Who Killed the Soviet Union?

[Gorbachev and the liberal Russians made no effort to save the problem-plagued home of world Communism.  They simply allowed Russia to succumb to the many injuries inflicted upon itself and upon the far reaches of the Soviet empire, as a result of its "command economy."  It seemed as though their real allegiances were with the West.  Even today, Gorbachev is singing loudly that Putin needs to surrender now, without even trying to correct the political and economic shortcomings that are motivating people to take to the streets.  Against this belief, we have the imaginings of the conspiracy theorists, who see a plot in every move.  Their explanation suggested that the USSR's crumbling was a sinister sort of "judo move" by the Gorbachev and the Communists, to turn the tables on the Americans, buying time to recover what had been lost.  If that was really the secret plan by the "powers that be," then why have they waited so long to make the next move that would put Russia on top?  In that time, the US has merely stumbled, while the USSR disappeared.  Perhaps the US was saved from itself by the brilliant CIA plan to create a new artificial enemy--"Islamist terror."]

“We Soviets are going to do the worst possible thing to you Americans.   We are going to deprive you of your worst enemy.”—Georgi Arbatov, member of CCCP

Sun Journal - Feb 27, 1990, Lewiston, Maine

Who Killed the Soviet Union?

Twenty years ago, on Dec. 12, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic ratified the Belavezha Accords. This agreement, which was signed four days earlier by Russian PresidentBoris Yeltsin, Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk and Belarussian leader Stanislav Shushkevich, dissolved the Soviet Union with a stroke of three pens followed by a hasty vote in parliament.

As a Supreme Soviet deputy during this turbulent time, my speech in parliament opposing this ratification was one of the most difficult of my life — not only because it went against the majority opinion, but also because of the feeling of despair gripping everyone. The walls of the room in which we met seemed to exude a tragic sense of hopelessness, and yet many experienced a naive sense of euphoria over what they mistakenly thought was a “historical achievement.”

Why were Russia’s lawmakers and citizens —not to mention the KGB and military — so indifferent to this destructive and fateful adventurism of Yeltsin, Kravchuk and Shushkevich?

Some of the answers to these questions can be found in the following:

  • The Soviet planned economy had almost completely come to a halt;
  • The monopoly of Marxist-Leninist ideology left Soviet society in a spiritual and political vacuum that intensified the search for alternatives;
  • The people’s desire for basic consumer goods — and the Kremlin’s inability to recognize the importance of this elementary desire — led to the emergence of a pervasive shadow economy that was incompatible with the principles of socialism;
  • The weakening of the ideological underpinnings of society coupled with the nearly lifeless condition of religion in Russia led to increased interethnic tensions;
  • The state campaign against alcohol and the drop in world oil prices drained government coffers, sharply limiting maneuvering room in domestic policy for the Communist Party.

There were also man-made factors behind the Soviet Union’s growing internal crisis. They included the following:

  • For decades, foreign states tried to destabilize the Soviet Union. They ultimately succeeded in establishing anti-socialist and anti-Soviet forces within society;
  • The senior Communist Party leadership allowed control of the media to pass into the hands of “agents of influence” at a time when state counter-propaganda measures had become ineffective;
  • A number of activists advocating change joined forces to disrupt food supplies to Moscow and Leningrad, creating an artificially induced, widespread food shortage from 1989 to 1991.

But why didn’t Soviet citizens arise to defend their country from collapse? Why did the majority of Supreme Soviet deputies and other high-ranking public officials give in to the collusion committed by Yeltsin, Kravchuk and Shushkevich?

One of the most important reasons was the failed putsch of August 1991, after which the staunchest advocates of preserving the Soviet Union were removed from their posts, discredited or arrested. Thus, the movement to save the Soviet Union was all but deprived of its leadership. Meanwhile, the people had lost all faith in Soviet PresidentMikhail Gorbachev, who was incapable of stopping the growth in the country’s interethnic conflicts, separatism and social and economic degradation.

Yet the Soviet Union retained enormous potential for development. It could have continued to exist — perhaps in a slightly different form, but remaining as a federation of states with Moscow as the federal center. Under the right leadership and reforms, the Soviet Union could have recovered from its 1991 crisis to become a strong, healthy country — one based on the traditional values of Russian civilization — as well as a global superpower. There was no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.

In this context, it is important to remember that 76 percent of the people from the Soviet republics that took part in the referendum on March 17, 1991, voted to preserve the Soviet Union. And they did so despite the growing crisis of confidence in the Moscow leadership and attempts by the democratic movement to discredit the idea of unity with calls to vote down the referendum.

That is why the proponents of the Belavezha Accords tried to hide the destruction of the Soviet Union behind the smokescreen of a new Commonwealth of Independent States, disingenuously promising that the new CIS would provide greater stability, democracy and prosperity than the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, ordinary people were far too willing to believe these fairy tales.

Of course, there were purely practical considerations as well. Gorbachev’s fundamental inability to rule the country led to the widespread desire to remove him from office by any means possible in fall 1991. The public understood that the ship of the Soviet Union was about to collide with a iceberg, and the captain had no interest whatsoever in trying to stave off disaster. As one of my senior Communist colleagues in parliament said at the time, “First we’ll get rid of Gorbachev and then we’ll regroup.”

The Soviet Union did not die from old age. It was killed by a group of opportunists — some of whom were deceived and driven by naive hopes of a better future, while others were driven by a craving for power and a greedy desire to distribute government property into private hands.

Sergei Baburin, who served as a deputy in the Supreme Soviet from 1990 to 1993, is dean of the Russian State University of Trade and Economics.

The Moscow Times

 

Is Kazakhstan, Not Uzbekistan, The Real Linchpin Of The NDN?

China To Act As Bulwark for Pakistan In Future

Partnership with Pakistan to be enhanced, says China

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei. — Photo by AFP

BEIJING: China would continue to develop its strategic partnership with Pakistan, said Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday.

`No matter how the international situation changes, this policy will not be shaken,` said the spokesman for the ministry, Hong Lei.

He said Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who recently visited Pakistan as a representative of President Hu Jintao, met President AsifAli Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss the state of relations between the two countries.

The future prospects in ties were also discussed.

At the meetings, the Pakistani leaders described the ties with China as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, said  Hong.

He said China firmly sup-ported Pakistan’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, security, independence and territorial integrity and also its endeavours to improve the lives of its people.

Mr Hong said China was ready to launch joint initiatives with Pakistan to improve the already good bilateral relations, strengthen cooperation in international and regional issues and promote their comprehensive strategic partnership.-APP

Instability in Pakistan

Instability in Pakistan

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The alarm call sounded by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of a conspiracy to oust his government has brought out in the open the rift between Pakistan’s elected civilian government and the military. As long as this was confined to whispers in the corridor, there was a possibility that the differences could be papered over. Chances of this are now slim. A public denial by the Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, of a coup in the making and his pledge of support to the democratic process have failed to clear the air. A military takeover does seem unlikely — the Pakistan Army has learnt that coups work badly for it in the long run. Moreover, General Kayani and the ISI chief, Lt. General Shuja Pasha, both on extended tenures, are hardly popular in the prevailing anti-American environment marked by their failure to prevent U.S. military incursions, notably to kill Osama bin Laden. But the military’s loathing for President Asif Ali Zardari could still see it manoeuvring against him through other means. The opening could come from the Supreme Court, which is considering a petition by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader, Nawaz Sharif, asking it to investigate ‘memogate’. This is the controversy stirred up by a Pakistani-American businessman’s allegation that, on behalf of the Pakistan government, he carried a ‘memo’ to a top American general asking for help to stave off a possible military coup in the aftermath of the Osama raid. Mr. Zardari’s opponents, including former cricketer Imran Khan, blame him for this ‘conspiracy’ against the Pakistan military. The Army has added its voice to the demand that the Supreme Court hear the case. But Prime Minister Gilani’s extraordinary speech makes it clear there can be no selective removal — if the President goes, the government will go too. That would precipitate a political crisis much worse than the present standoff.

Unfortunately, Pakistan will continue to be politically unstable as long as its civilian-military relations remain weighted in favour of the latter. For the region and the world, that means negotiating relations with Islamabad will stay complicated. Indeed, one reason for the present turmoil is the struggle between the Pakistan People’s Party government and the military on who will reset relations with the U.S. after the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border by NATO. For New Delhi, which recently restarted dialogue with Islamabad after more than two years of a ‘pause’ over the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the priority is to ensure that the turmoil in Pakistan does not pose any security risks for India and that constructive bilateral engagement can go on despite the political uncertainty across the border.

Setting Foundations for CSTO Rapid Reaction Force Includes Control of Internet

To beat or not to beat?

That is the question

Lyrics: Vladimir NORTH Photo: Ermek Sarbasov

Ministers of Defense of the CSTO together with foreign ministers and secretaries of security councils have agreed to December 19 in Moscow, as they had better and more profitable for everyone to act in case of various emergencies, regulations and other hazardous situations.After hours of consultation, draft documents and plans for the medium term. The next day the head of these documents, approved and adopted, affixed their signatures. And one and all expressed their confidence that the issues discussed in the Russian capital, capable of providing “new opportunities for rapid and adequate response to threats and risks that exist in the modern world.” Does now that the military “to the teeth” Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) will be assigned to any country alliance to suppress it “color revolutions”, display or performance of Petroleum gas workers disgruntled?

But here there is a reasonable question: what, then, will deal with law enforcement authorities of a State, if the police powers necessary to entrust the RRF? Theoretically, of course, we can assume that the international troops special forces come to the aid of the authorities and opponents of divorce in different corners of the “Ring.” But where can this opposition is to have – one Almighty knows. The idea of ​​entering RRF in a country CSTO initially a failure. Well, who is president agreed to suppress demonstrations by the CORF? Some experts argue that the idea “does not seem well thought-out, because it can disrupt the alliance between the former republics of the USSR.” Political processes that go beyond the law, it should stop its own internal forces, other forces, law enforcement, but not the army. It is obvious that the CSTO is first necessary to define and structure the tasks and objectives for which military unit, in fact, was created – the organization of collective security – and not to undertake non-core areas.

Although each individual country units taken that are part of RRF, as the best trained and mobile, can be employed to restore order and stability. How did this happen in Zhanaozen. Walking up the alarm company air assault brigade moved in a few hours of military transport aircraft in the “hot” area.

- We have really been given the task – to block the city and carry out controls at the checkpoints to prevent the penetration of various Zhanaozen extremists – said the brigade commander, Aydar Kabdenov. - I just got back from there. The situation in Zhanaozen now calm. We operate exclusively within the law. My subordinates are well trained and equipped. This is not a conscript and contract soldiers. The boys and adults understand everything correctly. Recently, we got 10 brand new KamAZ.And we have modern armored vehicles, the 2007 model year. And the form Ksor-skaya on all harvested. So to carry out any tasks assigned by the Minister of Defence, we are ready.

The commander of the air assault brigade told how intense are the teachings of the CSTO and they know how to do his subordinates. As a result of combat competition from all the air assault brigades it – is the best.

- In Russia, were teaching us in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan … And everywhere we showed itself at its best – continues to Major Kabdenov. - A landfill Koktal we recently demonstrated their ability to nyvyki and Minister of Defense. Comments to us have not arisen. And it pleases.

Let me remind the readers ‘Megapolis’: the CSTO comprises seven countries: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The leaders of these countries, without exception, came to Moscow for negotiations.

- We have reached an agreement on the equipment of the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF), the training of special forces, members of the RRF and the rescue teams. Decisions in the field of information security of the Member States on how to respond to emergency situations of natural and manmade. Determined by the forces and resources allocated to the CSTO member states of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces, and also approved the budget for 2012, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

He also noted the agreement reached that the military bases of third countries on the territory of a Member State CSTO is only possible with the common consent of all members. Now, no country in the alliance without permission (without the consent of other members) will not be able to host the U.S. military base, even if they promise to pay for this service billions of dollars annually.

This is understandable. But what can the phrase “decisions in the field of Information Security of CSTO member states.” Is it possible to turn off the authorities in terms of the Internet is now within the CSTO framework, using the “international arm?”

Since about information security first began the CSTO Secretary Bordyuzha, then I can assume that at the summit of the CSTO has been formulated such a specific task, because the alliance at all costs had to be again demonstrate their frantic activity to re-justify their existence. Critics in fact very much to the sound of this expensive organization.

- The immediate task of the CSTO is very complex – experts say – so the earlier work of its agencies to identify their need for dealing with related areas: the fight against drug trafficking and illegal migration.Plot with an Internet confrontation in the same plane – to reveal their government and society structure the meaning of existence. Thereby justify the multimillion-dollar costs.

