“South Stream will most certainly go through Serbia”

Mr. Petar Skundric: “South Stream will most certainly go through Serbia”

16. April 2009. | 07:32

Source: EMportal

Minister of Energy and Mining, Mr. Petar Skundric, announced that during the last talks with representatives of Gaspromexport he had been given strong confirmations that the South Stream gas pipeline would most certainly go through Serbia.

Minister of Energy and Mining, Mr. Petar Skundric, announced that during the last talks with representatives of Gaspromexport he had been given strong confirmations that the South Stream gas pipeline would most certainly go through Serbia.

At the Third Annual Conference “The Future of the Energy Sector in the Balkans”, organized by Ekonomist Media Group, Mr. Skundric said that the South Stream route running through Serbia from Dimitrovgrad to Subotica had turned out to be the most optimal and most economical solution.

The Minister also said that 53 companies had applied for the pre-qualification tender for selection of a strategic partner for construction of two blocks of the thermal power plants Kolubara B and Nikola Tesla 3. “Twenty-six companies have applied for Kolubara B and 27 firms for the third block of TENT,” Mr. Skundric says.

“Fourteen respectable energy companies have expressed interest in construction of one or both facilities, while other letters of intention have been sent by construction companies, equipment producers and electricity traders,” he said, adding that by the end of April the Power Industry of Serbia would present a list of candidates that had fulfilled the pre-qualification tender terms.

He said that the Government had also given its consent for announcing a public invitation for construction of a gas-fired thermal power-heating plant of 450 megawatts in Novi Sad.

“I expect that by the end of the year we will be able to give the same consent to beginning of construction of one gas-fired thermal power-heating plant in New Belgrade as well,” Skundric said.

South Stream construction contracts to be signed

Serbian Minister of Energy and Mining Petar Skundric said also that separate contracts concerning the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline are expected to be signed between Gazprom and various national gas companies at the energy summit, to be held from April 24 to 25 in Sofia.

Speaking to the press after the conference on the energy future of the Balkans, being held at the Hyatt hotel, Skundric said that the contracts will be signed in the presence of the heads of states of the countries which are taking part in the project.

He said that the national gas companies of these countries will sign separate agreements with Gazprom at the summit in Sofia, adding that it is expected that delegations of over 100 countries, including Serbia, will be present.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will also be present on the occasion, said the Minister.

Skundric explained that after the signing of separate contracts every country will conduct a feasibility study in order for a final agreement to be signed.

He said that Serbia has to complete the feasibility study by September this year and general preparations for the project must be completed by the end of June next year.

He said according to all estimates the gas pipeline link through Serbia is considered to be the most realistic and most economical option.

Skundric said that work has begun on demining the area through which the gas pipeline link will be built in Serbia, adding that Russian experts engaged by Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergei Shoigu are currently working on clearing the area of bombs left over from the 1999 NATO bombing.

Ethiopia/USA/Somali pirates’ cover-up

Ethiopia/USA/Somali pirates’ cover-up

By Thomas C. Mountain
Online Journal Contributing Writer

ASMARA, Eritrea — One of the best kept secrets in the international media these days is the link between the USA, Ethiopia and the Somali pirates. First, a little reliable background from someone on the ground in the Horn of Africa.

The Somali pirates operate out of the Ethiopian and USA created enclaves in Somalia calling themselves Somaliland and Puntland. These Ethiopian and USA backed warlord controlled territories have for many years hosted Ethiopian military bases, which have been greatly expanded recently by the addition of thousands of Ethiopian troops who were driven out of southern and central Somali by the Somali resistance to the Ethiopian invasion.

After securing their ransom for the hijacked ships the Somali pirates head directly to their local safe havens, in this case, the Ethiopian military bases, where they make a sizeable contribution to the retirement accounts of the Ethiopian regime headed by Meles Zenawi.

Of course, the international naval forces who are patrolling the Horn of Africa know all too well what is going on for they have at their disposal all sorts of high tech observation platforms, ranging from satellites to unmanned drones with high resolution video cameras that report back in real time.

The French commandos started to pursue the Somali pirates into their lairs last year until the pirates got the word that for the right amount of cash they were more than welcome in the Ethiopian military bases in their local neighborhoods. Ethiopia being the western, mainly USA, Cop on the Beat in East Africa put these bases off limits to the frustrated navies of the world, who are no doubt growling in anger to their USA counterparts about why this is all going on.

