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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

From Today's Papers - 14 Jul 2010





Artillery gun purchase stalled again
Ajay Banerjee Tribune News Service  New Delhi, July 13 The much delayed purchase of crucial artillery guns, which will replace the existing lot of around 20-year-old Bofors guns in the Indian Army’s arsenal, has been stalled yet again.  This is the fifth time since 2002 that the process has hit a roadblock due one reason or the other, seriously impinging upon the Army’s capability to fire at the enemy. The latest hurdle: Only one bidder was remaining in the race and the Defence Ministry does not allow purchases in case there is only one vendor selling the equipment  The latest hurdle is on the ground that only one bidder was remaining in the race and the Ministry of Defence does not allow purchases in case there is only one vendor selling the equipment.  Sources in the Army confirmed today that the scheduled trials of the 155-mm guns had been stopped.  The Army has reportedly informed the Ministry of Defence and asked it to find a way out as the artillery guns are needed immediately.  Sources said in case the ministry saw an exigency, it could opt to buy the guns directly through the foreign military sales route.  BaE-Mahindra and the Singapore technologies-Punj Lloyd were in the race to supply around 1,580 guns. Sources in the Army said one of the conditions was to ensure that the guns could also fire the ammunition produced in India. Singapore technologies wanted some more time to re-calibrate its gun to adapt to the Indian ammunition, sources added. On the other hand, as the BaE guns owed their parentage to Bofors, there was no problem with those guns on that count, they added.  Separately, sources pointed out that the CBI, in a communiqué last week, to the Ministry of Defence, had sought that Singapore Technologies Kinetics and three other foreign firms should be blacklisted. The ministry would go by the CBI advice, sources said. This was another factor behind stalling the trials of the guns, they added.  At the start of June, Defence Ministry sources had indicated that 155-mm gun would be purchased immediately.










Major killed, Col hurt in J&K encounter
  Jammu, July 13 An Army Major was killed and six other personnel, including a Colonel, were injured in Mandhar sector of Poonch in an encounter tonight with suspected Lashkar-e- Toiba terrorists.  Major Amit Phunge was killed in the operation while Col Ajay Katoch of 47 Rashtriya Rifles was injured when the terrorists resorted to heavy fire and lobbed grenades, sources said.  The Army team had reached the spot following information that about 15 Pakistan-based terrorists had sneaked into the Indian territory.  The Army cordoned off the area and launched a search operation.@@The injured included Dinesh Kumar and Satinder Kumar, both Signalmen, Naik Jasbir Singh, Sepoy Samir Kumar and Rifleman Dasharat. — PTI









No asylum to ex-US Navy officer: Centre to SC
Legal Correspondent  New Delhi, July 13 India will not grant political asylum to Jeff Knaebel, a former US Navy officer involved in the Vietnam war, but would consider granting him citizenship, the Centre has informed the Supreme Court.  Knaebel, who has been in India since 1995 on an extended visa, had destroyed his American passport at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Rajghat here in June last year in protest against the imperialistic policies of his country.  A Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and Anil R Dave granted two-week time to Knaebel to apply for Indian citizenship after Attorney General GE Vahanvati told the court that the American was not entitled to asylum.  Knaebel also contended that the US would prosecute him on his return to his country, treating his act of destroying the passport as an act of treason and sedition. Since 1995, he is travelling across India propagating non-violence, the message of Mahatma Gandhi.









