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Afghan Media vs Peace

Eman Irfan

It is about four decades that Afghanistan and its brave people are facing uncertainty, insecurity and extreme lack of basic civic facilities apparently due to none of their fault. Decades of rift and bloodshed have passed. No doubt Afghan people took all this with tremendous passion, dignity and resolve but now they rightly deserve peace, prosperity and happy secure living with atleast basic civic facilities.

Recently the world, particularly the USA, regional and neighbor countries seem convinced and a sincere effort is underway to present such an opportunity to the well deserving brave Afghan people.

The recently concluded Moscow Conference and Mr Zamlay Khalilzad’s hectic visits acknowledge this very fact.

Beside the international effort, the Afghan Media is also expected to positively contribute in such a nobel cause. It is an established fact that Social, Electronic and Print Media has unlimited capacity and capability to shape the environment and influence the masses. With such a power, the responsibility also increases. One can not separate power and responsibility, as such these both move together.

Lately, as the peace efforts picked up momentum, an all out negative media campaign has also been unleashed. The primary and sole target of the campaign seems to be Pakistan. The perception is being built that Pakistan is totally responsible for everything happing in Afghanistan. May it be severe drought in Afghanistan or aggravated lack of basic facilities. Durand Line (DL) issue is being unnecessarily discussed after centuries lapse. Not realizing that Pakistan was not on the world map when the agreement about DL was signed in 1883. Moreover, Afghanistan has to abide by the international laws. Most of the countries on the world map are result of such agreements. Wasting time and effort on such irrelevant issues, is not appreciable and not positive at all for the peace process.

In this conflict, Pakistan is the most affected country in the world after Afghanistan. Pakistan sacrificed heavily in men and material.

At the cost of its own stability and economic growth never turned the face from brave Afghans. When they needed help, Pakistan was right at their back rather shoulder to shoulder.

Hosted the largest number of Afghan refugees for more than four decades and still is doing so. It is highest number and longest stay in the world history. It would be very fair to expect that Afghanistan would never lend its shoulder to anyone against Pakistan. It is to be understood that    both countries are not only neighbours but also share the religion, culture, traditions and social values. If the border is being fenced its under dire compulsion.

Its being done after 71 years of open borders, just to strengthen the fact that Pakistan was never interested nor is keen in cross border infiltration by unwanted elements. Moreover, gates and doors are kept open for civilized people which Pakistan never closed for Afghans. Return of peace, stability and prosperity is not only beneficial for Afghanistan but is also in favour of international community particularly the regional countries.

Afghanistan and its people have heavily suffered and so is with Pakistan. They deserve peace and prosperity more than any one in the world. When efforts are underway for peace, its mutual responsibility of all to sincerely contribute for it. Afghan Media has to meet the expectations of the Afghan masses and stand to the rare moment.

Thus can play a very positive role by making the environment conducive for peace process. Give a new hope and confidence to Afghan people.

Promotion of positivity should be the call of the day. Mistrust be discouraged and thrown away. Don’t fall pray to the opportunists who have already devastated Afghan-istan. Indentify the ground realities and extend a strong helping hand for sustainable peace – a long awaited dream of brave Afghans.

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US genocide resolution welcome, but Rohingya need more

