2ndlook

Islamic World: Last 100 Years

Posted in History, Pax Americana, politics, Propaganda by Anuraag Sanghi on March 9, 2013

Fundamentalist Islam has, apart from the solitary success of increasing enlistment, delivered nothing on political governance, economic growth, social justice, modernization of education or even military preparedness..

August 1953: Scenes from the coup that Iran will not forget.

August 1953: Scenes from the coup that Iran will not forget.

By the middle of the 19th century (1850), decline of Islamic empires was truly and completely real.

Empires Of Islam

After a 1000 years of expansion and dominance, by 1850 just two declining Islamic powers were left to compete on the world’s imperial stage. One was the Mughal Empire that controlled India. An India, that was: -

The other major Islamic Empire was the Ottoman Empire, centered in modern Turkey, that controlled a geography from the borders of Iran to the outskirts of Europe.

From Western Seas

Opposing these Islamic Empires were the Christian colonial Empires of Spain & Portugal, France and Britain.

The first challenge to the Christian colonial Empires came from India – with the Anglo-Indian War of 1857.

Stretching over a period of nearly two years, the alliance was nominally headed by the Mughal Emperor, and the war was mainly between the Marathas and a mercenary army of Indian soldiers, raised and equipped by the British. The war-chests of Maratha-Mughal alliance were puny compared to the British capital – bolstered by huge capital inflows from slave trade, slave plantations of sugar and tobacco, apart from piracy, loot and plunder.

Within two years, the Mughal Empire was over.

Minor Islamic kingdoms of Egypt and Persia ruled at British sufferance. The Ottoman Empire folded up 60 years later.

In 1920.

Street scenes from August 1953 coup in Iran.

Street scenes from August 1953 coup in Iran.

Under Western Thumbs

Nearly a 100-years after the end of the Ottoman Empire, the Islamic world is still ruled by Western puppets.

In Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt – or a Turkey which is happy being at the periphery of every Western alliance – CENTO, European Union, etc.

Under Nasser or Yasser Arafat, people mobilization was a political movement – the agenda being independence from Western subjugation.

All these movements succumbed to religious obscurantism after the overthrow of Shah Of Iran. Iran’s incendiary mix of religion and anti-American politics found a Sunni resonance in Saudi Arabia with a Wahhabi revival. Pakistan turned from Deobandi to Wahhabi strains of Islam.

Desperate situations call for desperate …

The use of fundamentalist Islam has been successful in increasing citizen enlistment against the West. Apart from the solitary success of increasing enlistment, the Shia-Sunni consensus on fundamentalism has delivered nothing on political governance, economic growth, social justice, modernization of education or even military preparedness. This uni-dimensional agenda of ‘modern’ Islam has many detractors within and outside the Islamic world.

In the last 40-odd years

Recently released classified information and memoirs by retired spies, provide a more complex picture of the CIA, its effectiveness, and its overall power, suggesting that at times Langley was manned not by James Bond clones but by a bunch of keystone cops. My favorite clandestine CIA operation, recounted in Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes, involves its 1994 surveillance of the newly appointed American ambassador to Guatemala, Marilyn McAfee. When the agency bugged her bedroom, it picked up sounds that led agents to conclude that the ambassador was having a lesbian love affair with her secretary. Actually, she was petting her two-year-old black standard poodle.

But the CIA’s history does include efforts to oust unfriendly regimes, to assassinate foreign leaders who didn’t believe that what was good for Washington and Wall Street was good for their people, and to sponsor coups and revolutions. Sometimes the agency succeeded.

Topping the list of those successes—if success is the right word for an operation whose long-term effects were so disastrous—was the August 1953 overthrow of Iran’s elected leader and the installment of the unpopular and authoritarian Shah in his place. Operation Ajax, as it was known, deserves that old cliché: If it didn’t really happen, you’d think that it was a plot imagined by a Hollywood scriptwriter peddling anti-American conspiracies.

Book cover of Ervand Abrahamian's The Coup.

Book cover of Ervand Abrahamian’s The Coup.

Ervand Abrahamian isn’t a Hollywood scriptwriter but a renowned Iranian-American scholar who teaches history at the City University of New York. With The Coup, he has authored a concise yet detailed and somewhat provocative history of the 1953 regime change, which the CIA conducted with the British MI6. If you don’t know anything about the story, The Coup is a good place to start. If you’ve already read a lot about Ajax and the events that led to it, the book still offers new insights into this history-shattering event.

Abrahamian constructed his narrative by analyzing documents in the archives of British Petroleum, the British Foreign Office, and the State Department as well as the memoirs of the main characters in the drama. These characters—British spies and business executives, American diplomats and journalists, Soviet agents, Communist activists, Nazi propagandists, Shiite mullahs, Iranian crime bosses—have double or even triple agendas to advance as they jump from one political bed to another and back, lying, cheating, stealing, and killing. It all makes the CIA-led extraction of the American hostages in Iran, depicted in the film Argo, look kind of, well, boring.

On one side there was Muhammad Mossadeq, the democratically elected prime minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, a secular, liberal, and nationalist leader who wanted to join the “neutralist” camp that disavowed commitment to either of the superpowers during the Cold War. An aristocratic and eccentric figure who welcomed foreign officials into his house wearing pajamas, Mossadeq introduced many progressive social and economic reforms into the traditionally Shiite society, and sent shock waves across the world when he moved to nationalize Iran’s oil industry, which had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company.

On the other side there was Kermit “Kim” Roosevelt, Jr., Teddy’s grandson, a legendary spymaster, a self-promoter who dined with major world leaders and business executives but also befriended power-hungry Iranian military generals, corrupt politicians, merchants in the bazzar, and quite a few thugs, who helped him achieve what became Washington’s goal: to remove Mossadeq and his political allies, which included liberals, social democrats, and Communists, from power; to return the oil industry into British hands (with more American presence in Iran’s oil business); and to place reliable pro-western politicians in power.

It seemed to work beautifully. The United States gained a key strategic ally in the Middle East. American companies received a considerable share of Iran’s enormous oil wealth. Other oil-producing Middle Eastern nations got a lesson in what might happen if they nationalized. At a time when the Americans were facing challenges from nationalists such as Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser and were trying to contain the so-called Soviet threat in the Middle East, Our Man in Tehran welcomed American soldiers and investors (and purchased a lot of American weapons). It all looked good until it didn’t.

