COMMENT: It appears that an Islamist coup attempt in Bangladesh has been foiled (at least for the time being).
Note that the Jamaat-e-Islami (a Muslim Brotherhood offshoot) was a major element in the coup attempt. If such an future attempt were to be successful, it would flank India with hostile Muslim nations–a development that would move the region toward the abyss of nuclear war.
EXCERPT: Much to the distress of Indian leaders, on January 19 the Bangladesh army announced it had thwarted a coup attempt against the government, conceived and nearly executed by some mid-ranking officers. Five army officers, including a lieutenant colonel and two Majors have already been arrested, while a top army officer is under investigation. The attempted coup was instigated by Islamic radical military personnel, including some Bangladeshis living abroad and retired and serving officers. . . .
. . . Ever since the India-friendly government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came into office in December 2008, her arch-rival Begum Khaleda Zia and elements of Pakistan’s military establishment have been plotting a coup. Hasina’s overly friendly gestures to India, including cooperation in such diverse fields as security, counter-terrorism, trade, infrastructural linkages and, above all, her diplomatic outreach to India have worried her political opponents in Bangladesh and critics in the Pakistani strategic establishment. The biggest “provocation” from Hasina, as seen from the viewpoint of her detractors, came recently when Bangladesh embarked upon the war crimes trial to punish those army officers who committed excesses during the 1971 Liberation War.
The simmering disquiet in Bangladesh was not new. Sheikh Hasina’s party Awami League has faced violent attacks from pro-Pakistan Islamic radicals ever since its formation in 1949. The party still commands the widest popular support base in the country, but less so in the armed forces, media and the business community. The last Bangladesh National Party (BNP)-Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) rule (2001–06) was a clear demonstration of the fact that Islamic nationalism had only been used as a garb to capture power and hold on to it. . . .