[The Mitrokhin Archive is a collection of notes made secretly by KGB Major Vasili Mitrokhin during his thirty years as a KGB archivist in the foreign intelligence service and the First Chief Directorate. When he defected to the United Kingdom he brought the Archive with him. Two books, Sword and the Shield and The KGB and the Battle for the Third World, based on the Archive and hundreds other sources were published in 1992 and 2005, which gives details about much of the Soviet Union's clandestine intelligence operations around the world. The books were written by British intelligence historian Christopher Andrew. Their publication provoked parliamentary inquiries in the U.K., India, and Italy.]
The Mitrokin Archive — A Note on Sources
January 01 1990 – A note on sources contextualizing the Mitrokhin Archive. Please read this first in order to understand the nature of the material.
Letter to the [CWIHP] Editor — A Note on Sources
June 01 2000 – Letter to CWIHP from Vasiliy Mitrokhin on the submission of the KGB in Afghanistan Manuscript. This letter places the KGB in Afghanistan entry into further context. Please read this before using the materials.
CWIHP Note on the Mitrokhin Archive — A Note On Sources
June 01 2000 – CWIHP note on the Mitrokhin sources, first published in the introduction of the KGB in Afghanistan Volume.
Biography of Vasiliy Mitrokhin
December 22 2000 – Short biography of Vasiliy Mitrokhin, which provides context for the materials in the Mitrokhin Archive collection.
The KGB in Afghanistan – Geographical Volume 1
February 01 2002 – This text is an edited version of a manuscript outlining the KGB’s operational activities in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1983, authored by Vasiliy Mitrokhin, a former KGB archivist who defected to Britain in 1992. Mitrokhin tells us that the KGB was deeply involved with Soviet Afghan policies from the very beginning. The piece deals with events in and around Afghanistan and the activities of the Bolshevik nomenklatura in the region between 1962 and 1983. It is based exclusively on information from the KGB archives to which Vasily Mitrokhin had access to. Please read the note on sources under the collection listing to understand the limitations of this material.
Please click here for a response to this document.
KGB Active Measures in Southwest Asia in 1980-82
April 01 2004 – Materials provided by former KGB archivist Vasiliy Mitrokhin to the CWIHP, following the publication of the Mitrokhin WP40 “The KGB in Afghanistan.” As with all Mitrokhin’s notes, his compilation on Soviet “active measures” in South and Southwest Asia is based on other smuggled-out notes and was prepared especially for CWIHP. Please read the Notes on Sources for information on the nature and limitations of these documents.
By Sarah Stewart (AFP) – 11 hours ago
HANOI — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Saturday join 16 Asia-Pacific leaders at a summit in Vietnam dominated by China’s territorial disputes.
The United States and Russia will be formally invited as members of the East Asia Summit at the group’s annual gathering, in what analysts say is a blow to Chinese attempts to diminish US influence in the region.
Their entry into the EAS, which elevates its diplomatic heft, comes despite Chinese attempts to promote another grouping — which does not include the US — as the region’s premier forum for regional cooperation.
US membership is seen as part of its strategic return to Southeast Asia to balance China’s growing influence in the region, where Beijing’s more aggressive stance on territorial disputes has unnerved its smaller neighbours.
Clinton, in a speech on Asia-Pacific relations made in Honolulu earlier this week, downplayed suggestions the US is duelling with China for influence.
“There are some in both countries who believe that China?s interests and ours are fundamentally at odds. They apply a zero-sum calculation to our relationship. So whenever one of us succeeds, the other must fail,” she said.
“But that is not our view.”
Nevertheless, China has been irritated by Washington wading into the issue of its claim over the resource-rich South China Sea, where several Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries are also claimants.
Clinton said in July that resolving disputes over the strategic area is “pivotal” to regional stability and offered to negotiate a settlement.
On the eve of the Hanoi summit, China hit out at Clinton’s remarks that other disputed islands in the East China Sea, the flashpoint for a serious feud with Japan, fall within the scope of the US-Japan security alliance.
“The Chinese government and people will never accept any word or deed that includes the Diaoyu islands within the scope of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security,” foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.
The disputed islands — called Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan — have been at the centre of a deepening row between Beijing and Tokyo which erupted again in Hanoi, evaporating hopes for talks between their leaders.
Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara met his Chinese counterpart Friday and said they had agreed to improve ties. Japan’s delegation announced direct talks between the leaders, but then retracted the statement.
China’s assistant foreign affairs minister, Hu Zhengyue, then issued a statement using extremely strong terms to condemn Japan.
“Japanese diplomatic authorities have partnered with other nations and stepped up the heat on the Diaoyu island issue,” he said.
He said Japanese comments had “violated China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“The Japanese moves, which is clear for everyone to see, have ruined the needed atmosphere for a meeting between the two leaders. Japan should take full responsibility for the result.”
Japanese Premier Naoto Kan’s spokesman, Noriyuki Shikata, said there was no reason for “heightened tensions… between the two countries” and that Japan stood ready to “engage in dialogue.”
The neighbours have been feuding since the September 8 arrest of a Chinese trawler captain after a collision with Japanese coastguard vessels near the disputed East China Sea island chain.
The United States called on China and ally Japan to ease tensions.