Maung Zarni

The US House of Representatives Thursday overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling the crimes committed by Myanmar security forces against Rohingya Muslims a genocide. This was the right thing to do.
The US lawmakers deserve to be applauded for trying to turn “Never again!” into a concrete US governmental policy, following the US Holocaust Memorial Museum’s declaration that Myanmar is indeed committing a genocide and crimes against humanity.
The House resolution states that “every government and multilateral body (in the world) should call such atrocities (against Rohingya people) by their rightful names of ‘crimes against humanity,’ ‘war crimes,’ and ‘genocide’.” It contains a call that will resonate very well with many in the rank-and-file of the Armed Forces of Myanmar unhappy with the Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing: it adds the commander-in-chief to the list of military commanders deemed responsible for these crimes.
Despite the much-reported decline of US power globally, the United States still retains unparalleled influence and reach, militarily, institutionally, economically, and ideologically, vis-à-vis Russia and China. Against this background, the unequivocal stance that US lawmakers have taken against the Myanmar genocide has enormous potential to really end the unimaginable misery which 1.5 million Rohingya experience, both in refugee camps in Bangladesh and in their own places of origin within the western Myanmar state of Rakhine.
However, the calls for the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court or an ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal on Myanmar, or even economic sanctions alone, will have no appreciable impact on either the Myanmar military, which has institutionalized the intentional destruction of Rohingya as a target population since the 1970s, nor on the majority of the Myanmar public, who have been brainwashed to believe UN or external allegations of atrocities as “fake news” concocted by the liberal West and a Muslim conspiracy financed and coordinated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
That is, unless the United States is prepared to take forward the idea of military intervention in Myanmar – like the US Pacific Fleet launching surgical missile-strikes from the international waters of the Bay of Bengal on the military headquarters and residences of the senior military commanders in Naypyidaw. The uses of military actions on grounds of humanitarian intervention are not unprecedented. The NATO bombing of Slobodan Milosevic’s palace and the “accidental” strike on the Embassy of China in Belgrade spring to mind.
In fact, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad openly suggested “going in” to end the atrocities, in a public talk at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York a few months ago.
Unrealistic option: However, this may not be a realistic option for a number of reasons: US President Donald Trump has demonstrated absolutely no concern about the news of Myanmar troops burning Rohingya infants and elderly people alive. In fact, Trump has not even once tweeted the word “Rohingya,” let alone drawn attention to the hellish conditions they are living in. Additionally, sandwiched between India and China, which are vying for influence in Myanmar through strategic, military, and economic collaboration, Myanmar may not be an ideal place for US drone or missile strikes, lest such acts draw these two Asian rivals into the military action.
With respect to the impact of full and biting economic sanctions, in the unlikely event that the United States eventually imposes such severe sanctions, the four largest investors in Myanmar are China, Thailand, Singapore, and Hong Kong, followed by the U.K. The targeted pinch on the generals and the national economy will be significantly mitigated by these countries.
None of these governments are likely to follow the US’ lead in the current circumstances. China considers Myanmar, a country in its backyard, an integral piece of its One Belt, One Road grand project whereby it is striving to recreate the New World Order with Beijing as its imperial center. Any talk of persuading China, or Russia, with deep military-to-military ties with Myanmar, to support any punitive measures within the existing global justice and governance mechanisms, including the UN Security Council, is nothing short of delusional.
The rest of Myanmar’s neighbors, including even India, base their Myanmar policies on commercial interests. India is no match for China, how desperately it may try, to curb China’s sway over the Myanmar military and civilian leaderships.
Desperate to find bilateral trade deals outside the EU amid Brexit, Britain is single-mindedly pursuing British commercial interests while serving as the “penholder” on Myanmar resolutions in multilateral bodies by virtue of the historical fact that it was the country’s former colonial master.
In a lengthy Dec. 12 interview with the local Mizzima News Group, British Ambassador Daniel Chugg pussyfooted around the genocide and stressed his ambassadorial goal. In Chugg’s own words, “we are the fifth-largest investor ever in Myanmar, our total stock of investment here is more than $4 billion, and our trade last year was about $500 million, which was up 20 per cent from the year before. So, it’s growing but it’s still relatively small in global terms and so I hope those figures will improve while I am here.” No matter how powerful it may still remain, US measures will come short of what is needed to end the genocide in Myanmar.
Steps to follow: Whether the Trump administration makes the legal determination – as the US House Resolution urges – that Myanmar is in fact committing crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes not only against Rohingya but also against other ethnic and religious communities such as the Kachin, Shan, and Ta’ang, is less consequential than what it will concretely do if the determination is made.
The painful truth typically overlooked is that no genocide has ever been committed by the perpetrating state alone, from the Nazi genocide to Bosnia to Rwanda. There are always collaborating and “bystanding” states. The real first-step towards ending the genocide in Myanmar will have to be an international conference of states which have expressed their official concerns about the nature of grave crimes that Myanmar is committing.
There are 47 member states which voted on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution this fall calling for accountability for the Myanmar perpetrators of international state crimes. Although the US is no longer a member of the council, considering the overwhelming concern about the genocide in Myanmar as evidenced in yesterday’s vote at the House of Representatives, the US government is best placed to host such a conference in Washington.
The US Holocaust Memorial Museum, which has done extraordinary work in genocide monitoring and research on the situation for Rohingya, would be an ideal civil society partner to facilitate such a conference. One primary conference objective should be to forge a coalition of governments that are prepared to pool their resources, strategic influences, and even military assets to put sufficient pressure on both the Myanmar military and Aung San Suu Kyi’s impotent leadership. Without sufficient pressure, Myanmar — that is, the civilian government and the military — will not accept the Rohingya as full and equal citizens, nor will they provide any guarantee for the safety of the survivor communities.
As a matter of fact, the Myanmar genocide resolution rightly states that “Myanmar’s civilian government, led by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, has not yet taken the necessary steps to address the violence directed against the Rohingya and has failed to create the necessary conditions for returns, including by actively impeding access to northern Rakhine for UNHCR, UNDP, humanitarian organizations, and journalists.” Having aligned the government with Beijing, Aung San Suu Kyi has shown absolutely no sign that she will relent.
Against this scenario, only such a counter-alliance of states broadly supported by civil society and human rights movements consisting of Rohingya survivors can put enough concrete pressure on the perpetrating regime and the genocidally racist society to allow Rohingya to live in peace on their own ancestral land of Northern Rakhine.

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Beyond tears: Living after 12/16

M Zafar Khan Safdar

My drive is depleted,

My smiles been deleted.

Between all the tears,

I feel angry and cheated.

Like a festering wound

From a splinter in deep,

Grief invades every moment,

Shattering my days

And my sleep…

Even when you know your child is in heaven, it still hurts like hell. Four years are gone yet it seems like yesterday and the people have not forgotten the nightmare that was unfolded on this day back in 2014.  The December 16 attack on the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar was the worst terrorist act in Pakistan’s history that claimed the lives of more than 149 people, including 134 children, and a nearly equal number injured. After a squad of many armed men launched a suicide attack during class hours with indiscriminate firing on school children as they raided classroom after classroom, eight hours elapsed before military forces regained control of the school. After four years, the Supreme Court of Pakistan formed a judicial commission this October to probe the APS carnage, report of the commission has yet to be submitted.

Terrorism has claimed more than seventy thousands of innocent lives in Pakistan over the last several years, but the APS children’s massacre is the bloodiest in the nation’s recent history. It sparked unparalleled shock across the country and abroad, as people disbelievingly grieved the loss of young children attending an otherwise normal day in school. This national tragedy failed to find words of grief and sorrow, the consolation was meaningless. I happened to attend few funerals of relatives who died in APS. The winter gloom of Peshawar was further exacerbated; city and surroundings were in utter grief that was beyond narration. Everyone was crying in tons before everyone after mentioning the tragedy, and this is continued till day.

Responsibility for the massacre was claimed by the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), who declared to have undertaken it as revenge for the ongoing military operation Zarb-e-Azb in tribal areas since June 2014. The formation of the TTP dates back to the 2002 that absorbed many Al-Qaeda fighters who fled from Afghanistan to the bordering tribal areas of Pakistan following the US attack in Oct 2001. In the year 2007, TTP was formally created as an umbrella organization, led by Baitullah Mehsud, incorporating 13 militant groups. Mehsud’s successor, Hakimullah Mehsud, declared a war against the state of Pakistan in October 2013, seeking to replace Pakistan’s ‘un-Islamic system’ by an Islamic one. Hakimullah Mehsud was killed the following month in a US drone strike. Major differences in the historical background, interests and goals of the TTP and the Afghan Taliban mean there is no direct affiliation between the two. The distance between the groups was highlighted when an Afghan Taliban spokesman criticized the APS attack by calling it ‘un-Islamic’. The operation Zarb-e-Azb, after much ado, was finally launched on June 15, 2014, after it became clear to the government that the peace talks with the TTP were nowhere close to fruition, and that, despite the talks, the TTP had been conducting attacks.

