Turkey Rejects Nuclear Weapons In Its Region – Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey Rejects Nuclear Weapons In Its Region - Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish prime minister on Sunday said his country was against nuclear proliferation and weapons-applicable nuclear technology in its region.

“We do not want to see nuclear armament in our region. Our policy on this issue is very clear no matter which country has it. That could be Israel or Iran or any other country,” Erdogan told reporters in response to a question before his departure for the United States to participate in an international nuclear security summit, HaberTurk reported.

Erdogan said he would make a call to the international community to “take a firm stance” against Israel’s suspected nuclear arsenal.

“We have yet to see an international community, which is so sensitive about Iran’s nuclear program, taking a firm stance against Israel,” Erdogan said.

Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East but has never confirmed or denied that it possesses atomic weapons.

Iran insists that its nuclear program is for civilian purposes only, and the Islamic regime has denied any secret military agenda to it. (İMB-BRC)

Saakashvili Grieves the Loss of a Fellow American Stooge

[He was such a pal to Saakashvili that he visited S. Ossetia with him during the war, where the Georgian President used him in a staged publicity attack with real ammunition.  The fact that two of America’s primary stooges in this region are removed from power, almost simultaneously, shows that there are no coincidences in this matter.]
Georgia announces April 11 day of mourning on death of Polish president

Georgia, Tbilisi, April 10 /Trend News, N.Kirtskhalia/

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashviliannounced April 11 a day of mourning inGeorgia in memory of the tragically deceased President of Poland Lech Kaczynski, the press secretary of Georgian President Manana Manjgaladze said to a briefing on April 10.

The plane of the Polish President has crashed in Smolensk while landing to a Russian airport Saturday, killing 97 people.

Manjgaladze said that the Georgian president has already signed a decree declaring Kaczynski national hero of Georgia.

“The president believes that it is difficult to overestimate the merits of the Polish president to Georgia, since in the international arena he defended the interests of Georgia, and during the Russian aggression was in Tbilisi at the moment when the Russian tanks came to Tbilisi,” she said.

Saakashvili called Kaczynski Georgia’s friend who always defended freedom.

“The president said that not only the Polish people, but the whole world lost Kaczynski, because in this world of practicality, he was an idealist and a fighter for high ideals,” said the press secretary.

Was Polish President Murdered in Staged Plane Crash?

Was Polish President Murdered in Staged Plane Crash?

JAMES BUCHANAN

Jews were upset that President Kaczynski had “anti-Semites” in his ruling coalition.

The arch-criminal Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” So what do you say when a good portion of a European government is wiped out in a single plane crash?

Commercial jets land in bad weather all the time. Thousands of jets land all over the world safely in poor visibility, yet this one plane with the Polish President and many high ranking Polish officials smashes into the ground. Be very suspicious of media attempts to blame the weather or to blame the pilot.

Remember Bill Clinton’s Commerce Secretary, Ron Brown? He was being investigated for campaign finance fraud. He died in a highly convenient plane crash near the Dubrovnik airport shortly after threatening the Clintons that he would not go down for those fraud charges alone. It’s suspected that a false landing beacon signal was set up in some nearby hills causing Air Force 2 to crash into those hills during poor visibility. A detailed account of suspicious circumstances surrounding Ron Brown’s death can be read here.

Whenever politicians die “accidentally”, it’s worthwhile to see if the deceased politicians had been doing anything that may have angered the Jews or the New World Order, which in Europe takes the form of the European Union (EU), whose main goals include forcing all European nations under its control to have a single currency and to allow an unlimited flood of immigrants from the Third World.

The safety record of the Tupolev-154 has been questioned, but virtually all the crashes were by Third World airlines or over remote parts of Siberia. The first loss of a Tu-154 operated by Poland was the one that the Polish president and a good part of the Polish government was on. This same Tu-154 just had a major inspection and overhaul in December 2009.