“We want China and Japan to sit down, to have dialogue and work through the issues,” State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters in Washington.
“We would hope that both countries will take affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions around this issue and that will create the conditions for a meaningful dialogue.”
The East Asia Summit is a forum for dialogue on strategic, political and economic issues involving the 10-member Southeast Asian bloc as well as Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
James Clay Fuller
The picture we’ve been given by our big newspapers, magazines and television – as always, especially television – is as phony as a photograph showing Sarah Palin sitting on Barack Obama’s lap and nibbling his ear. It’s a picture so false as to make Fox News domestic political coverage look fair and objective by comparison.
This is important. The real story hidden by the fakery is enormously important to the people of the United States.
If Americans knew what the protests really are about, and what actually is being done by the governments of France and England, and Greece and Spain and other countries, some, at least, would have a different understanding of what is being done here to place total economic power into the hands of the very rich. The protests would take on an aspect 180 degrees from what most Americans now believe of them.
The focus has been on France, because that presents the easiest target in this country for false coverage.
We’ve been told over and over by everybody from Fox to the New York Times that the blockades and shouting and marches in France are all about the “fact” that President Nicolas Sarkozy and his gang want to raise the retirement age from 60 to 62.
Snotty coverage implies, or flatly states, that the lazy, sex-loving, low-producing French people simply are not willing to work to age 62, that they want to have their six-week summer vacations and long weekends and retire with full, abundant pensions at 60. Virtually all of our corporate media states, or strongly implies, that those silly French people just can’t or won’t grasp economic realities which require “belt tightening” and major reductions in spending for social programs in order to save their national economy from collapse.
The picture is akin to the stereotype of listless, music-lovin’ “darkies” once common to the American press, and it is no more accurate.
Descriptions of the French economic problems are equally fictional, as false as the stories Americans have been told for the past year and a half or so about our own economic situation.
First: The French are rightfully angry about a hell of a lot more than “raising the retirement age from 60 to 62.” But even just on the retirement question, what we’ve been told is false. Most of the French don’t, as implied, now get to retire with “full benefits” at age 60.
French law allows retirement at that age with some pension benefits, but the actual amount of pension one receives depends on how many payments one has made into the retirement system, which means, in effect, how long one has worked. Sarkozy and crew are raising the number of years one must work to retire with full pension from 40 to 43, and they obviously intend to go on increasing that number.
Most French people already must work to 62 or even 65 or older to get full government retirement benefits. The new level will be higher, with more raises in retirement age to come.
Remember, most people don’t start working full time at 16 or 18 or even 22 any more. To be fully and well employed in France, as here, one has to get an education or some sort of advanced training, and then wiggle into a career or long-time job path, which takes time.
“Full” retirement benefits, not incidentally, amount to about 40 percent of one’s pay at the time of retirement. On its own, that does not provide a life of ease for people in France any more than it does here.
A more complete explanation of the retirement situation, and what the French are really angry about, is in a very good piece on http://www.counterpunch.org by Diana Johnstone. She is the author of many articles and books on European politics and a graduate of my alma mater, the University of Minnesota. She has lived and worked in Europe much of her life.
Very briefly — in my view, not Johnstone’s — Sarkozy is France’s Ronald Reagan, with strong overtones of George W. Bush. He is taking his country down the road to a new Gilded Age. He campaigned on a theme of improving the economy for all the French but, like Reagan and Bush, what he’s really about is giving as much power and as much of the country’s wealth as possible to the already super-rich at the expense of the average French citizen.
Like Bush, especially, his inner circle is full of self-enriching egoists who seem to devote themselves mainly to finding extremely high-paying “positions” for their wives, offspring and cronies. Some of them are known for personal tax dodging on a jaw-dropping scale.
As here, the French people have had their pockets picked in order to replenish and expand the purses of the very wealthy people who contributed most powerfully to that country’s and the world’s economic distress. There, as here, there has been no real attempt to hold any of the financial finaglers and outright frauds responsible for their actions.
The major difference between France and the United States in these circumstances is that many of the French, better educated than average Americans and with a far greater understanding of basic economics, know that they’re getting screwed and, even more importantly, they know who’s doing the screwing.
In America we get Tea Parties and such -– gangs of the terminally ignorant howling after “liberals” and working mightily on behalf of rich right wingers such as the Koch brothers to bring about their own economic and political ruin.
In France, a substantial number of the people know they are the targets in a class war designed to put the wealth and the political power of the nation entirely into the hands of a tiny minority who already have most of the wealth and a great deal of the political power.
That demonstrates, I think, that the dumbing down of the public education system, long a major part of the right wing crusade in this country, is farther along here than in Europe. European oligarchs also are behind in pricing the poor and middle class out of higher education.
(An oligarchy, and corporate moguls, most emphatically do not want an educated public; they want a public trained for jobs, but with little capacity for critical thought beyond solving small on-the-job problems.)
What’s going on in Britain and, to varying degrees, elsewhere in Europe is part of the same movement under way here and in France. The British far right, often less willing to hide itself behind populist fiction than American and continental right wing extremists, is more openly stomping on the general public and grabbing its worldly goods for the very rich. If the British oligarchs were less obvious, they may not have triggered the degree of anger they now face from some of the British public, which seems to be little, if any, brighter than our own.
