Gen. Kayani Fits Into American Plans For Pakistan In the Next Year

US wants Kayani to stay for another year

WASHINGTON: The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, will get an extension to his tenure, San Francisco Examiner quoted a well placed source as saying.

A source close to CENTCOM says the current Pakistani General has developed strong working relation with his American counterparts and it will be “in the best interest of the operation not to change leadership mid-stream.”

Earlier Defense Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar had said that the PPP-led Government was not giving any extension to COAS. Defense Minister, however, had put a caveat to his statement: “he (Gen. Kayani) has not asked for the extension of his tenure.”

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani had opened a reception at the embassy declaring that General Kayani “embodies the conviction of the Pakistani armed forces, not just to defend the frontiers of Pakistan but also to ensure the continuity of constitutional democratic rule in accordance with the aspirations of our people of Pakistan.”

Ambassador Haqqani, whose diplomatic tenure was set to expire this month has also received one year extension. “Haqqani and Kayani are both key stakeholders and extremely valuable contacts for the American government,” the newspaper said. “He (Kayani) had assured American leadership that his army does not plan to remove the elected government from power,” the paper said.

ISI Chief Lt. General Pasha has also received extension to his tenure recently. “Pasha has worked diligently to restore confidence of American intelligence community,” the paper quoted the source as saying“With Kayani as head of army, Pasha leading ISI and Hussain Haqqani in Washington, we feel comfortable,” the paper said.

Azerbaijani politologists: Strengthening of Turkey’s role in region meets Azerbaijan’s interests

Azerbaijani politologists: Strengthening of Turkey's role in region meets Azerbaijan's interests

Azerbaijan, Baku, May 19 / TrendU.Sadikhova /

Azerbaijani political scientists believe strengthening of Turkey‘s role in the Caucasus and the Middle East could lead to the establishment of stability in the region, which meets Azerbaijan’s interests.

Political analyst Zardusht Alizade said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has become one of the most successful political figures of the country since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

The Turkish government headed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was able to reconcile Islamic values with Western democracy, which led to positive changes in the country, such as combating corruption, improving the business climate and maintaining of a solid dialogue with Western countries.

Alizade believes it will serve to strengthening of the Turkish-American relations.

“Turkey plays a key role in the implementation of U.S. plans to build a democratic Middle East. Erdogan’s government is a striking example of combining Islamic values with Western democracy,” Alizade said at the roundtable on “Where does Turkey go?” held in Baku today.

Azerbaijan, being a reliable ally of Turkey, could benefit from strengthening of the adjoining country’s foreign policy,” he added.

Political Scientist Fikret Sadikhov, who believes that Turkey is not just a NATO member and U.S. ally, but also an important regional player that takes a special place in the world politics, agrees with Alizade.

“Turkey’s ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy has been very successful, even some mistakes were made in improving relations with Armenia,” Sadikhov said.

Azerbaijani MP Anar Mammadkhanov thinks that Turkey’s economic development became a foundation for its successful policy, as well as for strengthening of its regional influence.

Azerbaijani political analyst Rasim Agayev believes that Erdogan’s party, which is in power for eight years, has successfully passed the test of strength.

In the future it will have considerable influence on stabilizing the situation in the Caucasus and the Middle East, Agayev said.

He also believes that the Russia-Turkey rapprochement could have a positive impact on Azerbaijan.

“According to the polls in Turkey, the United States actually lost influence on the foreign policy of this country. Turkey and Russia have established a true partnership for the first time in eight years and they were able to find a common language, which is a positive factor for Azerbaijan,” Agayev said.

Erdogan’s government was able to prove its effectiveness and ability to conduct multi-vector policy in difficult times for Turkey, Agayev noted.

President of the Social Developments Fund of Azerbaijan, political scientistRashad Rzaguliyev believes a “reboot” in the Russian-American relations played a significant role in strengthening of Turkey’s role in the Eurasian region. Growth of Turkey’s influence in the region in the interest of Western countries, he said.

Turkey intensifies due to political potential accumulated in past 20 years

Turkey intensifies due to political potential accumulated in past 20 years

Wed 19 May 2010 | 09:51 GMT Text size: 

21850
Rasim Agayev

News.Az interviews Rasim Agayev, political scientist.

We have recent witnessed a number of official visits and high level meetings of Turkish Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He met Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Ankara. The Turkish premier paid official visits to Syria, Greece, Iran where he reached an agreement on Iranian uranium enrichment in Turkey. Then Erdogan visited Azerbaijan from where he is going to leave for Georgia, Spain and Russia. What has caused this intensification and which positive moments does it carry for Ankara?

The things around Turkey have several directions. This is a result of very complex political relations involving Turkey that are the implications of the process of definition of the final state of the world powers. If we look back to several years ago, we would recall that Turkey has in fact been a close country for a long time. It was as if under NATO’s close surveillance, fulfilling some functions and not daring to take excessive steps. In the past 10-20 years Ankara has been actively laying its course on the post-Soviet area, while we should do justice to Turkey since initially Turkey’s intervention was viewed as a step from Americans. They were as if paving a way for Americans, this could have taken place, but on the whole, it was greeted cautiously by Russia, especially at that stage Turkey made a serious mistake, stuck in the story with the aggressive separatism that started evolving in the North Caucasus.

And despite this complicacy, Ankara has managed to bring its relations with Moscow to a new level, in which the economic component of cooperation grew dramatically-now they are planning the growth by 100 bn. In addition, Turkey managed to play up Russia in a complex situation of 2009, because it delayed the US mass media representatives who arrived only after the fights ended and in fact Abkhazia and South Ossetia received Russia’s shelter and separated from Georgia.

In addition, Turkey is a NATO member and it has long-lasting and complex ties with the United States. Thus, Turkey has advanced in the Iraqi direction, it has managed to restore relations with the Kurdish formation in Iraq. It has consolidated there. It managed to transfer always suspicious Iranian-Turkish relations into serious political interaction which we are currently observing. In addition, before that it has coordinated its positions on Cyprus and now we see Turkey establishing a positive dialogue with Greece. On the one hand, this is connected with the fact that in conditions of the global crisis when US does not have time to do everything, Turkey gets a certain degree of independence as a regional power and can play a greater role than it could earlier do.

On the other hand, the overall internal political situation in Turkey makes it take these steps. The situation there is related to the worsening relations of traditionalists, let’s call them kamalists, backed by the generality and Erdogan’s Party of Islam Demoracy.

I think in the dispute with Armenia that attempted to put some claims against Ankara Turkey has managed to defend its positions while Yerevan gained nothing. On this background, Turkey has developed serious ties with Russia which is a strategic partner of Armenia. Ankara is developing a good dialogue with Europe and these two factors make its state very serious, stable and attractive. The first factor is connected with the consolidation of the new political power, that is Islam democracy, and it makes believe that on the whole Turkey demonstrates an alternative development way to everything, including to Europe, as it manages to unite the incompatible things, western democratic values  with Islam morality. Unless it copes with it and considering the fact that anti-Americanism is growing in Turkey,  as well as throughout Middle East, Russia’s position aimed at closing with Turkey becomes promising.

And the very fact of the reconciliation of the two southern and northern poles of Eurasia makes Russia’s states promising as it shows that at the time the Islam world is turning its back to the United States viewing its conduct as a civilian attack, Moscow demonstrates the rapprochement to the Islamic world. It needs this very much, because on the other hand it can neutralize radical Islam inside it and strengthen its position in Middle East, making Russia attractive for Azerbaijan, which has the well known claims to it.

