If Natwar was framed

…then India owes those ‘vindictive’ Americans a debt of gratitude

Prem Shankar Jha advances a theory that Natwar Singh and the Congress party were targets of an elaborate conspiracy to punish them for blocking Vajpayee’s decision to send Indian troops to Iraq in July 2003.

If the Congress was framed, then Chalabi was the means. But what about motive and opportunity? The first is easy to trace. In July 2003, India was on the point of agreeing to send troops to Iraq. An entire division—some 20,000 men—had already been told to make preparations for the move. Had India sent troops, Pakistan would have matched it. Bangladesh might have also been cajoled into joining the ‘peace-keeping mission’, and others might have followed.

But days before the crucial meeting of the cabinet committee on security where the decision was to be taken, Natwar Singh wrote to Vajpayee on behalf of the Congress party warning the government against sending troops, and the Congress made the letter public. Vajpayee pulled back and the US’s plans to bring up to half of its soldiers back collapsed. It would have been surprising indeed if the Congress and Natwar had not attracted some concentrated venom in Washington.

The Bush administration contains at least one senior person who has set an unenviable record for vindictiveness. This is vice-president Dick Cheney…[Outlook India emphasis added]

Jha’s conspiracy theory relies on the dubiousness of Chalabi, the vindictiveness of Cheney, the cleverness in America’s use of information, and the ubiquitous link to Israeli intelligence agencies to cast doubts on the integrity of the Volcker report. None of this is actually substantiated beyond pointing out ‘strange coincidences’ and ‘it would be no surprise if’s’. It requires fewer leaps of logic to believe that the dubious people and circumstances surrounding Natwar’s trip to Baghdad create sufficient doubt with regard to Natwar Singh’s (and the Congress party’s) innocence. Anil Matherani’s statements alone justify Natwar’s sacking. And we still don’t know what exactly the Congress party told Saddam Hussein in the letter Natwar delivered?

And if the Bush White House, while going great lengths to exact revenge on all individuals and organisations that spoilt its party in Iraq, ended up getting rid of a bad foreign minister, then it deserves a thank you card from a grateful nation.

11 thoughts on “If Natwar was framed”

  1. That’s funny. Hilarious, actually. To think that a foreign Govt. would go to such lengths to get Natwar Singh removed.

    Anyone could see that Natwar was his own worst enemy, often shooting himself in the foot, and putting that bleeding foot into his mouth too often for even his comfort. If the US had really intended to have Natwar gone, it would have been better off waiting, waiting for the domino to fall on its own unbalanced weight.

    It would have been atleast spared all this angst, from intellectuals (such as they are) like Mr. Jha.

    Why does it not dawn on these people that the Volcker Report had many hundreds of names, and entities, including many other corporations from India. Many of them have plainly accepted their dealings, while denying that they were knowingly pushing money (and favour) to Saddam. This is a much more plausible explanation considering how complex and intricate international money dealings can be, especially to the untrained.

    If the US Govt. has gone to such extent to frame even a small % of the names listed, then it has a far more skewed sense of perspective than even I thought. I doubt it, though. For all its faults, I don’t think the US Govt. considers Natwar a big enough target to waste so much time and money on.

    Mr. Jha needs to get two things : a life and a clue…

  2. Conspiracy is easy to frame without the ifs and series of coincidences.

    Mr. Natwar Singh and Congress I were doing Saddam’s bidding in exchange for oil money which Saddam was still doling out because of the continuing oil-for-food program as late as March 2003 (when the war began). In July 2003, Saddam was on the run but still in contacts with his forces.

    Congress I (and presumably Mr. Singh) have a habit of taking money from various countries dictators (as revealed by Mr. Mitrokhin)and doing their bidding in India, in UN and else where. It doesn’t take leap of imagination (as would be require by Mr. Jha) to connect the dots.

  3. IF, however big, the conspiracy theory is correct, as you assume in the last paragraph, then your statement is appears very shameful and contradictory to your eralier stands to me. Do we want foreigner to punish our bad leaders for their personal gains? Like visa denial to Modi. Don’t we have self-respect to punish our villains ourselves?

  4. Whatever the means, the end justifies it. Conspiracy or not – from an Indian standpoint, Natwar’s removal was serendipity. God bless the democratic system. Musharraf makes Natwar look positively brilliant with his goofs.

  5. Huh,

    Don’t you guys realize that it is wisdom of honourable men like Mr. Natwar Singh which has thrawted all the attempts of imperialist forces such as Coca Cola and Pizza Hut to undermine our soveregnity and make it a colony for their evil combo designs.

    While China is being sold to foreign forces piece by piece we still remain a free and socialist country.

    I am very disappointed with Nitin.

    And NO REGARDS to you quislings .

  6. Ashish,

    My last paragraph was only half-serious, but here’s a response to your comments anyway.

    Do we want foreigner to punish our bad leaders for their personal gains? Like visa denial to Modi.

    It does not matter whether we wish it or not, those foreigners are going to do it anyway if it is in their interests. Isn’t that what the accusations against Natwar (and the Mitrokhin revelations) are all about?

    My take on the Modi visa is here.

    Don’t we have self-respect to punish our villains ourselves?

    Unfortunately, not always.

  7. Nitin,
    I have just one question. America went into Iraq lying thru its teeth about WMDs in Iraq. Now shud we beleive the same Americans on Volcker report?

    On another topic,
    Some of the scums of the lowest order in India (read politicians)have been caught on the camera acceptin money for asking Qs in the Parliament. I dont find your take on it.

  8. RS,

    As I put it in my first post on Natwar-Volcker, I find it far easier to believe that Natwar Singh and the Congress party received money from Saddam Hussein. You don’t need to believe everything that the Americans (or the UN, which instituted the Volcker commission of enquiry) say to believe Natwar Singh needs to step down until his role is investigated.

    The 100+ companies dealing with Saddam come under a separate list; and not all of them can be held guilty. And then, even if some of them are guilty, they don’t make key foreign policy decisions. And nothing in my post suggested that companies engaging in illegal activity should be let off the hook in any way.

    (My post on the Cobrapost sting is up)

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