That’s just a guess on my part, based on what I see in reading the news coverage we don’t get from our own “media.” I’ve spent some time in England, but not for quite awhile, and I make no claim to really knowing the British.
You’ll note that American news and commentary about the situation in Britain is greatly different from news and commentary on France’s upheavals. For reasons I have never fully understood, Americans love to take a superior attitude to the French, to belittle them and to pretend they are considerably less than they are. For example, the fact that French workers are more productive than American workers on an hour by hour, week by week basis, as shown by various productivity studies, would horrify most Americans — if they could bring themselves to accept the demonstrable truth.
Anyway, that attitude makes it easy for our media, politicians and corporate leaders to sell this country on the idea that the French are just being their usual silly selves in protesting government moves designed to weaken their economic standing and shift more power to the money elite.
My local birdcage liner, the Minneapolis Star Tribune (known in recent years to many of my news-savvy friends and older journalists as the Star Trivia) has carried not only the inaccurate “news” coverage but a couple of commentaries specifically created to trivialize the fight of French against big buck elitists.
One was an editorial from the Wall Street Journal, which always can be counted on to scorn the interests of the general public anywhere. That piece of trash took the standard corporate line that the French economy –- and, indeed, all economies -– soon will crash if working people don’t give up their “entitlements” (such as pensions, health care and other trivial luxuries) and allow the rich to determine what they can “afford.” It’s attitude was belittling in the extreme.
The other was a piece by one of the paper’s fluff columnists, a sort of surrogate shopping wife who specializes in stroking the egos of those whose lives are devoted to trivial pursuits. She said she lived in France for a while when she was in her 20s. Demonstrating a complete absence of knowledge of what the fight really is about, her take was that the French are quaint in their insistence on fighting pension cuts because “a way of life is at stake here, including long vacations and even longer lives of retirement freed from having to work at all.”
This popsy also declared her love of “scrumptious” France and went on for some time describing fictional French attitudes that essentially created a picture of a country populated by good natured, charming but self-centered children. Just like those darkies.
(To be fair, her male counterpart is equally trivial.)
She may have lived in France, but she was a suburban American tourist the whole time, apparently. Her fictional, cute France is nothing like the reality as I’ve seen it.
But her take is common in this country. Millions of Americans seem unaware of the fact the French people are normal human beings who study, work, love, live, sometimes fight and die just like real human beings. As I said, the fiction helps the economic elite trivialize the very real struggle of at least some of the French people to save their economic and political system.
This is not just a French fight, of course. Nor an English fight. Nor a problem faced just by the people of Greece and/or Spain.
The corporate elite is international to a degree it has never been before. The banks, other financial institutions and most major industries are fully international. A board chairman of one company may be French, another Italian and another American by birth. Those national designations mean nothing any more, other than a current place of principal residence. The CEOs anchor their $30 million yachts in the same harbors at the same seasons, and they sleep in each other’s beds.
Sadly, we won’t see Americans taking to the streets to protect their way of life. Those we do see in the street are marching on behalf of the very people who are pushing us back to a life of economic servitude.
|OCTOBER 29, 2010|
On October 28, Turkmenistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement strongly contradicting the Russian government’s views on the bilateral gas trade and on Turkmen gas export policy in general. The statement follows six days after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and a governmental delegation held talks with President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammedov in Ashgabat.
The Turkmen MFA’s statement rejects the “unsubstantiated,” “completely groundless,” and “counterproductive” assertions by unnamed “Russian officials” in connection with Medvedev’s October 22 visit. Those assertions are being “assessed in Turkmenistan [i.e., by the President] as an attempt to hinder our country’s normal course of international cooperation in the sphere of energy” (Turkmenistan.ru, October 28).
This tenor is reminiscent of the April 2009 polemics triggered by Moscow’s sudden halt in gas imports from Turkmenistan, without advanced notification, and the resultant blowup of the transmission pipeline in Turkmen territory. For Turkmenistan, it was the ultimate proof that it could not rely on Russia for security of demand, spurring Turkmen efforts to diversify gas export routes away from Russia.
The October 28 statement takes issue with Russian assertions that Turkmen gas is not in demand in Europe; that Moscow is holding talks with Ashgabat about Gazprom’s participation in the proposed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline; and that Turkmenistan has abandoned the Caspian Littoral Pipeline project, designed to run from Turkmenistan via Kazakhstan to Russia.
In what reads like a stinging rebuke to Gazprom, the document says that Turkmenistan values European companies for “proving themselves to be reliable, predictable, acting in good faith and on economic-commercial logic. Accordingly, Turkmenistan will continue to develop the European direction for its gas exports.” The MFA statement dismisses the possibility of an agreement with Gazprom on the proposed TAPI pipeline. And it says almost explicitly that Moscow criticizes Ashgabat over the Caspian Littoral Pipeline project only as a pretext for Moscow’s own decision to drastically reduce gas imports from Turkmenistan since 2009.
Most of the incriminating assertions in Russian media can be traced to Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin (Interfax, RIA Novosti, October 22; Kommersant, Vedomosti, October 25). Sechin was extraordinarily loquacious with the media during Medvedev’s visit to Ashgabat. The Russian president, by contrast, sounded serenely disengaged, worked his I-pod, and extolled the virtues of energy conservation; as if dress-rehearsing in Ashgabat for the benign post-modern reformer’s role, imminently due for an on-stage performance in Brussels.