  Handling Kashmir Need to look for a solution internally
by T. V. Rajeshwar  THE situation in the Kashmir valley marks a setback in the long process of finding a permanent solution to the problem there. After the assumption of office as Chief Minister by Omar Abdullah last year there have been a series of incidents which mostly developed into serious law and order situations, with men and women pouring out into the streets in large numbers to protest against the administration. These were dealt with haphazardly.  The forces ranged against Omar Abdullah and his National Conference are politically motivated and their objective has been to provoke and create ugly situations.  The death of 15 young men in 15 days in the recent stone-pelting incidents, which provoked retaliatory action by the CRPF, was unfortunate. Stone pelting was first noticed during the Amarnath Yatra agitation in 2008. Now it has become an established form of attack against the security forces in the streets and bylanes of Srinagar in which even some women had joined with gusto. Regrettably, certain CRPF jawans were also throwing stones in retaliation, which is not permissible.  While the stone-pelting saga has been witnessed for the past two years, it is not understood why the DRDO or the Central police organisations could not consider inducting vehicles with powerful water cannons or some weaponry for throwing temporarily debilitating gas with the help of specially designed weapons. It is not clear if any enquiries were made for help from friendly foreign forces such as Israel, which have successfully dealt with similar situations. The CRPF has, no doubt, faced extreme provocations. And yet its jawans should not have used force to the extent of causing death in retaliation for stone throwing from the crowd.  This brings us to the question of induction of armed forces in the Kashmir valley, particularly in Srinagar. It was considered necessary as a deterrent or stand-by force. The armed forces conducted flag marches with the Army vehicles driving through the streets of Srinagar which had a demonstrable effect on the enforcement of curfew. All the same, it is felt that the induction of the armed forces in the valley to assist the civil and paramilitary forces after a lapse of 19 long years was possibly not considered carefully before taking the decision. Omar Abdullah’s request for the purpose was not enough. At a time when Pakistan’s Foreign Minister had already cried hoarse about the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, the induction of the Army could possibly have been avoided.  Arising out of these developments is the fact that the present crisis, which led to the holding of an all-party meeting in Srinagar on Monday, has been brought about by political forces. The intercepts with the Central government, made public showing some of those associated with the Hurriyat inciting people to seek martyrdom and thereby keep the fire burning in the valley, only confirm this. Unfortunately, there has been no movement in the matter of political discussions for almost a year, if not more.  Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, the former Pakistan Foreign Minister, had disclosed early last year that the back channel negotiations between New Delhi and Islamabad in 2006 were successful and draft agreements were ready to be signed by India and Pakistan. The then Pakistan President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, had, in fact, spoken of “something between autonomy and independence”. The reaction among Hurriyat leaders was enthusiastic. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had, in fact, announced in January 2007 the unequivocal rejection of violence and said that the Islamist rebellion, which began in 1989, had failed. He said the armed struggle had achieved nothing but graveyards.  However, all this is past, and whatever General Musharraf had proposed has been repudiated by the military establishment in Pakistan, which has the real control over power. The ISI treats the Lashkar-e-Toiyaba as an asset in handling the situation in Kashmir. When Home Minister P. Chidambaram said that there was evidence of the hand of the LeT in the Sopore developments, it made no difference to the Opposition politicians in Kashmir.  It is obvious that the incitement to the stone throwers and even far more serious developments are inspired from across the border. Agent provocateurs and LeT activists could well be presumed to be working with the agitators in the valley. The situation has to be retrieved and the dialogue process has to start with the various sections of the political entities in the field. How and at what level the negotiations will begin will have to be considered carefully.  Calling the delegations to Delhi for discussions spread over a couple of days may not make real progress. Would it be worthwhile to designate an interlocutor to negotiate with the various stakeholders in Kashmir? During the NDA government, K.C. Pant, Deputy Chairman of the Planning  Commission, was designated for the purpose. He visited Kashmir and met several people, but the response was not adequate. Pant was followed by Arun Jaitley and after some time N.N. Vohra, the present Governor of J&K, was appointed as the interlocutor. However, much progress could not be achieved.  The negotiations have to begin at the political level and the Prime Minister has to seriously consider a senior Cabinet Minister like Pranab Mukherjee for the purpose, who could be heading a Group of Ministers which may include Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Defence Minister A.K. Antony and External Minister S.M. Krishna. The respective Secretaries and officers from the IB and the RAW would assist them.  However, let there be no thinking in terms of appointing a commission to go into the Kashmir situation. In August 2000, there was some thinking on the part of the Centre to set up a Constitution Review Commission presided over by a Supreme Court judge. However, this did not materialise and it was well that it did not.  The resolution of the Kashmir problem has two aspects — one dealing with the people of Kashmir and the other with Pakistan regarding the eventual settlement of the dispute between India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said more than once that the LoC with India and Pakistan is not negotiable and the border between the two countries cannot be redrawn. The recent developments on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the two visits of Gen Ashfaque Kayani, accompanied by the ISI chief, and the reported inclination of President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to come to terms with the Taliban forces are all pointers to the fact that Pakistan is slowly gaining the upper hand in Afghanistan affairs. President Obama’s announcement that the pullout of the US troops from Afghanistan would begin in July 2011 has been interpreted by Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as the impending exit of the Americans.  All these developments may lead to elements in Pakistan to create more trouble in Kashmir, possibly by infiltrating a large number of jihadis of foreign origin, said to be waiting in the Taliban camps in Pakistan.  It would be advisable to sort out the Kashmir problem internally by setting a deadline, which should not be later than six to nine months or, at the most, a year. Article 370 of the Constitution, the Delhi Agreement of 1953 between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah, the 1975 Agreement between Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah, the resolution passed by the J and K Assembly in 2000 on autonomy are all guideposts in resolving the issue of greater autonomy for Kashmir.  Eventually, it is the question of quantum of autonomy for J&K, and the matter should be resolved satisfactorily.