While the coup did set back the nationalization of the oil resources in the Middle East, the delay ended in the 1970s. In that decade, Abrahamian writes, one country after another—not just radical states such as Libya, Iraq, and Algeria, but conservative monarchies such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia—“took over their oil resources, and, having learned from the past, took precautions to make sure that their oil companies would not return victorious.”

At the same time, the coup decimated the secular opposition, leaving Shiite clerics as the most viable political force when the Iranian Revolution deposed the Shah in 1979. The pro-American puppet gave way to a radical and anti-American Islamic Republic where the secular and liberal opposition remains weak and leaderless. That, as they say in Langley, is blowback.

The coup also intensified what Abrahamian calls the “intense paranoid style prevalent throughout Iranian politics.” While the Iranian clerics worry that Washington wants to do a rerun of the 1953 regime change, many members of the opposition are counting on that to happen. In Tehran, they still think the CIA makes the world turn around.

via Our Man in Iran – Reason.com.


Indian diplomacy: Heavy Lifting

Posted in America, Current Affairs, Gold Reserves, Pax Americana, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on May 22, 2012

Manmohan Singh, attacked at home with scandals and policy paralysis; internationally blamed for a placid Indian economy. No, I didn’t mean flaccid. In the middle of this has been a diplomatic triumph that he cannot talk about. But 2ndlook can …

An oil tanker loads gas in Assaluyeh seaport at the Persian Gulf, 1,400 km (870 miles) south of Tehran, Iran  |  May 27, 2006.  |  Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl  |  Click for image.

An oil tanker loads gas in Assaluyeh seaport at the Persian Gulf, 1,400 km (870 miles) south of Tehran, Iran | May 27, 2006. | Credit: Reuters/Morteza Nikoubazl | Click for image.

Who’s knocking

It takes chutzpah to host US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a trade mission from Tehran on the same day. That’s what India is doing — and it has so far played the two sides off rather well. While good relations with the United States are important, Iran’s cheap oil is too attractive to pass up, and India has a long history of goodwill towards its Persian neighbour. A compromise looks likely.India has been publicly dismissive of US calls to stop doing business with Iran. Given its $185-billion trade deficit, it is not hard to see why New Delhi would rather keep trade flowing. Oil accounts for two-thirds of India’s import bill, and Iran is a major supplier. India has even been able to negotiate payment in its own currency, the rupee. That’s like a gift voucher which Tehran can only spend in Indian shops.

Clinton, meanwhile, has called for India to support US sanctions. But she can’t afford to push too hard.

Privately, the Indians seem to be more co-operative. Under pressure from politicians, refiners have cut imports of oil from Iran by 15-20 per cent. That strategy may be enough to win a waiver from US-led sanctions during Clinton’s two-day visit, assuming American politicians believe a quietly helpful India is better than an openly hostile one.

India’s best outcome would be to keep both sides happy. As Iran’s second largest customer, it is in a good position to secure a discount to the market price of oil —something it is unlikely to get from other suppliers like Saudi Arabia. And the United States may be prepared to bend its rules to keep an emerging superpower on-side. New Delhi’s diplomatic balancing act might just work. (via Tightrope diplomacy).

Jigsaw

And behind this heavy lifting, was a bigger story!

“The dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme is nothing more than a convenient excuse for the US to use threats to protect the ‘reserve currency’ status of the dollar,” the newspaper, which calls itself the voice of the Islamic Revolution, said.

“Recall that Saddam [Hussein] announced Iraq would no longer accept dollars for oil purchases in November 2000 and the US-Anglo invasion occurred in March 2003,” the Times continued. “Similarly, Iran opened its oil bourse in 2008, so it is a credit to Iranian negotiating ability that the ‘crisis’ has not come to a head long before now.”

Iran has the third-largest oil reserves in the world and pricing oil in currencies other than dollars is a provocative move aimed at Washington. If Iran switches to the non-dollar terms for its oil payments, there could be a new oil price that would be denominated in euro, yen or even the yuan or rupee.

India is already in talks with Iran over how it can pay for its oil in rupees.

Even more surprisingly, reports have suggested that India is even considering paying for its oil in gold bullion. However, it is more likely that the country will pay in rupees, a currency that is not freely convertible. (via Iran presses ahead with dollar attack – Telegraph).

This payment ‘crisis’ was triggered when

Barack Obama signed into effect the Iran Threat Reduction Act on December 31, 2011. That Act bars foreign banks from the US if they conducted transactions with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), a move intended to choke off Iran’s oil incomes, its main source of revenue.

The law calls for US financial sanctions on anyone settling oil trades with CBI, and comes into effect from June 28. The exceptions are White House-blessed waivers or a very tight oil market. (via Why India’s real Iran dilemma isn’t oil – Economic Times).

Show me the money

The drama of payments to Iran played itself out over the last one year with many twists and turns:

  • An ‘angry’ Iran threatening to cut oil supplies
  • India ‘outraged’ and eager to pay, but without banking options
  • US ‘determined’ and pressing India to cut oil purchases from Iran

With many rounds of shadow-boxing,

In December 2010, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), fearing US sanctions on India’s financial sector, had walked out of the Asian Clearing Union that cleared Iran’s oil payments.

This started a merry-go-round as India scoured the world to pay Iran for its oil and simultaneously tried to reduce its dependence on Iranian oil. India began to use one of its small nationalised banks with little or no exposure to the West, to pay for the oil.

The first stop was Germany’s EIH Bank, but in a few months that stopped. Turkey’s Halkbank has been processing India’s payments to Iran since then, though there were palpitations when Halkbank refused a BPCL application. This week, Halkbank stated that it remained open for business for India. (via Why India’s real Iran dilemma isn’t oil – Economic Times).

To buffer India-Iran trade from external influences, India proposed a rupee payment system, which can be direct transaction without any third-party involvement.

Iran has asked India to pay for oil partly in yen as the two nations seek an agreement on how to maintain trade amid tightening global sanctions, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.At talks in Tehran last week, India proposed to pay its second-biggest oil supplier in rupees through a bank account in the South Asian nation. Iranian officials sought partial payment in yen because they’re concerned that they may not get sufficient value from the rupee, which isn’t fully convertible.

The nations have struggled to preserve $9.5 billion in annual crude trade. The Gulf nation is concerned that India’s entire crude oil bill can’t be paid through exports to Iran, the people said. Iran’s imports from India are worth about $2.5 billion a year, while its annual oil sales to the South Asian nation are valued at about $9.5 billion, the people said.

