Putin Calls US “Hooligans” for Irresponsible Printing Press Operations

Putin brands US as ‘hooligans’ for printing money

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

© RIA Novosti. Alexei Nikolskiy

MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti)

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the US of hooliganism on Monday over the US government’s efforts to ease its financial problems by injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into the economy.

“Thank God, or unfortunately, we do not print a reserve currency but what are they doing? They are behaving like hooligans, switching on the printing press and tossing them around the whole world, forgetting their main obligations,” Putin told a meeting of economic experts at the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Putin’s comments came in the wake of the completion of the US’ quantitative easing (QE) 2 program on June 30, in which the Federal Reserve bought $600 billion worth of its Treasury bonds. The Fed’s first round of QE, which ended in March last year, amounted to less than half the size of QE2.

The Russian authorities have said they would like to see a basket of currencies including the ruble replacing the dollar as the main reserve currency, although most analysts have said a more realistic target for Russia would be if the ruble became a regional reserve currency for the CIS.

Taliban, or ISI Behind Karachi Wave of Violence?

[SEE: Taliban behind Karachi violence: Malik]

Karachi violence attempt to divert public attention from generals

The Terrorland Report
Monday, 11-July-2011


*  MQM started bloodshed on directions from ISI to destabilize the government…    * 25 percent Karachites belong to MQM but 75 percent are forced to vote for it…   * Altaf Hussain is a British national, so UK is responsible for Karachi violence…   THIS crying girl has become the face of Karachi. Her poor father got killed during firing on a public-bus by officially ‘unknown’ but publicly ‘known’ terrorists. She along her father was reportedly coming home from school when the sad incident happened the other day. “Who’ll pay my fees now?” she cried beside the dead-body of her father. This scene can be seen anywhere in the most populous city of Pakistan, where during the last two days, about 100 innocent people, mostly laborers, have been killed in incidents of violence started by the unscrupulous secret agencies in the name of ‘racism’ and ‘sectarianism’. Police and paramilitary forces are silent spectaculars as they have been told to keep busy on roads but do nothing! The violence is actually a ‘reality-show’ for the militarized local media… as the direction of killing-in-the-name-of-terrorism has changed from north to the south of the country. There should be conflict anywhere every time as it pays off to the generals! This is a typical strategy of the media managers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR). Otherwise, for the police, Rangers and Army, it’s nothing but an hour operation to clean the terror-hit areas of Karachi, the financial capital of Pakistan.  “Where are the laws in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” everyone is asking this question from the media-persons in Karachi with tears not knowing the helplessness of journalists, who can’t tell the truth! As Habib Sulemani has said in his poem: Intellectual cleansing of liberals: O God of the bearded and uniformed rascals!Don’t you see what’s going on in your country?  My green Punjab has gone red… My mystic Sindh is in a pool of blood God! What’s wrong with your Pakistan? Many people have started speaking their mind ignoring the ‘terror’ of the MQM, which through its ‘secret’ system controls the affairs of Karachi. People say the MQM has started this new phase of targeted bloodshed after leaving the PPP-led coalition government. Probably, on the direction of the military establishment, to divert the attention of the people who are seeking accountability of the military after the Osama bin Laden-episode? So, it’s a media war in Karachi to keep power at the cost of the poor people. Some analysts claim that currently Karachi has an estimated 21,500,000 inhabitants out of them 25 percent are Urdu-speaking whom, the MQM is using as a ‘human-shield’ to rule the city with iron fists. And it’s doing this for over two decades now. Like the ISI, the MQM also kills its own people and claims its opponents for the crime. “The 75 percent Sindhis, Punjabis, Kashmiris, Seraikis, Balochis, Memons and others have been terrorized to vote for MQM if they want to live in the city,” says a media-person working in the city. “Only the Pashtuns have put resistance to the fascism of the MQM, which is being controlled from London by a British national (Altaf Hussain).” “The British government should be held responsible for the violence in Karachi,” a politician from Karachi said on condition of annuity. “Altaf Hussain is terrorizing our people from London so that the ISI helps his party (MQM) to get seats in Punjab.” “What the ISI wants in return… in this business of terror?” when this scribe asked the politician, he said with a sarcastic smile, “to make General Kayani President (of the country).” He claimed that the MQM and ISI had the same death-squads.  A political worker, however, claimed that the ANP was involved in target-killing incidents to multiply its current seats (two) in the Assembly. He also accused the ruling PPP for igniting the fire in the city.  Whatever are the facts, one thing is clear that the ruling class – politicians and generals –are fighting the last war for their survival in Pakistan. But they can’t stand against the wishes of the 180 million people anymore. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Pukhtoonistan Gazette

