron Paul upset the Republican Applecart in Iowa?

The Congressman from Texas, whom no one took seriously is now leading Iowa opinion polls. CBS' Political HotSheet puts him at 27.5%, Newt Gingrich at 25.3% and Mitt Romney at 17.5%. Ron Paul is not the first to lead Iowa polls. Most Republican candidates have occupied that spot briefly over the last few weeks. The lead could change again between now and January 3, the polling date, but with polls just seven days away, Ron Paul seems to have a good chance of victory in Iowa.

He is a typical anti-establishment candidate. He takes positions diametrically opposite to his fellow Conservatives. He is opposed to American wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya and is deadly opposed to starting a war with Iran. He also opposes US support to Israel and wants to stop all foreign aid including billions of dollars given to Israel each year.

His positions strongly resonate with economically hard hit Americans. His statement "We take money from American poor and give it to the Rich in poor countries", is so true and sits well with American poor, whose number has ballooned over the last twenty years. It is a fact that a great deal of US aid has gone to prop up regimes of despotic dictators like Hosni Mubarak and others, who then stash the money in Swiss bank accounts. The common folks in those countries never receive a dime's benefit, no wonder there is an anti-American feeling in those countries

Ron Paul also attracts American voters who are tired of extended wars in Iraq & Afghanistan without any benefit to average Americans. They identify with Mr. Paul's message of "no more wars".

His popularity can decline in a few days and the attack dogs of pro-Israel media & lobbies are trying their best to run Ron Paul down, but he seems to be holding steady and has a possibility of winning Iowa caucuses. If he does win, it will be a blow to Republican establishment as he will go to other States in strength and with a dedicated machinery of supporters and organizers. He can weaken Romney & Gingrich nationally by taking votes away from them.

The possibility of Ron Paul winning Republican nomination is low, but if he does well in a several states, he may run as an independent Presidential candidate. That would split Republican vote, ensuring their nominee's defeat at the hands of President Obama.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Egyptian Military Must Step Aside

The peaceful demonstrations in Tahrir Square have been turned into riots by Egyptian Military by their use of tear gas, live bullets and more. Clearly, the Egyptian Military no longer has the confidence of its people. It must step aside and let an interim Civilian Government conduct free and fair general elections.

Military's job is to defend the country from foreign aggression, not subdue and conquer its own people. It was one thing to refuse ongoing support to Hosni Mubarak's regime, it is another to keep a hold on power. It has been nine months since Mubarak was ousted and the military has not held elections. No wonder Egyptians are impatient. If the vast majority of people do not want the military to be involved in conducting elections, then Mr. Tantawi and his generals must return to the barracks and hand over power to a civilian interim Government preferably headed by a Supreme Court judge to conduct elections within three months.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

US Support for the Military could push Egypt into Brotherhood's Lap

The Arab Spring in Egypt came so that the people can rid themselves of the old guard and elect a democratic Government. Getting rid of Hosni Mubarak was a major achievement, but the Government falling in the hands of the military and Field Marshall Tantawi was a bad idea.

Tantawi is an agent of status quo, not change. He was Mubarak's man, he used brutal force then and he is using brutal force now. Tantawi and the Military are supported by the US. The tear gas canisters being fired at protesters and bullets flying around Tahrir Square are all US supplied. US must immediately suspend all military shipments to Egypt and withdraw support from the military until they step aside.

Months have passed since Mubarak's overthrow and neither a new constitution is in place nor have general elections taken place. The Egyptian public has no confidence in this set up to hold fair elections. If this situation continues, the net beneficiary will be the Brotherhood, which thrive on chaos.

If military does not step aside and violence continues, Egypt could become ungovernable. Tantawi must step down immediately. A new interim Government headed by a Supreme Court judge should hold free and fair elections to elect true representatives of the people.

The White House, State and Defense Departments should recognize that their support to military has backfired. It is time use pressure on military to step aside and let free election take place.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Afghanistan - The End Game

President Hamid Karzai has a mammoth task ahead of him. It is extremely unlikely that he will be able to convince the 'Loya Jirga' (Grand Council of Elders) to keep US troops in Afghanistan after 2014. The Afghans are fiercely independent people, they never like any foreign troops on their soil and no foreign troops have left Afghanistan victorious of late.

Many members of the Jirga are those who fought to remove Soviet troops from Afghanistan. So, it will be a hard pill for them to swallow to allow American troops to stay on for any length of time.

On the other hand Karzai has laid out conditions for the Americans that for them to stay on, they must end the deadly night raids, which result in the arbitrary killing of Afghans thought to be Taliban. The intelligence flow is so poor and erratic in Afghanistan that quite often the victims turn out to be innocent civilians - Karzai's cousin included. US may agree to this condition, but the bigger obstacle will be US demand for exemption from prosecution. Trigger happy as some of US troops are (including disgraceful conduct of soldiers in killing innocent Afghans and chopping their fingers), Iraqis did not agree to such an exemption, nor are the Afghans likely to.

The better course for US and Karzai would be to stop distinguishing between Taliban factions and bring all Taliban groups as well as regional leaders to the negotiating table, work out a formula for peaceful transition, preserving women's right to education, work etc. followed by fresh elections to elect a truly representative Government, so that foreign troops can leave Afghanistan in peace and for good.

Keeping troops back for training purposes is nonsensical. Afghan don't need any training to use weapons, they are born with it. The fact that Taliban have given way better equipped foreign troop a run for their money, shows they don't need training by foreign troops.

What Afghanistan desperately needs is the civilian administration structures. There is a need to develop an Administration System, Education, Legal and judicial system etc. This is where foreign countries can help, preferably those that did not taken part in Afghan war, so there is no ill will towards them.

Karzai lays out conditions for US partnership - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Monday, November 7, 2011

Attacking Iran could be Isreal's undoing

What the Arabs have not been able to accomplish in 63 years, Israel may do it for them by its own actions - destroy itself.

If Israel attacks Iran, it may destroy some or all of Iran's nuclear facilities, but one thing is certain, Iran will throw everything at Israel that it has in its arsenal and it will have a good reason to do so and possibly also have the backing of majority nations.

Such an Israeli action will unite the entire Iranian nation behind Mullahs (whom they despise and detest) thus strengthening their hands. Those mad Mullahs would love to wreak havoc on Israel. Imagine 500 pound bombs landing on Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities demolishing everything in their way.

If Iran is attacked, the Iranian backed Hezbollah in Lebanon will also not sit idly by. They have even bigger and better rockets now compared to the ones that created havoc in Israeli skies in last Israel-Lebanon war.

I hope the Israelis will be sensible enough to think through the consequences of such an action and calculate cost of starting a mindless and destructive war. There may be a small group of extremists in Israel and some idiotic politicians and rabid Evangelical preachers in the US, who want them to do this, but is this really what the majority of Israelis want? I think not.

Instead of starting a suicidal war, Israel will be well advised to urgently start negotiations with Palestinians for a permanent peace, so that Israelis and Palestinians can exist side by side as two friendly and equal neighbors.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gaddafi's demise - he brought it upon himself.

Col. Gaddafi is dead, confirms Reuters. No surprise as it was expected. He brought it upon himself.

It was suggested in this blog earlier that once Arab spring had started in Tunisia and engulfed Egypt too, Gaddafi should have seen the hurricane coming his way. He should have immediately announced elections in three months and offered to step down once a new President (not one of his sons) and Parliament were elected. Had he done that, he may possibly have lived his retired life in peace.

But dictators never learn a lesson from the downfall of other dictators. They somehow think, they will last forever, but they don't, do they? Gaddafi may have been a benevolent dictator, but a dictator nevertheless.

He transformed Libya from a poor country under the rule of an ailing King to a relatively prosperous country. But running the country as his personal fiefdom with an iron grip on power for forty one years ultimately did him in.

Let us hope the new rulers of Libya stop the bloodshed now, take back weapons from all fighters and install an interim Government quickly. The interim set up should hold free and fair elections within three months and hand over power to elected representatives. If they do this, Libya and its people will be on their feet again fairly quickly. But if they resort to revenge killings, property destruction etc. of their opponents, Libya could slip into civil war.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Al-Awlaki killing: Can President Obama, Admiral Mullen, Leon Panetta and General Petraeus be charged with murder?

There was much celebration in Washing DC and the rest of US today on the killing of Al-Awlaki and probably rightly so, for he was a terrorist and planned and encouraged attacks on innocent civilians.

However, he was a US citizen and the cowboy behavior that US has adopted in Iraq and Afghanistan of midnight raids and cold blooded executions of supposed enemies, does not hold water in the US. The Administration, the Pentagon and CIA do not have the legal right to execute an American citizen who is suspected of acts of terror.

There is a legal process and there are courts for it. Will Al-Awalaki's father or any other US citizen stand up in a court of law in the US and demand that President Obama, Admiral Mullem, Leon Panetta and General Petraeus be charged with murder for not following the legal process?

It could make for quite a legal situation!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

U.S. has lost the war in Afghanistan because of its own failings, scapegoating Pakistan is an easy way out.

Ten years on, U.S. is failing miserably in Afghanistan. Not because it does not have the resources, the manpower or finances (well finances they no longer have), but because of its arrogance and lack of direction.

From day one it played in the hands of minority Northern Alliance, against majority Pashtuns. This was a disastrous policy and it has taken U.S. nine years to reluctantly begin to realize the folly.

