Hope of stability

Hope of stability

Oman Observer

By Ulf Mauder and Stefan Korshak -
Central Asia’s sole democracy, Kyrgzstan, now has a fighting chance of staying that way, but it will be a battle, political observers said after the once-turbulent country held peaceful elections for a new president.
Nearly two-thirds of voters gave their support to Almazbek Atambayev, the current prime minister who has a reputation for pragmatism and who stood up to the rule brought down in 2010.
The vote surprised not only his 15 rivals but many observers who had predicted Kyrgyzstan would fail to choose a clear victor in Sunday’s poll — and would descend into political turmoil.
Atambayev, 55, was the highest-profile politician in the country after interim President Roza Otunbayeva. With her he has pushed through constitutional changes reducing the power of the country’s executive branch, so as to prevent a return of authoritarian government.
Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) indicated Atambayev’s victory had been generally in keeping with democratic principles. But they also totted up a disconcerting crop of violations, including poorly maintained electoral rolls, ballot-box stuffing, and voters’ receiving and casting multiple ballots.
Criticism like this from Western vote monitors is common in Central Asia, but the response in Bishkek was anything but typical for the region. “Well if they (the OSCE) gave us that rating, then that’s pretty much the way we worked,” said Kyrgyzstan Central Election Commission chairman Gulnar Dzhurbaev.
“We will work on fixing the problems,” he said, in comments to Aki-Press. Political observers were predicting Atambayev would take the same workmanlike approach to the many problems facing Kyrgyzstan, which is strategically placed on transportation routes between China and Russia.
But success would not come easily, they said. “All 16 presidential candidates were positively disposed towards Russia,” said Andrei Grozin, Director of the Central Asia section of the Commonwealth of Independent States political research institute.
“But from Atambayev, besides rhetoric, there are already practical results,” he said in reference to the incoming president’s pro-Russian credentials.
In comments to the Interfax news agency, Grozin pointed to the steady increase in trade with Russia since Atambayev became prime minister in 2010, and said his policy of economic engagement with Moscow was one of the strongest selling points he had with voters.
In comments to the BBC after the election, Atambayev gave a broad hint of which way regional geopolitical winds were blowing, saying Manas Air Base — a section of Bishkek airport rented by Washington to supply its military operations in nearby Afghanistan — must shut down in 2014 when its lease runs out.
But even if Atambayev manages to jump-start Kyrgyzstan’s weak economy — close to half of the country’s citizens still depend on subsistence farming — and to kick out the United States as well, regional power groupings remain to stymie his leadership.
Among them are local powerbrokers like the Ata Shura (Fatherland) political party, and the country’s Uzbek minority, who live in the historically turbulent Ferghana valley.
In June last year, Kyrgyzstan was rocked by severe ethnic unrest between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, with an estimated 2,000 people dying in the cities Osh and Jalalabad.
Beyond thorny domestic politics and potentially explosive ethnic tensions, Kyrgyzstan’s culture of strong family and clan ties, which tend to promote nepotism and widespread corruption, were perhaps the greatest impediments to Kyrgyzstan’s development, said Kyrgyzstan political scientist Valentin Bogatyrev in comments to dpa.
Atambayev will take office in December. In one of his first post-election comments, he spelled out his administration’s goal. “My goal is to unite the country. That is what we must do first.”

Did Russia and China Put End to the Arab Spring?

Did Russia and China Put End to the Arab Spring?

By Irina LEBEDEVA (USA)

Did Russia and China Put End to the Arab Spring? On Tuesday, October 4th, Russia and China vetoed the UNSC resolution on Syria, which – if adopted – would have offered the implementation of the Libyan scenario in the country. The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, however, warned against any parallels between Libya and Syria, saying that the Libyan precedent was used ‘as an excuse’ by some countries which wanted to sell arms to Bashar Assad`s government.

U.S journalists asked Mrs. Rice whether she really believed that a similar resolution on Libya, which had resulted in NATO bombings there, did not affect the decision on Syria, with India, Brazil, and South Africa, the countries which abstained, being also interested in selling arms to Syria.

Susan Rice insisted that Libya was just ‘an excuse’, while a resolution initiated by the European countries ‘could not be opposed in any way’. But this time Russia and China did not fall under this rhetorical spell. Russia`s envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, described the resolution on Syria as too categorical and based on ‘philosophy of confrontation’.

On voting day Le Monde published an article headlined ‘The West Urges UN to Condemn Syria Repressions’, which quoted outraged French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, who said that if Russia would veto the resolution, it would be a ‘change in position’ because Moscow had allegedly approved a draft resolution the day before the voting. “Mr. Juppe expects Russia to revise its decision since the text of the resolution, though not faultless, still offered a good ground for negotiating”.