The Afghan Areas Marked for Turnover First, Report They Are Far From Ready

Afghanistan: The Trouble With The Transition

Muhammad Tahir

“We cannot assume security responsibility for this province.” The man who said this is General Mohammad Qasim Jangalbagh, the security commander of the Panjshir province of northern Afghanistan. He went on to explain that “because our province is bordered by insecure provinces, we need a huge force.” This alarming statement completely undercuts the premises of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan in the coming year. It wasn’t that long ago – June 22, to be precise – that President Barack Obama announced that U.S. troops would start pulling out of the country before the end of this year. It was doable, he said. After all, “in some provinces and municipalities, we have already begun to transition responsibility for security to the Afghan people.” U.S. generals, testifying recently before the U.S. Congress, have given all sorts of optimistic data about the progress made in training Afghan security forces. In March, Afghan President Hamid Karzai declared with great fanfare that a select group of seven Afghan districts would soon begin taking over responsibility for their own security. Most of the areas in question were considered to be safe bets, places where the Taliban has the most trouble getting traction. One of those districts was Panjshir. It is important to understand why. Panjshir is the birthplace of Ahmad Shah Masood, the heroic Tajik commander who was the most successful opposition commander against the Soviet occupation of the 1980s. That was part of a long local tradition of successful resistance to outsiders. Panjshir is the only region in the country that never succumbed to Taliban control nor embraced its extreme ideology. Most of Panjshir is a deep valley surrounded by high mountains, and almost its entire population is Tajik. Afghan Tajiks have always been suspicious of the Taliban, who tend to be dominated by members of the Pashtun ethnic group. This has made Panjshir much less vulnerable to Taliban infiltration, and as a result it has almost always been an area that was of least concern to the government in Kabul. But the local administration’s reluctance to take charge of its own security should come as a wake-up call to the Karzai administration – and its protectors in Washington. Suddenly Dangerous Obama’s plan to pull U.S. troops out of the country is based on the assumption that Afghan security forces are prepared to fend for themselves. America’s allies have accepted that logic. With every passing day, it seems, more members of the international coalition are announcing their own troop withdrawal plans. Yet Panjshir isn’t the only region that seems to be having problems. Mazar-e Sharif, another one of the regions on Karzai’s handover list, seems to have suddenly become a lot more dangerous. Mazar had always been considered a relatively peaceful and prosperous place until April 1, when an attack on a UN compound in the city center killed 12 people. That was the first indication that not all is well with the security situation there. Further signs of trouble emerged last week, when the populist governor of Balkh, the Tajik warlord Atta Mohammad Noor, failed to appear in public during an official visit to Mazar-e Sharif by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry. Later, the governor’s spokesperson, Muneer Farhad, shed some light on the governor’s absence, saying that an unspecified threat had prompted the cancellation of all public events on his schedule. “The governor will not attend any event outside his residence or his office,” Farhad announced. According to the newspaper “Afghanistan Today,” these extra security measures appear to be connected with the May 28 assassination of General Mohammad Daud Daud. Daud, whose assassination sent shockwaves through the north, was the police commander of the northern zone of Afghanistan. Before that killing, Noor often left his compound accompanied by a handful of soldiers. Since then, he no longer goes anywhere without an escort of dozens of vehicle-borne security forces. In many cases, it would seem, he just doesn’t go anywhere at all. You Call This Safe? And then there was last week’s insurgent attack on a high-profile Kabul hotel that resulted in the deaths of 10 civilians and two police officers. The fight went on for several hours after Afghan police fled the scene and ended only when coalition forces intervened with a helicopter gunship. The sheer audacity of the attack on the heavily guarded hotel sent shockwaves through the Afghan capital and left many Afghans wondering how their troops can be expected to take charge of the country so soon. Kabul, Panjsher, and Mazar-e Sharif are the towns with the safest security records in Afghanistan. If things are this bad there, the situation in the rest of the country can only be described as frightening. Elsewhere in Afghanistan, suicide attacks, jail breaks, and militant attacks on security posts are regular occurrences. To add insult to injury, “Afghanistan Today” reported this week that, in the eastern province of Paktika, around 80 percent of administrative posts are vacant. This might seem odd, given the sky-high unemployment rates around the nation. According to the report, it is fear of the Taliban that keeps educated professionals from working for the government. When 10,000 U.S. troops and thousands of British and French forces start leaving Afghanistan this month, what will they be leaving behind? A fragile country with major security concerns. A country where insurgent militias run rampant and are not willing to sit down with the government for talks. A country where people face huge economic and social problems, where corruption and lawlessness remain a challenge, institutions are weak, and the authority of the central government extends only to a few areas. After 10 years of engagement, the international community seems ready to leave at any cost, and Karzai seems happy to go along with them. The president wants to prove his leadership and show that he is the sole leader of the nation, so he is happy that international troops are leaving the country. It is equally understandable that the international community wants to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible. Yet a precipitous withdrawal could wipe out all the gains for which so many coalition soldiers have sacrificed their lives.

NATO’S “Drang Nach Osten,” or “thrust to the east,”

NATO’S “Drang Nach Osten”


NATO’S “Drang Nach Osten”Since the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has made no secret of its goal to expand to the east, as well as into North and sub-Saharan Africa.After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, many observers believed that NATO’s raison d’etre had ceased to exist and that the collective “defensive” organization would join the Warsaw Pact in historical oblivion. However, those Americans, Canadians, and Europeans who believe in a “new world order,” led politically by the United States in concert with the European Union and Canada and militarily by NATO, re-invented NATO as an aggressive military pact with the goal of enforcing the will of a North American-European “axis” on a expanded stage far beyond Europe or the North Atlantic.