Iran also wants India to invest in non-strategic infrastructure projects in return for crude supplies, the people said. (via Iran Said to Seek Yen Payments From India for Oil Amid Sanctions – Businessweek).

India and Iran agreed to use the Indian rupee for oil-trade with Iran. On this development, Indian media reported,

Dismissing the possibility of US sanctions impacting India-Iran ties, Tehran on Tuesday announced that the two countries have worked out a new mechanism for oil payments, following which Indian energy firms will pay for 45 per cent of their crude oil imports from Iran in rupees and rest through barter and semi-barter system.

This mechanism for future payments was arrived at a meeting between officials of the two nations in Tehran in mid-January. India has cleared all oil payment dues till date.

“A suitable mechanism has been found out. All the money not paid by India last year has been paid,” Iranian envoy to India Syed Mehdi Nabizadeh said.

“This was the proposal by India and we accepted it. Both the sides are satisfied,” Nabizadeh said.

India is keen to use the new mechanism as it fears that the current payment route through Turkish bank may end due to fresh US sanctions.

The Iranian envoy said the two countries are looking at mechanisms for payment of the remaining 55 per cent.

Iran could increase its imports of goods from India to settle part of the payments, Nabizadeh said. Indian companies are also expected to invest in projects in Iran, such as developing oil and gas fields, extracting iron ore, building roads and railways and purchasing fertilisers. India could also export iron, steel, machinery, equipment, agricultural products like rice, and minerals to Iran that faces international sanctions.

Nabizadeh, however, ruled out gold as an option for oil payments. “Gold is not suitable,” he said. (via India resolves Iran oil payment issue : India News – India Today).

Hits and Misses

Rupee-trade would have another benefit for India. Indian demand for US dollars will reduce by about 4%-6%. Coincidentally, around the same time (December 2012), the dollar started appreciating against major currencies – except the yen. Rupee-trade is something that India and the former Soviet Union used effectively for more than 20 years. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

discussed alternative financial conduits with Russian officials during his visit to Moscow in December. India, which got 11 percent of its crude imports from Iran last year, is exploring the option of making payments for Iranian crude through Russia’s Gazprombank OJSC, though no deal has been reached, three of the people said Jan. 9.

For Iran this rupee trade limits the usage of oil-sale realizations to purchases from India. Based on this Iran would limit oil sales to India – which it has done. This is possibly behind the fig-leaf of 11% cut in oil-purchases from Iran.

This is in the short-term. In the medium term, both countries are looking at ways forward that are not dependent on external players.

Amid talk of reducing crude imports from Iran, and barely a week after US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s visit to India, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urging him to expand bilateral ties in “different fields”.

India declared that it is reducing its dependence on any particular region for crude import – even if not under Washington’s pressure. Ahmadinejad spoke to Singh on Monday evening

In his conversation with Singh, Ahmadinejad insisted that bilateral cooperation between India and Iran would lead to considerable achievements for both nations. Singh responded that widening ties with Iran was on the basis of “national interests”.

In yet another sign that Iran is trying to reach out to India, despite the oil cut, government sources said Tehran was likely to send its foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, soon to invite Singh for the 16th NAM summit to be held in Tehran in August and for bilateral talks with Ahmadinejad. (via Amid oil cuts, Ahmadinejad speed dials PM Manmohan Singh – Times Of India).

But before this was another bombshell – using adequate safeguards of ‘plausible deniability’. An Israeli website, ‘revealed’ that India had dropped an atomic bomb on the US dollar.

India would use gold to pay Iran for oil.

New Delhi: An Israeli website has suggested that India has agreed to pay Iran in gold for oil purchases, but Indian authorities have called the report “speculative”.

In an “exclusive report” on Jan 23 this year, the website, debka.com, quoted Iranian sources as saying that “India is the first buyer of Iranian oil to agree to pay for its purchases in gold instead of US dollars”.

However, Indian government officials said the report was “speculative” and hence did not merit any response. (via Gold for Iran oil report speculative: India – India News – IBNLive).

If gold usage became common to settle oil transactions, it would be the end of the Euro and the US dollar as we know it. US Govt. debt (US$15 trillion) is roughly equal to global trade and speculation in oil.  If that oil-trade started to get settled in gold,

  • gold prices would appreciate (choose any number between 100%-500%)
  • Global demand for US dollar would reduce by about US$ 10trillion-US$ 20trillion in 12-36 months.

All this serves or damages US interests. But, it serves no short-term Indian  interest to rock the boat.

So, what is driving Indian thinking and actions?

360 degrees

Is it an oil ‘shortage’?

India has been reducing oil imports from Iran, ever since Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s January 2006 visit here. Iraq, which is rejoining the global oil market, is also a big oil source. Then there is Nigeria, though internal problems there may impact its capacities soon. Thus, there is unlikely to be an oil supply problem in the world, despite the IMF hyperventilating about a “supply shock”.

Between the Saudis, Iraqis, Libyans and Russians there is enough extra oil, close to 1 million bpd more oil may be coming from these producers alone. Besides, the 600,000 bpd that Iran currently sells to the EU will soon be free for countries with the nerve and muscle to ignore sanctions. (via Why India’s real Iran dilemma isn’t oil – Economic Times).

Unlike Iran, India does not harbor any ill-will against the US or the West. In which case why is India playing so hard?

But as a past sufferer of international sanctions, India, like China, fundamentally dislikes them. They end up penalising the poor citizen, but keep elites in business. We can expect that a further set of UN sanctions against Iran would die at the hands of China and Russia.

So, is the nuclearization of Iran a true story?

Iran though is determined to get a nuclear weapon, despite all it’s protestations to the contrary. In conversations with the Indian leadership, Iranians said they took away a couple of lessons from current events.

Muammar Gaddafi, who gave up his nuclear programme to the West, died in a “West-imposed” conflict. But North Korea’s Kims (the late father and the successor son) remain untouched despite them being serious nuclear bad boys. That, Iranians said, was because North Korea has the nuclear device. The world needs a different narrative if Iran has to be weaned away from its nuclear dreams.

In which case the next question is …

What has India gained?

First, let us look at how India looks with the US Axis.

The Barack Obama administration will be delighted that the sustained diplomatic and political pressure on India is finally bearing fruit. Meanwhile, a protagonist lurking in the shade is all excited – Saudi Arabia.

A mystery lingers. What did the Obama administration promise the Manmohan Singh government as quid pro quo? Manmohan most certainly sensitized US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of India’s “wish list” during her recent hurried visit to hold consultations personally with him just ahead of the US-India Strategic Dialogue co-chaired by her, which is scheduled to convene in Washington.

