Pith over 90000 troops advancing towards Mosul under American air power giving strategic support, it is a matter of not ‘will it fall’ but ‘when will it fall’. In Mosul there are around 6000 ISIS jihadis holed up with extensive defence arrangements. Part of this defence is the human shield. Around 800000 civilians live in Mosul. ISIS is known for its barbarity and inhuman cruelty. Fears mount that it will deploy civilians in strategic places around ISIS fighters to weaken the moral resolve of the attacking army. The invading forces include Kurdish Peshmerga, Turkish forces, Iraqi Army, Iran backed Shia militia and US military advisors. Adversaries, some with century of hate and war against each other have come together to defeat ISIS. It is a ‘regional’ international force brought together by deft diplomacy and hard work by the Americans. The invading army is under international scrutiny by the press and UN. It will be reluctant to kill civilians in thousands as collateral damage. Such insensitivity will bring an even more vocal condemnation than has followed the Iraq invasion where some half a million people have died from the aftermath of the attack to depose Saddam. The invasion of Mosul is likely to be one of the most blood churning in recent history. There is also the Mosul Dam. If that is blown up in a scorch earth policy by ISIS, nearly half a million people will die. The human cost of this war could be far more than the financial or political costs. In western countries, think tanks are falling over each other on showing off ‘wisdom’ or lessons learnt from recent follies.  A group of researchers at Chatham House explained how local tribal groups need to be financially supported and development needs to start early to pre-empt local uprisings again. These measures will stop people walking back into the arms of ISIS. Academics spoke of the fault lines in the invading army and how these could be addressed. The now deep Shia-Sunni divide is of concern. All this post invasion preparations strategy is reassuring given the almost myopic approach to war in the last two decades by American led coalitions. Thought is being given to post invasion engagement with and commitment from local as well as regional groups. While local tribes will benefit from development and good governance etc., larger interests such as those of Kurdish Peshmerga, Turkey and Iran may also have been addressed or at least deals promised by USA. Reassuring as these are, there is nothing new in the strategy which hasn’t been part of ‘colonising’ or imperial forces in history. Colonialism relied on meeting local expectations, recruiting strong regional forces with deals and reorienting governance through indigenous political leadership. Roman imperialism across Europe and Middle East or Moghul imperialism in India adopted similar strategies. What is surprising is that the Anglo-American war machine seemed to have discarded this important aspect of any post invasion strategy in the last three decades, whether it was after the fall of Russia in Afghanistan or the fall of Saddam in Iraq. Not that the USA will colonise Mosul, but it does want the Middle East hot spots in its own image, a liberal democratic country. And the current coalition, for all its bonhomie at the moment, is very fragile. Nevertheless, not much is expected of it except to destroy the common enemy at hand, the Islamic State jihadis. But history reveals another deeper aspect of conflict that resurfaces in one way or another, no matter what financial, material or political inducements are given to maintain order after invasion. Islamic State is driven by a mission. It is a mission nearly a century old. It is the idea of resurrecting the Caliphate. Development, riches and political power abounds in the Middle East. But so does the idea of Caliphate within many Sunni Muslims who believe it to be a divine mission to restore it. They may form a small minority of Sunni Muslims in the larger Billion world Muslim population, but over the decades they have grown from a few hundred to a few millions.  It is this mission which has attracted many a middle class Muslim youth in the west with amazing life opportunities to give everything up and join the ‘struggle’. In the Middle East, there are millions who are fed up with the privileged power and wealth of the few and who also see hope in a Caliphate.

ISIS was clever in giving it a physical form by creating a State and calling it the ‘Caliphate’. The idea is now rooted even deeper in the minds of many Sunnis. If this idea is not addressed, it does not matter how many development programmes, schools and hospitals are built for the local communities.

