Cyprus: Two separate states, or a unified state on the horizon?

Cyprus: Two separate states, or a unified state on the horizon?

Turkey has long been considering the possible negative implications of declaring to the world that the search for a peaceful solution on an almost 43-year-old divided Cyprus will not yield any result if a solution cannot be found to the problem.
In other words, I understand that if a solution based on a united Cyprus that will bring the Turkish and the Greek Cypriot communities under the umbrella of a single state is not reached, Ankara is prepared to bring to the agenda dividing the island into two independent states. The international community and the big powers such as the US and influential members of the European Union, however, are expected to resist such a decision by Turkey.

Turkey has reportedly begun signaling that if a solution to the problem of this tiny Mediterranean island of Cyprus is not found later this year or early next year, division of Cyprus into two separate states is inevitable.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, on a visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, on July 9, came up with the following idea: “Our target is an agreement [on the ongoing talks on the reunification of the island] on Cyprus that will be followed by a referendum in the first few months of 2012. Therefore, a united Cyprus state can assume the EU term presidency in the second half of 2012.”

Turkey does not recognize the Greek Cypriot administration as a state despite that is was admitted to the EU in 2004 as the sole representative of Cyprus. The EU decision came despite the fact that Turkish Cypriots approved overwhelmingly a Cyprus peace proposal that was intended to unite Cyprus under a single state where the sovereignty rights of both communities would be respected. Greek Cypriots rejected the peace proposal during the same referendum of 2004. Despite this fact, the EU made a grave mistake by making the Greek Cypriot side a member of the union solely representing the island. Therefore, any leverage that could be used over the Greek Cypriots to agree on a United Nations peace plan over a united Cyprus state disappeared.

It would have had been naive to expect from the Greek Cypriot administration after being accepted to the EU as a full member, to agree on any solution that would have had respected Turkish Cypriots being their equal partners under a federal solution.

Turkey’s full membership negotiations also stalled when Ankara rejected to open its ports and airspace for the Greek Cypriot administration that it did not recognize. However, deadlock on Turkish membership talks stem mostly from the explicit rejection of mainly Germany and France to Turkey having full membership status in the EU. Instead these countries suggest a privileged partnership status to be given to Turkey which it categorically rejects.

The EU’s reluctance to accept Turkey together with Turkey loosing its appetite toward joining the EU due to the union’s negative stance toward Ankara has slowed down Turkish efforts to meet the union’s democratic criteria set forth.

At the end of the day, Turkey has been taken hostage by the Cyprus issue for a long time in its dealings with both Europe and NATO of which it is a member.

Turkey has long based its policy on the unresolved status of the island. This has played into the hands of the big powers within the UN Security Council such as Russia, which has backed Greek Cypriots as a means to corner Turkey on other issues related to bilateral ties such as the power game in the Caucuses and Central Asia.

Going back to Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu’s latest initiative on Cyprus in which he hinted at a deadline for the final solution to the Cyprus dispute by suggesting a referendum for the early months of next year, the minister has also been showing signs of Turkish frustration.

The Greek Cypriot administration will assume its term as EU president in the second half of 2012 for six months. During that period it will be inevitable that Turkish-EU relations will be further strained.

Davutoğlu made clear in his July 9 speech in the KKTC that Turkey wants a unified Cyprus set up by  the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots to assume EU presidency. He did not say what the possible repercussions would be if this does not happen. I guess what may happen, most likely, is that Turkey will declare to the world that the search for a peaceful solution for a united Cyprus has failed if a united Cyprus (both Turkish and the Greek Cypriots) does not take the presidency of the EU.

The current Turkish government initiated a process in 2004 that saw a shift in the paradigm, not only on Cyprus, but also on all the other foreign policy issues that have yielded positive results by Turkey creating good relations with all of its neighbors. When turkey changed its policy on Cyrpus, it encouraged the majority of Turkish Cypriots to approve a peace agreement in 2004. But the Greek Cypriots rejected that proposal.

The possible referendum that will be held on the island in the first few months of next year on a Cyprus peace proposal, if it is reached, will either lead to the creation of a united Cyprus state or to the separation of the two communities forever as two separate states.

All the parties interested should prepare themselves for a permanently divided Cyprus with two separate states, if the Greek Cypriots continue to reject any peaceful solution.

CENTCOM Chief In Islamabad, Pak. Spy Chief In Washington for Unscheduled Talks

Pakistan’s ISI chief heads to U.S. as ties founder

By Zeeshan Haider


(Reuters) – The head of Pakistan’s powerful spy agency headed for Washington on Wednesday for unscheduled talks, the military said, days after the United States suspended a third of military aid over deepening tensions in their relationship.

Few details were available about Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha’s one-day trip, but it comes at a time when the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military’s intelligence wing, is under intense pressure to sever ties with militant groups including those it has long nurtured as assets in Afghanistan and India.


US general in Pakistan in first high-level defense visit following aid cut

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Defense officials say a top U.S. general is in Pakistan for the first high-level military visit since Washington announced it was suspending military aid to the country.

Two officials said Wednesday that Marine Gen. James Mattis, the head of U.S. Central Command, has met with Gen. Khalid Shameem Wynne, chairman of Pakistan’s joint chiefs.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the visit while it is still under way.

With tensions high between the two nations, Pakistan said earlier Wednesday that the head of its Inter-Services Intelligence agency was headed to Washington for talks as well.

Have Killers of Karzai Handed Kandahar Back Into Taliban Hands?

[How convenient for the plotters, that southern Afghanistan may have just been thrown back into the Taliban’s court, just in time to see the division of Afghanistan into Northern Alliance/Taliban sectors (SEE:  Plan B in Afghanistan).]