The Army was also getting edgy as more and more military installations had been targeted by the TTP, in one particular strike, Lt Gen Sanaullah Niazi, a three-star general involved in previous military operations against the TTP, was assassinated by the group in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa near the Afghan border. Another key event that triggered the military was the TTP’s beheading of 23 captured soldiers from the Frontier Corps in February 2014. The TTP further provoked the military by using Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) members to conduct an attack at the Jinnah International Terminal of Karachi Airport, which resulted in the killing of 28 airport security personnel.

The government’s policy to root out terrorists has been two pronged and polarized, the government has sought to either negotiate with the TTP in the hope of salvaging peace through a deal, or when such peace deals have failed, the army has launched military operations to exterminate the Taliban, as was the case with the Swat operation in 2009 when the Malakand Accord broke down.

The Malakand Accord, which was struck between the Government of Pakistan and the TTP in February 2009, and involved making concessions to the militants including the imposition of a radical form of Shari’a in the Malakand Division, has already exposed the dangers of brokering a peace deal with the Taliban.

Following the government’s decision to take the offensive, the military launched airstrikes, and 30,000 troops marched into North Waziristan to take part in the operation against the terrorists. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has successfully been completed by February 2017 after achieving the desired results, replaced with another operation named ‘Radd-ul-Fasaad’ to conduct Counter-Terrorism operations by Rangers in Punjab, to keep continue the ongoing operations across the country, focus on more effective border security management, countrywide explosive control and de-weaponisation, and pursuance of National Action Plan.

The dangers inherent in a military operation against the TTP have also manifested themselves through the ugly horror of suicide attacks and blasts that have plagued the country. Pakistan saw a 48% rise in deaths in terrorists attacks in 2009 following the launch of the army offensive in Swat and Waziristan provoking a backlash from the Taliban, with terror attacks having claimed 72,000 lives in the past 14 years. With those numbers in place, Pakistan’s watershed moment was not readily decipherable, but the macabre scene that unfolded in December 2014 in Peshawar was being termed the strongest contender. The brazenness of the APS massacre united all the political parties and military leadership of the country to unanimously condemn the attack and make National Action Plan (NAP) to eradicate terrorism.

The NAP contains 20 points to eradicate the mindset of terrorism to defeat extremism and sectarianism. Unsurprisingly, there is little evidence of progress on many NAP targets. Groups and individuals banned in Pakistan and also blacklisted under UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1267, continue to operate freely. Efforts to regulate the Madaris, curb hate speech and literature and block terrorist financing have been haphazard at best. A reformed and strengthened criminal justice system could have helped to achieve NAP’s objectives.

The government still has an opportunity, albeit fast shrinking, to reverse course and meaningfully overhaul counter-terrorism strategy, but this necessitates revoking major policy concessions to the military. The government should take on that challenge in order to replace an overly militarized response with a revamped, intelligence-guided counter-terrorism strategy, led by civilian law enforcement agencies, particularly the police. Dismantling terror networks, detaining and trying jihadi leaders and foot soldiers, disrupting terror financing and ending radicalization through hate speech and literature will require reallocating limited resources in order to strengthen the capacity of the provincial police forces. While the three basic bodies of law, the Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and Evidence Act, need to be modernized, it is even more urgent to build police capacity to enforce them.

That capacity has been gravely eroded due to the inadequacy of resources, training, internal accountability and autonomy. The current emphasis on revenge and retribution and the emasculation of fundamental rights and rule of law are undermining citizen confidence in the state to deliver justice, a flawed approach that also fuels grievances that benefit the violent extremists the NAP is aimed at combating.

Both operations Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad have almost completed four and half years. These military operations are the first of its kinds against the terrorists based in the North Waziristan and other parts of the country. However, there have been previous operations elsewhere in FATA since Pakistan’s first operation against al-Qaeda, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan and other foreign Islamist militant groups in the area in 2002. The current operation is intended to target al-Qaeda and its associated movements, both foreign and domestic, including the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Chechen Islamic Jihad Union and Emirate-e-Kaukav, as well as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement and other various factions of the TTP. Phenomenal successes have been achieved from these operations, terrorists’ backbone broken, main infrastructure dismantled and nexus with sleeper cells largely disrupted.

Despite all its successes, one additional risk arising from these operations is that adjacent Afghan provinces could now become a ‘new North Waziristan’ as Islamist militants pushed out by Zarb-e-Azb have taken refuge there, underlining the problems caused by our failure to get the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani on board before launching the operation.

This lack of Pak-Afghan cooperation, and the resulting militant safe havens into Afghanistan, is likely to be one reason why no major terrorist leader such as Fazlullah, Adnan Rashid, and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, has so far been killed or captured during the operation.  It is true that the presence of right wingers and self-appointed warders of religion who have emptied the Divine from divinity and stand antithetical to everything that God stands for are still the biggest threat. The ruthlessness of these ‘brainless saviors of Islam’ have led Pakistan into its nuclear winter and far from a Pakistani spring being the antidote, an upheaval of great proportions may be required to counter this growing threat to the country’s survival.


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Yemen: Peace at last?

Afrah Nasser

Peace in Yemen might be a far cry but at no time has it come closer than it is right now over the past 6 years. Rimbo, Sweden – It is still too early to believe that peace in Yemen is in sight, but at the same time, one can’t say that there is no end in sight. Covering the Yemen peace talks in Sweden from Rimbo since they started last week has not been easy.

The discussions are closed-door sessions with the press working under several restrictions. Updates on the talks consistently change, and the freezing weather and dark days have made it a challenging mission to uncover the truth.  The full agenda has not been shared, but humanitarian issues have been the main focus so far.

A major prisoner swap deal presented a breakthrough, but without a ceasefire in place—and deep divisions between the two parties on a political framework that everyone can agree on—there are still enormous hurdles in bringing peace to Yemen. Though proposals for a political framework have not been discussed yet, the warring sides have shown a gulf of difference over the UNSC 2216 resolution of 2015 that called for the disarmament of the Houthis and the restoration of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s presidential legitimacy.

The prospects for peace, though, are promising – but only on one condition: if pressure from both the international community, especially the US, continues, and the warring parties show a deep interest in reaching a political solution.