According to former CIA officials Osama bin Laden was within sight and earshot and could have been finished off at Tora Bora, but he was deliberately allowed to escape, perhaps Iraq war was already on the agenda for the bunch of war criminals led by George W. Bush. The Afghan war could have ended within six months and the trillions of dollars that have been wasted over ten years bankrupting the U.S. could have been saved. Why does the Congress not investigate this, rather than waste time on meaningless partisan bickering?

However despicable the Taliban's domestic policy and attitude towards women, they did not attack the United States. By making them its enemy, U.S. took on a well armed group that does not fear for life. U.S. was advised time and again to negotiate with Taliban to bring the war to an end. But with its military might, how could a super power like U.S. negotiate with a bunch of rag tag warriors? This is exactly how the Vietnam war was lost and this is how the Afghan is now being lost.

It has taken U.S. ten years to start a dialogue but only with Taliban of choice. This is too little too late. Had a proper dialogue been undertaken nine, eight, seven or even five years ago, Taliban may have been ready to talk peace. Now they know that U.S. is beat and ready to quit, they may not be keen on a dialogue.

To blame Pakistan for the attack on U.S. Embassy in Kabul is preposterous. U.S. still cannot see reality in the face and to heap the blame on Pakistan is an easy way out. However, it is time for U.S. to admit its failure and utilize Pakistan's help to start a meaningful and a conclusive dialogue with all Afghan factions so as to hand over Afghanistan to Afghans, sooner rather than later.

Ten years of U.S. war has ravaged that miserable country. The alleged war crimes committed by U.S. forces and contractors at Bagram prison are probably far worse than Abu Ghuraib, only this time a lid has been kept on them so information has not leaked out. Hopefully one day, the U.S. military generals and policy makers will be hauled before the International Criminal Court to face their come uppance.

Monday, September 19, 2011

U.N. Veto on Palestinian State could have far reaching consequences for the U.S.

When Ramzih bin-Al Shibh, the number four Al-Qaeda leader was captured from Karachi in September 2002, he openly admitted to plotting the 9/11 attacks and said, these attacks were a revenge on the U.S. for decades of Palestinian suffering and for its unconditional support to Israel. These revelations were contained in CBC's Fifth Estate documentary aired recently.

This week, the Palestinian Authority is moving the U.N. for recognition as a State. Palestinians have the support of almost all countries of the world except Israel and U.S. U.S. is threatening to use its veto in the Security Council. If U.S. were to carry out its threat and veto the proposal, it will be a sad day for the world and it could also have far reaching consequences for the United States.

The Israel and Palestinians negotiations have been stalled for some time now. Obama Administration has been frustrated by the intransigent stand of Netanyahu Government. Repeated requests to halt new settlements have been met with Israeli disdain. Vice President Biden was literally slapped in the face when he had to turn back as soon as his plane landed in Israel, because Netanyahu announced new settlements while he was in the air.

President Obama has tried to get the negotiations under way. He even appointed an experienced and able interlocutor in Senator Mitchell to kick start the peace process, but Israel thwarted it at every step. Senator Mitchell, who helped negotiate a peace deal between the warring factions in Ireland has given up this job for not getting anywhere. Israel's complaint against the Senator - he is too fair.

Is the U.S. really going to use the veto? If it does, it will be the worse show of diplomacy by a mighty country. In their quest for statehood, Palestinians have the support of entire world. Is U.S. willing to go against the entire world and come to Israel's help even though it has failed to persuade Netanyahu to come to a fair and reasonable peace settlement?

One hopes better sense will prevail and U.S. will play the role of a world leader that it is and refrain from using the veto.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Reflecting Absence

The memorial created for 9/11 victims at ground zero is a painful reminder of the mindless death and destruction of human beings. Nearly 3,000 of them, who for no reason or fault of their own became victims of a mindless and senseless terrorist attack.

Some who lost their loved ones have moved on and made peace within themselves, but many others watched the memorial aptly named 'Reflecting Absence' in pain and sadness. Some kissed the brass name plates of their lost ones, others made stencil copies of the names to keep as mementos. What must be most painful for the families is that only 291 bodies were recovered and not a shred of remains was found for the other 2,500 who perished. No watches. no rings, no teeth, no DNA to prove their death and yet, the families had to accept that their loved ones were lost forever.

The political speeches somehow felt out of place. Instead of easing the pain of affected families, politicians seemed to be making futile speeches. It may have been more respectful, had there been no politician speech at all.

On this somber occasion, one could not help but also feel pain and sorrow for the families of 150,000 Iraqis killed by a mindless and senseless war, launched in the name of 'War on Terror'. A war that was totally unnecessary, illegal and criminal. There were no speeches, nor any memorial built for the 150,000 who lost their lives in Iraq.

We all know now and many knew all along that Iraq had nothing to do with attacks of 9/11. But it is quite clear that George W. Bush and his gang of extreme right wing ne-cons came prepared to launch a war on Iraq regardless of whether 9/11 had happened or not.

The International Criminal Court in The Hague does not have the courage of conviction to haul them over on charges of crimes against humanity as ICCC only goes after minor third world dictators. Hopefully, one day the American families, who have suffered the consequences of this war, will haul them before a court of law in U.S. and ask them, why was it necessary for them to lose more than 5,000 sons and daughters to this war and 25,000 to have been maimed forever?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Will the U.S. economic downdrift bring Canadian economy down?

United States is politically deadlocked. No matter what President Obama proposes to the joint session of Congress on Thursday, most Republicans are not likely to back him.

The Tea Party segment of Republicans in the House (a significant number) is working on one item agenda only - get rid of Obama. The have made their disdain known openly for an African American President, calling him Hitler, anti American, the Other Guy and several such unfortunate names. They are hell bent on this, even if it destroys the U.S. economy, which was quite obvious during the recent debt negotiations.

This gridlock is damaging U.S. economic recovery. A large number of jobs that should have been created after the 2008/9 recession ended, have not been created. The unemployment picture is depressing as 14 million employable workers are not employed. Unemployment amongst teenagers runs at 25.4%, African Americans 16.7%, Hispanics 11.3% and whites at 8%. Many economists agree that current unemployment rate of 9.1% will come down to around 8.9% by end of year and to a low 8% in 2012, but that still leaves many million unemployed.

U.S. is Canada's largest trading partner and any serious impact on U.S.economy or buying power of its citizens will eventually filter through to the Canadian economy. While Canada's economy is still going through a slow recovery, it has been spared from a substantial impact, primarily because Canada's financial system proved to be the best in the world at a time a major financial crisis. But, if the U.S. economy continues a down drift, Canadian economy could stagnate.

It is important to insulate Canadian economy from such an eventuality. Alternative markets have to be found for its products in order to diversify exports and reduce dependence on U.S. Fortunately, Canada is a resource rich country and developing economies are in need of resources. Rising exports to China have helped offset some of the impact of declining U.S. orders.

The Canadian softwood lumber industry, which has been in a running battle with the U.S. Government and some of their intransigent politicians for years, has taken a leap forward by going to China, building houses and showing Chinese construction companies how they can build houses faster and cheaper by using lumber instead of concrete. This has resulted in creating demand for Canadian lumber in China, so much so that Canada is now exporting almost as much (if not more)lumber to China than the U.S. Other Canadian industries need to learn from this experience and explore markets around the world. The oil industry also needs to diversify its exports. An oil pipeline from Alberta to an off shore oil terminal on the Pacific Coast would make it considerably easier to export oil to China and other countries.

One good thing that has happened in this financial crisis is that Harper Government has grown up. From a reluctant, lukewarm attitude towards China in earlier years, now a more confident majority Harper Government has made progress. After a highly visible and successful visit by John Baird, Canadian Foreign Minister, Prime Minister will soon be off to China to increase trade opportunities. His recent visit to Brazil and other South American countries will also have positive impact on Canadian companies wanting to venture into those markets.

One market that Canada has not made major inroads into is India. This enormous market is very different than any other. India is not yet ready for large quantities of softwood lumber, not probably for another 10 years. Its infrastructure is abysmal and Canada could help plan and build roads on a fast track basis all over India. India is also in need of building small houses to replace slums and shanties. Canadian companies specializing in pre-fab construction could possibly set up factories in India to produce these in large quantities, so the Government and private sector, start replacing shanties on an emergency footing. There are probably countless other opportunities, for which the Indian market needs to be studied thoroughly and patiently, rewards will follow.

Canadian economy need not go down with the U.S. economy as long as it finds alternative markets and Canadian Corporations open their horizons to exploring new markets. The structure of Canadian Corporate Board also needs to be diversified to leverage enormous international talent available within Canada. The U.S. economy will ultimately recover and that could only give the Canadian economy a further boost.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Dictators never learn, are usually driven out of power and in the end run for their lives.

After the overthrow of Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan dictators, it now appears to be Bashr Al- Assad's turn. He has obviously not learned anything from the Arab Spring. People demonstrate against his dictatorial rule day after day and he answers them with tanks and bullets.

It has been 41 years since the Assad family made Syria their fiefdom. Hafez Al-Assad ruled with an iron fist from from 1970 to 2000 and Bashar al-Assad since then. They were not elected through a process of free and fair elections and yet have occupied power for decades.

There are some who feel that Israel stands to gain from an uprising in Syria, as Syria supports Hezbollah, a potent force that Israel has been unable to defeat militarily. Syria also stands in Israel's grand occupation designs. That may be so, but there is no justification for 41 years of dictatorship over Syrian people by the father and son team.

