Tag Archives: Terrorism

Hindus Fleeing Kashmir/ Two BJP Spokespersons Make Anti-Muslim Statements

(Caption for photo at top of the post: “Indian paramilitary soldiers patrol in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits have been demanding more security in light of the violence. Photograph: Mukhtar Khan/AP”.)

1) Further to this November 2021 post,

The Perils Facing the Remaining Hindus in Kashmir

those perils still remain–from the Guardian:

‘Fear is increasing’: Hindus flee Kashmir amid spate of targeted killings

Increase in violence prompts protests and biggest exodus of Kashmiri Pandit families for two decades

Hundreds of minority Hindus have fled from Indian-administered Kashmir, and many more are preparing to leave, after a fresh spate of targeted killings stoked tensions in the disputed Himalayan region.

Three Hindus have been killed by militants in Kashmir this week alone, including a teacher and migrant workers, prompting mass protests and the largest exodus of Hindu families from the Muslim-majority region in two decades.

Sanjay Tickoo, a Kashmiri Pandit activist, said: “Some 3,500 people have left and more will be leaving in coming days.”

Many Hindu families said they were waiting to get discharge certificates for their children from schools and then would leave as soon as possible. “Fear is increasing with each new killing,” said Tickoo. “The minorities are facing the worst situation in Kashmir.”..

At least 19 civilians have been killed this year in similar targeted attacks in the region, including minority Hindus, government employees and a woman who was known for her Instagram videos.

Police have blamed Pakistan-backed militant groups for the killings…

After the string of attacks, Hindus say they being driven out of the region. These include Kashmiri Hindus, commonly referred to as Pandits, 65,000 of whom first fled from the valley in a mass exodus in the 1990s, when a violent pro-Pakistan insurgency broke out in the region and they began to be targeted [see this post: ‘PM Modi Likes Bollywood Blockbuster “The Kashmir Files”‘].

By 2010, a few thousand Kashmiri Hindus had returned to the Muslim-majority region, enticed by a government rehabilitation policy that provided jobs and guarded accommodation to about 4,000 people. But in recent weeks, those who returned have been protesting against the killings and demanding more security. Hindu employees have been abstaining from their duties, urging the government to relocate them to safer locations.

“We are in a 1990s-like situation,” said Pyarai Lal, 65, who lives in Sheikhpora Budgam, in one of the seven guarded housing facilities provided to Hindus. “My son is a teacher and he has not attended his duty for the last two weeks. We are afraid to even leave our home. Who knows when a gunman will attack?”..

Authorities have promised the employees they will be posted to safer locations, and police made assurances they were increasing security by intensifying counter-insurgency operations, surveillance and using drones.

But many Kashmiri Pandits have accused authorities of barring them from leaving and allege that police and paramilitary forces have been deployed at the gates of their government provided accommodations to stop them…

The targeted attacks against Hindus pose a great political challenge to prime minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) government, which has made repeated promises to look after the interests of Kashmiri Pandits. On Friday, India’s home minister, Amit Shah, held a high-level review meeting on the security situation in the region, but no government statement has been made on the issue.

In 2019, Modi unilaterally revoked Kashmir’s autonomy, and enforced a military crackdown under the guise of greater security for Kashmir. The government introduced a slew of laws allowing non-locals to buy property in the region, in the hope of enticing Hindus to settle in the state, a move many locals feared was Delhi’s attempt to bring about demographic changes in the Muslim-majority region.

Many see the removal of Kashmir’s autonomy in 2019, as well as Hindu nationalist policies of the Modi government, which have driven an increase in attacks against Muslims in India, as a driving force behind the growing surge of violence in Kashmir…

2) Further to this post,

India, or, the BJP, State Elections, Karnataka and the Hijab-Jeebies

now a couple of BJP people have at Muslims–from Deutshe Welle:

India faces backlash over BJP’s ‘Islamophobic’ remarks

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has come under fire for incendiary comments about the Prophet Muhammad. Muslim countries have lodged protests amid calls for a boycott of Indian goods.

A row over remarks by India’s ruling party officials grew on Monday [June 6] as several Muslim-majority countries summoned Indian diplomats.

The comments by the now-suspended members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) triggered wide criticism from Arab and Muslim-majority countries, which say the comments were offensive and “Islamophobic.” 

What triggered the row?

Last week, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma commented on Prophet Muhammad’s youngest wife during a televised debate, specifically about how old she was believed to be when they married.

Her remarks were blamed for clashes in an Indian state and prompted demands for her arrest.

The BJP on Sunday said it had suspended [her], and denounced “insult of any religious personalities of any religion.”

Sharma took to Twitter to retract her statement, saying that the comments were made in response to “insults” made against the Hindu god Shiva.

