Namaste Trump, Howdy Modi: Why Trump's visit to India is more theatre than substance

In-depth: Trump's visit to India is billed as historic, but it's likely more about optics and theatre for domestic consumption rather than grand strategy, writes Tahir Hussain Sofi. Trump’s stopover in India this week is probably more about optics and political expedience, than about strategy, albeit the two sides stand to advance some of their respective administrations’ geopolitical concerns. For the two right-wing leaders who share many of their policy instincts, from the way they
| In-depth |

National Security at the United Nations This Week

Editor’s Note: This is the latest in Just Security’s weekly series keeping readers up to date on developments at the United Nations at the intersection of national security, human rights, and the rule of law. World Health Organization Projects Cautious Optimism on Ability to Contain Coronavirus amid Reports of Underfunding and Corruption World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday that there have been 92 cases of human-to-human transmission of COVID-19—the official
| United Nations, budget, Idlib |

Modi's anti-Muslim moves threaten unholy alliance between India and Arab allies

India's Modi faces the challenging task of navigating an unfamiliar and tricky geo-political situation in order to keep intact the close partnership he has forged with some Gulf countries. When five Muslim countries, Malaysia, Turkey, Iran, Qatar and Indonesia met in Kuala Lumpur in December, it was widely expected to be another episode in the 'Game of Thrones' series played out by major Arab powers. But there was more to the summit than meets the eyes as the gathering turned
| In-depth |

Are billion dollar investments in India prompting Saudi Arabia's silence over Kashmir?

Stopping short of completely ignoring the situation in the Kashmir Valley since the Indian government completely scrapped its special status, Saudi Arabia has remained distant and disconnected. Saudi Arabia yet again  declined Pakistan's request for an urgent meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers on Kashmir at the Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC). Since August last year, India has kept the disputed Kashmir Valley in a state of lockdown with no internet after doing away with the
| In-depth |

Al-Muhajiroun and the long tail of UK terror

The murder of two young Cambridge graduates on London Bridge last year was the latest atrocity committed by a follower of al-Muhajiroun, the Islamist group given freedom by the British state to radicalise a generation of Muslims. On the afternoon of 29 November 2019, a convicted Islamist extremist out of prison on licence stabbed and murdered two people in a rampage
| News |

The BJP is Not India, and Every Indian is Not a Modi-Devotee

Rational people cannot gloss over the arbitrary exercise of authority in Kashmir, nor can they legitimize the lack of accountability in the union territory. Subsequent to the revocation of the autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP made several tall claims to legitimize its decision. One of those claims was that the integration of J & K into mainland India would expedite the growth of democracy and development in the union territory. Contrary to its claims, the BJP-led federal government has
| articles 2015 |

As Saudi Tilts Toward India, Pakistan Seeks New Allies

By: Salman Rafi Sheikh  Cracks have appeared in relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as bilateral interactions are shaped by the increasing struggle for power within the Sunni Muslim world – a struggle that Pakistan is attempting to respond to in a way that allows it to reduce its over-dependence on the Kingdom.  Last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan, standing alongside Mahathir Mohammad during a Malaysian tour, said that the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the collective voice of
| News |

A Short History of Humanity’s Future

Salt flats, eastern Nevada. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair. Our variety of the human species, homo sapiens sapiens , emerged from out of bands of more primitive yet contemporaneous older variants of humanity well over 200,000 years ago and rapidly expanded in both their numbers and the range of their occupancy on our planet. The competitive pressure by this efflorescence of homo sapiens sapiens against the older variants of humanity reduced the numbers of the latter
| articles 2015 |

Modi’s BJP crushed in Delhi Election – Again

By: John Elliott A diminutive former social activist and anti-corruption campaigner has today confirmed his role as the most successful political opponent of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government by devastatingly defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party in elections for Delhi’s Capital Territory assembly. For the second time in five years, Arvind Kejriwal, 51, has led his Aam Aadmi (common man) Party to a resounding victory winning, on current vote-counting trends, around 90 percent of the 70 assembly seats.
| News |

What do we know about the ‘Great Firewall of India’?