Pakistani official vows to fight India for Kashmir
  Associated Press, Updated: July 13, 2010 22:43 IST  Muzaffarabad, Pakistan:  The top official in Pakistan-held Kashmir vowed on Tuesday to fight India for control of the disputed territory in a speech to thousands of people assembled by a coalition of banned militant groups.  The provocative comments by Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan come amid the worst unrest in years in India-held Kashmir, which like Pakistan is majority Muslim. Residents have often chafed against rule by majority Hindu India.  Khan's comments also come a day before India is scheduled to make its highest level visit to Pakistan since militants linked to Pakistan killed 166 people in Mumbai in 2008. The talks are meant to reduce tension between the two countries, but Khan's comments could do the opposite.  "Let me assure you that every home in Kashmir will become a bunker against India," Khan told the crowd in the capital of Pakistan-held Kashmir, Muzaffarabad.      "Azad Kashmir will become a base for the independence movement," he said, referring to the Urdu name of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir.  The rally was organized by the United Jihad Council, a coalition of 12 anti-India militant groups. Many of the groups -- including Lashkar-e-Toiba, which India blames for the Mumbai attacks -- were started with the support of the Pakistani government in the 1980s and 1990s to fight India for control of Kashmir.  Pakistan banned the groups several years ago following pressure from the U.S. But many of them are allowed to operate openly, a fact that India says hampers improved relations between the two countries.  India has demanded that Pakistan crack down on Lashkar-e-Toiba and other Kashmiri militant groups, but many analysts believe the government continues to view them as an effective tool to put pressure on India.  The ability of thousands of members of banned militant groups to gather freely in Muzaffarabad on Tuesday was likely to reinforce that notion.  "Holy war is the only solution to our problem," said Syed Salahuddin, the head of Hizbul Mujahideen, which helped organize Tuesday's rally. "It is mandatory for every child in every street to wage war against India to bring it down to its knees."  Salahuddin rejected upcoming talks this week between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and India, saying they "are like sprinkling salt on the wounds of the Kashmiri people."  Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said he did not expect any breakthrough in the talks.  "We do not expect any dramatic results," he said in a Geo TV interview. "It would be a big success if a process of engagement is agreed."  India and Pakistan have fought two wars over control of Kashmir since their independence from Britain in 1947. Both countries claim the territory in its entirety.  Khan, the Pakistani Kashmir prime minister, said that he would like to see normal relations between the two countries but doubted Indian intentions. "India is not sincere," he said in a Dawn News TV interview.  Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Kashmir, where separatist politicians and armed Islamic militants reject Indian sovereignty and want to carve out a separate homeland or merge the region with Pakistan.  India-held Kashmir has been rocked by protests and strikes for the past month, and at least 15 people have died mostly in shootings blamed on police and paramilitary soldiers.  "Pakistan is committed to the cause of the Kashmiri people for their right of self-determination," Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said in a statement Tuesday.










India for comprehensive UNSC reform
Betwa Sharma/ PTI / United Nations July 13, 2010, 13:14 IST  Seeking comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, India has said it wanted expansion in both permanent and non-permanent seats of the world body's top organ, insisting that its stance reflects that of the overwhelming majority of the international community.  "India's clear position is that comprehensive reform of the Security Council implies expansion in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership," Hardeep Singh Puri, India's ambassador to the UN, said at a closed-door meeting here.  "In this regard, India's stance reflects that of the overwhelming majority of the international community," he said.  India along with Japan, Germany and Brazil, collectively called the G-4, is pushing for a permanent seat in the Council.  Discussions on the issue this year were kicked off with the Chairperson of the Security Council reform process Zahir Tanin, who is also Afghanistan's permanent representative to the UN, asking member states to submit proposals that can be worked into a negotiating text, which will be the basis for future parleys.  In 2009, member states of the UN abandoned the 'Open Ended Working Group' (OEWG) that had dragged on for 15 years without yielding any substantive results.  In March last year, the old talks were replaced by the new "inter-governmental negotiations."  Opponents of the expansion of seats in UNSC fear that more members will further cripple the Council, which is often divided and fails to reach effective decisions on peace and security matters.  These countries also argue that assigning more powerful nations permanent positions in the Security Council will not break the power dynamics of the past.  The Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group of about 40 nations, led by Pakistan and Italy, is trying to block attempts by G-4 to expand the number of permanent seats in the Council.  The G-4 favours addition of another six permanent seats and four non-permanent ones in the UNSC whose current strength in 15.  It wants two each of the new permanent members to be from Asia and Africa, and one each from Latin America and Europe.  Most countries in the UN General Assembly also favour expansion in both categories.










