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Major events in 2011.

January

January 1st – Estonia adopts the Euro currency and becomes the 17th Eurozone country.

January 4th – Prince Ali-Reza of Iran, born 1966, commits suicide. Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor in Tunisia dies after burns of self immolation.

January 9th-15th – Southern Sudan holds a referendum on independence. The Sudanese electorate votes in favour of independence for the creation of the new state in July.

Flooding in Brazilian state, Rio de Janeiro kills 903.

January 14th – Arab spring. The Tunisian government falls after a month of violent protests and President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia after 23 years in power.

January 24th – 37 people are killed and more than 180 wounded in a bombing at Domodedovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia.

February                          

February 11th – Arab spring. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigns after unrest and protests calling for his departure. The control is left in the hands of the military until general elections can be held.

February 22nd – March 14th – Uncertainty over Libyan oil output causes crude oil prices to rise over 20% over a 2 week period following the Arab spring causing the 2011 energy crises.

February 27th – 25th Prime Minister of Turkey, Necmettin Erbakan passes away, born 1926.

March

March 4th – Dutch Nobel physicist, Simon van der Meer, born 1925 passes away.

March 11th – A 9.1 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hits the east of Japan killing 15,840 and leaves 3,926 missing. Tsunami warnings are issued in 50 countries and territories and emergencies are declared at 4 nuclear power plants affected by the quake.

March 15th – Arab spring. Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain declares a 3 month state of emergency as troops from the Gulf Co-operation Council are sent to quell the civil unrest.

March 17th – Arab spring. Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; The United Nations Security Council votes 10-0 to create a no-fly zone over Libya in response to allegations of government aggression against civilians.

March 19th – Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; continuously attacks on Libyan rebels by forces in support of leader Muammar Gaddafi leads to military intervention authorized under UNSCR 1973 begins as French fighter jets make reconnaissance flights over Libya.

April

April 5th – Anna Hazare began his famous faste at Jantar Mantar in Delhi to press for the demand to form a joint committee of the of the representatives of the Government and the civil society to draft a stronger anti-corruption bill with stronger penal actions and more independence to the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Ombudsmen in the states), after his demand was rejected by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He said he wanted to fast until the Lokpal bill was passed. The movement attracted attention in the media, and thousands of supporters. Almost 150 people reportedly joined Hazare in his fast. People have shown support in internet social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

April 11th – Former Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo is arrested in his home in Abidjan by supporters of elected President Alassane Ouattara with support from French forces ending the 2010 – 2011 Ivorian crises and civil war.

April 29th – The wedding of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in London.

May

May 1st – May 2nd – U.S. President Barack Obama announces that Osama bin Laden, founder of the militant group Al Qaeda has been killed during an American military operation in Pakistan.

May 14th – 32 year old maid, Nafissatou Diallo, at the Sofitel New York Hotel alleged that Strauss-Kahn had sexually assaulted her after she entered his suite. Strauss-Kahn was formally indicted on 18 May and granted US$1 million bail, plus a US$5 million bond, the following day. He was ordered to remain confined to a New York apartment under guard. After completing a lengthy investigation, prosecutors filed a motion to drop all charges against Strauss-Kahn, stating that they were not convinced of his culpability beyond a reasonable doubt due to serious issues in the complainant’s credibility and inconclusive physical evidence, and therefore could not ask a jury to believe in it.

May 16th – The European Union agree to a € 78 billion rescue deal for Portugal. The bailout loan will be equally split between the European Financial Stabilization Mechanism, The European Financial Stability Facility and the International Monetary Fund.

May 26th – Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic, wanted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity is arrested in Serbia.

June

June 4th – Chile’s Puyehue volcano erupts causing air traffic cancellations across South America, New Zealand, Australia and forcing over 3,000 people to evacuate.

June 5th – Arab spring. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh travels to Saudi Arabia for treatment of an injury sustained during an attack on the presidential palace. At the same time, protesters celebrate his transfer of power to his Vice-President.

June 9th – Indian painter, M.F. Hussain, born 1915 passes away.

June 12th – Arab spring. Thousands of Syrians flee to Turkey as Syrian troop’s siege to Jisr ash-Shugur.

July

July 7th – The world’s first artificial organ transplant is achieved, using an artificial windpipe coated with stem cells.

July 9th – South Sudan secedes from Sudan as a result from the independence referendum held in January.

July 20thGoran Hadžić is detained in Serbia, becoming the last of 161 people indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The United Nations declares a famine in southern Somalia, the first in over 30 years.

July

July 21st – Space shuttle Atlantis lands successfully at Kennedy Space Center after completing STS-135, concluding NASA’s space shuttle program.

July 22nd – 76 people are killed in twin terrorist attacks in Norway after a bombing in Regjeringskvartalet, the government center in Oslo and a shooting at a political youth camp on the island of Utøya.

July 31st – September 24th – Arab spring; Because of the uncertainties associated with a clamp-down of the free press. It is believed that at least 121 people were killed in a Syrian Army tank raid on the town of Hama and over 150 people are reportedly killed across the country. The total number of the dead is unknown but estimated to be 3,000 as for September.

August

August 5th – NASA announces that its MARS Reconnaissance Orbiter captured photographic evidence of possible liquid water on Mars during warm seasons. Later Juno, the first solar-powered spacecraft on a mission to Jupiter, is launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

August 20th -28th – Arab spring; and the Libyan civil war. In the battle of Tripoli, Libyan rebels took control over the nation’s capital effectively overthrowing the government of Muammar Gaddafi.

September

September 5th – India and Bangladesh signs a pact to end their 40 year old border demarcation dispute.

September 10th – Zanzibar ferry sinking; The MV Spice Islander, carrying at least 800 people sinks off the coast of Zanzibar killing 240 people.

September 12th – Approximately 100 Kenyans dies after a petrol pipeline explodes in Nairobi.

September 14th – German Nobel physicist, Rudolf Mössbauer, born 1929 passes away.

September 19th – With 434 dead, United Nations launches a $357 million appeal for victims of the 2011 Sindh floods in Pakistan.

September 20th – Burhanuddin Rabbani, President of Afghanistan from 1992 to 1996 is killed by a suicide bomber.

October

October 4th – 2011 Mogadishu bombing; 100 people are killed in a car bombing in the Somali capital Mogadishu.

In Thailand, 657 people are killed by floods during a severe monsoon season with 58 of the country’s 77 provinces affected.

The death toll from the flooding of Cambodia’s Mekong River and attendant flash floods reaches 207.

October 5th – American computer engineer Steve Jobs, born 1955, passes away.

October 18th – Israel and the Palestinian militant organization Hamas began a major prisoner swap as they released the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,280 prisoners and Israeli-Arab prisoners held in Israel including 280 prisoners serving life sentences for planning and perpetrating terror attacks.

October 20th –Arab spring and the Libyan civil war; Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killed in Sirte with National Transitional Council forces taking control of the city and ending the war.

Basque separatist militant organization ETA declares and ends to its 43 year campaign of political violence that has killed over 800 people since 1968.

October 23rd – A earthquake with 7,2 magnitude destroyed the city of Van in eastern Turkey, killing 604 people and damaging about 2,200 buildings.

October 27th – After an emergency meeting in Brussels, the European Union announced a agreement to tackle the European sovereign debt crises which includes a writedown of 50% of Greek bonds, a recapitalization of European banks and an increase of the bailout fund of the European Financial Stability Facility totaling to €1 trillion.

October 31st – This date was selected by the UN as the symbolic date when global population reached 7billion.

UNESCO admitted Palestine as a member following a vote in which 107 member states supported and 14 opposed.

November

November 26th – The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity is launched from the Kennedy Space Center. It is planned that it will land on Mars on August 5, 2012.

November 28th – A congressional investigative committee disclosed Monday that it has begun a wide-ranging probe into operations at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary, escalating public scrutiny of the military installation charged with handling America’s war dead. In December, a federal investigation by the United States Office of special counsel found the center had committed “gross mismanagement” of remains, including losing body parts, sawing off the damaged arm bone of a soldier so he would fit in a casket without telling his family, and lax supervision. Three supervisors were disciplined but not removed from duty. The Special Counsel investigation revealed that Air Force officials had attempted to silence whistleblowers by firing them from their jobs, had falsified records, and lied to investigators.

December

December 15th – The United States formally declares an end to the Iraq war.

