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.