Will The Corporate Media Still Report On New Jobs Added When It Reaches Negative Numbers?

US economy: No new jobs added in August

A man and woman enter a job fair in Phoenix, Arizona, on 30 August 2011

It is the first time since 1945 that there has been a zero payrolls figure

The US economy added no net new jobs in August, according to the key non-farm payrolls figures from the Department of Labor.

The August number was much worse than had been expected – the predicted figure was an addition of about 70,000 new jobs.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged from July at 9.1%.

In addition, the figures for the previous two months were revised down to show weaker jobs growth.

The Labor Department now says that in July 85,000 jobs were created, down from 117,000 in the earlier estimate, while the number of jobs added in June was revised down from 46,000 to 20,000.

“Companies that are overall doing OK are hesitating to hire and invest further, creating some fragility for the economy,” Virginie Maisonneuve, head of global equities at Schroders told BBC News.

“We will need some help from the Fed and the government to avoid a recession.”

US government bonds rallied after the figures were released.

Afghanistan joins Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic Cross-Border Transport Accord

SOURCE

Afghanistan joins Tajikistan, Kyrgyz Republic Cross-Border Transport Accord

The corridor starts at Torkham, on the border with Afghanistan, which is also used by Nato as its supply route. – Reuters photo

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan have finalized an agreement that will allow Afghanistan to take part in a cross-border transport accord recently ratified by the two Central Asian countries.

The CBTA, signed under the framework of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) program, will ease the movement of goods, vehicles, and people across international borders, said a press statement received here from Asian Development Bank.

Vehicles and goods from participating countries will be able to cross designated borders faster, thanks to streamlined customs inspections and reduced requirements to transfer shipments between vehicles.

Established in 2001, CAREC brings together Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

It promotes the implementation of regional projects in energy, transport, and trade facilitation.

Senior officials from the Central Asian neighbors agreed on Afghanistan’s accession to the Cross-Border Transport Agreement (CBTA) at a meeting in Bangkok, Thailand. Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan signed the CBTA in December 2010.

To date, member governments, ADB, and other international financial institutions have approved over 100 CAREC-related projects worth about $16 billion.

These projects include six land transport corridors that cover 3,600 km of roads and 2,000 km of railway while they traverse the CAREC region north-south and east-west, linking Europe, East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and beyond.

Officials from Afghanistan, Kyrgyz Republic, and Tajikistan will sign a protocol on Afghanistan’s accession to the CBTA at the 10th CAREC Ministerial Conference to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2011.

The CBTA will ultimately connect East Asia and the Arabian Sea through Central Asia, specifically along the route of CAREC Corridor 5.

In Afghanistan, the Corridor starts at Torkham at the border with Pakistan, continuing through Jalalabad to Kabul, Kunduz, and Shirkhan Bandar.

From the Tajikistan border crossing of Nizhni Pianj, Corridor 5 passes through Kurgan Tyube, Dushanbe, and Karamik. In the Kyrgyz Republic, it runs to the PRC border via Karamik, Sary Tash, and Irkeshtan.

 

Everybody BUT Turkmenistan Gets Mobile Service Upgrade

[SEE:  Russian MTS Loses $140 Million, 2 Million Turkmens Lose Internet Connection]

MTS pens signalling agreement with BICS

MTS (OJSC Mobile TeleSystems), the largest mobile operator in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, is now using BICS as signalling provider for its group companies.

Starting in July this year, MTS began using BICS as the global signalling gateway for its daughter companies in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Uzbekistan, in order to ensure continuity of services for its 95 million strong mobile subscribers while travelling and using their mobile phones all around the globe.

“We are very proud to have been selected as MTS’ signalling partner, providing the necessary global reach to their customers with the best in class voice and mobile data capabilities while roaming,” said Nicholas Nikrouyan, Chief Commercial Officer at BICS. “We are confident that BICS will add significant value to MTS’ growth strategy and ambition to provide their customers with the highest level of customer experience wherever they are around the world. This new agreement is indicative of the commitment both companies have to further enhance and strengthen our partnership for years to come.”

“We are keen to have a strategic partnership with BICS to enhance our roaming relations and to be in touch with future trends. Also we hope that our business relationships will proceed to prosper in the same fruitful and mutually beneficial manner”, said Evgeny Moskalev, Director of Interconnect, Roaming, Internet & Data services at MTS.

Russia and Tajikistan Renew and Repair Military Agreements

[SEE:  New mini-Cold War Heating-Up In Southern Central Asia?]

Russia gets base deal, strengthens Central Asia influence

By REUTERS

Published: Sep 2, 2011 18:31 Updated: Sep 2, 2011 18:31

DUSHANBE: Russia agreed with Tajikistan on Friday to extend the deployment of its military base in the country, a move likely to boost Moscow’s influence in Central Asia after the pullout of NATO troops from Afghanistan.

The expiry of Russia’s current 10-year base lease deal with Tajikistan in 2013 would have dealt another blow to Moscow’s clout in its former imperial backyard ahead of the planned 2014 NATO pullout from next-door Afghanistan.

But Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said after talks with his Tajik counterpart Imomali Rakhmon they had agreed to extend the presence of Russia’s military in the country by 49 years.

“We have paid significant attention to the issues of security of our countries, to regional security,” Medvedev said during a visit to Tajikistan. He said the new base deal would be signed in the first quarter of 2012.

The military base in Tajikistan, formerly known as the 201st division, numbers around 6,000 servicemen and is the biggest deployment of Russian ground forces abroad.