The BJP also expelled spokesman Naveen Kumar Jindal over comments made about Islam on social media. Jindal said he questioned some comments made against Hindu gods on Twitter: “I only questioned them but that does not mean I am against any religion.”

How did Muslim countries react?

The Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) said the remarks came in a “context of intensifying hatred and abuse toward Islam in India and systematic practices against Muslims.”

Resisting such allegations, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India “categorically rejects OIC Secretariat’s unwarranted and narrow-minded comments. The government of India accords the highest respect to all religions.”..

With calls for the boycott of Indian-made goods spreading across several Muslim countries, the BJP-helmed government has been propelled into action over 10 days after the comments were first made. 

Religious tensions have escalated in India in recent months, with critics saying they are prompted by Indian television anchors during raucous debates [see this post: “Hindutva on the March in India–any Real Crackdown?“]

Plus a tweet by a retired Indian army brigadier:

One thing after another for intercommunal relations.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Canadians Basically Don’t Care About National Security–So Neither Do Our Politicians…

…and our federal government can be very ineffective anyway these days.

Further to this May 24 post,

Major New Report by Real National Security Experts: Big Threats to Canada–PRC, Russia and…the US

excerpts from a blog post by Adam Chapnick (tweets here), a Canadian academic who knows this stuff:

On public trust and Canadian national security…

Last week, the University of Ottawa’s Task Force on National Security released its much anticipated report: A National Security Strategy for the 2020s.

The Task Force was directed by the recently-retired former national security and intelligence advisor to the prime minister, Vincent Rigby, and one of the most credible analysts of security and defence in this country, Thomas Juneau.
 
They were joined by a veritable who’s who of Canadian national security experts.
 
In other words, it’s hard to imagine a more qualified group to make recommendations on “How Canada can adapt to a deteriorating security environment.”
 
The majority of the report’s recommendations are entirely reasonable, in particular in terms of how Ottawa should organize the public service to analyze and counter threats to the state, to national institutions, and to individual Canadians.

…I am not hopeful that it will effect transformative change in Ottawa.

The authors all but explain why on page 10:

“Collectively, we have neglected national security for decades, largely because we could afford to do so. Shielded from major threats, we generally suffered little or no cost for our complacency. Whenever we dealt with national security issues, it was largely in a reactive way, in response to events, and not through a more proactive, structured approach.”..

Barring a genuine catastrophe, the national security apparatus is unlikely to touch a sufficient number of Canadians directly, and sustainably, so as to effect the necessary change in public perception.

On the other hand, who hasn’t heard of someone with a problem renewing their passport, or with the status of their immigration paperwork recently? Are there any Canadians left that aren’t aware that long-term drinking water advisories are still a reality on almost 30 [First Nations] reserves?  

If public trust is key to changing Canada’s national security culture (which it might well be), perhaps Ottawa should focus on getting the little things right. Do that, and I suspect that the Canadian public will be much more amenable to tackling the big challenges down the road.

Hopefully, we can reach that point before it’s too late.

***
If you do read the report, why not compare it to a similar one produced by the Centre for International Governance Innovation back in December. I’d be fascinated to learn more about any differences between the two.


***
In other news, I originally intended to post to this blog once or twice per month. Somehow, I seem to have ended up posting weekly. While I enjoy doing so, this pace is not sustainable, especially as I prepare to return to the classroom in August. I therefore anticipate cutting back a bit going forward. If there are things you’d like me to write about, you can reach me here.

***

To be notified of my next post, follow me on Twitter @achapnick

You can subscribe to my newsletter at https://buttondown.email/achapnick.

I would simply add that PM Trudeau’s government effectively has zero serious interest in, or concern for, these matters.

Relevant post from a year ago:

The PRC vs Canada’s National Security, or, “Justin Trudeau is not a serious man”

And one this January:

Globe and Mail to PM Justin Trudeau Gov’t: Time to Get Real about Foreign Interference, esp. by PRC (note UPDATE)

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Balochs Fight Back vs PRC’s Neo-Colonialism in Pakistan…

…with more terrorism.Further to this recent post,

PRC’s Neo-Colonialism, Balochistan Section (cont’d)

now a piece at “The Interpreter“, published daily by Australia’s Lowy Institute (via @David_Mulroney, a retired very senior Canadian diplomat)–will the Chicoms go so far as to undertake their own military respones?:

Pakistani separatists turn their sights on China

A Balochistan independence group has ordered
Beijing to quit its interests in the region … to no effect.

Syed Fazl-e-Haider

In Pakistan’s southwest region of Balochistan – the country’s largest province by area but least populous and least developed despite having huge mineral and energy resources – there is a battle being waged for independence. The Baloch have grievances against the Pakistan government, which has historically exploited the province’s resources and neglected its development needs. Military handling of unrest in the region by Islamabad has deepened the sense of alienation and frustration felt in Balochistan, spawning several separatist groups, including the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), the Baloch Republican Army (BRA) and the Baloch Liberation Front (BLF).

