Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Dr.Ahmed Ali can perhaps scale Mount Everest  to gain knowledge in surgery, and will come back to serve the poor and needy. That is the thirst he has, and the skill gained by his extra ordinary,photographic memory power.

After obtaining the highest degree in surgery such as M.Ch, he was awarded the prestigious
Doctor of Science D.Sc.in surgery.  The Padma Shree Awardees, listed on January 31, 2011, Dr.Ahmed
Ali, won the  nation's prestigious award.

A dedicated, and most devoted to his profession, he declined an opportunity, assigned in New York soon after post graduation  in gastroenterology and proctology. Surgery is an art to him same as a gifted and a born artist plays with his brush and colors. There is no exaggeration that if it is said that his tournament is surgery.

He visits every month to his native town to impart free service,in addition he gives nutrient suppliments
and other vitamins and other additives to less fortunates. He does this as a token of gratitude to the school he studied and for the  people who mutually loved.

Born in Ambur in 1940, graduated from Madras Medical College, and after retiring from service, he is concentrating his profession in Mehtha Nursing Home,Chetpet in Chennai.

His only son Dr.Mansoor is a surgical specialist in liver,pancreas,and bile duct (Hepato Pancreato Bilary Specialist) working in Kings Hospital,London UK. Dr.Mansoor is as good as his father, and was the student of Dr.Rela, the world renowned liver specialist.

Ambur, a town in Vellore District in Tamil Nadu is famous for leather industry, as well the elite of the society Ambur Muslim Educational Society, and it is fully devoted in concentrating women's education
and the students performance is par excellent.

Mr.Mecca Rafeeque Ahmed, a renowned leather industrialist, from Ambur also awarded Padma Shree for his industrial achievements.

Dr.Ali was felicitated with standing ovation by different groups elites, but he stood humble and modest.

Rahul Gandhi to campaign in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

Chennai: April 4
Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi will campaign for two days in Tamil Nadu  starting April 6

According to a communication from his office Monday, Gandhi will address public meetings at Erode at 2 p.m., Karur at 3 p.m. and Karaikudi at 4.30 p.m. Wednesday.

On Thursday, he will address an election rally in Vilathikulam constituency in Tuticorin district in the morning and later at 1 p.m. he will address a meeting in Puducherry.

Tamil Nadu goes to polls April 13 to elect a new 234-member assembly. On the same day, elections will be held in Puducherry to elect a 30-member new house.

Didi on foot, CM ‘follows’ on jeep

Calcutta, April 4: 

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will follow in the footsteps of Mamata Banerjee, not literally but in an open jeep.

The chief minister will lead a CPM procession from Jadavpur University to Kamalgazi near Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas on Saturday. He will ride the 6km stretch on a jeep with “thousands of party supporters” following him on foot, a source in Alimuddin Street said.
The chief minister’s move comes close on the heels of the Trinamul Congress chief’s four padayatras in south Calcutta this week. Mamata, however, preferred to walk in the rallies. Yesterday, one such padayatra snaked its way through parts of Jadavpur, Bhattacharjee’s constituency.

Asked about Saturday’s procession, Khokon Ghosh Dastidar, the CPM leader in charge of the campaigning in Jadavpur, said: “It will start at 5.30pm from Jadavpur University and will wind its way through Buddhada’s constituency before reaching Kamalgazi. The chief minister will be on an open jeep while thousands of party workers will accompany him on foot.’’

Mamata’s padayatra yesterday was held to garner support for Manish Gupta, the Trinamul candidate from Jadavpur. According to a party general secretary, the Gupta-Bhattacharjee face-off in Jadavpur was a “prestige” issue for Mamata.
“She wants to leave no stone unturned to try to ensure that Gupta emerges as the giant killer by defeating the chief minister. For Mamata, it’s a matter of prestige. If her padayatras and rallies in Jadavpur lead to Buddhababu’s defeat, she will be happy.’’ In an interview with STAR Ananda last week, the Trinamul chief had expressed doubts over Bhattacharjee’s poll prospects this time.

CPM leader Ghosh Dastidar said the chief minister’s procession would be “10 times bigger” than Mamata’s padayatra yesterday. “Not more than 3,000 people from Jadavpur had participated in Mamata’s padayatra. The rest were outsiders, including some from Salt Lake. Around 15,000 women will be part of Buddhada’s rally,” he added.
Trinamul leader Partha Chatterjee said Bhattacharjee’s “efforts to follow Mamata would go in vain”. “He is imitating our leader. But people have seen through his game… his procession will do no good to him,’’ Chatterjee added.