NATO’s expansion to the east and south has been marked by a number of NATO-linked “Pentagonese” alphabet soup fast track membership and associate member programs, including the Partnership for Peace (PfP), Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI), Membership Action Plans (MAPs), Individual Partnership Plans (IPPs), and the Mediterranean Dialogue (MD).

NATO’s Nazi-like Drang Nach Osten, or “thrust to the east,”began in earnest after the Czech-born U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright pressed hard for NATO membership for the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary, while re-assuring Russia’s leadership in 1997 that such expansion would not result in NATO military bases or troops in the new NATO nations. Arch-Cold Warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski, a native of Poland, backed Albright and was a strong force behind what he called NATO’s “double enlargement.” The influence of Eastern European émigrés like Albright (née Korbel) and Brzezinski, with their anti-Russian “baggage,” influenced U.S. foreign policy in a way that was not in the best national security interests of the United States. As has been seen with the influence of American Jews on Middle East policy, Irish-Americans on the problems of Northern Ireland, and Cuban exiles on Latin American policy, the American “melting pot” usually does not prevent generational biases against certain nations and regions of the world from worming their way into American foreign policy.NATO expansion to the borders of Russia stands as a case in point…

It was also inferred by Clinton administration officials that NATO would never take in members along the Russian border. Both promises were hollow. On May 21, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the NATO Enlargement Pact admitting the Czech Republic, Poland, and Hungary to NATO. The three nations became members of NATO the following year. Nine years later, the United States announced plans to establish anti-missile bases in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic.

In 2004, three years following NATO’s invocation for the first time of Article 5 of its charter after the 9/11 attack on the United States, stipulating that an attack on one member is an attack on all, NATO expanded to the Russian border when Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania (in addition to Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia) were admitted to membership. In 2009, NATO expanded to Albania and Croatia. That same year, France rejoined NATO’s military command structure, reversing Charles de Gaulle’s decision to withdraw from NATO’s military component in 1967.

Through the MAP, Ukraine and Georgia, deep within the former Soviet Union, were being actively considered for NATO membership and four Balkan states, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and NATO-occupied Kosovo, were angling for NATO membership. NATO also sent signals to three other nations that if there was a change in the political leadership and a subsequent change in foreign policy, Moldova, Belarus, and Serbia would be considered for NATO membership. Cyprus and Malta, members of the EU, have been under strong pressure to join NATO, especially as a result of the Libyan war and the regime changes in Egypt and Tunisia.

Albright and other Clinton administration foreign policy and military officials also presided over an eleven week NATO military air campaign against Yugoslavia. In another throwback to Nazi policies, the NATO campaign featured the first aerial bombardment of Belgrade since the German Luftwaffe pummeled the city during World War II.

By 2002, NATO forces were fighting far to the east in Afghanistan as part of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). During the following years, NATO operations in Afghanistan began penetrating across the border into Pakistan. A number of NATO nations provided troops for the United States-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. NATO forces also became active in “peacekeeping” operations in Sudan at the same time the United States was consolidating its new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), a major step by the United States to extend its military reach into Africa. In fact, AFRICOM’s headquarters are maintained under the NATO command infrastructure in Stuttgart, Germany. NATO personnel also arrived at a “technical liaison” unit at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

During the NATO Summit in Bucharest in 2008, the issue of NATO’s expansion to Ukraine, Georgia, and Macedonia met with internal NATO resistance. For the time being, NATO expansion was tabled. However, the decision in Bucharest only resulted in other mechanisms for NATO expansion to go forward.

The idea of “associate membership” of NATO was being proffered to nations outside of Europe. Article 10 of the NATO charter offers expanded NATO membership to European nations only. In addition, Article 6 of the charter explicitly states that NATO’s geographic “area of operation” includes “territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France, on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.”

While serious consideration is now being given by NATO to amending Articles 6 and 10, NATO concocted Individual Partnership Plans through the auspices of the Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative. Through the MD, an Individual Cooperation Program (ICP) was launched between NATO and Israel, the first for the alliance and a step toward something long-sought by Israel and its powerful lobby in Washington, NATO membership for Israel. The MD also laid the groundwork for “associate membership” status in NATO for Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria. If NATO’s military campaign against Muammar Qaddafi’s government in Libya is successful and the NATO-backed Transitional National Council takes over in Tripoli, NATO’s “associate membership” regime will include all of North Africa. Even under Qaddafi, Libya was an “observer” at the MD.

At the 2004 NATO Summit in Istanbul, the ICI was launched as a way to move NATO into the Arabian Peninsula. Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates, all members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), joined the ICI. Two other GCC nations, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, remained outside the ICC. However, Morocco and Jordan, MD members, recently joined the GCC in what many observers in the Gulf region believed was the cementing of NATO’s hold over the Gulf states and a consolidation of Arab monarchies under an informal NATO guarantee of security. As icing on the cake, Blackwater founder Erik Prince recently launched a mercenary force in Abu Dhabi, called Reflex Responses (R2) under the patronage of the government of Abu Dhabi. R2 consists of Colombians, Chileans, and South African ex-special forces personnel.