December 16th – Tropical storm Washi hits the Philippines causing floods, killing more than 957 and 49 are officially listed as missing.

December 17th – Kim Jong-il, Supreme leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea dies.

December 18th – Vaclay Havel, Czech playwright, 10th President of Czechoslovakia and 1st President of the Czech Republic passes away.

December 22nd – Lawmakers in France’s National Assembly – the lower house of parliament, voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft law outlawing genocide denial, which will be debated next year in the Senate. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan described the bill put forward by members of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s ruling party as “politics based on racism, discrimination, xenophobia.”He said Sarkozy, was sacrificing good ties “for the sake of political calculations,” suggesting the president was trying to win the votes of ethnic Armenians in France in an election next year.

Erdogan said Turkey was cancelling all economic, political and military meetings with its NATO partner and said it would cancel permission for French military planes to land, and warships to dock, in Turkey.

22nd- Several coordinated bombs exploded in Baghdad. At least 16 bombs went of killing over 72 and injuring more than 200 people.

23rd – A earthquake with 5,8 schook Christchurch, New Zealand. Same place was hit with 6,3 in February where 180 people lost their lives.

Nobel Prizes

  • Chemistry – Dan Shechtman
  • Economics – Christopher A. Sims and Thomas J. Sargent.
  • Literature – Tomas Tranströmer
  • Peace – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman
  • Physics – Saul Perlmutter, Adam G. Riess and Brian P. Schmidt.
  • Physiology or Medicine – Bruce A. Beutler, Jules A. Hoffmann and Ralph M. Steinman

 

Karo-Kari; A twisted mind

Karo-Kari, another menace, another twisted way of murdering people has existed for many years in Pakistan. Various news agencies NGO’s have highlighted the growing problem for years but the government has failed to do something about it.

For those who don’t know what Karo-Kari is, it is a premeditated honour killing which is originated from the rural and tribal areas of Sindh, Pakistan. Karo-Kari is part of cultural tradition in Sindh and is a compound word literally meaning “black male” (Karo) and “black female (Kari), a metaphoric term for adulterer and adulteress. Honour killing has given different names in different regions of Pakistan  as it is named kala-kali in Punjab, tor-tora (KPH), siyahkari in Baluchistan and karo-kari in Sindh.

Once a female is labeled as a Kari, male family members get the self-authorized justification to kill her and the co-accused Karo to restore family honor, although in the majority of cases the victim is female, while the murderers are male. Such “immoral behavior” may take the form of alleged marital infidelity, refusal to submit to an arranged marriage, demanding a divorce, perceived flirtatious behavior and rape. Suspicion and accusations alone are many times enough to defile a family’s honor and therefore enough to warrant the killing of the woman. Women are seen as property with minor or none rights in the communities that the government mainly ignores the daily murders.

Women who are believed to have brought shame and dishonor to their family by engaging in illicit pre-marital or extra-marital relations are targeted. Men who have engaged in sexual activity with the female are also killed but majority is women. In order for the honour to be restored, a male family member must kill the female who is found guilty. What’s outraging is that the victim has absolutely no given opportunity to defend herself and once found guilty, only blood will remove the stain of dishonor. Other violations can be a woman refusing to enter into an arrange marriage, seeking divorce (even from an abusive husband), having relations with a man outside of marriage (sexual or non-sexual), flirting and even if she is the victim of rape. Most of the murders take place because of suspicions, misunderstandings and animosity. It reminds of crime of passion where the husband kills his wife. The accusation comes as a sudden surprise that usually the victims has no opportunity to save their own lives, seek help, find protection from the police or court. And because it usually happens inside the family, the perpetrators get away with paying blood money and forgiving each other.

I believe that this practice is just an bad excuse for getting rid of women, get hold of someone’s land, earning blood money  and to take revenge.

If and when the case reaches a court of law, the victim’s family may ‘pardon’ the murderer (who is usually one of them), or be pressurized to access blood-money as compensation. The murderer then goes free.

Once such a pardon has been secured, the state has no further writ on the matter. Human rights agencies in Pakistan have repeatedly emphasized that women falling prey to Karo-Kari were usually those wanting to marry of their own will. In many cases, the victims held properties that the male members of their families did not wish to lose if the women chose to marry outside the family. More often than not, the Karo-Kari murder relates to inheritance problems, feud-settling or simply to get rid of the woman. The families always say that it was suicide or fatal accident.

Lives claimed

 Unmarked graves of victims

During the first months of 2011, 11 murders took place in Sindh province of Pakistan. 6 women and 5 men were killed.

An unbelievable incident was when a 25 year old man killed his 55 year old mother suspecting her for having a relationship with another man. Begum Khatoon, the mother was sleeping when her son Hussain shot her to death. Hussain and his friends later threw her body 50 meters away from the village. The victim’s brother filed a report at the police station against his nephew and 2 others. The cold blooded killer stated from prison: “I don’t have any regrets for killing my mother because she was kari and deserved punishment”. “I am a man of honour and will not spare the karo, once I am out of the lock-up.”

In April a police constable shot and killed his wife on the pretext of Karo-Kari when he saw her in an objectionable state with her brother-in-law in his house. She was his second wife. The same month, 5 other people were killed for the same reason on 19th and 20th April 2011. Sono Mastoi had been suspecting his wife for having sexual relations with the youths of the area. He first shot his wife and then the 2 boys. There was not performed any post mortem, neither was anyone arrested.

12th April 2011, Farooq accused his wife Mukhtaran for having illicit relations with Asif Unnar, a residedent in the same village. Farooq tried to kill his wife but she managed to escape and hide in her parent’s house. Next day, Farooq went to a landlord, Mohammad Hassan Unnar telling him the story and Mokhammad Hassan gathered a meeting of community elders at his home. The accused Karo, Asif was on the run and the elders ordered that both Karo-Kari should be killed. When Mukhtarans father got the news, he went to the nearby police station and placed a police report against the 9 men, including Farooq and Mohammad Hassan. They were soon arrested.

Saima Bibi, a 21 year old woman was electrocuted by her family because she had secretly married a man they didn’t approve of. Police arrested her father and 3 other relatives after being tipped off from an anonymous caller. Bibi, an ethnic Baluch, defied demands from her family to marry a Baluch relative and instead ran away to the southern port city of Karachi to marry a fellow villager. Her father and several other relatives traveled to Karachi and duped her into coming back home, when she didn’t listen to further demands they electrocuted her, he said. Bibi’s family told police she committed suicide on Friday in their village in the district of Bahawalpur in Punjab, but a medical report showed signs of torture and electrocution on her hands, legs and back, police said.

Another case was that of Taslim Khatoon Solangi, 17, of Hajna Shah village in Khairpur district, which was widely reported after her father, 57-year-old Gul Sher Solangi, publicized the case. He alleged his 8 months’ pregnant daughter was tortured and killed on March 7 on the orders of her father-in-law, who accused her of carrying a child conceived out of wedlock.

Official numbers from the Pakistani Senate showed that more than 4,000 people had been killed in the name of honour the last years as a result of Karo-Kari. Of the victims, almost 2,800 were women and over 1,327 were men. The highest number of murders had happened in Punjab, followed by Sindh, the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), and the south western province of Baluchistan. Of 2,774 murdered women, 1,578 were killed in Punjab, 751 in Sindh, 260 in NWFP and 185 in Baluchistan. Of the 1,327 murdered men, 675 were killed in Punjab, 348 in Sindh, 188 in NWFP and 116 in Baluchistan. The actual numbers are much higher and many cases go unreported because of loyalty to the family.

Turn the blind eye

Even though the authorities haven’t exactly shown too much interest in punishing the criminals, there have been some attempts to stop this heinous act. In December 2004, the government passed a bill which made Karo-Kari punishable under the same penal as murder. However, this bill seems very useless besides another Pakistani law; a proven murderer can seek or buy pardon from the victim’s family. No attempts of changing the law have been made, and since a family member commits the crime, almost all of them are pardoned. And once the perpetrator is pardoned, the state cannot to any further thing with the case.

Illiteracy and Ignorance

It has been noted and highlighted by sociologists that honour killings do not always have something to do with religion but rather from customs and cultures from different areas of the country. The practice of karo-kari actually dates back to the pre-Islamic period when Arab settlers occupied a region adjacent to Sindh, which was known as Baluchistan according to Dr. Kay Ashraf.

