Soros Recruiting Young Revolutionaries from Central Asian Target Countries

Get tuned to young people from your region!

Written by Abulfazal

Soros Foundations in Central Asia organize “Youth in the 21st Century: Debating and Producing Media” summer camp that will last for 12 days (yahoo!) with young brilliant people aged 17 to 25.

So here is a deal:

Apart from age, the following thing is the last requirement: participants must be young people from Afghanistan, KazakhstanKyrgyzstan, Mongolia, TajikistanTurkmenistan and Uzbekistan to be eligible for applying.

“This is a regional series of workshops that will be held during the summer and early autumn of 2011 for young people throughout the world. These workshops teach youth to be effective producers of media information by equipping them to produce and package content towards creating a better society,” Soros Foundation’s press-release says.

Purpose: bring together young people from different countries of the region to learn about issues within their society, debate them, and produce media projects about the relationship between media and society.

Participants will debate issues relating to how the media and youth do and should interact as well as what role this relationship plays in society at large. To provide a background for debates, participants will conduct research and have the chance to interact with local, regional and international experts in the journalism field. Finally, participants will improve their skills in actually producing new media by learning from instructors and making their own media projects.

Dates: July 7th – July 20th, 2011
Venue: Talisman Village Hotel, Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan
Language of instruction: English (please note that translation from English WILL NOT be provided)

All costs associated with participation in a workshop (travel, visa, accommodation and meals) will be covered by organizers.

Another Battalion of Georgian Troops To Help Fill Gap In Afghanistan

Georgia to Send More Troops to Afghanistan in 2012

Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Jun.’11

Georgia will send an additional battalion to Afghanistan next year, which will turn the country into the largest non-NATO ISAF contributor, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said on June 9.

The issue was discussed in Brussels during a meeting on June 9 between Georgian Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia and General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Meeting of NATO Defence Ministers with non-NATO ISAF contributing nations was held in Brussels on June 9.

“At the meeting [Akhalaia and Gen. Petraeus] discussed the decision to send additional Georgian battalion to Afghanistan. Gen. Petraeus welcomed this decision,” the Georgian MoD said in a statement on June 9.

Georgia, which has 925 servicemen in Afghanistan, has lost total of eight soldiers since joining the ISAF mission in November, 2009.

Another issue discussed with Gen. Petraeus was a proposal to create a NATO-standard center to provide pre-deployment trainings for international operations, the Georgian MoD said.

India averse to inking military pacts with U.S.

India averse to inking military pacts with U.S.

SANDEEP DIKSHIT

Washington upset after Boeing and Lockheed Martin knocked out of race for combat aircraft

As the dust over rejection of two U.S. companies from the Rs. 11,000-crore Indian Air Force tender for fighter aircraft settles, official sources said the United States would also have to reconcile with India’s unwillingness to sign three military pacts.

The U.S. was extremely upset after Boeing and Lockheed Martin were knocked out of the race for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA).

The issue figured in the May 9 conversation between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and U.S. President Barack Obama after the U.S. Embassy contended that the evaluation was not transparent.

The final report listed some qualitative requirements not met by the U.S. companies. But Washington claimed that these deficiencies were not mentioned in the initial report.

However, India has been unwavering in backing the evaluation of some 600 qualitative requirements of the six fighters in contention.

While the U.S. was denied a strategic foothold in the IAF’s offensive capabilities segment, it could face continued stonewalling with respect to three military pacts — Logistics Sharing Agreement (LSA), Communication Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA).

The Indian attitude a month ahead of the strategic dialogue between External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is to keep the issue away from the main agenda.

NO HIDDEN OBJECTIVE

The U.S. argues that there is no hidden aim behind the LSA. It is an inter-bank type of clearing arrangement — there will be periodical settlement of accounts for the use of each other’s facilities.

For instance, Indian naval ships have had 45 refuellings from the U.S. ships in the Gulf of Aden. Under the LSA, payments need not be made each time. The expenses could be adjusted against the money owed to India if U.S. ships came calling here.

But the Indian leadership feels that the LSA will give the impression of a strategic agreement with the Pentagon in military operations.

After the Defence-Secretary level Defence Policy Group (DPG) meeting in Washington earlier this year, both sides agreed to work towards a more “mature arrangement.” But there was no “question of a blanket agreement,” said the official sources.

India confronts a technical issue in signing the CISMOA, though officials feel it sounds heavier than it is. They also feel that interoperability, as argued by the U.S., need not be dependent on signing the CISMOA.