The linkage of the Gulf states to NATO has been realized through the participation of United Arab Emirates battalions with the NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) in northern Kosovo, near the border with Serbia, and with Qatar and UAE fighter squadrons participating in the air assault on Libya from NATO bases in the Mediterranean. In addition, Tunisian-flagged vessels have been caught smuggling NATO weapons to Libyan rebels, a further indication that the MD and ISI have become working arms of NATO outside of NATO Articles 6 and 10.

A number of NATO Secretaries-General, including the previous NATO chief, Jaap de Joop Scheffer and the current chief, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, both habitués of Bilderberg conferences, have called for NATO expansion beyond the confines of the NATO charter. The contrivance being used is through the PfP and IPPs. “Associate membership” status has been offered to Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, India, Brazil, and South Africa. Only Australia, New Zealand, and Japan have been keen on the idea. However, NATO has achieved some success at expansion with a neutral Scandinavian country. Swedish fighter jets are participating in the NATO campaign against Libya, a sign that NATO will not stop expanding until it includes every nation of Europe. NATO is accomplishing what Adolf Hitler could only dream of: a Euro-Atlantic military alliance that dominates the entire world…

SourceStrategic Culture Foundation

The Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus Disagreement Over Mediterranean Gas and Oil

[Cyprus expressed its readiness to negotiate the dispute with Lebanon, massive Iranian arms dump explosion on Cypress–ANY CONNECTION?]

Lebanon – Israel: a new chapter of the war about oil

Esra ax
A new chapter of conflict between Lebanon and the Zionist entity to open yesterday, and the headline grabbing property, marine belonging to the Lebanese state. Vokdmt the Israeli government, at a meeting held on Sunday, the line of economic borders, as developed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and is contrary to the rights of Lebanon, and to ensure control the fields of oil and natural gas in this region.The move came as a preemptive strike against the Lebanese efforts to demarcate the disputed areas within the marine waters and economic period, from Ra’s al-limits until the economic waters of Cyprus at a distance of approximately 150 kilometers from the Lebanese-Palestinian coast.

Israeli sources announced that the difference between Allam Lebanese border on the border of water with Cyprus and the Israeli point of around 15 km, which means that the area of ​​the disputed region of more than three thousand square kilometers.

The newspaper quoted ambassador for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying that his Lebanon from the maps of the United Nations, “moves away a distance substantially south of the line the Israeli proposal, which also contravenes the line agreed on it with Israel, Cyprus and, more importantly … it is contrary to the line agreed to Lebanon negotiated with Cyprus in 2007. ”

Haaretz: Lebanese formula containing wells are critical to the economic interest entity

For its part, drew the newspaper “Haaretz” Zionism that Lebanon was lifted in August / August 2010 unilaterally to the UN version of the line’s southern waters, the economic borders with occupied Palestine, and in November of the same year raised its version of the western line of the water, economic, or border with Cyprus.

The newspaper added that the tests conducted by the Ministry of Infrastructure Zionism showed that the Lebanese formula includes oil and gas wells with a production capacity of billions of dollars, and thus constitute a critical economic interest of the entity.

The paper reported that Lebanon presented its position to the United States, and that the U.S. administration has adopted after the Lebanese border line professional tests, note that both Netanyahu and Lieberman denied what was published about the American support for the Lebanese position on the border.

Threat to the Zionist entity and requires direct negotiations on all the border

According to the newspaper itself, has been entrusted to an individual diplomat Hoff, who was in charge of Syria and Lebanon in the crew, former U.S. envoy George Mitchell, the task of addressing the issue to prevent the transformation of the maritime boundary to the center of tension between the Lebanese and Israeli sides. And attributed to Hoff saying that the Israelis to cooperate in the demarcation of maritime borders in order to avoid the emergence of “the Shebaa Farms under the sea again.”

According to Ha’aretz, the United States has an economic interest in maintaining the truce in this case, especially as the U.S. energy companies operating in the field of oil exploration, Lebanon, Cyprus and the Zionist entity.

According to an official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry has requested the enemy entity of the U.S. administration transfer a warning to Lebanon that it would not would allow provocations or touching installations gas of Israel, and that it “will consider any attack as an attack on the target entity and respond strongly to it against Lebanon.”

The Hoff’s response was that “Israel must provide the UN with its vision with regard to borders,” pointing to the need not to transfer subject to the political conflict but to be dealt with as a matter of economic benefit to all parties.

“Israel refused to start negotiations is Mbacrhan through the United Nations, to resolve the water crisis, economic, and requested direct talks with Lebanon on all border issues, the Navy only,” followed Haaretz.

States that previously sent to the Lebanese side of the United Nations maps showing the borders that were demarcated maritime according to the implications of the Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed in 1982, which until today had not joined the Zionist entity.

Zugheib: no value to the legal out of the Israeli government

Commenting on the Israeli government considered approved by the professor and expert in public international law, Dr. Rizk Zgheib, that “no legal value to the left of the Israeli government.”

“Lebanon previously identified within the region and its own economic and submit them in the book of the United Nations, and legally entitled to the Israeli side to lift the economic borders of the hand itself, and what legal value issued by the two parties will be the same,” continued Zugheib.