A CPM leader denied that the chief minister was trying to emulate Mamata. “Before every Assembly election, Buddhada leads processions. This time it will be no different. Why will he follow Mamata? These are all canards,’’ the leader said.
A section of CPM leaders said Bhattacharjee had “intensified” his campaign in Jadavpur, “sensing the winds of change’’. Since the polls were declared on March 1, he has been holding public meetings in his constituency almost every weekend.
“He has also held small meetings with students, unorganised sector workers and teachers residing in Jadavpur. He is approaching the voters, admitting the party’s mistakes and appealing to the people to vote for the Left Front. His attitude and body language have evoked a good response,’’ a CPM state secretariat member said.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

67 per cent turnout in first phase polls : Assam

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, April 4 –

The first phase of elections to 62 of 126 constituencies of Assam passed off peacefully with over 67 percent of the voters exercising their franchise. However, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Assam, Hemanta Narzary said that the votingpercentage is likely to go up as reports of polling are still pouring in from the interiorplaces of the State.

Narzary said that the polling went off smoothly and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state. He said that repolling might be ordered in a few pollingstations in Borkhola and South Karimganj constituencies and the final decision in this regard would be taken tomorrow.

Narzary further said that the participation of people in the polls was encouraging and voting took place in 11284 polling stations.

It may be mentioned here that a number of political heavyweights including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi were in the fray in the first phase of polls.

Special Correspondent from New Delhi adds: Briefing newsmen, deputy Election Commissioner, Aloke Shukla said in New Delhi the polling percentage is likely to go up further after the final figures compiled. The State witnessed 75.72 per cent polling in the last Assembly polls in 2006 and 69 per cent polling in last Parliament election in 2009.

The deputy EC said the final assessment on the first phase of polls would be done only after all the observers in all the districts submits report.
However, based on initial reports, re-polling at two places in Karimganj district where polling was interrupted. At one of the place, the presiding officer did not press the button.
Shukla said no major incidents were reported though couple of incidents of clashes were reported. At Katigora in Barak Valley, there was a report of clash between supporters of two political parties, while at Borkhola, there was a report of polling officials being assaulted.

There were also reports of poll boycott at couple places at Tinkhong and Dima Hasao district over development issues and renaming of the district, respectively, Shukla said.
The EC also received reports from a number of places about EVMs running low onbattery. There were problems with EVMs at some places but there was no report of polling being interrupted on that account, Shukla said.

The EC had used 14,553 EVMs in the first phase of polling and deployed 40,837 polling personnel. At least 25 General Observers and 21 Expenditure Observers, besides 55assistant Expenditure Observers were also put on job, he said.
Polling was also recorded using 1410 video cameras and at 91 places web casting was done, Shukla said.

The Commission also used two helicopters during the polling period.
Our Correspondents report: Silchar: In the first phase of Assembly election, 71.28 percent votes have cast in Cachar district. Initially the casting was very low but it picked up later.

In Katigorah LAC 56 percent vote have caste. In Udharbond 73.12, Lakhipur 72 Borkhola 71.89, Katigorah 70, Silchar 62.21, Dholai, 70.12 Sonai 72.1, total 68.79 votes caste in Cachar district.

Badarpur: Apart from minor incidents of violence polling was peaceful in the Badarpur constituency. According to reports received around 65 per cent of the voters had exercised the franchise.

Dhekiajuli: Around 67 percent of the voters cast their votes in Dhekiajuli constituency, while, 75 percent voting was recorded in Borsola constituency.
Bihpuria: The poll percentage in Bihpuria constituency was around 77 percent and the main contest is between Bhupen Bora of the Congress and Kesharam Bora of the AGP.

Sonari: The polling was peaceful in Sonari constituency and around 71 percent of the voters cast their votes.

Itakhola: Around 70 percent of the voters in Sootea constituency, while, 65 percent exercised their franchise in Rangapara constituency.

Dhemaji: The polling in the Dhemaji constituency passed off peacefully. As per election office repots available here 74.44 per cent voters in the legislative constituency exercised their franchise.

