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Daily Times Editorial 14 September 2020

India is testing Pakistan

How long can this abnormal situation continue where India routinely lobs mortars and artillery across the Line of Control (LoC) and then Pakistani forces retaliate and the situation is settled; at least for a day or two? Things have gone on like this for so long that the Indians have changed tactics. Now they routinely target civilian areas on the Pakistani side. For its part, the Pakistani military has always reserved all its return-fire for Indian soldiers and it’s not often that you see claims of Pakistani fire killing any civilians on their side; even in their own savage media.
The latest such Indian adventure cost the life of a 10 year old girl, along with sending four young men to the hospital. Islamabad has once again let the Indian ambassador know how things stand. Yet the Indians seem belligerent. Surely the red nose they got from the Abhinandan incident will take a long time to heal. And since then the Modi government has been doing what it can to upgrade India’s military. First they got fighter aircraft from France then they got some more military hardware from Israel. And now their tactics on the LoC betray only one thing; that they are itching for confrontation in which they, according to their own thinking, can teach Pakistan a lesson.
Yet, once again, there’s only so long such hide-and-seek can go on. Sooner or later this confrontation will expand. And since the Indians are in no mood to talk it out or even discuss some of the less contentious issues to build trust, they must take responsibility for this escalation. Pakistan has done all it can to make things better. Successive governments now, going back to the late 90s, have been pressing for peace whereas the Indians have used all excuses in the book to frustrate all progress. Pakistan has also tried to get the attention of the international community, but it seems that the countries that can make a difference are more interested in India’s giant market than the prospect of peace in Kashmir or in the wider region.
That is why it is clear that India is testing Pakistan’s patience. Pakistan must once again warn the international community about just what might happen once its patience is exhausted.



And now Bahrain

Clearly the Americans knew what they were talking about. Even after equating any progress on recognising Israel with getting the Palestinians their rights first, particularly a free state of their own, the Bahraini royalty has simply gone back on its word and become the latest Arab country to initiate formal relations with the Jewish state. The reaction from the rest of the Muslim world was pretty much expected. The Palestinians feel betrayed, of course, with yet another knife in their back while UAE, Jordan and Egypt have only good things to say about the deal. And the usual spoilers for the west, Turkey and Iran, have condemned this in no uncertain terms even though Turkey is also one of the very few Muslim countries to recognise Israel.
This development shows that Washington might really have more tricks up his sleeve than he has let on so far. The breakthrough between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi has even got President Trump in the running for the Nobel Peace Prize, something he’s been desperate to get ever since President Obama got his prize. Now his administration has gone a step ahead and got yet another country in the fold. Surely, considering the confidence in the Trump camp, there are others that are going to make similar announcements all the way to the US presidential elections in just a couple of months. If somebody had made such predictions about the Middle East four years ago, when Trump came to the White House, nobody would have believed it.
It seems there is going to be just no respite for the poor Palestinians. A two-state solution, which they were counting on since forever, was already an impossibility. And the way things are progressing, it is fast becoming clear that perhaps the status quo was the best of their options. Who knows what is going to happen now, especially if Trump gets another turn. Everybody shaking hands with Israel right now can hope to sleep well because they think they will get the settlements to stop expanding, but the whole world knows the reality about that particular deal.
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