In an interview with Al-Manar site was considered an expert in international law that in the event a conflict between the opinion of the Lebanese and Israeli sides, what is needed to reach a solution, as recognized by international law.

The solution is to negotiate direct

He went d. Zugheib “in similar cases, they are usually resort to litigation before the International Court of Justice, which is usually resorted to the consent of the parties to the conflict, and the verdict is binding on both .. but in the case under discussion, the recourse to the International Court of Justice put Lebanon before the issue of recognition Israeli entity. ”

“The other option to get out of the crisis, is the indirect negotiations through the use of a third party, can be the United Nations, or another party, as happens in the negotiation of humanitarian crises in negotiations on prisoners and other ..” Zugheib said.

Legally considered an expert in international law, that on the Lebanese side that “the record objection to the Secretary-General, and is reminiscent of previously sent from the maps showing the view of the Lebanese issue of economic borders, and to request the intervention of the United Nations as a third party in order to reach a settlement. ”

He noted Dr. Rizk Zugheib “that the failure of Israel’s accession to the Law of the Sea Mhadh not exempt it from compliance with adopted this Treaty, especially since the majority of the principles adopted by the Convention are principles of customary, and are therefore binding on the States.”

Zugheib: the agreement between Lebanon – Cyprus is not concluded and therefore not binding

On the Cypriot legal agreement – between the Israeli had no objection to the conclusion of any bilateral agreement between the two sides, “a condition not to harm the rights of a third party, namely Lebanon, but I do not mind that each Party shall determine its own economic zone.”

He is Professor of international law that was in Lebanon to avoid the error which occurred, which benefit from the Israeli side today, and referred to by Netanyahu in his speech yesterday.

D and explain. Zugheib “Israel tried to take advantage of the error which occurred when the Lebanese, while they define the limits of the region’s economic amicable agreement approved between the Lebanese and Cypriot side, which was signed in 2007.”

“It is legally no value to what Netanyahu says, because the agreement between Cyprus and Lebanon was friendly and even today is an agreement concluded between Gbr Cypriot side and the Lebanese.”

He stressed Zugheib that “the maps that identified the point is not 23 has legal force, According to the International Court of Justice jurisprudence maps weak legal force unless accompanied by the Convention on concluded.”

MP Kabbani: Lebanon is a mistake in the naming of point 23And about the error committed by the Lebanese side in the maps provided by the Cyprus and the respect to point 23, which lies 17 km from Ra’s al, had previously singled Al-Akhbar published an article on the subject, held a conversation with the Minister President of the Committee on Public Works representative, Mohammed Qabbani, said that the error started from the Ministry of Public Works when he “drew the maritime boundary and the exclusive economic zone, drawn from the south and from the north the adoption of two points. the final point, a point of convergence three parallel distance between Lebanon and Cyprus and occupied Palestine is the point No. / 23 /, and in the text of the Convention with Cyprus refer to point number one, and this point is the point at which the interim to get adopted before naming the final agreement on the point 23 above. Thus, a mistake of Lebanon in the naming of the point. The point developed in the interim agreement, and was supposed to be point 23. “ This difference, according to Qabbani, is a space between the colon is rare in the sea, one of the rights of Lebanon, from the marine wealth.

Mansour: Cyprus expressed its readiness to negotiate the dispute with Lebanon

To the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Adnan Mansour in contact with the channel, “the BBC” that Cyprus expressed its readiness to negotiate the dispute with Lebanon, adding that the dispute Il focused on what is known as point 23, which located 17 km from Ra’s al.

The Word of Mansoor after announcing that the agreement between the “Cyprus and Israel for the demarcation of maritime borders of the region between the two countries, such as in part an attack on the exclusive economic zone of Lebanon, which means that Israel could exploit the resources of gaseous and oil, which is the share of Lebanon and the right of its rights.”

Basil: “demands the respect of international legitimacy is Israel not Lebanon,”

The Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil has said in an interview to the channel “Al Manar” that “the maritime borders of Lebanon, which he sent to the United Nations fell to the framework law of the sea and under the Menderjath”, pointing out that “if it respected Israel this law not be a problem but if not respected so that she is attacked from Lebanon and should not be silence on this matter. ”

He said Basil that “no negligence in this matter and we are working on the foundations of true,” he said, adding that Lebanon can not abuse the one will not accept that any transgression against their rights, declaring that he prepare a letter will be sent tomorrow morning to President Michel Suleiman and Ais government Najib Mikati to include this issue on the item the first session of the Government of Lebanon in order to complete all required procedures.

He said Basil that he “must see what the maps sent by Israel to the UN,” adding “is not enough for Israel to demand something to be really have the right to give him the international law”, pointing out that “demands the respect of international legitimacy is Israel not Lebanon because Lebanon do all the duties and internationally. “

Construction Begins On US Special Forces Training Center In Tajikistan

U.S., Tajik Officials Initiate Construction Of Military Training Center

U.S. Ambassador Ken Gross (in blue jacket) joined Tajik military officials in Qaratogh for the laying of a foundation stone of the future joint training center on July 7.U.S. Ambassador Ken Gross (in blue jacket) joined Tajik military officials in Qaratogh for the laying of a foundation stone of the future joint training center on July 7.