On 26 April, a suicide attack by a Baloch separatist outside the Confucius Institute of the Karachi University in the southern port city killed four people, including three Chinese staff and their Pakistani driver. The attack was targeted towards the Chinese, who the separatists accuse of partnering with Islamabad in the exploitation of Balochistan’s immense mineral and energy potential.

The number of Chinese stakeholders investing in Balochistan has grown steadily over the past two decades. A Chinese state-owned company built, and now operates, Balochistan’s strategically located Gwadar port [see this post: “Poor Balochs, or, Don’t let the PRC Fence us out of Gwadar Port, Pakistan (with a Canadian angle)“], which some argue holds the key to China’s energy supremacy. The Arabian Sea port is the centre of the US$62 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – the game-changer project in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, allowing it a gateway between Western China and the Indian Ocean. Other projects as part of a mega development under the CPEC are also being funded by China in the restive province [emphasis added].

After last month’s attack – carried out by 30-year-old “Shari Baloch”, the first female suicide bomber of the BLA’s Majeed Brigade – separatists warned China there would be more attacks on Chinese nationals and Chinese projects in Pakistan. In a video that appeared on social media the day after the bombing, the BLA demanded that China quit Balochistan or face further retaliatory action. The video shows a masked BLA commander speaking in English and addressing China’s President Xi Jinping directly. “The Baloch Liberation Army guarantees you that CPEC will fail miserably on Baloch land … you still have time to quit Balochistan, or you will witness a retaliation from Baloch sons and daughters that you will never forget”.

This was not the first attack by the BLA on Chinese nationals. The group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on Chinese engineers working in the Dalbandin area of Balochistan in August 2018, which injured three workers. The BLA also claimed an attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi in November the same year. In May 2019, the insurgent group attacked Chinese tourists at the Pearl Continental Hotel in Gwadar. These attacks are the legacy of multiple insurgencies that began in 1948 [emphasis added, lots more here], with one in 2006 resulting in the death of Balochistan’s former chief minister and leader Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, who was killed in a military operation by Pakistan’s security forces.

The most recent attacks, however, have not convinced Beijing to “quit Balochistan”, but have instead heightened its resolve to counter the emerging threat to its interests in the region. China’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the April suicide attack, saying, “The blood of the Chinese people should not be shed in vain, and those behind this incident will pay the price.” 

Pakistan accuses its arch rival India of sponsoring terrorist groups, including the BLA [see post noted following this quote], with the aim of sabotaging the CPEC and harming the China–Pakistan friendship. An article published in the state-run Chinese mouthpiece Global Times argued that, “The BLA, especially the Majeed Brigade, has close contact with India, but it is hard to judge whether these are official [or] not. But without Indian travel permits, the Majeed Brigade head’s visits to India would not be possible.”

There are calls in China for a military operation against the BLA [emphasis added]. Reacting to the Karachi University attack, Hu Xijin, the former editor-in-chief of Global Times in a tweet said, “The BLA will definitely be more resolutely annihilated. I support Chinese military to launch direct air strikes against this terrorist organisation’s camp after getting approval of the Pakistani government.” The same type of language has also been used in relation to the proscribed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which is alleged to have targeted Chinese nationals in a bus bombing on 14 July 2021 that killed 13 at the Chinese-owned Dasu hydropower project in Pakistan’s north. An editorial in Global Times two days later declared, “if Pakistan’s strength is insufficient, China’s missiles and special forces could also directly participate in operations to eliminate threats against Chinese in Pakistan with the consent of Pakistan. We will set an example as a deterrent.”

Beijing sees the BLA and TTP as instruments of proxy terrorism. The separatist Islamist nexus has complicated the security challenge for China to safeguard its interests in Pakistan. The question is, will China, in collaboration with Pakistan, resort to fully-fledged military action to rout Baloch separatists and TTP militants?

That post, from 2016:

Indian PM Modi Pours (RAW) Fat on Pakistan’s Baluchistan Fire

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds


Afghanistan: Pak Military vs Pak Taliban Across the Durand Line (plus UPDATE on murderous ISIS attacks in Afghanistan)

(Caption for photo at top of the post: “Twenty-seven members of one family were buried in a mass grave in Mandatah. It was marked with white flags and 27 piles of stones.”)

Now that the (for years heavily Pakistan-backed) Afghan Taliban are firmly (sort of) back in power, the Pak military are increasingly exasperated with their protégé’s’ tolerance/protection of their Pak brethren in Afghanistan.

First two tweets,

and now from a NY Times report vividly describing the aftermath of the strikes mentioned just above (and the background to them)–can’t say Kabul wasn’t warned:

More personal accounts of the attacks and their aftermath conclude the story.