Sechin, however, went out of his way to discourage Turkmen gas exports to Europe. He insisted that European gas markets could hardly absorb Turkmen gas in the years ahead, due to depressed demand and diversification of supply from sources other than Turkmenistan. He stated, repetitively, that the EU-backed Nabucco project had “no future” due to insufficient gas supplies (an outcome that he promoted by trying to discourage Ashgabat from participating). Moreover, Sechin claimed, Russia’s South Stream project will advance faster than Nabucco, preempting gas resources and making Nabucco redundant. He implied that Ashgabat shared his views; an insinuation rebuked six days afterward in Ashgabat’s statement.
Conversely, Sechin encouraged Turkmenistan to increase gas exports to China, an “almost infinite market” that could absorb both Turkmen and Russian gas. He also offered every possible assistance in directing Turkmen gas exports, via Afghanistan, to Pakistan and India through the proposed TAPI pipeline. Apparently on Gazprom’s behalf, Sechin proposed four possible versions of the Russian state monopoly’s participation in TAPI, listing them in crescendo order. First, Gazprom would design the pipeline; second, Gazprom would be the designer of the project and subcontractor of the construction work; third, Gazprom would be an investor and stakeholder in the project consortium; and fourth, Gazprom would participate in gas extraction onshore in Turkmenistan, as well as in the marketing of gas in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. Three days later, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister, Anatoly Yanovsky, announced that the Russian government had forwarded this set of proposals officially to the Turkmen government (Interfax, October 25).
Turkmenistan is rapidly increasing its export pipeline capacities to the east (China), south (Iran), and west (toward the Caspian shore, awaiting a transportation solution to Europe). However, the new pipeline capacities can not yet accommodate Turkmenistan’s current export potential for gas. The old pipelines northward to Russia (via Kazakhstan and via Uzbekistan-Kazakhastan, respectively) are being utilized far below capacity since the spring of 2009, due to depressed demand in Russia and Europe, and pending a post-crisis recovery. Russia has contracted to buy only 10.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Turkmen gas for 2010, down from the pre-crisis level of 40 to 45 bcm per year (which almost fully occupied the existing pipeline capacities running toward Russia). The Caspian Littoral Pipeline project was designed in 2007 for a substantial increase in Turkmen gas exports to Russia, probably intended to supply the South Stream project, which Moscow launched that same year. Construction work seems never to have started on the littoral pipeline, however.
Meanwhile, Turkmenistan has been compelled to reduce its gas production at the fields dedicated for export to Russia, and is losing export revenue as a result. President Berdimuhammedov had hoped to reach at least a preliminary agreement with Medvedev and his delegation for an increase of export volumes to Russia in 2011. Such an agreement did not materialize on this occasion, but may yet be reached by December. Meanwhile, Russia’s message to Ashgabat gas can not be made more explicit: Export your gas anywhere except Europe, and Gazprom will help you in this regard.
The EU recently stole a march on Russia in the race for supremacy in the continent’s naturalgas market. Last year, Russia was able to negotiate a deal that would have extended Poland’s gas delivery deal with Moscow through to 2045. Under the agreement, Poland would have increased its gas imports from Russia by over two billion cubic meters (bcm) a year until 2037, and extended its current gas transit agreement until 2045. In addition, Russian oil and gas giant Gazprom and Polish state-owned utility Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) demanded that they be given exclusive rights to the section of the Yamal pipeline that runs through Poland on its way to Germany. However, under the new deal supplies will only increase until 2022, and the gas transit agreement will be valid until 2019, not until 2045.
The Polish part of the Yamal pipeline is owned and operated by the Gazprom/PGNiG-run Europol Gaz. The original deal allowed for Europol Gaz to preserve the ownership, commercial and operating rights of the Yamal pipeline in Poland. Under EU legislation, oil and gas pipelines must not be monopolized, which would have been the case here, with Gazprom and PGNiG taking exclusive control.
It is in the EU’s interests to prevent Poland from being locked into long-term gas contracts with Russia, as this undermines the union’s plans to diversify its energy sources and to develop a liberalized, universal EU energy market. The proposed Nabucco gas pipeline project was devised as a response to Russia’s growing authority in the region’s gas market and the political instability that is a symptom of this dominance. This latest move by the EU – stepping in and forcing renegotiations between Moscow and Warsaw – comes as further evidence of its political objective of trying to circumvent Russia in the gas supply chain.
Poland imports about 65-70% of the 14bcm of gas it consumes each year from Russia, a situation that has worried politicians and citizens alike for some time. Russia has a history of using its authority in the gas market to flex its political muscles; for example, it cut off supplies to Ukraine in 2007 and again in 2009. This did a great deal of damage to Gazprom’s already ailing reputation as a reliable energy partner, so the thought of the state-owned Russian company tightening its energy grip on an important new EU member country carried with it too much risk.
