From Volume 6, Issue 36 of EIR Online, Published Sept. 4, 2007
Asia News Digest

Why Bombs Went Off in Hyderabad

Aug. 27 (EIRNS)—Three synchronized bombs—two of them in an amusement park, and the other close to Hyderabad, India's, main Mecca Mosque—went off on Aug. 25, killing 44 and injuring scores. A few months ago, a bomb went off inside the Mecca Mosque on a Friday, the day Muslims have their jumma namaaz (community prayer), killing many.

To understand the violence that has sprung up in recent days in Hyderabad, an understanding of the locale is important. Hyderabad, capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, with a large Muslim population, was once the seat of by far the most powerful lines of Muslim regional sovereigns (Nizam) in India under British rule, is now one of the two "jewels" in India's IT program, the other being Bangalore. There is a growing rift between the new wealthy and the mass of poor people. Most of the nouveaux riches have immigrated from other states, and cannot speak the local language.

Hyderabad is surrounded by agricultural land where the feudal landowners have pauperized the majority over the decades. Andhra Pradesh is now one of the main operational centers of the Maoists, and also a state where thousands and thousands of farmers have committed suicide over the last five years or so. (see "Indira's Legacy at Risk In Indian Farm Crisis," EIR, Aug. 31, 2007, other/2007/3433-34india_farm_crisis.html)

There is no question that some of these desperate people have been recruited by various terrorist groups—based outside of India, the Indians claim—to give a body blow to one of India's latest "temples." These terrorist groups find little difficulty in recruiting people who are willing to "hurt" society.

The outside terrorist groups—ostensibly Islamic—view India as a partner of the West in the "war on terror" directed against Muslims. The objective of the terrorist groups is to trigger a big Hindu-Muslim riot, which, they believe, would create a major crisis for India's polity.

Huge Afghan Poppy Crop, Despite U.S. 'Eradication' Dollars

Aug. 28 (EIRNS)—Despite media promotion and virtual squandering of U.S. taxpayers' $600 million used for "eradication" of poppies, a United Nations report on 2007 opium production in Afghanistan shows that opium production in 2007 rose by 17% over the record 2006 bumper crop. It is likely that Afghanistan's opium harvest in 2007 has crossed 7,000 tons for the first time ever. The highest amount of opium ever produced in Afghanistan prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the Winter of 2001, was 4,000 tons.

The UN report pointed out that today, in Afghanistan, the land under opium cultivation is greater than the total area of land under coca cultivation in all of Ibero-America. Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes Policy, which issued the report, called the new figures terrifying. Afghanistan today is cultivating megacrops of opium, he said at a news conference. "Leaving aside China in the 19th Century, no other country has produced so much narcotics in the past 100 years."

Urging both the United States and NATO to treat the opium explosion as a security threat, he said that it took almost two years for the U.S. and NATO to admit a link between opium and the growth in insurgency in certain provinces.

On the day the report was released, NATO and American officials announced the deaths of five foreign soldiers: three Americans were killed in Kunar in the northeast, a NATO soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan, and a Dutch soldier was killed in Oruzgan in the South.

U.S. Admits Troops Entered Pakistan Without Permission

Aug 28 (EIRNS)—On Aug. 25, U.S.-led coalition troops based in Afghanistan entered the Pakistani tribal agency areas bordering Afghanistan, silenced six Taliban gun positions, and killed 19 insurgents. At the time, the coalition responded to Pakistan's protests by claiming that they had Islamabad's permission to cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

Two days later, the coalition admitted that Pakistan had not actually given permission. "We regret the miscommunication in this event," said the coalition's deputy commanding general for operations," Brig. Gen. Joseph Votel. It shows once again that the violation of Pakistan's territorial sovereignty by the U.S.-led coalition troops and NATO continues unchecked. General Votel stated that the coalition was committed to respecting the sovereign borders of Pakistan, but did not explain what led the troops to abandon the commitment on Aug. 25.

Meanwhile, a spokesman of Pakistan's Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) denied the NATO spokesperson's claim that 19 local Taliban were killed in a coalition attack inside Pakistan, for which prior permission was obtained.

Arrest of Philippines Communist Leader Solves Nothing

Aug. 29 (EIRNS)—The government of The Netherlands has arrested Jose Maria Sison (called Joma), the self-exiled leader of the Philippines Communist Party (CPP), who has lived in the Netherlands since 1987.

Sison's request for political asylum was never granted, but previous efforts by Philippine regimes to have him arrested have been rejected. He is charged with plotting the murder of two leaders of a faction of the CPP which split from Sison and formed the Alex Boncayao Brigade, an urban terrorist outfit which was opposed to the Maoist, rural revolution promoted by the CPP's armed wing, the New People's Army.

The Netherlands is not planning to extradite Sison, but to try him there.

The Gloria Arroyo regime in Manila is celebrating the arrest as a victory in their war on terror, which is increasingly based on a pledge to wipe out insurgencies by force by the end of Arroyo's term in 2010. This "final solution" includes the "Operation Condor"-style death-squad killings of hundreds of leftist opposition figures; and the U.S.-aided military operations against the terrorist Abu Sayyaf gang in the south, which has recently spilled over into a renewed war on Moro (Muslim) nationalist forces. Peace talks with the Communists, and perhaps also with the Moro forces, are being dumped in favor of Dick Cheney's approach.

Although Sison's armed rebellion offers nothing but further misery for the Philippines, he is nonetheless correct in recognizing, as he stated in an interview Aug. 28 with, that his support comes from the fact that the current government's radical free-trade policies and thuggery have "forced displacement of more than 1 million people from 2001 to the present," and caused "more than one thousand victims of documented extrajudicial killings." Without a national policy which defends the general welfare, the insurgents will have a fertile ground for recruitment, with or without Sison.

Myanmar Destabilization Run by IMF and Cheneyacs

Aug. 30 (EIRNS)—At a briefing today at the White House discussing President Bush's upcoming Asia trip, there was a constant refrain of "Burma-Burma-Burma," as a top item to be discussed at every meeting. The normal demonization of Myanmar (Burma) has reached a new level, as demonstrations there over the past ten days have been given prominent coverage in the Western press.

In fact, the small demonstrations were, for the first time in many years, economic in nature, protesting the lifting of some of the subsidies for fuel for the population. What is generally left out of the coverage is that the lifting of subsidies was an IMF proposal! Ironically, when Indonesia lifted its fuel subsidies last year, also under heavy IMF pressure, there were similar demonstrations—but Indonesia was praised by the West for showing courage against "populist" support for the subsidies, and for getting more in line with "market prices."

The Nation in Thailand, partially owned by Dow Jones, tipped the Western oligarchy's hand in the matter, writing on Aug. 27: "The IMF has been advising the junta on how to modernize its economic management and tax collection system. In normal circumstances, the junta's latest move would have been considered sound economic policy. But given the long-standing suppression and suffering of the Burmese people, the fuel-price hike represents a small window to speak out."

Bush is unlikely to be successful in turning Myanmar's Asian neighbors against it, as evidence by the title of The Nation article: "Uproar in Burma, Silence in ASEAN." As unwise as the lifting of subsidies may be, every government is facing the same pressure, as the global inflation rates for energy and food are skyrocketing, squeezing national governments.

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