Medvedev and Rakhmon also oversaw the signing of a separate agreement on cooperation in guarding Tajikistan’s lengthy and porous border with Afghanistan — a source of Moscow’s concerns over an influx of heroin and radical, Taleban-style Islam.

No details of the document were available.

Russian border guards left Tajikistan in 2005, ending a Soviet-era deployment and handing over all power over to local authorities.

FOUR-WAY COOPERATION

NATO combat troops are expected to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014, after handing over to Afghan security forces, raising concerns among regional powers about a power vacuum or a worsening security situation which could spill across borders.

Russia has ruled out sending troops to Afghanistan, where the Soviet Union lost some 15,000 soldiers in a 1979-89 conflict that ended with a humiliating army pullout.

But Moscow has courted Kabul ahead of a gradual withdrawal of NATO troops. Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed such overtures amid persistent tensions with the West.

Russia has also sought better ties with Pakistan, a Soviet-era enemy seen as a key to stability in Afghanistan.

Speaking alongside Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Karzai and Rakhmon, Medvedev told reporters: “I believe all of my colleagues are united on one issue: the responsibility for what is happening in our region will in the final account inevitably rest with our countries — Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

The four signed a joint statement agreeing to combat jointly terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and organized crime in the region.

They urged US-led troops “to increase efforts for training and arming Afghan national security structures.”

Apart from political dividends, Russia is hoping to gain economic benefits from a number of future regional projects.

The joint statement of the four presidents welcomed Russia’s interest in participating in the TAPI project which aims to build a natural gas pipeline from ex-Soviet Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan to Afghanistan and on to Pakistan and India.

Turkmenistan, which sees the trans-Afghan pipeline as an alternative route to break its heavy dependence on Russia-bound gas exports, has played down talk of potential Russian participation in the project.

CENTCOM Claims AboutTajik Troublemaker, Col. Khudoiberdiyev Set the Stage for Next Psyop

[CENTCOM wants to remind us of this old Tajik warlord, just as it revived the threat from old Uzbek terrorist Mullah Abdullo last year, during the unrest in Kyrgyzstan.  We are supposed to think that the tired, old warlords and terrorist groups like IMU are thriving in Central Asia.  Someone has to be blamed for all the false flag terror actions that the Pentagon and CIA have planned for the Central Asian republics.  It is doubtful that the Uzbek Colonel or the former Tajik militant commander are even alive today, nonetheless, they will be blamed for a lot of death and destruction.  The chaos level is projected to rise so high that it will justify large-scale military movements into the area.  You guess whose military forces that will be.] 

Attack by Khudoiberdiyev possible, Tajiks say

By Dilafruz Nabiyeva
For CentralAsiaOnline.com
2011-09-01

 

Col. Makhmud Khudoiberdiyev, shown in an undated photo, poses a threat to Tajikistan, but the government says it can rebuff it. [Nazim Kalandarov]

Col. Makhmud Khudoiberdiyev, shown in an undated photo, poses a threat to Tajikistan, but the government says it can rebuff it. [Nazim Kalandarov]

DUSHANBE – Another armed incursion by followers of the insurgent ex-Tajik army colonel Makhmud Khudoiberdiyev is considered possible in Tajikistan, but security forces stand ready.

 

The whereabouts of the long-unseen colonel are a mystery.

 

Tajik officials say he is in Uzbekistan, from where his forces attacked Tajikistan in 1998, killing hundreds of civilians. Government troops crushed the insurgents but suffered heavy casualties.

 

Others say he is in Afghanistan.

 

Tajik Internal Affairs Minister Abdurakhim Kakhkhorov said in late July he does not rule out another incursion by Khudoiberdiyev’s fighters. During the first six months of this year, the police detained 12 alleged members of the ex-colonel’s insurgent group, he said.

 

Earlier this year police disrupted three terrorist plots in Khudzhand by Khudoiberdiyev’s supporters, Kakhkhorov said.

 

“Tajikistan’s security agencies are on the alert for possible attacks,” Defence Ministry spokesman Fariddu Makhmadaliyev said. “Our military does everything to prevent them. Therefore, … any attempted attack will be thwarted.”

 

Gen. (ret.) Abdullo Khabibov said Tajikistan still has many Khudoiberdiyev followers, as proven “by the number of alleged extremists detained.”

 

What countries are threatened?

 

If Khudoiberdiyev attempts an incursion, political scientist Izzat Amon said, it might have support from militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which threatens not only Tajikistan but Uzbekistan too.

 

“Anyway, I am sure Tajik security agencies will suppress (Khudoiberdiyev) easily,” Amon said.

 

Militants may pose a threat not only to Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. but to the region as a whole, Tajik Strategic Research Centre director Sukhrob Sharipov said.

 

“I think not a single state and not a single politician would want to see a deterioration of the situation in Tajikistan, since that would afflict other countries in the region, too,” Sharipov said. “Anyway, we shouldn’t relax or lose vigilance while that man is alive and has followers; we need to be prepared for anything.”

 

But he said it’s unlikely Khudoiberdiyev’s supporters would attack now, “since the situation has changed, and so have Tajikistan’s forces, since 1998, when the country was torn by a five-year-long civil war.”

 

Agencies still watchful

 

Tajik security agencies, however, do not rule out a boost of Khudoiberdiyev’s underground activity in the republic.