A proposed draft resolution condemned ‘the continuation of serious and regular human rights violations in Syria’ and demanded an immediate halt of violence. The resolution promised ‘measures’ in case the Syrian regime would not have improved the situation within 30 days. As critics of NATO bombings in Libya, the European ministers stressed that they had no intentions to undertake similar actions in Syria, Le Monde said. However, this did not make Russia, China, as well as non-permanent UN member states -India and South Africa – change their attitude.

And it has turned to be for the better, indeed. Despite efforts made by some world leaders to smooth over controversy surrounding the previous UN resolutions, which led to a catastrophe in Libya, the repetition of this scenario in Syria is at least postponed, though the country, as well as other vulnerable countries of the region, should better not relax before time.

The same article in Le Monde mentions Turkey`s Prime Minister, who “betrayed his friend” (Bashar Assad). “There is another thing highlighting a changing Turkish position towards Syria – the fact that Turkey gave shelter to a fugitive Syrian Colonel, founder of ‘The Free Syrian Army’ opposition army group, uniting over 7,000 refugees”, says the paper.

In the meantime, supported by London and Paris, Turkey has been busy training militants and opposition figures supposed to topple the Syrian regime and establish a transitional council like the one in Libya… On October 2d, a meeting to discuss the creation of the Syrian national council took place in Istanbul, which was confirmed by a certain Burkhan Galiun, who represented the Paris-based Center for Contemporary Oriental Studies. During a press-conference in Istanbul, Mr. Galiun said that a ‘historical’ national council was ‘working to unite the Syrian society in the name of revolution, in order to topple the regime, including its leader”. The council, mainly represented by immigrants, united various opposition groups, including the so-called ‘coordination committees’, as well as by liberals, members of the long-banned in Syria Muslim Brotherhood Islamist party, and also by Kurds and Assyrians. According to Mr. Galiun, only these people can defend the right of Syrians to freedom. The agenda of the transitional council is being composed in London by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH). It is also there where pictures of ‘horror’ in Syria are made to stir up hatred towards Assad`s regime. As this fugitive Syrian said, a NATO-trained Free Syrian Army should pave the way to the ‘permanent revolution’. Meanwhile, Russia`s and China`s veto has cooled the ardor of these ‘free armies’.

The French envoy to the UN, Gerard Araud, said the veto showed “disdain for the legitimate interests that have been fought for in Syria” since the protests in the country began. Well, knowing the tragedy and cynicism of the so-called ‘strive for freedom’, I hope that the French diplomat was not mistaken.

Source: Strategic Culture Foundation

The Ideology of the Loser–Is Not a Winning Strategy

The Ideology of the Loser–

Is Not a Winning Strategy

Peter Chamberlin

The more that we observe our fellow man, the more obvious it becomes that humanity is unable to understand the problems that it causes for itself.  If humans do not have the intellectual capacity to recognize most of their problems as being self-generated, then they are obviously incapable of correcting any of these life-threatening obstacles to the progression of mankind’s advancement, on their own.  Leaving intellectually inferior beings in charge of the safety of the human race in the middle of an epochal historical confluence of multiple calamities is an existential form of negligence.   The survival of the race requires that ways be found to institute a more capable decision-making process in the halls of power.

No better example of our intellectual shortcomings could be found than in the recently concluded battle in Washington over raising the debt ceiling.  Instead of solving the problems between the contrasting prevailing political opinions, the negotiating heads preferred to fight-out an opinion battle in the national press, proving that American government has degenerated into a “three-ring circus,” or a never-ending soap opera.  Despite the threats, no real damage was done to the veterans, the elderly and the disabled, other than increasing their stress levels.   The damages that have been done to our already mud-stained reputation are only helping to accelerate the global economic crisis.

The nature of the unfolding world crisis is one of an endless series of overlapping crises, with each crisis compounding the effects of previous blow-ups.  An overwhelming global economic interruption is underway, but all of its negative effects are being made worse by endless military adventurism, which is heaping debt upon the center by the trillions.  Before Obama got his way, most of us had never even contemplated what a “trillion dollars” actually meant.  Now we toss the word around like it is really just business as usual, and not the most obvious signal that the whole thing has blown-up in their faces.

We are witnessing the outcome of a failed political system, which allows our Nation’s fate to be subjected to political considerations.  By allowing government policy to be set by a dialectical see-saw, where the latest “winner takes all” politician jerks the decision-making process to either the right or the left, regardless of the fact that the correct answer would be a steady hand on the tiller, holding it like an anchor to the center.

Despite the fact that the losing party understands precisely the damage being done to our Constitutional Republic by their actions or inactions, it is usually the losing party which is the most vicious in its knee-jerk political actions.  Invariably you will find, that it is the losing party which wages war upon the Republic itself as the means to correct the policies of the “treasonous” opponent.  Instead of proving their wild ideas, they would prefer to hold their opponents to task, no matter what the human cost.

