Why Bangladesh shouldn’t fear the green-faced Biden administration’s red eyes?


In the aftermath of the recently held January 7 elections in Bangladesh, where the democratic process was deemed free, fair, and peaceful, concerns have risen regarding the approach of the Biden administration towards the country. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its ideological allies, known for their anti-Semitic and anti-India sentiments, have initiated an “India Out” movement, reminiscent of events in the Maldives.

Simultaneously, this Islamist nexus have intensified cyber warfare on social media, with BNP lobbyists reaching out to Western media outlets and PR agencies, offering cash in exchange for reports and articles against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the ruling Awami League and key figures in the civil-military administration and judiciary.

The US Department of State, in a post-election statement, expressed support for the people of Bangladesh in their aspirations for democracy and freedom. However, it also raised concerns about the arrests of political opposition members and reported irregularities on election day. The United Kingdom echoed similar sentiments, highlighting that not all political parties participated in the elections, referring to the ultra-Islamist BNP and other radical forces that boycotted the process. Notably, the European Union refrained from endorsing claims that the elections were not free and fair.

The focus now turns to the Biden administration’s stance, which some view as contradictory and potentially detrimental to Bangladesh’s stability. The US Secretary of State called for a credible investigation into reports of violence while condemning the arrest of political opposition members—an apparent oxymoron in the advice provided. This has led to questions about the administration’s true intentions and its alignment with local elements, including political parties, civil society, and media, in efforts to influence Bangladesh’s political landscape.

The US State Department’s assertion that “foreign observers” deemed the elections not free and fair has raised eyebrows, given the lack of substantiated evidence. Many election observers, including those from the United States and other nations, have declared the January 7 general election in Bangladesh as free and fair. The administration’s reliance on unverified claims and its apparent support for the BNP’s narrative further complicate the situation.

Commenting on the January 7 election, Britain in its statement said: “Not all political parties took part in the elections. The Bangladeshi people did not therefore have the fullest range of voting options…”

In this case, the United Kingdom’s comment of “all political parties” means ultra-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party, pro-jihadist Jamaat-e-Islami and other radical Islamic forces in Bangladesh, which did not participate in the election as BNP in particular was expecting return to power through undemocratic process with active support from Biden administration. It may be mentioned here that Hunter Biden was hired by the BNP as lobbyist almost two years ago.

Although it was anticipated that Washington may force other EU nations to echo the notion that already has been expressed by the United Kingdom, EU nations did not step into it. Instead it issued a statement saying “European Union takes note of the outcome of the Parliamentary elections, which were held in Bangladesh last Sunday [January 7] and reiterates that the long-term EU-Bangladesh partnership is underpinned by the values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law”.

Most importantly, the EU did not repeat BNP-Jamaat’s propaganda stating the January 7 election was not free and fair.

Meanwhile, in a post on X (former Twitter), BNP lobbyist Jon Danilowicz wrote: “In July, @StateDept imposed visa restrictions on Cambodians who undermined democracy and paused certain foreign aid. Given the May visa policy on #Bangladesh and the Jan 7 elections (which the US noted were not free nor fair) when can we expect similar action?”

It may be mentioned here that lobbyists like Jon Danilowicz, who did not register under FARA (Foreign Agents Registration Act), are facing potential legal consequences for violating the law.

Meanwhile, concerns arise that the Biden administration’s policy could push countries in the Indo-Pacific away from the US, reminiscent of past geopolitical missteps.

Critics argue that the Biden administration’s alignment with the BNP may be shortsighted, as historical evidence suggests that under BNP rule, Bangladesh became a safe haven for terrorism. The potential return of the BNP to power could jeopardize regional stability, posing a threat not only to the US but also to India, given the BNP’s history of supporting insurgency groups in Northeast India.

As Bangladesh’s newly formed government navigates the next 90 days, they face the challenge of countering anti-Awami League efforts orchestrated by the BNP through media campaigns and lobbying. The effectiveness of Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud and Information Minister Mohammad Ali Arafat in managing these challenges will be crucial. Their success in countering these efforts would signify Bangladesh’s resilience against external pressures and in that case – Bangladesh has no reason to be afraid of green-faced Biden administration’s red-eyes, while their failure could result in catastrophic consequences for the nation.


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