President Obama Provides an Update on the Situations in Iraq, Ukraine

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 28, 2014
President Obama Speaks to the Press on August 28, 2014

Today in a briefing at the White House, President Barack Obama provided an update on the U.S. response to the situations in Iraq and Ukraine.  The President addressed the situation in Iraq first, saying "in Iraq, our dedicated pilots and crews continue to carry out the targeted strikes that I authorizes to protect Americans there and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground.

"As Commander-in-Chief, I will always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland. Because of our strikes, the terrorists of ISIL are losing arms and equipment.  In some areas, Iraqi government and Kurdish forces have begun to push them back.  And we continue to be proud and grateful to our extraordinary personnel serving in this mission.

"Now, ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and to people throughout the region.  And that's why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL.  And that starts with Iraq's leaders building on the progress that they've made so far and forming an inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.

"Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I'm encouraged so far that countries in the region -- countries that don't always agree on many things -- increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat that ISIL poses to all of them.  And I've asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that's needed to meet this threat.  As I've said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I'm confident that we can -- and we will -- working closely with our allies and our partners.  For our part, I've directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options.  I'll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy.  And I've been consulting with members of Congress and I'll continue to do so in the days ahead."

The President continued by addressing the situation in Ukraine.  

He said, "Finally, I just spoke with Chancellor Merkel of Germany on the situation in Ukraine.  We agree -- if there was ever any doubt -- that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine.  The violence is encouraged by Russia.  The separatists are trained by Russia.  They are armed by Russia.  They are funded by Russia.  Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  And the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see.  This comes as Ukrainian forces are making progress against the separatists.

"As a result of the actions Russia has already taken, and the major sanctions we;ve imposed with our European and international partners, Russia is already more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War.  Capital is fleeing.  Investors are increasingly staying out.  Its economy is in decline.  And this ongoing Russian incursion into Ukraine will only bring more costs and consequences for Russia.  

The President concluded by outlining his priorities for his upcoming trip to Europe next week for the NATO Summit.  

He said, "Next week, I'll be in Europe to coordinate with our closest allies and partners.  In Estonia, I will reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the defense of our NATO allies. At the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom, we'll focus on the additional steps we can take to ensure the Alliance remains prepared for any challenge.  Our meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission will be another opportunity for our alliance to continue our partnership with Ukraine.  And I look forward to reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the United States to Ukraine and its people when I welcome President Poroshenko to the White House next month. "

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Comments

Comments

Archil K.
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Georgia
August 28, 2014
Ukraine and needs protection from side of US and NATO.
Jeff D.
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Georgia, USA
August 29, 2014
Sanctions are a terrible idea! They are hurting our allies like Greece who is losing billions in agricultural exports to Russia. Exports being taken over by South America and if they lose long term they will hit again be Bankrupt. Barack Obama Why are you ignoring America's promise to protect the borders of Ukraine. With less than a 1% reduction in our own defense spending we could have a funded plan to fully Help Ukrainian Army , Medical supplies, Body Armor, Combat Rifles, Anti-Tank/Armor Missile Systems (much more accurate to minimize civilian casualties, they could select 500 of their brightest English speaking soldiers to go to Ft Rucker for Helicopter training and send them back with a Battalion of Apache Helicopters, 2 Battalions of Black Hawks and 1 battalion of Chinooks. Plus Humanitarian aid for cities hurt the most by the war and the 300,000 refugees. We could even offer humanitarian aid to cities on the Russian side of the border. All this without causing any direct conflict with Pres. Putin since he denies any involvement and calls this a purely Ukrainian civil issue. As long as we don't send in our own soldiers we can offer all the aid they need to end this bloodshed quickly.
Kyaw L.
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Thailand
August 29, 2014
I like likt that news and so interestinng.
Marvin P.
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California, USA
August 29, 2014
The Bush/Obama policy of imposing "regime change" on nation after nation has left nothing but chaos and suffering in its wake. Iraq and Ukraine are both victims of a failed and immoral U.S. foreign policy. That loud humming sound you hear is our founding fathers spinning in their graves.
Aleks Y.
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New York, USA
August 29, 2014
we need to a)Bomb ISIS, AND also bomb Assad's regime's army positions, so as to pave way for Free Syrian Army to take over the country. other 'players'--Iran, Russia, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, EU--need to join in and go along, and make a coalition. they need to realize that it's not in anybody's interest that either Assad continue in power, or that ISIS continue advances. and b) as far as Ukraine, Putin needs to be fed a bit of his own medicine. since he supports separatism in Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, we need to give a more serious thought to in turn supporting separatist tendencies inside Russia itself. after all, borders are not static, they're a dynamic phenom caused by development of political reality, and it may change, at times drastically. even the nuclear problem should not be an insurmountable roadblock: first of, Kremlin is itself the biggest nuclear prolipherator in the world, just look at their dealings with Iran and North Korea. and secondly, possible meltdown of Russian strategic nuclear forces should not be a cause for sticking heads into sand, but for developing a contingency plan to deal with this threat. After all, if Russia does, thanks to Putin's policies, disintegrate, new states will be smaller, will lack global ambitions, and thus be easier to deal with, including buying out nukes
Eric J.
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New Mexico, USA
August 29, 2014