In this ideology of the loser, no actions taken to rectify the serious “errors” of their opponents can be considered to be as severe or as harmful as the opposition’s rhetorical attacks.  It seems that terrorism is an acceptable form of battle in the war against seditious ideas.  Knowledge that those entrusted to lead us attach greater importance to discrediting their opponents’ ideas than they do to validating their own (that the political battle is more important than the ideas being fought over), provides us a key to understanding the inadequacies of the human mind.

Vanity is the racial guarantor of our species’ stagnation.  We have to make an effort to rise above our pride and accept new ways of thinking which make room for some sort of decision-making mechanism which relies upon intellects greater than the minds of individual men.  Whether this new intellectual force is to be AI, cybernetically-enhanced human minds, or some computer-aided mechanism for tapping into the collective intellect of the greatest living minds, the human race must find some way to inject intellect into the governmental decision-making process.  Stupid decisions are killing us.  Individual personalities in control, like we have now, produce not just government gridlock, but the situation which we face, where every effort made to improve the situation as determined by the greatest political minds, only serves to make matters worse.

Human potential is equal to the total mass of all human “prodigies” added together, even the overlooked ones locked behind the barriers of poverty and the great class divide.  Our potential to overcome our problems is limitless, if our potential were ever really tapped-into.  This tells us that a true human renaissance awaits our children, in the very near future, dependent only upon us to make the changes which set their positive future into motion. The key to its unlocking it lies dormant, unused, because it has been hidden by hands which have a monetary stake in preventing a great awakening.  Our civilization will either dead-end in the great ash heap of history, or we will step onto a new track to a better destination, together.  The decision will either be made at the highest levels to do what is best for the American people and for the human race, or we will drink deeply of a deadly dose of apathy, but only if we lose the will to live.

Once the world of money and politics is revealed as a great parasitic infestation, that is sapping the life out of the human race, with its vapid political/military solutions to every problem that comes our way, then the popular support for tyranny will simply fade away.    The time will soon come when all the emperors will stand naked before us, after they have been completely discredited the political/economic system that has nurtured them and their evil ways, overwhelming them with rivers of profits.  The great injustice is that the economic tsunami which they have let loose upon the world will not focus solely upon the wave’s creators, but will dispense injustice equally to us all.  Those at the top who are holding-on so tightly to the reigns of economic power (trying to squeeze every drop of profit out of the bankrupt systems in vain attempts to save themselves as well as their ill-gotten possessions) are strangling the lifelines for us all.  Breaking their death grips will not spare anyone from the deluge that is coming, but it will open the supply lines that should already be flowing from a “humanitarian” government to the people, before the emergency hits, making survival easier for someone.

So you see, we are faced with two constants, which, when added together, reveal that our world is headed full speed to a great collision with the overtaking new world.  It will either be the “New World Order” that many of us dread, or it will be a new world of our own making, a world that can only be discovered through experiments in collective “pulse-taking” (lessons to be learned from in place social networking), or other efforts to find the paths to democracy.   When our worlds collide, visions of Empire will go up in smoke, but some new order will arise from the ashes, none the less.  When the constant of the inevitability of the failure of political government is realized, then that is the moment when our greatest opportunity will arise.  It will be the great moment of hope for all mankind, when genius is given the opportunity to provide the answers which human guile could never supply.

How do we steer away from the corporate New World Order, and set a course for freedom and universal human rights?  Look toward our leaders and compare their words with leading thinkers–how do they compare?  The recognized leaders all speak with one voice, even though they claim to be from different political parties.  They project an aura of self-assurance, righteousness in the cause of justice.  Yet their actions consistently contradict their words.   Activists from both the right and the left spend their time trying to make the corrupted leadership eat their own words.  In this ideological struggle, truth is the only weapon.  He who possesses the most verifiable truth wins the war.

The truth is–we are not winning this war; we are not telling the truth about the war; we are not the good guys this time.

Social agitators, activists and other agents for change are people driven by their own vision—seeing into our negative future binds us all to a compulsory moral duty, to work for positive changes.  If we see that our species, that our children will one day in their future, reach the point of  losing all hope, then we would not be “fit parents,” allowing that to happen.  If their last real hope was in us, that we would NOT let that happen to them and to their world, then who, or what force could stop us from throwing ourselves into the gears of the Imperial war machine?  This is what makes us so dangerous to the powers that be.  We who foresee the need to stand-up for something greater than ourselves, will willingly give-up our lives to stop them, once we understand the gravity of the situation.  The knowledge of what has been done to America and the darkness that is still planned for us are powerful testimony of the loyalties of the people who have been running this country.  It is irrefutable.  Making more and more people aware of the true connection between our government and world terrorism will light political fires that no corrupted system could withstand.   The power of the people will be an awesome sight to see.

