Life Beyond Capitalism

Quantum Note: Beyond Capitalism

By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal

The demise of the USSR did not alter the contours of the world; it merely made a small dent in the global distribution of power. To be sure, it ended the cold war, consolidated the gains of World War II for the Western world, liberated a small part of Europe from the iron clutches of communism, and led us into the nightmare of a unipolar world. While communism was wedded to dictatorship, capitalism has always been branded as eternally married to liberal democracy. A closer examination, however, reveals capitalism is, in many ways, the alter ego of communism and it is ethically as bankrupt as communism.

This was not apparent until recently, but now there are early signs of disappearance of the façade. People around the world are discovering the new face of capitalism as they march on the streets of financial capitals of the world amidst fears of a global economic collapse. Indeed, the global economy is under strain of an order it has never witnessed before. Movements as “Occupy Wall Street” are not only insisting that this is the case, they are, in fact, the desperate calls of humanity for release from the iron clutches of a morally bankrupt system. They are not only signs of discontent against an economic system, they are simultaneously indicative of a lack of confidence in the political system; people have finally realized that there is no choice left for them politically except to vote for one of the two parties, both of which sell the same goods.

These early signs may not be the start of the demise of capitalism, but there is no doubt that all brands of capitalism—the anglo-saxon, the neoliberalism, the Chinese-Singaporean capitalism with Asian values—all are fracturing from within. The most apparent indicators are emerging from USA where, according to the U.S. Census Bureau data released on September 13th, 2011, the nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% (approximately 43.6 million) in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993. The economic situation of other countries in the Western world is not rosy either. In fact, millions of people are now living under the looming shadow of economic collapse which may trigger mass social unrest.

After putting bandages on the Greek economy, the leaders of the Western world—the so-called G20 countries—are now preparing for emergency talks on averting a return to worldwide recession. While they move to the next emergency, the Greek bandages are already falling apart because of the popular discontent at the terms of the deal which has forced George Papandrou, the Greek Prime Minister, to seek a referendum on the deal which took months to finalize. While Europe deals with defaulting countries, the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation (ILO) has warned of the social effects of the continuing economic crisis, which could take until 2016 for global employment to return to the levels of three years ago.

No one from within the Western political leadership seems ready to acknowledge that there is something seriously wrong with the system; they are all looking for minor tune-ups and they are all living in the self-created utopia of a happy marriage between capitalism and the political system which has beget them. The magic cure they have found is creation of jobs through state-sponsored projects. Mega projects were first announced by President Obama, then by the Canadian Prime Minister and the latest came from David Cameron, who announced a fresh drive to create jobs through major infrastructure projects last week. This includes the construction of power plants at Ferrybridge, West Yorkshire, and Thorpe Marsh, South Yorkshire, creating 1,000 construction jobs.

The economic strains are translating into political strains: many citizens of Western democracy are realizing that though they live in so-called free societies, with elections every five years, authoritarianism is creeping at such a rate that its breath is upon their necks. Security threats have been blown out of proportion to institutionalize repression in the name of security: callous anti-terrorism laws passed by Bush-Blair and Co. now routinely insult passengers at airports, the camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral can’t be allowed, those who have finally come together to seek justice will be overcome, defeated by any means necessary, the right to peaceful protest notwithstanding.

This is not to say that there is no one in the Western world who is ready to acknowledge the inherent bankruptcy of capitalism; it is just that such voices are considered “interesting” and cast aside. The nameless millions living below poverty level are told that they are still better than millions out there, in the so-called developing world and there is no alternative to capitalism so they had better be silent. This breeds hopelessness, disempowerment, doom and gloom, which then translates into individual tragedies.

A recent work by Ha-joon Chang, a South Korean economist, currently a Reader in the Political Economy of Development, University of Cambridge23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism lays bare certain long-standing myths about capitalism. These are not shocking disclosures; merely common sense truths supported by fact and logic. Chang is not anti-capitalist, he simply recognizes the failings of centrally planned economies, describes capitalism as “the worst economic system except for all the others”. His book shows capitalism as it actually operates, but does not look deeper than that: he is not interested in looking at the links between capitalism and “democratic authoritarianism”; nor at the fundamental flaws of the system, yet it is instructive to see these insights from within the system.