Whatever it was, we’re all for stability and peace. And for the fact that any of the security forces were entirely within the law. For our own safety.

Sughd court jails 53 people for suicide bombing and membership in IMU

Sughd court jails 53 people for suicide bombing and membership in IMU

Mavlouda Rafiyeva

KHUJAND, December 26, 2011, Asia-Plus  –  The Sughd regional court has sentenced 53 people to jail – including five life sentences – for last year’s suicide bombing in Khujand and membership in the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Firdavs Karimov, Sohibjon Sobitov, Ismatullo Boboyev, Zafar Karimov and Akmal Hoshimov were sentenced to life imprisonment on December 23 by the Sughd regional court.  Forty-eight other defendants received sentences ranging from eight to 30 years.

The trial for these 53 people began on July 12, 2011 and it was held behind closed at pretrial detention facility # 2 in Khujand.

According to Mr. Justice Dadojon Gadoyboyev, who presided over the trial, the defendants are mainly residents of Isfara, Istaravshan and Spitamen districts and the city of Khujand.  They faced charges of terrorism, organization of criminal group, the violent seizure of power or the violent retention of power, document forgery, illegally bearing, possessing, acquiring, and manufacturing weapons, preparation for crime or criminal attempt, murder, complicity in committing a crime, misuse of power, not reporting a crime to police or covering a crime, and illegal border crossing.

Gadoyboyev noted that 10-12 of those defendants had stood the trial as accomplices to the last year’s suicide car bombing, while the others stood the trial for membership in the IMU.

Some local experts say the verdict was announced without presence of defense lawyers that contradicts rules of procedures.

We will recall that on September 3, 2010, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into the main gate of the Sughd regional organized crime control division in Khujand, killing himself and three others and injuring 31 people.  The vehicle was driven at high speed into the gated compound of the organized crime control division — as the gate was closing after two police cars entered the complex — and the car exploded.  It was the first-ever such suicide bombing reported in Tajikistan.

Tajik law enforcement authorities blamed the attack on elements with ties to the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), whose leadership purportedly has links to Al-Qaeda.

The State Committee for National Security (SCNS)’s office in Sughd province announced on October 5, 2010 that the suicide bomb attack was carried out by Akmal Karimov, whom it identified as a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

US/Israeli Strong-Arm Capitalism and Nuclear Blackmail In Turkmenistan

[SEE: The Great Game - The War For Caspian Oil And Gas ]

Predetermined range of Turkmenistan

Author: Ruslan Babanov

Against the background of the official Israeli officials on high alert for war with Iran and the IAEA report on the occurrence of two-year effort of the Islamic republic to develop nuclear weapons had a special significance as the country’s position of Turkmenistan that could be a crucial springboard for attack, or, conversely, reliable rear defense. It is known that Israel and Iran had a long period of mutual influence in Turkmenistan in order to win over in the process of determining the question of war or peace. And if Israel’s side in this fight for the sympathy of Ashgabat was the objective superiority, and including support for the U.S., Iran has argued its often definitive requirements to its northern neighbor close relationship in economic and ethnic characteristics of the structure of the population.

Tugged on the strings

The regime of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov tend to combine prudence with provocative actions of training and awareness-raising measures. This policy is in the eyes of its traditional partners in Ashgabat often assumes the shape of blackmail, as it is commonly known in the vicissitudes of relations with Russia “gas issue”. Similar tactics in recent years Turkmenistan has uses in trying to find a compromise between participation in a global economy that largely depends on the position of Israel and the United States, and the preservation of peace on its borders, that is to a large extent dependent on relationships with Iran.

Balancing the interests of Israel and Iran to Turkmenistan permissible as long as the question does not arise by an edge. Already, the presence of U.S. armed forces under the guise of transit structures near Ashgabat and Mary stands for the position that will be forced to take a Turkmen president in the event of military operations in Iran to retain power and a respectable position in the global economic structures.

The internal state of the Turkmen society is such that in the short term it does not threaten the major internal manifestations of discontent. On the other hand, excessive pressure makes the internal balance of the state dependent on exogenous factors. Decisive of them could be the expansion of conflicts in neighboring Afghanistan and the beginning of a major war in the south – in Iran. In such circumstances, the Turkmenistan will be subject to all the disasters the rear of the military operation will be borne not only by economic and reputational losses, but that much more important, it may be to those of the international forces, whose task is to eliminate self-willed, authoritarian regimes and the capture of resources through a rough pseudo-grafting institutions. Obviously, to avoid the inevitable choice of priorities in the context of the Iranian-Israeli conflict will not be able to Turkmenistan.

Unstable INTEREST

Israeli-Turkmen contacts very rarely the subject of monitoring the media, and yet the economic and political relations between the two countries have a long history and deep roots. One of the cornerstones of cooperation of Israel and Turkmenistan in the economic sphere is energy. The leader in this area is considered a company “Merhav”, owned by Joseph Maiman. Among the major projects implemented by “Merhav”, including with the help of a senior administration official Turkmen President Alexander Zhadan is called a complete reconstruction of the Turkmenbashi oil refinery and Seydi refinery. The total investment in these projects has exceeded three billion U.S. dollars. According to the official website of the company, she also successfully implemented in Turkmenistan, a number of other projects’ in the fields of agriculture, health and safety. ” Maiman and his companion Mirkin belonged at one time the idea of ​​building a trans-Caspian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Turkey. He was also on the personal instructions of the first president Saparmurat Niyazov, the Turkmen citizenship was granted the rank of Honorary Consul of Turkmenistan in Israel and the official status of a special envoy on issues related to energy exports. On the sidelines of the informal status of Israeli businessman was the title of “treasurer of Turkmenbashi.”

The agreement on opening the Embassy of Israel in Turkmenistan was reached in June 2009, and in September he was appointed ambassador to the former legal resident of the “Mossad” in the CIS Reuven Dinel. However, in early June 2009, Chief of General Staff of the Iranian Hassan Firuzabadi urged the Turkmen authorities to prevent the opening of the Israeli embassy. “We are taking all measures to limit the influence of the Zionists in the neighboring state of Iran, in particular, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan,” – said Firuzabadi. As a result, in February and March last year, it became clear that Dinel not receive accreditation from the Turkmen authorities. His candidacy has not been officially rejected, but in response to requests Israelis were silent.

In terms of geopolitics and the ethnic component of communication of Turkmenistan and Israel is ephemeral. The majority of the Jews of Turkmenistan – Ashkenazi Jews who arrived in the region during the Soviet era. According to official data, the largest Jewish community in the country is in Ashgabat and employs 800 people. The remaining Jews live in an area between the towns of Chardzhou and Mary. In this country there are no synagogues, no rabbis. The Jewish Community of Turkmenistan has no formal status and. Israeli efforts to establish social structures in Turkmenistan communal life have so far been unsuccessful, as evidenced by departure was in 1989, more than 1,000 Jews to Israel.

However, in Turkmenistan, with success, with the support of the Israeli lobby in the Office of the President   working businessmen of Jewish origin from other countries. For general comments participants of the business life of Ashgabat, the confidence of such businesses in the country is such that allows them full voice to declare their caste exclusiveness. For example, little known to the public, the owner of a speculative oil and gas company operating in Turkmenistan, Loewenstein, involved in Russia in 1999 to criminal prosecution for tax evasion amounting to about $ 1 million in private conversations, is wont to say that in business deals only to those whose spiritual home is Israel, and the “gentiles” to discuss business matters has no desire. Such statements often sounded from the lips of Jewish businessmen operating in Turkmenistan, as Mirsky, Mogil’nitskii, Shem, etc.

It can be assumed that the excessive arrogance of such “entrepreneurs”, served, including those who are responsible for some failures of the vowels in the mutual relations of Turkmenistan with Israel. It is reported with reference to informed sources, the Turkmen government refused to deal with an Israeli company to buy for $ 300 million satellite, which could be used in both civilian and military purposes. Experts agree it is a private event correlated with the aggravation of the situation around Iran’s foreign policy and counter-pressure on Tehran’s neighbors, and potential allies. The outcome of the negotiations on the purchase of Israeli satellite is a creature of another long-running story of bilateral relations, namely the opening of the Israeli diplomatic mission in Ashgabat.

In these circumstances, mutual distrust and tension Jewish business is an important link in trade in natural resources of Turkmenistan. However, the government of this country demonstrates the desire to limit the participation of foreign investors brokerage, project processing and in extraction allows them to identify the most risky projects. Thus, the objective conditions and the geopolitical factor of alertness of the Turkmen leadership makes the position of Israel and Israeli businesses in this country wobbly at all the significance of contemporary Israeli involvement in the internal economic life of Turkmenistan.

Active thrust

Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov visited the Nowruz celebration in Iran in 2011, wanting to witness the strengthening of “good neighborliness and brotherhood.” Meanwhile, the ethno-cultural community of Iranian and Turkmen peoples, there are serious flaws. The first line of the split – the religious. The Turkmens, as opposed to the Shiite Persians, traditionally practiced Sunni Islam. Language and ethnic community exists in Iran and Tajikistan, but relations with Turkmenistan in this area are rather forced to fill the vacuum of genuine social and economic contacts.

In this regard, the tone of relations between the two sets of the infamous trade of resources. Turkmen gas supplied northern provinces of Iran, and it was initiated by Tehran and its funding in the mid-1990s, began to implement this project. Today, Turkmenistan and Iran have linked two natural gas, which Iran arrives in about 14 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the possibility of increasing to 20 billion cubic meters.

In 2010, the total amount of Iranian oil exports Turkmenistan has made ​​$ 386 million and imports – 403 million dollars. Total for 2009 and 2010, bilateral trade grew by 15% compared to previous years. At present, according to the Minister of Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari in February 2011, the total volume of trade between Iran and Turkmenistan exceeded $ 4 billion, and by the parties, there is every possibility and conditions for the increase in this indicator over the next 5 years to 10 billion dollars a year. In addition, in the relations between Turkmenistan and Iran greater role for the implementation of joint projects . The last of those is the construction of the railway Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran, launched in 2007.

On this list of important joint economic projects between the two countries has been exhausted, and serve very definite pragmatic and vital interests of Iran’s security. For this reason, the steady drift of Turkmenistan in the direction of the United States, whose armed forces planned and under various disguises being developed in this country, is often the hysterical reaction of Tehran. Every further step of Turkmenistan and the United States, whether increased cooperation in the field of fuel supply and logistics support of coalition forces in Afghanistan, or the deepening of cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, is loud statements by officials in Tehran.

Thus, the November 9th member of the national security and foreign policy of the Iranian parliament Zohreh Elahian said in an interview with Iranian news agency Fars, that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are the regional outposts of the Israeli secret service “Mossad”, as well as U.S. intelligence and the UK. According to her, with the territories of these countries have bases whose purpose is to “lead and coordinate terrorist groups, as well as operations to intelligence gathering and sabotage against the Islamic republic and its citizens.”

The choice is made

The above and many other statements of Iranian officials and public figures indicate that not only the community of experts, but also to recognize the fait accompli, Tehran Turkmenistan choice in favor of Israel and its Western allies. This choice for President Berdymukhamedov has made history, spreading an international force with a clear advantage in favor of the United States and Israel. Active economic contacts between Turkmenistan and Iran were not strong enough arm to break the trend. In turn, Israel, and sustaining the local lesion, regular and unobtrusive work achieved considerable success in the bridgehead to the north of Iran. Thus, in practice there is no response but the extent of Turkmenistan’s participation in future operations against Tehran. But it depends on the nature of the operation itself: whether it will be long and aimed at changing the political system in Iran, or the local end and after attacks on nuclear facilities. Today, “informed sources” is thrown into the message field information about upcoming local operation, but, as we know, appetite comes with eating, and under certain conditions, Turkmenistan, whose policy of “neutrality” and “diversification” and otherwise – of pleasing “and yours and ours “- which deprived him of reliable and key allies may be in the center of a fiery tangle of Iran and Afghanistan.

Source: easttime.ru

CIA should have no role in any new Lockerbie investigation

CIA should have no role in any new Lockerbie investigation

You report that during his visit to Washington Scotland’s Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland agreed with senior US Government officials that US investigators might join Scottish police in seeking further information on the Lockerbie bombing (“Lockerbie detectives will be in Libya early next year, The Herald December 22″).

While I am pleased that Scottish police officers are to pursue answers to the many unanswered questions about the atrocity and the guilt of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and others, I am less sanguine about them being “assisted” by US anti-terrorist agencies.

The main contribution of the CIA and FBI to the original investigation was to offer a huge bribe to jog the memory of the main prosecution witness about his identification of a casual customer in his shop several years earlier, and to magically find a tiny piece of the detonator casing in a Lockerbie field six months after the local police had scoured every inch of the area. We don’t need any more of that kind of co-operation.

