Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, has been reduced to rubble. It has finally been snatched back from Daesh after months of merciless bombardment by the US-led coalition, and a massive ground war.
But “victory” is hardly the term to describe this moment. Mosul, once Iraq’s cultural jewel and model of co-existence, is now a “city of corpses,” as described by a journalist who walked through the ruins.
“You’ve probably heard of thousands killed, the civilian suffering,” Murad Gazdiev said. “What you likely haven’t heard of is the smell. It’s nauseating, repulsive, and it’s everywhere — the smell of rotting bodies.”
Actually, the “smell of rotting bodies” can be found everywhere that Daesh has been defeated. The group that once declared a “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014, and was left to expand in all directions, is now being rapidly vanquished.
One wonders how a small group, itself a spawn of other equally notorious groups, could have declared, expanded and sustained a “state” for years, in a region rife with foreign armies, militias and the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies?
But is such a question now irrelevant, considering that Daesh is finally being routed?
Well, this is what almost everyone seems to agree on; even political and military rivals are openly united on the subject.
Aside from Mosul in Iraq, Daesh has also been defeated in its stronghold in Raqqa, in the east of Syria. Those who survived those battles are now holed up in DeirEzzor, which promises to be their last major conflict. Daesh militants are also being flushed out of the western Qalamoun region on the Syria-Lebanon border. Even the open desert is no longer safe. There is heavy fighting in the Badiya desert, which extends from central Syria to the borders of Iraq and Jordan.
Brett McGurk, US special envoy for the coalition against Daesh, speaks with confidence about its demise. Daesh forces are “fighting for their life, block-by-block,” he said in a TV interview, and the militant group had lost nearly 80 percent of areas it formerly controlled in Iraq since its peak in 2014, and nearly 60 percent in Syria.
Unsurprisingly, US officials and media mostly emphasize military gains they attribute to US-led forces and ignore all others, while Russian-led allies are doing just the opposite.
But aside from the humanitarian tragedies associated with these victories, none of the parties involved has taken any responsibility for the rise of Daesh in the first place. They have to, and not only as a matter of moral accountability. Without understanding and confronting the reasons behind the rise of Daesh, its fall will only spawn another group with an equally nefarious, despairing and violent vision.
Analysts who have tried to deconstruct the roots of Daesh unwisely confront its ideological influences without paying the slightest heed to the political reality from which it came.
Whether Daesh, Al-Qaeda or any other, such groups are typically born and reborn in places suffering from the same, chronic ailments: weak and corrupt government, foreign invasion, military occupation and state terror.
Terrorism is the by-product of brutality and humiliation, regardless of the source, but is most pronounced when that source is a foreign one. Unless these factors are genuinely addressed, there can be no end to terrorism.
It is no accident that Daesh was molded, and thrived, in places such as Iraq, Syria, Libya and the Sinai. Many of those who answered its call also emerged from communities that suffered the cruelty of merciless Arab regimes, or neglect, hate and alienation in western societies.
The reason that many refuse to acknowledge this fact — and would fight tooth and nail to discredit it — is that an admission of guilt would make many responsible for the creation of the very terrorism they claim to fight.
Those who blame Islam are not simply ignorant, but many are also guided by sinister agendas. Their mindless notion of blaming religion is as foolish as George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”
Wholesale, uninformed judgments can only prolong conflict. They also prevent us from confronting specific and clearly obvious links, for example between Al-Qaeda’s rise in Iraq and the US invasion; between the rise of the sectarian brand of Al-Qaeda under Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and the sectarian division of that country under the US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, and his allies in the Shia-led government in Baghdad.
It should have been clear from the start that Daesh, as notoriously violent as it is, was a symptom, not the cause. It is only three years old. Foreign occupation and war in the region predates it by many years.
Although we were told — by Daesh itself, but also media pundits — that Daesh was here to stay, it turned out to be but a passing phase in a long, ugly montage, rife with violence and bereft of both morality and the intellectual courage to examine the true roots of violence.
It is likely that the victory will be short-lived. The group will surely develop a new strategy or further mutate. History has taught us that much.
It is also likely that those who are proudly taking credit for systematically and efficiently annihilating the group — along with whole cities — will not pause for a moment to think of what they must do differently to prevent a new Daesh from rising from the ashes of the old.
Strangely, the “US-led Global Coalition” seems to have access to the firepower needed to turn cities into rubble, but not the wisdom to understand that unchecked violence inspires nothing but violence; and that state terror, foreign interventions and the collective humiliation of entire nations are all the necessary ingredients to start the bloodbath all over again.