Death of Karzai’s warlord brother new barrier to peace

Simon Tisdall

KarzaiBoth sides of the divide … Ahmad Wali Karzai. Photo: Reuters

AHMAD Wali Karzai, who was gunned down in his home in Kandahar, was in many ways the personification of modern-day Afghanistan – corrupt, lawless, paradoxical and charming. Now, with his death, Karzai has also come to symbolise Afghanistan’s enduring tragedy.

”My younger brother was martyred in his house today. This is the life of all Afghan people. I hope these miseries, which every Afghan family faces, will one day end,” his brother, the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, said. But the hopes of American military commanders will be focused on a more immediate concern: how to prevent a power vacuum undermining efforts to stabilise Kandahar and Helmand.

Karzai’s was the modern face of warlordism. He batted away repeated allegations of drug trafficking, kleptocracy and money-laundering. His connection to the presidency was one important protection. Hamid Karzai attended his funeral on Wednesday.

Crucially, he was seen as a born survivor who could not be bypassed or sidelined. He once boasted nine suicide bombers had died in attempts to kill him. Early Tuesday morning his luck ran out.

The story could have been different. As US and NATO efforts to pacify the south ran into ever greater Taliban resistance from 2007 to 2009, allied commanders and the Western media began to apply greater scrutiny to the reliability of the West’s Afghan partners. The war’s growing unpopularity meant there was less tolerance for shifty allies like Karzai perceived to have a foot in both camps.

American frustrations burst into the open in October 2009 when serving and retired officials told The New York Times Karzai was a key player in Afghanistan’s illegal opium trade, which helps fund the Taliban insurgency, while also on the CIA payroll. Even as Karzai denied the allegations, new claims surfaced that he was secretly dealing with Taliban leaders; that he lived rent-free in a luxury home owned by a drug dealer; that he masterminded fraud in the 2009 presidential election that saw his brother returned to power.

None of these claims could be definitively proved and Karzai denied all wrongdoing.

All along, people in Kandahar who knew the truth kept their mouths shut for fear of retribution or because they were on the payroll too.

The Americans changed tack in 2010, as General David Petraeus’s surge strategy came into operation. Instead of vilifying him, they co-opted him.

The decision raised hackles in Washington and Afghanistan.

”You can’t ignore him. He’s the proverbial 800lb gorilla and he’s in the middle of a lot of rooms. He’s the mafia don, the family fixer, the troubleshooter,” one coalition official said. And so Karzai survived again.

His departure raises worries that the Taliban may be encouraged to roll back hard-won gains across Kandahar province. The vacuum caused by his death is dangerous in itself, while the implications for US attempts to engage the Taliban in peace talks may be equally unhelpful.

Karzai was a man whose life spanned both sides of the divide. His murder renders that gulf just a little bit wider.

Guardian News & Media

Multiple blasts in Mumbai, several injured

The scene after a blast near Opera House, Mumbai on Wednesday. Photo: Vivek Bendre

The scene after a blast near Opera House, Mumbai on Wednesday. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Multiple blasts in Mumbai, several injured


Two blasts rocked Mumbai city’s crowded Zaveri Bazar and Dadar areas on Wednesday evening, injuring several people.

Police sources said the nature and intensity of the blasts was not known.

The first explosion took place in south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar, near the famous Mumbadevi temple, in which some people were injured, said Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli. The bustling market also has a number of jewellery shops.

The second explosion was reported in a taxi in Dadar area, he said. A third blast was reported from Opera House in Charni Road.

“We are verifying the nature of explosions. At this moment I cannot say anything more than this,” Mr. Tamboli said.

Teams of Maharashtra ATS have rushed to the blast sites.

The Union Home Ministry, after the serial blasts, said that “it’s a terror strike.”

Security alert in Delhi

A security alert was sounded in the national capital following a series of blasts in Mumbai and police personnel were fanned across the city to carry out intensive searches and checkings.

A senior police official said top officials were reviewing the security situation in the city.

“A tight security apparatus has been put in place.

Senior officials are on the streets monitoring the security scenario. Police personnel have been deployed across the city,” a senior police official said.

The official said police personnel were deployed at public places like malls, cinema halls, parks, popular hangouts, ISBT and railway station. They are conducting checkings.

Three explosions were reported from south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazar, Dadar in Central Mumbai and Opera House in Charni Road following which this action has been taken, the official said.

The national capital last month had a minor scare when a low intensity blast took place outside Delhi High Court. No one was injured in the incident.

“There is nothing to worry. All precautions have been taken. We appeal to the citizens to report to us about any suspicious objects or persons they come across,” the official said.

3 bomb blasts in Mumbai Diamond Industry Area

Vodpod videos no longer available.

New Delhi: Three bomb blasts rocked Mumbai on Wednesday evening in the crowded Dadar, Opera House and Zaveri Bazar areas, police said.

The blasts went off within minutes of each other injuring 15 people.

Police, ambulance, home guards and fire brigade have been rushed to the spot. The first blast took place at 7:10 pm in south Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar, near the famous Mumbadevi temple, in which some people were injured, said Mumbai Police spokesperson Nisar Tamboli.

The second explosion was reported in a taxi in Dadar area, he said. “We are verifying the nature of explosions. At this moment I cannot say anything more than this,” Tamboli said.

Home Secretary has spoken to Maharashtra DGP and the National Security Guards (NSG) have been put on standby.

Union Home Secretary RK Singh told CNN-IBN, “I have spoken to the DGP and Chief Secretary. The Chief Secretary will get back to us with details. There is no confirmation about the intensity of blasts.”

According to an eyewitness a fire that broke out in Zaveri Bazar following the blasts has been brought under control.

Security alerts have been issued in Delhi after the blasts in Mumbai.