One article notes “In one of those rare moments of unity, the National Bank of Poland and the Polish government agreed on the need to weaken the Polish zloty, which over recent weeks has rebounded close to its pre-crisis strength. The currency’s strength is now seen a possible threat to economic recovery. After several verbal interventions over the past few days, the central bank intervened with real money Friday, for the first time in more than a decade. The bank followed through on its Thursday warnings that it is ‘technologically and psychologically’ prepared to enter the currency market to prevent ‘excessive strengthening of the zloty.’ Government officials also said earlier this week that the ’strong zloty’ is damaging growth and, after Friday’s intervention, said they fully back the central bank’s move. In moving to weaken the zloty, Poland’s leadership was placing the interests of the people of Poland ahead of the interests of the European collective known as the European Union. Then, the next day, the president of Poland dies in a plane crash along with numerous other top leaders, including the president of the National Bank.”

The trip to Smolensk was to honor the memory of Polish POWs murdered by the Communists during World War Two. The Jews don’t like any “competition” to their Holocaust. The Jews want to pretend that they are the world’s ultimate victims and deserving of the world’s eternal sympathy, which invariably includes a ban on all criticism of the Jews or Israel. Kaczynski was not only throwing a spotlight on a mass murder by Communists; he was throwing a spotlight on a mass murder by Communist Jews. Jews played a key role in Communism, and Jews were often the commissars who were shooting defenseless dissidents and POWs. President Kaczynski had promised to go after Communist murderers, who had killed Poles during the long Communist occupation. Many of those war criminals were Jews, some of whom are still living in Israel or the United States.

Curiously, the Polish Prime Minister (in exile) in 1943 was killed in a suspicious plane crash after he learned of the Communist mass murder at Katyn and began raising concerns that threatened the alliance between the Communists and the capitalists. Meanwhile, Polish troops were fighting on the Western front for the Allies. The nation of Poland was completely sold out by FDR and Churchill at Yalta to an indefinite occupation by the same Communists, who mass murdered Polish POWs.

An article from the Jewish Telegraph reports “Jews mixed on new Polish leader– The new president of Poland was elected with the backing of anti-Semitic supporters. But not all Polish Jewish officials believe Lech Kaczynski, who will take office in December, should be criticized for his extremist bedfellows, especially considering his record on Jewish issues. Kaczynski, the former mayor of Warsaw, was elected last month to replace President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Barred from running again under Poland electoral law, Kwasniewski is popular with Jews inside and outside Poland. The incoming president’s Catholic-oriented Law and Justice Party governs Poland in coalition with two extremist parties, Self-Defense and the League of Polish Families, ‘whose members have frequently expressed anti-Semitic sentiments,’ according to Tel Aviv University’s Stephen Roth Institute, which monitors attitudes toward Jews around the world.”

Obama going off the deep end

Obama going off the deep end

FLOYD AND MARY BETH BROWN

A recent analysis by Roger Simon of PJTV Media maintains that Obama is showing signs of mental illness. A wide variety of commentators have observed that Obama displays severe narcissism. Obama is conceited, and he is demonstrating a serious disassociation from reality.

A recent case in point was Obama’s bizarre and meandering 17-minute, 2,500-word answer to the simple question about how he could justify raising taxes for ObamaCare during a recession when citizens are already overtaxed. Obama’s wildly inappropriate answer left the audience stunned and led commentator Charles Krauthammer to mockingly say, “I don’t know why you are so surprised. It’s only nine times the length of the Gettysburg address, and after all Lincoln was answering an easier question, the higher purpose of the union and the soldiers who fell in battle.”

This lapse of delusion occurred in front of a friendly audience. Overall, Barack Obama seems to be slipping into a slightly more delusional state these days.

On Monday, following his embarrassing answer on Saturday, Obama stopped by the Washington Nationals home opener to loft an effeminate toss toward home plate constituting the ceremonial first pitch. After this display, Obama was mucking it up in the press booth talking about his love of the Chicago White Sox. The announcers asked Obama which players he supported growing up a White Sox fan. After hemming and hawing for about 30 seconds, Obama responded that he grew up in Hawaii and was actually an A’s fan. Again, he avoided mentioning any players by name. Obama seems to believe that he can say whatever he wants, and not reap the consequences or be forced to defend his empty assertions. Obama behaves in a manner so disconnected from reality that he is shocked when someone has the audacity to question him. Obama acts like his word is infallible.