It is very important to note that Azerbaijan has been quite close to Russia for 20 years and Turkey has not had direct contacts with the Kremlin, while now Ankara has become so close to Moscow that they have many contact points and Azerbaijan has distanced from its traditional neighbor.

Therefore, I think the activeness demonstrated by Erdogan is connected with the political potential accumulated in the past 20 years and it is now time to take practice steps to develop the accumulated potential.

The Russian-Ukrainian ties are improving on par in the region. In this respect, can we speak of appearance of a new strong regional tandem of Russia, Ukraine and Turkey?

I think this is not the matter. The matter is the further reconciliation and integration of Turkey into what was traditionally called the Soviet Union and what I call the Eurasian space. This tendency will grow and be of great importance for self-development of the post-Soviet space considering the internal Turkic factor in Russia and Turkic surrounding, I mean the Caucasus, Central Asia and a part of the Black Sea South.

Lala B.
News.Az

Clinton lies: America’s unkept promises to Afghan women

Clinton lies: America’s unkept promises to Afghan women

Secretary of State Mrs. Hillary Rodham-Clinton has once again lied to Afghan women. She said that America will not abandon Afghan women. It already has. America has not kept its promises to the women of Afghanistan.

The youngest woman in the Afghan parliament has used International Women’s Day to slam the “disastrous conditions” for women in her country and ask Australians to help bring change.

Afghanistan’s Bravest Woman Malalai Joya:

Malalai Joya, 28, told a conference at Sydney’s Darling Harbour today there has been “no fundamental change in the plight of Afghan people” since the US removed the Taliban five years ago.

“Afghan women and men are not ‘liberated’ at all,” Joya said. “When the entire nation is living under the shadow of gun and warlordism, how can its women enjoy very basic freedoms?”

Joya said the women’s rights situation was as “catastrophic” as it was under the Taliban.

She gave the death of 18-year-old Samiya, who hanged herself before she was to be sold to a 60-year-old man, and the rape of children as young as 11 by the US and international troops as examples.

“No nation can donate liberation to another nation,” Joya said. “If Australian policy makers really want to help Afghan people and bring positive changes, they must allign their policies according to the aspirations and wishes of Afghan people, rather than becoming a tool to implement the wrong policies of the US government.”

Joya, who survived an assassination attempt after speaking out againgst Afghan warlords, said the suicide rate of Afghan women was at an all-time high. As many as 1.9 per cent of women die during childbirth.

To celebrate International Women’s Day in Sydney, festivals are underway in Liverpool and Cabramatta to mark the day. Female MP tells of rights ‘catastrophe’. Email Print Normal font Large font Yuko Narushima. March 8, 2007 – 1:04PM

Afghanistan’s Bravest Woman Malalai Joya: “Taliban are logistically & militarily growing stronger as each day dawns.” “Afghan women and men are not ‘liberated’ at all”

Malalai Joya is an angry woman. She’s angry about the war being carried out by the international coalition in her country, Afghanistan, angry about the UN bombs that are killing civilians in their villages, angry about calls for reconciliation with the Taliban and the war lords. “Stop the massacres in my country. Withdraw your foreign troops so we can stop Talibanization,” is what the young Afghan deputy tells Western public opinion.

WASHINGTON: Women’s rights will not be sacrificed in any settlement between the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Taliban militants, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said late on Thursday.

Clinton ruled out US support, or at least her own, for negotiations with anyone who would roll back advances for Afghan women achieved since the militant Islamic Taliban movement was ousted from power in 2001.

“There are certain conditions that have to be met,” to hold talks with insurgents about laying down arms, Clinton said during an appearance with Karzai. Karzai and a large delegation of government ministers and advisers, including several women, were finishing four days of talks in Washington.

Among the conditions for peace talks, midlevel Taliban leaders would have to renounce violence, cut ties with al-Qaeda and its affiliates and abide by Afghanistan’s laws and constitution, Clinton said.

“And on a personal note they must respect women’s rights.” Karzai nodded beside her but did not mention the women’s rights aspect of possible talks with the Taliban. The other conditions apply, he said.

The Taliban regime forced women to wear a traditional head-to-toe covering called a Burqa, forbade school for girls and beat women seen walking without being accompanied by a man. The Taliban has surged back over the past several years to become a persistent insurgency seeking Karzai’s overthrow. Insurgents and their sympathisers routinely intimidate or attack women who work outside the home, wear Western dress or try to attend school.

Clinton, whose bid for president in 2008 got further than any American woman before her, made a similar point when she met with Afghan women earlier Thursday at the State Department.

“We will not abandon you; we will stand with you always,” Clinton told three senior female Afghan officials who were part of Karzai’s delegation. The trip ends on Friday with Karzai’s visit to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, home of the 101st Airborne Division that is deploying en masse to Afghanistan.

Clinton said it was “essential that women’s rights and women’s opportunities are not sacrificed or trampled on in the reconciliation process.”

Karzai sought US blessing this week for wider talks with the Taliban when the time comes. President Barack Obama seemed noncommittal during a White House news conference with Karzai on Wednesday. Saturday, May 15, 2010

Here’s how Joya sums it up in her own words:

“The people of Afghanistan are fed up with the occupation of their country and with the corrupt, Mafia-state of Hamid Karzai and the warlords and drug lords backed by NATO…. It is clear now that the real motive of the U.S. and its allies, hidden behind the so-called “war on terror,” was to convert Afghanistan into a military base in Central Asia and the capital of the world’s opium drug trade. Ordinary Afghan people are being used in this chess game, and western taxpayers’ money and the blood of soldiers is being wasted on this agenda that will only further destabilize the region….Afghan and American lives are being needlessly lost.

“Afghans live under the shadow of the gun with the most corrupt government in the world.”– Malalai Joya

JOYA’S SOLUTION: “Withdraw All Foreign Troops”

Malalai Joya: “Some people say that when the troops withdraw, a civil war will break out. Often this prospect is raised by people who ignore the vicious conflict and humanitarian disaster that is already occurring in Afghanistan. The longer the foreign troops stay in Afghanistan, the worse the eventual civil war will be for the Afghan people. The terrible civil war that followed the Soviet withdrawal certainly could never justify… the destruction and death caused by that decade-long occupation.” (p 217)…Today we live under the shadow of the gun with the most corrupt and unpopular government in the world. (p 211)

Kyrgyz-Uzbeks Battle in South Kyrgyzstan

[SEE: Uzbekistan Cuts Gas to South Kyrgyz for Non-Payment]

One dead as ethnic violence flares in Kyrgyzstan

By Hulkar Isamova
JALALABAD, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) – Thousands of Kyrgyz and Uzbeks clashed on Wednesday in southern Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia’s most ethnically divided corner, leaving one person dead and 30 injured.

Kyrgyzstan has been in turmoil since a popular revolt on April 7 toppled President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, fuelling big-power fears of a civil war in the impoverished former Soviet republic which hosts both U.S. and Russian military bases.

Tensions have been simmering in Kyrgyzstan’s south, at the heart of the Ferghana Valley, a cauldron of ethnic and tribal tension in the heart of Central Asia.

Kyrgyz special forces troops shot into the air in a bid to prevent thousands of Kyrgyz from storming an Uzbek-funded university in the southern city of Jalalabad.

“We condemn all attempts to foment violence and sow the seeds of discord among our people, especially between Uzbeks and Kyrgyz,” acting President Roza Otunbayeva told reporters in the capital, Bishkek.

“We hope that common sense will prevail and that we shall be able to prevent a conflict,” she said.

