Biden administration finally ditches Al Qaeda connected BNP into gutter


While key-figures in the Biden administration were continuously misled by the lobbyists of Al Qaeda connected Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as well Islamist-inclined local staffs at the US Embassy in Bangladesh, Washington finally came to realization that paying attention to propaganda run by BNP and its Islamist-jihadist cohorts would significantly damage its existing relations with Bangladesh – a country that has emerged into geopolitically important. As a result, although Washington has made numerous attempts of bullying Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government through numerous tactics ranging from visa policy to meddling with Al Qaeda connected BNP and other Islamist-jihadist forces including Jamaat-e-Islami and Jatiya Party, finally US President Joe Biden has written a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister expressing his willingness of working together. Through this letter, the Biden administration’s experiment of cow-towing any foreign nations with threats and ridiculous actions have come to an end.

According to Michael Kugelman, Director of Wilson Center’s South Asia Institute, “… for Biden to write a letter to Hasina that speaks of a new chapter in relations emphasizing economic and geopolitical cooperation constitutes a strong indication that Washington wants to make this relationship work, and that it wants to do so by focusing on the partnership’s main drivers of cooperation”.

If Joe Biden’s letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina reflect Dhaka’s increased importance in Indo-Pacific and geopolitical issues, Kugelman said, “… the Indo-Pacific issue is mentioned in both, but we should see this in the wider context of great power competition, because the Indo-Pacific issue is about US-China competition, after all. One of the main reasons why the US wants to deepen engagement in Bangladesh, and in South Asia more broadly, is to try to counter growing Chinese and (to a lesser extent) Russian influence in the region.

“And yet, the US democracy promotion policy worked against this strategic interest. It emboldened Beijing and Moscow, giving them opportunities to make Washington look bad by accusing it of meddling in Bangladesh’s internal affairs. And the policy caused friction with New Delhi, Washington’s top partner in South Asia. There have been times when US officials have linked rights and democracy and free and fair elections in Bangladesh to a free and open Indo-Pacific. But that’s a questionable position to take, given that India is a critical US partner in the Indo-Pacific, and its democracy has taken major hits—a development that Washington, for strategic reasons, says relatively little about publicly”.

Meanwhile, replying to a question from an anti-Awami League and pro-Islamist daily in Bangladesh about possibility of imposition of sanctions by the Biden administration on Bangladesh, Michael Kugelman said, “One can’t rule anything out, though it’s safe to say that the harshest possible measures—such as trade sanctions—are likely off the table. One can’t rule out some new visa restrictions or targeted human rights sanctions, depending on the outcomes of the US assessment of the election. But it’s been nearly a month since the election, and every day that goes by makes those types of measures seem increasingly unlikely as well”.

Dismissing Kugelman’s assumption of new visa restrictions or targeted human rights sanctions, one of the research-fellows at the Center for Strategic Studies and Research (CSSR) said, “Although Joe Biden has less than nine months in the office, as election will be held on November 5, 2024, technically he would become a lame-duck president from this April as Democratic Party may replace him with another candidate; there is very meagre chance for Biden administration playing a heavy-card with Bangladesh by advancing its strategy of imposing of new visa restrictions or targeted human rights sanctions. But of course, they may impose sanctions on several corrupt individuals in Bangladesh using the Global Magnitsky Act, which again may not go against the ruling Awami League”.

According to CSSR, Awami League government needs to put extra-emphasis on building connections with Donald Trump and key figures in his campaign team as he is “possibly going to win a landslide on November 5 against Joe Biden or any of the candidates from Democratic Party” in order to avoid any future misunderstanding between Dhaka and Washington”.

It said, one of the key issues for Donald Trump would be Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s proven record of having connections with Al Qaeda. Once this issue gets prominently put-forward with Donald Trump or even the key policymakers of the Biden administration, Washington shall not only maintain distance from BNP, it may even take punitive measures against this party by flagging it as a terrorist entity.


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