Broadband services will be restored after creation of social-media firewall Scene during clashes between security forces and students at Islamia college of science and commerce in Srinagar. Image by Ieshan Wani. Used with permission. After five months of complete  internet shutdown in the federally-administered Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir , only partial internet access has been restored after the interference of the Indian Supreme Court on January 10, which
| Access, Advocacy, Censorship |

Pakistan PM: ‘Friends’ told me not to attend Malaysia summit

Pakistan’s “friends” felt Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attendance of the Kuala Lumpur Summit in December would “divide the Ummah”, the officials said during a two-day visit to Malaysia this week. Khan explained his absence from the Kuala Lumpur Summit and expressed his sadness in not attending, adding that he hopes to attend the next summit . Addressing a joint press conference with his Malaysian counterpart, Mahathir Mohamad in Putrajaya, Khan said: “Unfortunately, our friends, who are
| Asia & Americas, Malaysia, Middle East |

India: “History’s longest ever e-curfew” continues in Kashmir

News Six months to the day after the Indian government blocked all communications in the northern region of Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August, after revoking its autonomy, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reveals what it is like for journalists trying to work in this territory in the wake of the federal government’s recent measures, which have had little real impact. Kashmiris had few illusions.
| News |

In a Time of Increasing Polarization in Kashmir, Evoke Those Scholars and Saints Who Symbolized Pluralism

Print of Khanqah-e-Mualla, Shrine of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, on the banks of the Jhelum in Srinagar, Kashmir. On the annual Urs (birth anniversary) of Ameer-e-Kabir Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, I am reminded of those whose unshakable faith in providence provides them with an anchor in challenging times. I sincerely hope that I imbibe the faith with which my father reveres Ameer-e-Kabir, who is an integral part of the Kashmiri culture that I knew and was raised
| articles 2015 |

1980-1989: Pop Goes the Decade

Car 54: Wherever You Are, Stay There January 2, 1990 Eddie Gorodetsky spent most of the last decade collecting comic books, buying records, and making people laugh. In person, Eddie is not a man of modest proportions, and neither are his accomplishments: his comic book library (a word that perhaps does not suggest the Leaning Towers of illustrated erudition that line his East Village loft) long ago outnumbered his record library, which he underestimates at
| From The Archives, The City, The Culture |

BOOK REVIEW: Kashmir’s Untold Story: Declassified

Prior to writing the book,”Kashmir’s Untold Story: Declassified,” Iqbal Chand Malhotra, a television producer, and Maroof Raza, a former Indian Army officer, completed documentaries on Kashmir for the Discovery and Times Now channels. Both have intimate knowledge of their subject. Each of the well-researched 10 chapters has exhaustive sources listed in the end-notes. The book has a comprehensive index. It will serve the general reader and historians keen to unravel the convoluted story of Kashmir. The book’s sweep from
| News |

Is India’s Leader a Messiah or a Menace?

The history of India is a history of invaders who were assimilated. The British were an exception and an anomaly for people from the subcontinent emigrated there and, in a way, have become rulers — Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid, of Pakistani origin, and Home Secretary Priti Patel, whose family came from India, are examples. After the emigration of pre-history Aryan tribes to India, a religion came to be, and eventually Hindu sages developed their way of life. They
| articles 2015 |

Narendra Modi says India can make Pakistan 'bite the dust' in 10 days

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said he can make Pakistan 'bite the dust' in a week. India is now capable of making neighbouring Pakistan "bite the dust" in less than 10 days in any new war, Prime Minister Narendra Modi  has said. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought three wars and last February came close to a fourth with tit-for-tat airstrikes sparked by an attack on Indian troops in Kashmir. Modi is under pressure after weeks
| News |

India’s Citizenship Law, in Tandem With National Registry, Could Make BJP’s Discriminatory Targeting of Muslims Easier

For more than a month, India has been awash with protests. Triggered by the December 12 passage of the highly contentious Citizenship Amendment Act, hundreds of thousands of people, many of them students, have taken to the streets in defiance of the latest in a string of anti-Muslim policies rolled out by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. The CAA fast-tracks Indian citizenship for Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhist, Christians, Parsis, and Jains who arrived in India before December
| World |

'Bleak domineering vision': Amnesty says human rights at risk as Asia Pacific's strongmen rise

The year has been dominated by repression but also by resistance, says the human rights organisation in its annual review The year across the Asia-Pacific has been dominated by repression, but also resistance, as the two largest countries on Earth sought to impose a “bleak domineering vision” for the region, according to Amnesty International’s annual human rights review. The 2019 review, released on Thursday, paints a bleak picture for minorities across the region, with Uyghurs in China interned
| Asia Pacific |