Now that the pirates have started attacking USA flagged shipping, something that was until now off limits, it remains to be seen what the Obama administration will do. One thing we in the Horn of Africa have learned all too well, when it comes to Ethiopia, don’t expect anything resembling accurate coverage by the media, especially those who operate under the cloak of “freedom of the press.”

Stay tuned for more on this from the Onlinejournal.com, the only site willing to expose the truth on matters no one else will touch.

Thomas C. Mountain, the last white man living in Eritrea, was in a former life an educator, activist and alternative medicine practitioner in the USA. Email thomascmountain at yahoo.com.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

The Story of Bugti’s Death

The Story of Bugti’s Death

From: Behind the Chairman’s Door

I am taking a break from writing the Pakistan’s Bermuda Triangle series to discuss what happened in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province early this morning. Some people are making very interesting comments about Akbar Bugti, but noone wants to tell the true story of what caused the action by the military early this morning, so here we go.

Nawab Akbar Bugti (leader of the Bugti tribe), his grandson and 37 militiants were killed early this morning in a massive military operation in Tartani, Baluchistan. I personally don’t have much respect for anyone who is a Nawab and I will explain why, but this discussion is more about the man than the designation he held. Since my family’s background is from the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), which is littered with Nawabs, we have a lot of personal experience with these “leaders” and their methods of control, which I will try to explain.

A Nawab is the king of a specific area. These are remnants from the British rule that used to exist in Pakistan. The British, when pulling out of Pakistan in 1947, gave massive amounts of land to individuals to rule and control as they wished. Traditionally, the Nawab has never allowed the government to interfere in the workings of their area to the point of taking armed resistances. How do people live in these areas? Everyone who lives and works in an area that has a Nawab is under their control, not the government’s. They receive no benefit from the government nor is the government allowed to enter these areas. Now, it should be clear that these people only exist in the tribal areas of Pakistan (except in Bugti’s case), which are extremely backward and kept that way by these same Nawabs. By backward, I mean no education, no rights, no property ownership, unless the Nawab says so. For example, as a subject under a Nawab, you are required to work their lands, defend their home, and pay a “tax” from your earnings to them. In return, they will exercise a violent rule over the people, jailing them at will, seizing their lands and punishing them for whatever they feel.

If you look at a map of Pakistan, you will see certain areas that are specifically marked as Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which are mainly on the border with Afghanistan. These areas were set up to absorb the massive Afghani refugee population during the Soviet occupation and their loyalties are firmly with Afghanistan. For those who watch the news, you may have heard the name South Waziristan, Khyber Agency, Mohmand Agency, which are all FATA areas and are the sources of terrorism and massive weapons stores that are used to keep the government out, militiants in and Nawabs in power.

As a matter of fact, my home area of Pakistan was once ruled by a Nawab that gave up power in 1971, when it became part of Pakistan. Prior to that, it had its own military, civil (government), educational and medical structure and did not incorporate itself with any of the laws and regulations of the Government of Pakistan. In 1971, when it formally became part of Pakistan, Wali Swat, our Nawab, gave up his control of the region and disassembled the military militia. But when Wali Swat was in power, the system of government was based on executive order from the Nawab, nothing was written down and everything operated on the whims of the Nawab. But I digress….

When it comes to this Nawab, Akbar Bugti, who is British educated, you are talking about the most extreme form of Nawabdom that Pakistan has ever seen. Akbar Bugti established his Nawabdom on Pakistani soil, not in a FATA, making him answerable to government laws. Akbar Bugti has been a staunch ally of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was exiled by President Musharraf for corruption, extrajudicial killings and various other crimes against the state. He has served as Chief Minister of Baluchistan and was a member of the National Assembly. He hates Pakistan’s other ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto because she allowed rival tribesman to return to Dera Bugti after Bugti kicked them out of the region. When President Musharraf came to power, his first act was to re-settle 10,000 tribesman back into Dera Bugti, again after Akbar Bugti had kicked them out and seized their lands. But none of this is the reason for what happened in the early hours of the morning. Akbar Bugti was involved in anti-state activities. As the President said in July, “Dera Bugti has a population of 9,000; 5,000 of which are now able to return to their homes, with land, cattle and the promise of a better life.”