That tweet, from Terrific Terry Glavin:

Plus these earlier ones. Bloody ISIS:

UPDATE: More on ISIS’s muderous attacks at Defense One’s “D Brief“:

Another explosion at a mosque in Kabul killed at least 66 people on Friday. A suicide bomber struck as “worshippers at the Sunni mosque gathered after Friday prayers for a congregation known as Zikr—an act of religious remembrance practised by some Muslims but seen as heretical by some hardline Sunni groups,” Reuters reported from the Afghan capital.
UN offers sympathy and condemnation. “Attacks against civilians and civilian objects, including mosques, are strictly prohibited under international humanitarian law,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement. “It was not immediately clear who was responsible,” Reuters continued. “Scores of Afghan civilians have been killed in recent weeks in blasts, some of which have been claimed by Islamic State.”
ICYMI:Islamic State claims deadly bomb blasts on minibuses in Afghan city,” via Agence France-Presse, reporting Thursday from Mazar-i-Sharif, in the north. ..

And a related recent post:

Pakistan’s Violent Islamic Fundamentalism

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

PRC’s Neo-Colonialism, Balochistan Section (cont’d)

(Note UPDATE.)

Further to this December 2020 post,

Poor Balochs, or, Don’t let the PRC Fence us out of Gwadar Port, Pakistan (with a Canadian angle)

and these two tweets (second brutally scarifying),

(Full image of map at top of the post is at the BBC story noted in the tweet immediately above.)

here’s a round-up from Defense One’s “D-Brief”:

A female suicide bomber killed three Chinese teachers and a Pakistani citizen just outside of Karachi University’s Confucius Institute on Tuesday. “A separatist group, the Baloch Liberation Army based in southwestern Balochistan province bordering Afghanistan and Iran, claimed responsibility for the blast,” according to Reuters, reporting Tuesday [April 26] from the coastal city, which is home to a Chinese development project under Beijing’s Belt and Road program.

“The blood of the Chinese people should not be shed in vain, and those behind this incident will surely pay the price,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Tuesday.

You may recall another suicide bomber struck a bus last July, killing 13 people, including nine Chinese workers at a power plant in western Pakistan that’s also part of the Belt and Road program. More from Reuters, here.

Balochs have been in rebellion, to a greater or lesser extent, against the Pakistan government and army since Pakistani independence in 1947; the increasingly oppressive neo-colonial Han presence in the province has intensely aggravated the Balochs’ long-standing resentments. Not exactly a friendly Belt and Road, what?

UPDATE: From the column below by a Canadian of Pakistani origin:

“At the heart of the plunder by Beijing is the port city of Gwadar, which China considers its biggest harvest,”..

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Terrorism? Whose Stinking Terrorism?

Phil Gurski, an erstwhile counter-terrorism analyst for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (more here), argues that “terrorism” should be removed as a specific criminal charge from the Criminal Code of Canada as:

a) it contributes little of substance to the sentences of convictions; and

b) charges are becoming increasingly politicized depending on the political and ideological flavours of the day.

From an article at the Ottawa Citizen:

Why ‘terrorism’ shouldn’t be in Canada’s Criminal Code

How can someone who worked for CSIS for 15 years think it’s a good idea to remove this offence from the code? Because what we call terrorism has become increasingly politicized.

…Terrorism has become a heavily politicized issue that is applied haphazardly in law and is not necessary as a specific charge to ensure that those who plan and/or execute serious acts of violence for political, religious or ideological reasons spend a long time behind bars.

First, a bit of history: Terrorism has not been an offence under the Criminal Code for very long. It was shortly after Sept. 11, 2001 that the Anti-Terrorism Act was passed. Prior to that, acts which most would agree were terrorist in nature were prosecuted using other offences…The decision to encode terrorism was a rushed one (as was the decision to list the Proud Boys as a terrorist entity after the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol).

Second, finding someone guilty of terrorism does not usually lead to a longer sentence than that for murder. Interestingly, if a given crime is construed as a hate offence, rather than a terrorist one, there is precedent for condemning someone to more time in prison.

Third, it is hard to demonstrate that a given act is indeed terrorist in nature. The Crown has to to prove one or more of a political, religious or ideological motive (and what constitutes an “ideology”?). The same is not true for murder, for example, where it is merely necessary to demonstrate the act occurred. Why make a court case more difficult to win when the end result is the same vis-à-vis sentencing?

Why bring this up now? A few cases have arisen in which the decision (not) to lay terrorism charges smacks of political opportunism [emphasis added]:

— A woman who joined ISIL and is now back in Canada has NOT been charged under section 83.01 of the Code despite the fact that ISIL is a listed terrorist entity in Canada;

— An Edmonton man was found guilty of five counts of attempted murder [no terrorism charge] for a series of car rammings in 2017: he had an ISIL flag in his car at the time and was, in all likelihood, an ISIL wannabe.