Jonai: About 73 percent of voters exercised their franchise in the 317 polling stationsspreading in two blocks under 144 Jonai today. Apart from some minor group clashes reported from some remote polling areas, polling was by and large peaceful in the constituency.

Tezpur: The polling in Sonitpur passed off peacefully in eight legislative constituencies today. The overall percentage of polling in these LAC segments are at Dhekiajuli 67 per cent, Borchala 75 per cent, Tezpur 65 per cent, Rangapara 70 per cent, Sootia 70 per cent, Biswanath Chariali 73 per cent, Bihali 77 per cent and Gohpur 75 per cent. Almost 71.5 per cent of polling was reported in the district.

Initially the turnout of voters was low in all the LAC segments. But gradually the voter’s turnout enhanced.

Howraghat: Despite the threat of militant organization good percentage of polling was seen in Karbi Anglong district. The district recorded 68 per cent of voters turnout. The break up is as Diphu 66 per cent, Howraghat 68 per cent, Bokajan 73 per cent and Baithalangso 67 per cent.

Courtesy:The Assam Tribune

Smiles belie traumatized kids

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

News photo
Iwate hold 'em: Young evacuees play cards at an evacuation center in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, on Friday.AP PHOTO


The Associated Press
KARAKUWA, Miyagi Pref. — Zoom in for a snapshot of apparent normalcy: children sitting in a circle, clasping playing cards tightly in their hands. They laugh, chat and occasionally hop up to break into a goofy dance.
Zoom out and the picture changes: The children are kneeling on mattresses in a chilly classroom they now call home. An elderly woman cries nearby, wondering whether her mother was killed by the tsunami. Outside the school, a teacher fiddles with a radiation detector, checking to ensure the levels aren't high enough to make them sick — or worse.
Behind the smiling faces of thousands of children in shelters across this wave-battered wasteland, experts say there is often serious anxiety as everything these youngsters once held as normal is suddenly anything but.
"That's what is so wonderfully adaptive about children. They can move very easily into playing or laughing," said psychologist Susie Burke, a disaster response specialist with the Australian Psychological Society. "But that's not saying they're not deeply distressed and upset about what's going on."
For the children, the monster in the closet has been replaced by the monster of Mother Nature: The ground they play on can rattle and crack, the ocean they swim in can morph into a killer wave, the air they breathe might carry harmful radioactive particles.
Fumie Unoura, 10, remembers well the terror of the day. She was sitting in class when the earth began to shake, sending her and her classmates scrambling under their desks for cover. When the rumbling stopped, the teacher shepherded the students outside, where their town had turned to rubble.
"I saw the dust rising up," she recalled days later, standing outside a shelter in the shattered coastal city of Rikuzentakata.
With the tsunami coming, she ran as fast as her short legs could carry her, surrounded by others sprinting for safety.
She escaped with her life but little else. Her home is ruined. She sleeps on the floor of a school gym with her family and more than a thousand other survivors. She misses her Nintendo DS.
Her father, Masanari, volunteers at the shelter. He worries constantly about what will become of his life, where they'll live, how he will clean up the ruins of their home.
"We parents have a lot to think about," he said. "Whereas the kids are basically free."
It is not so simple, experts said. In fact, the disruption of daily life, if prolonged, can be more damaging than the disaster itself, said psychologist Gaithri Fernando, who led a study on how the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami affected children in Sri Lanka.
Suddenly discovering they have no water to bathe in, no bed of their own and no school where they can see their friends can be highly upsetting, said Fernando, a professor at California State University, Los Angeles.
Experts say getting children back into a routine — even an unusual one — is key.
Unoura and his family are doing this. Every morning, they join others at the shelter for group exercise sessions broadcast on the radio. They have breakfast as a family, and then Fumie and her older sister, Shiho, have time to play until they all meet for lunch. Fumie's teacher stops by regularly with homework assignments — a source of complaint for his daughter, her father notes with a grin.
That kind of basic structure to the day helps prevent long-term psychological damage, said Burke, the Australian psychologist.
"It gives them a sense that their world is predictable, and when we feel things are predictable, we begin to relax," she said. "A disaster makes us realize or think the world isn't predictable."
Save the Children, an international aid agency, has set up safe spaces for children to meet and play throughout the tsunami zone, with toys, games, crayons and paper.
"The stories they were sharing with me were about first an earthquake, then a tsunami and now their fears for radiation," said Ian Woolverton, a spokesman for the group. But one fear reigned supreme: "Being alone is the thing they're most afraid of."
Keisuke Iwate, 16, came here to visit his friend, Yohei Sugawara. "There are people without homes," Iwate said, himself included. "They're not saying how sad they are, but you know they're feeling it."

