Winds of Change.NET Regional Briefings run on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, and sometimes Fridays too. This Regional Briefing focuses on South Asia, courtesy of Robi Sen. NUKE GATE AND THE GLOBAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS MARKET * More information keeps surfacing every day about the global nuclear weapons black market and Asian and South Asian countries central role in the dissemination of proscribed materials. Unbelievably, Buhary Syed Abu Tahir, who was revealed as the middleman representing Abdul Qadeer Khan, confessed but will be free to leave Malaysia since he has not actually broken any laws there! This is something that the US is not happy about. This does not guarantee though that other countries may not attempt to bring charges against him. * The New Yorker this month offered the suggestion that the reason the US has not put more pressure on Mushraff to keep Khan in jail is that Pakistan is allowing the US to go after Osama Bin Laden. It's hard to fathom the US would trade Osama Bin Laden and allow Pakistan to continue to let Khan deal in nuclear weapons technology. The Argus offers a great round up on what the New Yorker calls The Deal as well as some interesting analysis. * Pakistanís Nuke Gate has exposed a truly global black market in nuclear weapons with individuals and organizations from Switzerland, the UK, Germany, Turkey and even an Israeli! Interestingly enough Nigeria also made the list although Pakistan is denying any connections. Victor David Hanson has some insightful perspective on nuclear proliferation and if things are actually not better than they were. Other Topics Today Include: A Trade For Osama; Powel Visits India and Pakistan; Israel-Indian Alliance; Terrorism in South Asia; and more.
PAKISTAN AND INDIA * Colin Powel thinks things are getting better between India and Pakistan, crediting the US with helping easy tensions. Perhaps things are getting better and there is some evidence that people in Kashmir are feeling safer. * The StrategyPage notes that although Pakistan and India are making progress, even if Pakistan withdraws its support of terrorists in the Kashmir, it is still very difficult to stop the various forces that support those terrorists. * While there has been a lot of progress between Pakistan and India in the last couple weeks, we have seen in the last week this, this, and this. Terrorist attacks have gone down and people are feeling safer but terrorism is still a persistent and common problem that has killed at least 40,000 people since 1989 in the Kashmir region alone. ISRAEL INDIAN ALLIANCE * Israel and India finished their negotiations for the Phalcon radar system, which provides India with advanced airborne radars that can track enemy aircraft. It's also a component of Israel's Arrow anti-missile system. * From what Suman Palit writes here, Israel could become even more attractive to India as a supplier of small arms as well. * The StrategyPage provides a quick assessment of Israel arms trade and economic relationships. SOUTH AND SOUTH EAST ASIA * The Tamil Tigers> may be preparing to break their truce with the government. Colonel Karuna says that the reason he broke away from the main Tamil Tiger group was they were preparing for war after elections in April. What really may be happening is a major split in the Tamil Tigers. Rantburg has a good round up on this story. The South Asian Intelligence Review has more here. * Indonesiaís Supreme Court amazingly reduced the sentence of Abu Bakar Bashir who had been previously sentenced with a Jemaah Islamiyah plot to overthrow the government. * Jemaah Islamiyah, which has been waning under Malaysian and Indonesian security efforts, seems to have evolved. It looks like JI and other Islamic terror groups, such as MILF, in South and South East Asia are banning together to support each other. * The US recently has been very active in the Philippines, where US Marines have joined Philippine forces in live fire exercises and training. ETCETERA * Tracking The Threat: It can be hard following the various names of individuals and organizations that we blog about in our briefings. Sentinel TMS provides a useful tool to the public to track threats world wide at Trackingthethreat.com. Check it out. * One great thing that India has contributed to the world is Indian cooking. Try out some Indian recipes and enjoy.