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16-31 March 2012, 23 Rabiul Akhar-8 Jamadiul Awwal 1433 Hijri

Note: Using editorials as an indicator, this series presents views, understanding and attitude of the Urdu periodicals in India towards various developments concerning the Middle East. The selection of an item does not mean the endorsement or concurrence with their accuracy or views. Editor, MEI@ND

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 17 March 2012, Saturday
1. Iranian Oil and American Pressure
In pursuit for securing the Indo-US nuclear deal, India once made a mistake of voting against Iran in the IAEA under American pressure. India had then remarked that Iranian nuclear ambitions were dangerous. Though we very well realized that even if the Iranian nuclear ambitions were ‘dangerous’, India had nothing to worry about because India and Iran had been friendly nations since ages and there had hardly been any instance of attack from either side, aside from the one by the Iranian ruler Nadir Shah.

The Indian decision had obviously pleased the US but India soon realized its mistake and decided to review its policy. India resolved the long-pending issue of payment for oil with Iran, which the US did not appreciate. The US also frowns upon others for decisions that are disliked by Israel. It is not surprising that the US is not happy with the Indian decision to continue its relations with Iran and reportedly warned India to snap all its trade ties with Iran. According to the US, if India cannot completely stop buying Iranian oil then it should at least cut down on the quantity. In any other eventuality, the US would be forced to impose sanctions on India by the end of June. The US wants India to make its policy decisions based on the American national interest. The Government of India has yet to respond to such babblings from the US but save for a small section of the media and politics, the people of India have out rightly rejected such pressure tactics. The source that disclosed this news also revealed that the American Jewish lobby has been extremely baffled with the Indian decision to send a large business delegation to Iran. The American media also reported the fact that the Jewish community in the US is quite angry that India has taken such a step despite Israel being its largest arms supplier and an important ally in the ‘fight against terror’. The arrest of the journalist Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi is a result of this ‘fight against terror.’

The American threats and Israeli anger could have had some weight in general circumstances, but India is no more a weak and dependent nation and our policy makers understand that we cannot afford to have too many antagonistic neighbours. It is the first time that the Indian embassy in Washington has written a tough letter to the Jewish committee in the US accusing it of manipulating India’s foreign policy decisions. An important objective of such American and Israeli pressure tactics is to sabotage the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline but India will have to bring to fruition the pipeline project if it wants to keep its interests at the top. Indian interests are more important than pleasing the US or Israel.

Roznama Sahafat (Journalism Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 20 March 2012, Monday
2. American threats are a result of the Nuclear Deal
It has been reported that the US has threatened India with sanctions if it does not stop buying Iranian oil and a decision to this regard will be taken by the end of June. The US has given India three months to make a decision but Indian official sources have denied any such communication by the US. They have also reiterated that India cannot be forced to stop procurement of Iranian oil. Sources have stated that India had received a threatening letter from the US but the Indian government is refraining from making it public. In this case, India has till now refused to budge under American pressure even though India had earlier been forced to do so, particularly when it voted against Iran in the IAEA. Since India signed the nuclear deal with the US, India has worked almost in tandem with American interests. The supporters of this nuclear deal had argued that it was in the Indian interest though nothing concrete to support that has emerged until now.

The opposition to the nuclear deal at that time said that it would lead to American intervention in India’s policies and their undue influence on the Indian political class. The provision that Indian scientists would have to work under IAEA directions meant loss of their freedom to work as per India's national interest. Some of the analysts had said that it would also affect India’s relations with its immediate neighbours and lead to tie up between Pakistan and China. The Indian intellectual circles had opposed the deal and the Left front had pulled its support from the UPA government on the issue. It is now that the pitfalls of the nuclear deal are becoming clearer. The American threats on the issue of procurement of Iranian oil should be analyzed in this context. It has also lead to the arrests of those who were writing against Israel and the US. The only motive of such arrests is to intimidate the journalists who dare to criticize Israel and the US in favour of Iran or in other cases, make the arrests on some terror charges. In fact, three of the central ministries, Defence, Home and External affairs, have such strong pro-American and pro-Israeli elements that most of the decisions by these ministries are being taken with their interests in mind. The irony is that our Prime Minister is a silent spectator to all this.