“He has two reasons – or, rather, chances – to do so,” said a State National Security Committee (GKNB) official who gave only his first name, Usmon. “First, 12 of his followers are now on trial in Qurghonteppa, and the case (against them) is rather serious. Those people plotted several terrorist acts in southern Tajikistan.

 

“Second, an amnesty is pending, and those supporters of Khudoiberdiyev who have served three-quarters of their prison terms qualify for it. It’s hard to say now how many of them will be released, but I think there will be quite a few of them, since several hundred were convicted after the 1998 attack on Tajikistan.”

 

Tajik secret services will do everything possible to thwart any attempt by insurgents to cross into Tajikistan to engage in subversive activities, the GKNB official said.

 

If Khudoiberdiyev is in Uzbekistan now, Amon said, “Uzbekistan and Tajikistan bear certain obligations as members of regional and international organisations; besides, official Tashkent has become more concerned about the (Uzbek) domestic situation.”

Investors Point to Hardships in Former Soviet States

Investors Point to Hardships in Former Soviet States

By Nadia Popova

The former Soviet states are notoriously complicated for foreign businesses. Money can be made there as quickly as they can be lost, with governments playing an active role. A U.K.-based gold miner Wednesday said it sued Uzbekistan over a joint gold mining project that went sour.

U.K.-listed miner Oxus Gold PLC’s gold-digging adventure there ended up with criminal charges of industrial espionage and an arbitration case the firm brought against the government.

Minerals-rich, fast-growing former Soviet states offer tax breaks and cheap labor force to foreign investors. Oxus enjoyed tax exemptions and other privileges its joint venture with the Uzbek government, where gold production started in 2003. But laws later changed and the favors were scrapped, while Oxus ended up with a bill from the government for back taxes and customs duties.

In February, Oxus offered to sell its stake in the venture to Uzbekistan. The following month one of its local managers was arrested and charged with industrial espionage. Oxus said it believed Uzbekistan was seeking to liquidate the business. The spokesman for the Uzbekistan government referred this correspondent to the deputy minister of justice, who wasn’t immediately available to comment.

Russian mobile operator OAO Mobile TeleSystems had its Turkmenistan licenses suspended last year due to what the local government said was the expiry of the agreement with the firm and its local unit. The company claimed the licenses and the agreement were not interconnected and launched arbitration.

“The local authorities just wait until the business is up and running, and then take it away,” a manager at a company that got into trouble in one of former Soviet countries said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Russia ready to join UN peacekeepers in Libya

Moscow Time

Photo: EPA

Russia is ready to join a UN peacekeeping mission in Libya if the organization plans to set one up, Russia’s presidential envoy for Africa Mikhail Margelov declared after taking part in the Paris conference featuring 63 “Friends of Libya”.

Margelov has positively assessed the forum’s results that reconfirmed UN’s crucial role in the conflict resolution.

Margelov also noted that Russia supports Mid.East and North Africa modernization and is ready to assist.

New mini-Cold War Heating-Up In Southern Central Asia?

[Judging from the closing statement, Medvedev and Tajik President Rahmon are apparently referring to the Rogun Dam project, which Moscow may be supporting, once again, and the renewal of military relations, possibly Tajikistan's agreeing to Moscow's desire to return its troops to the Tajik/Afghan border.  The Kremlin's on-again, off-again support for the Rogun Dam project has turned on the Russian desire to appease Uzbek President Islam Karimov, who is dead-set against the dam.  He has taken this stance of hard-headed resistance because of the fact that it will cut-off much of the water which normally flows to the massive Uzbek cotton crop, for at least the seven years to twelve years that it will take to fill the massive dam. 

With Russia taking the side of Tajikistan and the United States and friends patching-up their feud with Karimov, perhaps regaining basing rights they once had in Uzbekistan (SEE:  US Senator Lindsay Graham Meets with Uzbek President Karimov), we see the elements of a new mini-Cold War heating-up in southern Central Asia.  It looks as if the Fergana Valley might be the next spot to heat-up in the American/NATO perpetual war on terror (SEE: What “Combat Zone” In Central Asia?Smashing Greater Central Asia – Part One ).]   

Tajikistan strategic partner – Medvedev

In a statement after a meeting in Dushanbe on Friday, President Medvedev and his hosting Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmonov say their countries will continue to build a strategic partnership, in all bilateral and multilateral aspects. The later include coordination on the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

    The Presidents attach particular importance to joint hydropower projects and to joint efforts to enforce military security in the Central Asian area.

CIA Ops Strain US-Pakistan Ties

CIA Ops Strain US-Pakistan Ties

Washington’s refusal to sign a ‘memorandum of understanding’ detailing its operations and sharing intelligence has Islamabad up in arms.
by Gavriel Queenann
Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
WikimediaCommons

Officials in Islamabad want a detailed agreement spelling out US rules of engagement in Pakistan, but Washington has so far refused to commit to specifics and tensions are running high.

Following domestic furor and public embarrassment over the covert US targeted killing of Al Qaeda terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan’a Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is demanding a ‘memorandum of understanding’ detailing the number of CIA operatives in the country, notification before US drone strikes, intelligence gathered, and a written promise about Pakistan’s role if Al Qaida’s new leader, Ayman Al Zawahri, is found in Pakistan.

“There can be no more gray areas,” said a senior Pakistani military official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak publicly about diplomatic matters.

The spike in troubles between Islamabad and Washington this year began with the February killing of two Pakistanis by Raymond Davis, a CIA-contracted American working in the country without Pakistan’s knowledge. Davis pleaded self-defence but it took weeks of wrangling before he was released in exchange for so-called ‘bloodmoney’ paid to the dead men’s relatives.