Barack Obama eyes $1bn re-election bid as Republicans ponder challengers

US president opts for aggressive start to his 2012 campaign to defeat the Republicans and return to the White House

Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama attempted to appeal to disenchanted Democrats in an email launching his bid to remain in the White House. Photograph: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Barack Obama has formally launched his campaign for re-election to the White House next year, hoping to raise a record-breaking $1bn (£620m) in funds as the Republicans struggle to find a clear challenger for the presidency.
Obama made the announcement in an email that reached out to disenchanted Democrats whom he needs to campaign for him even though they feel he has been insufficiently progressive.
Although the election is set for Tuesday 6 November 2012, Obama is anxious to create a campaign organisation at least as efficient as the one in 2008 and to begin gathering enough funds now to outspend the Republicans in advertising, just as he did last time.
If Obama were to lose the election, the Republicans would dismantle his healthcare reforms, due to start in 2014.
He said: "We've always known that lasting change wouldn't come quickly or easily. It never does.
"But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we've made – and make more – we also need to begin mobilising for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest."
Many analysts predict Obama will win a second term, given the tendency of Americans to re-elect the incumbent. But others are more cautious, suggesting the result will be close and largely dependent on the state of the economy.
Brad Coker, director of Mason-Dixon polling, said it was far from a foregone conclusion. "I would put his chances of re-election at 50-50," he said. "Obviously, his popularity has suffered in a number of areas. The economy has been a little slow to recover. That is the linchpin. If the economy continues to improve, his chances improve greatly; if there are more bumps on the road, he has a problem. The little adventure in Libya is not helping him."
A CNN poll last week put Obama on 47%, down from 52% in January.
Obama formally filed election papers on Monday with the Federal Election Commission, allowing him to start fund-raising in earnest. He spent $748m to win the White House in 2008 and has already been sounding out big donors across the country for his re-election race.
The Republican contenders have been slow to come forward this year, with only Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, having formally declared so far and Newt Gingrich, the former house speaker, having half-announced his intention to stand. Others, such as Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin, have yet to declare.
A televised debate of Republican candidates, scheduled for May, has had to be postponed until September because the declared field is so small.
Obama's campaign chief is Jim Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff, and the campaign will be based in Obama's home town, Chicago, as it was in 2008. Others who were prominent in 2008, such as David Axelrod, have already moved back from the White House to Chicago to prepare for next year.
Obama's announcement was accompanied by a video in which he was largely absent, with the focus on potential campaign workers saying why it was important to them that he secured a second term.
Pawlenty, responding with a video of his own, rehearsed the potential campaign issues: high unemployment, the collapse of the housing market in many areas and the soaring federal debt.
"How can America win the future when we're losing the present?" Pawlenty asks in the video. "In order for America to take a new direction, it's going to take a new president."
One advantage of Obama's early announcement, and his declaration of his aim to raise $1bn, is that it could help scare off any potential Democratic challenger. The only credible challenger from within the party is the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and she has already ruled out taking Obama on a second time.
It is also likely that he will keep the vice-president, Joe Biden, as his running mate.
Coker predicted Biden would stay on the ticket: "If Obama was to drop Biden, the only person to enhance his chances as a running mate would be Clinton.
"If he dropped him, it would look like an act of desperation."
Obama received a boost last Friday with a surprise drop in unemployment to 8.8%, although the actual unemployment figure, as opposed to the official one, is estimated to be double that. In the worst-hit states families are unable to move to other jobs because they are unable to sell their houses, some of which are worth half of what they were five years ago.
Obama won North Carolina and Indiana in 2008, two states likely to go back to the Republicans, while six other states he took last time – Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Virginia – could be tighter races.
But Larry Sabato, professor of politics at the University of Virginia, said Obama's chances were pretty good, citing statistics showing America tends to re-elect incumbents. Since 1900 incumbents have won 14 times and lost five times.
"I think the odds favour him," he said. "The economy is picking up. But there are things that could happen. The economy could take a nosedive. Libya is not working out as they intended.
"Do not rule out the possibility that the Republicans will nominate a clunker.
"They have four decent choices – Romney, Pawlenty, [Mitch] Daniels and [Haley] Barbour – and the rest are a bunch of clunkers. In ideal circumstances, one of the four could win."

Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be tried by military commission

Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four co-defendants accused of planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks will be prosecuted in a military commission, a decision that reverses the Obama administration’s long-held goal of bringing the men to trial in federal court as part of its overall strategy of closing the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision during an afternoon news conference. Saying he made the decision “reluctantly,” he blamed barriers thrown up by Congress for the administration’s abandonment of one of its signature goals.
Holder called Congress’s intervention “unwise and unwarranted” and said he continues to believe that the case could have been tried in federal court in Manhattan or, as an alternative he proposed, in upstate New York. He said the Obama administration would continue to work for repeal of the restrictions Congress imposed and would prosecute other terrorism cases in federal courts.
But he said he decided that prosecution of Mohammed and the four other defendants should go ahead in a military tribunal because the restrictions were “unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future” and because the families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks have already waited too long for justice, which he said is “long overdue.”
In response to questions, Holder said he believes military prosecutors can seek the death penalty in the case. But he said it remains “an open question” whether the death penalty would apply to a defendant who pleaded guilty.
In both symbol and substance, the decision appears to encapsulate Guantanamo Bay’s enduring role as part of the country’s counterterrorism arsenal, and it may mark the end of the administration’s more than two-year effort to close the facility.
Holder first announced the prosecution of Mohammed and his co-defendants in November 2009, the culmination of an almost year-long examination of the cases of every detainee at Guantanamo Bay. And administration officials said justice would be best served by bringing those who orchestrated the destruction of New York’s Twin Towers to the scene of that crime.
But the decision triggered almost immediate opposition from congressional Republicans, who said the attacks on New York and Washington were an act of war, not ordinary crimes, and should be prosecuted in a military tribunal.
Fears about terrorism and the economic toll of holding the trial in lower Manhattan galvanized local opposition, and the administration quietly shelved its plans while insisting it was still committed to federal trials for some Guantanamo detainees.
But Congress has erected a series of barriers to bringing detainees into the United States, even for prosecution, and the administration has now bowed to the near-certainty that it will not overcome what has become bipartisan opposition to federal trials.
The five defendants will now be returned to the courtroom at Guantanamo Bay that was purposely built for them by the Bush administration. Mohammed and the four others were first charged with capital war crimes under the last administration, but Obama suspended proceedings at Guantanamo, and the military then withdrew charges in anticipation of a federal trial.
At the Justice Department’s request, a sealed indictment in New York against the five men was unsealed and dismissed by a federal judge Monday.
The indictment charged Mohammed and his co-defendants — Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa al-Hawsawi — with 10 federal felonies. The charges included conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, to hijack and destroy aircraft and to kill Americans, as well as acts of international terrorism, destruction of aircraft, aircraft piracy, murder of U.S. officers and employees and destruction of commercial property.
According to the unsealed indictment, Mohammed, a Pakistani closely associated with al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was the “operational leader” of the Sept. 11 plot. It says Attash, a Yemeni also known as Khallad bin Attash, Tawfiq bin Rashid and other aliases, collected information on airport and airplane security measures. Binalshibh, called Ramzi bin al-Shibh in the indictment, is another Yemeni who “tried to become one of the pilot hijackers but failed to obtain a visa” to enter the United States, the indictment says. Instead, he “managed the plot . . . by, among other things, sending money to hijackers in the United States from abroad.”
Ali, a Pakistani who is Mohammed’s nephew and is better known as Ammar al-Baluchi, also facilitated the plot by sending money to the hijackers, the indictment says. Hawsawi, a Saudi with several aliases including Mustafa Ahmed, participated by “helping the hijackers travel to the United States and facilitating their efforts upon arrival,” according to the indictment.
In moving to drop the federal charges, the Justice Department cited congressional enactment in December 2010 of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act, a provision of which effectively bars the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the United States, even for prosecution.
In his news conference Monday, Holder said the Justice Department had been “prepared to bring a powerful case” against the five defendants and had “consulted extensively with the intelligence community and developed detailed plans for handling classified evidence.”
Blasting the congressional intervention, Holder added: “As the president has said, those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security. Decisions about who, where and how to prosecute have always been — and must remain — the responsibility of the executive branch. Members of Congress simply do not have access to the evidence and other information necessary to make prosecution judgments. Yet they have taken one of the nation’s most tested counterterrorism tools off the table and tied our hands in a way that could have serious ramifications.”
Holder said U.S. national security “demands that we continue to prosecute terrorists in federal courts, and we will do so.”
In response to questions, he said he knows the Mohammed case “in a way that members of Congress do not.” While he respects “their ability to disagree,” he said, “I think they should respect the fact that this is an executive branch function.”
As for public opposition to holding the trial in Manhattan, Holder said he had proposed bringing it to Otisville Prison in upstate New York, about 78 miles northwest of New York City. Such a venue would have removed “the concerns that people had about bringing a case in Manhattan” and would have “lowered the costs pretty dramatically,” he said.