In March of last year Obama was on “60 Minutes” with Steve Kroft. Throughout the interview as Kroft questioned about the economic downturn and people losing their life savings, Obama just kept laughing. A one point CBS’s Kroft stopped him and asked, “Are you punch drunk?” How will the American people react to seeing their president laugh off their predicament? Obama’s inappropriate laughter clearly demonstrated he has lost touch with the pain that people are feeling.

Obama portrays himself as the larger-than-life figure towering above the political fray. At the summit when Obama was pushing his health care package through Congress, he attempted to act as if he were the chief arbiter of truth. With petty insults, he slapped down what the Republicans proposed and audaciously claimed his was a “bipartisan bill.” Obama distorts the truth with such frequency that one must start to question if Obama even realizes he is lying or is so disassociated from the truth that he believes what he says.

A further example of Obama’s delusions of grandeur occurred when he gave himself a “good solid B plus.” Believing that his presidency was an above average success when America is hurting is absurd. Obama went so far as to claim that he would give himself an “A” once health care was passed. Obama is not living in the same reality as the rest of us.

As Charles Krauthammer wrote, “Not that Obama considers himself divine. (He sees himself as merely messianic, or, at worst, apostolic.) But he does position himself as hovering above mere mortals, mere country, to gaze benignly upon the darkling plain beneath him where ignorant armies clash by night, blind to the common humanity that only he can see.”

Obama sees himself as the greatest man to be president in all time. He truly believes it when he said “we are the ones we have been waiting for,” and “this is the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal.” He believes that he can do anything he pleases and the people will love him for it. Obama plans to radically transform this country and go down in history as, in his mind, the greatest ever. Obama is clearly disconnected from reality.

Obama is, according to Newt Gingrich, “potentially the most dangerous (president), because he so completely misunderstands reality.” Gingrich was referring to Obama’s inept and weak stance on missile defense amongst other things. Even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that Obama is an amateur; so much for wowing the world. Obama lives in an alternate universe where he treats our friends poorly and expects our enemies to change and become our friends. Here’s hoping that the voters help to connect this president back to reality in November.

The Browns are bestselling authors and speakers. Together they write a national weekly column distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism. They can be reached at browns@caglecartoons.com.

Pakistanis Take to the Streets Over Outages–Looking Like Kyrgyzstan

People take to streets against power outages

LAHORE: Despite the weekly holiday, the prolonged and unscheduled power cuts are underway across the country, especially in small cities.

While enraged people hit by severe heat wave and electricity load-shedding took to streets in many cities.

In Gujranwala, where around 14 to 16 hours of load-shedding is being observed in urban areas and 18 to 20 hours in rural areas, hundreds of people gathered at the Aiwan roundabout and staged demonstration by burning tyres. They also blocked traffic on Islamabad to Lahore road.

Owing to the continued load-shedding, more than 200 small industrial units have been closed in Gujranwala, leaving thousands jobless.

In Multan, chamber of small traders took out a rally against the ongoing power outages and price hike. They staged demonstration at Timber Market and set tyres on fire. The protestors threatened to give a call for shutter down strike on April 14 if their demands were not met.

The duration of electricity load-shedding in Khanewal, Muzaffargarh, Khangarh and Dera Ghazi Khan rose to 17 hours.

On the other areas, the Multan Electric Supply Corporation (MEPCO) is faced with power shortfall of 550 MW while overall demand of MEPCO region stands at 2400 MW.

In addition, situation is almost similar in Balochistan, parts of Sindh and northern areas.

Formula for Instant “Islamists”

[The groundwork has been prepared well here, over a period of many years.  The radicalization process has advanced to the point where the “Gladio” science can now be successfully applied, turning a political hotbed of desperate people into a war zone.  The development of the science of “Gladio” has given the CIA/military psy-warriors the knowledge of how to compel a certain type of man (and to induce large groups of like-minded men) into taking-up arms in defense of himself and his own family.  Careful behavioral studies of targeted populations gives them intimate knowledge of the local leadership–Which men should be groomed for leadership roles and which ones would resist at all costs, and therefore had to be eliminated.