The Bin Laden raid further incensed the Pakistani military, which saw it as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty, and it now feels it needs the agreement to ensure it would be involved in — or be able to stop — any similar US attacks in the future.

The agreement would also allay fears in Islamabad that the CIA is operating behind Pakistan’s back, and shore up the military’s reputation, which was badly battered when the US helicopters slipped into Pakistan air space undetected for the Bin Laden attack.

But former and current American officials say the US will not commit any specifics to paper because it could limit the flexibility of its operations.

Instead, the US is preparing a broad statement of principles that could be completed in the coming weeks.

“There will not be a [memorandum of understanding] covering all aspects of the relationship with annexes spelling out permitted behaviors,” said a senior US official.

“There is, however, the possibility of a brief bilateral statement of principles that would identify common interests and goals.”

Another senior US official told reporters Pakistan would not get all the information it wants about US intelligence operations, adding it already receives much more than Washington provides most other countries.

Is Negotiating with the Taliban the Same As Negotiating With ISI?

“peace talks with the Taliban cannot go anywhere unless Pakistan is interested.”

Negotiating with the Taliban 

By Camelia Entekhabifard – The Egyptian Gazette

KABUL – The Afghans spent the last few days of Ramadan in a state of great fear, especially in Kabul, where the high concern over threats to security has led to parts of the cities being sealed off.

 


The government never informs the people which parts of the city are in a high state of terrorist alert, but it’s clear from the presence of tanks and armoured vehicles in neighbourhoods that are home to important foreign offices such as the United Nations and embassies. Such areas are totally closed to the public.
People were murmuring that the Taliban believe martyrdom during Ramadan counts as double, especially in the last few days of the holy fasting month, which ended on Monday. On Tuesday the first day of Eid el-Fitr, the feast following Ramadan, the security threat was raised so high that all foreigners decided to stay at their houses or on their bases.
This is how life generally seems in Afghanistan: full of alarms, disappointments and uncertainties. However, despite all their fears and limited movement in Kabul, people are happy with this fragile security, when they compare the present to the time of the rule of the Taliban.
Their constitution gives any citizen the right to dress and live as he or she likes and no one may harass or question them in the street or in their own homes.
Putting aside the question of corruption, which is one of the major issues in Afghanistan, every ordinary Afghan can run in principle for office. The central government is weak, security is fragile but thanks to the international donors, people’s earning have increased and more opportunities have opened for them.
Two days before the feast, Mullah Mohamed Omar, the spiritual leader of Taliban issued a message of greeting, indicating that the situation in Afghanistan should be resolved in a “legitimate way”.
In this message, Mullah Omar expressed the Taliban’s readiness to have direct dialogue with the Kabul government, although many offers made to the Taliban leaders to hold peace talk have been previously turned down, because, according to the Taliban, the Kabul government was not legitimate.
They had also demanded that all foreign troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan before any talks took place with the government.
Such negotiations and the Taliban’s preferred conditions might not be exactly what the Afghan government and the international community, which has spent enormous amount of money for peace and stability in here, would like to hear.
But at least it is a good indication and has been responded to by President Hamed Karzai, who, in his greeting messages issued on Tuesday, also addressed the Taliban, asking the rebels to give up their arms and fighting and join the peace process.
Because of the national holiday for the feast, we do not yet know the opinion of politicians and the Afghan elite on the Mullah Omar’s message and President Karzi’s response. But what I have heard from ordinary Afghans was a sharp rejoinder to Mullah Omar’s advances.
People believe that nothing can ever be offered by the Taliban other than with the agreement of Pakistan’s security service ISI. Latif, a young Afghan man, patiently told me that peace talks with the Taliban cannot go anywhere unless Pakistan is interested.   
He pointed out that any Taliban members, who engaged without Pakistan’s permission in negotiations with the Afghan government, disappeared, were killed or detained by ISI, “such as Mullah Bardar.” 
In the Afghans’ opinion even Mullah Mohamed Omar is no longer with influence, having vanished from public eyes since the occupation back in 2001. We have hardly found a sentence or any news about him in the media since then. “Pakistan wants to get engaged in the peace talk. Mullah Omar is just a name,” Haydar, another Afghan, told me in Kabul.
It is hard to judge at this stage what Pakistan or the Taliban have in their mind by offering negotiations with the current government of Afghanistan. Given that two days before Eid el-Fitr 16 would-be suicide bombers were arrested in Kabul and other cities in Afghanistan, why should the Taliban be interested Talibs in peace negotiations while sending a suicidal army?
Further, the second largest conference on Afghanistan to be held after the first held in 2001, which also took place in Bonn, with the participation of man y countries, is underway. The conference scheduled for December has not yet invited the Taliban leaders to participate.
World powers need to reshape their strategy on Afghanistan when, within two years, America will be withdrawing its main forces. What will happen to this nation three years further on, when the security is in the hands of local people if the conditions remain as they are today or even worsen?
What is the best solution for Afghanistan to enable it to walk out of this deadlock? Negotiation with Pakistan or with the Taliban?

Entekhabifard is an Iranian journalist, who regularly contributes to The Egyptian Gazette and its weekly edition, the Mail.