Three years after President Obama called for Assad to step aside and while he weighs options with respect to ISIL in Syria today, I hope the following dug up from the Dipnote archives will provide perspective and inspire folks to think.

At risk of "getting ahead" of where folks are at, I believe any comprehensive diplomatic, economic and military action contemplated in Syria by any coalition of nations must be based not simply on narrowly defined terms of national security interests, but on the consensus judgement of nations that such action be intended to incapacitate both Assad's forces and ISIL at the same time, in order to put a stop to the ongoing genocide of the Syrian people and to level the playing field for a moderate political transition to take place once a semblance of peace and security has been created inside Syria.

This is a test of the notion and purpose of "R2P" ( UNGA 2005) with respect to the President's actions to prevent genocide in Iraq in the humanitarian purpose of military action as much as anything else...but with respect to Syria and Iraq must include the national security interests of nations as they engage in cooperative manner to protect themselves and their own citizens from what has become a global threat to peace and stability.

To do less than take all neccessary measures without caveat on the word "all" would itself become a crime against humanity. To fail to call Assad and ISIL's actions over the years "genocide" at this point is to deny the truth to one's self to justify inaction to put a halt to it.

It's not like folks didn't see this coming and you'all were warned prior;

http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2012/04/02/travel-diary-secretary-clinton...

Eric |New Mexico, USA .April 2, 2012
Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well said WW.

A wise man once said, "Past is prologe." and we better learn from mistakes as democracies to never let little Hitlers stay in power long enough to become genocidal maniacs.

Better to wage war to unseat them prior than to hope diplomacy "changes their behavior" by democracy's inherant wish to remain at peace, creating the conditions for the politicaly stupid to wage war on their terms. Whether that be against us, or against their own people.

Even the Russians would have to agree with this, as they lost 20 million people in WW2 because folks chose "peace at any price" and Hitler chose war.

Come on or about the 15th of April, if Assad does not comply with his agreements signed, diplomacy will for all intents and purposes become utterly exhausted.

At which point the leaders of many nations will be forced to make a choice they'd rather not have to make, but will because the circumstances simply demand that they do.

The risks of inaction will be too great, and the results of arming the Syrian opposition will not by iself do more than prolong the struggle taking place.

In order to save lives, humanitarian intervention will become the universally accepted policy towards the Assad regime.

That's the only effective way at that point to assure an effective political transition and process develops before Assad destroys Syria and avoids a civil war that lasts for years longer than it has already been in process today.

Change is inevitable, peacefu;l change is desirable, and democracy R us, sayeth the people.

For the US's part, we'll be lending the Syrian people our "unique capabilities" to ensure their struggle for freedom and a hope for democratic well being is realized, sooner rather than later.

As the Saudi king said a while back, if folks are only willing to provide humanitarian aid, they will only be fattening up the Syrian people for the slaughter. Or very similar words to that effect.

The diplomacy engaged by Sec. Clinton and team, along with the UK foreign office and many other Foreign ministers of like mindedness has all but eliminated any excuse for any UNSC veto to be made in resolution to this matter, and it is only self evidently unfortunate that so many have died before some nations have themselves come to this realization.

I would therefore suggest that when diplomacy with Assad becomes utterly exhausted, that everyone do their part in a cooperative effort as their nation's respective capabilities may be directed; to make this the quickest take-down of a dictator and his regime's military forces ever seen in modern history.

That way peace will be restored faster, and more lives wiull be saved in the long run.