Delhi has been under immense pressure from Washington to fall in line with the letter and spirit of the US’s sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and curtail the sourcing of crude oil from Iran. (via Asia Times Online :: India dumps Iran, squeezes Obama).

What about Iran? How does Iran feel about this? One reading seems to suggest

India is shrewdly exploiting Iran’s current vulnerabilities. Thus, by taking advantage of the obstacles being put by the US on the Asian Clearing Union payment mechanism of India-Iran trade, New Delhi persuaded Tehran to accept a system of barter trade for up to 45% of its oil exports, which would effectively work as an export promotion drive for Indian companies in the Iranian market.

Iran accepted the deal grudgingly since it is keen to continue somehow or other with its longstanding relationship on oil with India through the present difficult corridor of time. The heart of the matter is, remove oil from the Iran-India relationship and it will atrophy to virtually nothing. Evidently, New Delhi has assessed that the relationship means more to Iran than to India at the moment.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad telephoned Manmohan on Monday in an attempt to shore up the relationship. He stressed that Tehran sets no limits to the broadening of ties with India and that the traditional, historical relationship has been of a “brotherly” character and is assured of a “promising future”. Manmohan responded with a caveat that India attaches importance to ties with Iran and welcomes a broadening of relations with Iran “on the basis of national interests”.

There is some evidence that Tehran is also settling for a low-key relationship. Tehran parried repeated Indian attempts to schedule a visit by the secretary general of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, to New Delhi. Tehran estimates that the consultations are best scheduled when New Delhi is genuinely open to strategic engagement with Iran. (via Asia Times Online :: India dumps Iran, squeezes Obama).

To some the question remains

the big question still remains: What is it that India hopes to extract from the Obama administration in return for its momentous decision to comply with the US’s Iran sanctions?

Indian diplomacy is hard at work. Starting from 2006 when India began voting against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has become a factor in the US-India strategic partnership and New Delhi has been able to leverage it because Washington is extremely sensitive to Iran’s regional standing.

Manmohan’s timing is superb. Although Obama needs to take a decision on giving a “waiver” to India under the Iran sanctions regime only in July, Manmohan took the decision now to cut India’s oil imports from Iran.

Clearly, New Delhi has set its sights on the forthcoming US-India Strategic Dialogue in early June. After having discussed with Clinton during her recent visit the future directions of the US-India strategic partnership, New Delhi expects a tradeoff.

Obama’s political prestige is at stake over the Iran nuclear issue, especially in a tricky presidential election year for him. Manmohan is handing over to him a major foreign policy “achievement” in making Tehran look somewhat more isolated in its region just when the talks over the Iran nuclear issue are moving into a crucial phase.

If Indian diplomats are worth their salt, they are tiptoeing toward the US-India Strategic Dialogue with a killer instinct; they won’t settle for some two-penny worth gains. (via Asia Times Online :: India dumps Iran, squeezes Obama).

Why is Iran so important to India.

Iran is a counter-balance to the anti-India axis of China-Pakistan. Pakistan would be hard-pressed to fight a war against India alone. If aided by China, India could play the Iran card. What is in it for Iran?

Why would Iran do it?

Historically, at times Iran has ruled over modern Baluchistan and parts of Afghanistan. These territorial ambitions of Iran would become reality. Iran would justify the annexation to protect the Shia Muslims of Pakistan of a ‘crumbling Pakistan’.

Just months before the outbreak of the 1857 War against the British, both Iran and Afghan rulers had been negotiated into neutrality by the British. So, while the British Raj was fighting for its empire, and India for its freedom, was alone.

Possibly, this lesson has not been lost on Indian diplomats.


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Af-Pak – The Coming Oil Bottleneck

Posted in Business, Current Affairs, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on June 9, 2011

The Top 10 Global Crude Oil Producers in 2009 | Source - Euromonitor International from BP Statistical Review of World Energy | Image Source - topforeignstocks.com | Click for larger image.

FUD

There is an old, effective sales technique, attributed to IBM called FUD – create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. The IBM salesman, was taught how to create Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt in the buyer’s mind – against competitors. For this post, it will be good idea to remember FUD.

Big Oil

The second important thing that is the key to this post is oil.

There is a great deal of concentration in the world oil industry: just ten companies control 68 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves. Nine of the ten biggest oil reserve holders are state-owned National Oil Companies (NOCs). Many of these were formerly private sector companies that were nationalized in the 1970s. Eight of the ten largest oil producers in the world are NOCs. The others are large integrated private sector energy companies. (via Energy Sector: Energy Sources: Petroleum Products and Crude Oil Prices: How World Oil Markets Work).

World's Top 10 Crude Oil Reserve Holders (Image Source - Natural Resources Canada| Data Source - Oil and Gas Journal, 2006). Click for larger image.

Fig.2 World’s Top 10 Crude Oil Reserve Holders (Image Source – Natural Resources Canada| Data Source – Oil and Gas Journal, 2006). Click for larger image.

Oil trends

Saudi Arabia is expected to remain a top producer and exporter of oil in the foreseeable future. Canada is an interesting candidate. Based on current production, Canada ranks at No.6 but with the second largest proven reserves, Canada will be an important oil producer in the future. Russia is expected to remain a major producer-exporter.

US and China are interesting anomalies. Both are large oil producers, and also large importers of oil too. US-China are likely to remain large producer-importers for some more time.

Japan, Germany, South Korea, India, France will remain large importers.

Big Story – Caspian Oil

Most plans till early part of this decade involved Central Asian Oil and gas landing at Turkey for shipment to EU and USA. However, as the accompanying charts indicate, the real consumers for Central Asian gas and oil were going to be India and China. For instance US oil consumption between 1973-2010 has grown from 17 mpd to 19 mpd – with some peak and collapses.

US oil demand in the last 40 years has been stagnant - with a major collapse in 1980-1983. Click for a larger image.

Fig.3 US oil demand in the last 40 years has been stagnant – with a major collapse in 1980-1983. Click for a larger image.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world energy industry began drooling over the newly formed Central Asian republics and the Caspian Sea. Exploration quickly found what appeared to be enormous, untapped fields of oil and natural gas.