No NIA team is going to Mumbai as of now.

Saga of the Monchegorsk

On July 11, a massive explosion ripped through an ammunition dump at the Evangelos Florakis Naval Base in Cyprus.  The explosion and ensuing fire have killed a dozen people, including the commander of the Cypriot Navy. The main power station for the island was also destroyed, creating a dire situation for the island’s residents.

The explosion was caused by 98 canisters of Iranian munitions, containing more than 2,000 tons of explosives, that Cyprus seized en route to Syria in January 2009. They remained sitting at the Naval Base where they were stored, until a wildfile engulfed them. Or so the papers say.

Obviously, the human tragedy is paramount.   But there is also a significant public policy issue related to the enforcement of sanctions against Iran, North Korea and the like.

Cyprus had been reluctant to accept the cargo, ostensibly because it did not have the facilities to store the munitions.

Although Cyprus had more complicated reasons for wanting rid of the munitions, as we will see, the explosion points to a missing element in efforts to interdict illicit cargoes: Clear guidance from the United Nations Security Council on the disposition of seized contraband.


The case of the M/V Monchegorsk, a Russian-owned, Cypriot flagged ship, is an interesting one.

The saga of the Monchegorsk was covered extensively in the press, especially in Cyprus where, for a time, it was a major political issue.  It is also detailed in more than a dozen cables that have been released by  Wikileaks.  (It is amazing how, for any new story lately, I now check the cable traffic first.)

The story begins with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, an Iranian entity subject to sanctions. IRISL chartered the Monchegorsk to carry a shipment of small arms to Syria in violation of UNSCR 1747. (As it turns out, the practice of sing charters to evade sanctions is a relatively recent Iranian innovation for sanctions busting. See: IRANIAN SHIPPING IN A POST-UNSCR 1803 ENVIRONMENT, October 2, 2009)

The United States received “reliable information” that the Monchegorsk was carrying contraband.  The United States and Cyprus have a bilateral shipboarding agreementThe USS SAN ANTONIO interdicted the shipment and, with the permission of the ship’s master, boarded the Monchegorsk on 19 and 20 January 2009. And what to their wondering eyes did appear, but several containers of illicit gear:

The inspection revealed containers carrying 120 mm, 122 mm, 125 mm, and 160 mm high explosives that originated in Iran and are destined for Syria. Inspection also revealed 7.62 mm shell casings, compressed gunpowder, silver dollar-sized slugs, primer, and magnesium primers.

The United States did not have the legal authority to seize the cargo, but began to press Cyprus to divert the ship back to a Cypriot port. (SHIPMENT OF MILITARY-RELATED ITEMS FROM IRAN TO SYRIA, January 22, 2009)

Initially, the Cypriots wanted no part of any interdiction, fearing Syrian retaliation. In 2006, Cyprus interdicted a ship carrying missile radar equipment from North Korea to Syria — and Syria retaliated by opening regular ferry service to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, the breakaway Northern portion of Cyprus. (CYPRUS WASHING HANDS OF M/V MONCHEGORSK? January 27, 2009)   (READ HERE)

Cyprus Division Map

Cyprus Division Map


Unresolved Turkey-Cyprus issue could harm relations with EU



Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutogluTurkey will freeze relations with the European Union if the Cyprus issue is not settled by July 2012   © RIA Novosti. Eduard Pesov

ANKARA, July 13 (RIA Novosti)

Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if the Cyprus issue is not settled by July 2012, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said.

“If the Greek Cypriot side stalls negotiations and takes over the presidency of the European Union in July 2012, this means not only a deadlock on the island, but also a blockage, a freezing point in Turkish-European Union relations,” Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu said Turkey would not recognize Cyprus’ EU presidency in mid-2012 unless a deal reunifying the island is reached.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north in response to a military coup on the island backed by Athens. Turkey is the only state that has recognized the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state. Reunification with its richer neighbor is seen as a solution to economic problems of northern Cyprus, which has an annual budget deficit of nearly $1 billion, covered by Turkey.

The reunification issue is crucial for Turkey. The country started EU entry talks almost five years ago, but Cyprus has repeatedly used its EU membership to hamper Turkey’s accession efforts.

Netanyahu Bribes Romania and Bulgaria Against Palestinian State

Benjamin Netanyahu “bought” the votes of Romania and Bulgaria against the Palestinian State very cheaply. The price of the vote of these two states against the recognition of a Palestinian State in the UN amounts to granting a number of work permits for cheap Bulgarian and Romanian workers in Israel.

Israeli TV Channel 2 revealed today July 12 2011 in the evening that the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “made a deal” with Romania and Bulgaria to vote against the recognition of Palestinian State in exchange for permits to their nationals to work (as garbage collectors and construction workers) in Israel.

Netanyahu conducted a tour in the Balkans and Eastern Europe last week in order to persuade these states to not vote at the United Nations for recognition of Palestinian State next September .

Channel 2 said that Netanyahu “managed to convince the leaders of Romania and Bulgaria not to vote in favor of a Palestinian State in exchange for permits to their nationals to work in Israel”.

The Channel added that the “deal” was made by Netanyahu when he was in his plane, accompanied by Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Housing Minister Ariel Attias. According to Channel 2, Netanyahu has vowed to grant thousand work permits for citizens of the two countries despite the fact that the Israeli government had decided earlier not to issue permits to foreign workers.


It is yet to be seen what this short-sighted move will bring to all involved, Israel at large and the workers who decide to take the offer, if not trouble. During a conversation with an israeli acquaintance a long time ago, this person told me that the experience with the foreign workers from eastern Europe was “people who don’t want work and don’t know how to work, and 10 of them don’t do the work of even one Palestinian”. This about fits the experience of Europa with especially the two mentioned countries. The main export of both Romania and Bulgaria to the rest of the EU appears to be criminal gangs, and where the people from these countries find work, for example by underpricing local construction enterprises, the work is lousy at best.