The number of honour killings in Pakistan is estimated to be around 2,500 to 3,000 cases every year, however, a good number of these cases go unreported or are passed off as suicides and only 25% of these are brought to justice.

These murders happen in rural areas and villages with a high number of uneducated people. People get married in an early age and children don’t get education. Women and girls are usually forced to stay home and not socialize. The husband and in laws can literally do anything they want and walk unpunished.

The government and authorities has not done enough to stop this barbaric custom. When I look at the numbers of females killed, I notice that it is much higher than the men. So does it mean that women are more unfaithful? I don’t think so. Besides all the NGO’s, the media workers should have enough freedom of speech and censorship to highlight this problem.

Something must be done to save these women from this heinous act because they also deserve a life without violence and abuse.

Syrian Hitler in the making – Bashar al Assad

Since the Arab Spring Uprisings I have been observing the entire phases of the Syrian Revolution which though was started modestly but largely the protests were organized outside Syrian state domain but there was something an incident which will fume the hearts of Syrians with the fire of freedom and the moment came which provoked the greater revolt of the 21st century Arab World in a Tunisian style by Hasan Ali Akleh who set himself on fire by pouring gasoline the same way as Mohamed Bouazizi of Tunisia did on 17 December 2010 who actually laid the foundation of Arab Uprising whereas the later laid the foundation stone for the historic Syrian revolution but why this happen in a country where people love to live in happiness, where even though the state is ruled by Islamic regime but secularism and freedom of religion is guaranteed under constitutional provisions.

However I looked back to the history of Syrian politics and its political sufferings of its citizens under the draconian laws nexus which forced them to stay behind closed doors of the silent streets. This uprising has its roots tracing to the event which would change the scenario of the entire Syrian heartland on 10th June 2000 when former President of Syria Hafez Al Assad passed away who was succeeded by his direct hair apparent Bashar Al Assad.

A bright looking with soft touch President of Syria – Bashar Al Assad used to be man who when took presidential oath in 2000 after his father’s death Hafez Al Assad who ruled Syria for 29 years until his death every Syrian thought that he is the leader who will give them their freedom, their authority to live freely in a democratic and fundamental society, a leader who will raise their lives in from the state of pariah where they will have values to live, where they can practice their rights to stand against the injustice being done from decades under the emergency rule which was imposed on them un-necessarily in 1963 but the eyes of this new wolf of Bashar were betraying the faith of his citizens.

From the date he was elected as the Syrian Premier countless allegations were made against him and his regime. Since the implementation of the emergency state the record of human rights has remain poor throughout which has now worsened and is termed as the worst in the world after 26 January 2011 uprising whose light continues to shine brighter. After the bloodiest of all massacre in Hama by Bashar’s father in 1982 by any Arab regime in modern day Middle East against its own people more than 10 – 40000 people were brutally killed under scorched earth which even today haunts the entire Arab world specifically Syrians.

Though belonged from a Alawite community which is a section of Shia Islam and is minority in the Sunni majority Syria, has been ruling the country now for more than 40 years but there had never been any problem in the lives of people much larger until the holocaust of Hama did not happened then with this incident of horror created the already much widened fault line between the historically divided people of this nation. Who had knew the one day even after that terrified event the land of silence will broke its silence and will raise its head against the monster who would never like to watch anyone taking a mass stand against it.

The protest started on 28 January 2011 in Ar-Raqqah for the killing of two soldiers of Kurdish descent but this will going to shape into a new raging storm hence Day of Rage wall called on February 5th through social networking sites of Facebook and Twitter which played an important role in organizing the entire series of protests across the country. Within no time world smells the flavor of Syrian air all across the globe in front of Syrian embassies which goes for sometime but with no response to receive from the deaf authorities while the developments in the oppositions were on the rise the city of Daraa was preparing to become the centre of first violent spree where over 100,000 people gathered to march against the regime in which at least 20 protestors were killed.

Since then the violence spread throughout the national territory and clashes now has become the daily part of everyone’s lives there. More than 3000 people have been killed so far by the political forces and more than thousands detained for breaching the law and for defaming the government. People in Syria are fighting for their rights since independence but whenever the demand arises it was crushed brutally by force.

The promising decade old leader Bashar too had denied the freedom and liberty to his people for which now he is facing the music playing with the lives lost fighting against him. He is turning no stone unturned to crush the rebellion which has shaken the very foundation of his Baa’th Party. The revolution is now progressing in its eight months of blood bath battling with no means to stand guard against the heavily armed and in control their president who has become an admirer of Adolf Hitler is now walking on his footsteps. Bashar al Assad regime though has always been criticized by the international community but has never been more brutal than ever before as it now.

When the innocent people are being slaughter in Syria by this monster dictator the international community is still enjoying its sleep in the warmth of its comfort. Till now the progress has been slow so far in terms of bringing the Baath regime and its leader the main guilty Bashar Al Assad who has not even forcefully tortured his own people but also have killed them brutally just like a butcher slaughter the speechless innocent animals in the same way he is slaughtering his own people just like anything.

Though International Court of Justice had said about the Syrian regime and its forces of being guilty but nothing till now has been concretize neither diplomatically nor strategically. But in order to break the complexities of Syrian protest killings and come out with any solution one needs to understand the Syria’s strategic importance and its undisrupted relations with Iranian Mullah Regime and terror outfits of Hezbollah and Hamas. Since the Iran’s Islamic revolution Syria has been the closest ally of Iran who had always supported unconditionally in every circumstances whether it was Iraq – Iran war of 1980 and 1988, providing strategic positioning and lobbying for Iranian cause or when USSR tried to isolate Iran from being a powerful neighbor of Afghanistan during Soviet invasion in the bordering country.

In return Iran too has always been supporting the Baath party government with economic and financial aid in large amount, technology, even with cheap oil supplies to Syria at time of embargo. This connection is not only on the basis of support but also on terms of the religious ideology which serves as the bond between the Shiite nexus which spreads from Persian Gulf to Eastern Mediterranean which places Syria in a centered location strategically placed.

Though dominated by the Sunni Muslim population but the Alawite minority which traces its roots to Iran Shiites has been ruling the country from last four decades crushing all the uprisings with a heavily armored fist. This makes the Assad Family the closest allies and aide to not only Iran but also Hezbollah. Bashar who enjoys the leadership position in the Shiite world had very holocaustic ideology against the other factions and sections of not only Syrian community but also the regional one.

Even though the secular state has been guaranteed under the adopted constitution but it’s only for the name sake which never has seen the reality where people who are Kurd, Sunnis, Catholics and Jews continue to face the discriminatory use of forces against them by the their so called leader Bashar Al Assad who had used and applied everything possible to crush the opposition voices.

With the help of Iran he had now procured the technology to monitor the communication of the people by tracing the mobile messaging, calls, internet and other communication network through highly sophisticated and electronic and cyber control system which has been recently introduced to control and monitor the revolt and break down the protests spreading like a wild fire in all the corners.

Technology is not the only way this butcher president through which he is able to closely monitor and trace the progress of this rebellion but also through illegal arms supplies from the Lebanese black markets where since the outbreak of Arab Spring uprisings the prices are going sky rocketing with the increase in demand along with the uninterrupted indirect supplies of advance ammunition from Iran helping Bashar to curb the all kinds of protests and voices raising their head against him and fortunately he is able to hold his position more stronger than before making him to successfully destroy every hurdle coming in his way of his political empire.

Apart from these indirect and direct support from friendly countries he has also followed his own measures of enforcement which he applied by cutting electricity and water supplies first in the unrest areas like Homs, Daraa and many other cities where even the food / ration supplies have also been stopped has changed the prosperous and flourishing settlements into a famine like situation where people not only dying from bullets but also from hunger and utilities shortage. The leader must be the savior not the killer but this hungry and thirsty beast has left no stone unturned to snatch away the lives of those who wanted a live in democratic free environment.

Nevertheless the story for his success which looks so simple is not so simple his forces and militants though have been able to control the revolution but the there is someone who has been sending his forces to support this devil to fight against the opposition and that supplier of the hidden army is Iran who has been accused several times for sending the direct forces of revolutionary guards well trained enough to handle these crisis and to save his best ally from the toppling of the Baath party government.

