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.