In contrast:

— A London [Ontario] man who ran over and killed four members of a Muslim family in his vehicle last summer has been charged with terrorism although on the surface a charge of first-degree murder with a possible hate angle would be more effective [photo at top of the post is from this story, “Calls grow to lay terrorism charge in London attack. Why it won’t be easy”, with several videos including of PM Trudeau]. (Note, Alexandre Bissonnette was never charged with terrorism for his heinous attack on a Quebec City mosque in January 2017 in spite of its close similarities to the London vehicular attack.  Both strike me more as hate crimes than terrorism);

— A Toronto man who stabbed one woman to death in a massage parlour in 2020 was charged with “incel” (involuntary celibate) terrorism although it is far from certain that this type of violence is terrorist in nature.

In other words, the decision by the Crown to lay terrorism charges seems to have little to do with whether the acts themselves constitute terrorism and more with the “message” the Crown/ government wants to deliver [emphasis added]. It certainly appears to me that some kinds of “terrorism” are currently more fashionable for prosecution than others in Canada (for instance, so-called “right-wing” terrorism).

All this flies in the face of the fact that on a global scale, one form is by far more prevalent than any other: Islamist terrorism (I do not use the bureaucratic term “Ideologically Motivated Violent Extremism” favoured by the Trudeau government, a phrase that was non-existent when I worked counter-terrorism in the 2000s and 2010s).

…Given the shameless politicization of the term “terrorism” and its nebulous impact on ensuring that the guilty incur appropriate punishment, it is time to excise it from the code.

Note that a decision to do so would have absolutely no impact on the ability of CSIS and the RCMP to investigate: CSIS’s ability to look into terrorism has been part of the agency’s mandate since its creation out of the former RCMP Security Service in 1984. The only time this term is legally relevant is when charges are laid.

We have arrived at a stage in Canada where the term “terrorism” is used to cover phenomena it should not. When everything is terrorism, nothing is.

Phil Gurski worked at CSE and CSIS as an analyst for 32 years.  His latest book is The Peaceable Kingdom: A history of terrorism in Canada from Confederation to the present.

Sure makes sense to me. Would also put a stop to talking heads on television panel shows debating whether or not any particularly awful crime constitutes “terrorism”, almost always in order to make their own political or ideological point.

By the way the UK devotes considerable police resources to counter-terrorism (understood generally to be Islamist). See: “Counter Terrorism Policing–Our Network“–of course the UK has suffered very much more from terrorism than Canada.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

The Dragon’s Growing Embrace of the Taliban–and the Poor Uyghurs (what East Turkestan Independence Movement anyway?)

It certainly looks like the PRC is working to become at least close to the paramount power in Afghanistan–and that the Talibs are willing to turn a blind eye, in return for Chinese backing, to what is happening in Xinjiang (known by many Uyghurs as “East Turkestan”). Also, what might the Taliban do with Uyghurs in Afghanistan to keep Beijing happy? Then there’s the Islamic State Khorasan factor, in Afghanistan itself vs the Talibs and perhaps trying the reach into Xinjiang. Several moving parts at play. At the Globe and Mail:

Chinese Foreign Minister meets Taliban officials as Afghan Islamic State affiliate appears to adopt Uyghur cause

James Griffiths

Asia correspondent Hong Kong

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wrapped up a series of meetings with top Taliban officials in Doha this week, as the militants continue to court Beijing for assistance in rebuilding Afghanistan.

A video posted Tuesday [Oct. 26] by Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid showed Mr. Wang receiving a gift from his Taliban counterpart, Amir Khan Muttaqi, in the Qatari capital. On Monday, the Chinese official met with Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban deputy prime minister.

According to Chinese state media, Mr. Wang pressed both men for assurances the Taliban were “making a clean break” with the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM). Beijing has long blamed the ETIM for terrorist attacks and unrest in China, particularly in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, though independent analysts are skeptical of Chinese claims about the group’s size and capabilities [emphasis added].

State media quoted Mr. Baradar as saying the Taliban “attaches great importance to China’s security concerns and will resolutely honour its promise and never allow any forces to use Afghan territory to harm China.” Taliban statements did not mention the terrorism issue, focusing instead on economic co-operation.

Beijing has been tentatively supportive of the new Afghan government since the Taliban swept to power in August…

…Prior to their takeover, Afghanistan was dependent on international aid for about 40 per cent of its GDP, according to the World Bank, and the country’s economy has been in free fall since August.

China has appeared willing to step in and fill this gap, though not nearly as fast as the Taliban would like. In Doha, Mr. Wang urged the U.S. and other Western countries to lift sanctions on the group and “engage with the Afghan Taliban in a rational and pragmatic manner to help Afghanistan embark on a path of healthy development,” according to state media.