The uprising is not only for the freedom or liberty of their denied rights but between the two different ideologies which lives in the Muslim of world. This is all being done in order to tap the resources for their personal exchequer and challenge the very autonomy of other Arab states in the if Syria is gone from the hands of Iran the whole existence of the Iran regime and its diplomacy will be thrown away into the darkness of isolation. The existence of Bashar indirectly helps Iranian regime to play its strategic games in the region which provides it the safe gateway to both the extreme regimes of this volatile and unstable region.

So, in order to tackle the mess of this Assad rule then the world have to bring down Iran first who has created the whole mess in the friendly world of Middle East by aiding terrorism, supporting extreme regimes like of Syrian Baath Party Government under the control of those who just have the fascist ideology to live with and carry on to other regions. Hundreds and thousands of people have lost their lives under the rule of the Assad family and their Dictatorship which have no space for freedom, liberty, fundamentals of the human rights, peace and love.

This regime only knows to kill people, torture them hard, suppressing them brutally; being the leader of the masses doesn’t that everybody must be treated like slave. The cruelty of the Hafez’s rule and atrocities of Bashar’s governance has not only spread the discrimination but also the terrorism across already unstable Middle East. If the governments of the world along with UN are serious to bring stability and democracy in the lives of innocent people there then they have to bring down the Bashar Al Assad’s regime by all means possible and should work towards bring the normalcy through democratic process and under the more liberal constitutional framework.

Imposing the sanctions of the hostile regimes will not solve the crisis as it has already proven that even though after sanctions Bashar’s regime was successful in holding its position and surviving strongly on the basis of various parallel illegal channels which are out of bounds under the lose global monitoring system but through proper negotiations and bringing the culprits like Bashar and his armed personnel to trail in the International court of justice in Hague and sending them to life term imprisonment or hang them until dead.

World must take strong action against this Syrian Hitler before it’s too late to take any action if world is serious in bringing the region and the globe to a normalcy. As the land of silence has now become the raging storm so the global community should also break its silence stand united against these vampire of this modern world sucking the blood of his own people.

 

Harmful Practices to the female body; Part 4 Female Infanticide

“I lay on my bed weak after childbirth. My mother-in-law picked up the baby and started feeding her milk. I knew what she was doing. I cried and tried to stop her. But she had already given her milk laced with yerakkam paal [the poisonous juice of the oleander plant]. Within minutes, the baby turned blue and died.”

This is just one of thousands of stories told by women giving birth to newborn girls. In the west were the mothers first reaction is to get the baby lied down n her chest so that mother and child bond together, women in India has to witness their baby taking their last breath. One of the popular methods of killing newborn girls is to use the oleander plant looking like a pleasant flower but a milky sap that if ingested, can be a deadly poison.

Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies at or soon after birth. This twisted custom was common in China during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) due to the overpopulation and the second half of the twentieth century due to the one child policy. The practice was so common in Greece of 200 BC that among the 6,000 families living in Delphi, only 1% had two daughters. Arabs before Islam used to kill their newborn daughters but was prohibited when Islam came (“And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned; for what sin she was killed?”

Today, this practice is most common in China, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia), Artic (Inuit tribes especially) and some sub-Saharan African countries, among the Yanomani in Brazil, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. Some methods used globally vary between starving her to death, suffocating her by wrapping her tightly in a quilt, poisoning her, strangling, drowning, or breaking her spinal cord by snapping it.

In India it made awareness to the international world when in the 19th century, when it was found out that in some villages in India, no girl babies were found at all and in other cities, there were 343 boys to 54 girls.

The reasons behind it are almost always cultural rather than directly religious. It remains as a head ache in the third world countries but two of the most populous countries are notoriously famous for the high number of killing newborn girls, China and India. In India, family and social pressures to produce a son are immense. In most regions, sons are desired for reasons related to kinship, inheritance, marriage, identity, status, economic

  • Earning power: Men are usually the main income-earners, either because they are more employable or earn higher wages for the same work, or because they are able to do more agricultural work in subsistence economies. Since male babies have a greater income potential, they are less likely to be killed.
  • Potential pensions: In many societies, parents depend on their children to look after them in old age. But in many of these cultures a girl leaves her parental family and joins her husband’s family when she marries. The result is that parents with sons gain extra resources for their old age, when their sons marry, while parents with daughters lose their ‘potential pensions’ when they marry and move away.
  • Dowry: Some girl babies are killed so that the family doesn’t have to pay a dowry when they get married. In Indian society it is tradition for the parents of the bride to give a dowry to the groom and his family. The dowry consists of large amounts of money and valuable goods. For families with several daughters this can be a serious financial burden.

Mothers are often helpless to do anything, having no rights over their children while the women on the husband’s side commit the killing. The methods used have been handed down from generation to generation and there is a variety of them. Babies are fed milk laced with the sap from poisonous plants or pesticides, given paddy (rice with its husk) to swallow, which will slit their throats, fed salt to increase their blood pressure, stuffed in clay pots, swallow poisonous powdered fertilizer while others were smothered with a wet towel, strangled or allowed to starve and dehydrate to death.

INDIA

According to census statistics, “From 972 females for every 1,000 males in 1901. The gender imbalance has tilted to 929 females per 1,000 males. These numbers shows a serious imbalance that over time will have serious consequences.

A study of Tamil Nadu by the Community Service Guild of Madras similarly found that “female infanticide was common” in the state, though only among Hindu (rather than Moslem or Christian) families. “Of the 1,250 families covered by the study, 740 had only one girl child and 249 agreed directly that they had done away with the unwanted girl child. More than 213 of the families had more than one male child whereas half the respondents had only one daughter.” (Malavika Karlekar, “The girl child in India: does she have any rights?,” Canadian Woman Studies, March 1995.)

Fetal Murder

The number of female babies killed by feticide is greater than the number killed by infanticide. Abortion is legal in India under certain conditions, but sex-selective abortions or female feticide is a crime.The missing status of innumerable women (more than 100 million women are reported to be missing worldwide) points toward female feticide, infanticide, and other forms of gender discrimination as resulting in the high mortality of females at most stages of life. Abortions are most common among rich couples who can afford ultrasound scans to illegally check their unborn baby’s sex according to a research done by the UNPF. At one point, several clinics have been closed as hundreds of foetuses were found outside.

All medical tests that can be used to determine the sex of the child have been banned in India, due to incidents of these tests being used to get rid of unwanted female children before birth. The selective abortion of female feotuses is most common in areas where cultural norms value male children over female children, especially in parts of People’s Republic of China, Korea, Taiwan, and India. A 2005 study estimated that over 90 million females were “missing” from the expected population in Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan, South Korea and Taiwan alone, and suggested that sex-selective abortion plays a role in this deficit.

In order to cope with the problem, the Indian state has taken some measures in Tamil Nadu for families with one or two daughters and no sons; if one of the parents undergoes sterilization, the government will grant the family $160 in aid per child as instalments as the girl goes through school. She will get a small golden ring and on her 20th birthday, $650 will be paid to serve as dowry or to pay the expenses of higher education. Another campaign driven by the Delhi government deposits 5,000 rupees ($202) in the name of a girl at the time of her birth and 25,000 more through her childhood as long as she stays in school.

Indian Girls Bear Dowry Burden

After birth, it is also usual for girls to eat less than boys and to eat when the male has finished his meal. In cases of illness, it is usual for boys to get more healthcare than girls and more money is spent on clothing for them rather than the girls.

2001 census reports show that Punjab and Haryana reported fewer than 900 girls per 1,000 boys. Like China, there is a strong son preference for various socio-economic reasons, such as the son being responsible for carrying on the family name and support in old age.

Families pay large sums in order to marry off their daughters. Although dowry was prohibited in 1961, newspaper reports illustrates that the phenomenon is continuing. There has also been escalation in dowry demands and related offenses such as harassment of the bride’s family, the acid burning of a bride, and even her murder. The advertisements for sex determination in the 1980s bore slogans like, “Pay five hundred now to save fifty thousand later.” The gender-based oppression of women in India starts at birth in the form of infanticide and feticide.

Going by a rough calculation, nearly 6,000 female babies must have been poisoned to death in Usilampatti taluk in the last decade and births are registered only if the deliveries take place in the hospitals. “There is also this widespread belief among the Kallars that if you kill a daughter, your next child will be a son.”