Kyrgyz protesters had gathered to demand the arrest of a local Uzbek leader, Kadyrzhan Batyrov, who they said had called for the creation of an autonomous Uzbek district in Kyrgyzstan.

They pelted the University of the Peoples’ Friendship with stones.

Shortly afterwards, a Reuters witness at the scene heard shots fired from within the university and about 2,000 ethnic Uzbeks came out and shouted to the crowd of Kyrgyz: “We shall never give up our university.”

The health ministry said one person had been killed and another 30 injured but it was not immediately unclear who was behind the violence or the ethnicity of the victims. Two of the injured were in a grave condition.

ETHNIC MIX
After a tense stand off with Uzbeks, thousands of Kyrgyz moved to the central square in Jalalabad.

A Reuters witness at the scene said groups of Uzbeks and Kyrgyz were arming themselves with sticks and clubs. In Uzbek areas, locals were gathering in groups of 100 to 200 people. Some Kyrgyz protesters wielded petrol bombs.

Any worsening of tensions in the south would be of concern to the United States and Russia, which are competing for influence in Central Asia.

As the Soviet Union crumbled, at least 300 people were killed and thousands more were injured in clashes between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks.

Ethnic Kyrgyz make up 69.6 percent of the 5.3 million population of Kyrgyzstan. Uzbeks comprise 14.5 percent and Russians 8.4 percent.

The mix is more evenly matched in the south. Uzbeks comprise about 40 percent of the 1 million population of Jalalabad region and about 50 percent in the neighbouring region of Osh.

Jalalabad was the scene of two days of fierce clashes between supporters of former President Bakiyev and backers of the country’s interim government last week. At least two people were killed and dozens wounded in the turmoil.

The interim government said Bakiyev’s supporters had attempted a coup. Jalalabad is the home region and power base of Bakiyev, who fled Belarus after he was ousted.

(Reporting by Hulkar Isamova in Jalalabad and Olga Dzyubenko in Bishkek, Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge, Conor Humphries and Matthew Jones)

Reuters

The Bountful Poppy Fields of Kashmir

Police in Kashmir, usually accustomed to fighting separatist rebels, are swooping in on a different kind of enemy nowadays — vast fields of poppy, the source of heroin.

Authorities say they have stepped up efforts to destroy poppy fields spread over more than 5,000 acres in three districts of south Kashmir, an area where few years ago rebels and troops fought pitched gun battles every day.

“During the past three months, police has destroyed poppy cultivation spread over hundreds of acres and raids will continue till complete eradication,” Showkat Malik, a senior police officer told Reuters.

But unlike in Afghanistan, the world’s leading producer of opium which partly funds the Taliban insurgency there, Kashmir’s poppy cultivators grow the crop as a means to supplement their meagre agricultural incomes, officials said.

Police said they had not made any arrests so far this year. But they have also not paid compensation to angry farmers whose fields they destroyed. Many of the farmers lost their year’s only crop to these raids.

Officials say rebel violence, which broke out in 1989 in the disputed region, earlier hampered efforts to eradicate poppy fields in Kashmir, the valley which is the largest producer of poppy in northern India.

“Earlier there was a heavy militant presence in these areas, but now there is a lot of improvement (in the situation) making things very easy,” said an excise department official, who did not want to be identified.

Violence involving Muslim militants and Indian troops has declined considerably after India and Pakistan, who claim the Kashmir region in full and rule it in parts, launched a peace process in 2004. That process remains suspended since the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

People are still killed in daily shootouts and occasional bomb explosions in Kashmir.

Authorities have also appealed for Muslim clerics to support the campaign and use their pulpits to denounce poppy growing and educate farmers.

“This has yielded positive results,” Malik added.

In June, farmers typically extract hundreds of tonnes of opium by “milking” the poppy pods, which is smuggled to different cities to convert to heroin, excise officials say.

Kashmir which is famous for growing apples, almonds, walnuts, saffron and rice, is also known for growingcannabis and producing hashish.

Disease to cut Afghan opium by 70 percent

[Raw opium prices will now go through the roof for those lucky enough to escape the fungus.  We need to see a map of the affected area to know which Afghan farmers will prosper and which will face starvation, meaning willing to join the Taliban for survival.  I guess that whoever has been stockpiling the excess product from the last couple of years will now reap their profit.  (According to UN's Afghan Opium Survey for 2009 Afghan farmers produced 1,900 tons more than total world demand.) The fungus was a smart move from a businessman's point of view.  SEE: Killer fungus is no mystery to Afghan poppy growers]

Disease to cut Afghan opium by 70 percent

macau daily times

A mystery disease infecting opium poppies in Afghanistan could cut this year’s illicit crop by up to 70 percent, an Afghan official said yesterday, exceeding an estimate by the United Nations.
The disease has led authorities to expect a “significant” reduction in opium production this year, with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) saying this week that the output could fall by up to 25 percent.
Afghanistan produces more than 90 percent of the world’s opium, the raw material for making heroin, mainly in the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar in the south and Farah in southwest.
“Interestingly there is a natural disease that is infecting opium in five provinces,” said Daud Daud, the deputy interior minister for counter-narcotics.
“In some areas up to 70 percent of the crops have been destroyed,” he said.
Daud refused to give further details, saying an overall survey of this year’s output was still under way.
He could not confirm what disease had infected the crops but blamed it on an insect infestation.
Antonio Maria Costa, the head of UNODC, has said the disease is a fungus, while some farmers have reportedly blamed the US and Britain for spraying their crops with chemicals in an effort to eradicate opium.
As well as being the world’s major supplier of opium Afghanistan is also gripped by an insurgency which is largely funded by drugs output, estimated to be worth 2.8 billions dollars a year.
The Taliban are believed to be closely tied to drugs gangs, acting as enforcers for production and providing protection along distribution routes.

Killer fungus is no mystery to Afghan poppy growers

Killer fungus is no mystery to Afghan poppy growers

Afghanistan’s opium producers believe they are victims of a biological attack by the United States

A field of opium poppiesWill resentment among Afghanistan’s poppy farmers drive them into the arms of the Taliban? Photograph: Reuters

Reports of a “mysterious” fungus that has damaged opium poppy cropsin Afghanistan have hit international headlines but on the ground the “mystery” is an open secret. Helmand farmers interviewed by BBC Pashto service for the early-morning news programme a couple of days ago were convinced that “they” had deliberately destroyed the crops.

The pronoun “they” is a euphemism for US secret agents, whom farmers suspect of having sprayed the crops with the fungus. Afghan farmers have been cultivating opium poppies for a considerable period of time. This allows them to distinguishing between natural causes and artificially induced problems.

In their suspicion and accusation, Afghan farmers are likely to be ignored. The government lacks the necessary equipment to conduct proper research. The United Nations Drugs Office in Afghanistan is conducting research but the institution is no longer widely trusted. As with all other mysterious incidents in Afghanistan, this story too is likely to be lost and forgotten in the fog of war.

When the report of the fungus was first published, a reliable source directed the author of this article to the Sunshine Project, a now suspended non-profit organisation.

In 2000, the international NGO hadpublished a report about “dangerous US fungus experiments”, warning against the potentially harmful impact of the fungus on biodiversity in the target drug-producing regions.

STOPPING THE USE OF CROP KILLING
FUNGI IN ASIA AND THE AMERICAS

A BRIEFING PACKET FOR DELEGATES TO THE
FIFTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE
UN CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

CONTENTS

Part I:
Sunshine Project Press Release – 2 May 2000
(In this internet version, clicking above will take you
to the press release’s web page. Hit “Back” to return.)