Rehman Malik Claims That Pakistan Plans To Adopt Faulty Saudi Deradicalization Model

[Pakistan should have learned to see the Saudi connection to its internal problems caused by radical Islamists by now.  Wherever the Wahhabis want to invest, radical Islamists invariably flourish.  The Saudis may be the creators of the "Al-Qaeda" network, but that doesn't mean that they are capable of undoing what they have done.  Their deradicalization program successfully weans up to 80% of the captured militants away from waging jihad, but that 80% probably wasn't serious in the first place, enlisting in the heat of the moment, when jihad or revenge seemed like a sweet proposition.  The high recidivism (repeat offenders) rate of the Saudi program to sweet talk the bad guys (20% for former Guantanamo inmates, 10% for the rest), means that one-in-five bad guy bosses will return to the Pakistani jihad with renewed vengeance.  The head of the Libyan Al-Qaeda outfit, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), 'Abd Al-Hakim Belhadj, along with many of his comrades, were Libyan graduates of this Saudi program.  This fact alone should discourage Pakistan from thinking of trying this faulty solution.  This is no solution.  If Pakistan captured 20,000 terrorists and "rehabilitated" them under the Saudi plan, then 4,000 would return to the fight after their pleasant respite in anti-militant school. 

Pakistan must break all of its old bad habits, which created the "Islamist" menace in the first place.  That means breaking with their Wahhabi masters, as well as the CIA overlords.]     

Pakistan to follow Saudi Arabia’s de-radicalisation policy: Malik

Karachi, Sept 2(ANI): Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said that the government will follow the policy of de-radicalisation being pursued by Saudi Arabia.

“We want to remove concepts of extremism from the society, and it is our aim to eliminate the groups of terrorists with their nefarious designs and affiliation with political groups or extortionists in one way or the other,” The Nation quoted Malik, as telling media persons in Karachi.

He said the government was fully determined to expose all elements involved in acts of terrorism across the country.

“It is our objective and plan to work with the youth to introduce community policing with the co-operation of area police and Rangers,” he added.

Malik further stated that after Eid holidays, media organisations would be given the recordings and DVDs of alleged terrorists, who, according to him, had confessed their crimes and their modus operandi.

Referring to the recent incident of killing of an industrialist in Karachi, the minister said that he had the courage to offer resistance and sacrificed his life against lawlessness.

“We need such spirit from all to fight anti-social elements, and the government will leave no stone unturned in this regard to restore peace not only in Karachi, but also elsewhere in the country,” he added. (ANI)

More Trouble for Pakistan from the Pakistani Taliban Hiding In Afghanistan

[They are probably in the hands of the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) terrorists who have holed-up there, after the Pak Army drove them from the Swat and Bajaur areas.  Another demonstration of the complete and utter failure of Pakistan's military policies that do not adhere to military doctrine.   Pakistan's generals had no intention of destroying the Taliban "miscreants," only to punish them and to chase them out, forcing them to set-up camps elsewhere, outside of their jurisdiction.]

Pakistan official: 40 boys abducted in Afghanistan

KHAR, Pakistan (AP) — A Pakistani official says suspected militants have abducted 40 Pakistani boys after luring them into Afghanistan.

Abdul Haseeb Khan said the boys, who are aged between 10 and 15, went to Afghanistan’s Kunar province on Thursday after a man invited them to play in a river there.

Khan says the militants then seized the boys. He gave no more details and didn’t say what evidence he had to support the claim.

In Afghanistan, Kunar police said they are investigating but have no reports of such an incident.

Pakistani officials have said that insurgents from Afghanistan have often crossed the border and attacked on Pakistan’s territory, raising tensions between the neighbors.

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Pakistan-official-40-boys-abducted-in-Afghanistan-2152384.php#ixzz1WnGoW4yN

ExxonMobil and Rosneft Agreement an Indication that New World Order Has Already Arrived?

[The synchronization of American and Russian policies is the Arctic can also be seen in the plunder of Central Asian oil and gas resources.  Russian endorsement of the NATO war crimes in Libya further reinforces the conclusion that the US and Russia are now partners in most things.  Is this an indication that the much feared "New World Order" is already a fact, a foregone conclusion, that is now reported as a future event?  If we now start to see resolution of the Caucasus disputes, especially in Nagorno-Karabakh, in order to facilitate new southern routes for European gas and oil pipelines (either Nabucco or South Stream), then we will know for certain, that in most matters, the US and Russian leaders are as one.  If we realize the truth that Russia has offered only token resistance to American aggressions around the world, such as that directed against Libya and before that, Iraq, we will begin to see the hidden workings of the already functioning NWO.  Our future fears are now facts.]  

How Arctic oil could break new ground

As ExxonMobil beats BP to strike a deal for Russian Arctic oil, what does it mean for the industry – and the environment?

Exxon Mobil Agrees Arctic Oil Exploration Deal With Russian Oil Company

Russian president Vladimir Putin (right) and Rex Tillerson of ExxonMobil during the signing of the arctic oil exploration deal. Photograph: Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images

In an age of diminishing resources but soaring populations, the scramble for the Arctic’s riches continues. Months after BP’s rival bid fell through, US oil giant ExxonMobil has just struck a £2bn agreement to develop vast hydrocarbon resources in the Kara Sea, off Russia’s northern coast, in return for offering its Russian partner, Rosneft, assets in the US.

In one sense the deal is, of course, a very welcome development. Far from fulfilling dark prophecies of conflict and confrontation between rival governments, the Arctic’s resources are instead bringing nations closer together, moving in step with the mysterious, unpredictable pace at which regional ice is retreating: US experts, using advanced satellite information, have shown that ice in the Arctic Ocean is continuing to “decline at a brisk pace”, even if this year’s figure is not set to match therecord low of 2007.