Externally, these peace talks come after the global outcry over the killing of the Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, and the global reassessment of Saudi Arabia’s devastating war in Yemen, and serious calls by senior US officials to end the war. Outside of bringing the warring parties to meet face to face for the first time in two years—an achievement in and of itself—the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths has succeeded in addressing the shortcomings in preparation, and conduct, of previous talks.  Griffiths established two independent consultative groups (on political and civil affairs) consisting of some of Yemen’s leading women and men politicians who have, and still will, contribute to executing the talks.

Trading leverage: Four years on, the war in Yemen has drastically changed both the political and military power of warring parties.  The murder of former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh has strengthened the Houthis’ political and military power. But the battle in Houdeidah could alter the balance of power and present a military advantage to one side.

The battle isn’t over yet, and all possibilities remain on the table. Nonetheless, there seems to be a firmer willingness to reach an agreement than in previous talks, as the Yemeni government realises that the international pressure on its backer, Saudi Arabia, is growing.

The Houthis also appear to recognise that Saudia Arabia needs to save some face in the aftermath of Saudi Arabia’s global diplomatic isolation after the Khashoggi killing. They can use this to their advantage to extract compromises. Some observers believe that among the captives are dozens of Saudi prisoners which the country is determined to get back. One of the main, if not the key, problems, is who has final decision-making power in the talks. Some might conclude that this process is a waste of time without direct talks between Abdul Malik al Houthi and Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Progress is slow as each delegation has to report back to its leader, and can move forward only after doing so. When I raised this dilemma to members of the delegations, they gave a curt answer and refused to elaborate saying, “direct face-to-face peace talks between President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Abdul Malik al Houthi would be impossible, and things are more complicated than they seem to be.”

Collective political will: For the talks to succeed, there is another element that needs to run parallel to the negotiations. External players (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iran, US and UK) need to put diplomacy first and encourage Hadi to hold a national reconciliation drive where Yemen’s warring parties can establish a new political roadmap.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and US must realise now after four years of fighting that military means alone will not end this conflict.  Saudi and the UAE, in particular, must be on the same page in how they envision a post-war Yemen. The fact that the UAE is supporting a secession movement in the south and executing unlawful killings of Yemeni political leaders undermines peace and stability in Yemen.

So far, these talks are not under threat of collapsing, and it’s crucial that talks end with an agreement on opening Sanaa Airport and establishing a ceasefire to mitigate the worsening humanitarian crisis. The timing of the peace talks is crucial as international focus on Yemen is unprecedented.  The talks come at a pivotal moment—politically and militarily—moment and it must be taken advantage of before the opportunity disappears and Yemen fades out of the public eye, again. The peace talks are a step in the right direction, but it will be a long and challenging road.

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Another Islamophobic conspiracy theory: The Islamization of the ‘yellow vests’

Farid Hafez                                                                                

In every period, when divisive incidents occur, rumors regarding Islamophobic conspiracies arise. When millions of refugees arrived from war-torn Syria and Iraq, one of the most prominent Islamophobic figures in the United States, Pamela Geller, argued that an Islamization plan was behind the influx of the refugees. The former social democrat and re-elected President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, even claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood used “migrants as an invasion force” to seize control of Europe. According to Zeman, the so-called “migration crisis” was the result of a plan by the Muslim Brotherhood to “gain control of Europe.” Zeman, a well-known monger of Islamophobic conspiracy theories, explained the Muslim Brotherhood lacked the resources to launch a military invasion of Europe and thus was sending refugees to Islamize Europe via demographic change.

“It cannot declare war on Europe, it does not have enough forces for it, but it can prepare a growing migrant wave and gradually gain control of Europe as it has been happening in some West European cities, that police are afraid to enter at night,” the president argued.

Answering a question of where he had acquired this information, Zeman replied that his main sources of information were the Moroccan foreign minister and a crown prince from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Obviously, this conspiracy theory is not only incredibly irrational, but also a disgrace and a slap in the face of millions of refugees, who had to flee and leave their loved ones, their homes and their properties to start a new life.

Currently, the unprecedented protests instigated by the so called “yellow vests” (gilets jaunes) have given Islamophobic conspirators another chance for an irrational assertion. This seems again to be coming from Muslim majority countries. While obviously the yellow vests refer to a quite diverse group, economic inequality seems to be the question at stake for most of the protesters. The massive protests prompted French President Emmanuel Macron to dispatch 89,000 police forces throughout the country – 8,000 of which were posted in Paris alone. In the midst of this historical event, Islamophobes are again thinking up their conspiracy about Islamization. And again, its origin is from Muslim majority countries.

Recently, an Arabic press review revealed that the French yellow vest protests were blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood. First, the former chief of the Dubai Police, Dhahi Khalfan, tweeted an accusation that the Muslim Brotherhood was behind the yellow vest protests. But Khalfan is not alone. In the pro-government press in Egypt, reports were published that accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind the yellow vests. According to the Egyptian daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm, members from the Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan Muslim Brotherhood, who live in French towns, were participating in the violent protests. An expert is quoted arguing that the protests are sponsored by the CIA and Trump to answer Macron’s call for a European army, letting the Muslim Brotherhood do the dirty work. Some people were even calling the protesters “[Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s saboteurs.” This incredible framing of the protests seems to primarily serve domestic political purposes, given many Arab leaders oversee weak economies and great poverty among the general population and thus fear that the French protests could instigate similar uprisings in their own countries.

Similar to the conspiracy theory forwarded by Czech president Milos Zeman, this conspiracy theory is also taken up by Western figures. In France, Laurence Marchand-Taillade was featured in one of the most prominent TV channels with huge outreach, CNews, and argued that it is possible the Muslim Brotherhood infiltrated the yellow vest protesters and that they were the ones who are attacking policemen. Marchand-Taillade is a regional champion of the French idea of secularism, laicism, who has published on the dangers of declining laicism. A leader of a regional branch of the Observatoire de la Laicite (Observatory of Laicism), she is known for her Islamophobic positions.Even before, French anti-Islamization movements, such as Resistance Republicaine, were warning of an Islamization strategy by the Muslim Brotherhood. This propaganda is especially covered by channels such as the Russia-backed Sputnik News.