In seeking justice for the victims’ families, and to restore the reputation of the Scottish justice system, what would extremely helpful would be the publication in full of the 800-page Report of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which found six reasons to indicate that there had been a miscarriage of justice in the original court conviction.

It is an ongoing disappointment to many who are concerned about the Camp Zeist trial that Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill and his officials have consistently found reasons to conceal this report, despite it being clearly in the public interest that it should be published. Now sections of it are to be revealed in Megrahi’s biography early next year and will no doubt appear on the internet for all to see.

There is another possible scenario. Official Libyan Government documents may reveal what many have always suspected, that Libyan involvement was merely as an undercover agent for an Iranian terrorist group backed by Syria, seeking revenge for the unlawful shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner a few months earlier for which the captain and crew of the US warship were decorated and feted as heroes. How would the CIA manage to cover that up? Is that why it wants to be present at a Scottish criminal investigation?

Iain A D Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

AN extraordinarily detailed research paper published last month seems to confirm that US intelligence was well aware that a timer device of the type used by Palestinian terror group the PFLP-GC was used to detonate the bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, because of the flight time, but that even by November 1991, it was still unaware of the Heathrow break-in. The academic paper also reveals the interception of messages of relief from Iran following this switch of suspicion away from her.

During Mr Megrahi’s trial in 2000, the Heathrow break-in remained unknown, blinding the court to an all-too-obvious route by which the bomb may well have been infiltrated.

The Heathrow break-in occurred just after midnight, 16 hours before the Lockerbie disaster. Because of the nature of the device, it could not possibly have been put on board in Malta.

Iran seemed to be the motivating force in the time between the US shooting down of her airbus and the “Autumn leaves” operation by the (West) German BKA.

Mr Megrahi is now near to death in Tripoli, but his guilt or innocence seems to tell us nothing about what the Gaddafi regime and Abu Nidal were up to between October and December 1988.

Scotland’s compassion in allowing Mr Megrahi to go home to die looks like the release of an innocent scapegoat. The performance of her investigating police in failing to reveal the existence of the Heathrow break-in looks, at best, like a serious omission.

When a person is seriously injured, there is said to be a “golden hour” when life-saving treatment can best be given. At Heathrow 16 golden hours were allowed to elapse between the break-in and the Lockerbie bombing, with no appropriate counter action being taken.

Even so many years after the event an apology would still be welcome, along with proof that things really are done better now.

Having released Mr Megrahi in 2008 Scotland has been unable or unwilling to enforce a comprehensive review of the evidence against him, despite the findings of the SCCRC that the trial may indeed have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

We hear that the Scottish police are to go to Libya soon to investigate whether other evidence can now be found as to whether the Gaddafi regime was itself involved in the Lockerbie bombing.

I wish them luck when they do finally get to Libya: they will need to remember it’s a country where old scores against the Gaddafi regime are certainly still being actively settled.

Should the Scottish police find any such evidence, it is unlikely to connect with the story heard at Zeist, where, in retrospect it seems clear that Megrahi was no more than a convenient scapegoat. That would be a bitter pill for them and the Crown Office to swallow, and they would need great integrity to admit it.

Meanwhile Tehran is immune to accusations over Lockerbie, but the convulsions in Syria may, hopefully lead to new revelations from that direction. Perhaps the failure of the west to indict those two states over Lockerbie added to its boldness in threatening its own people as well as those of other countries.

Dr Jim Swire,

Rowans Corner, Calf Lane, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

© RIA Novosti. Andrei Starostin

DUSHANBE, December 26 (RIA Novosti)

A court in northern Tajikistan convicted 53 people for a terrorist attack that killed two last September, with five of those convicted receiving life sentences, a court spokesman said on Monday.

The attack took place near the organized crime police office in Khudzhand city, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a car, killing two policemen and injuring 25. A closed trial of the 53 people charged with involvement in the attack began in July.

The suspects were found guilty of masterminding the attack, involvement in terrorism, organizing a crime group and forging documents.

The court spokesman said the other 48 people received jail terms of 8-13 years and added that all were residents of the Sogdiiskaya district in northern Tajikistan.

Uzbek Dictatorship Puts Squeeze On Gas To Uzbek-Dominant S. Kyrgyzstan

Uzbekistan totally restrained natural gas supply to the south of Kyrgyzstan due to the contract’s termination – Turgunbek Kulmurzaev

Bishkek – 24.kg news agency
by Julia KOSTENKO

“Uzbekistan totally restrained natural gas supply to the south of Kyrgyzstan due to the contract’s termination,” the Director General of Kyrgyzgas OJSC Turgunbek Kulmurzaev told 24.kg news agency today.

According to him, Kyrgyzstan could ask additional volumes of the fuel from Uzbekistan pursuant to the current contract. “We had sent the application for supply of 5 million cubic meters of the natural gas in October but the supplier delayed its answer. Now the management of UzTransGas informed that they couldn’t supply the fuel due to problems with its production. They don’t want to meet and hold negotiations with us,” Turgunbek Kulmurzaev explained.

He noted that the population of the southern Kyrgyzstan is gaining additionally remains of the fuel at moment. “It’s not for the first time when the intricate situation emerged. Uzbekistan restrained fuel supply many times in the year-end. They want to confront us with a fait accompli. We counted that supposedly cost of Uzbek gas will increase up to $320 in the first quarter of 2012,” Turgunbek Kulmurzaev said.

Central Asia to be hugged to death?

[The US is counting on its ability to slowly sneak into key positions in all of these countries, where it can provide some kind of service which will come to be seen as indispensable, i.e., border control, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, crowd control (SEE: Washington’s New Foxy Plan To Sneak Into the Central Asian Hen House).]

Central Asia to be hugged to death?

Photo: EPA

Russia’s Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have become strategically important for the US as Washington seeks to diversify cargo routes to Afghanistan following a split with Islamabad.

The US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has published a report on the transit of cargoes via Central Asia to Afghanistan (SEE:  Committee report transit Afghanistan). Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are described as being of exceptional political and strategic importance for the international operation in Afghanistan. According to statistical data, 40% of cargoes entered Afghanistan via Uzbekistan this year. The remaining 60% were delivered via Pakistan. However, Islamabad has blocked cargo traffic twice over the past few months. It did so last after a NATO air strike against Pakistani border guards in November. Even though the report says that the US-Pakistan relations might still normalize, the Senate has chosen not to depend on Islamabad and look for other options.

As long as this cooperation serves humanitarian needs, Moscow has no objections. Daniil Kislov, chief editor of the Fergana International Agency, comments:

“Russia was the first to grant its overland routes and airspace for the US and NATO to transport cargoes to Afghanistan and back when the withdrawal of troops begins. There are no grounds for conflict, not until the US or NATO announces the opening of new military facilities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.”

A step of this kind is fairly possible. In September this year US Congress resolved to abolish the 2004 restrictions on granting military aid to Uzbekistan and offered to supply Tashkent with weapons no longer needed in the Afghan campaign. A military base would be logical to come next, and then the region will be declared a US interest zone. What will follow becomes clear too if we recall the developments in the Middle East and North Africa, says Andrei Grozin of the Institute of CIS Countries.

“As a rule, this is followed by a variety of problems in this so-called “interest zone” as the US has its own vision of what course the “interest zone” countries should follow and won’t heed local opinions. The secular regimes of the five Central Asian countries are weak compared to countries of the Middle East. An outside intervention threatens to shake the unsteady situation in these countries and may lead to numerous conflicts, both internal and external.”

The Senate’s report recommends rendering economic assistance to the Central Asian countries as a measure to counteract the influence of Russia and China, two major players in the region. Russia, China and other countries of Asia and Pacific which have direct economic and political interests in Central Asia are unlikely to put up with this. Andrei Grozin has this to say:

“None of the states with interests in Central Asia will welcome a US presence in the region. All countries concerned will resist such a step. And they will resort to various methods in doing this.”

Given that Russia shares its past with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it can’t turn a blind eye on what’s happening in close proximity to its borders.

Nazarbayev: rioters in Zhanaozen were paid 20,000 tenge each

Nazarbayev: rioters in Zhanaozen were paid 20,000 tenge each

Zhanaozen. Photo by Maxim Popov.

Zhanaozen. Photo by Maxim Popov.

Those who took part in the recent riots in Zhanaozen (a town in Mangistau oblast, West Kazakhstan) were drunk at the time of committing the unlawful actions, additionally, each of them was paid 20 000 tenge ($ 135), Interfax-Kazakhstan reports.

“Each young man (who partook in riots) was given 20,000 tenge and made drunk. We are closely investigating this case and will look at each death separately,” President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said at the meeting with the town residents. The meeting was broadcast by state TV channel “Khabar” on Friday.

“We will look for organizers (of the riots), where ever in the world they are hiding now. There will be a trial, and those guilty will be punished,” Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed. “The investigation is not a matter of one day. The instigators did their thing and went into hiding. Half of them have been already detained, but the one who orchestrated this has not shown up in Zhanaozen at all,” the head of the state remarked. He also added, that “oil workers who simply fell for the crowd effect will be let go if they are not found guilty.”

Nevertheless, president noted that he sympathized with the families of killed people. “I came to express my condolences to the families of those killed, but you are all aware how it happened: peaceful people came to celebrate, and instigators, drunk and armed, intruded the crowd. Everything was purposefully planned, but the police had no fire arms at hand at the time. They were hit on the head when they fell, and when someone wanted to give help they were not let to,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

He said that “the police had to go back to the building of the department of internal affairs and get armed.” “What were they left to do? They were entitled by law to use the weapons if they were attacked. The police however, despite anything, were shooting into the air. When this did not help, they started shooting into the ground. The instigators however were pushing the crowd forward.” Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed.

The head of the state promised that Zhanaozen residents will be offered jobs. “(…) we will ensure Zhanaozen residents are employed, but if they do not agree, we have another alternative: a large number of new production enterprises under industrialization project are opening throughout the country. These are new opportunities. If the youth see no prospects at home, they can go to work in other regions of Kazakhstan. We will facilitate: pay for transportation and training, provide accommodation and employment,” Nursultan Nazarbayev noted.

He also told that he planned to visit Mangistau oblast earlier. “Already this summer I wanted to come to visit, but I was ensured, that everything is all right and all issues are being addressed, the people come down and get employed. Then I planned to visit in September and again, everyone from oblast authorities and KazMunaiGaz management told me that there is no need to visit, and all issues are being solved. It turns out I was simply misinformed,” the head of the state told.

Last week widespread violence and clashes took place in Zhanaozen and Shetpe village in Mangistau oblast. 16 people were killed and 100 injured in total. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the instigators of clashes were laid off workers of oil companies. This Thursday, aside from staff changes in KazMunaiGaz and change in authorities of Mangistau oblast, the head of the state announced that the chair of the board of state fund of national welfare Samruk-Kazyna Timur Kulibayev will be asked to resign.

The strikes in Zhanaozen were started in late May by the workers of Ozenmunaigaz (production branch of JCS KazMunaiGaz Exploration and Extraction). The workers of Karazhanbasmunaigaz and its branches ArgymakTransService and TulparMunaiService were also on strike. There were asking for the salary raise. Due to unauthorized strikes around 2000 workers were fired.

Turkmenistan Looking for a Path To Europe, Even If It Leads Through Russia

24/12/2011

Turkmenistan is looking for a window to Europe

 

Roman Larionov

The main purpose of his visit to Moscow, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the fate of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. Its construction, which is actively supported by the EU may weaken Russia’s position on European gas markets.

Aspects of cooperation

During his visit to Moscow, met with President Berdymukhamedov , Dmitry Medvedev andVladimir Putin . The discussions focused on Russian-turmenskie economic relations.According to Putin, last year trade turnover between the countries has grown by 33 percent. It is “a very good indicator,” said the Russian prime minister and stressed that Russia is pleased to “positive dynamics”. In turn, Berdimuhamedov wished Putin wins the presidential election of 2012.

The Russian prime minister also focused on issues of energy cooperation in a deteriorating situation on world markets. He said that “we have common interests of suppliers, and it’s very good that you and I are in constant contact and coordinating our joint efforts.”

However, the Trans-Caspian pipeline issue at the moment is a complicating factor in the bilateral dialogue.

Window to Europe to Turkmenistan

Due to the nature of its geographical position the energy-rich Turkmenistan denied the opportunity to sell their treasures to the world’s major markets – Europe and the rapidly developing Asian countries. With more than 70 percent of the GDP generated by exports of oil and gas. Until now, virtually the only channel of distribution of the main product was the Turkmen Soviet-built pipeline “Central Asia – Center” that connects the fields of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, with the central regions of Russia.