The political assassinations of the targeted resistance leaders was done in a manner to implicate the opposing party–the right-wing would hit its own allies, if need be, otherwise they would be hit by  mercenary groups or military infiltrators, to create popular animosity and demands for revenge against the left-wing.  Through this long drawn-out process, simple human rights issues become magnified into justification for democratic-revolution and grounds for military intervention, if they are successful.

Into this heated atmosphere, international spokesmen for human rights causes like Ban Ki-moon charge in , to incite the angry victimized societies, like we just witnessed in Kyrgyzstan.

The intensive study of the Nazi mind-control science taken-up at the end of world war II and the follow-up studies done in the subsequent Gladio experiments in terror, which were inflicted upon America’s European allies since then seem to have really paid-off for the evil empire.]

State Islam, Outsiders Compete For Influence In Central Asia

Muslim men pray during Friday Prayers at a mosque in Osh, Kyrgyzstan. Some Central Asians question whether their local clerics are influenced by politics and state doctrine.

By Bruce Pannier

“Islam is a religion of knowledge,” the cleric told a television audience. “Unfortunately, some people attempt to use Islam — the religion of knowledge, goodness, and development — wrongly or for their own selfish ends.”

It’s a message that might not appear extraordinary — the virtues and peaceful nature of Islam have long been espoused — until you consider the source. As imam-khatib at Tashkent’s Kukeldash Mosque, Anvar Qori Tursunov enjoys the backing of the Uzbek authorities, making it apparent that his words address not only Islamic adversaries, but perceived enemies of the state itself.

In the ideological vacuum left by the demise of communism, religion reentered the scene in Central Asia. And with officially sanctioned Islam pitted against outside interpretations that authorities do not want to take root, the region’s regimes have deployed clerics like Tursunov in an ongoing battle for influence.

Central Asia’s Islamic history dates back more than a millennium, but for most of the 20th century, the region was part of the Soviet Union, cut off from the rest of the Islamic world. With the fall of the USSR, the newly independent states of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan quickly re-embraced their Islamic heritage.

Islamic groups saw fertile recruiting ground in the region, with its 50 million primarily Sunni Muslims. Since making their entrance to the region, they have posed an immense challenge to clerics like Tursunov in thousands of officially registered mosques.

Zeyno Baran, a senior fellow and director for the Center for Eurasian Policy at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C., says that the governments of Central Asia were unprepared for the arrival of widely divergent religious groups from outside the region.

“Central Asia was perfect ground and many of the governments in Central Asia at the time, including Uzbekistan, did not understand that not all Islamic groups are the same,” Baran says.” They did not know and they did not understand that some of them are radical, some of them have political ideologies.”

Over time, the states of Central Asia tried to strengthen the voice of their official interpretations of Islam by silencing the outsiders. Hizb-ut Tahrir from the Middle East, Tablighi Jama’at from Pakistan, Salafiya from the Arab world, and Nurchilar from Turkey were banned, among other groups.

But despite these bans, continued reports of arrests of various prohibited groups’ followers in Central Asia suggest that they enjoy significant support, and that their appeal may even be on the rise.

Competing Sects

The chief mufti of Kyrgyzstan’s Spiritual Directorate, Murataaly-Hajji Jumanov, the highest Islamic official in his country, explains the need to combat outside Islamic groups. “Their brainwashing of some of our citizens is a big problem,” Jumanov tells RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service. “We can’t hide our heads in the sand and ignore them, we have to prevent this and maintain order. Otherwise we will have problems later.”

The preferred alternative preached by Jumanov and other state clerics is the region’s traditional Hanafi School of Islamic Law — considered by some to be the most liberal of the four schools of Sunni Islam (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi’i, Hanbali) — mixed with Naqshbandi Sufism, a mystic order whose founder, Baha-ud-Din Naqshband Bukhari, came from Central Asia.