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From angry tweets to humble letter

Iqbal Khan

President Donald Trump is always in a hurry for everything and more so for achieving a favourabe Afghan endgame. In the backdrop of daily attacks by the Taliban, who now hold sway in about half of Afghanistan’s territory, the Trump administration has stepped up efforts to find a ‘peaceful solution’ to the protracted war. On the eve of US State Department’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad’s visit to Pakistan, Trump wrote a letter seeking Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cooperation, even though he has been a harsh critic of Pakistan and had even engaged in a twitter battle with Imran.

Letter came soon after Trump accused Pakistan of “doing nothing” despite receiving “billions of dollars” in aid. This is the first direct formal communication between the two leaders since Imran Khan assumed power. Trump has acknowledged that war has cost dearly both the US and Pakistan. And emphasized that Pakistan and Washington “should explore opportunities to work together and renew their partnership”. The letter makes clear that “Pakistan’s assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring US-Pakistan partnership,” a US official said.

Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari demolished Khalilzad for his hawkish approach towards Islamabad by advising him to bring a “less arrogant and hostile mind set” during his visit to Islamabad. She credited Imran Khan for promptly responding to Trump’s Twitter tirade. She claimed that premier’s reply had ‘compelled Trump to do a reality check’. “So much for those in Pakistan who were quivering after Imran Khan’s tweets,” she added.

Although both the US and Pakistan now have a commonality of views on seeking a political solution to the Afghan problem, the trust deficit between the two is the real stumbling block. Relations between the two countries are tense despite recent efforts to reset the troubled ties. At the heart of their stalemate is the US insistence on Pakistan to do more to bring the Afghan Taliban on to the negotiating table.

Director General ISPR Major General Asif Ghafoor told foreign journalists on December 04 that Pakistan’s influence over the Taliban is overstated, yet he said Pakistan has repeatedly told the insurgent group to join the peace process. He also cautioned against a hurried US retreat from Afghanistan that leaves behind a vacuum, warning “it would result in chaos”. He said a peaceful Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan.

Foreign media had reported that some members from the Afghan Taliban’s political office in Qatar were also in the federal capital during Khalilzad’s visit. The Taliban official said, their Qatar office had sent four officials to Islamabad during Khalilzad’s visit; their presence was in all likelihood a prelude to further discussions in Qatar when Khalilzad visits Doha. Khalilzad has accelerated efforts to find an Afghan peace pact that would allow for the eventual pull-out by the US from its longest war. Since his campaign days, Trump wants to end the war with Taliban, who are fighting to drive out international occupation forces, modify constitution and re-establish their control.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry promptly welcomed the US president’s outreach, saying: “Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan.” “Pakistan reiterates its commitment to play the role of facilitator in good faith,” the ministry statement said. However, “Peace and stability in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility,” statement added.

The US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has indicated that his country US looked for every responsible nation to support peace in Afghanistan. He said that Washington was doing its best to protect Afghan people as its diplomats were working to end the war.

China has welcomed, “the sound interactions between Pakistan and the US”, stressing that the relations between Islamabad and Washington were “conducive to the large picture of the international counter-terrorism campaign”. Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China was happy to see the improvement of Pakistan-US relations and “support the equal-footed and mutually beneficial cooperation” between the two countries.

Pamela Constable in her recent piece “Trump sends letter to Pakistan asking for help with Afghan peace process” has stated: “Trump has been consistent in his criticism of Pakistan since he launched his South Asia and Afghanistan strategy despite multiple attempts made by the two governments to fix the problems in their ties”. Khalilzad has met with Taliban leaders and a number of regional officials over the past several months, but “there has been no breakthrough”. The insurgents continue to insist that “foreign forces must leave the country under any deal and that they will negotiate only with US officials”.

Pakistan has suffered more than 75,000 casualties in the war on terrorism as it had agreed to cooperate with the US in that effort, even though “no Pakistani was involved” in the 9/11 attacks. Instead of “making Pakistan a scapegoat for their failures,” the United States should undertake a “serious assessment” of why, after a war involving hundreds of thousands of NATO and Afghan troops and more than $1 trillion in costs, the Taliban today are stronger than ever before. Since Pakistan has always advocated a political settlement to end war in Afghanistan, the US decision is welcomed,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

 “Pakistan reiterates its commitment to play a facilitation role in good faith. Peace and stability in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility,” statement added.

Now the US president has adopted a formal, diplomatic way of approaching its frontline partner in the terror war, instead of making use of the crude oratory that he is best at. If steered well the new phase of diplomacy could help ease tension between Washington and Islamabad; and bring peace to Afghanistan.

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Will there be another referendum over Brexit?

Hanif Ghafari

Brexit continues to be an implicit term in the Britain’s political equations. Complicating the process of the British withdrawal from the European Union is a joint measure taken by the British government and European authorities. At the same time, the British government, with its widespread negative propaganda against the Brexit, is seeking to re-arrange a referendum. In other words, the European authorities are trying to direct the public opinion about the Brexit.

Recently, some western news sources are speaking of an issue called “repeating the Brexit referendum”, and name it as a possible option! An option that had been previously denied by British authorities, including Theresa May, the Prime Minister of the country. According to the France news agency, regarding the increasing doubt about the British Prime Minister’s efforts to conclude an agreement with the United Europe, the possibility of holding a second referendum on Brexit has multiplied.

This source has also announced that there are major obstacles on the way of confirming this agreement between Theresa May and European leaders, which has, in turn, intensified this trend. The existence of legal complexities in this agreement made its implementation difficult for both sides.  Meanwhile, it is possible that the members of the parliament will vote in favor of Theresa May’s decision.

Although it seems that Theresa May is trying to convince legislators to give a positive vote to this agreement, not only members of the Labor Party, but also some members of the Conse-rvative Party are opposing it. The MPs argue that the Brexit is basically contrary to the interests of the UK.