In this situation, Turkmenistan is looking for other shipping options for its gas to potential buyers. The most attractive of them are European consumers, long seeking to ensure that the South Caucasian and Central Asian gas has become full-fledged competitor to Gazprom.

Began to appear different projects to deliver gas from oil fields in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Europe bypassing Russia. One of the most likely scenario is the construction of a pipeline under the Caspian Sea and its connection with the gas pipeline “Nabucco”. This year, the Commission received a mandate to negotiate directly with Ashgabat and Baku for this project.

Thus, Turkmenistan will be able to negotiate with the Europeans on the price of its gas without the mediation of Russia, which is now a buyer of Turkmen gas. Moreover, this project creates a lot of other perspectives: new markets among the transit countries (Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria), as well as the possibility of access to the sea, followed by transportation of natural gas in liquefied form.

The position of Russia

It is clear that Russia is opposed to this project. Apart from the fact that Gazprom is risking a serious competitor in the markets of Europe, which will inevitably reduce the price and volume of purchases of Russian gas, there may be other equally significant consequences.

First, Russia will lose its status as a transit country – but it is not only an economic but a political tool. Secondly, the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline lobbyists will play into the hands of “Nabucco” pipeline, occupancy of which in this case the increase. In this project “Nabucco” construction reduces the chances of strategic importance to Russia “South Stream”.

Despite considerable success in the northern direction (run “Nord Stream”), Russia still had to lead a bargain – the economic and political – to transit Ukraine and Belarus. In this situation, “South Stream” while that is further complicated by the fact that in the final stages of negotiations took place “hitch” with Turkey.

In turn, Moscow is acting in respect of the Trans-Caspian project in two ways – legal and economic.

Uncertainty concerning the legal status and delimitation of the Caspian Sea area of ​​responsibility in this case is against the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

Russian lobbying rules according to which any large-scale projects in the Caspian zone must be approved by all Caspian littoral states (the “Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea”). However, at this moment, this idea has not received the approval of the partners, because of what hampered the further process of delimitation in the Caspian Sea area of ​​responsibility (in particular, was foiled planned for this year’s summit of Caspian states).

In addition, Russia is ready to make significant economic concessions to Ashgabat.Probably, at this meeting Russia will make Turkmenistan an attractive offer – an increase of purchases of Turkmen gas. Back in 2008, Gazprom committed to purchase from Ashgabat 80-90 billion cubic meters. m of gas a year and gave the European price.

But after an explosion on a gas pipeline “Central Asia – Center” in the spring of 2009 the purchase of Turkmen gas ceased. They were restored only in 2010, but since Moscow buys only about 10.5 billion cubic meters. meters of gas per year, causing serious damage to the Turkmen budget. Under these conditions, an increase in purchases of Turkmen gas to Russia would be beneficial to Ashgabat. The extent to which Moscow is ready to increase procurement officials did not say. The signed in December 2009 the Russian-Turkmen gas agreement specified ceiling – 30 billion cubic meters. m per year.

Clearly, this amount of Turkmen gas to Gazprom will create difficulties for its sale. And in the face of declining purchases by European buyers of Russian gas corporation can do to stay in a big minus. However, in the current strategic plan costs may result in large benefits.

Parallel to this, Russia is promoting the construction of the Caspian gas pipeline route is virtually identical to the route of gas pipeline “Central Asia – Center”. It will significantly increase gas purchases by Russia and thus become, though indirectly, but rival Transcaspian gas pipeline.

Other problems Trans-Caspian

However, the Trans-Caspian, but rejection from the Russian side, there are lots of other problems. First, this political conflict between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over the ownership of oil fields with reserves of Kapaz 100-150 million tons.

Second, the Turkmen gas may be of interest to China. In this case, European buyers will be a serious competitor, but to work on two “fronts” Turkmenistan is unlikely to be able to.Third, there are certain difficulties connected with the fact that the environmental risks of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is not clear. After all, the Caspian Sea is a closed body of water.

This argument may have an impact on the behavior of European countries in which the strong position of the environmental movement. Thus, the Trans-Caspian pipeline prospects still remain vague – and Russia has the time to promote his project “South Stream”, which is a more advanced stage than the “Nabucco” and, especially, Transcaspian.

Source: Radio Russia

Russian FM Lavrov Warns Against Dangerous Consequences from America’s Islamists

Russia warns of religious rift after Arab Spring

Russia warns of religious rift after Arab Spring

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei LavrovAP

Reuters

MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Russia is concerned that the Arab Spring revolutions could sow further turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa by provoking a potentially catastrophic rift between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

In written answers to Reuters, Lavrov said the events in the region were still unfolding and cautioned that social, political and religious tensions showed signs of increasing.

“There are serious fears about the possible emergence of new zones of instability in the region that could become potential sources of challenges to international stability and security,” Lavrov said.

Such threats, he said, included the spread of terrorism, contraband weapons, the narcotics business, illegal immigration and especially the use of religion to ratchet up tensions.

“Attempts to bring the religious factor into regional confrontations are especially troubling,” said Lavrov, the longest serving Russian foreign minister since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

“If there were an open rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites – and such a threat is fully realistic – then the consequences could be catastrophic.”

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned the West that meddling in rebellions across the Arab world risks bringing radical Islamists to power and undermining long-term stability in the world’s biggest oil-producing region.

Lavrov, 61, is an eloquent face of Putin’s assertive foreign policy which is aimed at restoring Russia’s global clout as the United States, China and the European Union try to expand their influence.

“We understand that not everyone likes a strong, confident Russia,” he said. “But for us external independence is a key question.”

FOCUS ON SYRIA

Critics say Moscow’s reaction to the relatively bloodless revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt was sometimes slow, while Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev differed in public over how to react to Western military intervention in Libya.

Russia has now shifted its focus to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has cracked down on protests against his rule. Thousands of people have been killed in the clampdown and in fighting between mutinous troops and security forces.

Moscow offered a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria this month to try to look less recalcitrant, without giving ground on its opposition to sanctions or foreign military interference.

Lavrov urged an end to violence in Syria but said the West should not ignore the danger posed by what he called extremist groups in the country.

“If you close your eyes to this part of the truth, the situation could disintegrate to what we saw in Libya,” Lavrov said. “There, Western countries used the slogan of protecting civilians to overthrow the regime of M. (Muammar) Gaddafi.”

“We categorically cannot agree with the calls of some of our partners to use the ‘Libyan precedent’ to resolve other conflicts,” Lavrov said.

He said the patience and compromise shown by all sides involved in the conflict in Yemen, where a pact has been agreed for a peaceful power transition, was an example to follow.

“If you need a model to follow, it is without doubt the experience of the way the internal political crisis was resolved in Yemen, where all the external players worked extremely patiently and persistently with all the sides, without ultimatums, encouraging them to compromise,” he said.

“That is how to act in Syria’s case.”

RELATIONS WITH UNITED STATES

Putin’s criticism of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for questioning the validity of Russia’s parliamentary election on Dec. 4 has prompted some policy experts to suggest the “reset” in relations with the United States since Barack Obama became president is under threat.

Putin, who faces demonstrations by protesters demanding the election be rerun as he prepares to return to Russia’s presidency next year, also accused Clinton of encouraging “mercenary” Kremlin opponents.

Lavrov said much had been done in the last few years to strengthen relations with the United States and that dialogue had become more “pragmatic” with Moscow’s former Cold War enemy.

But differences remain over a proposed U.S. missile shield in Europe, which Washington says is meant to protect against Iran but Moscow sees as a threat to its security.

“Of course we face a difficult search for acceptable outcomes on sensitive matters, above all on anti-missile defence,” Lavrov said.

“We have not yet managed to have a constructive dialogue, and the creation of a NATO anti-missile system according to the American plan is going full-steam ahead without our legitimate concerns being taken into account.”

Russia, he said, was ready to look objectively at even the most difficult questions and added: “We hope that our American partners will take the same reasonable and responsible approach.”

Washington helped pave the way to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, which was approved by the global trading body this month.

Lavrov said he hoped WTO entry would help develop economic ties with the United States but added that for this to happen it was vital for the U.S. Congress to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a 1974 provision linking trade to emigration rights for Soviet Jews.

Kazakhstan’s leader sacks his son-in-law after last week’s deadly clashes

Kazakhstan’s leader sacks his son-in-law after last week’s deadly clashes

Asia-Plus

DUSHANBE, December 23, 2011, Asia-Plus — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Thursday he would fire his son-in-law from the top job at the sovereign wealth fund, accusing its oil and gas unit of mishandling a strike that erupted into deadly clashes, international media outlets report.

Reuters reports Kazakh leader’s surprise arrival in the western oil-producing region of Mangistau coincided with growing international pressure to investigate the violence on December 16-17, which killed at least 16 people and wounded 110.

Kazakh state television showed President Nazarbayev in the regional capital Aktau saying he had replaced the heads of state oil and gas firm KazMunaiGas and its London-listed subsidiary KazMunaiGas Exploration Production.

He said the management of KazMunaiGas had failed to implement his order to resolve a labor dispute that has been simmering since thousands of oil workers downed tools in May.

“The workers’ demands were in general justified,” he told a gathering of local officials and members of the public in Aktau.  “The employer should not have forgotten that these are our citizens. They have not fallen from the Moon.  They should have listened to them and, as much as it is possible, supported them.  To my regret, this was not done.”

The Kazakh president announced that Timur Kulibayev had lost his job at Samruk Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s $80bn sovereign wealth fund.  “I am dismissing Timur Kulibayev who heads Samruk-Kazyna,” he said in remarks broadcast on state TV.

Experts note that Timur Kulibayev, who is married to Nazarbayev’s middle daughter Dinara, is seen as one of the closest people to Nazarbayev.

Billionaire Kulibayev, one of the country’s most influential people, runs the sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, which owns KazMunaiGas.

Reuters says that a shrewd businessman who rarely speaks in public, Kulibayev is ranked Kazakhstan’s third-richest man by Forbes magazine, with a fortune of $1.3 billion.  He has played down the idea of political ambitions, saying he is more concerned with business.

He is also chairman of the board of KazMunaiGas and a board member at Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom.

In a major reshuffle of oil sector management, Nazarbayev replaced the chief executive of KazMunaiGas – Bolat Akchulakov, a Kulibayev appointee in the job for less than three months – and installed Deputy Oil and Gas Minister Lyazzat Kiinov.

KazMunaiGas EP also said its chief executive, Askar Balzhanov, had resigned and been replaced by Alik Aidarbayev, managing director of KazMunaiGas and board chairman at KMG EP.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported on Thursday that Kazakhstan has asked the UN to help investigate violence that left 16 dead in an oil town last week.

Clashes between striking workers and police in the western town of Zhanaozen last Friday led the government to declare a state of emergency.

The authorities promise a transparent inquiry into the worst violence in the Central Asian country’s recent history.

The governor of the region and the local boss of the state oil firm have reportedly been sacked.

Eyewitnesses say police fired on unarmed protesters, who have been protesting for months, in the town of 90,000.

But police say they were forced to defend themselves.  A 20-day curfew is in effect until January 5.

The invitation to the UN came after Kazakhstan’s prosecutor general Askhat Daulbayev met the UN human rights envoy for Central Asia, Armen Harutyunyan, on Wednesday in the capital Astana.

Human rights groups have expressed concern over the treatment of protesters.  New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the authorities to investigate immediately allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees following the violence in Zhanaozen and to hold those responsible accountable.  It condemned the death of a 50-year-old man in Zhanaozen from injuries it said were sustained in police custody.

Uzbekistan Blames Tajikistan for Suffering Rail Shortages

[The Uzbek side makes this idiotic charge, based on Tajik railway's inability to absorb traffic for Qurghon Teppa through Dushanbe.  It is unclear from press reports why Tajik railways cannot accommodate this increase in traffic through Dushanbe.  I read somewhere that the problem was that it was necessary to offload from trains onto trucks to make the changeover.  The problem remains one of outdated Soviet-era tracks and equipment, in addition to unreasonable expectations from the Uzbek govt.]  

Uzbekistan accuses Tajikistan of Khatlon rail problems

Payrav Chorshanbiyev

DUSHANBE, December 23, 2011, Asia-Plus  — Freight cars bound for Tajik Khatlon province are being suck in Uzbekistan because Tajikistan refuses to receive them, O’zbekiston Temir Yollari (Uzbek state rail company) told REGNUM in an interview, commenting on Tajik MPs’ appeal to their Uzbek colleagues over the Khatlon rail problems.

According to the Uzbek state rail company, 327 freight cars bound for Tajik Khatlon province are being stuck in Uzbekistan.