This form of Islam, its official adherents believe, best reflects the values of Central Asia’s mostly Turkic and Persian peoples, and the region’s rich Islamic history is often invoked by clerics and Islamic scholars as they exhort people to resist forms of Islam arriving from other countries.

But another element of the region’s history works against state Islam. Sultans, emirs, khans, and others tried for centuries to bend Islamic clerics to their will, knowing that Islam was the greatest unifying force in their regions, and therefore both the biggest potential threat to their regimes and the best way of legitimizing their rule.

Today’s regimes, in this respect, are no different than their predecessors.

Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda of Tajikistan has a unique perspective on the modern role of Islam and the state in Central Asia. He was the Qazi Qalon of Tajikistan, the country’s highest Islamic imam, in the last years of the Soviet Union and first years after Tajikistan became independent.

He joined the Islamic opposition that was fighting government forces during the 1992-97 Tajik civil war and was forced to flee the country. But he and other opposition figures were amnestied as part of the agreement that ended the war, and he has been back in Tajikistan for more than a decade.

Turajonzoda, who since his return has held state positions not related to religion, tells RFE/RL’s Tajik Service there is a clear connection between the state and the imams preaching in mosques.

“Some 90 percent of imams are appointed by the government, by local government [officials] and offices of the security agency,” Turajonzoda says. “Even the law says that imams are supposed to be appointed by worshippers at the mosques with the approval of the government. But it is actually the government that selects who the imams will be, and when they appoint imams it is clear [the government] controls the mosque through these protégés.”

Clerics Under Pressure

The influence of the state is apparent in mosques throughout Central Asia. As Kudrat, who spoke to RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service on condition that his full name not be used, explains, official clerics are not entirely free to say what they wish.

Kudrat prays five times daily and goes to mosque when he can — “Fridays for sure,” he says — but laments that “our clerics are very restricted and talk only about the way to behave. We need to learn about politics also.”

Qosimi Bekmuhammad, a Tajik expert on politics and religion, supports Kudrat’s impression. State clerics, he says, “avoid speaking about important topics, the problems of today and tomorrow, and concentrate on topics from 500 years ago.”

Adding to the problem, according to the Hudson Institute’s Baran, is that some state-trained clerics are simply unable to answer all the questions youths have regarding social justice or identity issues. Seeing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, they get conflicting messages about whether the West is at war with Islam, and what they should be doing, because state-trained imams focus “primarily on Islamic ethics and [are] purely sticking to religious areas.”

“They are not able to always answer the questions that the youths have, and then the youth goes to the charismatic and self-appointed religious leaders or imams who do then provide them often with black-and-white answers that seem satisfactory,” Baran says.

This failure to address contemporary issues exposes a significant vulnerability of state Islam in Central Asia, according to Bekmuhammad.

While he does not think that a large number of young people have been attracted to outside Islamic groups, he recognizes that the social conditions in Central Asia have led some to join up with outside, and potentially violent, forms of Islam.

“Never say all youth do this, but some do,” Bekmuhammad says. “There are several reasons. First, there are socioeconomic conditions. There are no jobs. These problems have been in the country for 15 years and have led to disappointment among young people.”

The youth of Central Asia, Bekmuhammad says, are looking for advice and spiritual instruction on how to be good Muslims and still survive in the modern world. And this is where state imams are not delivering an adequate message.

In their effort to recruit new followers, outside Islamic groups also seize on state Islam’s connection to secular authorities to discredit its message.

Separation Of Mosque And State

Ayubkhan is a member of Hizb-ut Tahrir, a group formed by Palestinians in the 1950s that is officially banned throughout Central Asia. Ayubkhan currently lives in Kyrgyzstan’s section of the Ferghana Valley. He spoke to RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, on condition that his full name not be used, about why he has no faith in state Islam.

“The mufti and his people — in a democratic country they don’t have to do what the government says. There is a law on religion and the government being separate,” Ayubkhan says. “Politicians should not be involved in the mufti’s affairs and the mufti should not follow government orders. The Koran says the mufti should follow Shari’a. I don’t see the mufti doing this.”