What remains to be seen is how Capitalism will eventually come to its logical end and what will emerge from the rubble. There are no alternatives available for the Western world. The new and emerging economies in Asia, likewise, have no alternative; they will simply emulate the Western model with a sprinkle of Asian values. The slick veneer that has camouflaged the inherent ills of capitalism is now tearing and the world is finally able to make connections between events: the disgraceful Victorian work practices, the terror unleashed by Thatcher’s special police forces on black and Asian people and miners in the 1980s, and the current union of the high churchmen with the City of London are not isolated instances of failure of the system; they are veritable signs of its inherent moral bankruptcy.

Turkey Readies ‘15,000 Strong’ Army To Take On Syria

‘15,000 strong’ army gathers to take on Syria

An insurgent army which claims to be up to 15,000 strong is being coordinated from Turkey to take on President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, which risks plunging the region into open warfare.

Anti-government protesters shout slogans against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad

Anti-government protesters shout slogans against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad during the funeral of villagers killed on Wednesday, in Hula, near Homs Photo: REUTERS

By Ruth Sherlock, Antakya, Turkey

The national “Syrian Free Army” aims to be the “military wing of the Syrian people’s opposition to the regime”, its leader told The Daily Telegraph from a heavily guarded camp in eastern Turkey.

Confirmation of an armed force operating with the covert approval of the Turkish authorities follows evidence that attacks inside Syria are causing high levels of casualties in the security forces. It also shows the anger of Recep Tayipp Erdogan, the Turkish premier, with Mr Assad, a former ally whose failed promises of reform have caused a deep rift.

“We are the future army of the new Syria. We are not in league with any particular sect, religion or political party. We believe in protecting all elements of Syrian society,” the Army’s leader, Col Riad al-Assad, said.

Made up of defectors from the regime’s army, SFA fighters are conducting “high quality operations against government soldiers and security agents,” Col Assad said.

Last week the SFA claimed responsibility for the killing of nine Syrian soldiers in battles in a town in central Syria. On Friday a further 17 regime soldiers were reported killed in violent clashes with defected former comrades in the city of Homs, a hotbed of resistance.

The violence has continued this week. There have been unconfirmed reports that nine members of the minority Alawite sect to which Mr Assad belongs were dragged off a bus and killed, while 15 members of the security forces were killed by deserters on Wednesday in two attacks, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The escalation has given new urgency to Wednesday’s fragile agreement between the regime and the Arab League to withdraw the army from the streets. The Observatory said 20 more people died in Homs on Thursday from gunfire and shelling despite the supposed agreement, while today will see an even bigger test as activists challenge Mr Assad with street protests after Friday prayers.

Col Assad has an extensive Turkish personal security entourage, and access to him is controlled directly by the Turkish foreign ministry.

Turkey’s formal position that it has only a humanitarian role in Syria and Col Assad was coy on whether the SFA was conducting cross border operations.

But he said his men were operating across Syria. “Our fighters protect the borders of dissident towns and villages, and attack soldiers who gun down peaceful demonstrators,” he said. “We are armed with guns and ammunition stolen from the regime”.

The size of the movement is unclear, with estimates ranging from 5,000 to 15,000. Many defectors have fled across the border and are being hosted in guarded camps in Turkey.

Col Assad appealed to the international community to impose a ‘no fly zone’ and a ‘no sea zone’.

“We don’t have the ability to buy weapons, but we need to protect civilians inside Syria,” he said. “We want to make a ‘safe zone’ in the north of Syria, a buffer zone in which the SFA can get organised.” With a small weapons supply, his movement is not yet in a position to pose a serious threat to the regime, but its presence marks a definitive change to the original unified opposition policy of peaceful protest.