O’zbekiston Temir Yollari reportedly claims that the Tajik side has not rendered any assistance so far to resolve the problem.

We will recall that the bridge on the train track between the Uzbek towns of Ghalaba and Amuzang was damaged overnight on November 16-17 that caused rail traffic between Termez in Uzbekistan and the Tajik city of Qurghon Teppa to be shut down.

Tajik Railways wrote to O’zbekiston Temir Yollari as early as November 17 proposing assistance to resume rail traffic between Termez and Qurghon Teppa as soon as possible.

Uzbek rail authorities have redirected Khatlon-bound trains to Dushanbe and the Dushanbe railway station is currently receiving passenger trains bound for the south of the country.  But the Dushanbe railway station is not able to receive the Khatlon-bound freight cars and organize further delivery of cargo into Khatlon, the Tajik rail authorities noted.  They informed their Uzbek colleagues of these problems on November 22.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on December 14 that the head of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) office in Tajikistan says Uzbekistan’s decision to block rail traffic to Tajikistan threatens to create severe food shortages.

The WFP’s Alzira Ferreira told RFE/RL on December 13 that even food being sent to Tajikistan as humanitarian aid is not reaching its destination due to the Uzbek authorities’ refusal to allow trains bound for Tajikistan to pass through Uzbekistan.  Ferreira said there are 23 trains with food stocks organized by the WFP waiting to make the last part of their journey into Tajikistan.

The WFP regularly provides aid to some 500,000 people and 2,000 schools located mainly in Tajikistan’s southern Khatlon region.

Ferreira said food prices in Tajikistan are rising due to the shortages caused by the blockade of rail traffic and an increasing number of Tajiks are unable to afford basic goods.

In its appeal to Uzbek MPs adopted on December 16, the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) notes that two regions of Tajikistan – Khatlon and Gorno Badakhshan – have remained in blockade for nearly a month as Khatlon-bound freight cars have still been stuck in Uzbekistan.  “Autumn sowing campaign as well as construction of schools and hospitals in these regions have been delayed and the delay in delivery of humanitarian aid to the mentioned regions evokes serious concern.”

The blockade of the rail traffic into southern Tajikistan has also impeded the passage of nonmilitary cargo to Afghanistan for international forces, the appeal said, noting that foreign companies operating in Khatlon and Gorno Badakhshan are also bearing losses, the appeal said.

Russian industry rocked by Kolskaya rig tragedy

[Does this accident demonstrate the real dangers of  drilling rigs in arctic waters?  How safe could it be towing these rigs through waters as they are cleared by icebreakers?]

Russian industry rocked by Kolskaya rig tragedy

Vladimir Afanasiev 

Rescue: an unidentified survivor from the Kolskaya jack-up is evacuated from the Magadan icebreaker to a helicopter in the Okhotsk Sea

Image courtesy of EPA/SCANPIX

Inquiry to begin as country faces up to worst ever incident in its offshore sector

THE authorities in Russia are trying to come to grips with the worst tragedy ever to hit the country’s offshore industry, with 53 personnel presumed dead after the state-owned jack-up drilling rig Kolskaya capsized and sank during a storm in the Okhotsk Sea last weekend.

 

As Upstream went to press, 16 people were confirmed dead but the death toll seemed certain to rise, with 37 crew members still listed as missing. Only 14 people were initially rescued out of the 67-strong crew on board at the time of the sinking. Lifeboats have been recovered but with no-one on board. The authorities said the rig, which was under tow, suffered a rapid water ingress during the storm, sinking in less than an hour. Kolskaya was on its way to Sakhalin Island, before a planned mobilisation to Vietnam. It was being towed by the tug Neftegaz-55 and the icebreaker Magadan, having recently completed an exploration well for Gazprom on the West Kamchatka block off eastern Russia.

The 1985-built rig was operated by Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka, a company headquartered in Murmansk and controlled by state-owned oil company Zarubezhneft.

One of the survivors, identified by Russian television as Sergey Grauman, said strong waves smashed portholes in the dining room and destroyed equipment.

Salvage of the jack-up is understood to be out of the question, despite suggestions that some personnel had been trapped inside the rig, as it sank in water depths of more than 1000 metres.

Gazprom has been quick to distance itself from the tragedy, saying the rig had completed its job on the West Kamchatka block and was thus the sole responsibility of Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka. Industry analysts in Moscow noted that the rig was being towed with the excess personnel on board and beyond the end of the ice-free safe navigation season in the region.

The list of people who were on board the rig was published by-Moscow daily Komsomolskaya Pravda and included drillers, assistant drillers and geologists, in addition to support personnel.

Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka said that the rig move met “the highest requirements” of safe navigation. It added that the jack-up was in a “good technical condition” and that it had been renovated in 2011 under the supervision of two classification societies – Norway’s DNV and the Russian Register of Shipping. However, relatives of those missing in the accident have openly accused Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka of pushing rig captain Aleksandr Kozlov, who is among the missing, to lead the unit into harsh waters.

Kozlov’s wife, Lyudmila Kozlova, was reported as saying in Murmansk that her husband had even submitted his resignation as a protest against the planned trip. The authorities said a full investigation is to be carried out.

Turkmenistan – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Vladimir Putin start talks

Turkmenistan – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Vladimir Putin start talks

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who arrived in Moscow on a working visit, is currently talking with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The meeting is held at the government residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow.

Exchanging greetings, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Vladimir Putin, both nominated as presidential candidates in their countries, sincerely wished each other success in the 2012 elections.

As the Moscow correspondent of Turkmenistan.ru reports, the meeting is attended by members of the Turkmen government delegation – Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Ministers Khodjamukhammet Muhammedov Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov and Nazarguly Shagulyev, as well as Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Russia Halnazar Agakhanov.

The Russian delegation consists of First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, Deputy Head of the Executive Office of the Government Yuri Ushakov, Chairman of OAO “Gazprom” Alexei Miller, Russian Ambassador in Turkmenistan Alexander Blokhin.

It is expected that the sides will discuss a wide range of bilateral cooperation in the trade and economic sphere and the fuel and energy sector, in the field of culture and education, as well as cooperation within the CIS, where Turkmenistan will preside in 2012.

10,000 Troops Leave Afghanistan, While Thousands of Iraq Vets Prepare to Take their Place

[SEE: Returning From Iraq, Soldiers Find Themselves On Turnaround To Afghanistan]

10,000 U.S. troops leave Afghanistan

Detroit Free Press

In this July 14 file photo, U.S. soldiers board a U.S. military plane as they leave Afghanistan. The United States is not alone in pulling combat troops off the Afghan battlefield. More than a dozen other countries have drawdown plans that will shrink the foreign military footprint in Afghanistan. / By Musadeq Sadeq, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama’s order to withdraw 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year has been accomplished, a little more than a week before the year-end deadline, military officials said Thursday.

The drawdown is the first step in the plan to wind down the war, transition security to Afghan forces and end the combat role for international troops by the end of 2014.

TTP Successfully Launch Massive Attack On Mullzai Fort

One security official killed, 19 missing in South Waziristan

Militants attack fort of the security forces near Mullazai area, 20km north of the district of Tank. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

PESHAWAR: Militants killed one security official and reportedly kidnapped 19 in an attack on security forces in the Mullazai area north of the Tank district near the South Waziristan tribal area on Friday.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to sources, the incident took place at around 2:30 am.

“The men were from the Frontier Constabulary,” an official said while confirming that 19 people were missing who were “probably taken captive” he said.

The exact number of militants could not be determined. The attack was launched on Mullzai Fort, a guarded fortress used to bombard militant hideouts with artillery shelling during operations, which confirmed that a large number of people must have attacked the secure installation.

Sources also said that the initial number of FC personnel missing after the attack was 23 but seven of them had returned back safely.

The Frontier Constabulary, part of the security forces usually placed in the frontier region areas, monitor zones between the tribal and the settled areas. There were no casualties of militants reported.

A search operation was subsequently launched and a large number of security personnel were deployed in the area, however there are chances that the men were taken to the tribal areas.

The Pakistani Taliban “Tigers” Fight Back In Tank

[The many lies about the TTP come back to haunt the Pak Army.

--If there are units of this strength functioning in  Tank, then it exposes the previous S. Waziristan "operation"  as another sham.

--This disproves recent news reports that the TTP is fizzling-out.  It is as strong as it needs to be to stage these psycho-dramas with the Pak Army.  These attacks, like the cross-border attacks in Mohmand, are soap operas staged for publicity stunts.  The situation recently got out of hand, when Afghans and other Northern Alliance sources started changing the script, resulting in the grievous miscalculation at the Salala Border Check Post.  Indian/Afghan TTP assets undoubtedly provoked the incident, by firing upon the Afghans from near the Pak outpost.  Whenever other players start reading from different scripts, then accidents like that happen.]

Pakistani Taliban attack fort, kidnap 15 soldiers

- File Photo

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Pakistani Taliban fighters attacked a paramilitary fort in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing one soldier and kidnapping 15 others, police said.

The brazen attack was followed by a statement to media in which the militants said they would kill the abducted troops.

Armed with assault rifles, at least 35 militants targeted the Frontier Corps fort in Tank district before dawn, said local police Chief Ejad Abid. The militants burned down buildings and captured a significant amount of weapons, he said.

One soldier was killed and two were wounded in the fighting, said Abid.

Another 15 are still missing and believed to have been kidnapped, he said.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to The Associated Press and said it was carried out to avenge the death of a local Taliban commander. He claimed 30 soldiers were kidnapped.

But another Taliban commander who said he carried out the attack, Asmatullah Shaheen, told the AP that he had 15 soldiers in his custody.

Some others managed to escape after the militants captured them, he said.

Abid, the police chief, said at least 22 soldiers were missing originally, but seven managed to return.

Shaheen said the militant commander being avenged, Taj Gul, was killed in a US drone strike in October in South Waziristan, an important sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban next to Tank.

The militants attacked the Pakistani soldiers in response because of the country’s alliance with the US, he said.

Ehsan, the Taliban spokesman, said the militants have no intention of bargaining for the kidnapped soldiers’ release and intend to kill them.

”We are going to cut these soldiers into pieces one by one, and we will send these pieces to their commanders,” said Ehsan.

MQM Figurehead Pushing Pakistani Revolution from London

[For those who have trouble remembering what MQM is all about, here is a little reminder, from your friends at Jang (SEE: Eyewitness: Karachi ).] 

Peaceful revolution knocking on Pakistan’s door: Altaf Hussain

Speaking during a rally in Multan, Hussain says “flood” of the people cannot be stopped now.PHOTO: FILE

MULTAN: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Friday said that the support the people of Multan have shown to the party signifies that a “peaceful revolution” is “knocking on Pakistan’s door.”

In a telephonic address, Hussain said that the “flood” of the people cannot be stopped now.

He said that the people who talk about revolution and claim to bring it must know that in the past the MQM has “slapped” politicians and fuedals on the forums of National Assembly and Senate.

Hussain proclaimed that today’s [Friday] rally is the biggest rally in the history of Multan and that it highlights Multan’s citizens’ love for MQM. He added, “Such love was seen in history for Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali.”

Backing his statement, he said that the Quaid was truthful and so is MQM.

The MQM chief said that Multan, “the city of Saints,” has “hammered another nail in the casket of feudals.”

He said that a negative propaganda was being planned in order to drive away the support that the people of Multan give to the MQM so that the feudals could “enslave” them.

Hussain reiterated the need for a Seraiki province in the region and repeated, “Make provinces, save Pakistan.”

He showed satisfaction over the demarcation of Southern Punjab and said that a “province for the underprivileged” should be made.

Speaking about his rally, the MQM chief also said that “Such peaceful processions could not be witnessed again in any other party’s rally.”

CENTCOM Chief Cancels Scheduled Pakistani Briefing

News that General Mattis’ visit to Pakistan has been cancelled came a day after the US released its inquiry report. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

ISLAMABAD: A briefing by the head of the US Central Command to Pakistani officials on a November 26 cross-border Nato air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and severely strained ties with Washington has been cancelled, a Pakistani official said on Friday.       

News that General James N Mattis’ visit to Pakistan has been cancelled came a day after the United States announced that its investigation into the attack found both American and Pakistani forces were to blame for the border incident.

According to the investigation report, a lack of trust and series of miscommunications contributed to the events that took place on November 26.

On the other hand, Pakistan has rejected the US inquiry report.

“Pakistan’s army does not agree with the findings of the US/Nato inquiry as being reported in the media. The inquiry report is short on facts,” the military said in a short statement.

“A detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received,” it said.