Dawat Online (Invitation), New Delhi
Editorial, 25 March 2012, Wednesday
3. Global Policeman
The US is behaving like a global policeman on the issue of the Iranian nuclear program and the procurement of Iranian oil. The United Nations has remained a mute spectator until now even though the matter has serious implications for international politics. No state can dare to oppose the global policeman. Until now, the US had been imposing sanctions on Iran but now it has threatened to impose sanctions even on countries that conduct trade with Iran. It has threatened several countries to cut down on their procurement of Iranian oil or feel the heat of US sanctions. It has announced a deadline of 28 June for the world to comply with its diktat. The European countries seem to have been the weakest as they were the first to comply with such dictum. The US State department has issued a list of countries, which would be exempted from American sanctions on 2 March, but the rest of the world will have to comply with American orders.

Iran is the second largest oil producing country after Saudi Arabia, and supplies oil to nearly 32 countries in the world. The Strait of Hormuz, which is a lifeline for the world oil supply also comes under Iranian waters. Iran has threatened to close down the Hormuz in response to the American sanctions. The countries which the US has included in its exempted list are Japan, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Poland, Greece, Spain and Britain who appear to be powerful nations but follow America's dictates like slaves. They are ready to risk their economy despite the spiralling oil prices. These countries have already cut down on their procurement of Iranian oil and may completely stop in the future. Iran, on its part, has also declared that it will not supply oil to the European countries.

The US has been demanding from the countries who procure Iranian oil to cut down on their procurement but it is not ready to understand how these countries can refuse oil at Iranian price when Saudi Arabia is insisting on increasing oil prices. Who would compensate the negative affect it will put on their economies? Even if Iran is wrong, why should the others be made to suffer for it? Currently, the US has been focusing on India, China and South Korea who have large trade interests in Iran and have refused to budge under American pressure; the US is in talks with all the three countries. The US has not yet put any pressure on Turkey but its pressure tactics on other countries seems to be yielding results. The international community can now see a world order where the US is playing the role of the global policeman. The world is free and all the nations are independent but America is ruling the world. The UN General Assembly, the UNSC, UNESCO, and ICJ are all working under US pressure and it has become the self-declared Judge of the world. The world has become a slave to American tantrums. One can make hundreds of arguments against this view but this is the reality of the current world order.

Roznama Rashtriya Sahara (National Sahara Daily), Delhi
Editorial, 29 March 2012, Thursday
4. Reversal of Israeli Moves
Recently two countries, Israel and Syria, decided to leave the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR). Both of them insisted on investigation into the accusations of human rights violations before passing the bill on Human Rights. The UNHCR has accused Syria of human rights violations and has suggested harsh measures. The resolution against Israel was relatively soft and reprimanded Israel for violation of human rights laws and stealing of properties of foreign citizens. However, Israel thinks that the UNHCR is biased against it with respect to its occupation of the West Bank. How would it benefit Israel to demand investigation into the matter? The Israeli Supreme Court has already declared that settlement construction in the West Bank is illegal which its government has refused to accept. What more evidence is required for the violation of international laws? The irony is that it has boycotted all earlier investigation committees. Israel should realize that the Israeli Supreme Court would record the statement of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and affected Palestinians as well as international NGOs. Israel will certainly accuse these NGOs of being biased against Israel. It must remember that even Germany has criticized Israel for its settlement construction in the West Bank.

Israeli actions and declarations are poles apart and the international community very well realizes it. The US has also at times asked Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian lands. The US has also restored its aid to the PA which it had stopped last year on Israeli request despite the coming elections. Israel obviously opposed the move. Even the earlier Bush administration had asked Israel to stop settlement construction in the West Bank. Israel has shown its true colour by opposing the UNHCR resolution. Israel has also been trying to isolate Iran and has unleashed propaganda that Iran is making an atomic bomb which can be used against Israel hence Iran is an existential threat. However, most nations have refused to buy the Israeli propaganda. Israel has also tried to link the attacks on their diplomats with Iran and put immense pressure on India to snap its ties with Iran. India until now has not taken any step to please Israel except for arresting journalist Mohammed Ahmad Kazmi. The rest of the world has also refused to buy the Israeli claims. On one hand, Iran has signed economic deals with many countries including some Latin American states while on the other, Israel has shown its true colour by walking out of the UNHCR and now stands alone with Syria.

Compiled and Translated by Md. Muddassir Quamar

Md. Muddassir Quamar is a Doctoral Candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Email

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND. Editor, MEI@ND: P R Kumaraswamy