In December of 2005, while President Musharraf was visiting Baluchistan, Bugti instructed his militia to launch a rocket attack against the President. Earlier this year, Bugti fled Dera Bugti to the mountains when the military started a crackdown against his militia and the illegal arms holds. When I say arms holds, I am not talking about shotguns and grenades; I am talking about rockets, surface to air missiles, mortars, automatic weapons among other military equipment. GEO TV, Pakistan’s largest satellite channel, has been broadcasting recent video footage of Bugti in the mountains watching weapon capabilities being demonstrated, from shotguns to rocket launchers. For almost 7 months, he has been living in a cave, which could only be reached via a long camel ride through the mountains, and using his militia to fight the Pakistan Army. Over the course of the year, hundreds of his tribesman and commanders have accepted amnesty offers from the government and had started handing over their weapons because they were tired of fighting the Army. However, Bugti was not ready to give up the resistance, which brings us to the events of the past few days….

On August 23rd, 2 Army helicopters while flying surveillience missions over the areas were met with ground fire, resulting in the downing of 1 helicopter and heavy damage to the second. The Army sent another helicopter to the area to perform search and rescue, but it was also fired upon and was able to return to base with minimal damage. On the 24th and 25th, another ground search operation was started against the suspected camps where the firing came from, where the Army was again attacked with rockets, machine gun and mortar fire which resulted in the death of 2 additional soliders and 3 injuries. On the 26th, the Pakistan Army started airstrikes against the caves where he was hiding, collapsing the cave after ground forces came under heavy fire.

Bugti and his militia are credited with the numerous bombings of the natural gas pipeline running through Baluchistan, attacks on power generation plants and towers. This militia and its leader believed it to be their mission to destabilize the government and cause untold losses to the national resources. Why did he do it? Because Bugti claimed that the natural gas that was in Baluchistan’s earth belonged to his tribe and they should recieve a larger share of the profits for allowing its provision to the rest of the nation. In his words, “The gas belongs to me. It is a Baluchi resource.”

Now, you are probably wondering, why did this guy take so much time to explain all of this? If you check any Pakistani newspaper, satellite television channel or web blog, you will find people singing the praises of Akbar Bugti and calling him a “Shaheed” (Martyr), which is unjustified. A martyr dies for an honorable cause, Bugti died for other reasons.

From 2 am Pakistan time to the writing of this entry, I have been glued to the television listening to the various political and religious leaders saying that the military operation was unjustified and it could have been resolved by discussion. Hmm… let’s see: Militant walks away from the bargaining table because he isn’t getting what he wants, goes into hiding in the mountains and launches attacks on the Pakistan Army with illegal weapons (successfully shooting down a helicopter and killing Pakistan Army soldiers) and the government should invite him for tea? That’s like asking Osama bin Laden to lay down his weapons and war cry against the West by sitting down at a table and talking to George Bush and Tony Blair? Do you think it would work? When you take a militant stand, you will be dealt with as a militant; not as a politician. I was most shocked at ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pouring accolades on this man and comparing him to historically respected leaders of Pakistan. What a farce! A corrupt Prime Minister that begged to be exiled to Saudi Arabia, after plundering the country exchequer, only to move to the UK for “medical reasons (read hair transplant).” But then the UK has traditionally been a haven for the criminals of Pakistan like Nawaz, Benazir Bhutto and other Pakistan politicians that won’t return to Pakistan to face numerous criminal charges. A request for the UK government, these people have stolen millions, if not billions, from Pakistan and placed the funds in your country, how about you help Pakistan out and bring them to justice for us?

Now, I don’t want to go as far as calling his militia terrorist in nature, but let’s look at the events immediately after Bugti’s death was announced:

  • Massive weapons cache of rockets, surface to air missiles, mortars, automatic weapons among other military equipment
  • 2 banks were set on fire in Quetta, Baluchistan
  • 16 cars at Baluchistan University and the Bolan Medical College’s (Baluchistan) bus were set ablaze (200 students arrested)
  • Borders from Baluchistan to Punjab and Sindh were sealed by the Army
  • Quetta has had a full lockdown curfew enforced with the Army patrolling the streets
  • Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Police were put on high alert with predominately Baluchi areas put under lockdown
  • All airports, rail stations and bus terminals have become heavily patrolled areas by the police, Rangers and Army

Even though the whole country is bracing for retailiation, I don’t want to call his militia terrorist in nature…..

On the bright side, through the morning, updates reported on the various domestic news channels that people were going to the mosques to give prayers of thanks that this tyrant was removed. People from Dera Bugti are happy, especially when Minister for Information M A Durrani announced that the Bugti lands, bank accounts and assets had been seized by the government and would be re-distributed to the people that had suffered under this tyrant’s rule.