My acquaintance also said during that conversation that most of these people were eventually forced by their lack of competitive and legal options into running drugs or prostitution, if they did not return to their countries of origin – a seldom mentioned fact is that foreigners, even jews, are worth nothing and given nothing in israeli society. And the question must be asked, what jobs are any foreigners going to take in a situation when there are not even enough jobs for israelis. Why else would the government have previously decided that no jobs would be given to foreigners? The possible fallout from this stupid as disgusting decision in the internal israeli political arena will be interesting to see. Cheap often comes with a hefty price tag.

The name Netanyahu, by the way, has a meaning in Arabic. “Netanyahu” is composed of two words. “Netan” (or “niten” – ) means STINKY in Arabic. “Yahu” (or “Ya Hu” – ) means HE IS. The complete name means: HE STINKS. And I indeed think that he STINKS.

‪Is That a Robin, or a Robot Bird On the Wire Outside Your Bedroom?‬‏


Micro-machines are go: The U.S. military drones that are so small they even look like insects

They look like children’s toys that are left discarded in wardrobes around the world.

But these innocent-looking devices are actually some of the most sophisticated drones on the planet.

The U.S. Air Force is developing the miniature spy craft with the goal of making them so small that they resemble birds and even insects.

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Causing quite a buzz: Lead researcher Dr Gregory Parker holds a small, winged drone that resembles an insect. The U.S. military's goal is to make the devices so small that they resemble birds and even insectsCausing quite a buzz: Lead researcher Dr Gregory Parker holds a small, winged drone that resembles an insect. The U.S. military’s goal is to make the devices so small that they resemble birds and even insects

Some even have moving wings that military chiefs hope will look so convincing that people won’t pay them any attention.

The Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are being developed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.The base’s Air Force Research Laboratory mission is to develop MAVs that can find, track and target adversaries while operating in complex urban environments.

The engineers, led by Dr Gregory Parker, are using a variety of small helicopters and drones in the lab to develop the programs and software.

Testing takes place in a controlled indoor environment, during which data is gathered to analyse for further development.

An insect-sized drone. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's mission is to develop MAVs that can find, track and target adversaries while operating in complex urban environmentsAn insect-sized drone. The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s mission is to develop MAVs that can find, track and target adversaries while operating in complex urban environments

You'll believe a toy can spy: First Lieutenant Greg Sundbeck (left) and Dr Parker watch a test flight of a droneYou’ll believe a toy can spy: First Lieutenant Greg Sundbeck (left) and Dr Parker watch a test flight of a drone

The trials are the latest research into tiny drones funded by the U.S. military.

The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has spent years developing a whole host of cyborg critters, in the hopes of creating the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’.

Two years ago, researchers revealed that they had created cyborg beetles that can be guided wirelessly via a laptop.

Using implants, they worked out how to control a beetle’s take-off, flight and landing by stimulating the brain to work the wings.

First Lieutenant Sundbeck prepares a computer controlled drone for a test flight in the microaviary lab at Wright Patterson Air Force BaseFirst Lieutenant Sundbeck prepares a computer controlled drone for a test flight in the microaviary lab at Wright Patterson Air Force Base

What on the outside appears cheap is actually camouflaged and sophisticated military equipmentWhat on the outside appears cheap is actually camouflaged and sophisticated military equipment

They controlled turns through stimulating the basilar muscles on one side or the other to make the wings on that side flap harder.

The embedded system uses nerve and muscle stimulators, a microbattery and a microcontroller with transceiver.

They were implanted in the beetles when they were at the pupal stage.

Three types of large beetles from Cameroon were used in the experiments at the University of California in Berkeley. The smallest was 2cm long, while the largest was 20cm.

First Lieutenant Zachary Goff operates the control console during a test flight at the Micro Air Vehicles labFirst Lieutenant Zachary Goff operates the control console during a test flight at the Micro Air Vehicles lab

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‪Robot Birds: Designing Micro Air Vehicles‬‏, posted with vodpod