With gas demand in Europe rising more slowly than anticipated, the price of liquefied natural gas from Asia falling sharply thanks to America’s booming shale gas industry, and the increasing excitement over shale deposits in Eastern and Northern Europe, including Poland, fears over energy security no longer carry the weight they once did in the continent. However, with the future of the Nabucco project still uncertain (as is the outlook of its Russian rival pipeline, South Stream) it is vital for the EU not to relinquish control of large chunks of its members’ gas markets to Russia if it is serious about developing a common EU energy policy and reducing its dependence on Russian gas supplies.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
The European Commission on Oct. 29 threatened to take Poland to the European Court of Justice over an energy deal that calls for Poland to import more natural gas from Russia. The commission believes the deal violates an EU unbundling regulation, though Russia and Poland have said the agreement complies with the requirement. Russia is Poland’s only option in the short to medium term for natural gas supplies, and while the European Union wants to prevent a Russian energy monopoly, its efforts could be backfiring in Poland.
Russia and Poland signed a new natural gas agreement Oct. 29 in Warsaw after months of negotiations and delays. The agreement calls for Poland’s imports of Russian natural gas to increase from 7.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year to more than 9 bcm and will be in effect from 2011-2022. In response, the European energy commissioner’s office has threatened to take Poland to the European Court of Justice if the agreement does not conform to the EU unbundling regulation, which requires that energy companies separate their production from transportation assets. With the Polish-Russian natural gas deal, the European Commission wants the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which carries Russian natural gas via Belarus to Poland and Germany, to be operated by an independent regulator.
The commission’s insistence that the deal between Poland and Russia conform to the EU unbundling regulation could sour Poland’s relationship with the commission. Until now, the Central European states have considered the commission a potential protector against a Russian energy monopoly. However, Warsaw has already expressed its displeasure at the commission for taking issue with the Russia deal, which brought Poland closer — at least in terms of a working relationship — to Russia.
The agreement between Russia and Poland primarily is a result of economics, rather than politics. Poland’s economy has continued growing, and so has its energy consumption. Furthermore, Warsaw expects to become more reliant on natural gas as it attempts to conform to EU environmental standards that likely will force it to stop using coal for electricity generation. Poland therefore needs more natural gas, and it has turned to Russia, which is a major natural gas provider to Poland and many other Central European countries, to increase its supplies. While Poland has reasons to be wary of becoming even more dependent on Moscow for energy and has touted diversifying away from Russian energy, finding a comparable energy source simply cannot be done immediately. Until Poland’s shale gas development (still in its infancy) and plans to build a liquefied natural gas plant (expected in 2014) come online, Poland will continue to rely on natural gas — which means it will continue to rely on Russia.
But the European Union has been extremely hesitant to accept this deal on the terms it was made. The union wants energy producers — both Russian and European — to allow independent producers access to energy infrastructure in order to spur competition and lower prices. A geopolitical purpose behind the legislation is to break Gazprom’s monopoly by encouraging competitors not only in Europe but also in Russia by forcing Gazprom to give up its exclusive right to pump natural gas through Europe’s main pipelines. The Yamal-Europe pipeline is jointly operated within Poland by Gazprom via a subsidiary, EuRoPol Gaz, and the Polish Oil and Gas Company (PGNiG). Gazprom and PGNiG each own a 48 percent stake in EuRoPol Gaz, and 4 percent ownership is in the hands of a Polish investor. The EU unbundling regulation therefore requires EuRoPol Gaz to give control of Yamal-Europe to Gaz-System, a Polish independent operator in charge of overseeing access to the Polish natural gas pipeline network owned by the Polish Treasury.
Both Russian and Polish officials announced Oct. 29 that the new deal conforms to EU demands. However, the European Commission has said it cannot verify this until it sees the contract and if it does not see the contract, along with details of how Gaz-System would regulate the Yamal-Europe pipeline, it will pursue legal action against Warsaw. The commission’s reaction might have been prompted not by the lack of details on the agreement, but by comments EuRoPol Gaz CEO Miroslaw Dobrut made Oct. 27 indicating that Gaz-System would only regulate whatever capacity is left in Yamal-Europe that is not already used up by Gazprom’s shipments. When asked how much excess capacity there is now, Dobrut said there was none. This is certainly very different from what the EU believes Gaz-System should be doing, which is allowing third-party producers access to the pipeline. From Gazprom’s perspective, however, giving up control of a pipeline that it invested $15.6 billion in during the 1990s not only makes little business sense, it is tantamount to private property appropriation. And for Warsaw, the commission’s demands are detrimental if compliance means that Poland will get no natural gas.
Poland and Russia have therefore chosen to work around the EU demand. The question is now how far the European Commission wants to take its fight with Russia’s Gazprom and a sizeable EU member state. Warsaw is already irked by EU involvement in the deal. On more than one occasion, Polish officials have pointed out that Germany’s deal with Gazprom over NordStream has not received the same level of scrutiny from the European Union. Essentially, Poland is beginning to see the union not as an ally in its efforts to become energy independent but as a nuisance. Meanwhile, Russia has been accommodating during the negotiations, even choosing to extend natural gas shipments past an Oct. 20 deadline as another sign of the “charm offensive” aimed at Warsaw. Also, Russian oil company Rosneft expressed interest on Oct. 29 of investing in the privatization of Polish energy companies.
