Disturbance in the Force 2
Couple of weeks ago, we posted Anwar Dayal’s summary of what might have happened in the army earlier this year. Over the fold are some excerpts of a recent conversation with Dayal. He tells me that there is a tremendous amount of grievance in the army, but chance of a coup is very low. Apparently the army is waiting for BNP to win the next election.
What about Tarique Rahman avenging his broken back?
Disclaimer: AoD is in no position to judge the accuracy of anything reported here.
Effects of 1/11 still lingers
Sheikh Hasina believes that elements within the 1/11 regime — though not necessarily Gen Moeen or Masud — tried to eliminate her. She also believes these elements are still active in the army.
Pilkhana wounds yet to heal
Hardly anyone in the army supports Hasina’s decision to ‘negotiate’ with the mutineers. Senior officers (colonel and above) were baffled that Gen Moeen didn’t impress on Hasina the need to take ‘decisive’ actions. Junior officers (majors and lt cols) were baffled that the seniors didn’t give the orders. Dozens have been fired since, and no one knows who’s next.
DGFI chief is the man to watch
Apparently he has convinced Maj Gen Tareq Siddiqui (and therefore Hasina) that only he can ensure the safety of the prime minister and her family. How does he do this? By tapping phones and hacking emails of any officer (all the way down to lieutenant) who stands out. The result? He is the most hated man in the army.
Apparently IKB (army chief) wanted to remove him, but was overruled by the PM herself.
It’s all political (or maybe not)
From Bangabandhu choosing Shafiullah over Zia, it’s taken for granted that chiefs will be politically determined. The post-1990 trend was that major general and above were all politically determined, and if you were a career soldier, you would rise up to col or brigadier, make sure to get the UN posting, get deputed to some civilian job, and then retire. Under this government, even majors and colonels aren’t safe being purely professional. There is no rhyme or reason for why people are getting postings or promotions (or UN assignments). It’s not strictly political, because plenty of officers from AL families are overlooked. But careers of anyone with strong religiosity, or anyone from certain districts (Bogra, parts of Chittagong, parts of Noakhali), are effectively finished.
Hunters are now hunted
Surprisingly, people involved with the crackdown on JMB and counterterrorism experts are being forced out of the army. This involves people who received Bir Pratik medals, or were trained by the Americans.
Cowboys and Indians
The idea that Indians will come to rescue the PM is extremely fanciful, but so is the idea that the PM will need to be rescued. This isn’t 1975. There may be strong grievances, but no one will take their tanks to Ganabhaban.
However, if there were to be a political crisis in Dhaka, Indians will not intrude into our territory unless explicitly asked by the army — Indians have no desire or stomach for a gunfight in Dhaka.
2/11 won’t happen
If the juinor officers wait for orders, the seniors will never give it. Generals believe that this government’s days are numbered. There will be the usual political tamasha leading to the election, which will be won by BNP. As long as BNP restores the way things were until the 2000s, there won’t be any military coup.
Disturbance in the Force: Part 1