Prior to 1991, the only countries bordering the sea were the Soviet Union and Iran. These two countries were bound by the 1921 and 1940 bilateral treaties, which stated that Caspian resources were to be owned jointly. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and emergence of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, there have been numerous disputes about resources in the Caspian Sea. Disputes came to a head in July 2001, when Iranian gunboats confronted a British Petroleum research vessel and ordered it out of waters to which Iran lays claim.(via The Forging of ‘Pipelineistan’ – Oil, Gas Pipelines High Priority for US in Central Asian Military Campaigns).

The Tale of Two Pipelines. This map is indicative, as no final pipeline path has been sealed. There are variations on this exact direction of these pipelines. Click for a larger image.

Fig.4 The Tale of Two Pipelines. This map is indicative, as no final pipeline path has been sealed. There are variations on this exact direction of these pipelines. Click for a larger image.

How Pakistan fits in

Most of current oil reserves, crude production and refining capacities are tied to current demand. Hence, growth from India and China, can possibly be met from Central Asia only.

To meet the additional demand from India and China, without disrupting the market, means Central Asian oil – transported through transnational oil pipelines.

A direct deal between Iran and India, bypassing Central Asia, Pakistan, USA would jeopardise Big Oil interests. Many major US politicians like ex-Vice President Dick Cheney (with Halliburton), Condoleeza Rice (on Chevron board) are advisors to Big Oil and their Central Asian clients. Recently releases from Sarah Palin’s email records, ‘offer insights into … her decision to allow oil exploration in previously protected areas of Alaska’ and refer ‘intriguingly to “a meeting with staffer for Vice-President Cheney about gas pipeline and meetings with representatives of Alaska communities about Endangered Species Act”.’

There has been ongoing speculation that, more than the Pakistani State, both 9/11 and 26/11 are the handiwork of these oil interests – using mercenary jihadists. To push the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India deal – or stop the Iran-India pipeline deal, through Pakistan.

An undersea variant (see Fig.5) of the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline is likely to more expensive. Hence Pakistan is likely to be the gatekeeper of oil and gas to India from Central Asia to India.

Starting with the army in Pakistan

‘Every country has an army, Pakistan’s army has a country’.

Instead of the one-party ‘dictatorship’ of China or a ‘two-party’ democracy in the West, there are many more Pakistan’ players – each jockeying for power, differently. In a very messy manner.

The various political factions in Pakistan are competing to assume power for a bargaining position with Big Oil – and India. This trade is expected to cross trillions, over the next few years. From this US$trillion-dollar opportunity, no political player in Pakistan, wants his cut to be diluted.

To this oil opportunity, add narcotics trade. The Golden Crescent (Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and Golden Triangle (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) are the largest producers of drugs – and expect massive returns on drug trade. This drug traffic is now passing through Pakistan. The Taliban have extensive experience with opium trade in Afghanistan.

IPI Pipeline Route Proposals: To limit probable supply disruptions, India has proposed bypassing Pakistan completely. Image courtesy - energytribune.com.

IPI Pipeline Route Proposals: To limit probable supply disruptions, India has proposed bypassing Pakistan completely. Image courtesy – energytribune.com.

How anti-India is the aam-Pakistani?

There seems to be a belief in India that the ordinary Pakistani is anti-India. A sampling of some recent evidence, may make a case for alternative reading.

The most interesting was the Pakistani interest in Indian pauranik serials, especially in Pakistani-Punjab.

For another, we forget that Indian Muslims from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan did not vote for Pakistan or Jinnah. It was a small minority, of less than 5 lakhs who voted for the Muslim League, carefully selected by the British, which was designated as representative of Muslim interests, that voted for Pakistan. From the nearly 10 crore Muslims. A fact we would do well to remember.

The combative former foreign minister of Pakistan, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri believes, that fundamentalist Pakistani political ‘parties which gathered 50,000 people in Karachi over the blasphemy law recently wouldn’t gather 500 people if they declared war on India.’

I assume he knows.

Two cats go to a monkey for justice and lose everything. Old Jataka tale. Can there be a 'honest' broker?

Fig. 6 Two cats go to a monkey for justice and lose everything. Old Jataka tale. Can there be a ‘honest’ broker?

The US wants to be an honest broker

What will be US role, if India and Pakistan were to sit down and resolve their issues. It is in US interest for instance, to create false stereotypes of Pakistanis. Let us examine some common notions about Pakistan.

Note how many multiples of Americans die each year from guns, than in Pakistan.

Yet English media selectively emphasizes the Pakistani deaths. Is the world likely to allow NATO and US, a free run of Af-Pak region, if it was declared that Pakistan suffered from tribal violence – on a scale smaller than gangsta and ghetto violence in USA.

Why does China and US renew their loyalty and friendship vows with Pakistan every week?

Nuclear nightmare, anyone?

US and its many think tanks have raised global consciousness on the dangers of Pakistani nukes falling in terrorist hands. Pakistan however sees it differently.

Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are probably quite secure from terrorists — the nukes are its crown jewels. The army cares about them in ways that it does not about bin Laden’s whereabouts or fighting the Haqqani network.

The nuclear issue looks different from Pakistan. For most of the world, the question is, can terrorists steal the nuclear weapons? In Islamabad it’s, can the United States or India steal them?

Kamran Khan, on his nightly Geo TV talk show, asked provocatively: “We had the belief that our defense was impenetrable but look what has happened. Such a massive intrusion, and it went undetected. … What is the guarantee that our strategic assets and security installations are safe?”

He was not wondering whether the nuclear weapons are safe from terrorists but from the U.S. (via Opinion: Beware decline in Pakistani relations – Toby Dalton and George Perkovich – POLITICO.com).

The Taliban spokesman to Wall Street Journal had an even more interesting take on this issue.

The Taliban has no plans to attack Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, its spokesman declared; The Taliban’s spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, dismissed those concerns Wednesday as America’s “excuse” to pressure Pakistan’s government into fighting the Taliban, who he portrayed as the country’s true protectors.

“Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear-power state,” Mr. Ehsan said in a telephone interview, adding that the Taliban had no intention of changing that fact. The Taliban, after all, aim to take over Pakistan and its weapons.

Mr. Ehsan’s remarks appeared tailored to appeal to that increasingly nationalist mainstream, where conspiracy theories flourish about American, Indian and Israeli plots to deprive Pakistan of its atomic arsenal. Pakistan’s nuclear capability is cherished here as the guarantor of safety from India’s far larger conventional military.

The Pakistan Taliban, an offshoot of the Afghan insurgent movement, have repeatedly tried to win public support by presenting themselves as a defender of Pakistan, though their attacks have killed thousands of Pakistanis. (via Taliban Say They Won’t Target Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal – WSJ.com).