The communication will be encrypted and no other algorithm can be used on the system. During joint exercises, U.S. personnel sit on Indian ships with their own equipment.

But on aircraft there is no space for two or three different kinds of equipment.

The Navy and the Air Force have said they had no problems either way but politically this remains a sensitive issue though officials say it is not as heavy as it sounds.

India also has reservations on the third military agreement sought by the U.S. — BECA. The U.S. says the pact will enable C-130 and C-17 planes to fly close to the ground.

This entails installation of ground sensors, which none in the security establishment, except the Defence Research & Development Organisation is keen on.

Moscow Irked by U.S. Meddling In Territorial Dispute with Japan

Moscow irked by U.S. role in territorial dispute with Japan

Moscow reacted angrily on Thursday to Washington’s possible involvement in theRussian-Japanese territorial dispute over to the Kuril Islands.

The reaction came in response to recent U.S.-Japanese consultations at the level of foreign and defense ministers who agreed to facilitate the normalization of Russian-Japanese relations by resolving the issue of “the Northern Territories.”

Both Japan and Russia have laid claims to the South Kuril Islands, called the Northern Territories by the Japanese, since they were annexed by the Soviet Union at the end of World War II. The dispute has prevented the two countries from signing a peace treaty to formally end hostilities.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said U.S. interference in the dispute was “inappropriate.”

“Questioning Russia’s sovereignty over the South Kuril Islands, which are part of Russia’s territory as a result of World War II, as enshrined in the UN Charter, is inappropriate,” the ministry said in a statement.

The long-standing territorial dispute escalated last November following Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to one of the four South Kuril Islands. Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan called Medvedev’s trip “inexcusable rudeness,” sparking an angry reaction from the Kremlin.

Russia blasts U.S. Navy maneuvers near Georgia

Russia blasts U.S. Navy maneuvers near Georgia

American USS Monterey cruiser

American USS Monterey cruiser

MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti)

Russia is outraged at the maneuvers of American USS Monterey cruiser carrying the AEGIS air defense system near the Georgian coast on the Black Sea, the Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

The U.S. warship arrived for joint exercises with Georgia as part of the Phased Adaptive Approach program designed to shape the European segment of the U.S.-led project to build a global missile defense system, the Trend news agency said.

“The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier expressed concern that along with negotiations on cooperation in the global air defense system, [the U.S.] is conducting simultaneous ‘reconnaissance’ operations near the borders of our country,” the ministry said.

Russia has been deeply concerned over U.S. plans to deploy a European air defense system near the Russian borders, saying it threatened its national security. Washington said it needed the system as a shield against possible threats from Iran or North Korea.

“And now this American warship has demonstratively entered the Georgian port of Batumi,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

Relations between Russia and Georgia have been complicated in the past decade. Russia has traditionally supported Georgia’s breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, while Georgia has been looking to join NATO.In 2008, Russia and Georgia fought a five-day war over the two breakaway Georgian republics, after which Russia recognized them both as being independent states.

“Whatever the explanations are, it is clear that the Georgian authorities will see the incident as encouragement for their ambitions for revenge against the Russian allies of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is unlikely to help stability in the region,” the ministry said.

Russian diplomats said they expected a more constructive approach from U.S. authorities, which would help provide security in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region as a whole and respect the interests of all local countries.

Report: Bushehr experts killed in Russian plane crash

[An accident that kills Russia's top nuclear reactor specialists, just as they are entering into multiple contracts to build new reactors (SEE: Top Russian Reactor Designers Among Those Killed In Russia Aircrash ), has to raise suspicions of sabotage by Russia's greatest economic competitor.   This report is running in tandem with a report of repeated attempts to blind incoming Russian pilots at Moscow's Domodedovo International Airport (SEE: New attempt to blind Russian pilot with laser ).  Many more strategic coincidences like this might cause the Kremlin to wonder about its "reset" partners.]

Report: Bushehr experts killed in Russian plane crash

Iranian nuclear efforts suffer major setback as five leading figures in design of its nuclear facilities perish in crash

Stav Spivak

The crash site Photo: Reuters

Five Russian scientists who assisted in the design of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant were among the 44 fatalities of Monday’s Russian plain crash, Moscow’s International News Agency RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

The Tupolev-134 plane broke up and caught fire upon making an emergency landing outside the northern city of Petrozavodsk. A preliminary investigation ruled out the possibility of a technical failure.