Many Kallar families realise that they are committing a crime, but they are convinced that, given their difficult circumstances, they are taking the only course open to them. A villager woman once said; “How can we poor people rear so many daughters in this painful dowry situation? The village panchayat and the village administrative officer have no right to investigate or interfere in our personal affairs. If I and my husband have the right to have a child, we also have the right to kill it if it happens to be a daughter, and we decide we cannot afford it. Outsiders and the Government have no right to poke their noses into this.” Her husband, Andi, concurred: “we have no money to keep our daughters alive.”

China

A missionary (and naturalist) observer in China the late 19th century interviewed 40 women over age 50 who reported having borne 183 sons and 175 daughters, of whom 126 sons but only 53 daughters survived to age 10; by their account, the women had destroyed 78 of their daughters.” (Coale and Banister, “Five Decades of Missing Females in China,” Demography, 31: 3 [August 1994], p. 472.)

According to Zeng et al., “The practice was largely forsaken in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s but the number of “missing” women showed a sharp upward trend in the 1980s, linked by almost all scholars to the “one-child policy” introduced by the Chinese government in 1979 to control spiralling population growth.

Jonathan Manthorpe reported a study by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, claiming that “the imbalance between the sexes is now so distorted that there are 111 million men in China — more than three times the population of Canada — who will not be able to find a wife.” As a result, the kidnapping and slave-trading of women has increased: “Since 1990, say official Chinese figures, 64,000 women — 8,000 a year on average — have been rescued by authorities from forced ‘marriages’. The number who have not been saved can only be guessed at. The thirst for women is so acute that the slave trader gangs are even reaching outside China to find merchandise. There are regular reports of women being abducted in such places as northern Vietnam to feed the demand in China.” (Jonathan Manthorpe, “China battles slave trading in women: Female infanticide fuels a brisk trade in wives,” The Vancouver Sun, January 11, 1999.)

Although the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) created laws to provide equal rights for women and men, female infanticide has increased dramatically since 1989 and the one child policy. This policy was created to prevent the increasing population and children born outside the plan would not be issued residence cards which would deny them education and other benefits. The parents would risk fines, salary cuts and even imprisonment.

The preference for male babies coupled with the “one child per couple” policy has led to an increase in female infanticide, the concealment of female births, sex-selective abortion, and the abandonment of infant girls. If parents choose to hide the birth of a daughter, she will have no legal existence. She will face difficulties receiving healthcare, education, and other state services.

Girls are less likely to be given adequate healthcare and nutrition than their the males. If abandoned or given up for adoption, Chinese infant girls risk horrible neglect and mistreatment in state orphanages. The infant girls spend their days tied to wicker “potty” chairs. They are provided with no toys, physical attention, or mental stimulation. Disease runs rampant in the orphanages, and an estimated one in five children die (Woods, Brian “The Dying Rooms Trust”).

The Chinese government has taken a number of steps to combat the practice of female infanticide, as well as promote and protect women’s rights. The Marriage Law and Women’s Protection Law prohibit female infanticide, and the latter prohibits discrimination against women who give birth to daughters.The Sex Selective Abortion Law and Maternal Health Care Law of 1994 were created to put an end to sex selective abortions, and the latter prohibits the use of medical technology to determine the gender of a fetus but unfortunately, the practice continues in China despite these efforts.

A crime against humanity

  • According to a recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
    up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India.
  • In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males.
  • In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population.
  • The United Nations says an estimated 2,000 unborn girls are illegally aborted every day in India.
  • Upon marriage, a son makes a daughter-in-law an addition and asset to the family providing additional assistance in household work and brings an economic reward through dowry payments, while daughters get married off and merit an economic penalty through dowry charges.

The lack of education, low financial productivity and old customs and traditions have played a high role in this crime. Although many young people try to defy this act, you can still find female infanticide in every part of the country. Not only in the villages and poor areas but among rich families who desire a son.

This human rights violation of denying birth to a female child or not allowing her to live because she is a female is a crime. It not only affects the communities it also impacts in many ways on the national and international communities where female infanticide and feticide may not occur. Social unrest as a result of the disproportionate female and male gender ratio may manifest itself as crime in these societies, such as, the kidnapping of young women, forced marriages, sex crimes, wife purchasing, frustration-related psychological problems, and an increase in prostitution. Sadly some of these effects have already been reported in China.

Alarming Facts:

  • In 1992 Amartya Sen calculated that 37 million women were ‘missing’ in India . The UN in 2001 estimated that there were 44 million missing women in India.
  • A report by Palash Kumar published on Dec. 15, 2006 says India Has Killed 10 Million Girls in 20 Years. The report says “Ten million girls have been killed by their parents in India in the past 20 years, either before they were born or immediately after, a government minister said, describing it as a “national crisis”.
  • Punjab loses every fourth girl. “By the 2011 census, we would be killing off 10 lakh (1,000,000) girls a year.” (Stop Murdering The Girl Child, Tribune, Correspondent or Reporter, Sep 26, 2007)
  • Every year in India, an estimated 500,000 female foetuses are aborted because they are female.
  • In Tamil Nadu recent analysis of statistics indicates a shortfall of about 13,000 daughters per year, 67% due to pre-birth deficit which suggests a high rate of female foeticide and 33% due to infanticide, and neglect.
  • Data compiled for 2008 by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) showed that there were 8,172 dowry deaths in the country, and for the same year, there were 81,344 cases of cruelty towards women by husbands and relatives. The actual numbers are probably much higher since many cases go unreported, or are reported as suicide.

What can be done?

Eliminating the practice requires changes in the way girls and women are valued by society. In India, UNFPA supports the Government in a comprehensive approach that includes building media interest, creating community-based networks to advocate against the practice, sensitizing health providers and involving youth and other key stakeholders. In Haryana State, where the sex ratio imbalance is one of the highest, function as women’s social action groups that promote the rights of daughters. These groups have convinced families and doctors not to practice sex selection.

Following a campaign by health and human rights activists, legal measures to ban the use of prenatal diagnostic techniques for sex selection were first passed in the Indian state of Maharashtra in 1986. Among the advocates against female infanticide were United Nations organizations, including UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO, who were working alongside international NGOs and India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

1. Support legislation and organizations that will increase access to education for girls. When more girls become educated there will be more opportunity for them to achieve success and for there to be more value placed on women and girls in society.
2. Outreach to health professionals, young women and men about stopping this practice In rural areas, poverty, lack of education, economic resources and inadequate healthcare facilities lead to the killing of infant girls whereas in urban areas selective abortion is commonly employed by individuals with access to modern technology that allows for early sex detection.

Who was Osama bin Laden, the controversial figure of our century

With the fall of Hitler, the world took a CY of relief believing that now no one would rise against the humanity, but God has created this world for both the devil & the humans. The evil spirit too lives here & is present in every corner of the world. When one evil dies the other with new philosophy took his place in a more dramatic & distinguished manner. After the holocaust of world war II no one had thought at that time that the new definition of terrorism will take birth in the troubled lands of the world earlier the Jews were running away from the threat of Christian fundamentalists & now in the whole new nuclear era they will be facing the new form of orthodoxies from the Arab world with their multifaceted leader named Osama Bin Laden who though started his life as an innocent being but inspired from the self negative mind he gave birth to the neo think tanks which are lethal & loyal whose dimensions are based on the falsification of the facts which not only spread like a wild fire through the minds & hearts of  illiterates & poverty driven hinterlands but also changed the dimensions of the war doctrines. The journey of this versatile personality from missionary scholar to a most dreaded terrorist mind of the world was full of strategic difficulties just like the one faced in the political corners of the world.

His drive from preaching to terrorizing the world is as simple as the man himself but with the hidden cruelty in mind. It is said in every religion of the world that if your mind & hearts are cruel & you portray yourself as a great leader for masses then the fate of your hidden truth will be revealed some day & the spirit will find no shelter of peace in the world.

The rumor of Osama being a CIA agent who worked to collapsed Soviet regime circulating the human circles is as false as the rumor itself. But the coincidence is that the creation and popularity rose at the same time when two though never worked together have helped and nourished the Afghan militias and war lords to fight against the Soviet invasion. But after the Soviets ouster from Pashtun heartland, the game now changed into the one of the biggest great war gambles of the 21st Century which if tasted success may had changed the map of the world. The start of this century was welcomed by the bang of the biggest terrorist attacks which have shaped the political economics for the generations to come. The great game of hide & seek started between western powers and the terrorists organizations which as the face has Osama bin Laden on their side as the leader saw many twists & turns just the great caves of Tora Bora where rumors are believed like a valid source of information for planning an escape. But with the intelligence advance their security research the money pondered on the ever hungry pockets of terror fund which have given boost to their activities across the globe. The effect of their terror driven is such that even people from well qualified background started to join & the armed forces were begging for their vacancies to be filled in many countries due to the fear of relocation to the war zone where the souls of all energies will fight for their survivals making the aim of which donkey wins the battle and call the ruler of the world.