IMU uses women for terrorism

IMU uses women for terrorism

Shakar Saadi


TASHKENT: Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) terrorists are using women in terror plots and propaganda, according to special services and terrorist victims. Durdona Nazarova, convicted in 2007 of terrorist activity, recalled that after training in a terrorist camp in Afghanistan in 2005, she returned to Uzbekistan. There she distributed extremist literature and attempted to recruit other women for the IMU. Nazarova tried to recruit Nargiza Z., whose fiancé disappeared in 2006, by promising to re-unite the two and told her that the terrorists were “fighting against the infidels’ government and wanted to establish an Islamic state in Central Asia.” Nargiza reported the conversation(s) to National Security Service (NSS) agents, leading to Nazarova’s arrest and conviction. Nazarova said she now understands that she erred, but “Back then, the militants frightened and blackmailed me. They used neuro-linguistic programming.” Another convicted woman, Mastura Khodzhayeva, prepared to carry out a suicide attack in Uzbekistan after joining the IMU because recruiters “told (her) that people who have forgotten true Islam are guilty of all the world’s ills, and one must fight them.” The special services captured her before she could act. She later claimed the IMU also drugged her. Those two cases are rather typical, NSS officer Bakhromon Ibodov said. “Not one convicted woman has confessed to taking up extremist activity of her own will and thoughts,” he said. “They’re taught how to behave if they’re caught – not to disclose their true motives but to count on indulgence from the authorities.” Still, many female IMU recruits have children, a situation the IMU uses to blackmail them, Ibodov said. The NSS did not disclose exactly how many female extremists it is holding, but Ibodov put the estimate at several dozen. When family men are linked to terror, women are vulnerable Officials are especially sensitive to the possibility that women whose husbands have been convicted of terrorism will become terrorists themselves, he said. So they monitor such women’s activities closely.   “Every woman in Uzbekistan whose husband or brother is either suspected or has been convicted of terrorism is under heightened surveillance by the special services,” he said. “This is justified because such women are easier to lure into the activities of terrorist organizations.” Dilorom U. of Tashkent divorced her husband under family pressure in 2003 after a court convicted him of belonging to a terrorist organization in 1999. “Under pressure from my husband’s friends and their wives, I did participate in demonstrations several times outside city hall, after which some other women and I got hauled off to the police station,” she recalled. “Everybody in my family started having problems at work. … Only after I got divorced and married someone else did the special services leave my family alone.” Nafisa Iakhyayeva of Andizhan was raped in 2004 – a personal tragedy that the IMU exploited. While others looked at her “askance,” an IMU recruiter told her joining the organization was the only way to avoid public shame. “I did everything my male comrades told me to – I was a courier, distributed literature, had sexual relations with my indirect superior, who was my instructor,” she said. She never thought of going to law enforcement because she feared revenge, she said. Women’s psyche makes them easy to sway “Women are more easily manipulated because they are more vulnerable than men,” said Tashkent psychologist Svetlana Kim. “Coercing Muslim women who’ve been implicated in extra-marital sex is a common practice in terrorist organizations.” Women become aggressive more rapidly than men do, said Rakhmotdzhon Islomov, a psycho-analyst at Tashkent’s Chief Administration of Internal Affairs. “This, however strange it may sound, is conditioned by the peculiarities of female psychology,” he said. “Women are more pliable and are more easily subjected to psychological influence, even though society considers women less dangerous.” Islomov described a typical female terrorist: “An unhappy lonely woman with low self-esteem, lacking higher education, from a low-income family. Her husband is either dead or in prison. However, not all women lured into terrorist organizations are victims. There’s a cohort of women for whom terrorism is a business, a source of livelihood.” The first priority for law enforcement officers in seizing or neutralizing a terrorist group is to pay attention to the women, said Sergei Ts., an employee of the Interpol office in Tashkent. “Today in the camps of Islamic Jihad, several women have responsibility for carrying out the PR campaign to fill the group’s fighting ranks,” said Viktor Mikhailov, a security analyst. “A similar situation exists in the IMU.”

Protestors storm palace gates

Protestors storm palace gates

By Stefanos Evripidou

CHAOS BROKE out at the presidential palace last night as police clashed with protestors, exchanging stones and tear gas, leaving thousands of people who turned up to demand the government’s removal following Monday’s blast that killed 12 people caught up in the fracas.

The mayhem started when a small group of protestors tried to storm the gates of the palace, prompting police to fire tear gas against the crowds.

Mothers were seen running with their children to get away from the smothering smoke as young men with covered faces rolled large green bins into the middle of the road and set them alight just outside the palace gates.

Just a few metres away, thousands of people filled the street outside the palace and in the driveway leading up to it, demanding the resignation of President Demetris Christofias.

Peaceful protestors who had earlier rebuked trouble-makers for throwing stones and flaming torches over the palace gates soon turned against the riot police in frustration as the latter failed to discriminate between the two, firing a volley of tear gas against the crowd.

The night began peacefully as an estimated four thousand people turned up at Eleftheria Square to protest against the government’s handling of the explosion on Monday at the Evangelos Florakis naval base which killed 12 people. People held banners that said ‘Killer State’, while a makeshift stage was set up where a sombre master of ceremonies called for a minute’s silence.

The crowds, including people of all ages, then made their way to the presidential palace in a slow march, with numbers swelling, possibly doubling or tripling the original figure.

Outside the palace some protestors climbed over the presidential park fences and opened the ‘entry’ gate, allowing hundreds of people to fill the short distance in the driveway to the second gate.

The crowds were prevented from moving further by a strong riot police presence. Protestors began chanting slogans calling for the Christofias government to step down. Banners were held calling for all politicians and bureaucrats to resign. Others called for the “murderers” to be sent to jail.

Outside the inner gates, people chanted: “Down with Christofias’ junta” and “Murderers”.

One protestor said this was not a political movement. “It’s a culmination of things. In three years, we’ve had this, then the economy, ministers spending their weekends abroad at taxpayers’ expense, Moleskis hiring who he wants, and nobody in jail. It’s a banana republic,” said Theano.

Another protestor, George Constantinides said: “The Defence Minister said three years ago the containers are safe, and because of negligence 12 people have died. If he was a citizen, they’d have charged them with premeditated murder.”

Rolandos Loukaides, 38, held a placard saying: “The Buck Stops Here”.

“I came because I consider the state’s indifference criminal. It’s not just the government but all the parties who knew and didn’t care about this issue. Measures should have been taken years ago,” he said.

Despite the stand-off between police and protestors at the northern gate, the mood remained calm. When one protestor shouted inches from the face of a riot police man that he lost two friends in the Mari explosion, the officer replied that he also lost colleagues in the fire service.

However, a few hundred metres away at the southern exit gate near the English School roundabout, a different story unfolded.

A group of protestors tried to storm the gates, prompting police to fire tear gas, which quickly spread throughout the area, affecting all in the crowd. Nearby, neat lines of young followers of the extreme right wing party ELAM stood in rows wearing helmets and chanting slogans.

Closer to the roundabout, a less organised and more unruly mob of protestors threw burning sticks of fire and stones at the police. The police responded with more tear gas, while the peaceful protestors ended up in the crossfire.