Tajik expert Bekmuhammad notes that young people who join outside Islamic groups “often do so because they feel governments in their countries have too much influence in Islam, whereas they would rather Islam had a dominant influence in government.”

Hizb-ut Tahrir member Ayubkhan backs Bekmuhammad’s assessment.

“I study Shari’a and study Hizb-ut Tahrir. I found out that Hizb-ut Tahrir teaches exactly what the Prophet Muhammad wanted us to know,” Ayubkhan says. “The Holy Koran is the ideology of Hizb-ut Tahrir — not just how a person should live in society but how a person should serve other people.”

Body And Soul

State clerics themselves portray the relationship between official Islam and secular authorities in Central Asia as inevitable.

Omurbek, the press secretary for Kazakhstan’s Muslim Religious Directorate, speaks of a symbiosis between Islam in his country and the state.

“According to our constitution the state and religion are separate. But, in fact, we can’t divide the body from the soul of a human being,” Omurbek says. “A human being has reason, a body, and a soul, and we can’t separate them. It’s not possible.”

And Omurbek is insistent that it is not the state that is influencing Islam, but Islam that is influencing politicians.

“God forbid there would be such a thing! To the contrary, our president himself built a huge mosque in the town where he was born,” he says. “Following his example, many rich people, governors, mayors, and others are building many mosques.”

Kyrgyzstan’s chief mufti Jumanov says there is no reason for conflict between Islam and secular authorities in his country.

“First of all, of course, in a secular country sometimes there are different opinions on religion, but during my time as mufti I haven’t seen any problem or conflict,” Jumanov says. “On the other hand, our state is following the correct policy toward Islam. From our side we are trying to work on a path where religion doesn’t have any conflict with state policy.”

There are, of course, the examples to the contrary. One notable conflict between state Islam and the secular authorities happened in the most authoritarian of the Central Asian states, Turkmenistan.

In 2002, Turkmenistan’s chief mufti, Nasrullah ibn Ibadullah, objected to having passages from authoritarian President Saparmurat Niyazov’s “Rukhnama,” his lengthy spiritual guide, inscribed on the walls of a new mosque alongside passages from the Koran. The mufti was sacked, convicted of plotting to kill the president, and jailed for 22 years.

So state imams do have limitations on what they can say, and authorities expect those imams to support the state.

‘Connections To Terrorism’

For many Central Asians dissatisfied with their governments, Islamic opposition groups represent the best and sometimes seemingly only hope for changing the system.

This may explain why Central Asian governments often portray these outside Islamic groups as having links to terrorism.

There is no question that some members of these groups clearly are violent. In one recent example, Imam Anvar Qori Tursunov of Tashkent’s official Kukeldash Mosque was stabbed outside his home on July 31, 2009. Several Islamic militants killed in a security operation in the Uzbek capital in August were blamed for the attack.

In neighboring Tajikistan, the small extremist group Bayat has for years been tied to sometimes deadly attacks against non-Muslims and state-approved Islamic clergy.

But while Central Asian states often resort to describing adherents of alternative forms of Islam as “terrorists,” the label is sometimes false.

Former high imam Turajonzoda rejects charges that all the foreign Islamic groups have connections to terrorism.

“I’m not really sure they are terrorists,” Turajonzoda says. “I’m against terrorism myself, against forcibly propagating ideas, against extremism. But most of these organizations are terrorists in name only.”

Turajonzoda says that by trying to paint all these Islamic groups with the same brush, Central Asia’s governments and state imams only discredit themselves. Central Asians see how some groups behave and perceive them as pious, not violent. This leads people to question the motives of authorities and state imams in branding all groups as terrorists.

Others suggest alternative methods of dealing with the outside Islamic groups.

Tursunbai Bakir Uluu, a former Kyrgyz ombudsman, has called for legalizing Hizb-ut Tahrir in his country. This, he believes, would allow the group to publicly demonstrate what it has to offer, while removing the element of mystery that may attract some to the Islamic sect.