The news of Osama Bin Laden’s death spread like wildfire as the United States Special operations forces tracked him down in a compound in Abbottabad Pakistan and killed him on May 2, 2011 by gunshot to his head and chest. Many was shocked to read the news that the world’s most wanted man who topped the terrorists lists around the world was killed by US forces. I personally didn’t believe it at first but after reading several newspaper it was clear to me that Osama had been defeated.

How is it possible that this man who was in hiding for over ten years was living in Pakistan just 0.8 miles (1.3 km) southwest of the Pakistan Military Academy? What happened after so many years that the hiding went wrong? It all started with the identification of the courier and CIA using surveillance photos and intelligence reports to determine the identities of the inhabitants in the compound. There was no internet or landline telephone service to the house and its residents buried and burned their trash unlike the other neighbors who would set their garbage out for collection. In the mean time, the CIA had already established a safe house in Abbottabad where a team observed the compound over several months using informants and other techniques to gather information.

After the death of Osama, the residents of Abbottabad are left confused and suspicious about the killing taking place before dawn. The President of USA, Barack Obama decided to not release the photos of the slain Al-Qaida leader claiming that “it would pose a security risk and it is inconsistent with American values.”

The American government had their right on their side to hunt Osama Bin Laden and capture him dead or alive after being attacked by Al-Qaida who killed thousands of innocent people. So I’m asking; “What is the American values when it comes to killing a person? Is it to wrap him in a sheet and toss him into the deep sea? Many Islamic scholars questioned Obama’s decision to bury Osama at the sea saying that maritime burial isn’t allowed in Islamic practice. To this Obama responded; “Frankly, we took more care on this than, obviously, bin Laden took when he killed 3,000 people. He didn’t have much regard for how they were treated and desecrated. But that, again, is something that makes us different. And I think we handled it appropriately.” I see sea burial as disrespectful as long as the deceased himself don’t wish for it, and to throw someone overboard like that is against every human right values and believes. He should have been buried in his homeland or given back to his family or followers as Osama can’t do much after his death. What Al-Qaida will do is another story.

So who was this man that would pose a huge security risk even after his death and that United States had to bury him in the sea?

The beginning


Osama was born in 1957 as the 17th son among 50 brothers and sisters. His father was from Yemen and mother of Syrian origin. His father Mohammed Awad bin Laden started his life as a very poor laborer (porter in Jeddah port) and ended up as owner of the biggest construction company in the kingdom. During the reign of King Saud, bin Laden the father became very close to the royal family when he took the risk of building King Saud’s palaces much cheaper than the cheapest bid. He impressed King Saud with his performance but he also built good relations with other members of the royal family, especially Faisal. Indeed, he was appointed for a period as the minister of public works.

The father was fairly devoted Moslem, very humble and generous. He was so proud of the bag he used when he was a porter that he kept it as a trophy in the main reception room in his palace.

The father had very dominating personality and had a tough discipline and observed all the children with strict religious and social code. He dealt with his children as big men and demanded them to show confidence at young age.

Early life, education and marriage

Osama had his primary, secondary and university education in Jeddah and got a degree in economics and business administration in 1981 from King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah. At University, Osama’s main interest was religion where he interpreted the Qur’an and did charitable work.
In 1974, 17 year old Osama married Najwa Ghanem but she divorced him in 2001 before the attacks. The second wife Khadijah Sharif also divorced him in the 1990’s. The third and fourth wives Khairiah Sabar and Siham Sabar’s fate is unknown, the fifth unknown wife with whom his marriage was immediately annulled, and last the 57 year old Osama married a younger wife, the 27 year old wife Amal al-Sadah who was in the compound with him at the time of his death.

In addition to the general Islamic commitment he started forming an Islamic responsibility at early age. His father used to host hundreds of pilgrims during Hajj season from all over the world. Some of those were senior Islamic scholars or leaders of Muslim movements. This habit went on even after his father’s death through his elder brothers. He used to make good contacts and relations through those gatherings.

At secondary school and university he adopted the main trend of many educated Muslims at that time, Muslim Brotherhood. Interestingly, the 1980 raid in the Grand Mosque in Mecca was not appealing to him, neither the theology nor that group. He had two distinguished teachers in Islamic studies, which was a compulsory subject in the university. First was Abdullah Azzam who became later as one of the big names in Afghanistan and the second was Mohammed Quttub, a famous Islamic writer and philosopher.

Born with a silver spoon but chose a simple life

Bin Laden was brought up with good manners. He was extremely humble and very generous person who insisted to join his comrades in every act. He would cook and serve for them frequently and chose to live a simple life in a small flat in Jeddah or in a shed in Afghanistan and insisted on his family to eat and dress simple as well.

He was known to be strictly truthful and never lie. Despite being a shy person, Osama had a dominating and charismatic personality. He spoke very little and seemed to be serious most of the time. He would appear with a soft smile but almost ever laugh out loud. Osama had courage in him that even if a car bomb exploded near by him, he would not show a flicker as he was exposed to more than 40-45 incidents of heavy bombardment.

Osama was an educated man and spent a great deal of time reading. What most people don’t know is that he also used to write poetry.

Afghanistan


His first travel to Afghanistan was the first 2 weeks of the Soviet invasion. He travelled to Pakistan and was taken by his hosts Jamaat Islami from Karachi to Peshawar to see the refugees and meet some leaders. He went back to the kingdom and started lobbying with his brothers, relatives and friends at the school to support the mujahedeen and succeeded in collecting huge amount of money and material as donations to jihad. He made another trip to take this material with few Pakistanis and Afghanis who were working in bin Laden Company for more than 10 years. Again, he did not stay more than a month. The trip was to Pakistan and the border only and was not to Afghanistan. He went on collecting money and going in short trips once or twice a year until 1982.

In 1982, he decided to travel inside to Afghanistan and brought with him plenty of the construction machinery and put them at the disposal of the mujahedeen and started to join battles as well.

In 1984 he had one further step in strengthening his presence in Afghanistan by establishing the guesthouse in Peshawar (Baitul’ansar). That house was supposed to be the first station of Arab mujahedeen when they come to Afghanistan before going to the front or start training. At that period Osama did not have his own command or training camps and used to send the newcomers to one of the Afghan factions.

The guesthouse establishment was coinciding with the formation of Jihad Service Bureau by Abdullah Azzam in Peshawar. The Bureau was very active in terms of media, publications and charity work. The Bureau publications were important in attracting more Saudis and Arabs to Afghanistan.

In 1986, Osama decided to have his own camps inside Afghanistan and within two years he built more than six camps. Some were mobilized more than once. He decided to have his own front and to run his own battles with his own command. Among the Arab fighters he had, there were senior Arab ex-military men from Syria and Egypt with good military experience. During the period 1984-1989 he was staying more in Afghanistan than Saudi Arabia and would spend a total of eight months a year or more in Afghanistan.

Al-Qa’edah

In 1988 he noticed that he was backward in his documentation and was not able to give answers to some families asking about their loved ones gone missing in Afghanistan. He decided to make the matter much more organized and arranged for proper documentation. He made a tracking record of the visitors, be they mujahedeen or charity or simple visitors. Their movement between the guesthouse and the camps had to be recorded as well as their first arrival and final departure. The whole complex was then termed Al-Qa’edah which is an Arabic word meaning “The Base.”