Within minutes, the scene descended into chaos. More riot police showed up, the peaceful protestors mixed up with those evidently looking for trouble while tear gas and stones were flying every which way.

Some of those escaping found themselves caught between rioters and police, with the oncoming tear gas causing problems with their breathing and their eyes to burn. One 23-year-old woman was so scared she climbed over the palace park fence only to be confronted by police who arrested her and another four escapees.

As the police tried to trap protestors, the street outside the palace slowly emptied, leaving remnants of battle. Tear gas canisters, abandoned placards, and graffiti on the road leading to the palace, which simply read ‘Murder’.

Satellite imagery showed crater of the explosion in the warehouses of weapons in Turkmenistan

Satellite imagery showed crater of the explosion in the warehouses of weapons in Turkmenistan


Russian Research and Development Centre “RDC” posted on its website satellite images of weapons depots near the town of Abadan ( Trukmenistan ), where the July 7 explosion. According to the company, staffing of satellite imagery, which clearly shows the explosion and its aftermath, online, transferred to the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia.

Shooting warehouse using radar satellite RADARSAT-2 carried out on July 9. A detailed image from the device EROS A (resolution 1.9 m) was obtained on July 12.

According to satellite data warehouse near Abadan destroyed, smoky plumes in the picture for July 12 are not observed, but clearly visible damaged storage and craters of exploded ordnance.

Ammunition depot near the town of Abadan, Turkmenistan
Ammunition depot near the town of Abadan, Turkmenistan. Left: after the explosion, the shot EROS A, shooting date July 12, 2011 (ImageSat, ETC “RDC”). Right: before the explosion, the data GoogleEarth

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Minister Chidambaram Calls for Boost In “News-Based Psywar” In Kashmir


Terming this year as “very crucial” for restoration of normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir, Home Minister P Chidambaram has written to Information & Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, urging her to provide adequate funds for “news-based psywar” and other programmes on DD Kashir, Doordarshan’s dedicated Kashmiri language channel for the Valley.Aimed at “integrating” the people of J&K, DD Kashir was launched in 2000 to counter Pakistan’s propaganda. But it failed in its objectives due to poor programmes, lack of funds, and allegations of corruption in awarding programme contracts. Soni took the initiative last year to rejuvenate this Kashmiri channel by investing around Rs 280 crore in its capacity building.

The entertainment programmes on DD Kashir were refurbished and telecast from September 2010. The Home Minister,in his letter, said that the new look and programmes of DD Kashir has led to its “increased viewership in J&K”.

“You may be aware that the channel’s main focus is to project the government’s view point on various issues on J&K in right perspective and also counter the negative propaganda against India on J&K by Pakistani TVs like PTV and Geo TV. It is learnt that DD Kashir’s programmes are viewed with interest in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan,” Chidambaram is said to have stated in his letter to Soni.

The Home Minister said he had been informed that of late, there were problems in granting extension to tele-serials, continuance of “regular news-based psywar programmes” as well as sanction of new programmes recommended by Ministry of Home Affairs for want of adequate funds.

“This needs to be looked into as this year is very crucial in many ways for restoration of normalcy in the state. I request that adequate funds are made available for the Kashir channel through the first batch of Supplementary so that the efforts made so far in refurbishing the channel are continued in right earnest,” stated the Home Minister.

I&B Ministry sources said Chidambaram’s concerns would be addressed immediately.

Violent Protests In Cyprus Over Naval Base Explosion

Violent Protests In Cyprus Over Naval Base Explosion

(RTTNews) – Hundreds of Greek-Cypriots took to the streets in capital Nicosia on Tuesday to protest a massive explosion that occurred at an arms dump in a naval base a day earlier.

Monday’s explosion at the Evangelos Florakis naval base located between the southern coastal cities of Limassol and Larnaca had killed at least 12 people and injured more than 60. It also caused extensive damage to a nearby power station, leading to rolling power-cuts across the island nation.

Some 5,000 demonstrators marched to the presidential palace in Nicosia, blaming the government led by President Demetris Christofias for negligence over the explosion.

Police used tear gas to disperse the marchers after they attempted to storm the presidential palace. However, there were no immediate reports of any injuries or arrests despite violent clashes between protesters and the police.

The explosion occurred at an arms dump in the naval base where weapons and munitions confiscated from an Iran-bound Syrian ship were stored. Cypriot authorities seized the vessel and its cargo in 2009 as it violated a U.N. arms embargo imposed on Tehran.

The confiscated ordnance, comprising 100 containers carrying mostly gun power, was reportedly stored in an open field at the naval base since it was seized nearly three years ago. The explosion is said to have occurred when firefighters were battling a bush fire near the arms dump.

The 12 victims of the blast included Cyprus’ Navy chief Andreas Ioannides, commander of the naval base and senior naval officer Lambros Lambrou and about seven fighters. Besides injuring 62 others, the explosion caused extensive damage to the nearby Vassilikos power plant leading to disruption in power supply. Even though it is not clear what caused the blast, authorities ruled out the possibility of sabotage.

An official three-day mourning was declared in Cyprus following the incident. The government has sought help from other nations to assist the country’s police, armed forces and the National Guard in the investigation.

Government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said a committee appointed by President Christofias would investigate the explosion along side a separate police-led criminal probe. “All will be investigated thoroughly and responsibility will be apportioned where it is due,” he added.

Cyprus was divided into Greek-Cypriot South and Turkish- Cypriot North after Turkey invaded the Mediterranean island in 1974 to counter a coup plot aimed at uniting the island with Greece. The two sections are separated by a 116-mile-long buffer zone littered with mines.