Courtesy:The Washington Post:World

Misunderstanding Bahrain's Shia protesters

Predominately Shia protesters are calling for political reform not alignment with Iran, researchers argue.

 Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 10:59
The Shia in Bahrain have recently been distancing themselves from Iran whilst attention is diverted to Libya [REUTERS]
Listening to the rhetoric coming out of Tehran, one might assume that Bahrain's Shia opposition is relying on help from its co-religionists next door. But, in fact, the opposite is true: the Shia opposition wants nothing more than for Tehran to stay out of the sectarian dispute unfolding in the tiny kingdom.

The major demand of the mainstream opposition is to turn the country into a constitutional monarchy, much like those in Europe. Other selected goals include: an elected government; a free press; an unrestricted civil society; and an end to discriminatory practises against religions other than the Sunni minority, such as unequal employment practises, unfair distribution of wealth, and the elimination of all forms of administrative and financial malpractice.

As the world's attention has focused on Libya, Bahrain's mainstream opposition has made every attempt to distance itself from Tehran's rulers.

Sheikh Ali, secretary general of Al-Wefaq, the main Shia opposition group, publicly announced in March that his organisation had no desire to implement Iranian-style Vilayat-e Faqih, the concept of supreme clerical rule.

Yet, even given these facts, the grand promises from Tehran  which now include sending young Iranian boys to Bahrain to protest, if not fight, alongside the opposition  show that Iran continues to manipulate the crisis in its favour by trying to persuade the world that the Shia in Bahrain are one with those in Iran.

In reality, Bahrain stands as one of the most politically-aware states in the region. Demands for reform did not emerge only a few weeks ago when the unrest started, but date back to the years before the kingdom's independence from Britain in 1971.

In the view of many Shia, the arrival of Saudi troops weeks ago is merely a ploy by Bahrain's rulers to quell calls by the opposition for a Western-style democracy in favour of the status quo. For the Saudis, a crackdown on the Shia protesters in Bahrain sends a message to their own restive Shia citizens in the eastern part of the country who also demand democratic rule.

The Saudi military presence has produced two negative results: First, Saudi Arabia is pressing Bahrain's rulers to use violence against its own people in order for the Saudis to minimise any potential Iranian intervention and to intimidate its own Shia citizens. Second, Iran is now using the Saudi invasion to threaten Bahrain's government and pretend to be protecting its Shia brethren next door in a neighbouring state.
The sad truth is that there is now a significant escalation of tension in the Gulf which has not been seen in years. The stakes are high for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but certainly not for Iran at present.

Consequently, expect Iran to exploit the situation in the days and weeks ahead, attempting to exert the maximum pressure on Bahrain's government while stopping just short of provoking an armed confrontation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states.

And tougher steps by Bahraini officials toward Iran cannot be ruled out in the days to come. Future moves could include the censure of Iran by the GCC comprising of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

What can be done? Rightly or wrongly, many political activists in Bahrain look to the United States to help promote democracy in their country. But what is most troubling is that high-ranking US officials and retired military generals seem to think that because the violence in Libya is worse, the Bahraini opposition should be left to fend for itself.
Recently, retired General Wesley Clark argued that the situations in Libya and Bahrain "are not comparable". This might be true, but the United States has far more to lose in Bahrain if Iran is able to use the crisis to gain more influence in the country.

Many Shia believe the United States has decided that some Arab dictatorships are worth saving, and fearing a Bahraini Shia alliance with Iran, Washington actually gave the Saudis the green light to send in troops. If this indeed was one reason for the Saudi invasion, Washington should know that Iran's actions and words are based upon its own interests, not those of the opposition in Bahrain.

Certainly, it is in Washington's interest to see stability take hold in Bahrain, if only because Manama is home to the United States' Fifth Fleet.

The crisis will only end if Saudi Arabia and Iran stay out of the internal crisis, Bahrain's rulers are pressured to make compromises with the opposition, and the United States makes known that it will not tolerate a proxy war in which Iran stands to gain more than any other player.

Dr Jasim Husain Ali is member of the parliament of Bahrain and the Wefaq, the leading Shia opposition group. Geneive Abdo is the director of the Iran programme for The Century Foundation and the National Security Network, two Washington-based think tanks.

The views expressed in this article are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial policy.
Al Jazeera

Zardari vows to rectify “historical wrong” in Bhutto decision


President Asif Ali Zardari. — Photo by APP

President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday vowed to rectify the “historical wrong” of the “judicial murder” of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and said it was now the judiciary’s obligation to clear its record.

He was addressing a large gathering here at the mausoleum of the Bhutto family on the 32nd death anniversary of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the early hours of Monday.

President Zardari said he had filed a reference and desired the record to be corrected.

“We are not like Cromwell. We are not seeking revenge. We want the history to record that a wrong was committed and it needs to be corrected.”

“There should be no objection to the reference as it is the demand of the people of Pakistan,” Zardari said.

“We do not want a clash of institutions…we want to make institutions work like institutions. That’s why we have sent you a reference to clear the wrong that you had done,” Zardari said.

President Zardari said the judiciary of today was the one for whose independence the people had rendered sacrifices.

“They too (judiciary) had learnt from Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to come out on the streets and fight for their rights,” he said.

He said in one year time the government had successfully transferred all powers to the Parliament.

“We do not believe in making headlines, we prefer in making history with our blood, like the Bhutto family did.”

President Zardari also invited political leaders to sit together to find solutions to economic challenges.

“Let’s find out how to save Pakistan, how to determine its destiny,” he said.
He said he believed in the policy of reconciliation and offered the ‘political actors’ to sit together and find solutions to their problems.
“We have come with a message of peace…talk to us…we are the largest political party …we have a philosophy and the people are with us.”

President Zardari said he still had more tests to undertake and had to hold the next general election.

He said the government restored the judiciary and the constitution and would also hold the general election on time.

“We will hold free, fair and transparent elections and if the people so desire we will return to power, or if they so choose, we will sit in opposition,” he said.


Libya violence worrisome: Kingdom


RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Monday expressed deep concern over the impact of continuing violence on the Libyan people and hoped the London conference on Libya would help bring about security and safety for citizens and ensure the distribution of humanitarian assistance for victims.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Crown Prince Sultan, deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, expressed appreciation for a statement issued by the Bahraini government commending Saudi Arabia for standing by the country during its time of crisis.
Peace and stability returned to Bahrain as a result of the wisdom of its leadership in dealing with its internal matters and because of its people giving priority to national interests, the Cabinet said.
The Cabinet reviewed the resolutions taken by a GCC Ministerial Council meeting in Riyadh, condemning Iran’s continuous interference in the internal affairs of GCC countries. Iran has been conspiring to undermine the national security of GCC countries and creating sectarian divisions among its citizens, a Cabinet statement said.
The Cabinet meeting supported the GCC’s call for dialogue between the Yemeni government and opposition to reach a consensus on national objectives and reforms and achieve a comprehensive peace settlement.
Culture and Information Minister Abdul Aziz Khoja said the Cabinet authorized Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal to hold talks with UNICEF in order to make changes in the agreement between the two sides.
It endorsed the agreement with Japan for scientific and educational cooperation. It also approved a similar agreement with India for scientific and technological cooperation, Khoja said.
“The Cabinet meeting approved an accord signed with Singapore to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion,” the minister said. The Cabinet appointed a representative of the Civil Defense Department on the board of the Saudi Standards Organization.
The Cabinet appointed Muhammad Al-Dhabaan deputy Riyadh mayor for construction and projects, Abdullah Al-Jarboue assistant undersecretary for planning, Musaed Al-Humaidan assistant undersecretary for follow-up and information and Abdullah Al-Araj director general of information technology at the Ministry of Economy and Planning.