Bangladesh, democracy and kiss of death


Recently, an opinion piece published in the encrypted portal ‘Foreign Policy’ has called for the Biden administration to engage with Bangladesh’s democracy, despite the fact, US President Joe Biden already has emerged into the cruelest dictator in the world, who has been victimizing his political rivals, running ruthless censorship of media and freedom of expression and committing human rights violation.

The article, written by Ahmede Hussain, touches upon various aspects of the Bangladesh’s political situation, but it mostly contains some misleading information and misrepresentations.

According to Wikipedia, his ancestors hail from the former Portuguese enclave of Patherghata in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Hussain, born in 1978 is a Shia and also is a senior journalist. It further said, “[Ahmede Hussain] was never an in-charge of The Daily Star (Bangladesh)’s weekly supplement The Star (Bangladesh)”. But, according to The Daily Star, a newspaper founded by Syed Mohammed Ali on January 14, 1991, Ahmede Hussain “is Literary Editor of The Daily Starand Head of Daily Star Books”.

In the article, Hussain discusses the long-standing relationship between the United States and Bangladesh and highlights the need for the US to navigate its ties with both China and India while addressing the democratic crisis in Bangladesh. He recalls Bangladesh’s struggle for independence during the Cold War and the subsequent formation of the country.

Ahmede Hussain wrote, US Under Secretary Uzra Zeya has said,the United States looks forward to deepening its relationship with Bangladesh for the next 50 years”.

He further wrote, “The United States will have to make some tough decisions about the democratic crisis in Bangladesh and its relationship with both China and India.

“At the height of the Cold War, with India and the Soviet Union on its side, Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) went to war in 1971 for independence. India intervened militarily in the war on 3 December 1971 and the Pakistan Army surrendered in a war that lasted only 13 days. Bangladesh gained independence”.

However, the article makes erroneous claims regarding the legitimacy of the Awami League government. It wrongly suggests that the two general elections that brought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to power were heavily rigged.

He wrote, “The two general elections that brought Sheikh Hasina to power were heavily rigged. As a result of this, the outgoing ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh, Ito Naoki, broke all diplomatic norms and commented that he heard that the police filled the ballot boxes at night before the polls started”.

In reality, the 2008 election was held under a military-backed interim government and was deemed free, fair, and credible by local and international observers. The 2014 election faced a boycott by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ideological ally Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI).

No one has ever questioned the credibility of this election – not even BNP or Jamaat. But, Ahmede Hussain has attempted to label this election as “heavily rigged”, which certainly proves his ulterior agenda. Though there is controversy centering the 2018 general election, Hussain has tried to bring both 2014 and 2018 elections under the same bracket.

Ahmede Hussain cites investigative reports by Netra News and Deutsche Welle, but these reports have been criticized as propaganda by individuals associated with opposition parties. One of the individuals behind these so-called investigative reports is Zulkarnain Saer Khan, who has a controversial background and is known for spreading false information. A careful scrutiny of the social media activism of this individual would prove it.

It may be mentioned here that, Zulkarnain Saer Khan, a notoriously anti-Hindu and anti-India individual fled Bangladesh years ago when he was charged by Bangladesh’s law enforcement agencies for his direct involvement in robbery and extortion. In Hungary, he was involved in criminal activities, including drug trafficking, which had resulted in his expulsion wherefrom he fled to the United Kingdom and took shelter. His asylum petition which is filled with lies and false claims is currently pending with the UK authorities.

Ahmede Hussain’s article in Foreign Policy also touches upon the reputation of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), an elite force fighting terrorism, militancy and transnational drug trafficking. The force has been praised for combating terrorism and criminal activities.

Commenting on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Ahmede Hussain in his article wrote: “RAB’s reputation for killing people in encounters was so widespread that in December 2021, the force was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department. The US intervention worked like a tonic—showing Washington it could do anything it wanted to. RAB kidnappings stopped overnight”.

Ever-since its inception, RAB has become a target of terrorists, jihadists and members of the crime world. Due to effective actions of this elite force, Bangladesh has been largely relieved of threats posed by numerous jihadist outfits including Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad (HuJI), Al Qaeda, Islamic State (ISIS) as well as local terrorist gangs and transnational drug-trafficking rackets. Elements affected due to RAB’s effective actions have been spending lavishly on media, NGOs and a section of unscrupulous elements – including politicians in spreading well-orchestrated lies and propaganda with the nefarious agenda of branding this elite force as “killing machine”.

Similarly, unscrupulous elements in the West also run propaganda targeting law enforcement agencies while they have been spending hundreds of millions of dollars in running adverse propaganda against America’s war on terror. Narcotic and weapon mafias based in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua and other places countries are spending lavishly against counterterrorism and anti-narcotic organization and efforts worldwide. In Bangladesh, the Rapid Action Battalion is the victim of a similar conspiracy.

Hussain’s article suggests imposing sanctions on Bangladesh by the United States and Canada and using recently announced visa policy by the US Department of State to unseat the current government, which raises concerns about his intentions and possible hidden agendas. His commentary on India and China’s support for the Awami League government appears to paint a biased picture.

In my opinion, it is essential to have an informed and balanced discussion about Bangladesh’s political landscape, addressing both its successes and challenges. Constructive engagement between the US and Bangladesh can contribute to strengthening democracy and addressing human rights concerns, while also fostering positive regional relationships. However, it is equally crucial to avoid propagating false information and pursuing political agendas that may undermine the country’s stability.

A careful scrutiny of each of the sentences of Hussain of his article in Foreign Policy portal would clearly prove – he has written this to serve the purpose of pro-Pakistan and pro-militancy forces. This actually is not even an article. Instead, Ahmede Hussain’s write-up is the worst form of anti-Bangladesh propaganda.

Decades ago, there was a James Bond 007 series movie named ‘Kiss of Death’. While Ahmede Hussain wants America to “give Bangladesh’s democracy and kiss of life”, an authoritarian Joe Biden and Hussain’s anti-Bangladesh elements can just give a kiss of death to Bangladesh’s democracy. Nothing else!


  1. The writing that is behind this statement is harsh and malicious. In reality, Bangladesh is a country that values equality and does not discriminate based on social class. The people of Bangladesh hold all honest writers in high regard. It is absurd to claim that President Biden is the cruelest dictator in the world, as he has not victimized his political opponents, imposed strict censorship on media or suppressed freedom of expression, or violated human rights. These accusations are baseless and likely spread by those who have a financial interest in supporting Donald Trump or have broken US laws and are now facing consequences.


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