Part II:
Orientation: Pathogen basics, background, and targets.

Part III:
Biodiversity Dangers of Fungal Pathogen-based Crop Eradication

Part IV:
Future Risks, Legal Narcotics, Rights, and Recommendations for the COP

The report said: “The strains of the fungi fusarium oxysporum andpleospora papveracae might infect and kill plants other than coca, poppy and cannabis in ecologically sensitive areas of Asia and the Americas.”

An indication of the potential risks caused by the use of such fungi, tailored to affect drug-producing plants, is the fact that their use was banned in the United States itself.

Further investigation into the fungi shows that their production and use is bordering on illegal. According to the Sunshine Project report, the US has created genetically modified strands of the fungus, and this, in turn, means that the product can be classified as a biological weapon.

Farmers in Afghanistan might regard the disease affecting their crops as artificially induced but they are probably unaware of the manner in which the crop samples were in all likelihood collected. To trace the probable route of sample collection leads us to a BBC Panorama programme entitled Britain’s Secret War on Drugs, broadcast in 2000.

The report takes us to Uzbekistan, to a Soviet laboratory that was set up to conduct research into biological weapons. The laboratory was abandoned after the collapse of the Soviet Union but resumed operation with funding provided by US and British governments. It was in this laboratory that pleospora papaveracea, the fungus that affects opium poppies, was discovered, becoming the Soviet Union’s first biological weapon.

Professor Abdusattar, a scientist working at the laboratory, explained to the BBC Panorama reporter, Tom Mangold, that samples from Afghanistan were provided with help from the US embassy.

Scientists working on the fungus back in 2000 said that the fungus was safe, affecting opium poppies only and that it represented no danger to the environment and was unlikely to spread to other region. In a manner that is typical of scientists, it was pointed out that this assessment was to the best of scientific knowledge. A reasonable disclaimer but hardly reassuring. An interesting aspect of the fungus research is the fact that leading fungus researchers joined the UN’s Drugs Control Programme and their endorsement helped to ensure British and American governments’ funding of the project.

Research for a product bordering on illegality, funded with taxpayer money from the United States and the United Kingdom, has led to the creation of a lethal weapon against opium poppy crops in Afghanistan.

Whether the fungus presently affecting the crops in Afghanistan is in factpleospora papaveracea is far from clear. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Kabul is conducting sample research and has been unable to confirm the identity of the disease.

But farmers in Afghanistan are convinced that the disease has been artificially induced. They suspect that Kabul’s allies in London and Washington are involved. The loss of the crop will subject small farmers to financial hardship and the consequences will be felt by entire families. Young girls are likely to become the first victim of the situation as small farmers will not be able to pay their debts and will have to offer the family’s young girls for marriage in substitution for the missing cash.

The resentment felt among farmers is also likely to further drive them into the sphere of influence of the Taliban insurgents who present themselves as friends and protectors. Environmentalist activists in Afghanistan are equally likely to feel disenchanted as the contradictions between official policy of environmentalism advocated by London and Washington and the realities on the ground fail to make sense. If women’s rights groups in the US and the UK are outraged by the fact that young Afghan girls are traded for debt, the fact that their own governments might have implicitly supported policies that increase risks for young girls is even more puzzling to Afghan women activists on the ground.

Perhaps the most pertinent aspect of debates about the Afghan drugs trade is the lack of discussion of the other side: the consumer markets in the urban centres of the western world which have turned opium poppy into a lucrative cash crop in a country in persistent threat of famine. To discuss the Afghan drugs trade in isolation from the markets that it supplies is not only morally questionable, it is also a denial of the social problems that lead to addiction from Moscow, to Paris and London. The small farmers of Afghanistan may not be entirely innocent but they certainly are as vulnerable as the addicts they supply.

Uzbekistan Cuts Gas to South Kyrgyz for Non-Payment

Uzbektransgaz cut off gas supply to 50% south of Kyrgyzstan,

in Osh completely off natural gas

11:21 19.05.2010

From 01.00 on May 18 residents of the city of Osh were without natural gas.

Commenting on this, the director of the Osh gas management Matkalyk Amato, said that at 18.00 pm on 17 May to them received a telephone message from the South control of gas pipeline open joint stock company Kyrgyzgaz that Uzbekistan cut off gas supply to 50% in connection with the debt.

According to M. Amatova, to date, the total debt of “Kyrgyzgaz Uzbekistan is 1 million 600 thousand soms. In this connection, to prevent the city was completely turned off natural gas.

“Currently, the management of” Kyrgyzgaz is in talks with the leadership Uzbektransgaz, perhaps this issue will be resolved today “, – said M. Amato.

Source – CA-NEWS

Organized Crime Helps Stoke Instability in Kyrgyzstan’s Southern Provinces

The Implications of UN-CSTO Cooperation

Obama’s Slow Thrusts Into Central Asia-vs-Bush Attempted Rape–(Goog.Trans.)

Turkey will show us how to play gambit with the West? Part 2

Russian-Turkish friendship may hinder America

Special reporter for Komsomolskaya Pravda Daria Aslamova tried to understand why before backward Turkey has become a powerful regional leader

In the first part of the material described as the Turks, using the unique geopolitical situation of the country, managed to make its “golden link” in relations between East and West. Today there will be about how Turkey intends to expand its influence in the Middle East and Central Asia, and what to expect from this, Russia.

Is it really WHETHER OR TURKEY Who Puppeteer ”

in February in the Qatari capital Doha at the Annual Forum “U.S. – Islamic World “fought two diplomats – American and Turkish. The conflict provoked the U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Joseph LeBaron. It seemed to him that the meeting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, for far too long, and Clinton may miss the more important (in the opinion of Ambassador) meeting with the Emir of Qatar. When LeBaron tried to interrupt the meeting, he was stopped by Advisor on International Affairs of the Turkish Prime Minister Fouad Tanlan with the words: “You’re not the one who decides who is important. You have no right to humiliate my country. You’re not at home. Diplomats grips, guards to part them, and the U.S. ambassador left, slamming the door.

scandal in lush colors have painted all the Muslim media, and Turkey has once again rewarded with applause “Arab street”. Finally in the region had a strong country that can “show” these Americans! With the advent of a charismatic, brilliant leader, Recep Erdogan, sincere Muslim and a supporter of the hijab, but a pragmatic and cautious politician, Turkey, for years accused the Islamic world in apostasy, steadily gaining points. Erdogan’s government has refused to participate in the American war against Iraq and not even allowed to be used for military purposes NATO bases and airfields in Turkish territory, Turkey has not participated in the maneuvers of the Air Force with Israel and refused the U.S. deployment on its territory a radar missile, apparently directed against Iran, as well as among the first congratulated President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. But the real hero of the Arab world, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan began after his famous speech in Switzerland
Scoma Davos, the leaders of the world, when he accused Israel of genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

В стамбульских лавках туристов с радостью оденут во все турецкое: страна любит родемонстрировать иностранцам свою идентичность.
In Istanbul’s tourist shops with joy dressed in all Turkey: country loves rodemonstrirovat foreigners their identity.
Photo: Victor Khabar.

From the project successful country enlightened “soft” Islam, the true defender of the interests of Muslims around the world, looks like a purely Turkish invention. However, it is not. The project has sponsors and patrons. Who is it?

