The AL Road Map and Defeat of the International Community

With the exception of India, the international community has banded together to ask for immediate dialogue to hold credible elections that includes the participation of all political parties. Three separate sources from within the AL’s leadership have collectively divulged the current thinking of the government. If anything, it demonstrates the level of strategic prowess of the Awami League, backed by a superpower.

The government has already informally directed the Supreme Court to find a way to split the current benches so that another bench can be added at the Appellate Division so that all the appeals of those convicted by the International Crimes Tribunal can be completed as soon as possible. Adding a new bench would allow several appeals to be heard and completed at the same time. If another bench is indeed added at the Appellate Division, the executions of the islamist leaders shall start in mid-February and be finished by the end of April.

As it is already known in many quarters, the newly-formed government will intensify the current operation by the security forces to detain/arrest as many leaders and workers of BNP and Jamaat as possible. They will continue this mass arrest program until the government senses the toughening of the stance of the international community in the form of economic or political penalties such as cancelling of GSP and other benefits, trade sanctions and/or limiting the role of Bangladeshi military in the UN, etc.

Around that time (anticipated to be at the end of January), the government will preempt any such moves by the international community by suddenly agreeing to have immediate dialogue with the BNP to hold new elections within 6 months. The government will openly state that it does not wish to stay for 5 years and that it will immediately create a team of representatives to speak to the BNP. Furthermore, the Prime Minister will demonstrate her commitment to the dialogue by openly stating that she is willing to negotiate on all demands of the BNP, including her position as PM. At the same time, India will give open signals to the international community as well as statements to the media that they will encourage and support the AL to have such dialogue towards an inclusive election as soon as possible.

To the hapless public it will be perceived as if the international community’s pressures have finally taken effect on Sheikh Hasina. To the international community it will be perceived as if Delhi has finally yielded to Washington. But in fact it will be the direct opposite.

Delhi will give signals of compromise to Washington and the new AL government will demonstrate unprecedented humility in the name of dialogue only because having such a dialogue will effectively neutralize the entire international community. Having a real dialogue with the BNP every day and also seeming to compromise on several points will immediately take away the international community’s ability to maintain a tough stance against the government. None of the members of the international community can speak of sanctions, stopping of aid, cancelling trade benefits, etc. Simply put, the international community will become absolutely powerless against the illegitimate government because it is credibly demonstrating its will to hold new elections at the earliest possibility. This will be checkmate.

Whilst holding daily meetings of dialogue and compromise, the government will go ahead and execute all the Jamaat leaders, starting mid-February. The government will ensure that the process of negotiations to hold the new elections will be time-consuming but will also show real progress by regularly sitting with the BNP (and other parties) over every detail of the agreement for the new elections. By the time the AL and BNP have agreed on individual members of the interim government, the new Election Commission, the heads of Police, RAB, BGB etc – almost all executions will be completed (approx. early April). It is expected that Khaleda Zia will avoid making an issue of the executions because she will not want to jeopardise the much-wanted serious dialogue that she will fully depend upon. Although this will result in Jamaat effectively severing ties with her for not doing anything to save their leaders, she will believe she can bring them back after coming to an agreement with AL to hold a free, fair election under a neutral interim government. After all, Jamaat will never join AL after the executions anyway.

After the Jamaat executions during the dialogue, it is anticipated that the fallout from the hangings of islamist leaders will result in a series of violent attacks on the government establishment, based upon which the government will suddenly stop the dialogue with the BNP. The government will place the blame of the attacks on Khaleda Zia and the BNP for supporting Jamaat in the violence. This will be the justification for AL’s abrupt pulling out of the dialogue that had so far appeared to be going so well.

Only once the rolling executions of the Jamaat leaders have begun in full swing will the United States and the rest of the international community begin to realise that the whole “dialogue for new elections” is in fact a hoax to keep them occupied and neutralised whilst the main agenda to hang the Jamaat leaders is achieved whilst the Americans and the international community simply watch.

As soon as the Americans (and their allies) realise the above game, it is anticipated that they will have only two options:

(i)                  They may simply concede defeat to the Indians and agree to depend on Delhi to counter the imminent rise of islamic fundamentalism and/or terrorism in Bangladesh (as a result of “judicial assassinations” of islamist leaders) and thereby relinquish to Delhi absolute leverage over US national security

(ii)                 They may decide to pursue a state of emergency in Bangladesh in order to retain as much control over Bangladeshi security as possible so that they themselves can counter the possibility of any rise of terrorism or the advent of fundamentalist non-state actors from the region (eg. Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc) – instead of giving up full leverage of their national security to India as they did with Israel in the Middle East.

However, after the Jamaat executions, if Delhi perceives the slightest hint that Washington may be thinking in the line of pursuing a state of emergency (using military elements friendly to Washington), Delhi will give the signal to Sheikh Hasina to declare a state of emergency (using a newly-appointed army chief) before Washington can act. It has been suggested that during the course of the dialogue, the government will transfer (not retire) the current Chief of Army Staff, General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan. The Prime Minister will replace him with a general who is loyal to her and pre-approved by both Delhi as well as Moscow. Three candidates are already in the running for the post. They are Lt Gen Moinul Islam (CGS), Lt Gen Abu Belal Mohammad Shafiqul Haq (PSO) and Lt Gen Mollah Fazle Akbar (NDC).

The ‘emergency government’ will ensure the continuation of Jamaat hangings; it will create an anti-terrorism tribunal (which will be used to convict many BNP and Jamaat leaders and activists); the ‘emergency government’ will unofficially attempt to convince many BNP leaders to leave the party and join the smaller parties; then it will hold elections using the military apparatus (much in same way as in 2008) whereby Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League will return to power as the single largest party by far. The tenure of the ‘emergency government’ currently remains open because this option is still regarded as a contingency to the primary target of the current government, which is to remain in power for the full 5-year term.

As far as Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League are concerned, the above strategy will allow them to come back with a clean electoral slate, also having avoided the anti-incumbency issue.

As far as India is concerned, the hanging of islamist leaders and the resulting fallout will make them successful in achieving irreversible strategic leverage over the US, the EU and all other global powers susceptible to islamist terrorism. This will also significantly propel Delhi’s leverage in achieving their much-desired goal to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council, including other significant geo-political leverage in the global arena.

The strategically significant executions of islamist leaders in Bangladesh will swiftly propel India as the single-most influential “partner” of the United States. India will not only enjoy a combination of economic and geo-strategic leverage over the United States as they currently enjoy similar to Israel — but thanks to the islamist executions and the resulting rise of militancy – India will possess the same leverage over the handling of Bangladesh that Pakistan has been retaining over the handling of Afghanistan.

Source: Bangladesh Chronicle