The deal represents a remarkable mutual interdependence and harmony. On the one hand, the Russian government, highly dependent on oil and gas exports for revenue, desperately needs advanced western technology and expertise if it is to have any hope of maintaining its current level of production. Meanwhile, western “supermajors” such as ExxonMobil are under constant shareholder pressure to “book reserves” by finding large sources of future revenue that will allow them to keep commercial pace with global, particularly Asian, competitors.

It is just such reserves that the Arctic appears to offer. A 2008 survey by the US Geological Survey estimated that the region appears to harbour around 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil resources and 30% of its undiscovered natural gas. And the relatively shallow waters of the Kara Sea are particularly appealing.

In this respect, this week’s agreement represents a positive step – one that will reduce political rivalry and tension between the two respective governments, both of which will have much to gain from oil revenues when the deal is put into practice.

Nonetheless, the new agreement does give one major cause for concern. For as the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe showed so painfully last year (around 5m barrels of oil were lost as a result of BP’s Macondo blow out), both parties need to give some reassurance that they will be doing their utmost to prevent and minimise any environmental mishap.

The Arctic region is particularly vulnerable to such mishaps for the obvious reason that the regional climate makes them much more likely. True, there is less ice than before – levels this year are said to be “exceptionally low” in the Kara Sea – but they can vary enormously from year to year, and icebergs, moving at fast speed, can still appear at any time of year. In difficult conditions, pipelines are not only more likely to crack, but any spillages are apt to be proportionately harder to find: it was no coincidence that BP’s other recent environmental tragedy, thePrudhoe Bay oil spill in 2006, happened in a remote area of Alaska’s North Slope.

It is true that, under the deal, the two companies have agreed to set up a joint research centre in St Petersburg to develop new ice-resistant drilling platforms and other technology. But these could take years, or even decades, to bear fruit; and in any case the agreement says nothing about the enhanced safety standards – such as a detailed clean-up plan to deal quickly and effectively with any spillage – that need to be rigorously enforced.

The Russians have an appalling track record on environmental safety – the way they have dumped radioactive waste into Arctic waters bears ample testimony to that – while ExxonMobil’s critics allege that a company so concerned about shareholder returns could be tempted to cut costs and take environmental risks.

In particular, the two companies need to recognise that environmental safety is a matter of commercial self-interest. Any serious oil spillage would of course hugely damage their share price and, even if this remained just the stuff of nightmares, the power of the “ethical investor” should not be underestimated.

For Moscow, the costs of guarding oil installations, if they are targeted by protestors using similar tactics to those who boarded Cairn’s rig off Greenland last summer, could also be considerable. And the mere threat of such protests would also further undermine Russia’s battered image before international investors.

ExxonMobil and Rosneft could now seize this Arctic opportunity and break new commercial ground by signalling that they will respect the concerns of the environmental lobby and drill in Arctic waters only when strict safety standards have been met. And formulating and implementing those standards now offers the US, Russia and other international powers a fruitful way of working together.

Lancet Journal Documents High Cancer Rate In 9/11 Firefighter First Responders

Early assessment of cancer outcomes in New York City firefighters after the 9/11 attacks: an observational cohort study

Rachel Zeig-Owens MPH e, Dr Mayris P Webber DrPH Corresponding AuthorEmail AddressCharles B Hall PhD b, Theresa Schwartz MS e, Nadia Jaber RPA-Ce, Jessica Weakley MPH e, Thomas E Rohan MBBS b, Hillel W Cohen DrPH b, Olga Derman MD d, Thomas K Aldrich MD c, Kerry Kelly MD e, David J Prezant MD e

Summary

Background

The attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) on Sept 11, 2001 (9/11) created the potential for occupational exposure to known and suspected carcinogens. We examined cancer incidence and its potential association with exposure in the first 7 years after 9/11 in firefighters with health information before 9/11 and minimal loss to follow-up.

Methods

We assessed 9853 men who were employed as firefighters on Jan 1, 1996. On and after 9/11, person-time for 8927 firefighters was classified as WTC-exposed; all person-time before 9/11, and person-time after 9/11 for 926 non-WTC-exposed firefighters, was classified as non-WTC exposed. Cancer cases were confirmed by matches with state tumour registries or through appropriate documentation. We estimated the ratio of incidence rates in WTC-exposed firefighters to non-exposed firefighters, adjusted for age, race and ethnic origin, and secular trends, with the US National Cancer Institute Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) reference population. CIs were estimated with overdispersed Poisson models. Additional analyses included corrections for potential surveillance bias and modified cohort inclusion criteria.

Findings

Compared with the general male population in the USA with a similar demographic mix, the standardised incidence ratios (SIRs) of the cancer incidence in WTC-exposed firefighters was 1·10 (95% CI 0·98—1·25). When compared with non-exposed firefighters, the SIR of cancer incidence in WTC-exposed firefighters was 1·19 (95% CI 0·96—1·47) corrected for possible surveillance bias and 1·32 (1·07—1·62) without correction for surveillance bias. Secondary analyses showed similar effect sizes.

Interpretation

We reported a modest excess of cancer cases in the WTC-exposed cohort. We remain cautious in our interpretation of this finding because the time since 9/11 is short for cancer outcomes, and the reported excess of cancers is not limited to specific organ types. As in any observational study, we cannot rule out the possibility that effects in the exposed group might be due to unidentified confounders. Continued follow-up will be important and should include cancer screening and prevention strategies.