Our great despair is that we are among a growing minority, those who can see where we are heading, including the unfortunate timing of our births.  We have been privy to the birth pains of the coming Great Changing of humankind, aware of the great things to come, even though many of us will not be parties to the joyous event itself.  The best that we can hope for in the here and now is to find all the truth that is within our grasp and then use it as the ultimate weapons available to us, in order to knock-down the walls which conceal the greatest truths from us all.  The politics of money is a process of creating divisions and building walls.  The impending human awakening will come when we either learn how to rise above all the walls, or acquire the means to tear them all down.

When the political path collapses before us, reducing all the walls that have been erected to enforce the man-made divisions, into great piles of rubble.   The cost of recovery will be set by the amount of time required to set humanity upon a new, better path.  The longer that we remain on the negative path to destruction, before turning around to begin the reconstruction, the greater the amount of limited funds that will be wasted in the fires of war—the less that will be available for the time of building.

At that time, it will become clear to all, that the true revolutionary is the man or woman who can see a better way, NOT he who is a journeyman at committing political violence.  The violent radical who fancies himself a true “revolutionary,” is merely someone who is taking credit for the inevitable collapse of a failing Empire, at best, they may have helped to speed-up parts of that collapse.

It turns-out that the most revolutionary act is one of simple persuasion, trying to convince the men who have the most to lose, to turn the machinery onto the path of creativity, away from the road to our destruction.  The problem with this approach is the futility of the task, the utter impossibility of convincing the ultra-wealthy to give-up the very thing that has given them all of this power.  (Shoving a camel through the eye of a needle might really be easier.)  In order to convince lesser mortals to work towards turning humanity around, you must first persuade them to give-up hope in the great capitalist dream.  The power of that dream maintains a terrible grip upon the minds of mankind, breaking it will necessarily require a series of individual awakenings, until the weight of that awakened minority is felt by the whole mass of humanity.  We increase our numbers of aware individuals until we affect, or infect the whole (SEE:  Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas).

This line of thinking reveals three tasks before us—giving credibility to the negative vision, giving form to the new direction, and creating the conviction of inevitability.  We have already covered the first task to a great degree by covering the conspiracies that are guiding the chaos.  The collapsing economy and the perpetuation of persistent conflict are both products of ineptitude and deception.  Proving incompetence and that  we have been lied to on a grand scale will help to convince the people that our leaders are idiots and their solutions are merely prolongations of the problems nothing more than political theater and propaganda.  The second task will be a bit harder, in that it is far more difficult to bring substance to a vision out of thin air, painting an image of a better way to invest in mankind.  The third task of communicating the abstract quantity of “inevitability” to a church filled with the under-educated faithful (SEE:  Sermon from the Corporate Church) could border on the impossible.

Democracy is NOT a “two-party system.”  Our glorious political system is a formula for manufacturing divisions, if not a template for outright civil war.  Pushing this upon the world is a criminal act.  What our “trusted” leaders have done is to strangle the American Republic to the point of near death, in an organized scheme of mass-extortion and bribery, focused on the perpetuation of power and the subjugation of an entire Nation.  Pushing this arrangement upon other countries under pretense of helping is a formula for taking-over the political system of those countries.

Not being satisfied with the mass-rape and looting operations which have destroyed the American economy, these same leaders and the political factions which they represent, are mid-stream in the world’s greatest plot to seize control of the entire planet.  Waist-deep in a raging economic river of their own making, our fearless leaders are also being swept away by the forces that they have helped to unleash and by those that they should have worked to contain.  Instead of working to control the uncontrolled flood, they are content to roll with it, pouring endless sacks of money into the torrent, never once stopping to fill any of those same canvas bags with sand.  Why build dams or levees in hopes of containing the destruction, when half of your men are busy dynamiting other levees?

The insanity of political man will continue to prevail until men and women of reason stand-up and show us a better way.  The parade of idiots will continue and the dead weight of their archaic political beliefs will override common sense for as long as we let them.  Until we fully realize the great genetic gifts that we have been blessed with, we will continue to follow the crooked path that leads us to the “idiot nation.”  Until we utilize the greatest computer ever built by the hands of God, or at least dedicate the best computers built by man, to the task of preserving our species, we will continue to flounder on the rocks of ignorance.

What could be worse than total idiots leading the blind?

chamberlinpeter@hotmail.com

There really will be “Life after capitalism.”]

[Until world leaders accept that our economic crisis is a wildfire, out of control, they will continue pouring on the little that is left, in hopes of beating the inevitable.  If you look at the European or American economies as giant forests, and the economic crisis as a massive forest fire, it would be easier to understand exactly what is happening with each “TARP” or other similar rescue effort.  As the fire expands, it burns-up things that may have taken years to grow.  Wasting those resources in feeble attempts to erect “firewalls” doesn’t stop the fire, it only slows it down, or forces the fire to take an easier path, but that doesn’t mean that there will be no backfire.  In the end, the accumulated water (capital) would have evaporated in the flames and the survivors would be in worse shape than if the fire-fighting effort had not been made.  The wisest solution would be to wisely use the limited supply of capital we now have, to put the survivors in a better position after the blaze has passed.  That means that investments should be focused upon the parts of the economy which were devastated first, making them first to recover in the new economy which will take shape.