How important is Islam?

The other question that bothers Indians is the anti-India, anti-Hindu, fundamentalist, radical Islamic Pakistani mindset? Whew. Did I miss anything?

Which raid-and-ravage regime would like to proclaim that their objective is raid-and-ravage? 60 years after being expelled from India, 200 years of loot on a historic scale, does Britain admit that they were here to loot and plunder India? Does Spain admit that they went to the New World to loot and enslave? All these looters needed a fig leaf to cover their raid-and-ravage operations. Religion was their cover.

Why expect Islamic raiders-and-looters to be different?

Moreover, for a raid-and-ravage party, to mislead the victim is a logical tactic. To hide a loot-agenda under a religious garb makes eminent sense for the looter. Does it make sense for us to accept their religious declaration at face value? Like we can see in the many raid-and ravage attempts.

Timurlane did not come here to convert Indians to Islam. After the raid-and-ravage attacks, Mahmud of Ghazni, Mohammed Ghori, Timur Lame, Nadir Shah did not stay behind to control their ‘conquests’. So too, in modern Pakistan. Jinnah used religion to get a Pakistan for himself – though he himself was completely irreligious. The Pakistani Army also uses religion – but is itself irreligious.

Similarly the Spanish did not go to America for Christianity – but for gold. Simple. The Spanish king told his conquistadores, ‘Get gold, humanely if possible, but at all hazards, get gold.” (1511, King Ferdinand).

The East India Company made piously declarations on how ‘the banner of Christ should wave triumphant from one end of India to the other’. But the real reason for the East India Company was raid-and-ravage.

Like Alexander boasted of his conquest of India, many of these Islamic ‘conquerors’, also exaggerated.

Of course, Desert Bloc invented religion to create divisions, build a fifth column, in the ‘conquered’ people. Finally and initially, religion was the tool to use, many times the fig leaf too – but not the real cause for these rape-and-ravage adventures.

A 2ndlook at Pakistan

Pakistan is what Pakistan does.

Pakistan’s ability to keep its super-power allies on their toes is a remarkable diplomatic achievement. To remain a nuclear power, after near-universal condemnation and pressure reconfirms its diplomatic prowress. Pakistani leadership, from Jinnah onwards, have used the State and its institutions, for keeping a grip on power. That will continue.

What might change is the way power is shared. The Taliban may become a part of the Pakistani ruling class. How that will happen remains to be seen. A coup? Local elections, maybe. Electoral alliance? Pakistani power-equations are changing. How these equations work out, may surprise us.

Is India prepared? Ready?

Recent 2ndlook at Oil+Af-Pak

Af-Pak: Is Something Big Cooking?

The War on Drugs – A 2ndlook

Posted in Business, China, Current Affairs, European History, India, Media, politics by Anuraag Sanghi on June 9, 2011
On one side the government promotes drug use - and on the other wages a 'war' on drugs. Click for larger image.

On one side the government promotes drug use - and on the other wages a 'war' on drugs. Click for larger image.

The drug surge

With 2 crore (20 million) drug users in the USA, prisons overflowing with more than 20 lakh (2 million) prisoners, the American policy establishment is stuck for answers.

In the past 40 years, the U.S. government has spent over $2.5 trillion dollars fighting the War on Drugs. Despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years and now sits at 19.9 million Americans. (via The War on Drugs).

In modern times

The 2 crore (20 million) figure is more than 16% of the working-age, labour population of the USA – which stands at 16 crores (160 million). The use of opium, heroin, morphine by armies created a core group of addicts, from where opium addiction increased. Used extensively during the Civil War, by 1900, the US had more than a 10 lakh (1 million addicts) – compared to nearly 2 crore (20 million) narcotic-users now.

The current wave of drug usage possibly started after the Vietnam War. It is estimated that as many as 40% of US soldiers, in Vietnam, were heroin users.

Although the U.S. government has battled drugs for decades — President Eisenhower assembled a 5-member Cabinet committee to “stamp out narcotic addiction” in 1954 — the term “War on Drugs” was not widely used until President Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 1973 to announce “an all-out global war on the drug menace.” (via The War on Drugs).

Earlier, in the 19th century, the Opium trade with China siphoned out vast amounts of silver, under the logic of ‘free trade’, giving rise to some of the biggest Western fortunes (of the Roosevelts, for instance). Or the remarkable story of David Sassoon.

Indian labourers processing opium for the British Raj. (Image source - Wellcome Library; Image courtesy - bbc.co.uk). Click for a larger image.

Indian labourers processing opium for the British Raj. (Image source - Wellcome Library; Image courtesy - bbc.co.uk). Click for a larger image.

The Sassoon opium saga

A Jewish trader, David Sassoon originally Daud ibn Sassoon, was born in Baghdad 1792 and died in Pune, 1864. The Jewish synagogue in Pune, Lal Deval, was set by up the Sassoon family; the Sassoon Library in Mumbai also, and above all the huge Sassoon Docks, from which their ships carried China’s destruction – opium from India.

Son of Sheikh Saleh ben Sassoon (1750–1830), David Sassoon came to Mumbai in 1832, after his father’s death in Bushehr, in modern Iran. His father, a rich Jew, well connected to the Ottomans rulers, chose Sassoon as the family name. This choice was possibly linked to the Persian royal origin, Sassan, grandfather of Ardashir-I, founder of the Persian-Zoroastrian Sassanian dynasty. Interestingly, Sason in Hebrew means joy, similar to the ancient Sumerian word for opium, hul gil.

David shifted from Baghdad-to-Persia-to-Bombay, after the Sassoon family fell out of favour with some powerful business interests in Baghdad. Meanwhile, the British branch of Sassoons cultivated the rising power – British royalty. Ferdinand Sassoon, Arthur and Philip Sassoon, hosted Prince Edwards, the future king and also Queen Victoria. Reuben Sassoon (1835-1905), part of the British branch of Sassoons, was especially close to the future king of England, Edward – to become ‘perhaps the Prince of Wales’s closest friend’. Not only British royalty, even big-name families in the USA, like

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fortune was inherited from his maternal grandfather Warren Delano. In 1830 he was a senior partner of Russell & Company whose merchant fleet carried Sassoon’s opium to China.

Vietnam War created heroin addicts. (Book extract from - Drugs and society  By Glen R. Hanson, Peter J. Venturelli, Annette E. Fleckenstein; page 256). Click to go to source.