Funding

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

US ABM Radar System In Turkey

Anti-missile radar to be deployed in Turkey – Foreign Ministry

Anti-missile radar to be deployed in Turkey

Anti-missile radar to be deployed in Turkey

© Photo public domain

ANKARA, September 2 (RIA Novosti)

An early warning radar system will be deployed in Turkey within the NATO missile defense program, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said on Friday.

“The deployment of this [missile defense] element in Turkey will constitute our contribution to the defense system being developed within the new NATO [defense] strategy and will strengthen the defense potential of NATO as well as our national defense system,” Unal said.

Talks on the radar deployment are in their final stage, he added.

Local media reported that the radar is planned to be installed in the country’s southeast.

Russia and NATO agreed at a Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010 to work together on the missile shield but NATO wants it to be based on two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

In June, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said the United States was already deploying its missile defense system in Europe without waiting for an agreement with Russia.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. The United States insists that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran, but Moscow demands legally binding guarantees that the NATO missile defense systems will not be directed against it.

China To Recognize a Palestinian State, Support UN Motion

China to recognize a Palestinian state

Wafa News Agency

palestine

The Chinese Middle East envoy to the peace process, Wu Sike, transferred on Wednesday a message from the Chinese leadership confirming China’s full support for the Palestinian UN bid in a meeting with Presidential General Secretary, Tayyeb Abdul Rahim, in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah. He also added that the Chinese leadership and people are closely following the Palestinians’ efforts in their preparation for going to the UN, confirming his countries support, now and always for the Palestinian people and their just cause.

He confirmed that the Palestinian step does not contradict with the peace process and the resumption of the negotiations, stressing that establishing a just peace is represented in ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Wu Sike said that the Palestinian quest will make the UN uphold its responsibility towards the Palestinian peoples’ legal rights, adding that this visit is to show the Chinese leaderships’ concern with the Palestinian situation, in addition to its great interest in the situation in the Middle East.

On his part, Abdul Rahim explained the political situation, regarding the Palestinian- Israeli path, which directed the Palestinian efforts towards the determination to go to the United Nations (UN) to gain full membership and recognition of Palestinian state.

He said that the Israeli policy refuses going back to the negotiations within a clear political reference and specific timeline, which has given the Palestinians no other choice but to refer to the International Quartet to go back to the negotiations according to the international references.

He said that the Quartet Committee failure to restore things to normal led the Palestinian leadership and the Arab countries in the Follow-Up Committee meeting on August 3, 2011, to firmly address the UN, supported by the stance of a lot of the worlds’ countries, the same stance which was confirmed by the Arab Follow-Up Committee in Doha, where they approved again to go to the UN to seek the Palestinians’ state full membership and recognition.

He called on all the parties, especially the United States to support the peace process, by standing by the Palestinians’ legal and just demand, which will be based on the international legal resolutions and to be carried out by negotiations.

The Sham Kurram Operation Is Over–Safe for the Haqqani Clan Now, Still Unsafe for Shiites

“Death to Taliban” Parachinar Children protesting for their right source

PARACHINAR, Pakistan – Gunmen killed seven Shi’ite Muslims in an attack on a minibus in northwestern Pakistan yesterday, and three people died in a suicide car bomb attack on a police station.

Sunni extremists of one stripe or another are suspected in both attacks, which were not linked.

Allied to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, the militants frequently target Shi’ites, whom they regard as non-Muslims, as well as Pakistan’s pro-Western government.

Government official Jameel-ur-Rehman said the gunmen ambushed the bus in an area of the Kurram tribal region close to the Afghan border, which has seen repeated attacks on its Shi’ites over the last year. The suicide blast also took place in the northwest, but in a different region.

Police officer Sana Ullah said officers opened fire on the vehicle, which blew up at the gate of the station in the Lakki Marat district. The driver was killed. The two other dead were shopkeepers. Several policemen and bystanders were injured, he said.

Islamist militants have carried out hundreds of attacks against Pakistani security force, government, and Western targets since 2007. At least 35,000 people have been killed.

Belated reform of the CIS

Belated reform of the CIS

Innokenty Adyasov for RIA Novosti
On September 1, President Dmitry Medvedev heads to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe for an intensive three-day visit. He will hold official tete-a-tete talks with his Tajik counterpart Emomali Rakhmon, attend a presidential meeting with the heads of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan and, finally, join the CIS anniversary summit.

This year, the CIS turns 20, and it’s looking shabby for its years. Most people in the CIS do not understand this bureaucratic organization’s mission at all. It is more a discussion club than a coordinating body. But at the same time, CIS countries share a number of common problems across the region, including Afghanistan.

Afghan bid to join CIS

Combat action in Afghanistan and the continuing destabilization in Pakistan are creating tensions in Central Asia and Russia. The problem is not simply drug trafficking. Afghan militants could potentially break into the CIS territory. Medvedev will discuss these issues with his Afghan, Pakistani and Tajik colleagues on September 2-3.

Afghanistan is a time-bomb for the region. The withdrawal of the NATO coalition troops is bound to escalate tensions and could make developments unpredictable.

As of 2008, Kabul has expressed an interest in joining the CIS as a full-fledged member. Afghan representatives have already participated in the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly’s sessions in St. Petersburg without a right to vote.

Indeed, it is clear what Kabul would gain from joining the CIS as this would automatically lead to transport infrastructure development, CIS investments for the Afghan economy and military and technical cooperation. But does the CIS need more problems given its present instability? Kabul’s bid to join the CIS is unlikely to be endorsed in the mid-term. However, the CIS could soon be forced to intensify its cooperation with Afghanistan, above all in military and security areas.