There really will be “Life after capitalism.”]

EU May Accept Greek Default as Crisis Fight Intensifies

By Simon Kennedy and Jonathan Stearns

Euro-area leaders redoubled efforts to end the 21-month sovereign bond crisis as they erected a firewall around Spain and Italy and risked temporary default to lighten Greece’s debt burden.

After eight hours of talks in Brussels, leaders announced 159 billion euros ($229 billion) of new aid for Greece late yesterday and cajoled bondholders into footing part of the bill. They also empowered their 440-billion euro rescue fund to buy debt across stressed euro nations after a market rout last week sparked concern the crisis was spreading. The fund can also aid troubled banks and offer credit-lines to repel speculators.

Greek, Spanish and Italian bonds rose after officials drew concessions from Germany, the European Central Bank and investors for a twin-track strategy to support Greece and ensure its woes don’t spread. The summit is the latest in a running- battle to resolve the crisis amid calls this week for tougher action from U.S. President Barack Obamaand the International Monetary Fund.

“These measures are welcome because they create the best possible conditions for Greece and other peripheral countries to put their houses in order and hence limit the risk of contagion,” said Marco Valli, chief euro-area economist at UniCredit SpA in Milan. “Still, the market will continue to price some probability that troubled countries will not be up to the challenge.”

Bond Rebound

The yield on Greece’s two-year government note, which rose above 40 percent yesterday, has since plunged more than 1,300 basis points and was at 26.63 percent at 12:13 p.m. in Brussels.

Italian and Spanish bonds climbed for a fourth day, with the yields on 10-year debt falling to 5.25 percent and 5.62 percent, respectively. Both exceeded 6 percent last week. The euro was little changed at $1.4410 after jumping as much as 1.6 percent yesterday.

The Greek financing package will consist of 109 billion euros from the euro region and the IMF. Financial institutions will contribute 50 billion euros after agreeing to a series of bond exchanges and buybacks that will also cut Greece’s debt load, the leaders’ communiqué said.

The European Commission plans to brief reporters on the package’s technical details at 1 p.m. in Brussels.

European Monetary Fund

The leaders sought to regain the initiative after market turmoil intensified amid a spat between ECB President Jean- Claude Trichet and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over how to manage the crisis. The outlook was worsened by signs that Greece was backsliding on axing its budget deficit as it struggles to cut a debt of 143 percent of gross domestic product. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch poll this week showed investors trimming their European stock holdings to the lowest in more than a year.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy compared the transformation of the bailout fund to the creation of a “European Monetary Fund.”

“This meeting came at a difficult time,” Merkel told reporters. “I’m satisfied with the outcome because the euro countries showed today that we are up to the challenge, we can take action.”

The risk is that the drive will fall prey to the same internal European Union wrangling that blunted previous drives to stop the crisis. Bond purchases by the European Financial Stability Facility, the region’s rescue fund, will need the “mutual agreement” of member states and the facility may not be large enough should markets turn on Italy and Spain at the same time. Leaders also refused to increase its size.

Crisis Management

“The EFSF has gone from being a single-barreled gun to a Gatling gun, but with the same amount of ammo,” Willem Buiter, chief economist at Citigroup Inc., told Maryam Nemazee on Bloomberg Television. “It needs to be increased in size urgently.”

Sarkozy and other leaders also stressed that the Greek package won’t be replicated for other countries.

European officials tried to draw a line under the crisis in May 2010 when they set up the bailout fund and the ECB agreed to buy government bonds of debt-laden nations. That didn’t stop Ireland and Portugal needing bailouts when splits over how to make investors participate in financial rescues prompted a new wave of bond market selling later in the year.

The pact still doesn’t “make a significant dent” in Greece’s debt and may disappoint investors by failing to boost the size of the rescue fund, said Jonathan Loynes, chief European economist at Capital Economics Ltd. in London. “We doubt that this package alone will bring an end to recent contagion effects and prevent the broader debt crisis from continuing to deepen over the coming months.”

German Coalition

For now, Merkel and her allies have succeeded in their drive to make investors co-finance bailouts after voters balked at the cost of saving spendthrift nations.

“The summit resolutions fulfill the main elements of German coalition lawmakers’ demands, above all the participation of the private sector in solving this crisis,” Hans Michelbach, a lawmaker in Merkel’s ruling coalition, said in a telephone interview. “I see that a majority of coalition lawmakers will support Mrs. Merkel in parliament.”

Banks will reduce Greece’s debt by 13.5 billion euros by exchanging bonds and “potentially much more” through a buyback program still to be outlined by governments, said the Institute of International Finance, a Washington-based group representing banks.