Once this starts Assad's forces will realize their day of recconing has come and one can anticipate defections en-mass as most individually choose survival and the path of peace, rather than remain holding a weapon of war in their hands to be targeted. Establishing enforcable peace while a political transition takes place in the space created for this to happen. In the wake of all this, and the realization among nations that the world can no longer afford to allow dictators to establish themselves in power over a population ever again; I forsee a kind of "peer review mechanism" within the UNSC and UNGA whereby just as symptoms of mental illness can be ascertained and a therapy proscribed, "regime replacement therapy" will become the norm in addressing those found wanting by their peers.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck and swims like a duck, folks can go duck hunting at the will of the UNSC without having to debate the nature of ducks or incessantly trying to change the behavior of a duck at the cost of lives and livelyhoods through inaction.

As humanity, we have more problems on this planet than folks can shake a stick at and sometimes you just got to do more than simply shake it at totalitarianism.

All the resources dictators cause democracies to expend in national defense of their strategic interests may at such point as this "peer review" gains universal acceptance in implementation as the standard procedure in dealing with ethical infants; Such resources may then be put to other uses assuring the survival of the human species, rather than allowing the conditions for our species' extinction to remain a threat by continuing to build better and better weapons to achieve this with.

I don't know that nations have the political will as yet to be as hard-core as they need to be to end the suffering on this planet, but I do see a great realization taking shape among many nations of the world to that effect.
While US foreign policy seeks to restore peace by diplomatic means as the perferred methodology of implemented US policy, this growing realization among nations is due to the inherant limitations of diplomacy to be effective on those who choose to ignore it's purpose.

EJ

---

http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2011/10/05/ambassador-rice-addresses-veto...

Eric |New Mexico, USA .August 25, 2011
Eric in New Mexico writes:

One thing Syria is not is that neither Ghandi nor Martin Luther King would have met with any lasting success in leading peaceful protest to bring change in the police-state envioronment Assad's family has created over the decades.

While the US State dept and I share admiration for the Syrian people's peaceful intent, and frankly an incredible amount of dicipline and patience in the face of thousands murdered by this abysmal regime; the regime is counting on no action taken by the rest of the international community to remove him from power via the use of force.

Granted the people would love to do this on their own for themselves, but the fact is only when the tools of war are taken away from dictators do they lose the capacity to make war on their people, and a level playing field is created for the people themselves to bring the change they seek.

The UNSC put caveats on the word "all" in the resolution on Libya stating "all neccessary measures" be taken to assure the protection of the civilian population and so Ghaddafi was not targeted to begin with.

Today we witness him "gone to ground" in a hidy hole somewhere and no one knows for sure whether he has access to the remaining blister agents and other WMD's left in Libya while he has vowed to fight to the death.

TNC has taken a page out of the history of our wild, wild West and offered 2 million reward for him "dead or alive" hoping those he trusts will turn him in and get the amnesty offered in return.

Hopefully he'll go out with a whinper, not a human tragedy brought on by the use of WMD's as his final act on this planet.

But with Asdsad and his regime, given the missles, the biologicals, and Russia's long-term relationship to that regime another solution altogether is rerquired of the international community to avert the concequences of a man who would rather be infamous and commit crimes against humanity rather than lead his nation to reform and a peaceful transition in the political arena.

The people of Syria generally do not wish to pick up arms to defend themselves and "legitimise" Assad's use of force upon them, I can understand the catch-22 that they find themselves in with the current situation as it stands today.

However, the killing will continue until acted upon by an outside force, in the same way Newtonian laws of motion apply to political change.

This nation of ours along with many nations has been in a declared war upon terrorists and extremists for a decade now, and the state sponsors, of which Syria is among them must be delt with in order to protect populations throughout the region as must Iran's destabilization of nations along with Syria's to achieve an envirionment that can allow for a lasting peace and ultimately a two-state solution to be achived through negotiation between Palestinians and Israelis.

Russia bears a huge karmic responsibility having sold tanks and weaponry to Assad's regime and faces a clear choice as to whether to remain part of the problem or become the proactive key to its resolution in partnership with all nations condeming Assad's warmaking upon his people.

So far, they are failing to meet their "responsibility to protect" and that bodes ill for any potential peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis.

As NATO's mission in Libya winds down its military actions and Assad's murderous ways continue unabated, there will become less and less excuse for the international community not to declare war upon Assad.