Return to the Kingdom

Late 1989 after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, he went to the kingdom in an ordinary trip. There he was banned from travel and was trapped in the kingdom. The Soviet withdrawal might have been a factor but the main reason for the travel ban was his intentions to start a new “front” of jihad in South Yemen. In addition, he embarrassed the regime by lectures and speeches warning of impending invasion by Saddam. At that time the regime was at very good terms with Saddam. He was instructed officially to keep low profile and not to give public talks. Despite the travel ban he was not hostile to regime at this stage. Indeed he presented a written advice in the form of a detailed, personal, private and confidential letter to the king few weeks before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

The Iraqi invasion

He reacted swiftly to Iraqi invasion and saw it fulfilling his prophecy. He immediately forwarded another letter to the king suggesting in detail how to protect the country from potentially advancing Iraqi forces. In addition to many military tactics suggested, he volunteered to bring all the Arab mujahedeen to defend the kingdom. That letter was presented in the first few days of the incident, and the regime response was of consideration! While he was expecting some call to mobilize his men and equipment he heard the news which transferred his life completely. The Americans are coming. He always describes that moment as shocking moment. He felt depressed and thought that maneuvers had to change. Instead of writing to the king or approaching other members of the royal family, he started lobbying through religious scholars and Muslim activists. He succeeded in extracting a fatwah from one of the senior scholars that training and readiness is a religious duty. He immediately circulated that fatwah and convinced people to have their training in Afghanistan. It was estimated that 4000 went to Afghanistan in response to the fatwah. The regime was not happy with his activities so they limited his movement to Jeddah only. To intimidate him, the regime raided his farm in the suburb of Jeddah by the National Guard. He was not there during the raid and was very angry when told. He wrote a letter of protest to Prince Abdullah. Abdullah apologized and claimed he is not aware and promised to punish who ever were responsible.

Leaving the Kingdom

In the end, Osama was fed up with the house arrest situation and had a hard time staying in a country with American forces around. One of his brothers was very close to King Fahad and also close to Prince Ahmed, deputy minister of interior. He convinced his brother that he needed to leave the country to sort out some business matters in Pakistan and come back. There was a difficult obstacle, the stubborn Prince Nayef, minister of interior. His brother waited until Nayef went in a trip outside the kingdom and extracted lifting the ban from Prince Ahmed. When he arrived in Pakistan around April 1991 he sent a letter to his brother telling him that he is not coming back and apologized for letting him down with the royal family.

Back in Afghanistan

After his arrival to Pakistan he went straight to Afghanistan because he knew the Pakistani intelligence would hand him back to the Saudis. There, he attended the collapse of the communist regime and the consequent dispute between the Afghan parties. He spent great effort to arbitrate between them but with no success and ordered his followers to avoid any involvement in the conflict and told them it was a sin to side with any faction. During his stay the Saudis tried more than once to kidnap or kill him in collaboration with the Pakistani intelligence but his friends in the Saudi and Pakistani establishments would always leak the plan and make him ready for it. After his failure in sorting the Afghani dispute, he decided to leave Afghanistan. The only alternative country he had was Sudan. He left Afghanistan disguised in private jet only few months after his arrival. That was late 1991.

Sudan

His choice of Sudan had nothing to do with jihad or “terrorism.” He was attracted to Sudan because of what was at that time an Islamic banner raised by the new regime in Sudan. He wanted to have good refuge as well as help the government in its construction projects. There was no intention from his side or from the Sudanese regime to have any military activity in Sudan. Indeed the Sudanese government refused even sending some of his followers to the front in the south. He was treated in Sudan as a special guest who wanted to help Sudan when everybody was turning away. In Sudan he mobilized a lot of construction equipment and enrolled himself in busy construction projects. He spent good effort in convincing Saudi businessmen to invest in Sudan and had reasonable success. Many of his brothers and Jeddah merchants had and still have investment in real estate, farming and agricultural industry. In Sudan he had again escaped an assassination attempt which turned out later to be the plan of Saudi intelligence.

On his arrival to Sudan and early 1994, he had become classified as enemy of the Saudi regime and his assets were frozen between 1992 and 1994. He continued his verbal assault on King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and in response on March 5th, 1994 they withdrew his citizenship. After a long time of silence, Osama said that he didn’t need the Saudi citizenship to identify himself. He then formed together with activists and scholars from the kingdom a group called “Advice and Reform Committee” (ARC). The ARC was, according to its communiqués and published agenda, a purely political group. The ARC published around 17 communiqués which might have contained harsh criticism of the Saudi regime and plenty of religious rhetoric but never contained reference for violence or incitement of violence.

Sudan was exposed to huge international pressure for hosting bin Laden and his followers, and bin Laden felt that he is becoming an embarrassment to the Sudanese. Early in 1996 he started making contacts with his old friends in Afghanistan to prepare for his reception. He fled Sudan in a very well planned trip with many of his followers to go straight to Jalalabad in Eastern Afghanistan.

Somalia and Yemen

During his stay in Sudan anti-American incidents happened in Somalia and South Yemen. Neither of the two incidents was performed by his group in the proper sense of chain of command. Both were performed by people who had training in Afghanistan and had enough anti-American drive. He might have given some sanctioning to the operations.

Third visit to Afghanistan

The situation in Afghanistan was very unstable between many factions but since Osama had good relationship with all of them, they all protected him. The area he stayed in was under the control of Yunis Khalis, an influential warlord who later joined Taliban.

June 1996, after his arrival in Afghanistan was the Khobar bombing. Nobody claimed responsibility, but sources from inside the Saudi ministry of interior confirmed involvement of Arab Afghans, with possible link to bin Laden. The Saudi government wanted to frame Shi’a, at the beginning but Americans were very suspicious of the Saudi story. Bin Laden himself never claimed responsibility but gave many hints that he might have been involved. The Saudi government has acknowledged recently that bin Laden’s men were behind the bombing.

After few months of his arrival he issued his first anti-American message, a Declaration of War. That declaration was limited to expelling American forces outside the Arabian Peninsula. Interest in him by the Saudis never stopped and they tried very hard to convince Yunis Khalis to hand him over, and he flatly refused despite the luxurious offers. The Saudis never gave up on trying to get Laden. Early 1997 they bought some mercenaries in the Pakistani Afghani border. The operation was arranged with the Pakistani intelligence. The information leaked to bin Laden and he decided to move immediately to Qandahar, the stronghold of Taliban. The operation was then cancelled.

When bin Laden left Jalalabad, he ordered many of his followers to join Taliban in their war against Dostum and to protect Kabul but Taliban troops were betrayed by a trap in the north and Kabul front was exposed to Shah Masood and many of the Taliban fighters were killed.

Another kidnap attempt

In late 1997 a big operation was planned by the Americans. The primary plan was for American Special Forces to attack bin Laden’s residence in Qandahar and kidnap him in a commando style operation. The plan was mocked in Pakistani desert and proved dangerous. While the Americans were reconsidering the decision, the news leaked to bin Laden, again through the Pakistani military, and he made it public. The Americans had no choice but to cancel.

Making links with the Ulema

Bin Laden noticed that the driving force in Taliban were Ulema (religious scholars). He made very good links with them for the subject of American forces in the Arabian Peninsula. He was able to extract a fatwah signed by some 40 scholars in Afghanistan sanctioning the use of all means to expel the American forces from the Peninsula. The issue of that fatwah was an asset to him inside Taliban domain.

His second presence in Afghanistan attracted many mujahedeen to move there again and among those were Ayman El-Zawahery of Egyptian Jihad and Rift’ee Taha of Jama’a Islamia. Bin Laden decided to go pan-Islamic instead of Saudi or Arabic and attracted Kashmiris, Pakistanis, Indians, and Muslims from the Soviet Republics. He thought at that stage that he could make an international alliance against America and in February 1998 he declared the formation of the International Front. The declaration contained two elements, formation of the front and a fatwah sanctioning killing Americans and Jews. Apart from two Arabic newspapers, the declaration had minimal coverage by the press.

Attack in Khost camp

The camp was an almost deserted camp where only few Arabs stayed, with a neighbouring camp of Kashmiris. Bin Laden himself was hundreds of miles away, and the rest of Arab Afghans were in the northern front celebrating their recent victories. Since the American attack bin Laden was put in heavy protection and advised to stay hiding. His followers made another credit when they protected Kabul front again and pushed Masood forces back.

September 11 attacks

“Allah knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but after the situation became unbearable and we witnessed the injustice and tyranny of the American-Israeli alliance against our people in Palestine and Lebanon, I thought about it. And the events that affected me directly were that of 1982 and the events that followed – when America allowed the Israelis to invade Lebanon, helped by the U.S. Sixth Fleet. As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women.”

Osama bin Laden, 2004

19 Al-Qaida members hijacked four commercial passenger airplanes crashing two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the third was crashed into Pentagon in Arlington and the fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in Pennsylvania after some of the passengers attempt to take over control. Nearly 3000 people died in this attack including the hijackers.