Col Assad said he wanted his force to be recognised as the military wing of the Syrian National Council – the umbrella political opposition announced at a conference in Istanbul.

“We are waiting for them to appoint a high delegation and send a representative to speak to us about how we can support their aims militarily,” he said.

A council member speaking anonymously confirmed that ‘off the table discussions’ were taking place. “Our commitment is, and has always been, peaceful resolution, but our patience has a limit,” the source said. “It depends on the political developments among the Arab League, the Middle East and the International Community.

“In 10 days we will present a new plan that is to include a military and political strategy. Here the issue of the SFA may well be put on the table.”

Disposal of quake debris begins

Disposal of quake debris begins

Kyodo

Work to dispose of debris from the quake-ravaged city of Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, began Thursday in Tokyo with about 30 tons arriving on a train at Tokyo Freight Terminal, the first load from Iwate to be accepted by a local government outside the Tohoku region.

News photo
Put to the test: Workers check the radiation levels of tsunami debris from Iwate Prefecture that arrived in Tokyo on Thursday morning. Officials said the results were well below the legal limit of 0.01 microsievert per hour. KYODO PHOTO

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to accept a total of 11,000 tons of debris from Miyako by next March, as part of plans to dispose of a combined 500,000 tons of debris from both Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, the areas hit hardest by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, by fiscal 2013.

At the terminal in Shinagawa Ward, debris containers were transshipped onto trucks to be carried to a crushing facility in Ota Ward, from where combustibles will be taken to an incinerator in Koto Ward.

Resulting ash and incombustibles are to be used as landfill in Tokyo Bay.

In light of radiation fears among residents, the metropolitan government plans to monitor and release data weekly on radiation levels in the air at the edge of the crushing premises and once a month on crushed waste, ash and exhaust gas, it said.

Its four crushing facilities, incinerator and landfill site are all located in an industrial zone facing Tokyo Bay.

Miyako is located 260 km north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, while Tokyo is roughly 220 km southwest of the plant.

Tepco denies criticality

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday the detection of radioactive xenon at its stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant, indicating recent nuclear fission, was not the result of a sustained nuclear chain reaction known as a criticality, as feared, but a case of “spontaneous” fission.

When it revealed Wednesday that it had detected at its crisis-hit No. 2 reactor xenon-133 and xenon-135, which are typically generated by nuclear fission and have relatively short half-lives, it touched on the possibility that melted fuel inside the reactor may have temporarily gone critical.

Tepco has been analyzing the phenomenon, which did not raise the reactor’s temperature or pressure, with support from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency.

The nuclear crisis at the plant, the world’s worst in 25 years, erupted in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, and resulted in the meltdown of nuclear fuel in the six-reactor power complex’s reactors 1, 2 and 3.

How to Be Outraged Effectively

[The Freedom House (Soros crowd) approach is intended to further the goals of the “Arab spring” subversives at the State Dept.  They insist that, whatever is done, be done in a fashion shaped to erode the state’s powers.  They are against any deal or compromise which doesn’t undermine Karimov’s rule.  Human rights issues cannot be our primary concern, if we are truly making the deal to acquire an escape route.

Our real concern should be with the military agreements that have been made, especially what military materiel is to be transferred to the Uzbek govt. and how that will upset the balance of power with Tajikistan, where issues like dams and water shortages threaten to turn hostile if the situation escalates.

We will not know the size or shape of that military aid until we understand what has been agreed to.  Did Karimov give Obama an escape route or a highway from Afghanistan into Central Asia?  Did  we collar the Asian Devel. Bank into upgrading the Uzbek A373 highway simply to gain egress for heavy equipment moving into the Ferghana Valley, where NATO forces could reinforce troops in Kyrgyzstan, especially in any unwanted eviction from Manas air base? ]

How to Be Outraged Effectively

by JOSHUA FOUST

There is a continuing debate over whether the U.S. government should work with the abusive government in Uzbekistan or not. On one side is a coalition of human rights groups who object to the idea of working with a notorious rights abuser, and on the other is a rag tag, and uncoordinated group of analysts, policymakers, and officials who really don’t see any other options in the region (I am a part of the latter group).

