News Wrap


Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar is a thirty-nine-year-old son of small businessman from Bhatkal, in Northern Karnataka. Trained at the Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama seminary in Lucknow, he is a soft spoken cleric. Some time earlier, he was allegedly a key recruiter for the Indian Mujahideen once, but now Armar has joined a rebellion against its leadership. The IM has led more than a dozen Indians to camps run by the Tehreek-e-Taliban in Pakistan so far. Since July 2014, Armar has appeared on the Ansar ul-Tawhid website, his face digitally masked, with religious books, a laptop and automatic weapons, delivering the first call by an Indian for Muslims in India, to join the global jihad. The Ansal ul-Tawhid, a jihadist group based abroad by Indians, believes terrorism will scarcely achieve anything. Inspired by the Islamic State’s success against better equipped Syrian forces, its leaders aim a full blown insurgency in India, and entreat Indian Muslim to migrate to the motherland of jihad, Afghanistan. The Ansal ul-Tawhid twitter feed has put out videotape footage of cadres training in camps on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Shafi Armar, bother of Abdul Armar, runs al-Isbah Media of Ansar ul-Tawhid and Shabab-ul-Hind, the first online jihadist forum dedicated to an Indian audience.

Assam-Nagaland Border
Beginning 12 August 2014, there were heightened tensions in the Assam-Nagaland border, adjacent to Golaghat district. Suspected Naga miscreants are involved in most of the over thirty killings, and in the burning down of over 300 houses on the Assam side. Various civil society groups have called for ‘bandhs’ (strikes). Vandalism by bandh supporters damaged public property. Economic blockades along Golaghat district (eastern Assam) have led to hundred of goods laden vehicles stranded along National Highway 39. Nearly 12,000 people fled from ten affected villages in the locality out of fear, and are now in relief camp shelters. Police forces from Assam and Nagaland are not allowed to operate in the affected villages. The violence ridden border area is now under the control of Central Reserve Police Force, which is under the direction of the Central Government. Against the alleged abduction of two adivasi youths, there were protest rallies organized by adivasis in the first week of August 2014, along the Liphayan approach road to the Nagaland (Ralan area)—Assam border. The adivasis surrounded Ronsuyan village and Chan-dalashung ‘B’ village, ransacked two houses and fired blank shots in the Ralan area. There has been a land dispute between adivasis and Ralan for many years. As cadres of the Adivasi National Liberation Army started beating up the Naga youth and killing cattle in the area, Ralan Nagas retaliated, burning houses in the Halwa (Adivasis tenants) portion of Old Ralan village area.

Iron Spades
During Operation Protective Edge, destruction of the Hamas tunnels was cited by Israel as the pretext for its land invasion of Gaza in July 2014. More than 2500 Palestinians and around 75 Israeli soldiers, along with six civilians have died. To eliminate any future threat from the tunnels, without recourse to such large scale force, the Israeli military is developing a system that will detect tunnels as they are dug by Hamas militants. A new generation of robots will destroy the tunnels. The new system is an underground version of the Iron Dome Air Defence System, that Israelis claim has destroyed 90% of the rockets fired at Israel from Gaza. Hamas has fired more than 3000 rockets at Israel during the latest hostilities. As the tunnels have assumed considerable importance for military planners, and civilians, a high-tech shield will soon be deployed along Israel’s 42-mile long border with Gaza, at an estimated cost of up to 430 million Pounds. In areas deemed particularly sensitive, a physical barrier will be inserted to a depth of 100 ft. Since the resumption of hostilities, armed militants have emerged from underground to launch attacks, at least ten times. The Hamas militant group executed over thirty suspected informers for the Jewish state, following the killing of its top commanders.

Khmer Rouge Dictators
Khmer Rouge’s Brother No 2 Noun Chea, and former head of state Khieu Samphan, have been found guilty of crimes against humanity, by a United Nations backed war crimes tribunal. The two elderly men have been sentenced to life imprisonment. Khieu Samphan, 83, known as ‘Mr Clean’, and Nuon Chea, 88, the Khmer Rouge’s chief idealogue were indicted for crimes against humanity, homicide, torture, genocide and religious persecution. The crimes were committed during a regime that forced Cambodia into ‘a state of terror’. The defendants have been in hospital, at times, since the trial began in November 2011. Both men denied the allegations against them, although Khieu Samphan did admit that mass killings took place. Lawyers for the two stated that they would appeal. The verdict is received nearly 40 years after the regime headed by Pol Pot ended its four-year reign over Cambodia, during which time nearly two million people—a quarter of the population—died from starvation, exhaustion, execution or lack of medical care, as a result of the communist ‘utopia’ experiment. Pol Pot died in 1998. The tribunal has been facing allegations of corruption and incompetence, spending some $200 million to convict only one defendant, that is Kaing Guek Ear, the Khmer Rouge prison director, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2011. The Khmer Rouge, foreign minister Iengsary died in March 2014. His wife Ieng Thirith, the social affairs minister, who has dementia, was declared unfit for trial in 2012.

Vol. 47, No. 16, Oct 26 - Nov 1, 2014