This Week in Asian Conflict… November 30th- December 7th, 2011.

  • A massive strike saw the closure of shops all around India on Thursday, in protest of a new policy to allow big-box retailers into the country.  On Sunday, a landmine attack reportedly by Maoist rebels in eastern India struck the convoy of a senior politician, killing ten policemen and a young boy. The Atlantic ran an interesting piece on Anna Hazare, the man who led a nonviolent national movement against corruption who threatened to starve himself to death if the government fails to enact the anti-corruption reforms he seeks. The death toll at the Bangladesh-India border continue to mount three months after the Indian government instructed its border security forces to stop shooting civilians suspected of being undocumented migrants. On Sunday, Maoist rebels reportedly killed 11 people in attacks across the eastern Indian state after their leader died in a gun battle with security forces last week. On Monday, India urged social network companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove offensive material, amid complaints of censorship.
  • Security forces in Afghanistan face a $4 billion funding shortfall after 2014, when they are supposed to take over the main responsibility for fighting the insurgency, raising concerns over whether the government will have the resources to keep the Taliban at bay. On Wednesday, Bulgaria announced its plan to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan by cutting its 600 troops there by three fourths by the end of 2014. On Thursday, NATO killed two Pakistani men who were reportedly gathering wood in Afghanistan; and two ISAF service members were killed in roadside bomb attacks. On Friday, a suicide bomber killed at least one and injured dozens in Logar province; and a British soldier was dismissed from the army after stabbing a 10-year-old Afghan boy in his kidneys with a bayonet for no reason. On Saturday, three ISAF soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack in the east of the country; and six armed insurgents were killed and six others arrested in joint operations by the Afghan police and army, and coalition forces in Takhar, Kandahar and Herat provinces. On Sunday, multiple alleged insurgents were killed and two wounded during coalition airstrike in the eastern part of the country; and the ISAF announced that they had lost control of a surveillance drone flying over western Afghanistan last week and that it may be the one Iran said it had shot down over its own airspace.  On Monday, two ISAF service members were killed in attacks by alleged insurgents in the south; and a roadside bomb killed five civilians in the southern Uruzgan province. On Tuesday, more than 50 worshippers were killed and another 150 others injured in a suicide bomb attack on a Shi ite shrine in Kabul. On Wednesday, 19 civilians were killed in a roadside bomb attack in Kabul.
  • The military in Pakistan gave clearance on Friday for commanders in areas along the border with Afghanistan to return fire if they are attacked in response to last week’s NATO attack that killed some 24 Pakistani soldiers. On Friday, reports were saying that Pakistan’s Supreme Court barred the former Pakistani ambassador to the US from travelling abroad over a controversial memo that was leaked; while militants attacked a paramilitary post near the Afghani border, wounding five soldiers and killing seven militants.  On Saturday, helicopter gunships attacked alleged militants’ hideouts in the northwestern region, killing around a dozen insurgents. On Tuesday, the body of a paramilitary soldier kidnapped in August was found in the northwest region; a small roadside bomb exploded, wounding two people in Karachi; militants fired six RPGs at buildings in Hangu, wounding three policemen; militants fired four RPGs that exploded near a Shiite Ashura procession in Orakzai; and twelve militants and two Pakistani soldiers were killed in clashes near the Afghan border. On Wednesday, speculation regarding President Zardari’s sudden hospitalization in Dubai had rumours flying that he was about to step down under coercion from the military or even that a coup was in the offing.
  • China’s public security bureau has launched a six-month crackdown on “black” jails operated by private security firms in Beijing. The police report that the firms are involved in illegal detention, violence and running underground jails. A report by Georgetown University reported that China’s nuclear arsenal may be many times larger than previously thought, with as many as 3,000 nuclear warheads instead of the estimated 400. The Chinese state media have claimed that online rumours are drugs that damage users and harm society as they step up attempts to rein in microblogs.
  • Vanuatu became the latest State to become a party to the Rome Statute, joining the International Criminal Court on Friday. One hundred and twenty countries are currently parties to the statute that serves as the main court for international justice.
  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called upon the new leadership of Kyrgyzstan to encourage a national dialogue and reconciliation in the wake of last year’s overthrow of the government and subsequent ethnic clashes. Former PM Alamazbek Atambaev was inaugurated on Thursday as President, saying he planned to fight corruption and prosecute those responsible for ethnic and regional clashes.
  • A former Buddhist monk in Tibet immolated himself on Thursday in the latest self-immolation protests against Chinese rule. The Chamdo regional Communist Party denied the incident occurred.
  • The government of Myanmar/Burma reached a ceasefire agreement with one of the country’s biggest ethnic rebel groups, the latest in the series of reforms by the new civilian leadership. The International Crisis Group urged the new government to address the grievances of armed ethnic groups—instead of just reaching ceasefire deals—to achieve lasting peace.
  • The International Crisis Group released its newest report on the violent border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia earlier this year.
  • Five alleged militants and two members of an elite police force were killed in operations in southern Kazakhstan on Saturday.  On Sunday, five members of the group accused of the previous days killings were killed during a clash with government forces as the government accused them of having previously taken part in a number of other crimes.
  • The Senate in Uzbekistan has adopted a bill that would change the term in office for a President back to five years instead of the current seven-year term, amid suspicion that incumbent President Karimov would use the change to seek two more terms in office.
  • South Korea announced that it would resume sending aid to North Korea through the UN UNICEF agency, in what is being seen as another sign that animosities are continuing to ease.
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