Although leaders of rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot sections have launched U.N.-mediated re-unification talks, they are currently deadlocked over some complex issues, including the settlement of property disputes, future governance of the island and security guarantees for the return of refugees.

Turkey has refused to recognize the Greek section of ethnically divided Cyprus, and is seen as a major stumbling block in the reunification talks. Greek-Cypriot leaders accuse Turkey of pushing for a two-state solution to re-enforce its influence over the island.

by RTT Staff Writer

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Pakistan, Pashtuns and Great Game

Pakistan, Pashtuns and Great Game

by Muhammad Bilal Iftikhar Khan 

U.S. President Barak Obama announced Afghan troops surge and future Strategy in his address to cadets at the West Point military Academy on December 1st 2009.
According to the plan, 30,000 more troops were sent to Afghanistan for breaking backbone of the Taliban movement and restore order.

It was also announced that withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan will start in 2011, however, it was later decided that a complete troops withdrawal will conclude in 2014.

Since the announcement of surge in 2009 things have gone from bad to worst. This also has resulted in a blame game between U.S. and Pakistan.

U.S. accuses Pakistan of providing the Afghan Taliban with sanctuaries in tribal areas, and also blames Pakistani prime intelligence agency ISI for covertly supporting them.

From U.S. perspective Pakistan is failing to take action against Haqqanies, based in North Waziristan Agency, and who according to the U.S. are responsible for Afghan ills.

U.S. also alleges that Mullah Omer governs and guides Afghan Taliban through Quetta Shura.

Why the troops surge has still failed U.S. efforts in Afghanistan?

It is a million dollar question.

Those who sit in comfortable chairs in Washington and Europe find it very easy and logical to blame Pakistan. But is it Pakistan that needs to be blamed or the real reason behind U.S. failure in Afghanistan is due to its irrational policies and NATO in Afghanistan?

The major Reason behind failure to understand what is wrong with Afghanistan is refusal to acknowledge that contemporary Taliban movement has changed from religious movement to racial/ ethnic movement .

It was the religious movements in 90’s but the main supporters of Taliban in that era were Pashtuns. We can say it was a Pashtun religious movement. After American Invasion of Afghanistan, crowds of Pashtuns were seen celebrating demise of Taliban regime as their narrow interpretation of Islam and brutal punishments made the traditional Pashtun families hate them. But unfortunately after the Afghan invasion, U.S. played in the hands of non Pashtun warlords.

According to a report by Norwegian Refugee Council/Global IDP Project:

“Pashtuns, trying to escape the ethnic tensions that erupted shortly after the war against terrorism began. Uzbeks and Tajiks took revenge on the local Pashtuns because they suspected them of supporting the Taliban. The Pashtuns fled towards the south….The human rights situation in Afghanistan is a continuing source of serious concern. In the north, north-east and west, commanders act with impunity and are seen by many as being responsible for a wide range of repressive activities. …” (PROFILE OF INTERNAL DISPLACEMENT: AFGHANISTAN, 25 Oct 2004)

End of Taliban regime was not taken as a chance to rebuild Afghanistan. American allies in Afghanistan used this as an opportunity to victimize Pashtuns and seek revenge on Taliban. U.S. and NATO killed thousands of innocents on Intel provided by these warlords and humiliated thousands of Pashtuns in their pursuit of Taliban. As a result, Taliban who went underground after the invasion started re-emerging in 2003 with support coming from Pashtuns. This time they were not only ideological warriors but also Pashtun warriors fighting for land and respect/ honor of the Pashtun race.

Today while playing blame game against Pakistan and villanizing Hamid Karzai , west especially the U.S. is not reckoning  the  reality written all over Afghanistan that Taliban movement , at present  is more  Ethnic movement against Occupation to avenge the humiliation of Pashtun race then a religiously orthodox movement.

In early 1970’s India started supporting Tamil separatists. It was not because India wanted to destroy Sri Lanka. It was because India has a large Tamil and Dravidian population and it was its compulsion to be in good books of the Tamil population. In late 80’ when militant Tamils started creating Law and Order situation in India. To counter that India changed its policy and in 87 they intervened in Sri Lanka.  From Sinhalese perspective, Indian intervention proved beneficial to LTTE militants as the momentum gained in Operation Liberation 1 and 2 was reversed and Operation Pawen, as this intervention was named, allowed LTTE to regroup.

The ‘professional’ Indian army failed to deliver and left the regrouped and battle-hardened LTTE for Sri Lankan government to deal with.

Al though Rajiv took a u-turn and stopped support to LTTE but Tamil Nadu State government continued its support for Tamil cause and central government overlooked all this in order not to inflame Tamil emotions.

Pakistan has the largest Pashtun population in the world with approximately 36 million Pashtun living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, both bordering Afghanistan. 14 million Pashtuns live in Afghanistan where they constitute 42 % of Afghan demography. Pashtuns are second largest ethnic group in Pakistan and play an important part in development and progress of Pakistan.

During Afghan Jihad against Soviets, it was alleged that Hikmat Yar was the blue-eyed boy of Pakistani establishment. This was not because the establishment loved him but he was a compulsion. He was heading the strongest and well-rooted group of Pashtun Mujahideen.

In fact Pakistan’s support was for Pashtuns, not for Hikmat Yar alone. After the arrival of Taliban, Pakistan decided to support them, although they proved to be out of control and liability as they never acted upon any advice from Pakistan and continued to implement their strict polices at will.

Also the destruction of Buddha statue in Bamyan in 1998 despite Pakistan govt’s repeated requests to refrain from such acts proved counter-productive.

Foreign office advised that Pakistan should get away from Taliban but again Pakistan was under compulsion to maintain its relations due to the ethnic identity and support in Pakistani and Afghan Pashtuns.