Three of the experts – Sergei Rizhov, Gennadi Benyok, and Nicolai Tronov – were among the atom facility’s designers. Andrei Trokinov, a top Russian nuclear technological expert, was also killed, as was Valery Lalyn, another nuclear expert.

The five worked at Bushehr and were to ensure the facility would withstand natural disasters.

The five were employed by Hydropress, a member-organization of Russia’s State Nuclear Corporation. Hydropress is one of the main companies involved in the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, and is also involved in projects in China, India and Bulgaria.

Novosti sources said that the deaths were “a great blow to the Russian nuclear industry.”

According to the news agency’s sources, no foul play was involved.

Obama Pressures Zardari Before Planned Trip To Iranian Anti-Terror Summit

[I will be extremely surprised if Zardari and Gilani dare to go to Iran, especially at this time.]

AFP

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (L) speaks at a meeting with US President Barack Obama (AFP/File, Mandel Ngan)

President Obama telephones Pakistan’s Zardari

(AFP)

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and the United States agreed to take steps to repair ties as President Barack Obama telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday, Islamabad said.

Relations between the two countries, wary at the best of times, deteriorated sharply after US Navy SEALs found and killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad on May 2.

“The two leaders agreed to take appropriate steps to repair the ties between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit,” the Pakistani presidency said in a statement.

The bin Laden raid humiliated the Pakistani military and invited allegations of incompetence and complicity, while Washington has increasingly demanded that Islamabad take decisive action against terror networks in the tribal badlands on the border with Afghanistan.

“President Obama appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in the fight against militancy,” the statement said.

“President Zardari said that the fight against extremism was Pakistan’s own and it had to fight it to the finish in its own national interest”.

The leaders also “agreed to have regular contacts and interaction at appropriate levels for the resolution of issues”.

Pakistan has come under mounting American pressure to open a ground offensive in the border tribal district of North Waziristan, considered the premier bastion of Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants and a target for most of the US drone strikes.

But Lieutenant General Asif Yasin Malik, the corps commander supervising all operations in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, recently said the army would undertake an operation when it wanted to.

Many analysts see the drone strikes as compounding pressure on Pakistan to take action.

But the strikes are hugely unpopular among the general public, who are deeply opposed to the government’s alliance with Washington, but US officials say the missile strikes have severely weakened Al-Qaeda’s leadership.

Another Round of Central Asian Children Sucked Into the Belly of the Beast

Central Asian youth leaders attend democracy workshop

P G

BISHKEK: The week-long Summer School of Democracy 2011 for 95 young Central Asian activists began June 13, according to a June 12 UN Development Program (UNDP) statement. During the week, 95 participants – ages 18 to 28 – will discuss critical regional issues and listen to politicians, business owners, civil society representatives and experts. The program is meant to promote civic education and strengthen community leadership.

Haqqani, other top militants contact HPC

Haqqani, other top militants contact HPC

Farzad Lameh

KABUL: Some top Taliban officials and members of the North Waziristan-based Haqqani Group have contacted the Afghan High Peace Council (HPC), HPC officials have announced. “We are in contact with them, and so far we have achieved many things as a result of our efforts,” Hawa Alam Nuristani, a member of the HPC, said. “This is one of the militants’ pre-conditions – that they shouldn’t be named before reaching any deal.” “In the past five months, we have made contact with those who are involved in armed conflict, including (Gulbuddin) Hekmatyar and the Quetta Shura and Haqqani network,” HPC Chairman and Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani told the lower house of parliament June 2. “It would be difficult to end the insurgency soon,” Nuristani said. “It will take time for all sides to come up with an agreement.” “We’re working, and we are hopeful for the outcome,” she said. Ajmal Sohil, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, agreed with Nuristani’s assessments. “Militants have no other choice except to set up peace talks with the Peace Council or directly with the Afghan government,” he told Central Asia Online. “While Pakistan and Afghanistan are setting up negotiations on peace in the region, the Taliban are accelerating their attacks, (a move) aimed at getting more from the peace talks.” All sides – including Kabul and the international community – must try to make contact somehow with the militants, Sohil said. The HPC, though, has criticized some western countries for trying to negotiate directly with the militants. A number of militants willing to lay down arms and join the re-integration process are asking officials not to name or show them on TV, Mukhlis Afghan, spokesman for the Paktika provincial governor, said. Such requests stem from “security reasons,” Afghan said, “Because they are going back to their districts or villages and don’t want to be targeted by the Taliban.”