It is time for Assad to announce a ceasefire, introduce a democratic constitution, hold free and fair elections and step aside for a new and a democratically elected Government, so the people of Syria can have a say in their affairs.

Ballots not bullets is the answer.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Karachi, a city with population in excess of 10 million has become the killing fields of Pakistan.

This is no drug war, organized crime or the mafia gang war. This is orchestrated by three main political parties; MQM, PPP & ANP, who have unleashed terror on the citizens of Karachi. Cold blooded execution of opponents are carried out for turf warfare.

These parties are no longer political parties, but they are criminal organizations run by thugs, and murderers and it is time to rid Pakistan of them.

Not just the citizens of Karachi, citizens of the entire country should rise up to stop this bloodshed. If it is not stopped in Karachi, it is only a question of time that it will spread to the rest of the country.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Good Bye Mr. Qaddafi, it is time to bring peace to Libya

It seems all but over for Col. Gaddafi, even though some of his loyalists are still resisting. Most of the country including Tripoli is now under the control of 'rebel forces'. Col. Gaddafi should realize that the game is over and order his loyalists to stop shooting.

The transitional political establishment needs to take charge immediately and set up an interim Government for 3 to 4 months. Their first task should be to disarm all rebels, take back weapons and bring peace to the streets of Libya. Leaving arms in the hands of rebels as was the case with Afghan Mujahedin post Soviet withdrawal and discharged Nigerian soldiers post Biafra war, can be dangerous and lead to civil war. They transitional authorities should also ensure that there are no retributions against Qaddafi loyalists and Qaddafa tribe as politics of revenge can only make matters worse for Libya. It is time to take all those young men off the streets and let them get on with their daily lives.

The transitional Government should set up a legal/political task force to draw up a democratic Constitution for public approval in a referendum in three months, so that free and free fair elections can be held soon thereafter for installing a legitimate Government in Libya.

Gaddafi may have done some good work for his country in his 42 year rule, but he was a dictator after all. He excluded some tribes to promote his own. Why do dictators cling to power until death, don't they learn lessons from history? Gaddafi should have offered to step down once Tunisian and Egyptian leaders fell. But he hung on to power to his own peril.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

India Corruption Scandal - Can Manmohan Singh Government survive Anna Hazare?

The Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh is probably the most honest and competent Prime Minister India has had since Nehru. Yet it is a shame that some of the biggest corruption scandals have taken place in his Government.

The agitation launched by a Ghandi follower - Anna Hazare has caught the attention of Indian nation. People are fed up of corruption at every level of society, especially huge corruption scandals involving their elected representatives. The young and professionals have made Anna Hazare's cause their own and the movement has spread like wild fire.

Some of the biggest Indian business houses are embroiled in the alleged Government bribery scandals. The most infamous is the Telecom Spectrum auction scandal, which according to some estimates has cost the Indian tax payer at least $5 billion (some put the figure as high as $40 billion).

It all started on January 10, 2008 with then Indian Telecom Minister Mr. Andimuthu Raja (now in jail) calling bids for the auction of telecom spectrum to close the same day. It is alleged that representatives of shining stars of Indian industry (Amabanis, Tatas and others), having already fixed the price and Minsiter's bribe, were lounging in Minister's ante room with bank drafts in hand. The purpose of the short window for a multi-million dollar auction was to exclude foreign bidders and any new comers. It is reported that the Minister acquired six brand new Mercedes Benz cars soon thereafter. The exact figure of Minister's bribe is not known, but some estimates put it at $130 million.

It was a huge windfall for those in on the scheme. One of the companies that had paid $345 million for their segment of the spectrum, sold just 45% of their stake to a foreign company for $900 million, a profit of $744 million on an investment of $155 million (45% of $345 m). Similarly, other Captains of Indian industry sold minority interests in their spectrum allocation for hundreds of millions of dollars more than what they had paid. Obviously, buying the Indian Telecom Minister turned out to be an extremely profitable investment.

The Minister carried on until the scandal broke. The Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh failed to launch an immediate inquiry against the Minister or to remove him . No businessman has been charged to date either.

This is just one of the many scandals that Indian Government is embroiled in. The massive misappropriation of funds from Commonwealth Games is another and the list goes on.

Anna Hazare's Ghandian approach of peaceful protest and hunger strike has shaken Dr. Manmohan Singh's Government. In despair, they arrested Hazare, even though there is no law in India against hunger strike. Then they offered to released him, but he refused unless and until he was allowed to carry on hunger strike. In the end, Government had to capitulate. This fiasco has helped Hazare attract a great deal more attention.

What Anna Hazare is demanding is that Parliament create positions of Ombudsmen (Lokpal) at Federal and State levels with full authority to investigate corruption by all elected officials and bureaucrats. The law currently placed before the parliament exempts the Prime Minister from such an examination, nor does it include junior bureaucrats. This is not acceptable to Mr. Hazare, nor to the majority of Indian public, hence Mr. Hazare's hunger strike continues.

To save the situation, Dr. Manmohan Singh should immediately adopt Mr. Hazare's suggestions. He should denounce all corrupt politicians and kick them out of his cabinet, bring a strict accountability law before the Parliament and if politicians do not approve it, call general elections. With these actions, Indian public may still be prepared to fall behind him. Who knows, this may even give his Congress Party a majority. If he does not take immediate action, him and the Congress Party may face a bleak future.

I hope nothing happens to the 74 year old Mr. Hazare. If he were to die from hunger strike, all hell could break lose.

(Acknowledgement: some of the information contained in this post has been taken from today's Globe & Mail).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The less than credible findings of UN tribunal - issues Hariri indictments

It is most unfortunate that UN tribunal established to determine the truth about assassination of popular Lebanese leader Mr. Rafik Hariri, became mired in controversy. Rather than coming up with a credible and trustworthy finding, it has allowed itself to be influenced, making its findings somewhat suspect.

It is not beyond the realm of possibility that four Hezbollah members indicted by the tribunal were the actual killers. But by losing its independence, the tribunal lost its credibility.

The US was interested in pushing Syria out of Lebanon, so the initial focus was on Syria. Once Syria withdrew its troops from Lebanon, focus conveniently shifted to Hezbollah.

There are many theories in Lebanon. Some think Syrians done it, others think Hezbollah done it and some even believe that assassination was orchestrated by Mossad or rogue US contractors. The UN tribunal perhaps did not consider all the possibilities.

What was needed was a true and reliable finding of the tribunal, so that the real assassins could be punished. Unfortunately, in the haze of all this, the truth may have been lost forever. Also, Lebanon is currently governed by an Hezbollah led coalition, chances of arrest and punishment are minimal.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Burning

Sadly, horrific pictures of arson, looting and damage to property in the lovely city of London are filling tv screens around the world. Rioting is taking place mainly in east London, but it now seems to be spreading south. Watching tv news from a few thousand miles away, it seems as if the the whole city is burning.

The British Prime Minister calls it the work of hooligans and thugs. No doubt, a great deal of it is. However, the PM is overlooking the real issues that have ignited these riots. The Afro-Caribbean community in UK is hit hard by recession. Unemployment amongst its youth is high, school dropout ratio is also very high. These are very serious social problems which need to be addressed if the society is to follow a balanced path with opportunities for all. By sweeping such problems under the rug, the British Government is only allowing them to fester.

The police appears under attack, out numbered and ill prepared. The British police must also share some of the blame for this crisis as there is a strong racial bias amongst police officers towards the Afro-Caribbean community. The senior police officers must ensure that racism is routed out completely from their force. The recent publicity against the police about some of their members being bribed regularly by News of the World may also have reduced their effectiveness and perhaps emboldened some youth to take them on.

With 2012 Summer Olympics around the corner, Britain needs to put its house in order. A repetition or extension of riots could put Britain's hopes of hosting Olympics in serious jeopardy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Tea Party's Shenanigans hit America's 401k hard

It was quite obvious to many in America and around the world (as elaborated by this blog earlier) that Tea Party's intransigence in Debt Dialogue would eventually hit the markets hard and that is exactly what has happened. Even the senior members of Republican Party, who knew better or should known better, also demonstrated a complete disdain for a reasonableness accommodation.

The unfortunate message from Washington DC is that America is ungovernable. This is a very un-comforting thought. It has caused a downgrade of US credit rating and a decline in stock markets.

Retirees and those near retirement, have built their nest eggs with hard earned savings over their lifespans. They had barely recovered from the 2008 crash that they once again face a major decline in values of their investments. This time, the market decline was entirely avoidable. Had Washington entered into a responsible debt deal a few months ago, the message to markets would have been positive. But Tea Party's one point agenda - defeat Barack Obama in 2012 no matter what the cost, became a stumbling block to arriving at a timely settlement.

The 600+ point drop in Dow Jones on August 8 is most unfortunate. As in the past, the markets will ride out this storm too, but for many retirees, their 401K is a worth a great deal less today, than it was a few months ago.

Hopefully, the American electorate will remember all this in 2012 elections and send all those Congressmen and Senators packing, who put their warped ideology ahead of their nation's interests.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Convoluted Deal and America's Reputation in Tatters.

The American politicians may have reached a debt deal late last night and a default is now likely to be averted, but the political circus of last few weeks has left America's reputation in tatters.

The debt ceiling will now go up to $16.7 trillion over eighteen months. However, the deal barely patches economic wounds and methodology adopted is so convoluted and that it leaves many wondering about the caliber U.S. politicians. Also, many are wondering that if a deal could be done last minute, why could it not have been done three months ago, saving America this embarrassment?