Meanwhile, supporters of the “People’s Vote” campaign, who are now very active in England, believe that the parliament’s negative vote will pave the way for a new referendum on the Brexit. This issue is no way contrary to the demands of Theresa May and the Conservative Party, but it’s secretly supported by them.

The negative propaganda of the Theresa May’s government against the Bexit since 2016 is known to everyone. After the British citizens voted to leave the European Union in 2016, the two Labor and Conservative parties (as UK’s two traditional parties) tried their best to change the general vote on this issue.

The active role played by people like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair can well indicate the dissatisfaction among British authorities over the Brexit.

Supporters of the People’s Vote campaign are currently trying to convince the public for holding a new referendum on Brexit. “The People’s Vote campaign seeks to ensure that the government’s Brexit deal is put before the country in a public vote so that we can decide if a decision that will affect our lives for generations makes the country better or worse off. Good deal or bad deal, it’s definitely a big deal – and that’s why it should be put to a People’s Vote”, that’s how the campaign’s supporters define their goal.

Proponents of this campaign believe that the parliament’s negative vote to May’s plan is the best opportunity to hold another referendum. On the other hand, Theresa May doesn’t intend to violate the people’s vote in the 2016 referendum explicitly, so she tries to appear to be opposed to a new referendum, but she set the game in a way that it will eventually lead to the UK’s remain as part of the European Union.

Labor Party officials led by Jeremy Corbin have also agreed to vote again on the Brexit, and have officially backed this issue. The fact that Britain’s two rival parties have come to an agreement on holding a new referendum has provided the ground for its ultimate realization.

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Friendly and peaceful relation is need of Pakistan and Afghanistan

Zain Ullah Khattak

Pakistan and Afghanistan share a common boarder Durand line of 2430 kilometer bifurcating Pakhtun tribes. This border was determined between Pakistan and Afghanistan in 1893 through agreement between Afghanistan’s Emir Abdul Rehman Khan and British Government of India. After Independence of Pakistan in 1947 the Durand Line has become disputed between the two countries because Afghanistan Government has rejected the Durand line as international boundary and line of a demarcation between Afghanistan and Pakistan, since it has been considering as a de-facto border by Afghanistan rather than de-jure Border between the two states.

The Durand line divided the Pakhtun living in the border areas of Durand line so, it became the slogan of ANP to attract a nationalistic approaches among the Pakhtun as well the Baloches for their party welfare. Thus, Nationalist parties especially ANP started to demand a separate Pakhtun state. Thus Pakhtunistan issue raised since independence of 1947.Pakhtun make a majority ethnic composition in Afghanistan with 45% according to last National census of Afghanistan held in 1970.

The Afghan government, in 1947, opposed the entry of Pakistan into United Nation on the basis of Pakhtunistan issue. it is an undeniable  fact that Zahir Shah’s government supported Pakhtun and Baloch nationalists in Pakistan from 1947 to 1973 to create Panic and chaos. It was Zahir Shah  .Zahir Shah, who had been  working  on unofficial decree of great Pakhtunistan since his intallistan in 1933. When the mega irrigation project in Afghanistan with the help of USAID in 1940; the King Zahir Shah started to distribute the fertile lands among Influential Pakhtun tribes living in  the north and Southern regions.

So,Zahir Shah Policy was to make a great Pakhtunistan for his own sack i.e. to rule as a monarch, thus, he had left no stone on turned in supporting the  Nationalist parties in Pakistan.

Zaulfiqar Ali Bhutto established in Pakistan an “Afghan Cell” in Foreign Ministry to monitor the Afghan affairs. It paves the path of good relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan; for instance in Sardar Daud’s era a cordial relations had been established. Unfortunately, in 1979, the abrupt emergence of Communist manifesto in Afghanistan had effected their confidance again towards the negative point. Islamist strength and empowered in exile in Pakistan and start penetrating in Afghan Soil on the name of Religion/Islam.Jahids gathered in Peshawar and Quetta, Afghanistan seen Pakistan as a threat to the Afghan security and National interest due to its Policies. Pakistan became a partner of US and again Afghan Pak developed distrust in bilateral relations.

General Zia Ul Haq f Pakistan strength Islamist against Communist government of Afghanis and new era of Pak Afghan relation started under US Saudi support and it pushed Pakistan into new problems and challenges which we facing nowadays. During Zia Ul Haq Era Pakistan was a major partner of USA in the war on Communism.

It is fact that war affected Pakistan role and bilateral relation of Pak Afghan since USSR withdrawal from Afghanistan. With the withdraw new International interest was developed in Afghanistan and Pakistan was blamed for the help of Mujahedeen and their government installment in Afghanistan.

In 1990 “strategic depth” was the main focused of our policy in Afghanistan and Creation of Taliban in 1994.Pakistan was blamed for Taliban support against Northern Alliance. After 11 September, 2001 the situation became altered for Pakistan.Goveronment of Pakistan took U turn and Support International alliance against terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan.

Due to Pakistan involvement in Afghan affairs, Pakistan was ignored in initial setup of Afghanistan.

The India took advantage and started training of Afghanistan and playing a significant role in afghan educational and social development since Taliban fell down in Afghanistan.

Asharif Ghani appointment as a President of Afghanistan and the attack of Taliban on APS (Army Public School) Peshawar brings a new change in the military relation of both, Pakistan and Afghanistan relation.Highl levels of the Military officers exchanged after Peshawar School blast agreed to trains Afghan Official in PMA (Pakistan Military Academy) at Kakul Abbotabad.It is for the first time in the history of Pakistan that since creation it training Afghan officials. It is a good and positive step toward normalization of the internal and external situation of the both countries. It will bring both country on the line of modern military training and education to face the challenges faced to both by extremist and radical Islamists.

Pakistan always offered it services to provide training to the military official but due to blame game it was always resulted in disadvantage by the Afghan authorities. Pakistan offered it services for military training in Sardar Daud era and instead of Pakistan they sent their official for training to USSR and the result was in the form of communist idealogy.After Taliban regime fell down in Afghanistan Pakistan offered it services in 2010 in NATO Conference at Brussels.

Afghan President Asharif Ghani showed a pragmatic change in his Policy toward Pakistan and initially sends 6 officials for military training to PMA Kakul Abbotabad in 2015. It is need of hour that Afghanistan should develop military relation with Pakistan and learns from Pakistan.