In the short to medium term, Poland has no alternative to Russian natural gas. This puts Warsaw in a vulnerable position, and Poland does not need the European Union making it any more vulnerable. Ironically, Brussels’ efforts to break Gazprom’s monopoly could be turning Poland into an appreciative Russian energy customer.
“Russia-Poland Energy Deal Prompts Threat of Legal Action” is republished with permission of STRATFOR
Russian forces create tension at the Ukrainian borders
Konstantin Gryshchenko discussed with the Europeans the problem of Transnistria.
To solve the Transnistrian conflict is necessary to find such an option, which would include the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria. On this Wednesday in Brussels, said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Konstantin Gryshchenko. This provoked a mixed reaction in Kiev and Chisinau, suggesting that Ukraine in the Transnistrian settlement takes no side in Moscow and the EU.
EU’s position is known: Russia must fulfill the Istanbul agreement and withdraw its troops from Moldova. Brussels is in this for 15 years and recently has been particularly active advocates with relevant statements. Known and the condition of Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel transferred to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: Berlin will support the initiative of President of the Russian Federation concerning European security, if Moscow withdraws its troops from Transnistria.
At a recent meeting in Deauville, the Transnistrian issue has been discussed already in expanded format: to Merkel and Medvedev joined French President Nicolas Sarkozy. After the summit, Dmitry Medvedev, said that conflict can be resolved and conditions for this, but we must wait for a regime change in Moldova and then sit at the negotiating table leaders in Chisinau and Tiraspol. Medvedev described in this party, from which will depend on the final decision: This is in addition to the conflict Russia, EU, and Romania.Ukraine from the formula of the Moldovan-Transnistrian reconciliation fell. It is recalled after a speech by Konstantin Gryshchenko in Brussels.
“We believe that you need a comprehensive solution that eliminates the presence of troops there (in Transnistria. -” NG “)” – quoted the head of the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine news agency Interlic.
It should be noted that in Transnistria deployed Operational Group of Russian Forces (OGRF), securing ammunition dumps left over from the 14 th Army, and the formation of the peacekeeping battalions of the Russian Federation.
Verkhovna Rada deputy of the faction “Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense Kaskiv told Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the presence of Russian troops in Transnistria, is working to escalate tensions in the region and it can not but worry Kiev.The more so because everything is in close proximity to the Ukrainian border. In his opinion, the Russian military must leave the Transnistrian region.
Verkhovna Rada deputy of the Party of Regions Inna Theological commented on the situation, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta:” We are interested in the withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria, but only after the Transnistrian conflict will be resolved and Transnistria is endowed with the appropriate status. Before the withdrawal can be no question. “ In her opinion, the statement Gryshchenko is consistent with the Medvedev-Yanukovych memorandum, in which “it was about changing the format of MS under the auspices of the OSCE after the Transnistrian issue.”
“The military presence of Russia in Transnistria – is not just a peacekeeping operation under the mandate of the CIS in the zone of conflict on the Dniester, but an instrument of deterrence of the Euro-Atlantic sentiment in Ukraine, the penetration into the region of Romania and NATO control of the situation in the region as a whole”, – noted in an interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta Director of the Center for Civil Society Problems Vitaly Kulik.
The expert noted that “Kiev is not interested in maintaining the peace operation of hard-security, based on a Russian military contingent in Transnistria. The Ukrainian side has always pointed to the need to change the mandate and the expansion of operations due to its internationalization (holding the EU). But the pedal this issue, set any conditions of the Ukrainian side will not. “ Although, according to Kulik, Ukraine has a “golden share in the Transnistrian settlement process, and solve the Transnistrian problem without it will not.”
Kulik said that the Deauville was the beginning of the settlement process. He did not rule out the possibility that Moscow could agree (in exchange for some preference in the field of European security) to change the format of the peacekeeping operation: a “hard” (hard – the military) to “soft” (soft – police), even under the mandate of the OSCE ” .
In Chisinau, also rely on the effectiveness of Deauville. ”It said that the expectations associated with the new power in our country. We have 28 November – Parliamentary elections. The main thing – to find a compromise formula of reconciliation, which would suit all parties concerned and the withdrawal of troops, “- said the” NG “honorary chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova Dumitru Diacov.
Humanist Party leader, former Defense Minister of Moldova Valeriu Pasat believes that the main thing – not the withdrawal of troops and ammunition dumps that are stored on the left bank of the Dniester. There are more than 20 tons. ”Withdraw troops – meant to take the banner to load the military and get in the echelons. And what to do with weapons – to equip them Transdniestrians? “- Asked the politician. He said the Nezavisimaya Gazeta that withdrawal can not be separated from the settlement process is interrelated.
Director of the European Institute for Political Studies, Viorel Cibotaru attention Nezavisimaya Gazeta that the four major parties, which is over all forecasts will be included in the Parliament – The Communist Party (leader – former President Vladimir Voronin), Liberal (Acting President Ghimpu ), Liberal Democratic (Prime Minister Vladimir Filatov) and Democratic (former Speaker of the Parliament Marian Lupu) – “would come from the law on Transnistria, adopted in 2005, which reads: Russian troops must withdraw from the territory of the republic.” At one time, the Communists, said the expert, once in office, offered not only to withdraw Russian forces, but also to disarm both banks of the Dniester, that is to demilitarize the region. Nevertheless, said Cibotaru, will these political forces that would seek a compromise between this law and the settlement plan, known as the “Kozak Memorandum” – he assumes the federalization of the Republic of Moldova. And it will be a compromise between the proposals of Moscow and Chisinau.
