Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Liberate our motherland from all those who occupy us.

Liberate our motherland from all those who occupy us.
Welcome speech of Dr Shabir Choudhry to participants of JKIPA Conference on 26 November 2017.

Friends and colleagues Aslamo alaykam and good afternoon to all of you.

I welcome you all on behalf of Jammu Kashmir International Peoples Alliance. Some people have sarcastically asked, ‘Oh, have you set up another alliance’? Answer is no. This Alliance was formulated after many rounds of talks on 29 October 2014, under Geneva Declaration. The first paragraph of the Geneva Declaration reads:

People of State of Jammu and Kashmir have been victims of aggression, extremism and violence. Since 1947, they are forcibly divided and continue to suffer on both sides of the Line of Control. This forced division and suffering must come to an end, as people deserve to enjoy their fundamental human rights’.

Since its inception in October 2014, we have had many conferences on various topics related to Jammu and Kashmir. These conferences were held in major European cities like London, Birmingham, Geneva, Vienna, Brussels and Turin (Italy) etc.

Today’s conference is in line with our policy enshrined in the Geneva Declaration. It is unfortunate that Secretary General of the Alliance Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri could not make it to this conference due to ill health. However, he has extended his regards to you all, and wished us all the best for the conference.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while replying to a question in a Conference in London School of Economics, unambiguously stated and rejected the idea of an "independent Kashmir". He said an "independent Kashmir is often floated around but has no reality. There is no support for the demand for independent Kashmir".

In view of this statement, we decided to have this Conference; and topic is as follows:
·      Is there no support for an independent Jammu and Kashmir?

We all know what the Indian policy is on Jammu and Kashmir dispute; and what wrongs they have done, including violation of human rights, custodial deaths and killings. However, Pakistani policy is still, by and large, shrouded with confusion, because they use name of religion to advance their agenda on Jammu and Kashmir dispute, and many of us still see Pakistan in light of Islamic brotherhood. They regard Pakistan as a friend and well-wisher of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

We would like you to discuss and analyse the following points:

·      Role of Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir dispute;
·      Do Pakistani government have any right to represent us as an advocate of people of Jammu and Kashmir.
·      Is Pakistan correct in saying that there is no support for an independent Jammu and Kashmir.

Friends and colleagues

What Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said in London is nothing new. It is the state policy of Pakistan since October 1947; and Prime Minister Abbasi has only reiterated the policy which has been officially practised by the Pakistani leaders.

He was advancing a pro Pakistan policy. Other rulers of Pakistan did exactly what he has done. So, we don’t need to be angry with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. We don’t have to be pro India or pro Pakistan. We must be pro Jammu and Kashmir, pro people and pro peace.

We need to formulate a policy which can enable us to liberate our motherland from all those who occupy us. The GHQ given policy of liberating Kashmir Valley from India was a non-starter; and it has only caused us misery and suffering.

Unity is must if we, people of citizens of former Princely state of Jammu Kashmir want to make any progress towards achieving our goal of unification and independence. However, it is sad to note that ideological confusion and divisions among us is increasing. We have become more intolerant, more aggressive and more divided; and this suits those who have occupied us.

Some of us still think losing our identity, and adopting national identity of those who occupy us is the best option. Some want to become Indians and others want to become Pakistanis. Some even want to make Jammu and Kashmir an Islamic state; and then become part of Pan Islamic Movement. Of course, a majority, if we include the silent majority, wants their national identity and want Jammu and Kashmir to become an independent country with friendly relations with all neighbours.

Some people of Jammu and Kashmir could be confused, but it is pleasure to note that thinking people of Pakistan think we should opt for independence. Mr Moonis Ahmar, a Pakistani Professor of International Relations writes:

‘The identity of Jammu & Kashmir requires that it should have a separate state managed fairly by the representatives of the five regions of J&K while having peaceful relations with their neighbours, India, Pakistan and China. Although, it will be a landlocked state yet its viability will depend on the leadership of J&K that how successful it is to unite the people and concentrate on the process of human and social development’. 1
The Pakistani Professor further says people of Jammu and Kashmir are the real stakeholders. However, for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute people of Jammu and Kashmir, ‘should, regardless of ethnic, lingual, religious and sectarian contradictions must seek unity among themselves. Unless, Kashmiris are united on both sides of the line of control, the vision for an independent Kashmir would remain unrealistic’. 2
I hope this conference will be able to give a logical and unambiguous message to those who occupy us.

Writer is a political analyst, and author of many books and booklets. Also, he is Chairman South Asia Watch, London and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.com

References:
1.    Kashmiris are the real stakeholders, Moonis Ahmar, Professor of International Relations at the University of Karachi. Published in Daily Times, November 24th 2017.

2.    Ibid


Sunday, 3 December 2017

More American Troops to Afghanistan - To Keep the Chinese Out Lithium and the Battle for Afghanistan’s Mineral Riches.