Freedom House, one of the organizations that drafted (pdf) an open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton imploring her not to reestablish relations with the Uzbek regime, has published a blogpost by Susan Corke, who left the State Department to head Freedom House’s Eurasia Program this year. Corke’s piece explains the primary objections to the arrangement. After reading it, however, I’m left more confused than ever about what, exactly, these human rights groups would have the U.S. government do.

For example, after noting the Uzbek government’s terrible human rights record, Corke asks, “why is the United States wooing one of the world’s most repressive regimes?” She answers her own question: Afghanistan, and the U.S. government’s need to use the Northern Distribution Network to move supplies and people out of Afghanistan as it withdraws. On this, everyone seems to agree: the U.S. is making a temporary alliance with the Karimov regime so it can withdraw from Afghanistan and maybe put pressure on Pakistan (a bonus to the policy which Corke does not mention). Corke, however, objects: “no policy goal is well served by sacrificing core values or downplaying strategic strengths.”

She goes on to complain that the U.S. government phoned Uzbek dictator Islom Karimov and hosted their Minister of Foreign Affairs.

This sort of high-level attention—with phone calls and visits involving the top representatives of the U.S. government—sends a troubling signal to elites, citizens, and beleaguered civil society activists, not only in Uzbekistan, but also in other authoritarian countries and in states that are teetering between democratic and authoritarian trajectories. To make matters worse, the courtship was not accompanied by basic steps like informing human rights groups of the planned secretarial visit early on, and soliciting their views on how to extract concessions from the Uzbek regime.

I’m not certain where Corke gets the idea that Uzbekistan is “teetering between democratic and authoritarian trajectories.” In fact, the entirety of her piece before this statement was about how Uzbekistan was irredeemably abusive and that was why the U.S. should not engage with the regime.

The second part of that paragraph, however, is even more troubling: why should the U.S. government solicit the views of the human rights community for “extracting concessions from the Uzbek regime?” Up until last month, the U.S. government was following the course of action the human rights industry had demanded it follow in 2004 — rapid, deep disengagement with the regime on the basis of its atrocious human rights record. Later in her piece, Corke admits, “Since 2005, the human rights situation has only gotten worse.” Moreover, the human rights industry’s methods of hectoring, fashion protests, and counterproductive boycotts has been especially ineffective at altering the regime’s behavior. Why should the State Department solicit their views, when the human rights industry has such a poor track record of effectiveness in Uzbekistan?

I’m sure that some human rights groups would argue they have been effective in changing the government’s behavior Uzbekistan. That’s a point I’m open to, and I will admit I’m wrong if presented with evidence (I’ve been looking for it for years, though). Unfortunately, Corke then begins a type of analysis I simply cannot abide, especially coming from a former employee of the State Department.

Sending the secretary of state to meet with a dictator like Karimov conveys legitimacy on a repressive regime. Doing so without first requiring positive steps toward addressing systemic human rights abuses is atrocious. Moreover, as the past year has reminded us, propping up dictators with the goal of preserving stability and security often has the opposite effect.

This is, put simply, a ludicrous standard for U.S. diplomatic engagement. Islom Karimov is abusive and his method of rule is unacceptable, but he is not an illegitimate ruler (at least in the sense of lacking some sort of mandate to govern, which the elites in Tashkent clearly convey to him). He is the head of government and recognized as such by the U.S. government. There is no additional “legitimacy” to convey. Moreover, if the Secretary of State should demand “positive steps” in the host nation’s human rights record before meeting the head of a repressive state, then the Secretary of State should never visit Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Russia, China, North Korea, Burma, Pakistan, Sudan, and dozens of other countries the Secretary of State clearly engages and meets with.