What U.S. needed was an increase in debt ceiling and constitution of a bipartisan Commission to work out and implement a plan to revive U.S. economy, create more jobs, cut wasteful expenditure, enable innovators and entrepreneurs to start new businesses using new technologies so that the economy expands and revenues grow. Instead, there is no focus on jobs, economy or the well being of U.S., the only task of the Commission set up under this deal is to cut cut cut. This does not bode well for future of U.S. economy.

It is a pity that a country gave the world the concept of free market economy, innovation and opportunities for all; is going through dire straights. Even an ardent communist, Maoist country like China has very successfully adopted U.S. style free market, creating enormous prosperity for its citizens.

The U.S. public has watched all this in horror and hopefully some lessons have been learned and the voters will send those politicians packing in 2012 who perpetuated this crisis.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

U.S. public deserves what is coming their way.

Maria Cardona's article 'Tyranny of 87' on CNN blog sums it well that 87 tea party congress members are holding the country, its financial system and the world's economy hostage.

It may be unkind to say it, but U.S. public deserves what is coming their way. After all, they elected this zealot group of 87 tea party activists who have no clue of the harm they are about to inflict on the nation. They say that to avoid default, just pay the interest on debt and stop all social security and medicare checks. This will leave millions of Americans in despair, but that does not bother them as long as there are no tax increase on the rich and loopholes remain open for big corporations to avoid taxes.

What the U.S. needs at this time is to carefully nurture its economy back to health, even if it requires more stimulus or Quantitative Easing 3. But the actions of Republicans, especially the group of 87 could cause a recession all over again with more job losses adding to the already high 9% unemployment.

Handing veto power to a group of unknown idealists of the opposing party, only two years after electing a new President was a huge mistake.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


A Congress that repeatedly voted funds totaling trillions of dollars for an illegal, ill planned and an ill executed war in Iraq, also voted nearly a trillion dollars for another badly managed, over extended war in Afghanistan, is now not prepared to vote for an increased debt ceiling to avoid a US default? Such a Congress deserves to be thrown out.

US voters should hold each and every Senator and House member accountable for this political debacle and elect new representatives who will be more responsible in running nation's affairs than this bunch of idiots.

Had the US Congress been sensible, it would have shut down Iraq & Afghan wars early enough to save $4 trillion. Had that been done, total US debt today would have been $10.3 trillion not $14.3 trillion. An increase in debt limit would not be needed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Uncle Sam is Bankrupt, this Financial Statement stinks.







(Source: US Debt Clock.org, The Globe and Mail)

Which Corporation or business in the world spends 154% of what it earns and still survives?

Apart from excessive expenditure on first three items, the main culprit is the US Corporations. They earn billions of dollar each quarter and pay only $196 billion in taxes, which is a mere 20% of what private citizens pay in personal taxes!

More wars anyone?

US: Tea Party is to blame for the impending default

The intransigence of Republican Party, especially their Tea Party component to raise debt ceiling is sending Canadian Dollar, Gold and Swiss Franc soaring. The markets consider these safe havens in case of a US default. If a default occurs August 2, 2011 onwards, the Tea Party will be to blame for creating havoc with US and World financial systems.

The debt ceiling was raised 17 times under Reagan, 4 times under Bush Sr. 4 times under Clinton and 7 times under Bush Jr. The Republican Party has only now developed consciousness or is it that their game play has gone too far?

The Tea Party's ideology is warped. In a country where every dollar spent, only 62 cents are raised in revenue and the rest is borrowed, Tea Partiers refuse to increase revenue sources. Granted that US spending is out of control and needs to be reigned in, but most of the extra spending in last ten years has been on expensive wars.

The Republican lawmakers who rave and rant against Government spending are themselves guilty of appropriating funds by way of entitlements for their pet projects, whether these are productive or not - like the bridge to nowhere in Alaska. They tag entitlements to any bill that passes Congress.

Although this fight between Tea Party and President Obama seems mostly ideological, but there may be some undercurrents of racism here. In 2010 elections, some Tea Party zealots suggested that African Americans should not vote as they don't understand democracy. It seems that Tea Party has a one point agenda - remove Barack Obama from office, no matter what the cost to country's economy.

To prevent default, if moderate Republicans do come to a last minute agreement with President Obama, Tea Party may try to stall the bill in Congress. If they cannot, they will probably field their own Presidential candidate in 2012. This could rip the Republican Party as their votes will split against Obama.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Is the Republican Party about to commit Harakiri? One hopes not.

After voting to raise US Debt Ceiling a record seven times in George W. Bush's eight years presidency, the Republican Party is now dragging its feet to raise it once unless they get their way - further reduction in taxes for the rich and drastic cut in social services for the poor i.e. medicare, social security etc. While Bush reduced taxes of his own accord, Republican Party never insisted on cuts to social services during his presidency.

By not increasing the debt ceiling, Republicans are holding US and world economy hostage as without the increase, US Government will most certainly start to default on its obligations from August 2, 2011 onwards. The debt ceiling should have been raised in May 2011, but Republicans have been playing hard ball, but now it is time for Republicans to deliver.

After pulling out of talks with President Obama Friday, the Speaker of the House probably realizes his folly and is now desperately trying to come up with a solution before the Asian markets open Monday. Though he has left it rather late, but one hopes that his efforts will bear fruit.

The Wall Street is extremely worried that if debt ceiling is not raised, default by US Government is imminent. If that happens, all hell may break lose in the financial markets. It is time for Wall Street and big Corporations (the main financiers of Republican party) to impress upon them that unless a deal is done within hours, all further funding to Republican party will cease.

Most Americans know what is going on and a majority of them are with President Obama on this. Perhaps the President should set a final deadline of 12 Noon (EST) Sunday and if no agreement is in place, he should go directly to the American public and take them into confidence. They should know who is playing havoc with their future.

NORWAY - The Serpent within, Should it be called Christian Terror?

The rather tranquil country of 4.9 million inhabitants was shaken by a huge bomb blast in Oslo followed by random killings at a youth rally on an island. This horrific and mindless act of a terrorist has left nearly one hundred dead and many more injured.

At the outset, media and politicians pointed a finger at Islamic terrorism. But soon enough it turned out that the terrorist was none other than a blonde haired blue eyed Norwegian citizen. The suspect, Anders Behring Breivik is an extreme right wing Muslim hating, immigrant hating Christian fundamentalist.

In the last few years, this land of prosperity and peace has turned from a liberal to an extreme right majority. The media and politicians openly spew out hatred against Islam and immigrants. Extreme right wingers are constantly interviewed on television and their pathetic and hateful views given airing on a regular basis.

Apparently Anders Behring Breivik is one such person, who openly demonstrated hate against Muslims and immigrants. Ultimately, hate got the better of him and in an act terror, he snuffed out the lives of one hundred innocent human beings and for no reason at all. The serpent grew within. History has shown that when extremists are allowed a free reign and moderate and sensible people do not raise voice to check them, the consequences are often deadly. Hitler was a product of such hatred. The Muslim countries are also guilty of not stopping extremists in their midst, who turned from extremists to gun toting terrorists. Today, many countries including Muslim countries are suffering the consequences.

Since Mr. Anders Behring Breivik is an extremist Christian fundamentalist, should this act of terror now be called Christian Terror? Ideally, it would be best not to link name of any religion with terror as terror has no religion. It should be denounced most vociferously whenever and wherever it occurs. Hopefully, the West will have a better understanding of it after this heinous act.

Monday, July 18, 2011

US Debt Ceiling - Just to Defeat Obama in 2012, will the Republicans sink the US Economy?

The Republican Congressmen and Senators are playing an extremely dangerous game with their nation's finances. In their desire to defeat Barack Obama in 2012, they are pushing the issue of National Debt Ceiling to the brink.

If Congress does not approve an increase in country's debt ceiling by August 2,2011, United States Government will default on its debt obligations at the rate of $4 billion a day. The will result in lowering of US credit rating from AAA and no one will be willing to lend money to US Government unless there is a substantial increase in interest rates.

The interest rate hike will hit the already weak economy hard, pushing unemployment to double digits, the housing market will suffer a down turn like it has never been seen before. Already some 29 million homes are under water i.e. their mortgages are higher than market values, increase in mortgage defaults will bankrupt many US banks and unlike 2008, Uncle Sam will not be able to save them this time as Uncle Sam will itself be bankrupt.

Are the Republicans really this desperate to defeat Obama that they will sink the entire US ship? Many think they are playing brinkmanship and will come good at the last minute to avoid default. I hope they are right, because otherwise they have to be extremely despondent to do this to their own country.

The US default will also impact the World economy. The already suffering European economies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and others will sink even further, resulting in a possible breakup of EU or the Euro as a single EU currency.

And why are Republicans not willing to increase the debt ceiling even once in Obama's three years, when they raised it no less than seven times in Bush's eight years? Apparently they want more tax cuts for the wealthy and oppose closing tax loopholes for big Corporations. They want to eliminate Medicare and cut Social Security for the poor. The American public knows well that the high debt is a Republican legacy from George Bush's ill planned wars and tax cuts cuts for the rich.

If a default occurs, Obama will probably take the high road and heap entire blame on Republicans and rather than winning the White House in 2012, Republicans could end up losing majority in the House and many Senate seats too.