Russia will then face another choice, to either stand with us or get out of the way and/or stand aside.

And this time "all" cannot afford to have caveats place upon the meaning of the word.

Assad's regime must be removed from the top down from get go, to assure the protection of all the populations of the region, and the stability of nations.

And to the Syrian opposition I can only say at that point this may not be what they want, but done because their need and the needs of the region is greater than their ability to achive success on their own in peaceful protest.

EJ
.....

http://blogs.state.gov/stories/2011/08/18/sake-syrian-people-time-has-co...

Eric |New Mexico, USA .August 20, 2011
Eric in New Mexico writes:

Historicly, any nation that treats its own citizens with brutality and disregard for their existance is generally inclined to treat its neighbors to the same treatment with equal or greater disregard for their citizens.

Thus, to protect populations it would not be just the Syrian people the international community would seek to protect by the use of force to remove Assad from power, but their own as well.

Whether that be the legitimate right of a people to defend themselves against all enemies, foreign and in this case domestic; what may be regarded by revolutionaries as foreign interference is anyone supporting the regime that oppresses them, not those nations seeking to empower them and lend material support to their aspirations.

Some would argue that the call for Assad to step down from power is long over due, as he has already done what Ghaddafi tried to do and was stopped in the doing on the outskirts of Bengazi by NATO firepower.

Such an argument has merit, but Syria is not Lybia being a well established totalitarian police state with a credible military that is not likely to be overthrown with just "people power" in taking up arms to defend themselves.

Sanctions may bankrupt a terrorist regime, but won't directly affect the intent behind the crimes against humanity committed...they never do.

Such crimes know no borders, violate the soveignity of peoples, and thus to resolve the matter, the notion that governments hold a nation's soveregnity rather than its people must be questioned, and found wanting in logical application by dictators who claim their right to it.

When obviously the people have a different idea about this; that they hold this truth to be self evident that they embody the soveregnity of a nation, and not their government.

Therefore any humanitarian iutervention conducted by the international community up to and including the use of armed force to halt and remove the perpetrators of mass murder would not violate a nation's soveregnity, but be acting to restore it in concrete measures into the hands of that nation's people.

We have the means to expidite the transition underway in solidarity with those seeking freedom from oppression.

Might as well start by making Assad homeless and uncomfortable looking at his fancy digs bombed into smoking rubble.

If there's another way to convince him we're serious about his leaving power, I can't think of a more immediate way to do that.

Unlike Lybia, a successful transition in Syria will require a top-down eradication of leadership and capacity, not simply a "no fly zone" and caveats on "all neccessary measures".

The challenge before the international community is broader than the crisis, it is in effect a process of perfecting "regime replacement therapy" and using the tools at hand to do that efficiantly with.

In our national capacity to employ "unique capabilities" we can lead by declaring war on the Syrian government and forming a posse comitatus of concerned nations to bring resolution to uncertainty and soveriegn issues for the good of the people of Syria.

What actions may be involved happen at a time of our choosing after such declaration is made.

I believe that the pressure brought to bear by such declaration may serve to halt any external support via arms sales or national influence by Iran, or risk having war declared upon them as a result as well.

It would provide Russia incentive to reposess the weapons and tanks they've sold Assad over the years peacefully, rather than see us along with the willing to destroy them and deny Assad the capability of using them on his people.

There's more than one way to "skin a cat", but you have to have a pretty sharp knife regardless of where and how one decides to start and complete that procedure.

EJ
.....