Indian government ends internet blackout in Kashmir

India imposed a communications blackout in early August when it stripped the portion of Kashmir it controls - the country's only Muslim-majority region - of its partial autonomy. Indian authorities on Saturday restored internet in Indian Kashmir after a five-and-a half-month blackout but maintained a block on social media sites. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government imposed a communications blackout in early August when it stripped the portion of Kashmir it controls - the country's
| News |

Pakistan Is Cleaning Up Trump’s Mideast Mess

The Middle East has always been a difficult region for the West, especially for the United States. During the Cold War era, America’s efforts to establish its hold over the region’s key oil-producing countries backfired, resulting in anger and resentment in those countries. Be it the CIA-backed coup to overthrow the Mossadegh government in Iran for nationalizing the oil industry in 1953 or Charlie Wilson’s war to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan in the 1980s, the results
| cia, financial action task force, intra-afghan talks |

Impeachment as a Distraction

Well, the circus has arrived in the United States capital, and the media is all agog at the show! In the Big Tent, sometimes referred to as the White House, announcements about forthcoming performances are being tweeted at a breath-taking rate. Many of them are coming directly from the star clown himself, none other than the orange-complected and bewigged Donald Trump! Oh, the excitement. Of course, like wrestling and magic tricks, the conclusion is foregone, and it is all nothing
| articles 2015 |

India’s Failed Democracy

Citizenship Denied India is often billed as the world’s biggest democracy. But that title has worn thin: Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is becoming a nationalist state home to Hindus and closed to Muslims. A new citizenship law is exclusionist: It provides a path to citizenship for every religion save Islam, which is practiced by roughly 16 percent of India’s population, or nearly 200 million people. Modi proclaims the law part of the “New India.” Besides
| articles 2015 |

Surveillance States Are Flexing Their Muscle

Three weeks in, 2020 is already a banner year for authoritarian government surveillance. Last weekend, The New York Times ’ Kashmir Hill reported that Clearview, an AI startup with connections to Rudy Giuliani and backing from Peter Thiel, had crossed a virtual Rubicon by making the internet searchable by face—and by giving facial-recognition database access to “hundreds of law enforcement agencies, ranging from local cops in Florida to the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security.” On Tuesday,
| The Insecurity Complex, National Security, Department of Homeland Security |

Genocide — the Sequel: now Muslims are the target

We are approaching that time of year when people of many faiths and none come together in unity to mark Holocaust Memorial Day, which serves as a stark reminder of how genocidal regimes throughout history have crushed communities by “othering”, marginalising and ultimately murdering minority groups. This year not only marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, where more than one million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis, but also the 25th anniversary of the
| Article, Asia & Americas, Bangladesh |

Uyghur Real Estate Magnate Confirmed Jailed Along With Brothers, at Least 20 Employees

The Uyghur head of a successful real estate firm in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and two of his brothers have been confirmed jailed on charges including “extremism,” along with at least 20 of his employees, according to official sources. Ekber Imin, the 51-year-old head of the Guzel Makan (Beautiful Land) Real Estate firm, as well as several other companies, in the seat of the XUAR’s Hotan (in Chinese, Hetian) prefecture went missing in mid-2018, a Uyghur
| News |

India: Why Modi's plan against Muslims is coming unstuck

Comment: India's Muslims have begun mobilising against Prime Minister Narendra Modi's controversial citizenship law, writes Olivier Da Lage. Muslims make up only around 14 percent of India's population, but that amounts to 180 million people, almost as many as Pakistan. In a few decades, the number of India's Muslims will surpass that of Indonesia, giving India the world's biggest Muslim population. But they remain a minority, made to feel increasingly that they are no more than tolerated
| Comment |

Extreme weather kills dozens in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Severe snowstorms, rain and flash flooding across Afghanistan and Pakistan have resulted in the deaths of at least 48, including women and children. At least 48 people had died as a result of heavy snowfall, rains and flash flooding in Afghanistan  and  Pakistan , officials in said on Monday, as both authorities in both countries struggled to battle the violent, freezing weather conditions. Thirty people were reportedly killed in bad weather in Pakistan, with southwestern Baluchistan the region worst
| News |

Supreme Court of India declares internet ban in Jammu and Kashmir unconstitutional

The Court gave the government one week to review the ban The nature of Internet shutdown in India over the past 8 years. Chart via Internetshutdowns.in CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 On 10th of January, 2019, the Supreme Court of India, requested the Indian central government to review the suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir . The ruling stated that the five-month long communication
| Access, Advocacy, Feature |