The Saudi Arabian Moment

[The Saudis will continue to carry Obama's anti-Iranian offensive until it becomes their turn for the double-cross.]

The Saudi Arabian Moment

by Lawrence Davidson

The Saudis do not like President Barak Obama and his administration. The reason is straightforward. They do not like the what

 the administration says to them. They say things that Riyadh does not want to hear and, in their ears, sound downright dangerous.

An Analyses

By Prof Lawrence Davidson
Part I – Saudi Power

The Saudis do not like President Barak Obama and his administration. The reason is straightforward. They do not like the what the administration says to them. They say things that Riyadh does not want to hear and, in their ears, sound downright dangerous. For instance, the Obama administration has advised the Saudis, and the rest of the rulers in the Arab world, to get out ahead of the region’s growing protest movements and make democratic reforms. The Saudis have no tradition of democracy beyond the tribal advisory council. Before they were kings and princes, they were desert sheiks. Obama’s advice sounds like an erstwhile ally telling them to surrender. In the Bedouin tradition strong leaders do not surrender without a struggle.

The Saudis have shown their frustration with Washington in a number of dramatic ways. One was their coming to the rescue of the Bahraini monarchy (more sheikhs now calling themselves kings) and supporting the outright fascist reaction that regime has been practicing on its majority Shi’ite citizens. The Saudi’s are Wahhabi Sunnis, the most conservative of Muslims, and they do not care what happens to the Shi’ites. They view them as heretics and suspect that the ones in Bahrain are acting as the pawns of Iran (who they fear as a rising Shi’ite regional power). So the Bahraini terror seems a good and necessary thing in Riyadh. This writer finds the Saudi attitude in relation to Bahrain despicable.

The second way the Saudis have shown their frustration is by pointing a finger at U.S. hypocrisy. This was done in a sharp, no-nonsense op-ed by Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal in the Washington Post of 10 June 2011. Turki has strong credentials. He has been the Saudi ambassador to both the U.S. and the U.K. He has been his country’s chief of intelligence. And while he presently holds no government office (which is probably why he was the one who authored this op-ed) his sentiments undoubtedly reflect those of the Saudi government. So what did the prince say?
1. Referring to President Obama’s speech on events in the Middle East, Turki noted that “President Obama…admonished Arab governments to embrace democracy” while he “conspicuously failed to demand the same rights to self-determination for Palestinians–despite the occupation of their territory by the region’s strongest military power.”

2. Turki found equally depressing “the sight of Congress applauding the denial of basic human rights to the Palestinian people” when recently addressed by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. 

3. Taken together, the denial of such rights to the Palestinians, while calling for them for the rest of the Arab world was, in the Saudi view, a clear indicator that “any peace plans co-authored by the United States and Israel would be untenable and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will remain intractable as long as U.S. policy is unduly beholden to Israel.”

4. Thus, “in the absence of productive negotiations, the time has come for Palestinians to bypass the United States and Israel and to seek direct international endorsement of statehood at the United Nations. They will be fully supported in doing so by Saudi Arabia.

If the Saudis have it all wrong in Bahrain, they have it all right on Palestine. But the message does not stop here. Turki proceeds to throw down the gauntlet, so to speak.

5. “American leaders have long called Israel an ‘indispensable’ ally. They will soon learn that there are other players in the region…who are as, if not more, ‘indispensable.’ The game of favoritism toward Israel has not proven wise for Washington, and soon it will be shown to be an even greater folly….There will be disastrous consequences for U.S.-Saudi relations if the United States vetoes U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state.”

It should be noted that there is no legal basis for such a veto in the UN General Assembly, but the Obama administration could make things very difficult simply by twisting arms so as to get nations dependent on Washington to vote no on Palestinian recognition. That, by the way, is what the Truman administration did in 1948 in order to get the necessary yes votes for Israel’s recognition as a state (the vote was a close thing). It would be sadly ironic if the Obama administration tried the same tactic to defeat the Palestinian effort.

6. Turki concludes, “We Arabs used to say no to peace, and we got our comeuppance in 1967. In 2002 King Abdullah offered what has become the Arab Peace Initiative….it calls for an end to the conflict based on land for peace….Now, it is the Israelis who are saying no. I’d hate to be around when they face their comeuppance.”
It would be dangerous to consider this a bluff. Turki is quite right when he says that there are others in the Middle East region who are more indispensable to the United States and the West in general than Israel. For instance, any and all of the oil producers of the area. To demonstrate this the Saudis do not have to repeat the oil embargo of 1973. All they have to do is cut back on production a little bit at a time and pressure the other Arab producers to do so as well. If they do that President Obama will be campaigning in 2012 with gasoline at above $5 a gallon. Nor will the price come down just because he loses to Mitt Romney or some other candidate in an elephant costume. It is unlikely to come down until the Palestinians have a just peace.