Investors will have the option to exchange existing Greek debt into four instruments. Three will be fully collateralized by AAA-rated zero-coupon securities and have a 30-year maturity, and the fourth will be for 15 years and partially collateralized by funds held in an escrow account.

Sovereign Default

Crisis managers are aiming for a 90 percent participation rate from Greek bondholders.

“With this offer, the global investor community is stepping forward in recognition of the unique challenges facing Greece,” said IIF Managing Director Charles Dallara. The gathering was also attended by Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann and BNP Paribas SA counterpart Baudouin Prot.

The ECB removed an obstacle to a new bailout after Trichet softened his opposition to a default which may be declared by credit rating companies if the debt swap occurs. The ECB had until now said the euro region’s first sovereign default could spark a bout of financial turmoil, clashing with Merkel’s position that a default could be inevitable.

Trichet Solace

Trichet signaled governments will guarantee any defaulted Greek debt offered as collateral during money market operations. That may enable Greek banks to keep tapping the ECB for emergency funds. Officials said the aim would be limit any credit event to a few days.

“The ECB pushed the argument as far as it could,” said Laurent Bilke, an economist at Nomura International Plc in London who used to work at the ECB. “It is Europe, everything is a compromise.”

Under the plan, Greece and fellow bailout recipients Portugal and Ireland will also have theinterest rate on emergency loans pared. Maturities will be lengthened to as long as three decades with a 10-year grace period.

Trichet may gain solace from the bailout fund’s wider remit which he repeatedly sought since the ECB suspended its own bond buying program in April amid concern it was doing the work of governments. Germany previously rejected broadening the EFSF, whose size was beefed up to its original lending target as recently as last month.

Passing Money

The facility will be able to buy debt directly from investors so long as creditors agree and the ECB declares “exceptional financial market circumstances.” EU President Herman Van Rompuy said the purchases could be used to stabilize markets as the ECB was doing or to help countries retire debt at a discount.

The fund may also start passing money to countries to support banks a week after stress tests on 90 financial institutions put as many as 24 under pressure to show they can raise capital. Precautionary credit lines would allow it to lend to nations before markets freeze, mimicking a system introduced by the IMF for states that start losing investor faith even though they have relatively sound economies.

Governments will have to ratify the facility’s new powers, posing a potential obstacle given domestic critics in Germany, Finland and the Netherlands.

Leaders dumped a suggestion to finance Greek aid through a tax on banks with a French official noting the threat had nudged banks into agreeing to help in other ways. While they signaled no shift toward issuing joint bonds, Germany’s Deputy Foreign Minister Werner Hoyer said in an interview on July 20 that it may eventually back the concept “if we further develop the European Union towards a political union.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Simon Kennedy in Brussels atskennedy4@bloomberg.net Jonathan Stearns in Brussels at jstearns2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net

Indians and Pakistanis Form Human Chain In Protest of Mumbai Terror Attacks

India-Pakistan human chain to protest Mumbai blasts

 

New Delhi, July 16 (IANS)
Raising slogans promising support to each other against terrorism, several Indian and Pakistani citizens Saturday gathered near Rajghat here and formed a human chain to protest the July 13 Mumbai blasts that left at least 19 people dead and injured 130.
The event was organised by various NGOs from both sides of the border. Holding posters and flowers, those gathered raised slogans like “Atankwad ho barbad, humari dosti zindabad” (Terrorism should be destroyed, long live our friendship).

“It’s high time that peace prevailed in both the countries and I think that is not possible without the cooperation of the citizens,” said Sheema Kirmani of Tehrik-e-Niswan, an NGO from Karachi holding a poster that read “Shak ke bavandar se bahar aao, milkar shanti failao” (Come out of the whirlpool of suspicion, spread peace together).

Agreed Faisal Khan of Delhi-based NGO the National Alliance of People’s Movement, who said that cowardly attacks like the one in Mumbai could never rattle the strong Indian democratic and secular setup.

“They (the perpetrators) think that such attacks would result in communal violence in the country. But they fail miserably every time,” Khan told IANS. The participants agreed that terrorism plagued both the nations and it was time that people got together and cleared misunderstandings, if any existed.

Theatre person and political analyst Anwer Jaferi from Karachi said: “Same kind of attacks happen in Pakistan too and these are just attempts to spread hatred between the two communities and countries.” Jaferi said his theatre group was performing an anti-war play in different Indian cities when the blast took place in Mumbai. So, they decided to join the event.

When the neighbour’s house catches fire

When the neighbour’s house catches fire

THE HINDU

By M. K. Bhadrakumar

Pakistani security officials escort American CIA contractor Raymond Allen Davis, center, to a local court in Lahore. Mr. Davis’ detention soured U.S. – Pak relations, and the fallout of the episode has affected subsequent American strategy in West Asia. File photo

India should evolve a joint strategy with Pakistan to fight terror and build a regional initiative on Afghanistan.