More American Troops to Afghanistan - To Keep the Chinese Out Lithium and the Battle for Afghanistan’s Mineral Riches. By Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, August 24, 2017

Trump calls for escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Why? Is it part of the “Global War on Terrorism”, going after the bad guys, or is it something else? 
Unknown to the broader public, Afghanistan has significant oil, natural gas and strategic raw material resources, not to mention opium, a multibillion dollar industry which feeds America’s illegal heroin market. 
These mineral reserves include huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and lithium, which is a strategic raw material used in the production of high tech batteries for laptops, cell phones and electric cars.
The implication of Trump’s resolve is to plunder and steal Afghanistan’s mineral riches to finance the “reconstruction” of a country destroyed by the US and its allies after 16 years of war, i.e  “War reparations” paid to the aggressor nation?  
Screenshot: The Independent.
An internal 2007 Pentagon memo, quoted by the New York Times suggests that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.” (New York Times, U.S. Identifies Vast Mineral Riches in Afghanistan – NYTimes.com, June 14, 2010, See also BBC, 14 June 2010, see also Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2010).
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment…
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said… “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines. (New York Times, op. cit.)
What this 2007 report does not mention is that this resource base has been known to both Russia (Soviet Union) and China going back to the 1970s.
While the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani has called upon President Donald Trump to promote US. investments in mining, including lithium, China is in the forefront in developing projects in mining and energy as well as pipeline projects and transport corridors.
China is a major trading and investment partner with Afghanistan (alongside Russia and Iran), which potentially encroaches upon US economic and strategic interests in Central Asia
China’s intent is to eventually integrate land transportation through the historical Wakhan Corridor which links Afghanistan to China’s Xinjiang Uyghur autonomous region (see map below).
Afghanistan’s estimated $3 trillion worth of unexploited minerals, Chinese companies have acquired rights to extract vast quantities of copper and coal and snapped up the first oil exploration concessions granted to foreigners in decades. China is also eyeing extensive deposits of lithium, uses of which range from batteries to nuclear components.

The Chinese are also investing in hydropower, agriculture and construction. A direct road link to China across the remote 76-kilometer border between the two countries is in progress. (New Delhi Times, July 18, 2015)
Afghanistan has extensive oil reserves which are being explored by China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC).
Source Mining News, August 2010
“War is Good for Business” 
The US military bases are there to assert US control over Afghanistan’s mineral wealth. According to Foreign Affairs, “there are more U.S. military forces deployed there [Afghanistan] than to any other active combat zone”, the official mandate of  which is “to go after” the Taliban, Al Qaeda and ISIS as part of the “Global war on Terrorism”.
Why so many military bases? Why the additional forces sent in by Trump?
The unspoken objective of US military presence in Afghanistan is to keep the Chinese out, i.e hinder China from establishing trade and investments relations with Afghanistan.
More generally, the establishment of military bases in Afghanistan on China’s Western border is part of a broader process of military encirclement of the People’s Republic of China.–i.e naval deployments in the South China sea, military facilities in Guam, South Korea, Okinawa, Jeju Island, etc. (see 2011 map below)
Pivot to Asia
Under the Afghan-US security pact,  established under Obama’s Asian pivot, Washington and its NATO partners have established a permanent military presence in Afghanistan, with military facilities located close to China’s Western frontier.  The pact was intended to allow the US to maintain their nine permanent military bases, strategically located on the borders of China, Pakistan and Iran as well as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
US military presence, however, has not prevented the expansion of trade and investment relations between China and Afghanistan. A strategic partnership agreement was signed between Kabul and Beijing in 2012. Afghanistan has observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
Moreover, neighboring Pakistan –which is now a full member of the SCO–, has established close bilateral relations with China. And now Donald Trump  is threatening Pakistan, which for many years has been the target of  America’s “undeclared drone war”.
In other words, a shift in geopolitical alignments has taken place which favors the integration of Afghanistan alongside Pakistan into the Eurasian trade, investment and energy axis.
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and China are cooperating in oil and gas pipeline projects. The SCO of which Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are full members is providing a geopolitical platform for the integration of Afghanistan into the Eurasian energy and transport corridors.
China is eventually intent upon integrating Afghanistan into the transport network of Western China as part of the Belt and Road initiative.
Moreover, China’s state owned mining giant, Metallurgical Corporation of China Limited (MCC) “has already managed to take control of the huge copper deposit Mes Aynak, which lies in an area controlled by the Taliban.  Already in 2010, Washington feared “that resource-hungry China will try to dominate the development of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth which would upset the United States”… After winning the bid for its Aynak copper mine in Logar Province, China clearly wants more” (Mining.com)
China and the Battle for Lithium
Chinese mining conglomerates are now competing for strategic control of the global Lithium market, which until recently was controlled by the “Big Three” conglomerates including Albemarle’s Rockwood Lithium (North Carolina), The Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile and FMC Corporation, (Philadelphia) which operates in Argentina. While the Big Three dominate the market, China now accounts for a large share of global lithium production, categorized as the fourth-largest lithium-producing country behind Australia, Chile and Argentina. Meanwhile China’s Tianqi Group has taken control of Australia’s largest lithium mine, called Greenbushes. Tianqi now owns a 51-percent stake in Talison Lithium, in partnership with North Carolina’s Albemarle.
This thrust in lithium production is related to China’s rapid development of the electric car industry:
China is now “The Center Of Lithium Universe”. China is already the largest market for electric cars. BYD, Chinese company backed by Warren Buffett, is the largest EV manufacturer in the world and Chinese companies are producing the largest amount of lithium chemicals for the batteries. There are 25 companies, which are making 51 models of electric cars in China now. This year we will see over 500,000 EVs sold in China. It took GM 7 years to sell 100,000 Chevy Volts from 2009. BYD will sell 100,000 EVs this year alone! (Mining.com, November 2016 report)
The size of the reserves of Lithium in Afghanistan have not been firmly established.
Analysts believe that these reserves which are yet to be exploited will not have a significant impact on the global lithium market.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.

Copyright ©
 Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 2017