RTIs can be filed locally in J&K, Ladakh even after October 31: Jitendra Singh
Union minister Jitendra Singh on Monday rejected rumours that people in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh will have to travel to Delhi to file RTIs once the two union territories come into existence on October 31 and said they can still be filed locally.
Singh, who is also the minister of state incharge of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) — which is the nodal department for Central Information Commission (CIC) dealing with the Right to Information (RTI) appeals — met Central Information Commissioner Sudhir Bhargava.
Following a detailed discussion on the issue with Bhargava, Singh said that “certain vested elements which are uncomfortable with the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, continue to instigate different kinds of misgivings in the society, in a vain bid to disrupt the courageous initiative by the Modi government”.
The minister said that RTIs can be filed locally in the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh even after the new arrangement comes into existence after the October 31. He denounced the rumours that because Jammu and Kashmir will become a Union territory, the applicant will have to travel to Delhi to file an RTI.
Singh claimed that during the last five years, “the procedures to file an RTI appeal have been immensely simplified and definite timelines have been laid down”. This will apply equally to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh after they become Union territories, he said.
Divulging details, Singh said that the first RTI application is made to the Public Information Officer (PIO) locally and in matters involving “life and liberty”, the time limit for the PIO to provide the information is 48 hours. “For the PIO to reply to the application, a timeline of 30 days has been laid down from the date of receipt of the application. “For applicant to make first appeal after the receipt of PIO’s reply, the first appellate authority in the form of the designated officer will also be available locally, whether it is the State or Union territory,” he said.
Only in case of second appeal, Singh said the application has to be submitted to the Information Commission and even if the Information Commissioner is not available locally, in case of Union territory, the second appeal can be sent to the CIC online within 90 days from the receipt of the first appeal orders or from the date the orders were to be received. “To make the procedure simpler, we made use of modern technology and in a major breakthrough, during the Modi government, provided the facility of making second appeal before the CIC through portal/WhatsApp, which, in other words, means that an RTI applicant does not have to wait for office hours and can file his appeal even from his mobile phone anytime, at his convenience,” the minister said.
After the reorganisation or Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Singh said that the citizens’ participation will increase manifold and various provisions in public administration will become far more citizen-centric with the extension of uniformed central laws, as applicable in the rest of the country.
Union Minister R K Singh to visit Kashmir to review development work in power sector
New Delhi: Union Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh will visit Kashmir tomorrow to review different development projects in the power sector in Jammu and Kashmir.
After the abrogation of Article 370, this will be the first visit of R K Singh to Kashmir.
Singh in an exclusive interview to ANI said that NHPC will provide jobs to 150 local skilled people. Powergrid Corporation is going for campus selection from different technical institution in Valley. Powergrid Corporation also takes up school smart learning programme.
“From this year, people in Kashmir will not face a power crisis in the winter season. The ministry is working towards providing 24×7 power supply to the Valley.
Secretary of power and Jammu and Kashmir administration will call a meeting of all contractors and ensure that works under various central government scheme progresses fast and are completed within the given timeline.
The government of India is spending more than 300 crores to provide uninterrupted power supply during the winter season in Valley,” he told ANI.
He further said that the Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification corporation will spend 20 crores on skill development in Kashmir.
The minister also said that 100 MW rooftop solar plant in Ladakh region and Leh district will be lighting with green energy.
Singh has given instructions to officials that a comprehensive power plan should be prepared within a time frame so that entire J-K and Ladakh doesn’t suffer power shortage.
After the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, 10 central government ministeries have made massive and speedy development plans for J-K and Ladakh. The power ministry is one of those 10 central ministries which has made mega development plan for entire region.
Expansion of Election Department: SAC approves creation of 127 posts
SRINAGAR, SEPTEMBER 16: The State Administrative Council (SAC) which met under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved creation of 127 posts of Election Assistants in the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer.
The posts include 50 posts of Election Assistant (Senior Scale) in Level 4 (Rs 25500-81100) and 77 posts of Election Assistant (Junior Scale) in Level 2 (Rs 19900-63200).
Creation of posts will help to implement the various initiatives of the Election Commission of India like ERONET, BLONET, District Contact Centre and other new initiatives, besides, addressing the promotion issues of the departmental candidates.
With the positioning of incumbents against these posts, the Election Department will be better equipped to provide efficient and timely services to the electors of J&K to complete time bound assignments like updation of electoral rolls, enrolment of new voters, weeding out bogus/duplicate voters, providing of EPIC cards etc.