- The same America that changed not objective, but the methods, – says the researcher, Institute of Ataturk Principles Mehmet Perinçek. – During the Bush years Turkey has been a role at the time of Obama – other. By occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, America has lost face in the Middle East. Method failed. Americans changed their president and his policies. Turkey’s role also changed. In order for Turkey to act as an intermediary between the U.S. and the Middle East, and Asia, must raise its prestige in the region. Secular, pro-American Turkey, no one will trust. Need a new Turkey, other Arab countries and Israel’s enemy. Here in Turkey, a U.S. would rhythmically and consistently impose its will on the Caucasus, Syria and Iran.

The new American government has replaced the politics of rape politics of seduction (the methods are different, but the result is one) and invited the Muslim world (of course, not the forehead) is more elegant and modest variations Islam. As an example, advocated, for example, the great Turkish theologian and preacher of “soft” tolerant Islam Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the U.S., where American and British press in 2008 to recognize outstanding intellectual and patriotic Turkish nationalists called for sure as an American spy and the Islamic Soros. (I only Gulen in Turkey for five million followers.) Turkey itself has invested considerable money in the new image.

- Turkish soap operas are extremely popular in the Arab world: beautiful people in modern clothes, romantic love. Every Arab boy or girl sees herself on the ground of heroes, – says the editor of politnovostey newspaper “Radikal” Denise Zeyrek. – Then these young people come to us in Turkey, watching our lives and begins to compare. The U.S. wants to make the Arab world more open and controlled, and Turkey, helping them to do so plays an important liaison role between the Muslim world and the West. This is a win-win-game, a game in which all benefit. Turkey comes in the Arab world and thanks to the good relations exports goods worth billions of dollars, the Arab world touches of Western civilization over the bridge on behalf of Turkey and the U.S. win the battle against Islamic terrorism. Today’s Turkey, hand in hand with the U.S. is working on the project “Greater Middle East”, and he who believes that we become less pro-American, is seriously mistaken.

- Turks naively believe that the American project “Greater Middle East” to be spared – said skeptical historian and scholar Mehmet Perinçek. – August 7, 2003 in an interview with The Washington Post, Condoleezza Rice made it clear that the plans of the project – to change the borders of 24 countries from Morocco to China, and is no secret that Turkey is one of them. American journalists, do not hesitate to write about creating a puppet state “Great Kurdistan” with the Turkish city of Diyarbakir as its capital. The moral hook on which we keep America – the potential indictment of the Armenian genocide.

genocide as a political tool of

every April, Turkish politicians wake up in a cold sweat: coming “springtime intensification” of the disease called “Is America Recognizes the mass extermination of the Armenians by the Turks in 1915 genocide, or no? “This year on April 24, Day of Commemoration was held particularly alarming. Back in March, the Committee on Foreign Affairs U.S. House of Representatives approved a resolution making the mass destruction of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire as genocide. Armenian and Turkish political scientists have shown rare unanimity in this matter amicably and said: U.S. pressure on Turkey to open Armenian-Turkish border. Why?

- The main objective of the United States – to control the resources of Central Asia, as well as to find a direct route to Afghanistan – said the scientist and historian Mehmet Perinçek. – To do this, need a victory over Russia and China. In the Caucasus, there is only one country with the Russian military base and unconditional Russian influence – Armenia. What it attract to its side? Open borders with Turkey and thus resolve the issue of American control in the Caucasus. How? Blackmailing Turkey as genocide.

credulous people often ask: why Turkey does not recognize the genocide, and done with it? Recognition of the genocide in Turkey like death and entail catastrophic consequences. The question is not only a huge cash compensation (think Germany are still paid to Israel’s own fault), but also in territorial claims (Armenia does not recognize the Turkish-Armenian border). And most importantly: not in the political world a more effective means of moral and finish off the state than to accuse him of genocide and to make repent.

- Americans are preparing the legal ground for interfering in the internal affairs of Turkey – Mehmet Perinçek said. – No one paid any attention to the details in the resolution of Congress, accusing Turkey of genocide 1915 – 1923 (!) Years! These were the years of the Turkish liberation movement, and the 1923rd – year of the Turkish Republic! Atatürk now goes, the leader of genocide, but not the father of the Turkish nation. America wants to knock the ground from under the feet of the Turkish nation-state. There is another interesting phrase in the resolution: if, say, we did not condemn the perpetrators are, then we can not prevent new genocides of the State. This is a subtle message to the Turkish army and generals: guys, when we press the button of Kurdish separatism and begin creating a “Great Kurdistan”, sit quietly and do not blather, but you’ll find yourself in Hague like Milosevic as accomplices already Kurdish genocide. If Turkey wants to break out of the new American trap, it has one way – to the east, in Russia.

Запад турки недолюбливают, но ссориться с ним не хотят. И даже чтят память тех, кто воевал против Османской империи. На фото: церемония в честь британских солдат, погибших во время операции в Галлиполи в Первую мировую войну.
West Turks do not like, but to quarrel with him do not want. And even honor the memory of those who fought against the Ottoman Empire. In the photo: the ceremony in honor of British soldiers killed during operations in Gallipoli in the First World War.
Photo: AP

RUSSIA AND TURKEY: A than the general interest?

In the troubled years of post-perestroyka devastated and impoverished Russia, Turkey looked at each other askance, but today’s success has come from those not-so-distant years. All Russian-Turkish relations stand on the powerful shoulders modest Russian “chelnochnits” and paid for their sweat and blood. Why not a monument in Istanbul, the Russian “chelnochnitse, healthy mighty woman with wide hips and developed shoulder girdle, cheerful, brave, lively language and painted, like those dolls? They are desperate women, not only saved their families from starvation during those difficult times, but also raised the Turkish economy by opening its vast Russian market.

Following the ‘chelnochnitsami in Turkey surged Russian prostitutes who have conquered the local men’s generosity and incredible charm. “Your a prostitute so fascinated us that we are married!” – Like to say the Turks. These international nights of love led to a hundred thousand marriages!

fledged Russia has provided Turkey an annual three million tourists show up.

- In Turkey, thousands of people live off the money coming from Russia, and we really understand it, – says Denise Zeyrek. – How the Turks, I can not fry an egg on your kitchen without Russia. As soon as you close the gas pipe, and we have difficulty. But we honestly pay for gas, and hence we have mutual interests.

With the economy in Russia and Turkey, all clear as day. This may bring a real breakthrough. Russia and Turkey abolished visa regime. We will build a plant on Turkish territory. Gazprom softens conditions for Turkey’s principle of “take or pay”: now Turkey can, without penalty to reduce the volume of purchases of gas by 75%. In return, Gazprom is allowed to gas pipeline South Stream under the Black Sea in the territorial waters of Turkey.

However, to provide Turkey and Russia on the road of love is difficult, even theoretically, and the phrase “strategic partnership” skeptical and Turkish and Russian political scientists. “Strategic Partners” – a country-relative, with which are subject to historical, religious and blood ties, the country where you can trust at a critical moment.

At first glance, we have a lot in common: the imperial past, the rejection of the West and the Western habit of intervention state in all spheres of life and calm attitude to the bureaucracy. The difference – in the moral priorities. Straightforward and somewhat naive (from the eastern point of view) policy of Russia, accustomed to divide the world into friends and foes, inexpressibly surprised to Turkey, for centuries to maneuver between the set of lights. (I remember how much fun my Turkish friends Russian proverb “You can not sit on two chairs.” “But why should not you? – They were surprised. – Sitting can be optionally and ten chairs!”), Turkey has never cared moral criteria to politics: the it and the policy to be immoral. (Suffice it to cite the following fact: Turkey remained neutral the entire second world war, joined her in February 1945, declaring war on Germany and Japan, and graduated in the camp of the victorious countries.)