The Catholics have their Pope, the Anglicans their English Monarch as divine head of Church, the Shia have their Grand Ayatollah, but of the major Abrahamic schisms, it is the Sunni who lost their titular head when the Caliphate was vanquished by Anglo-Turkish design in the 1920s. The struggle for restoring the Caliphate has been simmering ever since. Think Tanks are also aware that IS Jihadis are not going to disappear after the fall of Mosul. There is general expectation that sleeper cells in the west will surface and most of ISIS will infiltrate general populations around the world with programmed command on when to blast bombs or waken up communities elsewhere.

Indications are and some Islamic groups have already hinted that one of the largest Islamic community that may be targeted for recruitment is the Muslims of India. There is a significant body of Muslims in India who are disenchanted with current State policies and their perpetual marginalisation since 1947.  The Indian Mujahedeen, the Taliban and even IS have made statements to entice Indian Muslims to join the struggle. IM and Taliban have tried to take advantage of domestic grudges.
The fall of Mosul, if it occurs, is not the end of the story, but could be the beginning of another. The war could be exported around the world and a new phase of asymmetrical war will begin. India among other countries should stay alert to the fall out. Until the idea of the Caliphate is addressed, this story is not going to end.
Jasdev Singh Rai

Farah Khan motivates cancer survivors

IANS) Choreographer-filmmaker Farah Khan encouraged cancer survivors by calling them “cancer conquerors”. “I was invited to motivate those who have survived. However, I came here to get motivated. You are all brave and courageous,” said Khan, who attended a panel discussion on ‘Life After Cancer’ with some of the survivors on Thursday. “We all say that you are all cancer survivors. Now, it is time to remove the term ‘survivor’. You are cancer conquerors as you have conquered the disease. You are the example of strength.” “They are such beautiful women and so brave that I feel, even in Bollywood, there are no such beautiful actresses. Actresses should learn from these amazing ladies,” she added. She was also seen dancing with the women to a Bollywood song. // ]]>

Aamir Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan's Diwali plans revealed

 (IANS) If superstar Aamir Khan will throw a party on Diwali, actor Sanjay Dutt, who was released from Yerawada Central Jail earlier this year, will perform Laxmi Puja and spend time with his family during the festive time. Some of Bollywood celebrities’ Diwali plans are out. Their representative has shared in a statement how they will celebrate the festival of lights: Aamir will host a private party at his Bandra residence which will have his family and friends in attendance. Actor Hrithik Roshan will take time off to celebrate the festival with sons Hrehaan and Hredaan. Actress Deepika Padukone will visit her hometown Bengaluru. Taking a break from her promotional schedule for her upcoming Hollywood release “xXx : Return of Xander Cage”, Deepika will visit her parents and sister before filming “Padmavati”. Sanjay will perform Laxmi Puja and spend time with his family. He will also attend megastar Amitabh Bachchan’s Diwali party. Actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar will celebrate the festival with his “Rock On 2” team. Actors Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor will celebrate it with their families and friends. Actress Kriti Sanon, currently in Lucknow shooting for her upcoming film “Bareilly ki Barfi”, is planning to travel to Delhi to be with friends and family. Actress Yami Gautam will also be heading to her hometown Chandigarh to celebrate the festival with her parents and sisters. Actress Radhika Apte will fly to London to be with her husband and celebrate the festival of lights. Actor Rajkummar Rao will have a working Diwali as he will be busy on the sets of “Bareilly ki Barfi”. // ]]>

Watching Tabu's 'Hawa' act helped Daljeet Kaur

IANS) Actress Daljeet Kaur, who plays Manjiri in the TV show “Kaala Teeka”, will be seen recreating the rape scene from the 2003 film “Hawa”, starring Tabu. In the upcoming episodes of the Zee TV show, Devri played by Vineet Rana, who has cast his eyes on Manjiri, will be seen raping her using his power of becoming invisible. “To perform the scene with conviction and a sense of realism, I took references from the film ‘Hawa’ where Tabu has effortlessly enacted a similar scene. She is an excellent actor and performs all her scenes with a certain finesse that I wanted to imbibe. And, honestly watching her scene did help me perform better,” Daljeet said in a statement. The actress says it was a difficult scene to perform. “I was performing it for the very first time on television. I was really nervous, but the creative team was helpful in making me feel comfortable by keeping only three to four people on the sets, while filming this sequence,” she added. // ]]>