Should India Also Talk To The Taliban?
 Tuesday, 13 July 2010 23:07 Written by IPCS     By D Suba Chandran  With the American exit from Afghanistan getting nearer, many actors are now considering the option of negotiating with the Taliban. What should India do? So far India’s stated position hinted against any rapprochement with the Taliban – good or bad. Given the fact that India has invested hugely –politically, economically and strategically in Afghanistan, should New Delhi revisit this option?     Consider the following issues. First and foremost, the US is desperate to reach a deal with the Taliban. The entire idea of ‘good’ or ‘moderate’ Taliban is aimed for the American people and the international community, the need for negotiations with a section, which is not essentially bad. Especially after making that exit statement at the policy level, Obama will have to reach an understanding with the Taliban, for he and his administration believe that Karzai will be unable to sustain on his own.  Second, Hamid Karzai is also keen on reaching an understanding with the Taliban. The ‘peace jirga’ that he assembled last month in Kabul was an obvious effort to get the popular support for his decision to negotiate with the Taliban. His reasons are simple and straightforward, since Obama has already made his intentions clear to leave Afghanistan, Karzai has to ensure his personal safety and that of his regime. He is well aware that neither the Afghan National Army nor the Afghan Police is ready to take over and provide stability. He is also aware that there is no popular support for his regime, since his efforts to provide better governance is yet to reach the grassroots. The Afghan bureaucracy is highly corrupt and Karzai has been unable to deal with the same. Nor has he been able to create an economy outside of aid and drugs.  Once the international troops leave, Karzai will have serious issues in protecting Kabul itself, leave alone other major cities. He will face an onslaught from three directions – Hekmetyar’s Hizb-e-Islami, the Haqqani network from Jalalabad, and the Quetta Shura from Southern Afghanistan. Will the ANA be able to handle this three-pronged attack? Will Karzai continue to get the support of the leaders of the erstwhile Northern Alliance? How will the ethnic minorities – Tajiks, Uzbeks and Hazaras respond to this?  Karzai has already come to a conclusion that it is in his best interest to negotiate with the Taliban. As mentioned in Afghan Diary-I. Karzai cannot afford a Taliban takeover which would result in one more body of an ex-Afghan President hanging in the UN compound (or anywhere outside), badly mutilated and castrated, as happened to Mohammad Najibullah.  Pakistan has always been a strong supporter of this idea – talking to the Taliban. In fact, the idea of talking to the Taliban was propagated by Islamabad; the Americans only added an additional tag – ‘moderate’ or ‘good’ to convince themselves and the rest of the international community. Pakistan’s interest in supporting this dialogue is also easy to comprehend. This will provide them the strategic depth in Kabul, with one of their stooges either ruling or at least sharing power. It will also ensure that they win some of their lost image among the Pashtuns for taking a u-turn after 9/11. And more importantly, it will also enable them to talk to the other components of the Taliban, especially the TTP and the now increasingly attention gaining – Punjabi Taliban. Perhaps, these were the reasons behind the alleged meeting between the Army Chief Kayani, Sirajuddin Haqqani (of the Haqqani network) and Hamid Karzai.  If all the three major actors in Afghanistan are today willing to negotiate with the Taliban, what should India do? Given the fact that New Delhi has invested over a billion dollars in building roads, bridges, hospitals and other related activities, India has to digest the fact that it will have to face an ugly reality in Afghanistan. If there is a negotiation between Karzai and Taliban (with direct and indirect support from the US and Pakistan), what can India do?  India’s options are limited, yet there are few. First, India could object to any negotiation with the Taliban. Given the fact that the US is its ‘strategic partner’ India can voice its serious reservations about any such strategy vis-à-vis the Taliban. Second, on moral grounds, India can keep away from any such negotiation with the Taliban, irrespective of what Kabul, Islamabad and Washington do. In this case, India’s investments – economic and infrastructural will go down the drain, along with numerous other efforts aimed at building capacity in Afghanistan – from defence to education. In case of any future crisis involving Kabul, as it happened ten years ago after the hijacking of Indian Airline flight, New Delhi will be left stranded with no linkages within the government.  The third option is to put a rider to the negotiation of the three actors with the Taliban; that in principle, India will agree to the outcome, provided its investments are protected. Of course, neither the US nor Karzai can guarantee that. Finally, India can also open a dialogue with the Taliban.     D Suba Chandran is Deputy Director, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), New Delhi and may be reached at subachandran@gmail.com IPCS  The Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies conducts independent research on conventional and non-conventional security issues in the region and shares its findings with policy makers and the public. It provides a forum for discussion with the strategic community on strategic issues and strives to explore alternatives. Moreover, it works towards building capacity among young scholars for greater refinement of their analyses of South Asian security.  Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the Armed Forces, the academic community as well as the media, IPCS has contributed to the strategic discourse in India. Its Executive Committee reflects a mix of experience and expertise and is currently headed by Mr. Eric Gonsalves, former Indian Foreign Secretary to the Government.