Scores of dead and wounded in two suicide bombings in Damascus

Scores of dead and wounded in two suicide bombings in Damascus

The sound of explosions this morning in the Syrian capital of Damascus, al-Manar correspondent reported that the first explosion targeted a building near the General Intelligence Department Roundabout “Kafar Souseh” while the second bombing targeted a security branches near the Hotel “Carlton” in the capital. Syrian television and declared that “the two terrorist attacks occurred in Damascus, one aimed at the General Intelligence Department and other branches of one security and initial investigations indicate that it acts of al Qaeda.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad that more than thirty people were killed and wounded more than a hundred others in the blasts, which targeted the Damascus this morning. Mekdad said to reporters at the site of one of the attacks “has been more than thirty people dead and more than a hundred wounded, and in the explosions in the day.” “In the first day of the arrival of Arab observers. It is the first gift from terrorism and al Qaeda, but we will facilitate the task to the farthest extent of the Arab League.” He Mekdad that “terrorism wanted to be the first day of the observers in Damascus tragic day, but the Syrian people will face a killing machine supported by the Europeans and the Americans and some Arab parties.”

The Syrian state television announced that “a number of civilian and military martyrs” killed in the bombings, which targeted the Friday morning security headquarters in Damascus. The television said that “a number of military martyrs and civilians were killed in two terrorist attacks carried out by suicide bombers and car bombs targeted the headquarters of General Intelligence Department and one of the security branches” of Syria. The news agency said Syria, “SANA” that “initial investigations indicate the involvement of al-Qaeda to these blasts.”

The “Al-CIA-da” Killing Machine Has Begun Its Work In Syria

More than 30 dead in Damascus bombings

An image grab taken from Syrian state TV shows Syrians ispecting a burnt car at the site of a suicide attack in a security service base in Damascus (AFP PHOTO/SYRIAN TV)

An image grab taken from Syrian state TV shows Syrians ispecting a burnt car at the site of a suicide attack in a security service base in Damascus (AFP PHOTO/SYRIAN TV)

DAMASCUS: More than 30 people were killed in twin suicide bombings against security service buildings in Damascus on Friday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad said.

“There are more than 30 dead and more than 100 wounded in today’s two attacks,” Meqdad told reporters at one of the bomb sites.

“On the first day after the arrival of the Arab observers, this is the gift we get from the terrorists and Al-Qaeda,” he added, referring to an Arab League mission intended to oversee a plan to end nine months of bloodshed.

“But we are going to do all we can to facilitate the Arab League mission,” Meqdad added.

“The terrorists wanted the first day of the observer mission in Damascus to be a tragic day but the Syrian people will stand strong in the face of the killing machine supported by the Europeans, the Americans and some Arab countries,” he said alluding to Western support for the opposition.

He was accompanied to the bomb site by League assistant secretary general Samir Seif al-Yazal, head of the observer mission’s advance team which arrived on Thursday.

“We are going to press on with our work,” Yazal told reporters.

“We have started today, and tomorrow (Saturday) we will meet (Foreign Minister) Walid Muallem.”

Yazal offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the bombings. “What has happened is regrettable but the important thing is that everyone stay calm,” he said.

- AFP/ms/cc

US Scatters Bases To Control Eurasia

US Scatters Bases To Control Eurasia

By Ramtanu Maitra

30 March, 2005
Asia Times

The United States is beefing up its military presence in Afghanistan, at the same time encircling Iran. Washington will set up nine new bases in Afghanistan in the provinces of Helmand, Herat, Nimrouz, Balkh, Khost and Paktia.

Reports also make it clear that the decision to set up new US military bases was made during Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s visit to Kabul last December. Subsequently, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accepted the Pentagon diktat. Not that Karzai had a choice: US intelligence is of the view that he will not be able to hold on to his throne beyond June unless the US Army can speed up training of a large number of Afghan army recruits and protect Kabul. Even today, the inner core of Karzai’s security is run by the US State Department with personnel provided by private US contractors.

Admittedly, Afghanistan is far from stable, even after four years of US presence. Still, the establishment of a rash of bases would seem to be overkill. Indeed, according to observers, the base expansion could be part of a US global military plan calling for small but flexible bases that make it easy to ferry supplies and can be used in due time as a springboard to assert a presence far beyond Afghanistan.

Afghanistan under control?
On February 23, according to the official Bakhter News Agency, 196 American military instructors arrived in Kabul. These instructors are scheduled to be in Afghanistan until the end of 2006. According to General H Head, commander of the US Phoenix Joint Working Force, the objective of the team is to expedite the educational and training programs of Afghan army personnel. The plan to protect Karzai and the new-found “democracy” in Afghanistan rests on the creation of a well-trained 70,000-man Afghan National Army (ANA) by the end of 2006. As of now, 20,000 ANA personnel help out 17,000-plus US troops and some 5,000-plus North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops currently based in Afghanistan.

In addition, on February 28, in a move to bring a large number of militiamen into the ANA quickly, Karzai appointed General Abdur Rashid Dostum, a regional Uzbek-Afghan warlord of disrepute, as his personal military chief of staff. The list of what is wrong with Dostum is too long for this article, but he is important to Karzai and the Pentagon.

Dostum has at least 30,000 militiamen, members of his Jumbush-e-Milli, under him. A quick change of their uniforms would increase the ANA by 30,000 at a minimal cost. Moreover, Dostum’s men do not need military training (what they do need is some understanding of and respect for law and order). Another important factor that comes into play with this union is the Pentagon-Karzai plan to counter the other major north Afghan ethnic grouping, the Tajik-Afghans.

Since the presidential election took place in Afghanistan last October, Washington has conveyed repeatedly that the poison fangs of al-Qaeda have been uprooted and the Taliban is split. There was also reliable news suggesting that a section of Taliban leaders have accepted the leadership of two fellow Pashtuns, Karzai and US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and are making their way into the Kabul government.

With al-Qaeda defanged and the Taliban split, one would tend to believe that the Afghan situation is well under control. But then, how does one explain that a bomb went off in the southern city of Kandahar, killing five people on March 17, the very day US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice landed in Kabul on her first visit to Afghanistan? And why has Karzai pushed back the dates for Afghanistan’s historical parliamentary elections, originally planned for 2004, and then to May 2005, now to September 2005?
One thing that is certainly not under control, and is surely the source of many threats to the region, is opium production. During the US occupation, opium production grew at a much faster rate than Washington’s, and Karzai’s, enemies weakened. In 2003, US-occupied Afghanistan produced 4,200 tons of opium. In 2004, US-occupied and semi-democratic Afghanistan produced a record 4,950 tons, breaking the all-time high of 4,600 tons produced under the Taliban in the year 2000.

Though the problem is known to the world, the Pentagon refuses to deal with it. It is not the military’s job to eradicate poppy fields, says the Pentagon. Indeed, it would antagonize the warlords who remain the mainstays of the Pentagon in Afghanistan, say observers.

Back on the base
When all is said and done, one cannot but wonder why the new military bases are being set up. Given that al-Qaeda is only a shadow of the past, the Taliban leaders are queuing up to join the Kabul government, and the US military is not interested in tackling the opium explosion, why are the bases needed?

A ray of light was shed on this question during the recent trip to Afghanistan by five US senators, led by John McCain. On February 22, McCain, accompanied by Senators Hillary Clinton, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and Russ Feingold, held talks with Karzai.

After the talks, McCain, the No 2 Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he was committed to a “strategic partnership that we believe must endure for many, many years”. McCain told reporters in Kabul that America’s strategic partnership with Afghanistan should include “permanent bases” for US military forces. A spokesman for the Afghan president told news reporters that establishing permanent US bases required approval from the yet-to-be-created Afghan parliament.

Later, perhaps realizing that the image that Washington would like to project of Afghanistan is that of a sovereign nation, McCain’s office amended his comments with a clarification: “The US will need to remain in Afghanistan to help the country rid itself of the last vestiges of Taliban and al-Qaeda.” His office also indicated that what McCain meant was that the US needs to make a long-term commitment, not necessarily “permanent” bases.

On March 16, General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no decision had been reached on whether to seek permanent bases on Afghan soil. “But clearly we’ve developed good relationships and good partnerships in this part of the world, not only in Afghanistan,” he added, also mentioning existing US bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

A military pattern
But this is mere word play. Media reports coming out of the South Asian subcontinent point to a US intent that goes beyond bringing Afghanistan under control, to playing a determining role in the vast Eurasian region. In fact, one can argue that the landing of US troops in Afghanistan in the winter of 2001 was a deliberate policy to set up forward bases at the crossroads of three major areas: the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Not only is the area energy-rich, but it is also the meeting point of three growing powers – China, India and Russia.

On February 23, the day after McCain called for “permanent bases” in Afghanistan, a senior political analyst and chief editor of the Kabul Journal, Mohammad Hassan Wulasmal, said, “The US wants to dominate Iran, Uzbekistan and China by using Afghanistan as a military base.”

Other recent developments cohere with a US Air Force strategy to expand its operational scope across Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea region – with its vital oil reserves and natural resources: Central Asia, all of Iran, the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the northern Arabian Sea up to Yemen’s Socotra Islands. This may also provide the US a commanding position in relation to Pakistan, India and the western fringes of China.

The base set up at Manas outside Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan – where, according to Central Asian reports, about 3,000 US troops are based – looks to be part of the same military pattern. It embodies a major commitment to maintain not just air operations over Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, but also a robust military presence in the region well after the war.

Prior to setting up the Manas Air Base, the US paid off the Uzbek government handsomely to set up an air base in Qarshi Hanabad. Qarshi Hanabad holds about 1,500 US soldiers, and agreements have been made for the use of Tajik and Kazakh airfields for military operations. Even neutral Turkmenistan has granted permission for military overflights. Ostensibly, the leaders of these Central Asian nations are providing military facilities to the US to help them eradicate the Islamic and other sorts of terrorists that threaten their nations.

These developments, particularly setting up bases in Manas and Qarshi Hanabad, are not an attempt by the US to find an exit strategy for Afghanistan, but the opposite: establishing a military presence.

Encircling Iran
On February 28, Asia Times Online pointed out that construction work had begun on a new NATO base in Herat, western Afghanistan (US digs in deeper in Afghanistan ). Another Asia Times Online article said US officials had confirmed that they would like more military bases in the country, in addition to the use of bases in Pakistan (see The remaking of al-Qaeda , February 25).

Last December, US Army spokesman Major Mark McCann said the United States was building four military bases in Afghanistan that would only be used by the Afghan National Army. On that occasion, McCann stated, “We are building a base in Herat. It is true.” McCann added that Herat was one of four bases being built; the others were in the southern province of Kandahar, the southeastern city of Gardez in Paktia province, and Mazar-i-Sharif, the northern city controlling the main route to central Afghanistan.

The US already has three operational bases inside Afghanistan; the main logistical center for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan is Bagram Air Field north of Kabul – known by US military forces as “BAF”. Observers point out that Bagram is not a full-fledged air base.

Other key US-run logistical centers in Afghanistan include Kandahar Air Field, or “KAF”, in southern Afghanistan and Shindand Air Field in the western province of Herat. Shindand is about 100 kilometers from the border with Iran, a location that makes it controversial. Moreover, according to the US-based think-tank Global Security, Shindand is the largest air base in Afghanistan.

The US is spending US$83 million to upgrade its bases at Bagram and Kandahar. Both are being equipped with new runways. US Brigadier General Jim Hunt, the commander of US air operations in Afghanistan, said at a news conference in Kabul Monday, “We are continuously improving runways, taxiways, navigation aids, airfield lighting, billeting and other facilities to support our demanding mission.”

The proximity of Shindand to Iran could give Tehran cause for concern, says Paul Beaver, an independent defense analyst based in London. Beaver points out that with US ships in the Persian Gulf and Shindand sitting next to Iran, Tehran has a reason to claim that Washington is in the process of encircling Iran. But the US plays down the potential of Shindand, saying it will not remain with the US for long. Still, it has not been lost on Iranian strategists that the base in the province of Herat is a link in a formidable chain of new facilities the US is in the process of drawing around their country.

Shindand is not Tehran’s only worry. In Pakistan, the Pervez Musharraf government has allowed the commercial airport at Jacobabad, about 420km north of Karachi and 420km southeast of Kandahar, as one of three Pakistani bases used by US and allied forces to support their campaign in Afghanistan. The other bases are at Dalbandin and Pasni. Under the terms of an agreement with Pakistan, the allied forces can use these bases for search and rescue missions, but are not permitted to use them to stage attacks on Taliban targets. Both Jacobabad and Pasni bases have been sealed off and a five-kilometer cordon set up around the bases by Pakistani security forces.

