Sri Lanka: No Ceasfire Yet
On April 27, Sri Lanka declared an end to use of heavy artillery after the LTTE announced a unilateral ceasefire a day earlier. Earlier in the week, Sri Lanka released aerial footage
of about 25,000 civilians fleeing the combat zone
after the army broke through one of LTTE's last strongholds. Sri Lanka 's announcement followed intense pressure on the government from the UN, UK , United States and India to end the fighting to free the civilians trapped in the crossfire. It has still not declared a complete ceasefire though, waiting for LTTE rebels to surrender.
ridicules U.S. criticism of the Sri Lankan offensive against LTTE, arguing that Sri Lanka was fighting terrorists—exactly what the United States criticizes Pakistan for not doing.
Western demands for a humanitarian ceasefire are duplicitous given its own uncompromising missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, argues Shakuntala Perera
The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, rejected by the LTTE at the height of its strength but passed by the Indian and Sri Lanka parliaments, provides a framework to start the political dialogue with Tamils, writes A. S. Kalkat
Tamil Nadu politician M. Karunanidhi recently claimed that LTTE leader Prabhakaran was not to blame just because terrorism had “crept into” LTTE. The Hindu
argues that the people of Tamil Nadu sympathize with Sri Lankan Tamils' grievances while condemning LTTE tactics—and will hold Karunanidhi responsible for trying to excuse the violence.
Pakistan's Buner Offensive
On April 28, the Pakistani army launched a major offensive against the Taliban in Buner, a district bordering Swat and less than 60 miles from Islamabad. The Pakistani army launched its attack after it intercepted a conversation
between the Swat Taliban chief and his commander discussing their plan to fake a withdrawal that they had promised to carry out. More than 50 militants have been killed
Pakistani conservatives are so opposed to U.S. hegemony that they support the Taliban provided it does not capture important cities, while liberals oppose any capitulation to the Taliban but are labeled agents of the West. Mohammad Waseem
writes that Pakistan 's response to the Taliban threat will be shaped by the winners of this debate.
is surprised that Pakistan 's usually vocal legal community has not challenged the peace-for-Sharia Swat agreement that empowered the Taliban's recent resurgence.
argues that class conflict enabled the Taliban's rise. Television and weapons from the Afghan jihad have only provided tools to people long oppressed by exploitative Pakistani elites.
The Taliban now control over 11 percent of Pakistan 's area, writes Farrukh Saleem
. It is time for Pakistan to devise a counterinsurgency policy which balances the threat from Taliban and need to defend the India border.
In an interview with Outlook, Bruce Riedel emphasizes that the Obama administration will not negotiate with the Taliban until the situation on the Afghan battlefield changes to Taliban’s detriment.
War of Words in Absence of Issues
L.K. Advani, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janta Party's prime ministerial candidate has repeatedly called Prime Minister Singh India 's weakest prime minister. Last week, the usually reticent Singh responded by pointing out that Advani, who promises strong leadership, caved during the 1999 hijacking crisis and exchanged Pakistani terrorists for Indian nationals held hostage on the flight. Some analysts have interpreted this personal exchange as the BJP's attempt to make the election about personality in the absence of overarching election issues.
traces Manmohan Singh's newfound assertiveness to the BJP's internal bickering and the Congress's faith in him as the candidate for prime minister.
Harsh V. Pant
argues that an absence of vision from both the BJP and the Congress has produced the trivialities of the current elections.
Economic development at the state level could play a decisive role in these elections, which have yet to focus around a central issue, writes Yogendra Yadav
Sajjad Lone to Contest Elections
Kashmiri separatist leader Sajjad Lone is contesting the Indian elections. Many have interpreted Lone's decision as the end of Kashmiri separatism, especially after its call to boycott Kashmir's state elections last December failed.
Despite his strident leadership during the Amarnath protests in Kashmir last year, Lone has been passed over for positions of power by other separatist leaders. A desire to prove his political relevance explains his decision to contest Indian elections, The Telegraph
Maoists in Touble Over Sacking of Army Chief
The Maoist government is embroiled in a major political crisis after it tried to fire the Army Chief, Rookmangud Katawal. Katawal opposed one of the key principles of the peace accord signed by the Maoists—an integration of Maoist rebels into the formerly royalist Nepal army. The Maoists face pressure from within the government as its ally UML has not supported their position on the army issue, and within the party, members of which have threatened to leave the coalition if Katawal is not fired.
In an interview with Kathmandu Post
, Minendra Rijal
, a member of opposition party Nepali Congress, accused the Maoist government of trying to undermine the army and the judiciary in order to gain control of all levers of state power.
Bangladesh Terrorism, Indian Anxieties
argues that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party government, thinking jihadi groups could be used as a bargaining chip in trade and water disputes with India, allowed Islamism to grow between 2001 and 2006. But if Islamists become a bigger threat
to Bangladesh, India would have to intervene given Bangladesh 's weakness in counterterrorism operations.