Escalating tensions between the United States and Bangladesh have reached a boiling point, as the US Department of State embarks on a wave of sanctions against a slew of individuals from Latin American countries. In parallel, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights voiced its “outrage” against the Awami League government, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, for its alleged mistreatment of Adilur Rahman Khan and Nasiruddin Elan, prominent figures within the NGO ‘Odhikar.’
While these developments on the global stage have unfolded, numerous well-connected insiders within the ruling party have been engaged in shadowy activities, aiming to intensify international pressure on Prime Minister Hasina and her government. This clandestine pressure is speculated to be part of a broader strategy, potentially supporting President Joe Biden’s alleged machinations to unseat the Dhaka government and substitute it with the ultra-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its Islamist and jihadist affiliates. In this web of global politics, the inclusion of Hunter Biden as a lobbyist for the BNP, in exchange for a hefty payout, adds another level of complexity.
I am beyond outraged by the treatment of @AdilurKhan & Nasiruddin Elan from @odhikar _bd by Bangladeshi authorities. In addition to continuing judicial harassment they’re now placed in cages during Court hearings. This is unacceptable! @MaryLawlorhrds @Irenekhan @clement_voule.
— Kerry Kennedy (@KerryKennedyRFK) July 20, 2023
In the midst of these geopolitical maneuvers, a subtle but dominant player has come to light: Mohammad A Arafat. Affiliated with the Suchinta Foundation and the Center for Research and Information (CRI) in Bangladesh, Arafat has emerged as a person of interest due to his close ties with anti-Hasina forces and a group allegedly involved in the assassination of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib.
Furthermore, elements within the Awami League, believed to be covertly aligned with anti-Hasina factions both domestically and abroad, have initiated a campaign targeting individuals and journalists known for their staunch opposition to the alleged BNP and other Islamist forces’ conspiracy against Bangladesh.
One such target is Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, an internationally renowned journalist and editor of the Blitz newspaper. In a Facebook post dated July 20, 2023, Choudhury claimed that cyber intruders had repeatedly targeted his account following the publication of two posts deemed sensitive. Choudhury did not shy away from implicating Arafat in his public statement.
Choudhury wrote, “I would like to humbly tell all those who are committing such misdeeds, I have been in journalism for more than thirty-four years, editor of a newspaper for more than twenty years. Am I so stupid that I can’t even figure out what could be the causes behind it (hacking attempts)? Don’t I know anyone in various countries in the world, including Bangladesh, who can know the names of those involved in the hacking attempt from Meta authorities if they want?”
The assault and public humiliation of Hero Alom, aka Ashraful Hossain, another political rival of Arafat, has further fueled suspicions about Arafat’s underhand activities. This incident, which received significant global media coverage, strengthened the US’s critical stance towards Bangladesh.
Amid the mounting international pressure, cyber threats, and rising concerns of internal subversion, the unfolding saga in Bangladesh has raised alarming concerns over democratic stability. As the narrative continues to evolve, the influence of powerful actors, such as the United States, the Awami League’s covert operations, and divisive political elements like Arafat, will undoubtedly shape the trajectory of events in the foreseeable future.
Copyright © 2023 The Eastern Herald.