Reports of increased US operations in Pakistan go back to March 2004, when two air bases – Dalbandin and Shahbaz – in Pakistan were the focus for extensive movements to provide logistical support for Special Forces and intelligence operations. Shahbaz Air Base near Jacobabad appeared to be the key to the United States’ 2004 spring offensive. At Jacobabad, C-17 transports were reportedly involved in the daily deliveries of supplies. A report in the Pakistani newspaper the Daily Times on March 10, 2004, claimed that the air base was under US control, with an inner ring of facilities off limits to Pakistan’s military.

Ramtanu Maitra writes for a number of international journals and is a regular contributor to the Washington-based EIR and the New Delhi-based Indian Defence Review. He also writes for Aakrosh, India’s defense-tied quarterly journal.

Remaking Central Asia

[This article from Asia Times was loaded with trojans and other malware toys, speaking volumes about the relevance of its content.  The more electronic "noise" any article attracts, the more it must be hitting anti-Empire "home runs."   This article's focus on exposing the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement is very important at this point in our research, as it presently relates to the previous story out of Tajikistan on controversial mufti,  Turajonzoda, who also does what he can to expose the HT group as a Western fabrication. 

An important element of the HT ideology are the teachings of Said Nursi, which is also true in the Fethullah Gulen movement.  Like other totalitarian "Islamic" beliefs, such as that of the Wahhabi, or Salafis, the synthetic "Islam" taught by these individuals instills a supremacist belief system in the mind of the believer that compels him to see individuals professing other faiths as "infidels" and unbelievers.  The most extremist believers of this nonsense are convinced by what they are taught that it is their holy duty to kill the enemies of God.  Read a judgment from the Moscow district court, describing this psychological mechanism as taught in Nursi's writings, Risale-i Nur--

[Risale-i Nur] “attempts to influence the psyche of the reader subconsciously using mechanisms of religious belief, i.e. the formation of conscious values and convictions with an irrational basis…,the destruction of religious equality, expressed in the formation of a negative, aggressive attitude among its target audience towards adherents of other confessional groups…,propagandises hatred between Muslims and non-believers.”

Hizbut-Tahrir is a British creation, which has been passed on to the American Empire-builders.  It is a weaponized form of Islam, intended to infect the mind of those who receive it with a sense of superiority and a mission to be God’s executioner.  The spread of this viral form of pseudo-religious mass-hypnosis coincides with increased social unrest and the rise of militant Islamists in the former Soviet space.  This is why it is banned in Russia and eventually in every CIS country that is striving to survive the great wave of American psychological warfare, otherwise known as the “Arab Spring” movement.]

Remaking Central Asia

By Ramtanu Maitra

May 27, 2005

“Britain has two important ingredients to offer to the United States: first, its ability to undo the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and parts of the Indian sub-continent through the use of people living in London’s Aladdin’s cave; and second, its control of world currency movements through the City of London.”

 

Most major media outlets have spelled out with a profusion of details the “exact” events that led to the death of what some claim to have been hundreds of people in the eastern Uzbekistan town of Andijan on May 13. Led by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, the world media condemned much-maligned Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov for yet another bloody and ruthless suppression of “public dissent”. Yet, all the details so far provided do not explain who the real players were or their end objectives.

It is certain, however, that the puzzle cannot be solved unless the London factor is understood. The answers lie in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Liverpool. The old British colonial establishment, with former intelligence officer Bernard Lewis as its mentor, appears to have set in motion a series of events that will bring endless bloodshed to Central Asia. London’s objective would appear to be to keep both China and Russia under an open-ended threat. At this point, there is no one who can better serve this “Lewis Doctrine” than Muslims nurtured in Britain – the Hizbut-Tehrir (HT).

Ferghana Valley’s importance
The most significant aspect of the violent incident in Andijan is that it occurred in the Ferghana Valley, a confluence of three former Soviet republics – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Andijan is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, where the seed crystal for the March uprising against Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev was planted. Within a span of 48 hours after the uprising began in Osh, Akayev was gone.

Andijan is also about 25 miles east of Namangan, the hotbed of the Saudi-funded Wahhabi form of Islamic extremism. Juma Namangani, now dead, was the leader of the movement that began in Namangan. The Ferghana Valley’s 7 million inhabitants make it the most densely populated region in Central Asia. In other words, Andijan is in the heart of Ferghana Valley, and is the key to controlling it.

For years, Central Asian governments have pointed to the valley as a hotbed of Muslim extremists aiming to set up an Islamic state in the region. Largely ethnically Uzbek, the valley is split between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in a confused patchwork of Soviet-era borders that often leave enclaves of one country surrounded by the territory of another. In general, Uzbekistan holds the valley floor, Tajikistan holds its narrow mouth and Kyrgyzstan holds the high ground around. Though the valley mouth is narrow, the actual valley is vast at 22,000 square kilometers (8,500 square miles), and the Pamir and Tien Shan mountains that rise above it are only dimly visible, but they are the main source of the water that fertilizes the valley.

During the Soviet era, the valley was a major center of cotton and silk production, and the hills above are covered by walnut forests. The valley also has some oil and gas. That scene has not changed much. What has changed significantly since the1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is its integration with the “free world”, and that process has made Central Asia economically decrepit and turned it into a hotbed of transnational Islamic militants, controlled and funded by outside forces. Recently, the Kyrgyz media reported of personnel of the country’s border control services saying that the illegal entry of foreign nationals and individuals without any citizenship into Kyrgyzstan was on the rise. What is important to note is that these militants were not parachuted out of airplanes: they are coming through Afghanistan and Pakistan. It could very well be a ticking time bomb for India, China and Russia.

Footsoldiers of foreign powers
Apart from various Islamic preachers, two major Islamic groups function in the Ferghana Valley, whose common objective is to change the regimes in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. These are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the HT. While the IMU openly thrives on violence, the HT is strongly promoted by the United Kingdom, where it is headquartered, as peaceful. But records indicate that that the IMU and the HT work hand-in-hand. Most of the IMU recruits are from the HT, according to Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on world terrorist outfits. Gunaratna claims that Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian of Chechen origin who has remained active in the Iraqi insurgency against the US occupying forces, were both once members of the HT.

The relationship between the Taliban and the IMU pre-dates September 11. In September 1996, after the Taliban had captured the Afghan capital, Kabul, Juma Namangani and Tahir Yuldashev – long-time adversaries of Karimov and considered the founders of the IMU – held a press conference in the city to announce the formation of the IMU. Namangani, who had served as a Soviet paratrooper in Afghanistan in the 1980s, became the group’s leader (or amir) and Yuldashev its military commander. Their aim was to topple Karimov and turn Uzbekistan, and ultimately the whole of Central Asia, into an Islamic state. The Taliban provided them with a place to shelter and train, and to plot against Karimov. It is also said that Yuldashev developed contact with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and the two became supportive of each other. Although Karimov is a target of the IMU, in recent months he has identified the HT as the greater threat. Following the Andijan incident, Uzbek authorities again blamed the HT.

Unlike the IMU, which has concentrated its role in Central Asia, with the Ferghana Valley as the focus, the HT is an international Islamic movement. It is headquartered in London, but also has a strong organizational presence in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bradford. The UK group was co-founded by Omar Bakri Mohammed, who went to the UK after being expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1986. The HT’s present leader is an information technology professional from the Indian sub-continent, Jalaluddin Patel.

The HT was established in 1953 in Palestine by a well-known religious figure, the judge of the appellate Sharia court in Jerusalem, Takieddin al-Nabahani al-Falastini (1909-1979). According to available reports, the group’s first UK-based website was hosted by the London Imperial College – but following complaints to the college authorities, the site was closed down until a new host could be found. The group now posts in its own name as Hizbut-Tehrir.

Although portrayed as non-violent by British authorities, Bakri’s links to bin Laden are widely known. Excerpts of a letter to Bakri from bin Laden, sent by fax from Afghanistan in the summer of 1998, were published in the Los Angeles Times. Bakri later released what he called bin Laden’s four specific objectives for a jihad against the US: “Bring down their airliners. Prevent the safe passage of their ships. Occupy their embassies. Force the closure of their companies and banks.” Many of those who follow HT activities are intrigued that the group is not more discreet. For instance, its website in 2003 carried “A Cry of Imam from the Muslims of Uzbekistan.” In that article, the “imam” gave the call “to destroy Karimov” . Similar calls have been issued to oust the Jordanian and Turkish authorities. These are not empty threats. The HT is a huge organization. Some claim it has at least 10,000 footsoldiers in Central Asia. A few thousand more are lurking in Pakistan and Afghanistan. HT also has a strong presence in North Africa.

As one Indian analyst pointed out, Osh and Jalalabad, the cities that spearheaded the regime change in Kyrgyzstan, happen to be HT strongholds. HT is making huge gains in an entire belt stretching from the Ferghana provinces of Namangan, Andijan and Kokand (contiguous to Osh and Jalalabad) to the adjacent Penjekent Valley (Uzbekistan) and Khojent (Tajikistan).

The Lewis Doctrine
Writing for the Jamestown Foundation Journal (Vol 2 Issue 4), Stephen Ulph, in his article “Londonistan”, seemed intrigued by that fact that scores of violent Islamic movements remain anchored in London. He writes:
It [London] is also a center for Islamist politics. You could say that London has become, for the exponents of radical Islam, the most important city in the Middle East. A framework of lenient asylum laws has allowed the development of the largest and most overt concentration of Islamist political activists since Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Just ask the French, whose exasperation with the indulgent toleration afforded to Algerian Islamic activists led them to dub the city dismissively as “l’antechambre de l’Afghanistan”. They certainly have a point. Many of bin Laden’s fatwas [religious edicts] were actually first publicized in London. In fact, the United Kingdom in general seems to differ from other European states in the degree to which it became a spiritual and communications hub for the jihad movement …
Ulph does not, however, ask why it is that London remains an “Aladdin’s Cave”, chock-full of Islamic dissidents. Britain is no longer a military or economic power of substance. In order to be an almost-equal partner in the Atlantic alliance, Britain has two important ingredients to offer to the United States: first, its ability to undo the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and parts of the Indian sub-continent through the use of people living in London’s Aladdin’s cave; and second, its control of world currency movements through the City of London.

The West’s policy – in other words, the policy of the Anglo-Americans, as the European Union does not have a policy worth citing – toward the Middle East has long been formulated by Bernard Lewis. The British-born Lewis started his career as an intelligence officer and has remained in bed with British intelligence ever since. Avowedly anti-Russia and pro-Israel, Lewis reaped a rich harvest among US academia and policymakers. He brought president Jimmy Carter’s virulently anti-Russian National Security Council chief, Zbigniew Brzezinski, into his fold in the 1980s, and made the US neo-conservatives, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, dance to his tune on the Middle East in 2001. In between, he penned dozens of books and was taken seriously by people as a historian. But, in fact, Lewis is what he always was: a British intelligence officer.

To understand the “Lewis Doctrine”, one must read the statement he made in Canada recently while discussing his article, “Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East” (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005). “During the Second World War, Nazi Germany and the allies had all sorts of odd friends,” Lewis said on that occasion. “When [Prime Minister Winston] Churchill was asked in the House of Commons about Britain’s new ally, Russia, he replied that if Hitler would invade hell, ‘I would find occasion to support the devil’. In this way, there is nothing odd about an alliance between Saddam [Hussein] and al-Qaeda.” Or, one might be expected to conclude, between London and the Hizbut-Tehrir.

In 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took over power in Iran and the West was in a quandary, Lewis sucked Brzezinski into his notion that “Koranic evangelism” could be a very useful political tool against Russia in the long term. His Time magazine story at the time, “The Crescent of Crisis”, ended with the following telling observation:
In the long run there may even be targets of opportunity for the West created by ferment within the crescent. Islam is undoubtedly compatible with socialism, but it is inimical to atheistic communism. The Soviet Union is already the world’s fifth largest Muslim nation. By the year 2000, the huge Islamic populations in the border republics may outnumber Russia’s now dominant Slavs. From Islamic democracies on Russia’s southern tier, zealous Koranic evangelism might sweep across the border into these politically repressed Soviet states, creating problems for the Kremlin … Whatever the solution, there is a clear need for the US to recapture what [Henry] Kissinger calls the “geopolitical momentum”. That more than anything else will help maintain order in the crescent of crisis.
The recent developments in Uzbekistan have all the hallmarks of the same process. This time the objective is to weaken China, Russia, and possibly India, using the HT to unleash the dogs of war in Central Asia. It is not difficult for those on the ground to see what is happening. The leader of the Islamic Party of Tajikistan, Deputy Prime Minister Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda, has identified HT as a Western-sponsored bogeyman for “remaking Central Asia”. He said: “A more detailed analysis of HT’s programmatic and ideological views and concrete examples of its activities suggests that it was created by anti-Islamic forces. One proof of this is the comfortable existence this organization enjoys in a number of Western countries, where it has large centers and offices that develop its concept of an Islamic caliphate.” It is evident that Turajonzoda has seen through this game. But he has little capability to stop the juggernaut once it has been unleashed.