The thing is, basic statecraft requires working with unsavory regimes. There is a huge difference between limited engagement like the current U.S. plan for Uzbekistan, and total patronage like Saudi Arabia (and I’m certain Corke is smart and experienced enough to know that). And given the hemming and hawing with which the human rights industry greeted Human Rights Watch’s expulsion from Tashkent, the community is aware that in order to have any hope of changing a regime’s behavior, you must be there, and interact with them to do so. Demanding change as a precondition for engagement is not only backwards, it is little more than pouting guaranteed to be ineffective.

Corke concedes that Secretary Clinton called for more political freedom and human rights. “But her remarks were censored by the Uzbek media and went unheard within the country,” she writes. “Uzbek human rights activists (and others) were left with the impression that the United States cares more about deepening its relationship with Karimov than about improving human rights conditions for the people of Uzbekistan.”

This doesn’t scan. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan routinely called for greater political freedom and respect for human rights within the Soviet Union. His remarks were consistently censored by the Soviet media. The Soviet human rights activists still heard about his remarks. In Uzbekistan, the human rights activists (and by “others,” I presume Corke means the 99.999% of Uzbeks who are not human rights activists) have an even better understanding of what happens outside their country thanks to the Internet. The only way they would come to Corke’s conclusion about Secretary Clinton’s support for their rights is if activists like Corke keep insisting to them that that is U.S. policy (which it probably is: the government should prioritize its own citizens’ interests above those of any other country).

Unfortunately, this sort of backward thinking has come to define the human rights industry rebuke of the State Department’s outreach. In her recommendations, Corke says that first the U.S. government should “use its substantial leverage to require that the repressive regime take several tangible steps toward improving its human rights record.” But if the U.S. refuses to even visit with the regime beforehand, what leverage would it possibly have to coerce such a concession (as it stands, one of her examples of “tangible steps,” the release of political prisoners, took placeafter the U.S. government began its re-engagement). Her other suggestions, like meeting with activists, and somehow magically ensuring official remarks are not censored, are so unworkable in practice that I’m curious what, exactly, her expectations are. Is Hillary Clinton able to do this on state visits to China? What about Madeleine Albright’s visit to North Korea?

The sad fact of the matter is, human rights are only one concern among a great many in official U.S. decision making. With a war going on that is killing thousands of civilians and hundreds of U.S. troops ever year, officials must prioritize ending that conflict first, before worrying about how to help a country whose best hope under the current leadership is marginal and symbolic changes. And as much as the human rights industry waves away the calculation that this new Uzbek policy is a way to alter the government’s relationship with Pakistan, they have yet to proffer a viable alternative.

It’s sad to see the proper and correct outrage at Uzbekistan’s human rights record directed at the one thing with even a remote chance of ever improving it: U.S. engagement and pressure. But, it seems, effectiveness is not the priority of the human rights industry right now — feeling outraged is. And meanwhile, the people of Uzbekistan, in whose name the human rights industry acts, continues to suffer.

Former Ukrainian State Dept. Guard Makes Charges of “Deep State” Assassins’ Bureau

Melnychenko: Ukraine has secret service engaging in political assassinations

Melnychenko: Ukraine has secret service engaging in political assassinationsFormer major of the Ukrainian State Department of Guard Mykola Melnychenko.AFP

Interfax-Ukraine

Former major of the Ukrainian State Department of Guard Mykola Melnychenko has said that Ukraine has an illegal secret service engaging in political assassinations.

“Ukraine has a very powerful, strictly classified and fairly well equipped illegal special service that engages in political assassinations. A certain analog of notorious “Kravchenko’s eagles” and Belarusian “death squads”. The positions of the special service are strengthening. One of its tasks was to eliminate me,” he said in an interview with Segodnya newspaper published on Friday.

Melnychenko said that the special service comprises former and acting officers of the SBU, military counterintelligence, police and prosecutor’s office. “They are operating in the interests of oligarchs,” he said.