He also called on the Taliban to “effectively protect the rights and interests of women and children,” a key sticking point for the international community [one doubts the PRC is at all serious about this, just playing to that–mythical–“international community“].

But Chinese officials remain wary of a potential security vacuum on the border of Xinjiang, where Beijing has been accused of interning millions of Uyghurs…One of its justifications for the crackdown in the region is the alleged threat of terrorism, which China has mostly linked to ETIM [emphasis added].

Most public information about ETIM comes from Chinese sources, and Beijing has blamed the group for protests and other unrest in Xinjiang to which it has no apparent link, including incidents China has previously laid at the feet of other Uyghur groups.

According to Sean Roberts, author of The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign Against a Muslim Minority, even ETIM’s name itself deserves skepticism.

“As far as I can tell, no group has ever called itself the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement or ETIM,” he writes. “However, the group of Uyghurs that is usually associated with the ETIM label did exist and did establish a community in Afghanistan between 1998 and 2001 with the intent of initiating an insurgency inside China, a goal it never came close to attaining [emphasis added].”

Mr. Roberts and other experts argue China has used the ETIM label to conflate a number of mostly tiny militant groups or extremists – some Uyghur separatists, some Islamists – in order to justify the crackdown in Xinjiang.

ETIM was designated a terror group by the U.S. during the George W. Bush administration, when Washington was cultivating Chinese support for the “war on terror.” But last year, the State Department delisted the group, saying that “for more than a decade, there has been no credible evidence that ETIM continues to exist [emphasis added].

…both the main Islamic State organization and its Afghan affiliate [IS-K] have largely avoided targeting China or even using the plight of the Uyghurs in their propaganda. This may be changing, according to Nodirbek Soliev, a senior analyst with the Singapore-based International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research.

[The group has a] growing disappointment with Beijing’s evolving diplomatic and economic engagement with the Taliban,” he wrote this week, using an alternative acronym for the group. “For ISK, a stronger Taliban state means more serious challenges to its ambitions and survival in Afghanistan. Increased Chinese involvement in the post-Taliban Afghanistan will further antagonize IS and ISK.”

Mr. Soliev added that ISIS-K may see the Taliban’s apparent willingness to deport Uyghurs as an opportunity to “position itself as a new protector,” increasing its opportunities for recruitment [emphasis added].

The Uyghurs just keep getting squeezed.:

Researchers Say Islamic World ‘Actively Collaborating’ With China’s Global Campaign Against Uyghurs

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

How far will this Review of RCMP go in its Conclusions? Recommending its Breakup?

Further to this post at the end of December 2020,

The Mounties’ Constable Plod, or, the Globe and Mail Maintains the Time may be Right to Bust Up the RCMP

one wonders how daring, how outside the box, this committee will dare to be:

As RCMP pleads for funds, national security committee launches mandate review
Mounties have flagged ‘significant resourcing challenges’ with its federal policing mandate

One of Canada’s key national security oversight committees announced this morning it is launching a review of the federal policing mandate of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police — a probe that comes as concerns mount about the force’s ability to adequately police emerging threats.

The RCMP’s federal policing department investigates cases involving national security, terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime.

*RCMP issues dire warning about its ability to police terrorism, foreign interference and cybercrime

*Canada’s spy-catching system caused delay, anxiety in Delisle case: former FBI official

While a number of reports over the last five years by prominent Canadians and other review bodies have highlighted significant challenges with the RCMP as an integrated organization [emphasis added, most Mounties are actually doing regular policing for all provinces except Ontario and Quebec, and municipal policing in quite a few places], none have specifically focused on the RCMP’s critical and diverse mandate in federal policing,” said Liberal MP David McGuinty, chair of the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP [website here]), in a media statement.

“I expect the committee’s review to highlight areas where the RCMP could strengthen its federal policing activities and to help to inform the public discussion around the RCMP’s unique role in this area.”

The special committee, whose members hold top secret security clearances and are bound to secrecy, said its review will dive into the RCMP’s federal policing activities, authorities and capabilities.

Based on their findings, the committee’s MPs and senators could make legislative and policy recommendations or suggest changes to the RCMP’s funding.

The force has pushed in recent years for more money to cover what it calls “significant resourcing challenges” for its federal policing unit.

“Without sufficient technology, tools and information systems, there is a risk that federal policing may not be able to meet critical operational requirements,” the RCMP stated in a report last year.

“Given the increasing demands on RCMP resources, particularly on national security files, the RCMP is facing significant resourcing challenges.”..

A related post from May 2020:

The RCMP is Stretched to the Limit and Beyond in a Number of Fields, Part 2

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

India, or, the World don’t Need much Canada, eh?