Bofors ghost stalls ammo shopping
SUJAN DUTTA  New Delhi, July 13: The army’s trials slated this month for a nearly Rs 15,000-crore order for towed long-range heavy artillery guns have been stalled because the new avatar of the Swedish gunmaker Bofors has emerged as the only competitor.  The Bofors FH77B05, now owned by BAE Land Systems, and the Singapore Technologies Kinetics (STK) iFH 2000, were the only two guns in the competition for the 155mm/52calibre howitzers.  This is the third time since last summer that the field trials have been deferred. “The trials are not taking place this month. Now we have to wait for the winter,” an army source told The Telegraph.  The army has now asked the ministry of defence for directives on how to proceed with its artillery modernisation that is already six years behind schedule.  But the government has been tiptoeing around the issue because, while STK has been blacklisted following a CBI investigation, the whiff of Bofors in a Congress-led government after the row in the 1980s — when the Swedish firm was alleged to have paid Rs 64 crore in kickbacks — is enough to make A.K. Antony’s defence ministry swoon.  Spokespersons from STK were not available for comment. BAE Land Systems spokesperson Guy Douglas said: “We are ready to participate in the trials as we have been from the beginning.”  This is the second time this year that the trials for the towed guns have been stalled. The winter trials, scheduled to be held in Kargil in February, were deferred after the STK requested for a postponement because its gun was damaged during shipment.  Both the guns have to fire ammunition supplied by the Indian Army in trials in the Pokhran range in Rajasthan in peak summer and near Kargil in peak winter.  The Indian artillery guns’ competition is one of the most keenly contested and is watched closely by global defence contractors. The artillery modernisation programme, which involves procuring a mix of towed, ultra-light and wheeled/ tracked guns, is estimated to run into Rs 70,000 crore over 10 years.  With the BAE gun now the only one in the fray, the defence establishment will need to decide whether to go for the Pentagon’s FMS — foreign military sales — route (because BAE Land Systems is headquartered in the US) or ask for bids again. While FMS will make for faster acquisition, rival bidders allege that the system lacks transparency.  But while a re-bidding will get more competitors into the fray, it will mean starting all over again and even more delay in modernisation. India has not added a single new piece of heavy artillery to its arsenal in more than 20 years.  India and the US are also engaged in finalising an FMS transfer of 10 C-17 Globemaster III Boeing strategic airlifters for the Indian Air Force through FMS. The trials for the aircraft were concluded in Agra and in Ladakh last month.