Saif Ali Khan's 'Chef' remake faces trouble in Kerala while shooting

Chef was stalled because of a local woman who lives in Fort Kochi, was highly upset with the shooting schedule of the movie as it was disrupting the studies of her children. To retaliate and disrupt the shooting, she put her music system on full volume. According to a leading daily, one of the neighbours said that she was especially troubled that her two children were not being able to concentrate on their studies due to the ongoing shooting schedule. Not just that, Auria, who runs a spa, was also unhappy about the shoot as it prevented the clients from reaching her spa. This led to her playing music on amplifiers. Sources claim that Kerala State Pollution Control Board also have issues with the shooting of the movie, which is disrupting the nature. They have asked the film unit to immediately stop the shooting, as it is causing noise pollution. Raja Krishna Menon, the director of the movie has no option, but, to stop and wait for the local authorities to give clearance. // ]]>

Siddharth Malhotra welcomes New Zealand Prime Minister to India

Siddharth Malhotra has been promoting New Zealand tourism in India, as the country’s brand ambassador. He was the face of India, when the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key MP visited India recently.

He received a warm Indian welcome from Tourism New Zealand’s brand ambassador, Sidharth Malhotra at a press conference in New Delhi.

The event was also attended by other special guests, such as: Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture India; former Blackcaps captain and cricketer Brendon McCullum; the New Zealand High Commissioner to India, H.E. Grahame Morton; David Craig, General Manager, Asia, Tourism New Zealand and Steven Dixon, Regional Manager, South and South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand.

Figures released in yesterday’s Tourism Satellite Account’s annual data reflect the work the tourism sector and government are doing to boost the value tourism brings to New Zealand. Tourism is vitally important to the New Zealand economy and the phenomenal growth has seen tourism become New Zealand’s top export earner.

Steven Dixon, Regional Manager – South and South East Asia, Tourism New Zealand, said: “India is a priority emerging market for New Zealand and we have witnessed significant year on year growth in visitor arrivals. While this growth is really exciting to see, we think the Indian market has even greater potential. We are investing to maximise the opportunity, which includes growing the Tourism New Zealand team here in India.”

He further added, “At the personal and business level, there is also much that India and New Zealand have in common. Our values are similar, as shown by the vibrancy and diversity of our populations.Indians and Kiwis also share a love of sport (particularly cricket) and we both pride ourselves on the quality of our food and on the warm hosting offered to visitors by our friendly people.”

At the press conference, Cricketer Brendon McCullum joined The Prime Minister, Mr. Key and Sidharth Malhotra in a candid discussion. They spoke about the commonalities between the two countries; love for movies, culture, food, adventure and sports.

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Athiya Shetty credits her Bollywood innings to Salman Khan

(IANS) Actress Athiya Shetty has attributed her Bollywood career to superstar Salman Khan. Athiya, who is the daughter of actor Suniel Shetty, made her Bollywood debut with 2015 film “Hero”, which was co-produced by Salman. Also starring Sooraj Pancholi, the film, which was directed by Nikhil Advani, is a remake of filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s directed 1983 film of the same name, which starred Jackie Shroff. Asked if she credits her career in Bollywood to the “Dabangg” star, Athiya told IANS: “Of course, he launched Sooraj and I so definitely I owe him a lot. Both him and Nikhil sir. So yeah always and always grateful to him.” The 23-year-old is now gearing up for her next film “Mubarakan”, which is directed by Anees Bazmee. The film, which also stars Anil Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Ileana D’Cruz, is slated to release on July 28, 2017.

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