Malaysia looks to Pakistan after Indian palm oil controls

Author:  Mon, 2020-01-13 02:28 KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia may expand its palm oil trade with Pakistan following controls imposed by the Indian government on refined palm oil imports.  “Pakistan is one of Malaysia’s most regular and dependable buyers of local palm oil and products,” Malaysian Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said on Sunday. Kok met Pakistan’s Adviser for Commerce, Textiles, Industry and
| News |

Indian Supreme Court finds 150-day Internet blackout in Kashmir illegal

Enlarge / Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in 2019. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images) The Indian region of Kashmir has had most Internet service blacked out since August. The government of Narendra Modi says the online blackout is a necessary security measure in the face of growing unrest in the region triggered by a change in Kashmir's status under the Indian constitution. (Kashmir's status
| Policy, india, Internet blackout |

India's top court declares indefinite Kashmir internet shutdown illegal

New Delhi revoked Kashmir's semi-autonomous status in early August. India 's Supreme Court on Friday struck down a months-long internet shutdown in the disputed Kashmir region, declaring the move illegal. New Delhi cut off internet and phone access to Indian-administered Kashmir in early August as the government moved to withdraw the Muslim majority region 's long-held semi-autonomous status.  Indefinite suspension of internet access violates India 's telecom rules,
| News |

Envoys from 15 countries to visit troubled Indian-administered Kashmir region in EU-boycotted tour

Representatives from 15 countries will visit the disputed Kashmir region in a diplomatic visit spurned by the EU. Envoys from 15 countries including the United States are visiting Indian -controlled Kashmir starting Thursday for two days in a rare diplomatic visit spurned by the European Union. The two-day foreign diplomatic trip is the first since Delhi stripped the restive Himalayan region of its autonomy and sent in tens of thousands of extra troops in August.
| News |

Internet disruption: different terms for different tactics

Graph showing which countries shut down the internet most. Creative Commons License: CC BY-ND . As the internet progressively becomes an intrinsic part of our daily lives — from communicating with friends and applying for social services , to studying and working — staying connected is no longer a luxury but a necessity. In this context, internet shutdowns have evolved into a human rights issue with the power to severely disrupt people’s lives. Apart from
| Access, Advocacy, Feature |

Seeking Solomon’s Wisdom: Reflections of a Daughter of Kashmir from the Land of Oklahoma

This generation of Kashmiris is war-weary, embittered, and despondent. I would venture to say that we crave a world in which social justice, political enfranchisement, cultural pride, and self-realization are the order of the day. I yearn for a world in which the living tradition of legends, myths, fables of yore, is resuscitated, reviving the imaginative life of Kashmir. Myths and legends have, historically, been the collective expression of a people’s identity, enabling them to voice their
| articles 2015 |

Ten crucial questions on the world in 2020

The fundamentals that will decide global affairs in the year ahead. What will the upcoming year bring in world affairs? A presidential election looms in America; the wave of leaderless protests from Chile to Lebanon is rolling on; China’s rising belligerence is being felt on the streets of Hong Kong and in the expanses of cyberspace; regional tensions in the Middle
| News |

Does Saudi Arabia feel threatened by the new Muslim alliance?

The KL Summit hopes to be a leading force in shaping and restoring Islamic civilisation, but why does Saudi Arabia feel threatened by this new Muslim power bloc? A new platform was inaugurated in Kuala Lumpur recently to discuss issues related to Muslim countries. Visualised by Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad as a 'mini Islamic summit', the forum was to be launched by a ' core group ' of five countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey, Qatar and Pakistan. Planned
| In-depth |

Indian Adventures: Policing, Facial Recognition and Targeting Privacy

The chances for those seeking a world of solitude are rapidly run out. A good case can be made that this has already happened. Aldous Huxley’s Savage, made famous in Brave New World , is out of options, having lost to the Mustapha Monds of the world. State and corporate regulation of life, surveillance and monitoring, are reviled only in the breach. And, like Mond, we are told that it is all for the better. Facial recognition is one
| articles 2015 |

Myanmar, China and now India: Is Muslim dignity so cheap?