Vietnam War created heroin addicts. (Book extract from - Drugs and society By Glen R. Hanson, Peter J. Venturelli, Annette E. Fleckenstein; page 256). Click to go to source.

British opium trading companies like Jardine Matheson, David Sassoon & Company and sundry traders set up The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation for facilitating this misery.

Karl Marx’s commentary on the opium trade, written some 150 years ago, makes interesting reading even today. Much loved by the capitalists of his time, Karl Marx analyzed opium trade well.

What’s common in the Golden Crescent & the Golden Triangle

After WWII, traditional opium supplies from (Greater) China, by Government granted opium monopolies of Yugoslavia and Italy, were replaced by Iran, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Mexico. It was the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent which dominated opium supplies from 1960s, after the start of Vietnam War.

For some time during the Vietnam War, the French intelligence also used drug money to funds its own operation. Like its British and American counterparts, French Government identified its intelligence agencies to manage drug trade.

After abolition of the French Indochina opium monopoly in 1950, SDECE imposed centralized, covert controls over the illicit drug traffic that linked the Hmong poppy fields of Laos with the opium dens operating in Saigon. This generated profits that funded French covert operations in their Vietnam war.

With the advent of the Fifth Republic, and through 1962, the SDECE was used as a strategic intelligence service by the prime minister Michel Debre, and was particularly efficient in the struggle against the rebellion in Algeria. (via DGSE – General Directorate for External Security – Direction Generale de la Securite Exterieure – French Intelligence Agencies).

Drug flows from these new supply sources coincided with America’s Asian Wars in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Korea, etc. These wars were justified under Eisenhower’s Domino Theory – which made Communism an enemy ‘under-your-bed’. The subject of much research, many Hollywood films and significant evidence confirm that American armed forces and the CIA were behind drugs import into USA. The so-called Phoenix operation was run by CIA with some 200 Green Berets – whose major activity apart from killings, assassinations and torture, was narcotics.

Some 75 years later Jardine Matheson-David Sassoon’s bank for opium, CIA too set up banks in the Bahamas, like the Mercantile Bank and Trust and Castle Bank and Nugan Hand Bank (incorporated in Cayman Islands and operating from Australia) to handle heroin trade out of the Golden triangle.

While the Oil and Terror linkage is much talked about, the role of Saudi Arabian funding much discussed, the global footprint of the drug trade is overlooked. As controls on gold sparked a global crime wave, the war on drugs is sparking another crime wave – a wave of terror. When the West wanted they imposed Opium Trade in the name of open markets. When the West wanted they declared a war on drugs.

Either way, someone else is paying.

The world pays for the US war on drugs!

The world pays for the US war on drugs!

The Indian enigma

Some things strike me as interesting: -

  • All the major drugs in the world came from India – opium is afeem, khus-khus, पोस्त; cannabis is charas, ganja, marijuana, hashish. Heroin is a derivative of opium.
  • The Sanskrit word for opium is अहिफेनः, अहिफेनम् ahi-fenam – which also means venom. The Arabic word afeem, Chinese word ya-pien, come from this. Though modern history believes that Arabs introduced opium to India, it seems improbable.
  • Most of the world’s drug production (based on opium and cannabis) still happens in India and neighbouring countries – Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia. In recent times, Indian gold smuggling was funded by carriage and export of drugs.
  • Why has drugs never become a big problem in India. Even, as Indians are significant producers, Indians themselves are not high on consumption lists – or have significantly profited from it.
  • Unlike in China, or in Medieval Middle East (when drug crazed criminals called hashishis became assassins). Or the West in the last 100 years.
  • Till the 80′s, these substances were available in India, through ‘licensed’ outlets.

Nail them, jail them

The police actions against drug cartels have given little benefit. The heavy-handed legal approach of criminalizing possession of drugs too has yielded no results either.

in the past 40 years, the U.S. government has spent over $2.5 trillion dollars fighting the War on Drugs. Despite the ad campaigns, increased incarceration rates and a crackdown on smuggling, the number of illicit drug users in America has risen over the years and now sits at 19.9 million Americans.

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair declare(d) last week that the Mexican government had lost control of its own territory. President Felipe Calderón responded by pointing out that his nation shared a border with “the biggest consumer of drugs in the world and the largest supplier of weapons in the world.” (via The War on Drugs).

Gold and drugs .. and India

The world pays for the US war on drugs!

A major effect of US restrictions on gold ownership, sparked a global crime wave – in which drugs played a major part. The opening of the gold trade across the world during 1973-1993 (especially in India) damped down the power of the Indian Underworld. The other leg on which the Indian underworld stands, is drug trade.

Indian belief in gold is not a recent - but a centuries of trust and habit. Cartoon courtesy - indiauploads.wordpresscom. Click for larger image.

Indian belief in gold is not a recent - but a centuries of trust and habit. Cartoon courtesy - indiauploads.wordpresscom. Click for larger image.

The first effect of restrictions on gold imports in India was on prices. Indian gold prices, on an average, were 30%-40% higher than international prices. The other thing that happened was that gold imports went underground. Gold imports (illegal), called smuggling, spawned the biggest criminals that India has seen.

The common threads in this were, of course, America, drugs, underworld, war, corruption, warlords – but what made all this possible was Indian appetite for gold.

All this was made possible by the Indian hawala system of money exchange. Hawala made money transfers safe, instantaneous, at a low-cost. Traditional Indian ships from a thousand ports in Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat sailed with this contraband and brought back gold.

The countries comprising these Golden Triangle /Crescent are India’s neighbours. The Indian underworld transported drugs through India. These drug shipments originated, were acquired, grown and traded from the Golden Crescent and the Golden Triangle.

The tobacco parallel

The complicity of governments is very similar to tobacco monopolies across the world. Or the modern expansion in prostitution – especially in the West.

Six companies and sundry State monopolies drive global cigarette consumption. These six companies derive more than US$100 billion dollars in revenues, globally. For many years they were advertising industries largest customers.These six companies are headquartered at former European imperial powers (UK, France, Spain), USA and Japan. These six companies work at an arm’s length from the State, giving the State a luxury of ‘plausible deniability’.

After creating appetites and markets for narcotics, the State wants to control the same appetite.

During a 1984 appearance at an Oakland, Calif. school, then-First Lady Nancy Reagan was asked by 10-year-old Angel Wiltz what to do if someone offered her drugs. “Just say no,” replied Reagan. Within a year, 5,000 “Just Say No” clubs had formed around the country, with Soleli Moon Frye, (Punky Brewster) as honorary chairperson. The Los Angeles Police Department’s 1983 Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) school lecture program, grew into a national phenomenon that, by 2003, cost $230 million and involved 50,000 police officers. (via The War on Drugs).