July 07, 2011
DUSHANBE — U.S. and Tajik officials have marked the start of construction of a military training center near Dushanbe that is being funded by Washington, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.

U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Ken Gross and Tajik National Guard Commander General Rajabali Rahmonali laid the cornerstone of the live-fire training building at Tajikistan’s National Training Center at Qaratogh, about 50 kilometers west of the Tajik capital.

The $3.1 million project is being paid for by the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) and is scheduled to be completed later this year.

Gross said “this project demonstrates the U.S. commitment to supporting Tajikistan’s efforts to stem the flow of illegal narcotics and to defend the nation against terrorists.” He said the facility will support the training of Tajik counternarcotics and counterterrorism units.

Asked about reports in some Tajik newspapers that the center will become a U.S. military base, Gross said “this [facility] is strictly for the Tajik military and there is no American component to that.”

Rahmonali said “the main purpose of this training center is improving the training for special units of Tajikistan’s power structures in their fight against terrorism, drug smuggling, and kidnappings.”

He said special military units from Afghanistan and possibly other neighboring countries could train at the new facility in Qaratogh.

The U.S. has previously sponsored projects to support Tajikistan’s counternarcotics and border-security efforts — including the modernization of border crossings along the Tajik-Afghan border and providing radios, vehicles, and training for border guards, police, and customs officials.

Kellogg, Brown and Root to Build in Twenty Asian Countries On Centcom Hit List

KBR wins new CENTCOM contract

HOUSTON, July 5 (UPI) — Texas company KBR (NYSE:KBR) will support construction project in 20 countries under a new contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The countries are all in the U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility and include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The multiple award task order contract has an overall value of $3.8 billion, with a period of performance at two base years, with one-year options available for the following three years.

A large majority of the task orders anticipated for this MATOC program include projects directly supporting the U.S. military and U.S. government in the various regions.

Under a previous CENTCOM MATOC program, KBR executed $620 million worth of projects across 32 separate task orders.

“It is a privilege for KBR to be given the opportunity to continue to work with the Middle East District USACE, and to continue to offer a high level of services and quality facilities to our military personnel located throughout the world,” said Mark Williams, group president, Infrastructure, Government and Power.

(Source: UPI )
(Source: Quotemedia)

US Client States Turkey and Bulgaria Claim Sufficient Gas To Supply Nabucco Pipe Dream

Parvanov, Gul: Bulgaria, Turkey to Secure Plenty of Gas for Nabucco

Bulgaria: Parvanov, Gul: Bulgaria, Turkey to Secure Plenty of Gas for Nabucco
Turkey’s President Gul (left) and Bulgaria’s President Parvanov (right) in Sofia Monday. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria and Turkey are going to use their contacts to secure more natural gas for the Nabucco gas than the future European gas transit pipeline needs, according to Presidents Georgi Parvanov and Abdullah Gul.

Turkey‘s President Gul arrived on a two-day visit to Bulgaria on Monday, and his first meeting was with his Bulgarian counterpart Parvanov.

“Bulgaria through its contacts has reached agreements with Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and some other countries that are potential sources of natural gasfor NabuccoTurkey‘s contacts with these and other countries are even more intensive, which is why Bulgaria and Turkey are key in securing the necessary quantities of natural gas for Nabucco, and even a lot more than the 31 billion cubic meters of gas than its currently planned annual capacity,” Bulgaria’s head of state Parvanov stated at his joint news conference with Gul.

The Turkish President supported Parvanov’s words about Bulgaria and Turkey‘s key role for finding enough gas for Nabucco, the EU-sponsored pipeline project whose future has been questioned precisely because it has been unclear if enough suppliers can be found to fuel it.

The future of the Nabucco project was one of the priority topics discussed by Parvanov and Gul.

The legal framework for the Nabucco gas pipeline was finalized in early June 2011 as the five transit countries – Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Turkey – have signed Project Support Agreements (PSAs) with the Nabucco Consortium.

The signing of the Project Support Agreements (PSAs) between NABUCCO Gas Pipeline International GmbH and the responsible ministries of the five transit countries took place in Kayseri, Turkey.

In spite of the new progress, in May 2011, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH pushed back the start of construction of its EUR 7.9 B pipeline to carry Caspiannatural gas to Europe to 2013; thus, Nabucco is now expected to start operations in 2017 instead of 2015, as previously expected.

Speaking on Monday, Parvanov has also focused on another energy project between Bulgaria and Turkey – he has insisted on the speeding up the construction of the gas interconnection between the supply networks of the two countries. He has described this interconnection not just as a very important lifeline for getting gas supplies in the event of international crises such as the 2009 gas war between Russia and Ukraine, but also as a means of receiving the natural gas quantities that Bulgaria has negotiated with Azerbaijan.

The Bulgarian President further proposed the holding of a meeting between the heads of the natural gas companies of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Azerbaijan – Bulgargaz, Botas, and SOCAR.

In June 2011, Bulgaria’s Economy Minister Traicho Traikov announced that the Bulgarian government is no longer trying to make the future gas interconnection between Bulgaria and Turkey a section of the EU-sponsored gas transit pipelineNabucco.