Part II – Israeli Power

Against this reference to very real Saudi power we have Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s latest bit of legerdemain. In a Rome press conference the Prime Minister, backed up by the smiling approval of his Italian counterpart, Silvio Berlusconi, told the world that “the problem is not the settlements; the root of the conflict is the fact that the Palestinians refuse to recognize the existence of the Jewish state.” Later on Netanyahu elaborated, “This is an insoluble conflict because it is not about territory….Until the Palestinians agree to accept Israel – not just as a country, but as a Jewish state – it will be impossible to move forward.”

All Israeli leaders seem to have possessed this power to create illusions. Here Netanyahu manifests this by moving the peace process goalpost simply by the spoken word. This magic act seems to be underpinned by the spectators complete lack of historical memory and perspective. So, Netanyahu is able to say historically incorrect things and get away with it. Here is what he left out:

1. In 1993 the Palestine Liberation Organization, then led by Yasir Arafat, formally recognized the state of Israel . At the time it was clearly understood what the “state of Israel” meant. No one was trying to play fast and loose by leaving out a descriptive term like “Jewish.” Arafat himself latertold the Guardian newspaper that it was “clear and obvious” both that Israel was and will be Jewish and the refugee problem has to be solved in a way that maintained that Jewish character.

2. Then there is the information revealed by the leaked Palestine Papers (January 2011). What they showed was that Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) and his follows had offered the Israelis just about every thing they wanted. As I noted at that time, Abbas and his colleagues “were willing to accept the Bantustans, to give up almost all of Jerusalem, to turn their backs on 99% of the Palestinian refugees, to look the other way as the people of Gaza were slaughtered and to even serve as an ally of the Israeli occupation forces on the West Bank. By the time they were done there was nothing left that was worth fighting for. As the PNA’s chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat told U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, they had done everything but “convert to Zionism.” And yet, the Israelis scorned the Palestinian compromises.”

Now, one can say that Netanyahu is so narrow minded and under-informed that he does not remember 1993 or Arafat’s subsequent clarification to the Guardian. But he must remember the capitulation described in the Palestine Papers. After all, it happened partly on his own watch. So, what is it with him and his “Jewish state”demand? The only logical conclusion is that Prime Minister Netanyahu is a “confidence artist” and he thinks of the rest of us, particularly the U.S. Congress, as his “marks.” Behind this illusion is the reality: the Israeli leadership is not interested in peace. Indeed, peace is to be avoided because it would necessarily stop their absorption of Palestinian land. This is really why it is “impossible to move forward.”

Part III – And The Winner Would Be….

What happens if the Saudis decide that the time really has come to exercise their immense economic power for the sake of the Palestinians? Can the power of the Israeli con artists successfully compete? Well here are some things to consider:

1. Zionist power outside of Palestine is confined to a small number of locales. That does not mean it is not real, but it does mean that its basis is shallow. For instance, its twin pillars are holocaust guilt and lobby influence. The latter, at least in the U.S., comes in the form of political payoffs. The Zionists also have media leverage but that influence is not as ubiquitous as it use to be. It is unclear just how long it would hold up in the face of serious economic counterweights.

2. Saudi Arabia’s power, on the other hand, is truly international and represents well founded, mass economic power. If the price of energy starts going higher and higher because the Saudis and other Arab oil producers cut back on production, the Zionists can’t do a thing about it. And what is Washington and the Europeans going to do? Invade Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, et. al.? That sort of thing happens in suspense novels and will only be advocated by fringe extremists of the John Bolton type. It is not likely to happen in the real world.

No. In this kind of confrontation the Zionists can not win. They are just not as indispensable as affordable energy. It is interesting that not much is being said about this in the U.S. media. Maybe the Zionists and their friends think that if they ignore the Saudis, they will just go away. Maybe they are praying for fusion power before September. Maybe they think it is all bluff.
Personally, I think it might just be Saudi Arabia’s moment. That it is Saudi power that can force a just peace on Washington and Tel Aviv. Let us hope so. For Palestine I’m ready to pay per gallon whatever it costs.