Post Afghan invasion created an opportunity which U.S. and international community failed to utilize. Had Pashtuns been treated fairly, they would have been given a good share in political and economic development. Then it would have been impossible for Taliban to come back. It would have also helped Pakistan to de-radicalize its Pashtun population.

Unfortunately, Afghan Pashtuns coming   to Pakistan to escape Non Pashtun Warlords and humiliation at the hands of American and ISAF brought with them stories which enraged their cousins and tribesmen living on the Pakistani side of Durand line.

This started a new wave of Support for Afghan Pashtuns. The main beneficiary of this anti-American /ISAF sentiments became Al Qaeda. When Pakistan Army intervened in support of International forces in Afghanistan, Criminal elements in FATA and Sectarian elements joined hands with Al-Qaeda, and two main types of Groups emerged. First Supporting Afghan Taliban and other Takfiri Pro Al-Qaeda group which made the TTP, which declared war against the Pakistani state.

Pakistani forces first time entered FATA in 2003. Their presence in FATA were not welcome as they were seen fighting on behalf of U.S.

Government of Pakistan tried to create consensus among general public but it was failed effort as ethnic/ tribal/ family relations are stronger stimulus in a federation then any international need.

The history of past 10 years prove that Pakistani Public support only started when Takfiri /Al-Qaeda TTP started hitting Pakistani Targets and started implementing their barbaric ideology where ever they have control. In many cases they violated Pashtun Norms and made Pashtuns against them. This consensus helped Pakistan to carry out successful operations against TTP Swat, South Wazistan.

On the other hand, the other group followed policy of non-intervention in Pakistan but gave support to Afghanistan. Today, when Taliban movement in Afghanistan has become Pashtun Ethnic movement, Pakistan cannot afford to fight this group.

Any operation against them will be considered an action against Afghan Pashtun Fighters and will in turn help the TTP while Pakistani federation would be further alienated from its ethnic Pashtuns.

Pakistan is reluctant to fight because it cannot afford making Pashtuns an anti-Pakistan force, just to please the U.S. or anyone  else, especially when Pashtun Afghan president is protesting, threatening and complaining, and calling U.S. and ISAF occupation forces not caring for Afghan(Pashtun) lives and honor.

By Villanizing Pakistan, the U.S. is forcing Pakistan to think again about the alliance. Fortunately, Pakistan is coming nearer to other big powers in region like Russia and China.

The present state of relations is projecting that all neighbors of Afghanistan want U.S. out. Even India is not ready to be U.S. tool against China and Pakistan and is also a candidate for Shanghai Conference, a regional Alliance against U.S. Presence.

The blame game against Pakistan Army and ISI is a last ditch effort by U.S. to get share in Afghan booty but the overall stance of Army and Political government along with regional powers seems to be one which is adding frustration among American Policy circles.

The Writer is a broadcast Journalist and Holds Masters Degree in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies.

Afghan governor targeted en route to funeral of Karzai’s half-brother

Afghan governor targeted en route to funeral of Karzai’s half-brother

By the CNN Wire Staff
Staff Admiral Mike Mullen gestures as he speaks with Mohammad Gulab Mangal, left, in Marjah on March 30, 2010.
Staff Admiral Mike Mullen gestures as he speaks with Mohammad Gulab Mangal, left, in Marjah on March 30, 2010

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Two blasts went off Wednesday as the governor of Helmand province was headed to Kandahar to take part in the funeral for President Hamid Karzai’s half-brother.

The remotely-detonated mine explosions in Kandahar’s Maivand district wounded two soldiers but the Helmand governor, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, was unhurt, his office said.

Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar provincial council chief, was killed Tuesday by a guard during a gathering at his house a day earlier.

He was laid to rest Wednesday, with the president in attendance, said Hashim Watanwal, a Kandahar lawmaker.

Saidkhan Khakrezwal, a member of the Kandahar provincial council, told CNN he and others were with Karzai when a guard named Sardar Mohammad came into the room and asked to talk to him.

The guard then “takes Wali to another room and shoots him with a pistol that he had in his hand,” Khakrezwal said. The shooter was shot dead by other guards.

Sardar Mohammad was a trusted man who had worked as a guard for Karzai for eight years, Khakrezwal said. He was also a commander for a police post where there were about 30 policemen.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting, saying that the guard accused of shooting him was working for them.

Karzai suffered bullet wounds to his head and chest, said Mohammad Dawood Farhad, the head of Kandahar Hospital.

“My brother Ahmad Wali Karzai was killed today,” said the Afghan president in a previously scheduled news conference with visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“The Afghanistan people have suffered a lot. Every Afghan family has suffered. I hope one day these sufferings end.”

Ahmed Wali Karzai, who has been dogged by drug dealing and corruption accusations, had been the subject of WikiLeaks cables leaked last year.

Without being prompted, he discussed the accusations with a senior U.S. diplomat, according to one of the cables. He said that the claims are part of a campaign to discredit him and offered suggestions on how to stop drug dealing.

“He is willing to take a polygraph anytime, anywhere to prove his innocence,” the cable said.

“He suggested that the coalition pay mullahs to preach against heroin, which would reduce demand for poppy cultivation.”

A U.S. official who authored another cable wrote that even though he must be engaged as head of Kandahar’s provincial council, “he is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker.”

He said Karzai’s “reputation for shady dealings” should be considered when he recommends “costly infrastructure projects.

The official said dealing with people like Ahmed Wali Karzai represents a major challenge in Afghanistan: Fighting corruption and building support for government when government officials are corrupt themselves.

Karzai “appears not to understand the level of our knowledge of his activities, and that the coalition views many of his activities as malign, particularly relating to his influence over the police,” the author of the first cable said.