“However, my removal is not the only task of the special service. One more is to set up President Viktor Yanukovych. A special operation is being conducted to discredit him and ultimately remove him from power. He has crossed paths with too many people and they will not forgive him. Serious forces in and outside of Ukraine are involved in the orbit of the special operation. Everything is very serious,” he said.

On July 29, 2011, Kyiv Court of Appeals upheld a Pechersky District Court of Kyiv ruling of June 23, 2011, which canceled a resolution by former Prosecutor General Sviatoslav Piskun dated March 1, 2005, which closed a criminal case against Melnychenko.

The criminal case was opened against Melnychenko regarding the leaking of state secrets, abuse of office and the use of forged documents.

On October 14, the Prosecutor General’s Office said that Melnychenko twice attempted to leave Ukrainian territory and that on September 23, an SBU investigator issued a resolution to put him on the wanted list.

The office recalled that as part of the investigation into a criminal case opened against Melnychenko, in order to prevent possible attempts to evade investigation, it had been decided to impose a ban on his foreign travels pending the completion of a pretrial investigation.

Melnychenko is currently staying in the United States.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/116305/#ixzz1cqIk48Pd

Thousands March Against the Kremlin and the Return of Putin

[The Daily Beast portrays this as an anti-Putin protest, in addition to perennial enemies of the Russian right-wing, the “Jews from the Kremlin.”]

Thousands of Russian nationalists march in Moscow

MANSUR MIROVALEV, Associated Press

Ultra nationalist demonstrators carry an assortment of banners and flags during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. The banner reads "Russian march for Russian empire". Photo: Mikhail Metzel / AP

Ultra nationalist demonstrators carry an assortment of banners and flags during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. The banner reads “Russian march for Russian empire”. (Mikhail Metzel / AP)

Ultra nationalist demonstrators seen wearing masks during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / AP

Ultra nationalist demonstrators seen wearing masks during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP)

Russian nationalists shout slogans at a nationalists rally to mark National Unity Day in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

Russian nationalists shout slogans at a nationalists rally to mark National Unity Day in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. (Dmitry Lovetsky / AP)

Amid smoke from a smoke grenade, ultra nationalist demonstrators shout slogans as they carry Russian Empire's black-yellow-white flags during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / AP

Amid smoke from a smoke grenade, ultra nationalist demonstrators shout slogans as they carry Russian Empire’s black-yellow-white flags during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP)

Ultra nationalist demonstrators shout slogans as they carry Russian Empire's black-yellow-white flags during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. Photo: Sergey Ponomarev / AP

Ultra nationalist demonstrators shout slogans as they carry Russian Empire’s black-yellow-white flags during their authorized march on the outskirts of Moscow, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. But it has been seized upon by extreme nationalists. (Sergey Ponomarev / AP)

Ultra nationalist demonstrators and activists march carrying the banner reads as "Russian march" to mark National Unity Day on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Chanting "Russia for Russians" and "Migrants today, occupiers tomorrow," about 5,000 people, mostly young men, marched through a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital, while police stood shoulder to shoulder along the street, which was blocked to traffic. Photo: AP / AP

Ultra nationalist demonstrators and activists march carrying the banner reads as “Russian march” to mark National Unity Day on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Chanting “Russia for Russians” and “Migrants today, occupiers tomorrow,” about 5,000 people, mostly young men, marched through a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital, while police stood shoulder to shoulder along the street, which was blocked to traffic. (AP / AP)

Activists and supporters of the pro-Kremlin youth group "Nashi" rally in front of the main entrance All-Russia Exhibition Center and hold posters saying "Russian march" marking Russian National Unity Day in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The march was held ostensibly to counterbalance a rally of nationalists who use this holiday to express extremist views. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. Photo: Mikhail Metzel / AP

Activists and supporters of the pro-Kremlin youth group “Nashi” rally in front of the main entrance All-Russia Exhibition Center and hold posters saying “Russian march” marking Russian National Unity Day in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. The march was held ostensibly to counterbalance a rally of nationalists who use this holiday to express extremist views. The new holiday, marking the end of the foreign intervention in Russia in 1612, was created in 2005 to replace the traditional Nov. 7 celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik rise to power. (Mikhail Metzel / AP)