- As relations between Russia and Turkey in its best stage but it is difficult to predict what will happen next – says the director of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis “Turks” Sinan Ogan. – The region of South and Central Asia, the competition intensifies America and Russia – we see this is the example of Kyrgyzstan. If Americans want to continue the policy of global domination, they will have to move away from the project “Greater Middle East” and move towards Asia. If they are there, the Russian-American conflict is inevitable. Here a question arises: which side will be Turkey in this game?

- Turkey will be on the side of someone who is stronger – says Zeyrek. – Note, if the question asked me ten years ago, I would have said unequivocally: in the U.S.. But now the situation has changed. We will be with those who propose a piece of the pie bigger.

- And why do you actually love politics? – Asked Associate Professor Department of Political Sciences, Ankara University Tashansu Turker. – Remember the Russian tsar Alexander II the Liberator and Bulgarian. Well, he saved Bulgaria from Turkey, the Bulgarian king said to him thank you. With Bulgaria made after this? She fell in love with beautiful Russian boys, but married for the worst, but the wealthy Germans. And the first and second world wars grateful Bulgaria fought against their Russian brothers on the side of Germany. Do you need this love? In Russia and Turkey now everything is as it should. We have common interests in the Black Sea, where neither Russia nor Turkey is not willing to let foreigners. Then, if Russia is closer to Turkey, this means improving its relations with its own Muslims. Turkey provides an example of moderate Islam. Ramzan Kadyrov, for example, builds them without Wahhabi mosques, and takes a sample of the Istanbul mosque Sultanahmed. That says a lot. Yes, and a reliable mediator in the Caucasus you will also not hurt. Strategic partners
izations – it is something like a marriage. You will not need a marriage of love “

- I will not! – Then I just choked with indignation. – But what sort of marriage without love?

- Strange you Russian? In today’s world are successful only marriages reason.

Was Gulf Oil Spill an Inside Job?

Was Gulf Oil Spill an Inside Job?

American Free Press

By Victor Thorn

Could the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion be part of a larger scheme to “reform” the energy industry, just as the Obama administration has “reformed” healthcare, banking and automobile manufacturers? Worse, is “cap and trade”—possibly the worst legislation ever penned—the ultimate endgame behind this spill, which they are now capitalizing upon?

The first red flag receiving virtually no attention is that Halliburton (of Dick Cheney fame) had finished a cementing process only 20 hours prior to Deepwater Horizon erupting in flames. Lawsuits have already been filed, with Reuters reporting on April 29, “Halliburton improperly and negligently performed its job in cementing the well, increasing the pressure at the well and contributing to the fire, explosion and resulting oil spill.”

As a result, a high-pressure pocket of deep oil 30,000 feet beneath the ocean floor erupted with the force of a gigantic, non-stop fire hose. A surviving worker on the rig, John Kersey, said it sounded “like a war zone” as alarms were triggered, electricity shorted out, and flames shot 300 feet into the air. The inferno-like blaze could be seen 35 miles away.

CONNECTIONS

Suspicions arise when an ownership paper trail is followed. Halliburton subcontracted for a company named Transocean, which leased and operated Deepwater Horizon for British Petroleum (BP). Transocean is a subsidiary of Sonat Inc., which merged with the El Paso Corporation (EPC) in March 1999. Douglas Foshee, EPC’s chairman, president and CEO, was hired away from Halliburton. The interim CEO prior to his arrival was Ronald Kuehn of Sonat.

Another previous CEO of EPC was William Wise, who served with Cheney on the influential National Petroleum Council. EPC was the largest single contributor from Texas for Bush-Cheney’s 2000 presidential campaign. Similarly, Wise helped Cheney raise $8 million for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

These incestuous relationships aren’t limited to the GOP. Barack Obama and his Chicago crime network expect to reap handsome profits in the future. Step No. 1 in this process began with Chicago’s Joyce Foundation, which had John Ayers (brother of terrorist William Ayers) on its board. Another board member was then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

The Joyce Foundation created the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which in turn received financing from Franklin Raines, former head of Fannie Mae, a prime mover in our recent housing market collapse and economic recession.
Of vital importance is CCX’s role as the sole “carbon trading system” under Obama’s cap-and-trade bill. CCX would act as a quasi-stock market to buy and sell energy emission allowances. Richard Sandor, CCX founder, estimated a $10 trillion potential for this easily manipulated market.

BILDERBERG INFLUENCE

With that much money at stake, a host of high rollers enter the picture. Namely, one company with a huge ownership interest in CCX is Generation Investment Management (GIM), whose chairman is former Vice President Al Gore. Four other GIM founders include Henry Paulson, David Blood, Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris—all of Goldman Sachs. Not surprisingly, Goldman Sachs purchased 10 percent of CCX in 2006.

One other individual on CCX’s board of directors is the controversial Maurice Strong, a New Age occultist with direct ties to the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds.

Since Goldman Sachs has now become part of the equation, we next need to examine its non-executive chairman, Peter Sutherland, who formerly filled the same role at BP, the company at the center of this debacle. As the third-largest global energy company in existence, BP has four direct links to Bilderberg: former CEO John Brown, chairman Carl Henric Svanberg, chief executive Tony Hayward and Sutherland. In addition, Sutherland formerly served as the World Trade Organization’s director general, EU commissioner and chairman of the European Trilateral Commission.

This background information is important because the top recipient of BP donations during the 2008 presidential campaign was Obama. Similarly, the second highest political action committee contributing to a political candidate in 2008 was Goldman Sachs. The beneficiary of their largess: Obama.

Undoubtedly, one of Obama’s primary big government missions is to enact cap-and-trade legislation. To implement this plan, influential decision makers such as Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Paul Volcker and Timothy Geithner are all members of the financial mafia. In this vein, David Mayer Rothschild stressed that last year’s Copenhagen environmental summit was “an attempt to establish a world government.”

Likewise, AFP editor Jim Tucker reported on March 24, 2007 that General Lord Guthrie, director of N.M. Rothschild & Sons, said political leaders should “address the global climate crisis with a single voice, and impose rules that apply worldwide.”

The Rothschilds have spent huge amounts of money promoting the global warming hoax. Goldman Sachs is obviously an arm of their empire, whereas BP is among a host of companies in Nathan Rothschild’s portfolio.

A TEAM EFFORT

Considering the nature of these prominent players, one factor binds them all together. Cap and trade, via the CCX, will tax carbon-dioxide emissions and generate trillions in revenue. Only a month ago, however, this legislation sat dead in the water with virtually no support from Congress or the American public. But now, with an environmental catastrophe at hand, could it be resurrected and enacted in a way that mirrored President Clinton’s counter-terrorism bill following the OKC bombing?

Ironically, big oil and global bankers are two of the most ardent supporters of climate change legislation. In this sense, seeming adversaries such as “environmentalist” Gore and BP are on the same team; as are Cheney’s Halliburton, Goldman Sachs and Obama’s CCX. It should also be noted that prior to their demise, the corrupt Enron Corporation lavished huge amounts of praise on cap and trade legislation.

Lastly, if gasoline prices surge this summer due to the Gulf of Mexico spill, one obvious benefactor will be the new green-friendly “smart cars” owned by GM (Government Motors).

As AFP goes to press, all containment efforts have failed as millions of gallons of oil continue to gush into the Gulf of Mexico on a weekly basis.

Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and the author of many books on 9-11 and the New World Order. These include 9-11 Evil: The Israeli Role in 9-11 and Phantom Flight 93.