Recently, Pakistan new government under the leadership of Imran Khan showing more curiosity in peaceful and friendly relation with neighbor countries especially Afghanistan. Hopefully, under Imran khan dynamic headship pragmatics changes will happen in Pak Afghan relationship. USA President letter to the Pakistani PM Imran khan screening the significance of Pakistan in establishing peace in Afghanistan. Moreover, stable Afghanistan is in the interest of Pakistan. Current, uncertainty in Afghanistan is directly affecting Pakistan, as it has been observed in recently Police Officer murder case and anti-Pakistan organization openly working on Afghan soil against Pakistan.

It is concluded that it is in the favor of Pakistan to bring peace and stability in Afghanistan in order to make own security and integrity more stable.

Consequently, It is the best time for Pakistan to play a role of facilitator between USA and Taliban to avail the opportunity and stabilized the region.

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Far-right movements and the trajectory of neoliberal economies

Ahmet Akyildiz

The external debt level of emerging economies has reached its highest level in history and according to global consulting giant McKinsey, the increase in the external debt burden of emerging markets, especially in South America and Asia, is a precursor of a global economic bubble. As the trade war starts to trigger inflation, it would not be wrong to say that 2019 won’t be a very bright year for many countries, including China.
With new International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreements being signed one after the other, new political embargoes and military tensions growing every day, we continue to sound the death knell for domestic manufacturers worldwide. The rescue packages offered every time – which allegedly contain liberal and innovative approaches – bring nothing but privatization and budget cuts.
Meanwhile, the fragile economies, which had to entrust their doors to international giants because of the heavy terms in their contracts while trying to maintain their nation-state status, have also declared war on US President Donald Trump and his policies. The societies divided due to political and economic rivalry are having a hard time because of the indecisiveness their governments have shown in economic management every year. We witnessed the first example of this in Argentina this year. In a period when the current Argentine government came to power with pledges of protecting domestic producers and improving unemployment figures, the signing of one of the worst IMF deals in history led the people of Argentina pouring into the streets.
Despite the rising right-wing movements and fascism in the world, it is very difficult to predict the extent of disappointment of the people who think that liberal and more left-leaning policies should be supported.
They feel that they have been prejudiced against fascist parties, who chose to pursue protective and harsh policies, and have started to question their choices. The worst and scariest part is perhaps this. The impact of the economic and political decisions taken by governments on societies’ determinations of the future are not analyzed in any way. Those who have tried to stay liberal and find a happy medium throughout their lives are now shifting towards far-right doctrines with fears of unemployment and anxiety about the future.
This situation should also be examined sociologically, beyond elections. If we cannot prevent those people pushing to make fascist and radical choices over fears of refugees, wars and income inequality, we will yearn for parliamentary democracies.
The fact that right-wing and left-wing politicians do not fulfill the promises they made before elections but instead make the demands of global companies their priority is one of the main sources of the problem; especially for emerging economies, which have been exposed to a series of hardships ranging from customs exemption to extra taxation due to the protectionist policies implemented by the United States, have become much more fragile. We have seen how the fascist right, which accuses the government of inaction as soon as its fiscal policies start to come under scrutiny, has risen in recent years, especially in Europe. Every country from Greece to Germany has seen a rise in the number of seats, 25 percent, demonstrating that the momentum of the fascist right is not slowing. In particular, parties that employ harsh rhetoric against refugees and focus on youth unemployment and security concerns seem to be gaining value and consolidating their place.
Hard times ahead: It should be noted that the rising right in Europe in the 70s and 80s and the far-right in the 2000s and today differ from each other at certain points. The current situation of G8 countries, which at the time did not compromise on their aura of unity against Russia, should be examined thoroughly.
In France, politician Marine Le Pen’s anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and anti-immigration rhetoric has received serious support. According to the findings of a study investigating the profiles of people who voted for right-wing populist parties in EU member states between 2008 and 2018, the percentage of people supporting far-right parties in Italy was 8 percent in 2008, while this reached 50 percent in 2018.
The same rate rose from 32 percent to 51 percent in Poland, 13 percent to 27 percent in France, 10 percent to 21 percent in Germany, 17 percent to 54 percent in Greece and from 43 percent to 65 percent in Hungary. In other words, between the years 2019 and 2025 nonconformist, anti-EU and anti-NATO stances will continue to gain ground.Fascist parties have gained an advantage here by analyzing the electoral behavior of people aged 18-35. It is not difficult to foresee the end of archaic neoliberal movements that ignore economic troubles and dismiss unemployment. In a period where the Brexit decision can be taken swiftly and the idea of a European Army can be said right to a US president’s face, clinging to traditions and not accepting change will ensure nothing but failure.
Center-right and non-secular left parties should set aside the profits of neoconservative companies and focus on being a social state. If the opposite happens, parliaments will only consist of fascists thriving on chaos and tension and minority parties that support only green economies and promises to keep the defense budget to a bare minimum while arguing that borders don’t exist. Since this partnership will last only a short time, figuring a way out of this chaos will be as burdensome as Brexit talks for world economies.
The rhetoric of unfair privatizations used by fascist right and left parties, as well as serious restrictions on employee rights, long working hours and late retirement decisions, all come back as votes for such parties. The letdowns of the European left, who discredit the right’s economic policies and then implement those same practices when they come to power, also affect the choices of Generation Y in elections.
The central problem: It should not be forgotten that these movements, which started with the assertion that public aid in some sectors could enhance productivity as long as it doesn’t hamper international competition, which was also voiced by Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman in the 1990s, have grown mainly due to the effects of income inequality.
At the center of the problem, not analyzing the social changes experienced during the downsizing of nation-states that took liberalism as their example is to turn a blind eye to the middle and lower income groups becoming unemployed when it comes to interests of the capital.
The fact that support policies do not allocate sufficient funds for agriculture, as is the case with Brazil and Argentina, and company rescue packages are laid as a burden on the people’s backs via taxes cause this vicious cycle to become more chronic. Although the aim of the neoliberal approach is to maintain price stability and limit price hikes, the fact that this isn’t seen in the G8 or any developing economy proves the reason for the far-right’s rise and its rank in people’s votes is not as simple as it seems. The “work culture” the West claims to be so humanistic is preparing its own end by disregarding economic instability and the value of human life. This could mean the end of neoliberal economies.