Ultra nationalist demonstrators and activists march carrying a Russian Empire black-yellow-white flag to mark National Unity Day on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Chanting "Russia for Russians" and "Migrants today, occupiers tomorrow," about 5,000 people, mostly young men, marched through a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital, while police stood shoulder to shoulder along the street, which was blocked to traffic. Photo: Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Ultra nationalist demonstrators and activists march carrying a Russian Empire black-yellow-white flag to mark National Unity Day on the outskirts of Moscow, Russia, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011. Chanting “Russia for Russians” and “Migrants today, occupiers tomorrow,” about 5,000 people, mostly young men, marched through a working-class neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital, while police stood shoulder to shoulder along the street, which was blocked to traffic. (Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP)



Taliban steps up attacks ahead of Afghan Loya Jirga

Taliban steps up attacks ahead of Afghan Loya Jirga

English.news.cn

By Abdul Haleem

KABUL, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) — Amid Afghan government’s efforts to convene Loya Jirga or traditional grand assembly to get national endorsement for inking the possible strategic partnership with the United States, the Taliban militants have intensified attacks to spoil the step.

The armed outfit fighting Afghan government and some 130,000 strong-NATO-led troops with nearly 100,000 of them Americans, in the latest attacks, targeted a logistic company providing assistance to the NATO-led forces in Herat province on Thursday killing two people and injuring three others.

Afghan government is going to convene a Loya Jirga within weeks, probably by the end of November to discuss the proposed Afghan-U.S. strategic partnership and the possible establishment of the U.S. military bases in the militancy-plagued Afghanistan.

As a sign of strong opposition to the possible formation of U.S. permanent military bases in Afghanistan, the Taliban outfit, in a statement released to media outlets days ago, termed the upcoming Loya Jirga as a trick to legalize the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan and vowed to disrupt it.

“Under the orders of its masters, the Kabul administration wants to abuse a much respected custom of our country (Loya Jirga) and try to give a legal face to the establishment of permanent bases for the American occupying forces on the Islamic soil of Afghanistan,” the Taliban statement, sent to media last week said.

“For its long term goal of permanently staying in Afghanistan, the Americans want to once again abuse this tradition through its stooge regime to call a supposed Loya Jirga in which faces of its preference will be gathered, food will be eaten and once again, games will be played with the fate and future of its nation,” the English statement of the Taliban outfit read out.

Although the authenticity of the statement has yet to be verified, the inflexible outfit warned of dire consequence to anyone attends the traditional Loya Jirga or grand assembly including tribal elders, chieftains, parliamentarians and functionaries.

To oppose the presence of NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in the post-Taliban Afghanistan and lash at government-initiated Loya Jirga, the militants have intensified their attacks recently.

On Oct. 31, the Taliban militants stormed a guesthouse in their former stronghold Kandahar 450 km south of Afghan capital Kabul leaving six people including three UN employees, dead.

Similarly, two days earlier of Kandahar offensive, on Oct. 29, the Taliban fighters, in a brazen attack, carried out a deadly suicide bombing against NATO-led troops in the fortified capital city Kabul killing 16 people including 13 Americans.

The coming four-day Loya Jirga is scheduled to be held under a giant tent inside the Polytechnic compound and as part of security measures, the government has given holidays for the students of Polytechnic during the Jirga, besides stationing police on the hilltops and roads leading to the Jirga avenue.

Taliban militants, who attacked a peace Jirge or peace gathering under the same tent in 2010, have warned sternly to disrupt the coming Loya Jirga.

“The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (name of the ousted Taliban regime) calls on its brave and courageous Mujahideen (holy warriors) to target every security guard, person with intention to participate the so-called Loya Jirga, and such traitors will be pursued by Mujahideen of Islamic Emirate in every corner of the country and will face severe repercussions,” the statement warned.

Editor: yan