The military has vowed to continue the operation until all terrorist activities are brought to an end. So for the remaining Nawabs and militants in Pakistan, either shape up or ship out. Your days are numbered and we are looking forward to a new Pakistan.

PML-N to back govt sans joining cabinet: Nawaz

SEE:  Behind the Chairman’s Door

SEE:  Media slams killing of Nawab Bugti

SEE: Nawaz Sharif Calls For Commission To Probe Bugti’s Murder

PML-N to back govt sans joining cabinet: Nawaz

Submitted 1 hr 4 mins ago

PML-N to back govt sans joining cabinet: Nawaz

The chief of Pakistan Muslim League-N Mian Nawaz Sharif has demanded of the government to formulate a judicial inquiry committee to probe into the killings of Baloch leaders, a private TV channel reported. He was addressing a news conference after chairing the Central Working Committee of his faction. He said that Martial Laws and unconstitutional government have created severe problems for Baloch people and they are still passing through sense of deprivation. He said PML-N severely condemns the assassination of three Baloch leaders adding that PML-N may lodge FIR against the association of veteran politician Nawab Akbar Bughti. Nawaz told reporters that a committee has also been constituted to hear the issues of NWFP and Balochistan people. “One party can not single-handedly address the issues facing the country”, he mentioned. PML-N would not create any king of hurdle for the government in future, Nawaz pledged.

IG orders action against madrassas promoting terrorism

IG orders action against madrassas promoting terrorism

Staff Report

LAHORE: Punjab Inspector General (IG) Shaukat Javed has issued directions to identify religious institutions involved in misleading the youth to inculcate tendencies of violence and terrorism, and take stern action against them.

Javed issued the instructions in a meeting with the regional police officers of the province and heads of the investigation, Criminal Investigation Department, patrolling, training, communications, operations, headquarters, crime, and establishment wings of the Punjab Police. He said it had become exceedingly important to take steps to prevent such activities of such religious institutions.

The IG also directed the officials to take stern action against those involved in sectarianism, misuse of loudspeaker, violation of the laws on graffiti, and publication of literature that promoted religious hatred. He said the system of transmission of information be made effective in order to eliminate terrorism across the province. He said increase in salaries of police force was a historical step.

Javed said the role of the Muttahida Ulema Board should be made effective and religious scholars helping to promote religious harmony in Punjab be encouraged.

He also directed the officials to set up checkposts on all entry and exit points of big cities, and keep an eye on the suspicious elements to avert any possible act of terrorism.

He said the strategy formulated to counter terrorism should be implemented effectively, and foolproof security be ensured in all major cities of Punjab.

Muslims should not lay down weapons: TTP

Muslims should not lay down weapons: TTP

LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan Swat (TTP) spokesman Muslim Khan has said Muslims should take up arms instead of laying them down, a private TV channel reported on Wednesday. Khan told the channel that the Taliban were not subservient to the constitution of Pakistan but were committed to sharia. He said the Taliban had not captured the Pir Baba shrine in Buner, adding that they had only stopped the people from carrying out un-Islamic activities at the holy shrine. He said the Taliban had never talked of laying down arms, adding that it was the right of the Pashtuns to keep conventional weapons in their possession. “Pashtuns don’t have any tanks or helicopters, they only possess conventional weapons which all Muslims have been ordered to keep.”

Sikhs in Orakzai pay Rs 20 million jizia to Taliban

[So, if Sikhs pay “jizia” (extortion/blackmail) the Taliban will let them live in peace, then Obama’s plan to pay millions in tribute to “reconcilable” Talilban should prove to be a resounding success!]

Sikhs in Orakzai pay Rs 20 million jizia to Taliban

By Abdul Saboor Khan

HANGU: The Sikh community living in Orakzai Agency on Wednesday conceded to Taliban demand to pay them jizia – tax levied on non-Muslims living under Islamic rule – and paid Rs 20 million to Taliban in return for ‘protection’.

Officials told Daily Times that the Taliban also released Sikh leader Sardar Saiwang Singh and vacated the community’s houses after the Sikhs accepted the Taliban demand.

The officials said the Taliban announced that the Sikhs were now free to live anywhere in the agency.

They also announced protection for the Sikh community, saying that no one would harm them after they paid jizia. Sikhs who had left the agency would now return to their houses and resume their business in the agency, the officials said.