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Anti-Hamas resolution at UN is a way to erase all Palestinian resistance

Fadil Kassab

The Trump administration’s attempt to condemn Hamas and Islamic Jihad at the UN would mean Israel’s blank cheque from the US could be underwritten by a UN resolution. The Trump administration carries on with its trademark reckless approach towards issues of high sensitivity and deep import worldwide. Nikki Haley, outgoing US Ambassador to the UN, submitted a draft resolution condemning Palestinian armed groups—Hamas and Islamic Jihad in particular—with a UNGA vote scheduled on Thursday, December 5.

The draft resolution makes no mention of a two-state solution, settlements, the siege on Gaza, Jerusalem or any of the other core issues of the conflict, but “condemns Hamas for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence” in a macabre twist that holds the Palestinian side exclusively responsible for incitement and deterioration of the overall security situation.

The US added irony to insult in a clause calling for the reunification of the West Bank and Gaza under the Palestinian Authority (PA), while completely ignoring the fact that Israel is a central factor behind the physical division and publicly halting any efforts at reconciliation. But why now?

A common mistake made by analysts when observing American behaviour on issues related to Israel is to view it through the lens of American interests or internal politics. As renowned scholars like John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt highlighted a decade ago in their well-known book ‘The Israel Lobby’, American behaviour is directly governed by Israel’s demands when it comes to the Middle East, with the US Administration having very little say in it.

Take a look at President Obama, well known for being a strong advocate of the two-state solution. Nonetheless, he did little to nothing to stop Israel from burying the possibility of any solution over expanding illegal settlements, their apartheid regime, or the annexation of Jerusalem and other occupied territories.

It was only until the end of his term (when he no longer needed the pro-Israel lobby for another electoral victory, or to pass any bill at the Congress) that he simply abstained from blocking the UNSC resolution, which added nothing but condemnation of Israel’s policy of encroaching settlements.

This, of course, does not entirely rule out the fact that internal issues do shape US policy on Israel. Trump desperately needs anything to divert attention from his scandals or from issues like MBS’s involvement in murdering Khashoggi. But let us suppose for a moment that Trump didn’t need the diversions. America would still be acquiescent to Israel’s demands and narrative. Critical attention should be given to why Israel decided to bring the matter to the UNGA, a place it frequently disrespects and disparages with deep disdain. As Israel’s ambassador to the UN Danny Dannon said, “it’s a win-win”. For Israel, simply diverting attention from its grotesque violations of international law, its actions aimed at politically paralysing Palestinians and maintaining dominance over Palestinians is a winning strategy. Israel cannot defend its actions, but why justify when you can just put the Other under the spotlight?

Jerusalem and Golan are annexed, as the rest of the West Bank will be eventually. The legal system is well designed to ensure Palestinians have no say in any democratic elections. The dilemma of refugees would be ‘solved’ by shutting down the UNRWA, and so far, the one ‘unsolved’ matter is the Palestinian armed groups, and their spirit of resistance, that Israel was unable to eliminate. Well, perhaps the intentions are corrupt, but should Hamas not be condemned anyways?

Sweden’s foreign minister mentioned some reservations regarding the US draft earlier but emphasised that Hamas should be condemned anyway. Let’s take a deeper look at the situation. The principle of self-determination, emphasised in international laws, agreements and customary law, is a basic pillar of international law, and the means for achieving this principle have been protected and enshrined by international law as well. The UNGA conferred a special status on national liberation movements and several UNGA Resolutions, including UNGA Res 37/43 of 1982, 43/106 of 1988 and many others, that “Reaffirm[ed] the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.” The same resolutions affirmed that they apply to the case of Palestine.

I believe Palestinians should seek means of peaceful resistance at all levels. However, limiting their right to seek self-determination would have disastrous results on the very practice of self-determination worldwide. It would justify a state’s occupation of another state or territory while providing those states with the perfect pretexts they need to justify suppressing opposition and labelling it as terror. What of the PLO?

Against all expectations, the Fatah-led PLO has adopted a strong position against the draft resolution and called upon all states’ missions to the UN to reject it, viewing it as an assault against the Palestinian people.

It is known to all how serious the Fatah-Hamas rift is, and it isn’t just about who leads. To a large extent, it is about how to lead, and what approach to secure Palestinians’ rights. For Fatah, the peace process was the first choice until its chances for success were recently strangled, and then it was unilateral action at international courts and fora.

For Hamas, peace efforts which are not backed by military force are useless. They often cite that Oslo was a result of the serious security pressure from the First Intifada. However, Fatah was very firm in its position, certainly not to please its rival Hamas, but because it is well aware that this draft resolution is part of a broader context with lethal undertones: isolating the Palestinians and reaching a ‘solution’ that certainly doesn’t require their consent. So, where does this take us?

Though the UNGA resolutions are not legally binding, it is not the law that Israel seeks, but the symbolic value of UNGA resolutions. Any UNGA resolution will have to be voted on by the entirety of the United Nation’s member states. This implies political value that could be employed in many ways. What Israel seeks from this resolution goes well beyond diversion of attention from its crimes. It seeks to dehumanise Palestinians and disenfranchise their cause so that it may carry out a larger operation in Gaza, either uprooting Hamas and any armed group there or simply pushing Gaza 50 years back through further destruction of its infrastructure and what little is left of the city.

What we saw in previous wars is possibly nothing compared to what Israel could do if left unchecked, while empowered by a US blank cheque underwritten by even a single resolution.

It doesn’t take a lot of wisdom to realise that the United States and the international community should be going after the strong who can solve the conflict, instead of the weak that have hardly any say on the issue in first place. Palestinians, whether they go back to the artificial rituals of a peace process or opt for armed struggle are not the ones who can decide on the outcome. All they can do is try to halt or hinder their opponent’s plans. It is only the United States and Israel that can end this misery, and reach a just solution for all.