Iran’s Ace In the Hole–Why the US Won’t Gamble on an Iranian War

Iran’s Ace Weapon: Why the US Won’t Gamble on an Iranian War

by Finian Cunningham

Dandelion Salad

Given the crescendo of veiled and increasingly unveiled military threats by the US and Israel against Iran, one has to admire the Iranians for their coolness under extreme pressure. The latest despicable – and in some legal opinion, criminal – threat by the White House that it would use atomic weapons against nuclear-unarmed Iran in the event of a conflict has been dismissed by the authorities in Tehran, who say they remain determined to pursue their civilian nuclear energy programme.

Far from being cowered, Iran has just launched three days of military war games in the Persian Gulf. The Islamic Republic carries out such manoeuvres every summer, but this year it has brought the exercises forward. No official explanation has been given, but it clearly is meant to be a signal to the US and its coterie of western allies that Iran will not be brow beaten by threats of economic sanctions and military strikes, including the threat of unleashing the most terrifying of weapons.

In this game of high-stakes poker, how is it that Iran can stay so composed? It is because Iran holds the ultimate weapon, not a weapon of mass destruction that the US claims it is seeking, but a weapon of mass disruption firmly within its grasp and ready to trigger immediately – the blockade of the Strait of Hormuz.

This is the narrow stretch of sea between Iran and the United Arab Emirates and Oman to its south that connects the Persian Gulf to open international waters. Some 40 per cent of global ship-borne crude oil passes through this channel every day. According to the US-based Energy Information Administration, an average of 15 tankers carry 16-17 million tonnes of crude oil through the Strait daily. Oil producers in the Gulf, including the world’s top supplier, Saudi Arabia, are totally dependent on this passage for their oil exports, which account for 80-90 per cent these countries’ total revenues. This is the world’s most sensitive choke-point for oil trade.

Iran has previously said that if it is attacked by the US or its allies it will blockade the Strait, and no doubt the current war games in the Gulf are aimed at underlining this warning. But it is only recently that Iran has acquired the maritime capability to deliver on its counter-threat. For example, during the 1980-88 war with Iraq when Iran was being bombed with chemical weapons by US client Saddam Hussein, Tehran did not have the capability to shut off the Strait. Nor in 1988 when the US shot down an Iranian civilian airline, killing 290 people onboard.

But over the last few years, Iran has invested heavily in building up a fleet of high-speed military boats equipped with anti-ship missiles and sonar-evading torpedoes. And it can be safely assumed that the Iranians have perfected maneouvres to ensure the rapid and complete shut-down of all shipping out of the Gulf. This task is made all the more feasible by the natural geography of the Strait. The Persian Gulf is a shallow sea so any ships that are sunk would represent hazardous obstacles that could not be easily removed. Also, although the Strait is some 20 miles across, the shipping traffic lanes are only six miles wide: two miles for incoming tankers, two for outgoing and two miles for a separation margin between both.

Under international maritime law, Iran (along with Oman) has sovereign territorial rights over these waters. Iran has under United Nations law agreed to grant “innocent passage” to ships through its waters provided there is no infringement of its security. Therefore, as energy analyst Ali Mallakin points out, Iran has the legal right to withhold passage if “its sovereignty is not respected” such as if the US were to launch a unilateral military strike against the country.

By that stage, of course, the argument will be merely academic. For the US will have launched yet another criminal war and the world economy will be plunged into darkness. Given the fragile state of the international economy, shutting off the Strait of Hormuz will explode the price of oil and with that any vain hope of economic recovery. Sitting under a multi-trillion-dollar mountain of debt, the US has furthest to crash and the social implications for this crumbling empire – already seething from widespread misery – cannot be overstated. The consequences for the US will quite possibly be more powerful than those from any weapon of mass destruction.

Both Iran and the US know this. Despite the chips that Washington is piling on to the poker table, both players know that it is Tehran that holds the high ace. That’s why the US will not dare gamble a war on Iran. And it will keep its Israeli attack dog muzzled.

***

Israel not to attack Iran: Biden

PressTV
22 April, 2010

US Vice President Joe Biden dismisses the notion that Israel might attack Iran, saying that Tel Aviv has agreed to await the outcome of new sanctions against Tehran.

“Everyone from the Israeli prime minister straight through to the British prime minister to the president of Russia, everyone agrees the next step we should take is the UN sanction route,” Biden told a program on ABC television on Thursday.

[...]

via Israel not to attack Iran: Biden

see

Iran seeks IAEA suspension of US + Iran rightfully calls for America to be suspended from IAEA

Finian.cunningham@gmail.com

U.S. Seeking to Build Up ‘Moderate Elements’ within Hizbullah

U.S. Seeking to Build Up ‘Moderate Elements’ within Hizbullah

The U.S. is looking for ways to build up “more moderate elements” within Hizbullah, John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism has said.

“There is certainly the elements of Hizbullah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements,” Brennan told a conference in Washington Tuesday.

“Hizbullah is a very interesting organization,” he said although he did not spell out how the Obama administration hoped to promote what it calls the moderate elements given that the Shiite group is branded a “foreign terrorist organization” by the U.S.

“We don’t deal with them,” Brennan acknowledged.

UN powers back new sanctions against Iran

UN powers back new sanctions against Iran

By EDITH M. LEDERER (AP)

UNITED NATIONS — The United States introduced a resolution backed by all veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that would impose new sanctions against Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard and seek to curtail military, financial and shipping activities linked to its suspect nuclear program.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said the resolution would give "greater teeth" to existing sanctions and add "strong" new measures to intensify pressure on the Iranian government to resolve concerns that its nuclear program is peaceful and not aimed at producing nuclear weapons.

Russia and China, which have close ties to Iran, joined fellow permanent council members Britain, France and the United States as well as non-member Germany in supporting the sanctions proposal, ignoring a deal that Tehran agreed to a day earlier to try to stave off the penalties.

Rice said the pursuit of new sanctions has nothing to do with a proposed swap of nuclear material for Tehran’s research reactor that Iran agreed to on Monday with Brazil and Turkey. She said the proposed resolution is targeting the Islamic Republic’s refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment program and its plans to build 10 new nuclear facilities.

The draft resolution would target a range of activities related to Iran’s nuclear program including the Revolutionary Guard, which controls companies and organizations that have links to weapons proliferation, a senior U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the resolution has not been released publicly. These companies and individuals would be added to a list of those subject to an asset freeze and travel ban which is still being compiled.

The draft would also ban Iranian investment in sensitive nuclear activities abroad such as uranium mining, prohibit the sale of eight categories of heavy weapons to the Islamic Republic including attack helicopters, warships and missiles, and ban Iran from undertaking any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, the official said.

The last sanctions resolution, adopted in March 2008, authorized inspection of cargo suspected of containing banned items on planes and ships owned or operated by Iran Air Cargo and Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line. The U.S. official said the new proposal would call on states to cooperate in inspections — which must receive the consent of the ship’s flag state — and ban services to Iranian owned or contracted vessels suspected of carrying prohibited cargo.

Russia on standby as NATO goes global

Russia on standby as NATO goes global

NATO’s blueprint for change mentions cooperation with Russia as a new priority, but Moscow is pushing for more than just words.

Founded in 1948 as a military deterrent to the sprawling Soviet Union, 28-member NATO is increasingly forced to redefine its prerogatives beyond the narrow confines of an “Iron Curtain” mentality. But the organization’s search for relevancy 20 years after the collapse of its arch enemy is starting to violate Russia’s comfort zone.