 

Two things that happened in the subcontinent last Wednesday promise to be a game changer in regional politics. That they happened simultaneously in India and Pakistan and manifested an unspoken harmony of spirit — although by no means coordinated — make them meaningful. First, seldom, if ever, would soft-spoken Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram feel the need to raise his voice and firmly contradict a newspaper story — as he did on Wednesday in the Indian capital. But then, the New York Times story was, as Mr. Chidambaram said, “highly exaggerated.”

It was based on the musings of an erstwhile “unidentified” Pakistani militant commander who apparently fell out of favour with his mentors in the security establishment in Islamabad for unknown reasons, to the effect that the Pakistani military establishment is keeping in reserve an army of trained Kashmiri militants numbering 14,000 to be unleashed on India at a future date. The import of the narrative is all too apparent: succinctly put, India is barking up the wrong tree by trying to sustain a dialogue with Pakistan. From a slightly different angle, the message is also that India and the United States are sailing in the same boat and that the commonality of interests demands that they act in concert to squeeze Pakistan — a sort of variant of the “hammer-and-anvil” proposition that U.S. commander in Afghanistan David Petraeus used to propose to the Pakistani army chief, Parvez Kayani, in happier times with the intent to squeeze the Pashtun tribes on the Durand Line.

Equally, on Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani made a significant speech in Mingora in the Swat valley — not far from Jammu and Kashmir. From all accounts, the speech had two halves — one full of unease over the U.S.’ recent attempts to destabilise Pakistan and the other an overture to India. Mr. Gilani said: “Pakistan views India as the most important neighbour and desires sustained, substantive and result-oriented process of dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir. We sincerely hope that [the] ongoing process of comprehensive engagement will be fruitful. However, India will have to play a more positive and accommodating role and respond to Pakistan’s legitimate security concerns.” Mr. Gilani travelled to Swat with General Kayani and they shared the podium from where the Prime Minister made his speech. Clearly, there is a larger backdrop.

It all goes back to the detention of the U.S. intelligence operative and former army man, Raymond Davis, in Lahore in January in circumstances that are not still quite clear. At any rate, ever since Mr. Davis’ detention in January, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been in disarray. Mr. Davis was kept under detention for two months and subjected to intense grilling. It stands to reason that the Pakistani authorities got to know all that they wanted to know and were afraid to ask their American allies for quite some time about the gamut of their covert activities in Pakistan — vis-à-vis insurgent groups and the Pakistani military and security establishment. The chilling truth is that U.S. President Barack Obama personally intervened to get Mr. Davis released but Pakistan held on to him for yet another month in an extraordinary display of defiance. Suffice to say, the alchemy of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has since changed almost unrecognisably — from both ends.

Pakistan promptly began acting on Mr. Davis’ revelations and drew the famous “red lines” — asking the U.S. (and the British) military personnel to leave; demanding that the U.S. cease its covert operations on Pakistani soil; insisting that future cooperation in intelligence should be based on explicit ground rules. In short, Pakistan understood that the U.S. had gone about establishing direct talks with the Taliban, keeping it out of the loop. A fundamental contradiction has arisen. Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S.-led war — starting from the seminal understanding reached between the two countries following the crucial visit by Secretary of State Colin Powell to Islamabad on October 16, 2001 — has been predicated on the American pledge that Islamabad would be a key player in any Afghanistan settlement and Washington would accommodate Pakistan’s legitimate security interests.

But then, the war has transformed, the regional environment has changed and U.S.’ priorities have changed. What began as a Texan-style revenge act against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington is today imbued with the hidden agenda of the U.S.’ regional strategies. It has become imperative for the U.S. to deal directly with the Taliban and not through intermediaries. Admittedly, the U.S. is looking for an end to the war and is willing to accommodate the Taliban, provided the latter acquiesces to its military bases in Afghanistan.

However, Washington has factored in that after the Davis affair, there is no way Pakistan would cooperate with a U.S. strategy to establish a permanent military presence in Afghanistan. Put simply, Pakistan can never trust the U.S.’ intentions and Washington is aware of that. Thus was born the U.S. counterstrategy to turn the table on Pakistan. The sudden pullout of U.S. troops from Pech valley in the province of Kunar in eastern Afghanistan began on February 15 while Mr. Davis was under detention, and it was completed in two months’ time. What followed since then was entirely predictable — various insurgent groups ranging from the Afghani and Pakistani Taliban, Hizb-i-Islami, al-Qaeda affiliates and the Lashkar-e-Taiba have consolidated their safe haven in Kunar. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. intelligence has already made contacts with some of them. Therefore, what began happening since May along the Durand Line can be aptly described as a “low-intensity war” against Pakistan.