British Cartoon on Opium (Source - Drugs and society  By Glen R. Hanson, Peter J. Venturelli, Annette E. Fleckenstein; Page 253). Click to go to the source book.

British Cartoon on Opium (Source - Drugs and society By Glen R. Hanson, Peter J. Venturelli, Annette E. Fleckenstein; Page 253). Click to go to the source book.

Chinese State Tobacco monopoly

Or how China has replaced Western powers pushing opium in China in the nineteenth century.With a national tobacco monopoly.

Not expected after the opium experience of the Chinese, when Western trading houses, under State protection, using the garb of ‘free trade’, made China into the largest consumer of opium.

The Chinese Govt. has replaced opium with tobacco. In the 19th century, China became the largest grower of opium to stop the drain of wealth from Chinese addiction to opium. The Chinese opium crop of 1906, of more than 35,000 tons, remains the largest ever in recorded history. Compared to that the current crop in Afghanistan has varied between 5000-10000 tons at its peak.

The second secret of the tobacco business is to be dominant in purchasing and cornering tobacco stock. For cornering tobacco stocks, Big Tobacco depends on Central Banks’ support – aka State support. For instance, ITC (and other major global tobacco purchasers) in India has a major presence in Guntur, where Indian tobacco trade is headquartered. ITC’s over-sized chequebook buys it market dominance.

In India, such State policy on drugs and crime was a feat by Mughals and the British. Post-independence Indian State has partly patterned itself on Desert Bloc lines. Will it become a drug dealer?

Will the Indian government ‘learn’ from its counterparts?

For Pete’s Sake

Posted in Current Affairs, European History, History, India, Islamic Demonization, Media, politics, Religion, Satire by Anuraag Sanghi on September 5, 2010
Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren, an Swedish model and the ex-wife of Tiger Woods enacshed on her insecurity. (By Mike Lester, The Rome News-Tribune - 6/30/2010 12.00:00 AM; ©Copyright 2010  Mike Lester.).

Elin Maria Pernilla Nordegren, a Swedish model and the ex-wife of Tiger Woods encashed on her insecurity. (Cartoon By Mike Lester, The Rome News-Tribune - 6/30/2010 12.00:00 AM; ©Copyright 2010 Mike Lester.). Click for larger image.

Iran in Stone Age

On the Islamic side of the world, in Iran, courts reopened a 2005 adultery case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. After the trial, it was decided that Sakineh would be stoned to death for her ‘crime’.

This would have been just another case of Desert Bloc justice, till the French First Lady, Carla Bruni sprang to the ‘defence’ of this ‘victim’. The case become more high profile, after Brazil’s President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, offered asylum to Sakineh – which Iran rejected.

Iran has reportedly sentenced Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani – the 43-year-old Iranian woman who faces execution after being convicted of adultery – to 99 lashes in prison for “spreading corruption and indecency” after allowing an unveiled picture of herself to be published in a British newspaper.

The claim, which could not be confirmed, comes from her family and a lawyer representing Mohammadi Ashtiani, based on reports from those who have recently left the prison in Tabriz where she has been held for the last four years. (via Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani to be lashed over newspaper photograph | World news | guardian.co.uk).

The "Free' Press had a gala time with a 'free' victim. Cartoon by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette - 4/16/2010 12.00.00 AM

The "Free' Press had a gala time with a 'free' victim. Cartoon by Joe Heller, Green Bay Press-Gazette - 4/16/2010 12.00.00 AM. Click for larger image.

On the other side

In the USA, over the last 12 months, we have a modern-day spectacle – The Hounding of Tiger Woods.

His crime?

Tiger Woods had sex with willing women. With a lot of willing women. No pedophilia, no rape or forced sex, no violence.

Just simple sex.

OK. May not be simple sex. Maybe in complicated ‘kamasutra‘ positions, in unusual locations, with varied partners. But does all this, change the issue. Make it  any different.

Guys, he just had sex.

Nothing more than sex. How can consensual sex be a sin, immoral, crime, shameful, and all that baggage of guilt? If there is an injured party, I can only see Tiger. All those willing and able women quite ‘enjoyed’ both the kissing, and the telling. Not to forget the money they made for both the kissing and the telling!

What exactly is it that Tiger Woods did? Cartoon by Mike Smith from the Las Vegas Sun.

What exactly is it that Tiger Woods did? Cartoon by Mike Smith from the Las Vegas Sun.

Mebbe …

Coming from the land of kamasutra, where काम kaam (desire, including sexual) is my right, probably I am under-developed. Maybe these advanced, monotheistic Desert Bloc religions and societies are more advanced than the primitive culture I am from! Maybe, the social system of भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra has ‘corrupted’ me.

Who can object

Not Elin Nordegren.

She made US$400 million (or is it US$500 /600 /750 /1000). For her insecurity. That Tiger may abandon her and the children, while he is chasing all these women. A fear that is fair and legitimate. For a mother to two of Tiger’s children.

Not a bad deal. Or is there something more? Am I missing something?

Jesus tried, God knows! (Cartoon By John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune - 9/4/2008 12.00.00 AM; cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com.). Click for larger image.

Jesus tried, God knows! (Cartoon By John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune - 9/4/2008 12.00.00 AM; cartoon courtesy - politicalcartoons.com.). Click for larger image.

What’s the difference

Now.

I really don’t see a difference between Iran’s stoning of Sakineh and the American stoning  of Tiger Woods.

Except that the stones are different. The US and world media has tried to kill Tiger with stones made of words, ill-will and smear, imputations, cans of tar and brushes. All of them, ganged up, against one man. One lonely man.

Just because a married man had sex with a few women!

Now Iran is doing much the same thing as the stoning of Tiger Woods. Only the stones in Iran are different. The Western world has made Desert Bloc ideals of shariat into Liberal-Christian dogma.

Did the world have to hound him for having sex? Cartoon by Christo Komarnitski, Bulgaria - 4/9/2010 12.00.00 AM

Did the world have to hound him for having sex? Cartoon by Christo Komarnitski, Bulgaria - 4/9/2010 12.00.00 AM

Although the West has become ‘educated’, ‘advanced’, ‘developed’, ‘civilized’, rich - they have not given up. Stoning people.

Jesus tried, God knows.

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