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who leads the “wise men” responsible for drafting NATO’s New Strategic Concept, stressed that “to safeguard security at home the alliance must continue to treat collective defense as its core purpose.”

Albright, however, added the loose disclaimer that “providing for security is a more complicated proposition than in the past.” This means that NATO – like some sort of transnational corporation that must forever increase in size in order to survive – will be forced to travel further afield in the future, as the challenges continue to mount and disperse.

“NATO must be versatile and efficient enough to operate far from home,” she argued.

“Alliance leaders should learn from its experiences in Afghanistan… the need to deploy forces at a strategic distance for an extended period of time. There should be no question that NATO’s fundamental purpose is to protect the security of its members, but providing for security is a more complicated proposition than in the past.”

Albright, in an effort to assuage Russian apprehensions over the Western organization’s policy shift, reiterated for the umpteenth time that the new concept was not “a threat to Russia.”

“We do not see the gradual enlargement of NATO… as something that should be viewed as a threat to Russia,”she said, “and we all believe that and will continue to state it and the Russians in their own turn have to decide how they react.”

One between-the-lines interpretation of Albright’s comment could be that “NATO will act as it will, and Russia is free to respond however it feels necessary.” In other words: take our new global strategy or leave it; Moscow will just have to take Brussels on its word that the military bloc will never exist as a threat to Russia’s security.

In May 2009, Russia released its own updated national security strategy, which specifically mentioned NATO as one of the country’s greatest threats.

“The instability of the existing global and regional architecture, especially in the Euro-Atlantic region… is an increasing threat to the international security,” the document said.

Interestingly, especially in light of the ongoing battles being waged courtesy of US forces in oil-rich Middle East/Central Asian countries, the Russian paper mentioned “competition for resources” as a potential geopolitical flashpoint in the years to come.

“In a competition for resources, problems that involve the use of military force cannot be ruled out, which would destroy the balance of forces close to the borders of the Russian Federation and her allies,” it said.

But it is not simply a matter of NATO introducing weighty game pieces in Russia’s “near abroad” that is playing havoc with the Kremlin’s nerves; it is America’s unflinching determination to drop an antimissile system into Eastern Europe that is the primary source of US-Russian tensions today.

One man’s shield is another man’s sword

In February, Romania and Bulgaria announced they were in talks with US President Barack Obama’s administration on deploying elements of the US missile shield on their territories from 2015.

The move came after Obama shelved plans to deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland due to “a reassessment of the threat from Iran.”

Russia fiercely opposed the plan – both the original one hatched by the previous Bush administration, and the latest one by Obama – calling it a direct threat to its national security.

According to the new NATO blueprint for change, Russia will figure into the new system. The question remains: How? As a mere occasional observer of the cool new technology, or a hands-on participant in the entire process? And if the latter, will they be involved from construction to activation?

“Missile defense is most effective when it is a joint enterprise and cooperation … between the alliance and its partners – especially Russia – is highly desirable,” the NATO blueprint advised.

“We are faced with a real threat and we need real protection against a real threat, and to that end we need an effective missile defence system which covers all populations in all allied nations,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of North Atlantic Treaty Organization told reporters at a news conference.

Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told his own news conference on Tuesday that it will be clear by the end of the year exactly to what degree Russia will cooperate with NATO in the missile defense system, while stressing that the level of cooperation includes everything from “from A to Z.”

“But cooperation needs to be from A to Z: to the end,” Ivanov said, adding, “We will assess the threats together, evaluate the risks together, and begin creating a defense system together.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) in April that Moscow advises that “the system of global missile defense must protect not only a definite country or a group of countries, but also function in the interests of all responsible participants of the international society.”

Medvedev said Russia is opposed to the formation of air defense systems because they eventually “damage the current balanced system between the main nuclear powers.”

“Either we are together or [Russia has] have to react somehow,” he said.

NATO foreign ministers agreed at an informal meeting in Estonia in April that it was essential to begin dialogue with Russia on cooperation in the sphere of anti-missile defense.

A new strategic concept should be drafted by the NATO Secretary General this summer on the basis of the report. The new strategic concept will then be approved by the NATO summit in Lisbon in November. On the basis of that summit we will finally have a peek at NATO’s hand. Will it be a bluff, or a sincere desire to reset relations with Moscow?

Give NATO-Russian cooperation a chance?

The document mentioned Russia’s decision to open an air corridor route over its territory to accommodate NATO military flights into Afghanistan, where 100,000 coalition troops are fighting a protracted war against Taliban forces. Incidentally, two-thirds of the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan are from the United States, and for Washington, the outcome of this war may very well spell make or break for NATO.

Already this year, 200 NATO soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, compared with 119 in the same period last year. Europe’s patience for such bloodshed will not last forever.

In a recent article in the Financial Times, Richard Haas, the president of the Council of Foreign Relations, argued that NATO’s future role only makes sense “as an expeditionary force in an unstable world,” while predicting that the ties that bind Europe, NATO and the US together will eventually come undone.

“European political culture has evolved in ways that make it harder to field militaries willing to bear the cost in blood,” Haas writes, before quoting Robert Gates, US Secretary of Defense, who complained about “the demilitarization of Europe – where large swaths of the general public and political class are averse to military force and the risks that go with it.”

According to Haas, NATO “makes sense as an expeditionary force in an unstable world, not as a standing army on a stable continent.”

As a result, “US-European ties and NATO were destined to become weaker given the end of the Cold War. Alliances tend to be created and to thrive in eras of predictability and consensus over threats and obligations. The post-Cold War, post-9/11 world is much more fluid than this.”

Thus, Russia – due to its willingness to cooperate with NATO in Afghanistan, in addition to the fading away of the Cold War winds – is winning the trust of many of its erstwhile enemies and is seen as a trustworthy partner in the antimissile defense project.

But there is another very compelling reason to give the green light for Russia’s participation in the controversial antimissile project: the system in its present state may simply not work.

“As easy as hitting a bullet with another bullet”

According to analysis being released by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Cornell, the new weapons have fallen far short of their previously stated achievements.

“Obama’s announcement of his new antimissile plan in September was based on the Pentagon’s assessment that the SM-3, or Standard Missile 3, had intercepted 84% of incoming targets in tests,” reported the New York Times on Monday. “But a re-examination of results from ten of those apparently successful tests by Theodore A. Postol and George N. Lewis, being published this month, finds only one or two successful intercepts.”

If the findings prove true, this would give the super-expensive, “state-of-the-art weapon,” designed to protect the European continent from a rogue attack, a dismal success rate of just 10-20%.

Postol and Lewis say that any approaching warheads would be “knocked off course,” but not destroyed, which suggests that a nuclear warhead might still detonate in the vicinity of the target. So the issue, according to the researchers, is whether the SM-3 needs to strike and destroy the warhead of a missile – as the Pentagon claims it does.

“The system is highly fragile and brittle and will intercept warheads only by accident, if ever,” said Dr. Postol, a former Pentagon adviser who criticized the performance of the Patriot antimissile system during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, as quoted by the Times.

Meanwhile, Russia announced that it is ready to cooperate with the United States on a new European security treaty, Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov said on Monday.

“Consolidation of European security serves the interests of both countries,” he said. “We are ready to cooperate with our American colleagues on the practical work of a new European security treaty.”

Ivanov said the current state of European security “leaves much to be desired.”

Russia published a draft European security treaty on November 29, 2009, but US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton politely rejected the proposal, saying a treaty is unnecessary.

But the way the geopolitical (not to mention economic) winds are blowing on the European continent, it is too early to say if the Russian plan should be counted out just yet.

Robert Bridge, RT