Faith and ideology

Osama believed that implementing the Sharia law would form a better Muslim world and that pan-Arabism, socialism, communism and western democracy had to be opposed. He was very much impressed by the ideology of Sayyid Qutb (Egyptian scholar), Hassan al-Banna and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (who founded the religious movement wahabism). Osama said that United States committed injustice against Muslim countries and spoke about the need to eliminate the State of Israel and the necessity of the US forces withdrawing from the Middle East. His strategy against the enemy was to lure them into a long war in the Muslim countries where jihadist fighters would never surrender leading to the economic collapse of the enemy nation. The Soviet Union collapsed after years of fighting in Afghanistan and many authors have stated that the United States was on the edge of suffering the same fate

Relation with Al-Saud

Bin Laden never had any official or personal relations with the Saudi regime or the royal family. All his contacts would happen through his brothers. The brothers would approach two members of the royal family who were fairly sympathetic to Osama. They were Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz, deputy minister of interior and Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz, deputy minister of defense. He might have met them in few occasions but those meetings would have been purely social or accidental in one of his brother’s houses. Specifically he had no relation with Turki al-Faisal head of Saudi intelligence. He used to be very suspicious of his role in Afghanistan and once had open confrontation with him in 1991 and accused him of being the reason of the fight between Afghan factions. He was wary of the Saudi government very early in the eighties, but he thought it was wiser to keep silent and benefit from their de facto support to jihad in that period.

Relations with America

Some people have suggested and claimed that Osama was working for the CIA and other American departments, but this has been rejected by the American officials. Since the late 70’s Osama had a strong anti-America feeling and committed himself and his family to avoid buying American goods unless it was necessary. Bin Laden would bring money from individuals donating straight to him. The weapons he had were either captured from the Soviets or bought from other factions.

Relations with Pakistan

Osama had much respect by many Pakistanis including people in the army, intelligence and the religious establishment such as many fundamental Islamic groups. They were so close that they would always leak any plan against him by the Pakistani-Saudi-American alliance. Osama had also a close friendship with the former director of ISI (Pakistani Intelligence), Hamid Gul.

Relations with Taliban

Taliban are not simply another Afghan faction supported by Pakistan, they are sincere to their beliefs and a religiously committed group unspoiled by political tactics. They would never bargain with what they see as matters of principle and Bin Laden for them is a saint. He is a symbol of sacrifice for the sake of jihad as they see him as very rich Arab from the Holy Land who gave up his wealth and luxury to fight for the sake of his brother Muslims in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden became an intimate part of Taliban structure when he taught them how to deal with state affairs in a proper manner, for example, they were about to be fooled by some oil and gas companies and sell the pipeline project for cheap and Osama advised them to learn from the Iraq-Turkey and Iraq-Syria agreements. They wanted to privatize some factories and were about to sell them to Pakistani businessmen for cheap prices but he taught them how to conduct proper bidding procedure and guarantee good prices.

Relation with Iran

Iran knows that bin Laden is a committed Sunni and he regards Iran as Shi’a state. The trust between the two is minimal but both have avoided criticizing each other publicly.

Finance

Osama thought it was necessary to guarantee the Islamic nature of the finance activity. For example, he would never invest in non-Islamic country; never use banks unless it was absolutely necessary, didn’t believe in stock market because he thought the investor cannot escape interest since the money has to be in a bank and produce some interest. He also believed that the Jews control banks and stock market.

He had 3 setbacks which would have made him bankrupt. The first was the freezing of his assets by the Saudi government. Nobody knows the exact amount but it was probably in the range of 200-300 million dollars. The second setback was the loss he had in Sudan. The Sudanese government was too weak financially to pay him for the construction projects and he ended up hardly with 10% of the payment. He lost in Sudan not less than 150 million dollars.

Osama’s brothers agreed to keep many assets of the father and distribute the profits only. Most of the brothers and sisters are observing Muslims and very careful to not to “spoil” their income with money which is not theirs as they believe it is their duty to let the owner of any riyal to have it. The only way they guarantee that is by letting bin Laden’s share reach him. Some of the brothers and sisters believed it was their religious duty to support this distinguished brother from their own money. While many are very careful not to irritate the royal family, many more do not care and insist on letting the money reach Osama. Another big source of income to bin Laden was the donations. During the early jihad time when it was blessed by the Saudi regime, he made excellent relations with many wealthy Saudis and Arabs who would donate huge amounts of money to him.

Pakistan’s alleged role of hiding Laden

Critics have accused Pakistan’s military and security establishment of protecting bin Laden. This case worsens the U.S. ties with Pakistan and future support. Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari has strongly denied that his country’s security forces may have sheltered Osama bin Laden and Pakistan’s United States envoy, ambassador Husain Haqqani, promised a “full inquiry” into how Pakistani intelligence services failed to find bin Laden in a fortified compound, just a few hours’ drive from Islamabad, stating that “obviously bin Laden did have a support system.”

Timeline

1957 Born Osama bin Mohammad bin Awad bin Laden in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

1970 Father dies in a helicopter accident.

1974 Marries distant relative, Najwa Ghanem.

1976 Studies economics and management at King Abdul-Aziz University in Jeddah.

1979 Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.

1984 Bin Laden is involved in Peshawar supporting Arab volunteers to fight Soviets. Moves between Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Sudan.

1988 Al-Qaida – “the Base” – established in Afghanistan as centre for radical Muslims opposing the US, Israel and its allies.

1989 Soviet Union withdraws from Afghanistan. Bin Laden returns to Saudi Arabia to work for the family company and uses his network to raise funds for veterans of the Afghan war.

1991 Bin Laden is expelled from Saudi Arabia due to his anti government activities.

1992 Claims responsibility for attacking US soldiers in Yemen.

1993 Claims responsibilities for fire fight in Somalia that killed 18 US military personnel.

1994 Expelled from Sudan. Saudi Arabia revokes his citizenship and his family disowns him.

1995 Saudi Arabia claims Bin Laden links to Riyadh car bombing: six killed including five Americans, 60 injured.

1996 Bin Laden leaves Sudan for Afghanistan. Issues fatwa against all US military personnel, faxed to supporters across the world. Taliban gives him sanctuary in Afghanistan.

1998 A truck bomb explosions at US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania kills 224 people including 12 Americans. Bin Laden is added to FBI’s “10 most wanted fugitives” list.

2000 Al-Qaida claims responsibility for strike on US destroyer Cole at Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen soldiers killed.

2001 11 September Hijacked planes destroy the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Centre and target the Pentagon, killing nearly 3,000. President George Bush says Bin Laden is wanted “dead or alive.”

December, US-backed anti-Taliban forces capture Bin Laden’s base in the Tora Bora mountains in Afghanistan, but find no trace of the fugitive terrorist.

2002 September Al-Jazeera broadcasts a poor-quality tape, claimed to be the voice of Bin Laden, praising the 9/11 hijackers for changing “the course of history.”

November Al-Qaida claims responsibility for three suicide car bombs at the Mombasa Paradise resort hotel, killing 15 and wounding 80.

2003 An audio tape believed to be the voice of bin Laden calls for attack on the US if Iraq is invaded.

2004 October, A 18-minute video is sent to al-Jazeera in which Bin Laden accepts responsibility for the first time for the 9/11 attacks, and condemns Bush days before US presidential election. Says his inspiration for 9/11 was seeing Israeli aircraft bomb tower blocks in Lebanon in 1982.

2007 September, Rumour that Bin Laden is dead is confounded by first new video in three years, warning the US it is vulnerable.

2008 May Bin Laden urge Muslims to break the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

2009 After being elected, President Obama authorizes killing or capture of bin Laden as “top priority” of war on Al Qaeda.

2010 January, Audio tape message from Bin Laden, claiming responsibility for the failed Christmas day attempted bombing of US-bound plane. US president Barack Obama claims al-Qaida weakened by US actions.

March, Bin Laden claims in a taped message that al-Qaida will kill any American prisoners if the US executes alleged September 11 planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

2011 January, Bin Laden says in a taped message that French hostages held in Niger will not be freed unless France pulls troops out of all Muslim lands.

1 May, Barack Obama announces that Bin Laden has been killed in Pakistan.
Sources used for facts;

www.cnn.com

www.boston.com

www.infoplease.com

Wikipedia

www.pbs.org – frontline

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