America's own homegrown Mickey Maoists, the Revolutionary Communist Party, have found their latest cause celebre in the Maoist insurgency in Nepal (see their special report). Meanwhile, a new Amnesty International report takes both the guerillas and government forces to task for killings, torture and rape of non-combatants. The report notes that the Tharu and Magar ethnic minorities have been especially targeted for government reprisals. Currently, India and the US are the two biggest military aid providers to Nepal. While the US Congress has passed a law making military aid to Nepal dependent on the army cooperating with the National Human Rights Commission, India is yet to take any such step. Clashes continued last week, leaving several dead in the eastern Ilam district, BBC reports. The war has claimed 10,000 lives since it began in 1995.
It has hardly made international headlines, but there has been a wave of bombings at Spanish resorts by ETA in recent months--not claiming any lives, but causing several injuries and wreaking some property damage. Now the Basque regional government is pushing an autonomy plan that stops just barely short of full independence in a bid to appease the separatists. Catalonia, following the Pais Vasco's lead, is also pressing for near-independence. In reaction, the Franco-nostalgists are coming out of the woodwork...
Baluchi guerillas shut down Pakistan's top gas field with rocket attacks on the pipeline. Why is nobody paying attention?
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Supplies from Pakistan's main gas field have been fully restored, officials said on Saturday 11 days after a bloody attack by militant tribesmen seeking greater autonomy forced the field to be shut down.
If it hits the fan in Pakistan, Bush's victory in neighboring Afghanistan could be a Pyrric one... From AP:
QUETTA, Pakistan - Three rockets fired by unidentified assailants
landed in a residential area of this deeply conservative southwestern
Pakistani city, but no one was injured, police said Saturday.
Nobody's paying much attention, but Pakistan is on the brink of civil war. Taliban-types have taken power in much of the Northwest Tribal Areas along the Afghan border, while tribespeople in Baluchistan--also along the Afghan border, to the southwest--have launched an insurgency and apparently want to secede. US-Pakistani attempts to hunt down Osama and al-Qaeda elements believed to be hiding in the border region have only inflamed the situation. Now comes a claim that Iran is aiding the Baluch insurgency. Seems unlikely, given the depth of the Shi'ite-Sunni divide (a source of much bloodshed in Pakistan), but it could sure make convenient propaganda for Bush's new campaign against Iran...
Robert Scheer's hyperventilating latest is getting much circulation in cyberspace (see below). A typical sample:
"cabal of Machiavellian neoconservatives"
Sorry, but this is revisionism ("How Silent Are The 'humanitarian' Invaders Of Kosovo?" ZNet, December 2004) no less than that of the propagandists Pilger is critiquing. He seems to want us to forget that 200,000 Kosovar Albanians (out of a total population of 1.4 million) had been forced from their villages to refugee camps in the mountains or in Albania and Macedonia by the time the bombing started in March 1999. After the bombs started falling, the number was quickly jacked up to 800,000.
An interesting and important piece, but a little irksome. We don't doubt that the CIA and State Department are pulling out all the stops to aid the Yushchenko forces, and this certainly warrants exposure. But the implicit assumption here seems to be that these poor naive Slavic types could never be capable of launching a legitimate opposition movement on their own, so this whole affair must be purely "astroturf" (pseudo-grassroots). We can assure you that Serbia's Otpor was a genuine movement, not just a CIA creation, and we assume the same is true of the Ukrainian movement. In any case, much of the leftist commentary on Ukrainia has been rather glib about the whole matter of electoral fraud--a rather ironic stance, given the dilemma we are currently facing in our own country...