That’s the stinging (and largely true) message of this piece by Chris Selley (tweets here) at the National Post:

Canada is quite rightly grovelling for vaccines, but it doesn’t have to be this way

All of a sudden, Justin Trudeau isn’t so concerned about the plight of Indian farmers

[It had to be this way with India because of the constant courting by all Canadian parties of Canadian Sikh votes whilst turning a pretty blind eye to Khalistan supporters.]

All is well between Ottawa and New Delhi, it seems, or at least as well as it was before. Eleven weeks after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau annoyed the Indian government by going to bat for the country’s protesting farmers — he said his government had “reached out through multiple means directly to the Indian authorities to highlight our concerns,” and vowed (ludicrously) that “Canada will always be there to defend the right of peaceful protest” — a telephone call between Trudeau and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week seems to have settled the matter.

The Canadian headlines Monday were hardly at all about the farmers, and much more about the immediately tangible payoff: “India to send Canada COVID-19 vaccines ‘in less than a month’.”..

The Canadian PMO’s official readout of the call did not contain the word “farmer.” It mentioned the controversy only under its breath: “The leaders discussed Canada and India’s commitment to democratic principles, recent protests, and the importance of resolving issues through dialogue.”

Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava painted a rather grander portrait. “On the farmers’ protests, Prime Minister Trudeau commended efforts of the government of India to choose the path of dialogue as befitting in democracy,” Srivastava said, the financial newspaper Mint reported

Srivastava also took a pretty solid, subtle dig at one of Canadian politics’ uglier subplots: “(Trudeau) also acknowledged the responsibility of his government in providing protection to Indian diplomatic premises and personnel in Canada.”

Trudeau’s comments in support of the farmers came during a Dec. 1 online townhall with members of Canada’s Sikh community. Most of the protesting farmers are Sikhs. New Delhi claims Trudeau emboldened Sikh separatists in Canada, including extremists, who wish to establish a homeland they call Khalistan on what is now Indian and Pakistani territory. The extremists are most famous for blowing up Air India flight 182 in 1985, at a cost of 329 lives, 268 of them Canadian.

Speeches on the steps of the Indian consulate in Vancouver on Jan. 26 explicitly linked the farmers’ plight to the wider struggle for Khalistan. The Indian government alleges both the consul-general’s and Modi’s lives were directly threatened as well…

[A friend with Indian experience notes: “The serious part of the current discussion with Delhi is likely a renewed expectation on India’s part that we will take the Khalistanis seriously.” That remains to be seen for the Canadian political realities highlighted below; the Indians may end up quite disappointed and looking to get even.]

There has always been a reckoning waiting to happen in Canadian politics over Sikh extremism, and more generally over a foreign policy whose consistent incoherence can be traced in part to every political party’s constant wooing of ethnic blocs. Of course, that incoherence can be traced in much larger part to the fact that Canada really doesn’t matter on the world stage, and the parties that govern it care far more about exaggerating their own carefully branded efforts at improving the world than actually intensifying those efforts or making any big improvements.

…if we weren’t so dependent on other countries for the things we need — for everything from military self-defence to vaccines — we might be spared these indignities. In some situations, we might even have a bit of leverage. But at the moment we’ll happily flatter just about anyone who can guarantee us some vaccines. And rightly so. Beggars can’t be choosers. We should at least recognize, however, that we are officially beggars.

Ouch. Caption for photo at top of the post: “Trudeau dials Modi over Covid-19 vaccines requirement from India“.

Very relevant posts:

PM Justin Trudeau Continues to do his Best to Bugger Up Relations with India, esp. with Sikh Votes in Mind

Canadian Sikhs Pushing PM Trudeau’s Government over Farmer Protests at Delhi

The Results of PM Trudeau’s Foreign Policy (actually domestic vote-seeking policy) in Action, India Section

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

UN Peacekeeping: PM Trudeau and Liberals too Fearful to Meet their Pledges when they Realized the Realities of “Killer Peacekeeping”

Further to this post from 2016 when the then-newish Liberal government announced with great fanfare that Canada was back for UN peacekeeping,

“The end of peacekeeping, and what comes next for Canada’s soldiers”

the Trudeau government soon chickened out of any major commitment that might involve any real risk of numbers of fatalities, breaking quite a few public pledges along the way. But, hey, who cares what the rest of the world might think about this country’s esprit de sérieux? The Liberals soon realized most of the voting public they were relentlessly courting frankly didn’t give a damn, my dears; so they dithered for two more years and then sent a force to Mali to do the least dangerous mission they could put together (but note towards the end of this post what the Brits are doing in the Sahel). Excerpts from a Canadian Press piece by Lee Berthiaume (tweets here):

A look at Canadian peacekeeping 25 years after Rwanda

When now-retired major-general Guy Tousignant handed over command of the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Rwanda 1995, Canada had been involved in virtually every UN mission over the previous four-plus decades.