The head of state did not understand why he had not asked permission
Islamabad identifies certain groups for negotiations, including the Haqqani network but the US does not agree.
ISLAMABAD: Behind-the-scene efforts to seek peace with insurgents fighting Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan have made little or no progress because of differences between Pakistan and the US over the definition of‘reconcilable’ Taliban.
The Express Tribune has learnt that Islamabad, as part of the reconciliation efforts to find an end to the years of bloodshed in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas, has identified certain groups for negotiations. One such group is North Waziristan-based al Qaeda-inspired Haqqani network.
But the US does not agree. “This is the real contentious point. Pakistan believes the Haqqani network is reconcilable but the US certainly does not think that is the case,” a senior American diplomat told The Express Tribune.
Requesting not to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, the diplomat questioned the wisdom of Pakistan over considering a group reconcilable, which has strong links with al Qaeda.
Led by aging Jalauddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, the group has strongholds in Afghanistan’s Paktia, Paktika and Khost provinces. But, it has also foot soldiers in several parts of the war-ravaged country to fight the US-led Nato forces. And that is the reason the Obama administration has been pressing Pakistan to eliminate ‘safe heavens’ of the group from the tribal areas.
But, Pakistan’s policymakers think differently.
“The US policy is really confusing at this stage. They want reconciliation yet they ask Pakistan to target groups who can be helpful for a political settlement,” remarked a military official. “We have been telling the Americans that don’t alienate all elements of the Afghan Taliban by using force against them,” said the official, who requested not to be identified.
He said Pakistan does not believe that launching an offensive against the Haqqani network at this stage will be in the ‘national interest.’
“The Haqqani network has to play a major role in any future political settlement of Afghanistan,” he added. And this is why, Pakistan is very careful about going after them, he maintained.
A senior foreign ministry official talks more candidly. “We do not consider the Afghan Taliban as Pakistan’s enemies. They never threaten us, they are our assets,” was the blunt response of the official when asked to share Islamabad’s perspective on the Afghan Taliban.
US officials say this confirms their fear that Pakistan has a ‘hands-off’ approach towards certain groups. “Pakistan has nurtured groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba as their assets and now the same militant organisations are haunting you,” said a senior US diplomat. “Gen Patreaus and Gen Kayani have been discussing these issues regularly,” he said.
He said the Obama administration is in favour of reconciliation but not with groups identified by Pakistan.
“It is a known fact that the Haqqani network is closely-linked with al Qaeda and this is a disqualification,” he said.
Former ambassador to Afghanistan Rustam Shah Mohmand said Pakistan would have to pay “a heavy price” if it goes after the Haqqani network.
“If Pakistan, for the sake of $2 billion in US aid, goes after the Haqqani network, it will have to face (serious) consequences over the next 50 years,” warned Mohmand, who is part of the Pakistan-Afghanistan jirga and considered to be linked with the military establishment.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 30th, 2010
China has told the US it will continue to be a “reliable supplier” of so-called “rare earth” minerals, key to the global high-tech industry.
China recently suspended export of the metals to Japan following a diplomatic spat.
But the US has pressed China, which has pledged not to use the minerals as a diplomatic weapon, to defuse the row.
Representatives from China and Japan also held informal talks on the fringes of an Asean conference in Vietnam.
“We have made very clear to both sides that we want the temperature to go down,” a US official said, following a meeting between Hillary Clinton and her Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, in Hanoi.
China produces some 97% of these valuable commodities, which are used to produce electronic items such as mobile phones.
The stoppage followed a spat between China and Japan last month over islands whose ownership is disputed.
Earlier, in Hawaii, Mrs Clinton said Chinese export restrictions were a “wake-up call” for the world to seek additional sources of rare earths.
By Dr. Haider Mehdi for Opinion Maker
On that side there is much mistrust, on this side such weakness!
Neither can she ask, nor am I able to speak. Let me pull myself together, O despair! What calamity is this? I am beginning to lose even the thread of thought about my love. (Narrate/translate here “love” as the “love” of my country – this thought added.)
Today, Pakistan is at the crossroads of its destiny: Either the deprived masses of this country, through a strongly demonstrated expression of their political will, will transform it into a sovereign, independent and dignified nation – or the incumbent ruling regime in Islamabad will turn this country into a permanent US-Nato subservient state fighting a war against its own people to infinity and auctioning out its armed forces to fight proxy wars for their “masters” in Washington, London, Bonn, Paris and elsewhere. It is a desperate situation, a calamity, the beginning of losing even “the thread” of one’s “love,” as Ghalib would have described it.
Zalmay Khalilzad, true to the literal meaning of the phonetic sound of his name (in the Urdu language the word “Zulam,” sounding like Zalmay, means the embodiment of cruelty), was one of the most vocal and staunch advocates of the war and a formidable and influential political actor in the invasion and destruction of his native land, Afghanistan. Now, in a New York Timesarticle entitled “Get Tough on Pakistan,” Zalmay Khalilzad is advocating a similar US foreign policy/military approach towards Pakistan: namely the unilateral invasion of Northern Waziristan by American troops and to carry the war into Pakistan’s territory using massive air-power and the incursion of troops by land routes.