The gas pipeline connecting the natural gas networks of Bulgaria and Turkey could be ready by 2014, and through which Bulgaria could be receiving up to 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year, Traikov told the Bulgarian Parliament in late June.

Back in 2010, he was convinced that the future Bulgaria-Turkey gas interconnection would become “the first operational section” of the Nabucco pipeline. The idea was endorsed in the fall of 2010 by the Prime Ministers of Bulgaria and Turkey Boyko Borisov and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the rationale being that the two countries could thus be entitled to use EU funds for the missing gas network link.

However, the Bulgarian government has admitted that the Bulgarian Economy Ministry is no longer pursuing this project – which means that the Bulgaria-Turkeygas interconnection will not coincide with Nabucco‘s pipe – because this would make the launching of the Bulgaria-Turkey pipe “expensive and slow.”

Bulgaria’s decision to give up on merging of Nabucco and the Bulgaria-Turkeypipeline comes after in May 2011, Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH pushed back the start of construction to 2013, which means that the pipe can start operations in 2017 at the earliest.

Traikov’s announcement in June about the gas interconnection with Turkey came a day after his meeting with his counterpart from Azerbaijan Natiq Aliyev, who confirmed that Azerbaijan can start shipping to Bulgaria about 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas per year as soon as the gas links between Bulgaria and Turkey, and Bulgaria and Greece are completed.

Also in June, Bulgaria’s state-owned gas company Bulgargaz replaced the CEO of its subsidiary Bulgartransgaz, one of the major arguments for the change being the need to speed up the construction of the Bulgaria-Turkey gas pipe.

The working group of the Bulgarian government has concluded that the best option for the Bulgaria-Turkey gas interconnection would be if it is built by Bulgartransgaz and Turkey‘s state company Botas.

Abadan Incident in Turkmenistan: American hand traceable already?

Abadan Incident in Turkmenistan: American hand traceable already?

nCa Report

Ashgabat, 11 July 2011 (nCa) — The recent incident in Abadan town of Turkmenistan that the government described as accidental flare of pyrotechnics but was reportedly a series of blasts in an ammunition depot could possibly be a part of the desperate American strategy for the region.

The evidence so far is flimsy and circumstantial but there are reasons to feel that the United States, directly or through proxies, may have had some kind of involvement in the deadly event.

Here are some dots that need to be connected:

  • On 8 July, at about 9:30 am, when we were driving to Abadan to look at the situation, an SUV with US embassy number plates was returning from Abadan. The driver of the SUV was later seen getting out of the vehicle in Ashgabat, armed with a holstered dagger and a taser gun, frightening weapons in close quarters situations. It is not clear whether he was violating Turkmen laws by wearing openly a dagger and a taser gun outside the embassy compound.
  • On reaching Abadan, we talked to some people in a residential area that was only partially cordoned off, which means that it was possible to drive on the main streets. Speaking to a small group of youngsters, we found that someone in an American embassy vehicle that morning (probably the same SUV we saw returning from Abadan) had offered to buy any video clips or photos anyone had made during the blast incident.
  • The most extensive and almost real-time coverage of the incident was at www.news-asia.ru, a website that is believed to be wholly or partially funded by American government or entities. It works mainly from Bishkek, a hotbed of American intrigues in the region.
  • The Soros site www.eurasianet.org, widely known to encourage instability in Central Asia, has raised the prospect that the Abadan incident could have been a way of covering up the theft of arms and ammunition in the depot. This may or may not be true but it looks more like a hasty attempt to cover the real tracks, lest anyone cast a suspicious eye on the Americans. The Eurasianet story can be found here http://www.eurasianet.org/node/63843
  • Many Russian language social media sites have carried the message of someone who signed as Imalbek Yanisiev, claiming to be a photojournalist for a Turkmen youth human rights group, Ikhtyk namirusil. The Eurasianet, reporting about this message, has translated Ikhtyk namirusil as ‘Our Cause.’ This could possibly translate to ‘Our Cause’ in some language but Turkmen is not that language.
  • The message of the so-called Imalbek Yanisiev was stored at the Keeperfile.ru page that asks for visitor’s login details http://keeperfile.ru/files/getfile/?hsh=4e17185e50618&trk=4e17215fbe9d4 — The complete message, however, is also available at a LiveJournal entry http://vitaliy-averin.livejournal.com/168828.htm
  • A Russian hackers site XakNet (http://xaknet.ru/) that keeps track of suspicious net activities had initially flagged the post of Imalbek at Keeperfile.ru as a phishing attempt because in order to access the complete message the visitor had to login with their username and password from Google, Yandex or Mril.ru account. However, the page of XahNet that carried the warning has since disappeared and it just shows error 404 (page not found). The issue here is: Was it really a phishing attempt or was it a scheme to collect the username and passwords of all those (mostly within Turkmenistan) who would be sympathetic to any kind of opposition so that a list could be created them to act as web activists in future?
  • Even though Ikhtyk namirusil cannot be translated into Turkmen language as Our Cause, the name of the person raises some interesting possibilities. If we take the name Imalbek Yanisiev and remove the Slavanized ‘iev’ at the end of the surname, the name Imalbek Yanis, with some imagination, can roughly translate into ‘Journey to our Cause,’ the kind of symbolism so dear to the hearts of the likes of Soros Fund, National Endowment for Democracy and all the other architects of colour revolutions.
  • Habrahabr, a Russian social media and citizen journalism site, reported that the domain name of Ikhtyk namirusil had been registered on 20 June 2011, i.e. just a couple of weeks before the Abadan incident. (http://habrahabr.ru/blogs/infosecurity/123744/). Habrahabr also reported that the Ikhtyk namirusil site had no other information except for the Abadan story. Eurasianet also confirmed this piece. The question is, was the domain registered in the hope of an incident such as Abadan, or was it with the knowledge that something like this would take place soon?
  • The message of the real or fictitious Imalbek Yanisiev had a novel angle: He (or she) said that the Abadan incident had been staged by the authorities to crackdown on the opposition. The message claimed that large number of opposition figures and activists had been arrested. In addition to LiveJournal link given earlier in this report, major portions of the message can also be seen at Regnum site (http://www.regnum.ru/news/fd-abroad/accidents/1423587.html) — This begs to stretch imagination beyond reality.

