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: 

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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.