The Zalmay approach is a recipe for the destruction of Pakistan. In addition, he also calls for a larger presence of CIA
operatives in the country and, in a nutshell, advocates a blue-print of turning Pakistan into a paid military-political satellite for serving the global financial interests of the US neo-conservative elite and multi-national corporations. Obviously, Zalmay is the front-line salesman of future American expansionist global policies. It is quite evident in the aforementioned article that Zalmay Khalilzad is projecting the mainstream American thinking on Pakistan and Afghanistan in terms of the future directions of US foreign policy in the South Asian region and in the Central Asian Islamic states.
Expounding on future American resolve in regards to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia, Zalmay states, “More fundamentally, the United States needs to demonstrate that, even after our troops depart Afghanistan, we are resolved to stay engaged in the region.” This is the crux of thinking in the elitist military-corporate oligarchies within the American political establishment. Pakistan is to be transformed into a precise American political-military tool, an instrument of US policy affirmation; in this context Zalmay states that “… among the options being discussed by American and Pakistani officials this week is a security pact that would mean billions of dollars more. But such efforts have led to only the most incremental shifts in Pakistan’s policy… to induce quicker and more significant changes, Washington must offer Islamabad a stark choice between positive incentives and negative consequences.”
In the context of Pakistan’s on-going contemporary political-military engagement with the US, it is vitally important to fully understand the mindset and political conduct of important American political actors, such as Zalmay Khalilzad, as they reflect the mainstream ideological and strategic thinking of the inner-most ruling elite in Washington. Zalmay, like the majority of the powerful inner circle of foreign policy decision-makers in the US, suffers from a historically macho but pathological psychosis related to insecurity. In psychological terms, it is called the “megalomania” syndrome: the desire to feel superior and the deeply imbedded compulsion to have “power” over others – with a self-induced perception of grandeur and majestic command. The psychological impetus in this kind of behavior, though not genetic, comes from deep-seated feelings of inferiority, reasserted as brutal, unscrupulous pursuit of power, prestige and domination. These are the driving forces in the American psychic.
It is true that America has been an innovative leader in science, technology, medical science, information technology and above all in weapons engineering, but advancement in science and technology, in itself, does not produce a
humanitarian ideology of compassion for human life. It is precisely this element which has been the missing link in the sociological paradigm of American political conduct when it comes to dealing with non-white, non-Judeo-Christian people and nations with diverse economic-political ideologies different from the US belief system. America has carried out massive killing and destruction all over the world on account of these factors. And now, American political heavyweight neo-conservatives, among them Zalmay Khalilzad, are advocating more destruction and killings in Pakistan, Iran and possibly in the entire region in the near future. This is 21st century and the US-Nato are still wholly devoted to the 19th and 20th century colonial mindset. However, they cannot fool the world any longer.
Pakistan’s national tragedy in its deadlock of alliance with the US-Nato is that the incumbent political clan in Islamabad is not very different in its “megalomaniac” affliction than its counterparts in Washington and West European capitals. The incumbent regime in Pakistan is power hungry – it will do anything to stay in power – even marginalize the nation to an onerous, oppressive and burdensome existence of a total subservient state serving US-Nato global interests and hegemonic objectives at the expense of its people. It will surrender Pakistan’s sovereignty, its dignity, its territorial integrity and even push the nation into an endless war – to please its “masters” in Washington and the Nato capitals. Megalomaniac leaderships have no limits and no boundaries in their irrational political conduct. But the question is: how long will the Zardari-Gilani clan defy growing public discontent with the intrusive American-Nato political behavior in this country?
What Pakistan needs is a surgical strike at the US-Nato military adventurism inside Pakistan’s territory. Should it shoot down the next drone that violates Pakistan’s air space and kills Pakistani citizens?
Indeed, the choice rests with Washington and Nato headquarters. If Zalmay and neo-cons can advocate the extension of a full-scale American war inside Pakistan, then why can’t Pakistan respond in kind to defend itself against a blatant “act of war”?
Zalmay, in his article “Get Tough on Pakistan,” wrote, “… The United States should…carry out operations… with or without Pakistani consent. Arguments that such pressures would cause Pakistan to disintegrate are overstated. Pakistan’s institutions, particularly the country’s security organs, are sufficiently strong to preclude such an outcome.”
Indeed, Zalmay is right in assessing the power of Pakistan’s armed forces. Hence, I advocate the shooting of the next drone that flies Pakistan’s skies – a sufficiently powerful communicative political act for pre-damage control against an evolving US-Nato policy and possible emerging military adventurism inside Pakistan.
Indeed, Obama would not want to put his presidency and re-election at stake by dragging his feet into yet another war. Would he? He knows better than that.
Oh despair! What calamity is this?
Let me pull myself together… As Ghalib would have said!
First and foremost, the entire nation should speak out and let the “megalomaniac” ruling elite in the power corridors of Islamabad know that they will not take any more “torments” of their “love”… the destruction of their country.
The Zardari-Gilani regime cannot be a part of the solution to Pakistan’s problematic…!
They are a part of the problem!