Even though several explanations can be offered for Abadan incident and the dots that we have identified can be connected in different ways, there is no denying the fact that the probability of American involvement cannot be ruled out entirely.

huge explosion at Evangelos Florakis naval base–Cypress

Breaking News: huge explosion at Evangelos Florakis naval base

By Patrick Dewhurst

The site of the blast (source: Google)

A huge explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base near Mari has killed at least twelve, wounded more than 59 and knocked out the island’s largest power station at Vassiliko, according to the latest reports.

National Guard Lieutenant General Petros Tsalikidis said the blasts occurred in a dump housing munitions.

Tsalikidis said: ‘There was an explosion in containerized ammunition which were seized from a ship three years ago, and we are trying to manage the crisis.’

Cyprus Electricity Authority spokesman Costas Gavrielides described the incident as a “biblical disaster,” while a Cyprus Mail reporter on the scene said car windows on the highway were smashed by the blast and the entire naval base area and Vassiliko power station area was shrouded in grey-black smoke.

“It looks like a bombed-out landscape,” another witness told Sigma television.

Cyprus News Agency quoted military sources as saying there were also scores of injured at the Evangelos Florakis base, between the coastal cities of Limassol and Larnaca.

“There are a number of dead which we cannot confirm yet,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence said.

The blast caused extensive damage to the neighbouring community, and shattered windows and doors of a restaurant in a popular tourist resort three kilometres away.

Around 300 campers at the nearby Governors beach campsite were woken by the blast and according to one eye witness and Cyprus Mail columnist Hermes Solomon: “It sounded like a sonic boom… People were running around the campsite terrified, and some were trembling for a long time.”

Around 100 of the campers were permanent residents living in mobile homes.

The water development department (WDD) has ceased desalination plant operations to conserve electricity, and is advising all citizens to minimise water consumption.

In the meantime Hermes Airports – who are among the largest electricity consumers on the island, have switched on both of their emergency generators and reduced terminal air conditioning to conserve electricity.

According to state broadcaster CYBC, 43 Injured blast victims were taken to Limassol General Hospital. Thirty six have been treated and discharged, five remain in the hospital but are not in serious condition, and two are in critical condition.

The military base stored munitions from the Monchegorsk, which Cyprus intercepted sailing from Iran to Syria in 2009 after pressure from the U.S., confiscating its cargo for being in violation of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

The road between Mari and Governor’s beach is closed as of 8.20am.

When the neighbour’s house catches fire

When the neighbour’s house catches fire


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.)

India aims to take ties with Iran to strategic level

India aims to take ties with Iran to strategic level


NEW DELHI: Despite the recent setbacks in the relationship, New Delhi is going all out to convinceIran that it wants to elevate its ties with Tehran to the strategic level. This was conveyed to authorities in Iran by foreign secretary Nirupama Rao during her visit to Tehran last week.

In her meeting with Iran’s Supreme National Security Council secretary Saeed Jalili, Rao said “historical commonalities between the two nations require expansion of strategic cooperation between the two countries”.

It became evident earlier this year that India was trying to undo the acrimony of the recent past when NSA Shivshankar Menon, on a visit to Iran, told President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that India was looking to establish comprehensive relations with Iran, including strategic ties.

Rao was accompanied by Y K Sinha, joint secretary ( PakistanAfghanistan and Iran) on the three-day visit to Tehran for the 9th round of foreign office consultations at the invitation of her counterpart Mohammad Ali Fathollahi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Asia & Oceania.

Rao also called on foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi during the visit which also saw the two sides discussing ways to counter piracy in the Gulf of Aden. Tehran proposed joint patrolling by the two countries to check the menace.

Rao’s discussions covered issues like global terrorism, energy security, the North-South Transport Corridor, developments in Afghanistan and regional security and stability. It was agreed that the next meeting of the India-Iran Joint Commission will be held in Tehran. Both sides exchanged the Instrument of Ratification for the Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners signed in July 2010, operationalizing the agreement.

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).]

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‪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.