In case of default, US voters have only themselves to blame for giving Republicans and Tea Party candidates a majority in the The House in 2010 despite George Bush's disastrous eight year Presidency.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Rebekah Brooks, the CEO of one of the sleaziest newspaper (not surprisingly with largest circulation in the world) 'News of the World' presided over an empire which is alleged to have hacked private phones, paid bribes to policemen, gave free overseas trips to U.K. Prime Ministers and may even have bribed politicians on both sides of the pond. Yet she surprisingly refused to quit for several days while the scandal grew bigger and bigger. Today she fell on her sword and finally resigned.

This newspaper (along with others) owned by Mr. Murdoch's News Corp lowered the level of journalism to the lowest levels. The FBI is reportedly investigating whether their journalists and 'investigators' hacked into the phones of families of 9/11 victims as they did with families of 7/7 victims in the U.K.

Many politicians in U.K. and U.S. are hastily distancing themselves from Mr. Murdoch as many of them may have enjoyed his hospitality, political support and perhaps more.

All credit goes to Hugh Grant for exposing this scandal by secretly tape recording a conversation with a News of the World 'journalist', whom Grant suspected of hacking his phone. The link below is interesting to watch.

The British politicians are making a huge mistake by calling Mr. Murdoch before a House of Commons Committee. This will give him a platform to plead innocence on live television and the truth will never be out. The best thing is for British Prime Minister, David Cameron (who himself was chummy with Rebekah Brooks and also enjoyed Murdoch's political support through Sun Newspaper) to appoint an inquiry commission headed by a judge to investigate this whole sordid affair thoroughly.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rupert Murdoch's Come Uppance

When one man or one Corporation controls so much of media around the world, arrogance and complacency is bound to set in. With world's major newspapers and television channels in his camp, Rupert Murdoch played God with politics.

His Fox TV became a mouthpiece of the extreme right wing in the US, promoting Republicans and Tea Partiers whether they were right or wrong. His Sun newspaper in UK blatantly supported Conservative Party, not to mention the sleaziest of newspapers - The News of the World allegedly bribed policemen, hacked in to people's telephones and voice mail messages.

Even the former Prime Minister Gordon Brown was not spared as his phone was allegedly hacked into. Some of his newspapers deliberately published false stories about Palestinians in order to provide support to Israel. It is beyond belief that Mr. Murdoch did not have a hint of all this, that went on for years.

The uproar in UK is well justified, even the British Prime Minister, David Cameron has become tainted with the scandal for hiring a former Murdoch employee who was already under investigation. The British Prime Minister has started an inquiry and who is conducting the inquiry - the Scotland Yard, many of whose policemen were on the take from News of the World? It would behoove the Prime Minister to constitute an independent inquiry commission.

It is time for U.K., U.S. and other countries to examine the possibility of releasing Mr. Murdoch's stranglehold on world media. The US Senate may soon hold an inquiry into the affairs of News Corp, Mr. Murdoch's flagship. The highly respected newspapers like 'The Wall Street Journal' and Britain's 'The Times' should be spun off quickly in order to spare them from this scandal.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The West Has Screwed Up in Libya?

After the riots and overthrow of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt, Col. Gaddafi should have seen the writing on the wall. He should have realized that forty year rule is long enough and instead of trying to install his sons in his place, he should called free and fair elections and offered to step down and handed over power to an elected Government. But dictators never learn, do they?

As the riots started and Ben Ghazi fell to opposing tribes, Gaddafi and his sons thought they could suppress the people by branding them thugs and drug dealers and by using brute force against them. The reality was quite different, after 40 years of rule, people wanted freedom of speech and a right to choose their own Government. After all a country is not one man's or one family's fiefdom.

To stop the killing of civilians in Libya, United Nations passed a timely resolution to prevent further bloodshed. However, the West took that as a License to Regime Change. This is blatant misuse of a UN resolution. NATO's bombing of civilians in Tripoli and elsewhere has by now probably killed as many if not more civilians than Gaddafi's brute attacks.

The main culprit in all this the French President Sarkozy, followed closely by Cameron, Obama and Berlusconi. Berlusconi seems to have seen the error of his ways of late and is trying to halt bombing by his NATO partners, but they are not listening to him as regime change is their real agenda and they say so openly. Berlusconi's enlightenment may also have something to do with huge economic losses staring Italy in the face by stoppage of uniterrupted oil flow from Libya. Also possibility of relicensing ENI's Libyan oil concessions to China and Russia may also be a factor.

NATO is in violation UN Resolution 1973. Perhaps this time the International Criminal Court (which took no action against Bush & Blair for causing death of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians) will show some courage and add the names of NATO leaders for crimes against humanity in addition to Gaddafi's! However, that may be too much to ask of ICC as up to now they have only found courage to charge minor African and Serbian leaders.

The UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon's job is to bring peace to this world. He should have tried to bring all sides together in Libya and found a peaceful solution for a transition. Instead, he has failed to make any efforts to stop the carnage. He should resign and go home instead of seeking another term.

Gaddafi is a dictator and has been cruel to his people of late, but over the years, he has been a benevolent dictator. Food, Education (including higher education), Housing and Healthcare is substantially subsidized by the Libyan Government. This is something neither Obama, nor Sarkozy have been able to accomplish for their people. No wonder, Gaddafi still has support from a segment of Libyan population. The main opposition to him comes from larger tribes that Gaddafi has sidelined from power for a very long time. The West did not take all this into account before their gung-ho bombing of Tripoli.

Instead of removing Gaddafi, NATO's action have only served to strengthen him as it is beginning to appear that he may have outwitted the West. This is great shame, for it is time for him to step down and let Libyans elect a democratic Government.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Will Bashar Al-Assad of Syria Survive?

There is no doubt that Syria has been a thorn in the side of United States and Israel for steadfastly refusing to negotiate a compromise with Israel. Syrian leaders have insisted on complete and full withdrawal of Israeli forces and return of Golan Heights to Syria. Syria has also supported Hezbollah and Palestinians including Hamas for a free Palestine.

The recent Arab uprising seems to be sweeping across the entire Arab world and the old guard is falling one by one. Syria has been a relatively tranquil country in Bashar Al-Assad's time and the current uprising may well have a foreign hand in it. However, the reality is that Arab people have woken up and are no longer willing to accept dynastic leaders. They yearn for democracy and Syrian people are no different.

The Assad family has rules ruled Syria since 1966 without a democratic or a fair election. Forty five years is a long time for the population of a country to bear the rule of a father and son. Al-Jazeera reports that security personnel are carrying out house to house searches in various in Syria to grab opponents. This can only inflame the situation even further.

The best thing for Bashar Al-Assad to do is to immediately call for a fair and open election; both for Parliament and Presidency. Allow all political parties to participate and if Syrian people re-elect him in a fair election then he has the right to continue, otherwise he must step down and hand over power to elected representatives.

Monday, May 2, 2011

GOOD RIDDANCE Osama bin Ladin

Last night President Barrack Obama confirmed the death of elusive terrorist Osama bin Ladin. He was killed through a military operation on a private mansion in Abbottabad, a city located 70 miles due north of Islamabad in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly known as the North West Frontier Province) in Pakistan. Pakistan Military Academy, where all Army soldiers are given their initial training is located just 6 kilometers from Abbottabad.

Not much information is forthcoming at this stage about how it all happened. The actual operation seems to have been an all American one. There may have been some intelligence coordination with Pakistan. General Petraeus' visit to Islamabad and his meeting with General Ashfaq Kiyani a couple of days ago may have something to do with it. The strange thing is that there is no word either from Pakistan Army, the or the Pakistani Government.

The media reports suggest that Osama bin Ladin has been buried at sea. This may well have been done to avoid a shrine being built around his grave giving a focal point to his supporters. However, what is hard to fathom is, how was his body flown to the Arabian Sea. The Chinook Helicopters that took part in the attack would have had at least one hour flight from Bagram to Abbottabad and the trip down to sea would take another four and the return journey to nearest base in Afghanistan (say Kandhar) would take another two hours. The question is, does a Chinook helicopter have the capacity to fly seven hours without refuelling?

Burying Osama bin Ladin at sea raises some questions. Hopefully, the US Administration will soon release pictures of a dead Osama bin Ladin for the satisfaction of American people as well as for the world at large. Knowing how cautious President Obama is in these matter, he wouldn't stake his Presidency on it unless he had checked and rechecked several times with the ground forces, Pentagon and the CIA before his address to the nation last night.

GOOD RIDDANCE Osama bin Ladin. You unleashed terror not just on the West, but also equally ferociously on the Muslim world. The 9/11 attacks, the suicide bombings, the killing of innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Morocco, Yemen and elsewhere is your legacy. You have blood on your soul of thousands of people around the world who did you no harm. The world is a better place today than it was yesterday.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Questions about Afghanistan War - Why is the U.S. failing?

Ten years after the launch of Afghan war, why is the U.S. on verge of losing this war? This is a question that haunts many a military strategists and U.S. citizens who have scarified life and treasure.

Ten years after the launch of this war, there has been no comprehensive analysis of why this war is still going on and why things have gone so wrong? Each time a new military commander is sent to Afghanistan, hope rises but then it fades again. By now, serious questions should have been raised by the intelligentsia in the U.S. They should have challenged successive U.S. Administrations and their analysis of this war. Also, the question needs to be asked of the Administration - when will this war end?