Dmitriy S.
|
Israel
August 30, 2014
hello. The situation in Ukraine is already out of control, on the situation it is clear that Ukraine is no longer. Transcarpathia is the formation of the state of the Ruthenians in eastern army militia comes. in the Ukrainian army chaos. War on the doorstep of the European Union! Ukraine openly advocated fascism! but all blame Russia and Putin! State Department wants to start World War 3? 's still not too late to stop! only need Russian and Americans agree, and will be no war. What do you think about this? thank you.
SESSI A.
|
Texas, USA
September 1, 2014
THE ABOVE COMMENT IS A MISREPRESENTATION OF THE FACTS.RUSSIA VIOLATED THE TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY OF UKRAINE BY CREATING AND TRAINING SEPERATIST TENDENCIES IN THE REGION.THE AIM OF THIS WAS TO ENSURE DIVIDE AND RULE TACTICS TO IMPOSE RUSSIA'S AUTHORITY IN THAT REGION.THE MAYHEM IN UKRAINE OBVIOUSLY IS A RESULT OF RUSSIA'S VIOLATION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF TERRITORIAL SOVEREIGNTY IN INTERNATIONAL LAW.THE MAYHEM IN IRAQ HAS A LONG HISTORY.IT BEGAN WITH THE DICTATORSHIP OF SADDAM HUSSEIN, AN EXTREMIST ISLAM LEADER WHO VIOLATED ALL THE PRINCIPLES OF LAW DURING HIS TENURE.AFTER HIS EXECUTION FOR THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE,THE TERRORIST GROUP HE HAD TRAINED RE-SURFACED AS ISIS.ISIS MEANS ISLAMIC STATES IN IRAQ AND SYRIA.I CAN'T SPEAK OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S FOREIGN POLICY.BUT PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY DOES NOT IMPOSE ''REGIME CHANGE''.INSTEAD, HIS FOREIGN POLICY EVOLVED FROM COALITION BUILDING AMONGST NATIONS TO METHODICALLY ATTACK TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS.THIS IS THE LAW.THIS IS JUSTICE.
Eric J.
|
New Mexico, USA
September 3, 2014

If the following report is accurate, then it puts Putin in the driver's seat of an express train called WW3, heading strait for oblivion's cliff with Humanity riding in the caboose. Time to derail the madman at the controls, and put the brakes on.

News Item;

(excerpt)

EU leaders held a summit on Saturday to decide who should run the union for the next five years, but the session was quickly preoccupied by Putin's invasion of Ukraine and how to respond.

Barroso told the closed meeting that Putin had told him Kiev would be an easy conquest for Russia, according to the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. According to the account, Barroso asked Putin about the presence of Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. Nato says there are at least 1,000 Russian forces on the wrong side of the border. The Ukrainians put the figure at 1,600.

"The problem is not this, but that if I want I'll take Kiev in two weeks," Putin said, according to La Repubblica.

The Kremlin did not deny Putin had spoken of taking Kiev, but instead complained about the leak of the Barroso remarks.

(end excerpt)