According to Amit Shah, the national President of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), “Infiltrators [Muslim immigrants] are like termites in the soil of Bengal. The BJP Government will pick up the infiltrators one by one and throw them into the Bay of Bengal.” Such terminology may not surprise those living in the West ruled by the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, wherein there is a growing Islamophobia industry. Nevertheless, they are pushing Muslims into a defeatist, oppressive, victim
| Article, Asia & Americas, China |

US embassy in Baghdad suspends consular operations following dramatic pro-Iran sit-in

The US embassy in Baghdad has suspended all consular operations following a dramatic incursion by pro-Iran demonstrators. The US embassy in Iraq announced on Wednesday that consular services were suspended in Baghdad "until further notice" and advised American citizens not to approach the complex, Reuters reported. The suspension of all operations in the Baghdad embassy comes a day after pro-Iran demonstrators ended their sit-in after the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force
| News |

The Project of Erasing the Indigenous History of Kashmir

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah with Happy and Nelson Rockefeller, Srinagar, 1978. Photo courtesy of Nyla Ali Khan. Furthering its project of erasing the indigenous history of Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Modi’s BJP government has dropped Martyr’s Day, July 13, and my maternal grandfather’s birth anniversary, December 5, from the list of public holidays. I have always been amazed to see how much the BJP and the Sangh continue to invest in trying to erase the name, ideology,
| articles 2015 |

Indian Adventures: Policing, Facial Recognition and Targeting Privacy

The chances for those seeking a world of solitude are rapidly run out. A good case can be made that this has already happened. Aldous Huxley’s Savage, made famous in Brave New World , is out of options, having lost to the Mustapha Monds of the world. State and corporate regulation of life, surveillance and monitoring, are reviled only in the breach. And, like Mond, we are told that it is all for the better. Facial recognition is one
| Espionage/"Intelligence", Facial Recognition, India |

Five positives to take from 2019

Here are five stories that lifted our spirits in 2019. The Arab world experienced another tumultuous year in 2019. Regional powerhouses continue their campaign of counter-revolution aimed at rolling-back the successes of the Arab Spring in Egypt and elsewhere, while widespread repression continues in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries. Libya is still fragmented by civil war, millions of Syrians subjected to daily barrel bombings and airstrikes, Gaza remains under siege, while Yemen is ever-perched
| News |

Trump expects Iraq to 'use its forces' to protect US embassy in Baghdad

Trump is calling on the Iraqi government to protect the US embassy in Baghdad after it was stormed by protesters following a US airstrike that killed 25 militias. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he expects Iraq to "use its forces" to protect the US embassy in Baghdad after protesters  linked to a powerful militia breached the outer wall of the compound during a protest against American air strikes. "We expect Iraq to use its forces to protect
| News |

Saudi to hold emergency OIC meeting on plight of India occupied Kashmir

Saudi Arabia has agreed to lend its weight on the issue of Kashmir by holding a special meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss concerns related to the Indian occupied territory. The move, which is seen as a blow to India’s ultra-right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is thought to have been influenced by Pakistan and is being seen as quid pro quo for Islamabad’s decision to back out of the recent Islamic summit hosted by Malaysia. Riyadh
| Asia & Americas, India, International Organisations |

Ghosn flees to Lebanon and accuses Tokyo of holding him 'hostage'

Disgraced former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn returned to Lebanon and accused Tokyo of holding him 'hostage' over financial misconduct allegations - something he continues to deny. Nissan's former Chairman Carlos Ghosn , who fled house arrest in Japan , has said that he was not fleeing justice but instead left the Asian country to avoid "injustice and political persecution" over financial misconduct allegations. Ghosn, who touched down in Beirut on Monday, had been released on bail by
| News |

Critical Voices: The Intercept’s 2019 Audio Journalism

A look back at the must-listen episodes of the Intercepted and Deconstructed podcasts from 2019. The American Machine: Police Torture to Drone Assassinations Photo illustration: Elise Swain/Getty Images Civil rights lawyer Flint Taylor, the American Civil Liberties Union’s Hina Shamsi, and artist Eli Valley are this episode’s guests. By Intercepted Whitewashing History: America’s Racist Legacy From Slavery to the War on Immigrants
| Deconstructed Podcast, Intercepted Podcast |

From Lebanon to Kashmir: The New Arab's 10 biggest stories of 2019

A revolution in Sudan. A new Turkish offensive in Syria. A controversial citizenship amendment in India. These are The New Arab's top 10 stories of 2019. From President Donald Trump facing impeachment to the UK rushing to a snap election  following uncertainty over  Brexit ; from Hong Kong 's million-strong protests to the devastating Ethiopian Airlines crash; from the Latin American uprisings to Sri Lanka Easter bombings ; from
| News |