In the first year of war, Taliban had all but surrendered - not in the military sense, but they gave up fighting and went back to their fields to their day to day lives. Why did the war not end then? Why were public development projects not started at that time for upliftment of Afghan society? An investment of $20 billion could have revolutionized Afghan cities, provinces and the Country as whole. In whose interest was it to continue the war and spend several hundred billion dollars bankrupting America?

Osama bin Ladin and Al-Qaeda were on the run and some former U.S. intelligence officials suspect, he was allowed to escape from Tora Bora. If that is true, then why did that happen and why have no serious questions been asked in the U.S. by politicians or the media.

Many believe that suffering from a serious kidney ailment, Osama bin Ladin died several years ago. If that is the case, then why are successive Administrations not telling the truth? If the intelligence community does not know whether he is dead or alive, then what kind of intelligence work are they doing? If they are not sure whether he is dead or alive, then who are they chasing?

Through lack of country knowledge and perhaps naivete, U.S. allowed minority Tajiks & Uzbeks to dominate majority Pashtuns in running the affairs of Afghanistan in earlier years. As Taliban were Pashtun, some simple minds probably thought that all Pashtuns were Taliban. This was far from the truth as a majority of Pashtuns were also sick and tired of Taliban's extreme views. Uzbek warlord Rashid Dostum's murderous gangs killed most of Pashtun POWs. The Tajiks were equally vicious. Pashtun prisoners were locked up in 40 foot freight containers without water, food or sanitation, most died before the containers were opened weeks later. Many were simply lined up and shot and all this under the U.S. watch!

Persecuted, the Pashtuns started to support the Taliban (by now almost extinct) once again, even those who had never supported them before. Sympathy and cash revived them into a more potent force than at the outset of war. Some brilliant minds in the U.S. thought that allowing Afghans to grow poppy once again (completely banished under Taliban rule) will probably make them happy. Indeed it did and it also started a multi-billion dollar drug trade. Some of the poppy proceeds started to flow to Taliban. As a result, they have become a formidable force today.

So Mr. Obama, you said this is a war of necessity, then why have things gone so wrong and why is the U.S. on the verge of losing it? After hundreds of billions of dollars and many lives lost (U.S., Afghan and Pakistan), what has been accomplished so far?

More importantly, Mr. Obama, when will this war end?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bollywood Comes to Toronto for Internation Indian Flim Academy Awards (IIFA) 2011

Bollywood brings it star studded spectacle of annual film awards (the Indian Oscars) to Toronto, Canada this year. The event takes place on June 25, 2011 at Rogers Centre (formerly and still better known as the Skydome), which has a seating capacity in excess of 50,000.

Toronto is waiting for this event with baited breath as it will bring a number of Bollywood stars to the city. Amongst those nominated for best actor and actress are Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ashwaria Rai & Vidya Balan. It is an exciting time for three hundred thousand plus South Asian community living in Greater Toronto Area. The event will also bring much needed revenue to city's hospitality industry.

It is understood that Ontario Government has been very generous in allocating a few million dollars to support the event. However, in spite of Ontario tax payers contribution, not a single ticket is available in the market except through unscrupulous scalpers at exorbitant prices. Hopefully, before parting with the funds, Ontario Government will insist on tickets being made available through regular ticket outlets.

The event will be one of the most spectacular stage shows. More importantly, it will promote Toronto as one of the best cities in the world and millions watching on their TV screens thousands of miles away will hopefully be tempted to visit this cosmopolitan and most multi-cultural city.

Below is one of the entries nominated for best female vocals:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2015

The third most watched sporting event in the world - Cricket World Cup concluded successfully on April 2 in Mumbai with India winning the cup and quite deservedly so. Financially, this was the most successful world cup ever. Rumor has it that Corporate Hospitality Boxes in Mumbai were going for as much as Rs.5 Crore (US$1.1m).

For world's greatest batsman Sachin Tendulkar, this was the crowning moment of his long and successful career. He is one of the finest batsmen ever produced by the game of cricket, a true gentleman and a fine example for young cricketers to follow.

Cricket is becoming a popular sport around the world. In US & Canada alone, there are several thousand cricket teams at school and local levels. The game is just waiting to break out in a big way in North America.

In the 2011 world cup fourteen teams competed. However, in its infinite wisdom, the cricket governing body - ICC has decided to restrict number of teams to ten in Cricket World Cup 2015. This is a blow to young and aspiring cricketing nations like Canada, Ireland, Kenya etc. However, these teams will be able to compete in the World Twenty20 competition.

The need is to popularize cricket and not restrict it. By excluding these teams from 2015 World Cup, ICC is doing injustice to new and upcoming cricketing nations. Hopefully, ICC will review its decision before long.

West, Get out of Libya. UN Resolution 1973 was to protect Libyans, not kill them.

The UN Resolution 1973 was passed in an emergency situation as Gaddafi forces were about to recapture Ben Ghazi from rebel forces and a mass killing was likely. Essentially, the resolution was to protect Libyan citizens. Instead, U.S., France, Britain and other wetern countries have launched air attacks on Libyan cities and towns, killing a large number of citizens of that country.

The gung ho wetsern powers it seems were hell bent on raiding Libya no matter what. Their actions are illegal and beyond the scope of UN resolution.

It is shameful that UN Secretary, General Ban ki Moon has played in the hands of western powers. Instead of bringing peace, he has brought death and destruction to Libya. UN's mandate is to make peace not war. He should have made his best efforts to bring warring tribes to the table to accomplish peace. Also, UN should have sent in peacekeeping forces to protect Ben Ghazi and other cities, not send in western troops to kill Libyan citizens through air and missile attacks. Ban ki Man has lost his mandate and should resign immediately.

The world has not forgotten France and Italy's reputation as colonial powers. Under their respective occupation of Algeria and Libya, tens of thousands of people were tortured to death. The killings in Algeria were so grotesque that a large number of French citizens staged massive rallies in Paris and called for an end to French occupation. How can the UN mandate these same countries to bomb and kill more citizens of their previous colonies?

US's role in all this also very dubious. While Obama campaigned against war, he seemed only too eagre to start an uncalled for war and bomb Libyan cities. According to General Wesley Clarke (no conspiray theorist), plans were finalized to invade Libya immediately after 9/11 (watch the entire interview below).

UN should call for an immediate cease fire in Libya, ground all NATO aircraft and replace bombings with peacekeeping troops and at the same time help negotiate a truce between the warring tribes. This is not West's fight, it is Libya's internal tribal fight.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Defecting Libyan Foreign Minister is no saint

The west seems to be drooling over Libya's former Forein Minister who recently defected to the West. Just because he has defected does not make this man a saint.

While he was Libya's Ambassador in London, he allegedly sated that he wanted to finish Gaddafi's opponents. He was sent back from London and went to become the Head of Libyan Intelligence. His hands are no cleaner than Gaddafi's, as he must have known or been actively involved in the disappearance and elimination of several Libyan nationals, who opposed the regime.

The west has to be cautious in dealing with Moussa Koussa. He may have been sent by Gaddafi to find out what the west is planning. Drooling over this man is rather naive of the western leaders and the media.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 - India wins the "Clash of Titans"

Congratulations India

The second semi-final of Cricket World Cup 2011 between India and Pakistan played at Mohali, Chandigarh, India today, turned out to be not much of a clash after all.

India batted first and got off to an excellent start. Pakistan with its superior bowling contained India in middle overs, but its poor fielding let it down badly The master Indian batsman, Sachin Tendulkar's was dropped four times before Shahid Afridi took a brilliant cash to dismiss him at 85. Pakistan team's fielding was atrocious, dropping catches and letting too many balls slip out of their hands towards the boundary. Their lead bolwer, Umar Gul was awful conceding 69 runs in 8 over, bowling full toss upon full toss. The target of 261 runs set by India proved too much for Pakistan to beat.

India was boookies favourite and reports of betting to the tune of one half to a billion dollar were rampant in the media.

As I wrote in my last post, the match was expected to be clean and rumors of teams taking money were just that. All in all, an excellent contest between the two teams and Indian team deserved to win as it played better on the day. India goes on to play the final against Sri Lanka on April 2 at Mumbai.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 - India Pakistan Semi-final, a Clash of the Titans

March 30, 2011 is a day of major competition in the sporting world's calendar. It is the day when India and Pakistan - two major rivals in cricket, face each other in the semi-final of Cricket World Cup 2011 in Chandigarh, India.

This is an advertiser's dream come true, as the spectacle will be watched by nearly two billion people around the world, third only in viewership to Summer Olympics and Soccer World Cup.

Tensions are high and pressure enormous on both teams. Though this is not the final game, neither side wants to lose. The media hype in both countries is beyond logic, after all this is only a game and only one team can win.

The gambling world (legal and illegal) is in play with full force. Hundreds of millions of dollars (by some estimates half a billion dollars) have been bet on this game. Indian media has made wild accusations that Indian team will lose deliberately because that is what the gambling underworld wants. But that seems rather far fetched and the accusations appear to be quite bogus.

Both teams have played extremely well in earlier stages of this World Cup. No doubt, they will give their all on March 30th. India has played a great deal more cricket than Pakistan in recent years. Also, their star batsman, Sachin Tendulkar is in full form. Pakistan on the other hand has youth on its side. Their bowling has been excellent and their two twenty year old batsmen, Hafiz and Akmal have demonstrated superior skill and mature temprament. Victory will belong to the team that holds its nerve on the day and plays without thinking of all the hype around them.

The Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Manmohan Singh who has been lacking in peace making efforts with Pakistan of late. However, he has taken a bold step by inviting Pakistani leaders to attend the match. The Pakistani Prime Minister has accepted the invitation, so the cricket diplomacy is back at work again. Hopefully, these two nations can mend their relations on the back of cricket.

The winner plays Sri Lanka in the final on Saturday, April 2. Sri Lanka has just managed to scrape a win over New Zealand in the other semi-final.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 is being played in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. This is the most watched sporting event after Olympics and the Soccer World Cup. However, the North American public is completely oblivious to this third largest sporting event in the world.

The U.S. & Canadian tv spends most of the time showing ice hockey and football (two very popular games in North America) and Cricket is not mentioned even in passing. They are depriving the North American public from watching one of the best sports competitions in the world. More than a billion and half people are glued to to their tv sets around the world to follow each and every game.

Two more quarter finals remain to be played between New Zealand v South Africa and Sri Lanka v England. The reigning champions of last three world cups - Australia were knocked out of the competition by India today.

India and Pakistan are already through to semi-final. Their match on March 30 will be quite a spectacle. The cricket rivalry is rampant between these nations. This will probably be the most watched event in this world cup, possibly catapulting worldwide tv viewership to two billion.

It is said that baseball was born out of rounders and rounders out of cricket. Interestingly, the first ever international cricket match played was between Canada and U.S. For the 2011 Cricket World Cup U.S. team did not qualify, Canada did, but was knocked out in the first round.

Cricket has tremendous potential in North America and if the major sports channel show some of the World Cup games, interest will increase as a large number of young people in North America already play cricket at school level.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good Bye Elizabeth Taylor - May you rest in peace

One of the most beautiful and talented actresses of Hollywood, Elizabeth Taylor has passed away. Her fantastic movies like Cat on a hot tin roof, Who is affraid of virginia wolf, Cleopetra and so many others will be remembered forever. Sky News coverage sums up her life well.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The purpose of U.N.'s resolution 1973 is to protect Libyan citizens from attack by Gaddafi forces. It does not authorise bombings and use of force on Tripoli and killing more Libyans. U.S., U.K. & France have far exceeded the UN mandate and they must stop now!

Had they succeeded in taking out Gaddafi on the first day, the world may have condoned their action. But continuous bombing of Libyan cities and killing Libyan citizens is not acceptable. The American Generals are making tall claims of success as usual. But lessons learnt from Iraq and Afghanistan are that these claims do not usually hold water and many civilians die instead. No wonder the Arab League has disassociated itself from the attacks. Their support was to implement a no fly zone, not launch an all out war against Libya.

Attacking Gaddafi's forces that surrounded Ben Ghazi and other cities falls within the mandate, but attacking Tripoli and residential complexes does not. Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the UN must immediately ask the Western forces to restrict themselves to the UN mandate and not take it upon themselves to effect a regime change. Russia and China have called for an immediate ceasefire and quite rightly so. There is no need to prolong this conflict into a full fledged war.

Now is the time for diplomacy. The Italian Prime Minister, Mr. Silvio Berlusconi is the only western leader who can talk to Gaddafi. He should go to Tripoli and convince Gaddafi to step down in order to allow a peaceful democratic transition and for sanity to return to Libya.

Friday, March 18, 2011


The time for UN resolution was two weeks ago, when Col. Gaddafi was weak and losing town after town to opposition forces. Since then he has regrouped and launched brutal attacks on his own people. The UN and the World watched from a distance while he took back Zawiya, Ras Lanuf and several other small towns. Hundreds of opponents captured by Gaddafi forces have disappeared and most probably executed by now.

The time for a UN resolution was two weeks ago when Gaddafi was week and cornered. At that time, he could have been pressured to leave Libya, but now that he has retaken some of the towns, he is in ascendancy once again and unlikely to quit.

One thing the UN resolution may do, is save the people of Ben Ghazi from a certain massacre. But what happens after that? Ben Ghazi cannot be a separate country and cannot be hived off Libya for any length of time. What is needed is a reunification of Libya under new and democratic political leadership.

The no fly zone does not accomplish this. We have seen that the outcome of no fly zones in Iraq was a disaster. Also, UN sanctions prevented medicines and food getting into Iraq resulting in malnutrition and death of a large number of children. Surely, we don't want a repeat of that in Libya.

The need is to ensure that Gaddafi leaves as soon as possible and Ben Ghazi and other areas currently under the control of opposition forces are reunited with Libya. However, accomplishing this seems difficult in the near future. The UN and the Wold has lost an opportunity to make a difference in Libya.

Some Western countries are interpreting the UN resolution as carte blanche to invade Libya or attack Libyan installations. This is certainly very dangerous. No matter how cruel or dictatorial Gaddafi is, UN neither has the mandate nor the authority to implement a regime change. Imagine what havoc George W. Bush and his cohorts would have wreaked on the world, had they had a UN authorised regime change resolution in their hands!

The UN, Arab League and the African Union must get together and apply extreme diplomatic pressure on Gaddafi to quit. After losing the momentum of last two weeks, this may be the only option left.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

While the World is focused on Japan, Gaddafi is continuing his attack on the opposition forces

The massive 8.9 earthquake has diverted world's attention from Libya to Japan, where thousands have disappeared in the tsunami. There is no doubt that Japan needs help and on a massive scale. There is a shortage of food, water, shelter and all the day to day need things. But let us not leave Libya in the hands of Gaddafi, who is bombing and killing his own people. His scorched earth policy has already destroyed the city of Ras Lanuf and its oil refinery and he is now setting sights on Ben Ghazi.

The world needs to keep Libya in focus, lest it become another Rawanda, where inter tribal fighting left thousands dead. If Gaddafi over-powers his opponents, he is likely to exact similar revenge on all the opposing tribes, especially the Warfa tribe - the largest in Libya. It is time for the world and the United Nations to act.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The recent attacks on Ras Lanuf by Qaddaffi forces are criminal. Mr. Qaddafi needs to stop killing his own people.

The National Council formed by the opposition and led by Mr. Mustafa Al-Jalil has offered very reasonable terms to Mr. Qaddafi to leave Libya within 72 hours and they will pursue no prosecution even after he leaves. The people of Libya want peace, continued fighting and bloodshed is tearing the country apart. It seems that Mr. Qaddafi is hell bent on destroying his own country. He has unleashed his anger on the Libyan people who have had enough of him after 41 years. Despite the nonchalant attitude in his television interviews, he is pursuing a 'death to opposition' policy.

The recent attacks on oil installations on Ras Lanuf and Zaawiya are an indication that Qaddafi and his obnoxious sons are trying to paralyse the oil industry in rebel hands.

When will Qaddafi learn that the democratic winds of change currently blowing in the Middle East no longer want him anymore? It is time for Mr. Qaddafi to stop killing his own people and leave Libya for good.

One hopes that after the disastrous outcome of U.K.'s incursion into Libya through MI6 agents, their capture, humiliation and deportation by opposition groups, no foreign forces will venture into Libya. Any hint of foreign interference will only strengthen Mr. Qaddafi's hand, as he will use it to play the 'colonization of Libya card' to justify stay.

Where U.S. and Europe can help, is to perhaps to get a neutral country to agree to take Qaddafi and his sons, so that his departure from Libya is sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Governing A Post Gaddafi Libya could be a Nightmare

Libyan population of 6.5 million comprises of various tribes. Col Gaddafi comes from a smaller tribe - Gaddafa, based in Sirte. Warfalla is by far the largest tribe with nearly one million members. Warfalla has been opposed to Gaddafi for quite some time and it is the Warfalla who have captured Ben Ghazi.

Gaddafi cleverly included various tribes into the armed forces to keep them happy. However, after the last uprising, he excluded the Warfalla from some of the military functions and from the air force.

The armed forces have various components including the revolutionary guards, which are thought to be loyal to Gaddafi. The rest of the armed forces do not have enough power to overthrow Gaddafi and start a civilian transition like currently under way in Egypt.

The biggest problem in post Gaddafi Libya will be to unite all the tribes. So far there is no clear leader who can command the respect of all tribes (including the Gaddafa tribe) to govern effectively after Gaddafi.

The real danger is that Libya will splinter into small tribal fiefdoms, all fighting over oil revenues. Gaddafi's departure is only a question of time, but post Gaddafi picture does not look very pretty.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Has Gaddafi Gone Mad?

A defiant Muammar Gaddafi is threatening bloodshed and revenge against protesters, he sounds like a mad man. It seems that even after ruling Libya for 41 years, his desire for power is not satiated. He is willing to destroy Libya rather than accept reality and step down.

The day Hosni Mubarak was ousted, Gaddafi should have initiated an orderly transition to democratic rule. Gaddafi's defiance can only cause more death and destruction resulting possibly in the breakup of Libya. Even if he overcomes the situation momentarily, his game is up and chances of him lasting as a ruler are minimal.

US wielded a great deal of influence with Egyptian military, hence were able to ensure Mubarak's departure, but there is no such connection here. Gaddafi is his own man and does not listen to anyone, so unfortunately there is no one to influence him to make the right decision at this critical juncture.

Let us hope better sense will prevail in the end and Gaddafi will decide to hand power to a new civilian administration.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Libya in Turmoil II

Al-Jazeera English reports more protests and violence in Libya

Libya in Turmoil, is Civil War imminent?

The riots in Ben Ghazi and other Libyan cities have become violent. Gaddafi's security forces have responded with force and brutality. It appears that protesters overran a Cantonment in Ben Ghazi capturing tanks and other military weapons. Ben Ghazi now seems to be in the hands of protesters.