But after the scandal of Somalia, in which Canadian soldiers tortured and killed a teenage boy, the frustrations and failures of the UN’s efforts in Bosnia and Croatia, and the horrors of Rwanda, Canada started to withdraw from peacekeeping.

Read more: Number of Canadian peacekeepers deployed abroad hits 60-year low

Today, Canada has around 40 peacekeepers in the field. That’s a fraction of the 1,200 Canadian blue helmets and blue berets deployed when Tousignant left Rwanda.

That number is also about one-third of what it was when the federal Liberals came to power five years ago — despite repeated promises from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government for Canada to do more.

That the decline has continued is frustrating for some who worked with the Liberal government during its early years. They told The Canadian Press they supported the plan to re-engage in peacekeeping and they believed it was going to happen…

Most agree, to varying degrees, [that]…the potential electoral costs of a large-scale deployment of Canadian peacekeepers overseas are seen to outweigh the benefits.

“I think the Liberal government realized there was probably little votes in it,” says retired lieutenant-general and former Canadian army commander Andrew Leslie, who was an adviser to Trudeau before being elected as a Liberal MP in 2015.

“The characteristic of this current government is its relentless and ruthless focus on how to get re-elected. And promises were made and not kept.”

Leslie, who did not run for re-election last year, made clear he thinks other governments have made similar calculations in the past.

The Liberal government insists it is living up to its commitments, and that Canada is making a real difference at the UN.

It points to the year-long deployment of helicopters to Mali, which ended in August 2019, and the occasional deployment of a transport plane to Uganda [see this official, and not very informative, official webpage on the appropriately, and ironically, named Operation PRESENCE]. Canada is also spearheading efforts to increase the number of women on peacekeeping missions and working to prevent the use of child soldiers in conflict…

Roland Paris, a former foreign-policy adviser to Trudeau, said the government “has ended up in a place where it can say that it’s meeting its commitments to re-engage with peacekeeping, at really minimal cost.”

The transport plane deployed to Uganda on occasional basis to ferry troops and equipment to different UN missions in Africa is useful, said Paris, but “on its own, it’s a minimal commitment,” adding the same could be said of the contribution to Mali…

All say what is really needed is more Canadians in the field — something Trudeau called for ahead of the October 2015 election that brought the Liberals to power.

A survey conducted by Nanos Research on behalf of the Canadian Defence and Security Network in August found three in four respondents said they were supportive of peacekeeping. But it also found older respondents more supportive than a key target for the Liberals’ electoral efforts: young Canadians…

The government committed in August 2016 to deploying up to 600 troops and 150 police officers on UN missions, then delayed for years before sending helicopters to Mali after repeated requests from the UN and allies such as France and Germany.

The Liberals also promised in November 2017 to provide a 200-strong quick-reaction force to the UN. Three years later, it has yet to materialize.

“I see it as extreme risk sensitivity,” Paris said…

In the meantime, the UN struggles to make do with what member states have on offer. The British started a three-year deployment of 300 troops to Mali this month, but the mission there is still short hundreds of troops and police officers…

About that UK contribution to the UN’s MINUSMA mission (website here), the British Army has taken on the sort of boots on the ground role, running real risks, that PM Trudeau turned his back on. That sort of thing is noticed around the world even if barely, if at all, in Canada:

300 British troops deploy to Mali on UN Peacekeeping Mission

A UK task force has arrived in Mali to join the UN peacekeeping mission where they will provide a reconnaissance capability

UK troops arriving in Mali on an RAF A400M
UK troops arriving in Mali on an RAF A400M

300 UK troops have arrived in Mali as part of the UN’s peacekeeping mission, primarily drawn from the Light Dragoons alongside the Royal Anglian Regiment and supported by specialist trades from across the Armed Forces.

The UK Task Force will provide a highly specialised reconnaissance capability, conducting patrols to gather intelligence and engage with the local population to help the UN respond to threats from violent extremism, and weak governance…

And lookee here. also from the above government news release–the UK is also providing direct help on the ground to the separate French counter-terrorism combat operation in the Sahel, something this government would never contemplate (or might it? see below):

Alongside this, the MoD currently has 3 Chinook helicopters and 100 personnel in a logistics role supporting the French-led Counter-Terrorist mission, Operation BARKHANE [more here]. This is entirely separate from the UN mission, but they will be operating in the same region.

But in fact is there a slim chance that we might follow the Brits with some personnel and equipment in-theatre for Barkhane? Seems unlikely to me but see this recent post:

Canadian Military to Support French Counter-Terrorism Combat Mission (Barkhane) in Mali/Sahel?

Lots more on what I sometimes call today’s “killer peacekeeping” at these earlier posts.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds