‘Realpolitik’ of War Criminals Relating to Kashmir
Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan
In my previous research paper “India’s Ajit Doval Doctrine And The Current Flash Point” dated 10th of this month (1) it was highlighted that:-
- According to the published official Indian version, after the initial phase of Indian offensive i.e. the military annexation of Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK), the next phase of India’s offensive is to capture Pakistani administered Kashmir and Northern Area (Baltistan, Gilgit), scuttle China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which enters from China in Pakistan through this Northern Area (2), and then to divert river waters flowing from Kashmir to Pakistan (Indian PM Modi’s published public speech).
- In the final inferences drawn in that paper it was also brought to fore, based upon the authentic facts presented in the paper, that “By now it has also become very obvious that these Indian objectives are also shared by US and its European allied powers (particularly UK, France and Germany) as also Israel for establishing, through India, a geopolitical and geoeconomic stranglehold not only on China but also on Pakistan which is the only Muslim nuclear power country.
- It was also highlighted in the paper that all through this prolonged period since 5 August “US and its allied Western powers –the farcical claimants of being the protectors of human rights and human values – have refused to budge even an inch to actually act against the widespread extreme inhuman atrocities meted out to Kashmiri Muslims by the Indian military”.
And now, when another heinous aspect of India’s war crime in IOK has come to light – i.e. forced expulsions of tens of thousands IOK Muslims extra judicially to Indian jails and planning to settle Indians in IOK – US and its mentioned European allied powers are still persisting in their inaction!
As already mentioned, one of the reasons for this inaction is that US, UK, France, Germany and Israel share the abovementioned objectives of Indian phases of its offensives. The other reason for this inaction has come to light now when US has reversed its decade’s old policy and announced that similar forced settlements of Israelis in the West Bank territory are not illegal. (Black dots in the map below show those Israeli settlements).
(Map: Courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement)
In the case of India, the New York, US-based news organisation Religion Unplugged, in its report titled “India’s Plan to Settle Hindus in Muslim-Majority Kashmir”, dated 23 July 2019, confirmed that Indian PM Modi plans to do in IOK what Israel has done/is doing in West Bank territory. It mentioned that 97 % population of the Kashmir Valley is Muslim; and that Indian PM Modi’s party the BJP is planning to bring back hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Hindus to the region; and that the proposal of settling down the Hindu population in secure colonies in Kashmir has the backing of New Delhi appointed governor of the State (3).
These actions of India and of Israel, as also this declaration of legality of these actions by US, are certainly the flagrantly demonstrated war crimes as declared by International Law Commission (ILC) established by United Nations (UN), and by International Humanitarian Law (IHL), etc. Following are some of the relevant extracts (4):-
Geneva Convention IV
Article 49, sixth paragraph, of the 1949 Geneva Convention IV provides: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Additional Protocol I
Article 85(4) (a) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I provides that “the transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a grave breach of the Protocol.
Under Article 8(2)(b)(viii) of the 1998 ICC Statute, “[t]he transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts.
ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1991)
Article 22(2) (b) of the 1991 ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind considers “the establishment of settlers in an occupied territory and changes to the demographic composition of an occupied territory” as an “exceptionally serious war crime”.
ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind (1996)
Under Article 20(c) (i) of the 1996 ILC Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind, “[t]he transfer by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” is a war crime.
‘Countries of Same (War Crime) Feather (have) Flocked Together’
Countries thus flocked together are US, UK, France, Germany, Israel, and India; with US as their ‘masthead’, and India as their ‘operational façade’. Their collective objective is to establish a geopolitical and geoeconomic stranglehold on China and Pakistan, as explained above. Their approach is that of Realpolitik (political system divest of moral or ideological considerations). Their operational methodology is that of war crimes, including changing the demography of the militarily captured/annexed territory through forced expulsion of indigenous Muslim people and settling people brought from outside.
The list of the war crimes of this ‘League of War Crime Counties’ is long. In that context much is already known about the war crimes of India and Israel – and in any case, these two countries do not care much to hide their war crimes. War crimes of Germany especially during WW 2 are also well known, and do not merit repetition.
However, a very brief mention of the war crimes of the other members of this ‘League’, of course led by US, is warranted because of their oft-proclaimed pride in their civilizational superiority.
In The Case of US, long list of its war crime record commenced from post-WW 2 era. However, focusing only on the recent past, very briefly: (a) the cost of US’ geopolitical war-mongering in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other countries on the fabricated pretext of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and ‘war on terror’, as given by Watson Institute Brown University (US), is “The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have taken a tremendous human toll on those countries. As of November 2018, at least 244,000 civilians in these three countries have died violent deaths as a result of the wars. Civilian deaths have also resulted from the US military operations in Yemen, Syria, Somalia and other countries in the U.S. war on terrorism”; “War deaths from malnutrition, and a damaged health system and environment likely far outnumber deaths from combat” (5). Obviously the number of wounded and maimed is still higher, besides the widespread material devastation; (b) the Human Rights Watch (HRW) Report published on 31 October 2019 highlighted the operations of the US’ CIA-organised clandestine forces in Afghanistan. It mentions, “clandestine Afghan forces operating as part of the covert operations of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Afghanistan, with ground support from US special forces seconded to the CIA and air support from the US military, including intelligence and surveillance in the identification of targets” (6). And in another report HRW has highlighted the grave war crimes committed by these CIA-operated clandestine forces. Report mentions that these “forces have committed summary executions and other grave abuses without accountability,———-. These strike forces have unlawfully killed civilians during night raids, forcibly disappeared detainees, and attacked healthcare facilities for allegedly treating insurgent fighters. Civilian casualties from these raids and air operations have dramatically increased in the last two years” (7); (c) US President awarded pardon to three US military war criminals this month (November 2019). One was Lieutenant Lorance who as platoon commander in Afghanistan ordered his troops to open fire on unarmed villagers who posed no threat, killing two of them. The other was Major Golsteyn of US Army Special Forces in Afghanistan who was charged for premeditated murder (8). The third was US Navy Seal Edward Gallagher who was charged for routinely targeting women and children as a sniper in Iraq, as well as murdering a teen age captive in cold blood (9), and not only pardon, President Trump has also reversed Edward Gallagher’s demotion and ordered his promotion to Chief Petty officer (10); and (d) US’ declaration this month that Israel’s action of changing the demography of the West Bank territory by forcibly settling the non-indigenous people – something which India is attempting now in IOK – is so grave a war crime that Juan Cole, Professor of History at University of Michigan, has asserted, “A combination of US Evangelical lawlessness and white supremacy with incessant lobbying by the Zionist far right has finally put the United States in the position of supporting the policies of the Axis in World War II” (11), i.e. the fascist policies of Mussolini of Italy and Hitler of Germany.
In The Cases of France and UK, the war crimes of both these once colonial powers are well-known and do not merit repetition. However, what is worth noting is the fact that both still try to conceal their war crimes.
For example, according to news report of Aljazeera dated 13 September 2018, during the 1954-1962 Algerians’ war of independence against the French colonial rule 1.5 million Algerians lost their lives because of brutalities including systematic torture meted out to them by the French forces. During the war French government censored all means of news about that torture; and even after the war atrocities committed by French troops remained a taboo subject in French society. It was only the current French President Emanuel Macron who mentioned about it but had to rescind his mention; as reported by Aljazeera, “Macron, the first president born after the conflict, sparked controversy on the campaign trail last year by declaring that France’s colonisation of Algeria was a “crime against humanity“. However, “He later walked back the comments calling for “neither denial nor repentance” over France’s colonial history” (12).
The recent period war crimes committed by UK’s forces particularly in Iraq and Afghanistan by UK’s Special Forces SAS and Black Watch have been dug out by certain investigating organisations/teams. According to report by The Guardian dated 17 November 2019, “The UK government and the British army have been accused of covering up the killing of children in Afghanistan and Iraq. Leaked documents allegedly contain evidence implicating troops in killing children and the torture of civilians”. —— “The year-long investigation claims to have found evidence of murders by an SAS soldier, as well as deaths in custody, beatings, torture and sexual abuse of detainees by members of the Black Watch”. But then Iraq historic allegations team (IHAT), which investigated alleged war crimes committed by British soldiers in Iraq, and Operation Northmoor, which investigated alleged war crimes in Afghanistan, were closed by UK government in 2017. And not only that “No case investigated by IHAT or Operation Northmoor has led to a prosecution” (13).
These facts and that UK government still conceals war crimes of its forces has also been reported by Global Research dated 19 November 2019. In that report the journalist Johanna Ross has asserted, “The UK is very keen at reminding certain countries – Syria, Russia, China – of their human rights abuses and yet, when it comes to looking closer to home, this current government quite frankly prefers not to, and in some cases deliberately try to obfuscate the truth” (14).
Assessment by an Indian about PM Modi BJP Government’s Designs in IOK
In a bid to discern as to what is being done by/could be expected from Indian PM Modi’s BJP government in the immediate timeframe in IOK, it is worth critically examining the assessment given by an Indian, albeit a Muslim. Mr. A.G. Noorani is an Indian lawyer, constitutional expert, political commentator, and author; he has practiced as an advocate in the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court. He has expressed his assessment in his article The BJP designs (15) dated 21 September 2019.
About the condition in IOK: (a) he quoted leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who said on 17 September that people of Kashmir were “dying a slow death” due to the clamp down since 5 August; (b) he himself mentioned that administratively Kashmir is a Jallianwala Bagh (i.e. the place of large scale massacre of Indians by the colonial British India Army); and (c) he quoted a respected columnist who calls the Valley as “India’s West Bank”.
About Modi government’s designs for now, he has quoted former Finance Minister of Jammu & Kashmir Haseeb Drabu who has documented how the “grass roots of democracy are being irrigated with cash”; and he has himself expressed, “Election to the assembly will not be held before 2021, it is said – after the constituencies are ‘properly’ drawn. New Delhi’s plans will fail”. “New Delhi is grooming new stooges to take the place of the old. That is the plan”.
These two abovementioned assessments given by him appear close to reality; with the exception of Communist Party of India’s leader’s remarks that people of Kashmir are dying a slow death. Ground realities are indicating that many of the Kashmiri Muslims are martyred daily by Indian forces, but certainly Kashmiris’ spirit is not showing any sign of dying.
A.G. Noorani has also expressed that “International criticism will grow. ——- Conditions will get worse next month when new laws come into operation”. This assessment given by him is completely contradicted by the ground realities. However, another of his assessment, that Kashmiris’ spirit of resistance and protests will grow, is so far matching with the ground realities.
From the foregoing explanation of facts, and analysis, a number of inferred aspects are clearly discernible: (a) It is foolhardy to expect UNSC, and the ‘war crime record holder’ US and its allied EU powers to act for stopping India’s war crimes in IOK; (b) Factually US, UK, France, Germany and Israel are in league with India in attaining the aforementioned objective of establishing a geopolitical and geoeconomic stranglehold on China and Pakistan, therefore India is certainly going to launch its next phase of offensive to militarily annex Pakistani administered Kashmir and Northern Area (Baltistan, Gilgit) at an opportune time; (c) That opportune time for India is more likely to be around the mid of next year (2020) when, according to reports from Indian press, India expects to alleviate its known comparative high-tech inferiority in air force and air defence missile system by inducting Rafale aircrafts and S-400 air defence system; (d) in face of that imminent danger, Pakistan must speed up its concerted efforts for establishment of the already developing ‘regional reset’, in the spheres of diplomacy, military and economic cooperation, involving Pakistan with China, Russia, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and even smaller regional countries like Sri Lanka and Maldives; (e) This time around the resistance of Kashmiri Muslims has much stronger potential, because it is the first time that all of their factions (including the previously pro-India factions) are staunchly united to fight to oust the Indian forces from Kashmir; also because after suffering so much for decades by now their majority has got rid of the fear of death. If they are financially and materially supported, their uprising will ultimately oust the Indian occupation; (f) Pakistan must pay India back in India’s own strategy of creating de-stability in Pakistan, by providing financial and material help to Kashmiri anti-India resistance, as also the other separatist movements in India; and (g) By militarily annexing IOK, India is already at war with Pakistan. Pakistan must not commit the mistake to militarily respond only when India, after having remedied its high-tech inferiority in air force and air defence system, launches its aforementioned next phase offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan must go for the preemptive, taking the war back into Indian territory, in conjunction with uprisings in IOK and other parts of India.