Cross-border attacks, shelling, terrorist strikes and wanton destruction have become a daily occurrence. Armed groups come down from Kunar and neighbouring provinces to attack Pakistani forces, which retaliate with artillery fire; insurgent groups fight against each other; the conflict zone has expanded beyond FATA to Chitral mountains in the Northern Areas in the upper reaches of Kashmir. The implications are devastating for Pakistan. The Durand Line question has been ripped open. Some obscure snake charmer has summoned the serpent of Pashtun nationalism to raise its hood. Pakistan faces an existential challenge. For the snake charmer, this may seem the use of “smart power” to entrap the Pakistani military in a quagmire of Pashtun nationalism so that it has no energy left to dabble in Afghan affairs. And, this may also be “smart power” at its best. For, the tensions on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border also threaten to spoil the new atmospherics in Kabul-Islamabad ties — built around Pakistan’s support for an ‘Afghan-led’ and ‘Afghan-owned’ peace process led by President Hamid Karzai.

Mr. Karzai is obliged to react to the violation of territorial integrity of his country, cross-border terrorism and Pashtun sub-nationalism. But he is also conscious of the criticality of sustaining cordial links with Islamabad since Pakistan is his key interlocutor for both building up a durable settlement and checkmating sustained American conspiracies to marginalise him. Mr. Karzai’s predicament is vaguely similar to India’s. The difference, of course, is that India’s cooperation can actually be a “force multiplier” in the U.S.’ strategy to isolate Pakistan.

But the Indian policymakers seem to continue to patiently plough the furrow of dialogue with Pakistan by taking a differentiated view of regional developments through the prism of India’s long-term interests in a stable relationship with Pakistan. The tone of India-Pakistan statements has changed lately. Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s acknowledgment of the incipient signs of Pakistan moving toward a rethink on terrorism has been carefully noted in Pakistan. Thus, Mr. Gilani’s statement in Swat probably intends at reinforcing a salient in the India-Pakistan dialogue that is struggling to be born. That he made the statement in the presence of Gen. Kayani needs to be noted.

Indeed, this is not the time for India to display triumphalism that Pakistan faces a challenge to its integrity from the menace of the cross-border terrorism which, in many ways, it unleashed in the region. The fire in India’s neighbourhood is spreading and it has reached the upper reaches of the Kashmir Valley. Statesmanship lies in evolving a joint India-Pakistan strategy to fight terrorism and to evolve a regional initiative on the Afghan problem. A critical mass is gradually accruing — to the effect that India and Pakistan’s legitimate interests in the stabilisation of the Afghan situation are reconcilable. Afghanistan figured in Ms Rao’s consultations in Tehran. The qualitative difference from the late 1990s is that neither Delhi nor Tehran is locked in a zero-sum game with Islamabad. The time is ripe for India, Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to draw closer together as the regional stakeholders with the highest stakes in ending the war and stabilising Afghanistan.

Pakistan intends to host a trilateral summit with Iran and Afghanistan by the year-end, which could be an appropriate occasion for an enlarged regional initiative. However, for all this to gain traction, Pakistan must conclusively turn away from the use of force to settle differences with India.

(The writer is a former diplomat.)

Peace Between India and Pakistan Would Prove That There Is Hope for Mankind, After All

[Peace between Israel and Palestine, peace between Russia and Georgia, peace between the United States and the rest of the world--any of these solutions would prove to me that there is hope for our race, after all, no matter how bad things might normally seem.  There is only one possible way to solve those intractable persistent warfare scenarios--Keep Talking.  What ever you do--Keep on talking, it is the only known path to peace (other than the return of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace).]

‪Keep Talking‬‏, posted with vodpod

S. Asia must fight ‘scourge of terrorism’: Indian PM

“The scourge of terrorism has taken a huge toll on all our societies. It is a cancer, that if not checked, will consume us all,” Manmohan Singh said. – File Photo

NEW DELHI: South Asian nations must make greater efforts to fight terrorism without relying on outside help, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told a regional conference in New Delhi.

Stressing that South Asia could prosper as a whole, Singh said there was a need to develop a “culture” in which the countries involved would be able to tackle the region’s deep frictions.

“The scourge of terrorism has taken a huge toll on all our societies. It is a cancer, that if not checked, will consume us all,” Singh told a gathering of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

“I would like to believe that we have the will and foresight to prevent such an outcome,” Singh said on Saturday. “Others cannot solve our problems for us.”

Singh added the region’s youthful population was an opportunity but also a challenge.

“Disaffection and alienation provide a fertile breeding ground for intolerance, violence and terrorism which then threaten our societies,” he said.

SAARC, founded in 1985, groups Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Critics have blamed its inability to exploit the region’s potential on the long and bitter rivalry between India and Pakistan.

Relations between the two nations, which have fought three wars since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, have been plagued by border and resource disputes, and accusations of Pakistani militant activity against India.