Eric J.
|
New Mexico, USA
September 3, 2014
Clarification: For some reason the source for the above news item was not included in my posted comment. The News item (excerpt of full article) was copied unedited as it appeared in the "Guardian", a UK based publication on 9/2/14.
wqwqw w.
|
Arkansas, USA
September 4, 2014
U.S. Based Hindus Funding Indian Terrorism - A Report A Special Report Courtesy The Information Times Publisher: Daily Times Wednesday, 31 July 2002 INDIAN DIASPORA FUNDING HINDU EXTREMISM "In the United States, where substantial funds are raised for Hindu extremist agendas, the U.S. Government must act to ensure that organizations that broker terror should not continue to enjoy their non-profit status within the USA." by ANGANA CHATTERJI It is now no secret that the Sangh Parivar, the collective name given to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), the Bajrang Dal and other Hindu extremist organizations, is exploiting religion (Hindutva) to foment communal violence in India. To this end they are organizing the ultra-right, non-secular and undemocratic forces in India. What is less known is how these forces of injustice and bigotry are funded, especially by the Indian-Hindu communities living abroad. These [terrorist and extremist Indian-Hindu] organizations receive substantial contributions from Hindus in the United States and elsewhere. The Indian magazine, "Outlook," in its July 22, 2002, issue published an article by A. K. Sen, titled, 'Deflections to the Right'. The piece highlighted a component of the chain of funding that sustains Hindu extremism. The article states that the India Development and Relief Fund (IDRF) is one of the more conspicuous charity organizations that raises funds in the United States to support the RSS battalions in India. IDRF lists Sewa International and its counterpart in India. Sewa International and the various organizations it oversees receive over two-thirds of the IDRF funding. Incidentally, Sewa International, in its mission to transform India, states on its website in a section on 'Experiments and Results' with 'Social Harmony' that social consolidation can be achieved through social cohesion. Among other things, the website quotes Manya H. V. Sehadarji, Sarkaryawah of the RSS, as saying: "The ultimate object of all these endeavours is Hindu Sangathan- consolidation and strengthening of the Hindu society." Hindu extremism, like other xenophobic movements, functions through carefully fashioned exclusionary principles whereby all non-Hindus and dissenting Hindus, identified as Hindu traitors, become second-class citizens. In addition, justification of caste inequities, subordination of Dalits ('lower' caste communities), women, adivasis (tribal) and other minorities, and the consolidation of a cohesive middle-class base are critical to its momentum. In the United States, where substantial funds are raised for Hindu extremist agendas, the U.S. Government must act to ensure that organizations that broker terror should not continue to enjoy their non-profit status within the USA. It is interesting that in 1999, the VHP failed to gain recognition at the United Nations as 'a cultural organization' because of its philosophical underpinnings. However, the VHP of America is an independent charity registered in the United States in the 1970s, where it has, and continues to, receive funds from a variety of individuals and organizations. Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Americans of Indian descent must examine the politics of hate encouraged by extremist Hindu organizations in the name of charity and social work. Indians, one of the most financially successful groups in the United States, must take seriously their moral obligation to ensure that their dollars are not funding malice and scrutinize the organizations that are on the receiving end in India. The issue is not whether these organizations are undertaking charitable work, but whether they are doing so to promote separatist and non-secular ideals. Param Vaibhav Ke Path Par (On The Road To Great Glory), written by Sadanand Damodar Sapre, and published in 1997 by Suruchi Prakashan, Jhandewalan, New Delhi, the central publication house of the RSS, lists the 40-plus organizations maintained by the RSS in India for its multivariate programs. In addition, the VHP and other Parivar outfits aim at the communalization of education through the 'Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram' and 'Ekal Vidyalas' (schools). One strategy is to Hinduize adivasi communities, exploit divisions among the marginalized and indoctrinate the youth, in order to both turn them against one another and use them as foot soldiers in the larger cause of religious nationalism. Such inculcation has had serious repercussions in Gujarat, India, this year where tribals were manipulated into attacking Muslims during the carnage in February and March 2002. While Hindu fundamentalists do not have a monopoly on religious intolerance in India, their actions are holding the country hostage. Well-organized, widespread and acting in the name of [Hinduism] the majority religion in India, Hindu extremism is positioned to silence diversity through force and terror, the rhetoric of Hindu supremacy and the positioning of minority groups as depraved enemies who must be punished. Indians at home and abroad must oppose the deep infiltration of the Hindutva brigade into the press, as well as other institutions -- political, military, bureaucratic, civic, business, educational and law and order -- of India. Such infiltration is creating a nation where religious fundamentalists violate the Constitution of India and the state tolerates such violation. While the present BJP regime at the center has overt and close links to organizations within the Sangh Parivar, citizens are assured that secularism and democracy are sacred and secure. The reality is different. The Indian government's handling of communal violence and sanctioning of communal discourse is clear to the observers and threatens to jeopardize India's capacity to function as a nation. The VHP, in its meeting with Muslim leaders in New Delhi on July 15, 2002, stated that if Muslims agreed to resettle Hindus in Jammu and Kashmir, Muslims in Gujarat would be rehabilitated. The Hindus must understand that issues connected to the democratization of Pakistan, ethical resolutions to Kashmir, or gender reforms within Islam are separate from India's commitment to upholding the rights of minorities or to reforms within Hinduism. Hindu extremism against Muslims and other minorities in India collapses distinctions that must be made to honour human rights in India. Also, Hindutva's discourse of history posits Hindus and Hinduism as being under siege and preposterously asserts the idea of India as a Hindu Nation. Such revisionist history strategically and hideously poses that a vengeful justice can be found for the crimes of history committed by non-Hindu rulers. Retribution is sought by attacking contemporary Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others in India. Hinduism is critical to the fabric of India, as are all the other cultures and religions that inhabit it and frame the imagination of the Indian nations. It will require considerable effort on the part of progressive Indians to conceive a secular nation where religion is indeed separate from the integrity of the state and where pluralism guarantees rights and respect to the religious and non-religious alike. Every Hindu, and every citizen, must denounce that to be Indian is to be Hindu, challenge assertions that a secular Constitution is anti-Hindu and refute the call for a Hindu Nation in India as anti-national. Patriotism and nationalism demand that all social, political and religious groups work for an India free of disenfranchisement, institutionalized violence, corruption and rampant inequities. The Indians cannot permit India's secular and democratic fabric to be irreparably compromised. [Angana Chatterji is a professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the California Institute of Integral Studies.

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