The stark warning on live television by Gaddafi's son yesterday does not bode well for Libya and may in fact lead this (relatively calm - until now) country into civil war.

Gaddafi has ruled the country unchallenged for almost 41 years since he overthrew King Idris in 1969. Contrary to other Arab rulers, Gaddafi does not seem to have amassed wealth in his personal accounts. He has used oil revenues for welfare of his citizens. The poor in Libya may be content and not inclined to riot.

The revolution in Libya is quite different from that in Tunisia and Egypt, where corrupt rulers held sway for a very long time. In Libya, it is matter of freedom and democracy and removing restrictions from a state shackle hold. The middle and educated classes want a proper democracy, freedom of assembly and speech and quite rightly so.

There is a new awakening in the Middle East and NO this is not because of George W. Bush's disastrous war in Iraq, which killed 100,000 Iraqis and 6,000 Americans. Egypt has shown us that regime change can be accomplished without violence provided it is home grown and people are united. There is a new mood in the Middle East and despotic rulers better watch out.

Libya is not Gaddafi's personal fiefdom, he should step down and let an orderly process of change take place. His son's tone was defiant and threatening, promising to unleash the armed forces on the protesters. This may just be a last ditch effort by a dying regime. However, if the armed forces are brought to streets to crush the protesters that could lead to a civil war with horrific consequences.

The Libyan Armed forces should refuse orders to shoot their own people.

Democracy Now reports more deaths

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


On January 26, 2011 Hillary Clinton called Hosni Mubarak regime a stable regime.

This what she said as per 'Democracy Now' blog
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: "We support the fundamental right of expression and assembly for all people, and we urge that all parties exercise restraint and refrain from violence. But our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable and is looking for ways to respond to the legitimate needs and interests of the Egyptian people."

And yet a few days later, the Egyptian public threw out the corrupt and dictatorial regime of Hosni Mubarak. How could America's Chief Diplomat get this so wrong?

This was a huge blunder on the part of Hillary Clinton, a person in-charge of conducting US foreign policy. If she can get things so wrong, how will she read the situation in a major face off with a nuclear power?

The decent thing for Hillary Clinton to do is to resign and relieve Obama Administration of her continued presence at State Department. If she does not, President Obama should ask for her resignation.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


It took valiant Egyptian youth only 18 days to end a 30 year dictatorship. Good riddance Hosni Mubarak.

By freezing Mubarak's bank accounts, Switzerland has thrown the gauntlet to all other Governments to freeze his assets and return the looted wealth to Egyptian people.

For now the military has taken charge of Egypt, however this cannot be a satisfactory solution. Egypt has been ruled by military dictators ever since King Farouk was deposed in 1952. If the military stays in charge for a while, they may get comfortable in their new role and become an obstacle in the way of an open and a flourishing democracy, which is what the Egyptians want.

The preferred solution is, for a Supreme Court judge to head the interim Government comprising civilians whose task it should be to return Egypt to normalcy, start rebuilding the economy and hold fair, transparent and democratic elections so that power can be transferred to elected representatives in four to six months. Military's role should be restricted to maintaining law and order only.

Also, the current Egyptian constitution is in shambles and beyond repair, the interim Government should immediately appoint a Constitutional Commission comprising eminent Egyptian jurists with a mandate to draw up a new and democratic constitution. After the elections, the first order of business for the new parliament should be to approve or amend this constitution as it deems fit.

The Egyptian military has seen people power in the last 18 days, so hopefully they they will respond to their aspirations. However, if they get greedy and go for power grab, the outcome for the Military will probably be far worse than it was for Mubarak.


Thursday, February 10, 2011


On January 27, 2011, a deadly incident occurred on the streets of Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan and home to seven million people.

An American citizen, Raymond Davis a mercenary aka a private contractor hired by US Government rammed his rental vehicle into a biker knocking him off his bike. Rather than stopping to inquire about the biker's condition, he fled the scene. Another biker and his passenger seeing this, gave Davis a chase, caught up with him, pulled up their bike in front of Davis' car to prevent his escape. David pulled an automatic weapon and through the front windscreen of his car shot both the biker and his passenger dead putting eight bullets in one and five in the other.

Davis called US Consulate for help and a speeding vehicle arrived soon after cutting through and driving against one way traffic and in the process knocking and killing another biker. Both vehicles fled the scene, however the police chased and caught up with Davis arresting him two miles from the shooting scene. It is reported that Davis carried three automatic weapons, false documents and a false passport. US Government claims that Davis is an employee of a private contracting firm, Hyperion Protective Consultants of Orlando, Florida. However 'Counterpunch' reports that no such company exists in Florida.

US Government claims Davis has diplomatic immunity. It is applying immense pressure on Pakistan Government to release this thug and a criminal, threatening to cut off Pakistan's economic aid. Various US officials have hinted at canceling bi-lateral meetings. Hillary Clinton has been the worse culprit, canceling a scheduled meeting with Pakistan's Foreign Minister in Washington DC next week.

Diplomats are not supposed to commit murder, hence what Diplomatic immunity?
As it is, Davis' diplomatic immunity is in doubt and even if he has diplomatic immunity, US should immediately strip him of it and let him defend himself in Pakistani courts.

Why is the Obama Administration trying to protect a thug like Davis? Didn't Mr. Obama say in his election campaign that he will project a kinder, gentler face of America to the world, is this how he plans to project a kinder, gentler face?

So far, Pakistan Government has resisted pressure. But there is a lot of anger on the street and if Zaradri Government capitulates and releases Davis, all hell may break loose. The countrywide demonstrations that are likely to follow will possibly be so large and violent that Egypt will pale in comparison. There will be public pressure to end all cooperation with US over Afghanistan, potentially leading to a disorderly US withdrawal from Afghanistan, reviving painful memories of last days of Vietnam.

The best course at this stage is for Hillay Clinton and other officials of Obama Administration to back off and let the law take its course. Once the legal process has completed and some time has passed and anger has subsided, there may be an opportunity to exchange Davis with Pakistani prisoner in the US.

Is Mubarak on the Run?

BBC and other news sources are reporting that Hosni Mubarak may step down today and hand over power to his Vice President Suleiman.

Suleiman is the former head of the dreaded Egyptian Intelligence. He has helped Mubarak suppress Egyptian people for thirty years. His demeanor on television may be that of a softy, but he is a cruel man who has jailed thousands of people over the years.

If Mubarak does step down and hands over power to Suleiman, it will be like one thug handing over the reigns to another.

No doubt the Egyptians will celebrate their victory over Mubarak's ouster, but they are not likely to accept a transition Government under Suleiman. Chances are protests will continue until they get rid of Suleiman.

Aljazeera English TV claims that Omar Suleiman is an Israeli agent. One does not know if that is true, but Israel and the US have been very keen to have him replace Mubarak. The recent high praise for him by an Israeli Government minister may rile up the Egyptians even more to ensure his rapid departure.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Protests Spreading in Egypt, Democracy Now reports

Egyptian Protests Continue

AlJazeera English reports that Labor Unions have now joined the ranks of protestors in Egypt. Things appear to be spinning out of control. Time is of essence and if Egypt is to experience a relatively peaceful transition to democracy and multi-party rule, it is time for Obama Administration and European countries to impress upon Hosni Mubarak to step down.

Monday, February 7, 2011


The Egyptian demonstrations have been led by common folks wanting a corrupt and a dictatorial leader out of power and out of their country. The Muslim Brotherhood is a late comer to the game. In fact the first few days of uprising they stood on the sidelines probably fearing that crowds could turn on them. Watching things heat up, they have gradually come into the fold. By now it is a well known fact that the uprising has nothing to do with the Brotherhood, but, if there is no quick resolution and uncertainty continues, they stand to reap rewards far greater than they deserve.

The Obama Administration's backtracking on Hosni Mubarak's departure may have inflicted a minor blow to the uprising. But Hosni Mubarak's plan to stay till September and oversee election of his cronies will not be palatable to the Egyptian public. They have had enough of him in thirty years and they want to see the back of him sooner rather than later. The self appointed pundits like Farid Zakaria saying that army will outlast the crowds will probably be proven wrong, as usual.

Egyptian economy has already suffered $3 billion damage and the longer Mubarak remains as Head of State (with or without full powers), the demonstrations will continue and the losses will multiply. Hosni Mubarak has no credibility to bring a meaningful change to Egyptian constitution or arrange an orderly transition. At this time, he is a catalyst for more violence and upheaval. He should leave Egypt NOW before he suffers a Mussolini like fate.

The immediate need is to pacify Egyptian public by replacing Mubarak with an interim non-political Authority with a mandate to come up with a constitutional reform package and oversee a fair and transparent election. The interim authority should ideally be headed by a superior court judge and not by the Vice President or the Speaker (both Mubarak's party men). Once Mubarak is out and the Authority is in place, the public will most likely go back to their daily lives.

Only then can the new political parties be formed and electioneering begin in earnest. If this path is followed, chances are Egyptian public will reject the Brotherhood, who will be lucky to get 2 to 3% of the vote. However, a prolonged agitation will only strengthen their hands and they would gain significantly by playing on people's fears.

It is time for President Obama and Hillary Clinton to act as visionary leaders, with behind the scenes diplomacy and not many public statements. Also, they should not pay attention to those advisors who are for Mubarak's stay or continued involvement till September. Lest the Iranain revolution repeats itself in Egypt.