On manoeuvres with the troops trained to fight al-Shabaab 
Paul Ames reports from Uganda on an EU mission to protect the Somali government  Wednesday, 14 July
EU military personnel have been deployed to Uganda to train troops who are loyal to Somalia's government  AFP/GETTY IMAGES  EU military personnel have been deployed to Uganda to train troops who are loyal to Somalia's government      The insurgents have the Western-backed government penned up in a sliver of land in Mogadishu, the capital, protected by Ugandan-led African Union troops.  Uganda paid a price for its engagement in Somalia on Sunday when two bomb blasts claimed the lives of 76 people watching the World Cup final in Kampala. Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility, sparking fears that the Somali jihadis are ready to widen the conflict through international terror attacks.  In Brussels, the EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton insisted the blasts would not diminish Europe's willingness to work with Uganda to "bring stability to the region". But after the disastrous American-led UN intervention in Somalia's civil war in the early 1990s, Western nations are reluctant to send troops.  The training camp in Bihanga is one example of how they are trying to make up for it. The weekend's attack underscored how strategically important Somalia and Uganda are. Even if they are unwilling to commit their own military resources, the urgency of stopping Somalia from becoming a safe haven for al-Qa'ida – and thwarting the pirates who have wreaked havoc on international shipping in the Indian Ocean – is lost on none of the Europeans.  They believe that the solution may be to train up local forces that just might be able to impose some sort of stability on the country. "One-thousand well-trained soldiers can make a difference," insists Swedish Major Johan Rudhe, the acting commander of the EU camp in Bihanga.  Warrant officer Abdullah Ibrahim Aden of the Somali army agrees, but like many others, this 28-year-old veteran of Mogadishu's street-fighting says the key to success will be the level of follow-up support he and his fellow trainees receive when they return to Somalia.  "If we are trained by the European Union and they continue to care about the way we things are in Somalia, we can take control away from al-Shabaab," he says. "But if the soldiers don't get paid and they don't get food, they will take their guns and split off."  That is exactly what happened with previous attempts by African nations to train Somali troops. In a sign of the growing international concern about the implications of an al-Shabaab victory, the United States is joining with the EU to ensure the Somalis do get paid. Washington is already supporting the EU mission by providing transport, uniforms and other equipment for the recruits, as well as a $100-a-month (£66) salary during the six-month course. "What has dogged previous efforts at security-sector reform is the fact that after the trainings, everybody washes their hands and leaves these boys with just the (Somali) government to take care of them," says Rashid Abdi, a Horn of Africa analyst with the International Crisis Group.  "If the European Union and the Western partners undertake some form of long-term help for these units to ensure that they are well catered for, then ...the government may get the kind of military muscle it needs to begin to roll back the insurgency," Mr Abdi said by telephone from Nairobi.  The daily routine for the Somali recruits at Bihanga starts when they are awakened at 5am and taken for a run. After porridge for breakfast, most spend the day following basic training with Ugandan army instructors assisted by the EU. About 200 selected as potential officers or NCOs are split into platoon-sized groups and given specialised training by EU teams working through Somali-speaking Kenyan interpreters.  "You can see the improvements on a daily basis," says Captain Donal Burke, of the Irish Defence Forces. "The Somali trainees just want to learn, they want military knowledge and they want to fight al-Shabaab. There is a feeling their country is being held to ransom." A Portuguese team arrived at the beginning of July to teach urban-warfare techniques. The Germans are giving classes in radio communications; the Italians are teaching medical skills. A Finnish female officer is lecturing on human rights and gender issues, and French experts will be taking on the around 27 Somalis selected for officer training.  "They may have battle experience, but they need training. They fire from the hip like in the movies rather than taking aim from the shoulder," says Maj Rudhe, the camp's commander.  "They have no clue about the laws of combat, about communications, about how to save a friend who has been wounded, and we can give them that sort of skill," he said. "It's like having a guy who can play great football on the beach in Rio, but you still need to train him before he can play in the World Cup."  The selection of the troops sent for training was done by the Somali government with US-funded vetting to ensure none was under 18 or had any record of war crimes. The EU's insistence that the group be representative of a broad range of the country's clans and regions caused some problems. About 250 recruits from the breakaway Puntland region dropped out after a dispute with the Mogadishu government over where they would be deployed when they return to Somalia, explains Colonel Ricardo Gonzalez Elul, commander of the 120-strong EU mission.  The Spanish officer said he's optimistic that can be resolved so the Puntland troops can join the second intake of 1,000 trainees due to arrive later this year. Col Elul said about 10 "troublemakers" had also been sent home at the start of the mission for stirring up clan rivalries among the recruits.  "We knew it would happen before we arrived here, and it will happen in the future because it is an intrinsic issue within the Somali culture," Elul said. "It's not considered as a major concern."  One of the few English-speaking recruits, Aden, was a refugee in Kenya who returned to Mogadishu to serve as a paramedic with Somali government forces in 2006. He said there were few tensions among the Somalis billeted together on the base in Bihanga, but he warned the impression of unity was fragile. Whether the bombs on Kampala will strengthen or dilute that unity will only become clear with time.  "Relations among us are good," he said. "But you don't know what's going on in their minds because in Somalia you can't trust anyone, even your own brother."




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