It is not a lack of understanding on the part of American neo-conservatives associated with the Bush administration, but their keenness to use the “Lewis Doctrine” to achieve what they believe is justified that promises untold danger. How important a brains-trust is Lewis to the neo-conservatives? Just read the words of Richard Perle, a leading neo-conservative who remains a close adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “Bernard Lewis has been the single-most important intellectual influence countering the conventional wisdom on managing the conflict between radical Islam and the West.”

Tajik Religious Council Registers Opinion On Turajonzoda Flap


Religious differences did not lead to unity

Gaffor Mirzoyev, head of the History of Philosophy and Religion
Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Law of RT
For some time the religious situation in the country always remains a volatile and sensitive areas of social life. Although the emergence of new religious movements such as Wahhabism, Salafi, Jamoati Tabligh and other matter somewhat on the wane, but the confrontation of religious views on the religious situation brings this to the abyss, which can have tragic consequences for society.
Conducting the ceremony of remembrance Oshuro from well-known religious family Turajonzoda, publication circulation Ulema Council, Tajikistan, and discuss controversial comments about this in the media have raised concerns the conscious part of society. From its bitter experience recently, we remember, what has this attitude in a religious environment, so we can not stay away. Moreover, it is our duty, as the foundation of our work is the study of religious processes in modern society, and it behooves us to express an opinion.
That is, we took up this topic not because of passion or selfish intentions of the group and show off, sometimes even more are tightening the existing situation. For example, some priority is to confront each other, rather than the subject matter and methods for their solution.Or some ignorant person, who are far from the notion of essence of the issue by equating the purely religious rite Oshuro to the level of celebrating the New Year, allegedly birth of Jesus Christ, which further complicates the matter in question. It only adds fuel to the fire, and not in the interests of our people.
These minor problems are always at the center of conflict in our society. Is such a tense situation in the confrontation of the great powers around our country, we have other more important issues? Is the economic problems of the country, the situation of migrant workers, unemployment in the society, poverty, provision of schools and education, unsold projects in agricultural and energy sectors, the level of culture and ethics of society, the issues of regionalism, corruption, normalization of relations with neighboring countries, the protection of national interests, that recently the internet were again under attack enemies of the nation, and other existing problems do not matter to us, or they have already been solved?
In the process of solving the above problems the ideological confrontation on issues of religion in religious circles, on the contrary may further exacerbate the problem. This is only available to certain foreign interests for the sake of their interests. And for all of our society and their consequences will be flawed and negative.
The formulation and adoption of the issue so that some of our religious leaders have involved in the dispute Oshuro rite of religious circles, could later lead to confrontation and disagreement between them. And it may worsen the serious aggravation of our good relations with neighboring fraternal people of Iran, which always protects our national and state interests at the regional level.
In addition, it can destroy the religious tolerance that existed in our culture. First, our religious leaders should not have to bring this matter to this state. Ulema Council had to find more appropriate ways and means of reconciling or resolving the issue. To decide whether it would be advisable to try to collect first-known religious figures of the country together and find a more gentle and appropriate ways to address the issue. Maybe then this issue would be resolved in the best way.
Today, when both sides of the issue carried on a review of society and argue about who is right and wrong, and blame each other for defamation, it does not matter who is right.
For example, the ideological differences between Turajonzoda and Mullah Haidar in the 90s of last century and at that time was not important who is right and who is not. The further process of the differences and relations went beyond the problem and its implications for all of us are well known. Include all causes of the tragic events of 90th only to the religious factor can be wrong, but in any case, this factor is considered one of the causes of conflict.
As a result, society was divided into two fronts, with each side looking for a patron in foreign countries. These foreign patrons using our divisions have implemented their own selfish interests, the consequences of which we have hitherto experienced.
The reality is that our religion, which is an important national spiritual foundation that fateful period was unable to fulfill its primary mission to unite and concord of the people. Not only did, but she became one of the factors of disunity. Why did it happen, and what we should learn about it, we should consider.
With regard to the subject matter, then there is the rite of Oshuro emphasize that it is inconsistent with the traditions of Hanafi Sunni religion religious movement. And in the minds of our people Oshuro not perceived as a religious rite. Moreover, the performance of the rite does not add anything and does not decrease in our religion, and religion. That is, there is no need in the Hanafi religious movements. On the contrary, it can only bring problems and disagreements.
When it comes to assessing an unworthy act the murder grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s) – Imam Hussain Ibn Yazid Muoviya, every believer is a Muslim and a reasonable person in spite of religious rites, condemned this unworthy act. Therefore, there is no need to make in our circle of religious traditions, holding this ceremony. All of our great representatives of culture and religion, who lived and worked during the Hanafi confessed, condemned this tragic act and wrote about it in his writings. However, none of them served as a rite Oshuro religious tradition. We would like to say that the conviction and execution of religious rituals are very different things and do not confuse them.
Even supporters of the Ismaili flow, which is constantly remembered, and they are an important part of our religious environment, do not hold a ceremony Oshuro with weeping and mourning observance. And so it was before, even though they are members of the Shi’ite Imam and a branch of Islam.
As for the ceremony Oshuro, we respect the religious traditions and ceremonies of Shia Muslims. And now we do not pursue their goal to show minor religious values. Just want to organize their own religious traditions, which would meet the aspirations of the people. In the course of the Shiite mourning rituals of compliance, weeping, drawing the head and face trauma, etc. taken as the tradition of that branch of Islam. These traditions are accepted by them in subsequent periods, the development of Islam as Sunni opposition to their union, as the leadership and management role belonged to the Sunni representatives.
In that time, the religious ceremony they needed to unite supporters of Shiite unity and flow. But in subsequent centuries it has evolved into a campaign of confrontation, revenge and terror between rival currents, which creates problems even in the Shiite community. In recent years, certain religious groups and senior religious leaders are trying to make changes in the conduct of the ceremony and make it softer, so that at least in some measure to prevent its tragic consequences. Only this year, during the ceremony Oshuro in several cities in neighboring Afghanistan killed 54 and injured more than 100 people. In different areas of Iraq were killed 87 and injured hundreds of people. These events have also occurred in Pakistan and Lebanon.Such events occur each year.
I can not imagine on what grounds, and the feeling with which our religious leaders can make this intense ritual in our religious environment. Is it in our social and religious environment, which is an important part of our religion, there are no other questions, when to make it into our religious idea not necessary, and before there was no need. As noted in other streams of Sunni belief he also did not notice and did not exist.
If we are talking about the benefits of Muharram, which was revered by Muslims and to the tragedy in Karbala at the time of the Prophet, he has a definite place in certain religious calendars as Shavvol month, Rajab and others. That is, they do not comply with such sensitivity as in the Shiite flow.
In conclusion I would like to note that to carry out minor religious rites should be treated so that the religion and rituals have lost their intended purpose and value. Religious conversion will be constructive and positive only when we have to meet the needs of society.
Today, terrible process of globalization, which is constantly and steadily moves around the world, do not leave out any state and any one nation. Civilized and intelligent nation, have learned well the pulse of events, and joined their national, religious and interest groups around the state interest. So they are making progress and in society, and religion, and statecraft.
Look at the most difficult times Russia’s recent history, particularly the confrontation of the Parliament and the executive body of the country, differences of state bodies, the solution of demographic problems, and finally, the deterioration of relations with its neighbors – Georgia and Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church has always been next to the state and supported him.
If we will also work in all spheres of life, including the conduct of rituals in the light pulse processes of the modern world and national interests, too, will achieve success. Otherwise, it does not matter, we say loudly or softly month-old Omina, carry out a rite Oshuro as memory or a religious ceremony.
I think that today our society the most important task is to create a stable environment and people’s unity. Known Tajik educator Adzhzi in the early twentieth century, long before the arrival of the Bolsheviks and the spatial distribution of Central Asia felt the need to join the society before the events that followed and put him above all values. Causes fragmentation of society and the problems he saw in the internal religious differences and emphasized the need to prevent them.
In the future, contradictory world, which will be the scene of confrontation between the interests of great powers, disunited nation, society, and their traditions will not occur.

Tajik Mufti Who Sees Through Anti-Islamist Western Subversion, Targeted By Tajik Court

[The following story is about a developing "stink" that is now unfolding in Tajikistan, where US and Russian competition for dominance may be the most serious.  Without Tajikistan, the US and NATO would not be able to control northern Afghanistan and several primary routes for the NDN.  Tajikistan is vital to Russia, especially because it is home to the Russian 201st Motorized Division, with the next nearest Russian facility in Kyrgyzstan.

The report about this Tajik mufti suing the head of the Ulema Council is highly significant, since this guy is a real "fly" in everybody's "ointment" (our kind of guy!), except maybe for Russia.  He is challenging the Tajik religious authorities for being puppets of the government and its anti-Islamization efforts.  Stirring-up govt. reactions to imagined "Islamist" penetrations is the key mechanism for the takeover of the region.  Turajonzoda has craftily focused upon the puppet religious authorities, instead of the government in his libel suit, for falsely claiming that he led Shiite Ashura ceremonies, even though his Sunni beliefs forbid such things.  The govt. authorities have charged him with "disorderly conduct" because his parishioners became rowdy and insulted the chief Mufti for making false charges against their own Imam. 

Akbar Turajonzoda is of major importance in the international fight against the false "Islamist" front that has been manufactured by the Empire as an instrument of subjugation and agitation of the Muslim masses.  His previous denunciation of the primary instrument of subversion, the  Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, as being a Western creation, manufactured by anti-Islamist forces, proves that he is a primary obstacle to the Western plans to dominate Tajikistan, making him a clear threat to the Empire.  Moves by the Tajik govt. to censure, or isolate him prove that the Rahmon govt. is working behind the scenes to facilitate the Empire's plans for the region.  If the Islamist model of Western subversion cannot take hold in Tajikistan, then it is doubtful whether it will play well in Russia.  You can be sure that the Kremlin is watching this part of the ongoing psycho-drama very intently] 

Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda

Second-in-command of the Islamic Revival Party, “he has called Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamist organization, a threat to Tajikistan’s stability.[4] He claimed HT is Western-sponsored and that it wants to “remak[e] Central Asia… A more detailed analysis of HT’s programmatic and ideological views and concrete examples of its activities suggests that it was created by anti-Islamic forces. One proof of this is the comfortable existence this organization enjoys in a number of Western countries, where it has large centers and offices that develop its concept of an Islamic caliphate.”[5]

Turajonzoda brothers accused of disorderly conduct 


Nuriddin Turajonzoda
The prosecutor’s office Wahdat handed to the court instituted administrative proceedings for disorderly conduct in respect of certain theologians – brothers Turajonzoda.
According to “AP” prosecutor Vahdat Kurbonali Mukhabbatov, December 9 this year, theologians and Hoji Akbar Eshoni Nuriddin Turajonzoda in his mosque “Muhammad” in Vahdat district was admitted to the presence of many parishioners foul language against the head of the Ulema Council Saidmukarama Abdukodirzoda and other officials.
“Such actions are considered in law as disorderly conduct committed in a public place – said the prosecutor Vahdat. - In any case, the court issues its decision. “
Actions brothers Turajonzoda qualified under Article 460 of the Administrative Code (petty hooliganism, ie obscene language in public, humiliating harassment of citizens and other such actions that violate public order and tranquility of the population, is punishable by a fine of seven to ten indicators for settlements or administrative arrest for a term of five to fifteen days)
Recall, December 9, the mosque of the family Turajonzoda “Muhammad” to familiarize parishioners with the Ulema Council statement came the head of the Ulema Council Saidmukaram Abdukodirzoda, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs and the Mayor Abdulrahim Kholiko Vahdat Anvari Vaysiddin.

Speech by Mufti met with indignant shouts of the congregation, not letting him finish his speech, and forcing officials to leave the mosque.
The next day, on a complaint the head of the Ulema Council, chairman of the committee and the mayor to the prosecuting authorities nine parishioners were subjected to administrative detention for 10 days, yet few people have been fined.
It should be noted that the entire conflict arose following a statement by the Council of Ulema, who accused the family in carrying out Turajonzoda December 2 Shiite mourning ceremony “Oshuro” in the mosque of Muhammad.
Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda accused the head of the Ulema Council of insult and libel and filed it in court. The claim was accepted Turajonzoda in the metropolitan district court Somoni.