His appeal was rejected and Hizb-ut Tahrir remains banned in Kyrgyzstan and throughout Central Asia.

“I think the region in general still suffers from knowing too little about Islamic history and their own history, because Central Asia once upon a time used to be the center of Islamic civilization,” says the Hudson Institute’s Baran. “Across the Silk Road there were great centers of Islamic learning where scientific thinking and spirituality and rationality and knowledge spread from Central Asia to the rest of the Islamic world and brought great civilization.”

It’s a message that official clerics like Tursunov of Tashkent’s Kukeldash Mosque might incorporate in future sermons. Confidence in traditional belief systems, combined with the ability to communicate those beliefs today, might prove to be the most effective way of countering the influence of outside Islam.

Saida Kalkulova and Erzhan Karabek of RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, Venera Djumataeva of RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service, and Iskander Aliev and Salimjon Aioubov of RFE/RL’s Tajik Service contributed to this report

Aral Sea, More Leftover Devastation from Soviet State Planning Failures for Region

Q&A: Yusup Kamalov, Fighting for the Aral Sea

April 8, 2010

As the Aral Sea gains global recognition as the most extreme kind of environmental disaster, Yusup Kamalov shares an expert’s perspective.

J. Carl Ganter: Welcome to Circle of Blue Radio’s Series 5 in 15, where we’re asking global thought leaders 5 questions in 15 minutes, more or less.  These are experts working in journalism, science, communication design, and water.  I’m J. Carl Ganter.  Today’s program is underwritten by Traverse Internet Law, tech savvy lawyers, representing internet and technology companies.

The Aral Sea, nestled in southeast Asia, between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, was once the world’s fourth-largest freshwater lake. But in the last 30 years, massive irrigation projects diverted millions of gallons of water from the two major rivers feeding the Aral Sea.  This was diverted for cotton fields and rice paddies.  By the early 1980’s, the Aral’s fresh water supply was completely cut off.

The lake began to shrink drastically.  Salt and mineral concentrations rose, and the destruction of the Aral decimated the fishing industry and actually changed the region’s climate, shortening the growing season.  High winds also pick up dust from the exposed lakebed now, hurting air quality and reducing crop yields.  Many believe that the Sea is beyond salvation.

In Nairobi, at World Water Day recently, Circle of Blue Reporter Brett Walton spoke with Yusup Kamalov.  He is chairman of the Union for the Defense of the Aral Sea and Amudarya, one of the longest rivers in central Asia.  It also feeds the Aral.

First question, there’s a dam built between the northern and southern sections of the Aral Sea.  How effective has that been in restoring parts of the Sea?

Of course, this dam is very effective to restore the really small, northern part of the Aral Sea, which was actually called the small sea before.  Of course it’s very effective, but unfortunately it has an impact on the rest of the sea because the rest of the sea, without this water, dissipates much more quickly than before. We are losing a big part of the sea in a very short time.

YUSUP KAMALOV:
Yusup Kamalov
Yusup Kamalov is chairman of the Union for the Defense of the Aral Sea and Amudarya.
Photo Copyright Brett Walton

What are the health affects in the areas surrounding the sea from the sea’s shrinking?

I don’t think that the shrinking of the sea has a really big impact on the health of the population. But the polluted water, which comes in by Syr Darya and Amu Darya, has a really big impact on the population.  We do also lack quality water, clean water, and we are drinking this water.  We are irrigating with this polluted water, so it does influence our health.  If you come there, you will see a lot of problem with health in general, I mean ability of people to defend themselves from diseases.  Indicators of hemoglobin in blood is very low, especially of women. There are very high levels of diseases connected to the liver and connected to salt content in people’s bodies.

In the 1960’s when the Aral Sea was still intact, Vozrozhdeniye Island, Rebirth Island in English, was where the Soviet military was conducting biological weapons testing.  When the Sea started to shrink, that island became part of the mainland.  What is the status of that Island now?

Unfortunately, we are not informed about the status of the Island.  We know that it’s already connected to the south part of our land, but I have no idea now about [the latest status].

