Tagged: Maldives coup

Meet PISCES: the US broader control system

Azra Naseem

United States former Ambassador to the Maldives, Robert Blake has stated categorically that the US is ‘absolutely not’ planning a ‘base of any kind’ in the Maldives.

Enlightening the ignorant, he said Status of Force Agreements (SOFAs) are pretty standard, and harmless – any fool would know that. Asked for a comment on the draft SOFA published on Dhivehi Sitee last week, Blake said he had ‘not seen it’ and was thus ‘unable to verify its authenticity.’

Blake was US Ambassador to Maldives when she rushed to welcome Mohamed Waheed’s presidency in February 2012, helping to define a televised coup as a legitimate transfer of power.

Let’s take the diplomatic doublespeak at face value and accept that the US-Maldives SOFA is about bringing democracy and great ‘American values’ to the backward Maldivian shores. Let’s presume it’s not about an agreement that draws us deeper into the dirty wars of twenty first century America. Let’s assume that Lily Pads are nothing but lotus leaves serenely floating on a still pond. And, let’s suppose, despite recent headlines, that American plans for South Asia are vastly different from their plans for Africa and other ‘unlit spaces‘ of the world.

Instead, let’s look at the generosity of this ‘greatest nation on earth’ towards the Maldives. Last week she donated US$2.5 million donation to help Maldivians vote in September this year.

And, on 28 March, it gifted the country with a border control system, called the PISCES, entirely free of charge.

Given the Maldives’ place on the higher tiers of the global human trafficking industry, and it’s ongoing problems with installing a border control system, getting an entire system–including installation and training for personnel running it–for free, is a great blessing.

Or is it?

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A US military base in the Maldives?

by Azra Naseem

The current government appears ready to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States allowing it to establish a military base in the Maldives.

According to the draft agreement, which I have seen, the Maldives will give the US unfettered access to, and use of, not just the military facility (or facilities) to be established but also all Maldivian aerial ports and seaports for whatever purpose it wants.

The designated area(s) [listed in an annex I have not seen] will be sealed off for ‘exclusive use by the United States forces’, which will have the authority to secure ‘the vicinity’ around the island(s) in whatever way the US deems is necessary for safety of Americans.

US personnel based in the Maldives will have diplomatic privileges, exemptions and immunities equivalent to that offered by the Vienna Convention.

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Supreme Court of the Maldives, a grave blunder

The facts on the appointment of the Supreme Court of the Maldives, as observed by Aishath Velezinee from her seat on the Judicial Service Commission  

This is an article by Aishath Velezinee, recounting how the Supreme Court bench was appointed on 10 August 2010, as seen from her position as a member of the Judicial Service Commission. It provides valuable insight into the Maldivian democracy’s current woes with the Supreme Court, and the political machinations that often become impediments on the path of constitutional democracy.

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