The two rivers that feed the Aral Sea mainly are used for irrigation.  Do you see any change in the farming practices of any of the countries along these rivers?

No.  Unfortunately, there are only a few examples, so-called pilot projects, like deep irrigation in just a few farms, and in general, there are no changes.  In general, there is no big movement to save a drop of water.  There is a good example in Ferghana Valley of evolving, integrated water management, but it’s a local example.  It’s the United States, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

This pilot project has shown that it’s quite effective, almost without any money, to have a well-scheduled water providing system.  They saved 30 percent of the water.  They installed some measuring instruments along the canals.  It helped a lot.  That means that if the governments will pay more attention to involve new technologies, especially new economic tools to save the water, then we will have success.

What economic tools are governments using?

For example, Tajikistan implemented payment for water.  Kyrgyzstan too, and some part of Kazakhstan also.  Still Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, they’re not doing anything involving water pricing, etc., because they say it could lead us to an unpredictable situation.

There are a lot of problems in the basin between the upstream mountainous countries and the downstream countries that use water for agriculture.  A big part of this problem is dams.  Recently the World Bank said it would finance a feasibility study to see if dams are appropriate for the area.  How do you see this changing the politics in the basin?

Of course, downstream countries are afraid of the building of such a big dam. It could be used as a political tool to push downstream countries to make certain decision.  That is why downstream countries are raising their voices against such dams.  If this instrument would be available for mountain countries, then, of course, the situation would be a little bit dangerous for downstream countries.

For example, Tajikistan can push downstream countries to make what they want because they can save a lot of water in water storage. But they’re not [storing water], so that means that Tajikistan doesn’t have [the leverage] to confront downstream countries.  I don’t think that it would be a real big problem.

You live in Nukus, which is a city near the Aral Sea, the former border of the Aral Sea.  How has the shrinking of the Sea changed in your life?  What changes have you seen in the region?

There are a lot of changes, of course, in the region.  There are no more big fishing companies or fishermen, and we are observing a lot of sandstorms.  The scientists say that after 1960’s, there have been 25 times more sandstorms than before.  Of course, the wind became much stronger. I never saw that roofs could be just taken off until the 1990’s, but now it’s just a common picture.  Every year we are losing several roofs in Nukus city, every year.

That means that the wind picks up dust and salty dust, and it’s flowing or rising to high levels of the atmosphere. I’m pretty sure that it has an impact on the global climate because the surface of the former bottom of the Aral Sea is so big. You can’t imagine how much dust is picked up by the wind every year, about 100,000,000 tons, which is the same as the activity of several volcanoes.  When volcanoes are working, and then the climate is changing.  Now nobody pays attention for this as such a big source of the dust.  I think it should be investigated in the near future.

Where do you see the future of the Aral Sea?

It’s a very painful question, because what does the future mean for a dead body?  Nevertheless, I hope that we will have enough water to keep the Aral Sea a certain size.  Maybe it could be three lakes, or maybe even one, but nevertheless we should save the Aral Sea. Because, as I mentioned before, the former bottom of the Aral Sea has a big impact on the global climate.  And secondly, the Aral Sea was really the source of economic prosperity for the people living around it.

We should negotiate globally about it.  If we are not able to save such a small lake, how can we save the planet? It would be a good example for people that we can do it, even on a small scale.  If are we not able to do it, then everybody might doubt we can save our planet.  This is why we have to save the Sea.

That was Circle of Blue’s reporter Brett Walton, in Nairobi, speaking with Yusup Kalamov, chairman of Union for the Defense of the Aral Sea and Amudarya.  To find more articles and broadcasts on water design, policy and related issues, be sure to tune in to Circle of Blue online at CircleofBlue.org.

Our theme is composed by Nadev Kahn, and Circle of Blue Radio is underwritten by Traverse Legal, PLC, internet attorneys specializing in trademark infringement litigationcopyright infringement litigationpatent litigation and patent prosecution.  Join us again for Circle of Blue Radio’s 5 in 15.  I’m J. Carl Ganter.