Who won’t attend the summit and why

Uzbek President Islam Karimov has already stated that he will not attend the CIS anniversary summit in Dushanbe on Sept. 2-3. Instead, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyev will represent Uzbekistan at the summit.

Karimov also refused to take part in the presidential summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Astana several weeks ago.

Generally speaking, the Uzbek president has rarely participated in major CIS events at the interstate and regional level in the past few years. Journalists have traditionally referred to his disappearing act as a “conspicuous absence.” By not attending, Karimov demonstrates his disappointment with integration projects initiated by Russia in the post-Soviet space.

In the past few months – given the withdrawal of the NATO troops from Afghanistan – Uzbekistan has considered returning U.S. military bases to the country. Apparently, Karimov links Uzbek security not with the CIS or CSTO, but rather with U.S. military assistance.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also will not attend the summit. Baku is openly displeased with the position of the CIS – and primarily Russia’s stance – on the Nagorny-Karabakh conflict. The demarche is surprising, as both Russia and the CIS as a whole have repeatedly supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. As of 1992, the CIS has repeatedly acted as a mediator in settling the conflict and its withdrawal from the negotiations will not lead to a compromise.

CIS as commonwealth of nations

Despite all the justified criticism of the CIS, it still remains the only integration association to incorporate most former Soviet Union republics. There is no point renouncing its achievements over the past 20 years, such as visa-free travel. But free movement also has a reverse side in illegal migration. In this context, the summit’s participants plan to adopt a program to counter illegal migration in 2012-2014.

On the whole, the future of the CIS will depend on the CIS Executive Committee’s ability to offer real projects to CIS countries, whose implementation will increase their living standards and make their economies more competitive.

Ultimately, the CIS may become an analogue of the British Commonwealth, which is formally the largest inter-state association in the world, albeit one without any real power. Its primary emphasis is sports and cultural projects.

Little time remains to re-launch the CIS. CIS countries plan to form the Eurasian Union on the basis of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space of the EurAsEC in 2012. This union will most likely define further post-Soviet integration. In its present form, the CIS is unlikely to be able to compete with a potentially powerful Eurasian Union.

Failed confederation

Few people remember that the heads of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus first spoke about the CIS as a confederation that would preserve a common economic and information space, as well as a common currency.

The Alma Ata declaration of December 21, 1991 made special mention of a common CIS defense policy and control over nuclear weapons.

However, it soon became clear that the CIS was more an instrument for a peaceful divorce of the former Soviet republics than an efficient integration association.

Each CIS country started conducting its own policy in economy, defense, security, international relations and other spheres. Although the CIS adopted numerous programs, concepts and agreements, the preponderant majority of them remained on paper.

As of summer 2010, the EurAsEC integration project – the Customs Union – began to gain momentum in the post-Soviet space. Now, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are members, but it is also open to new participants. Its formation has questioned the need to re-launch a free-trade zone in the CIS, a project which the CIS Executive Committee has worked on over the past few years.

De facto, post-Soviet economic integration issues are increasingly falling within the competence of EurAsEC.

Innokenty Adyasov is a leading consultant on the expert council of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s and may not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Pakistan caught in British-Saudi plan to dismember country

Pakistan caught in British-Saudi plan to dismember country

By janamejayan

Ramtanu Maitra

The ongoing disintegration of Pakistan is not just a matter of penetration of the military and intelligence services by forces friendly to the Taliban, but is the direct result of British-Saudi collusion—with the help of US-based co-conspirators—to partition the country into a potpourri of ethnic entities. Let us review the deteriorating security situation over the past weeks:

The May 22 raid by militants into Pakistan’s Mehran Naval Base is an indicator that the country’s security has become merely notional, and that Pakistan is under attack from within by a formidable foe. The daring raid by six alleged militants, two of whom are still at large, included a rampage through the base, destroying two highly prized Orion PC-3 multi-role naval planes and killing at least 11 Naval officers. It took Pakistani security forces 16 hours to end the raid, killing four security personnel. Seventeen foreigners inside the base, including 11 Chinese technicians, were unhurt.

The attack is similar to a raid in October 2009, in which Taliban militants laid siege to the Army headquarters in the garrison town of Rawalpindi, killing dozens. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a militant group that was formed in the tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan to spearhead operations against the Pakistani military in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan, claimed responsibility for the raid. Pakistani officials claim that both the Mehran Naval Base and the 2009 attack were coordinated by the TTP and an al-Qaeda leader, Ilyas Kashmiri, a Britain-linked terrorist.

While Pakistan’s security is breached almost every day throughout the country, the Mehran Naval Base attack is considered more than an exercise by the militants to flex their muscles, but a serious attempt to hurt the country and convey the message that they have their accomplices throughout Pakistan’s security and military apparatus.

One analyst pointed out that the fact that such raids continue to take place, and that the security forces and intelligence agencies continue to be taken by surprise, should add to the concerns of the international community regarding the physical security of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. There could be people inside them who are sympathizers of al-Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), and who would facilitate an act of terrorism involving the use of nuclear material seized from such establishments.

US Drone Attacks

There are now regular attacks into Pakistan from across the border by the insurgents in Afghanistan, and by US drone attacks from the air, aimed at eliminating militant leaders operating in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border. Many of the American targets are TTP and other Pakistani militant groups, while the Afghan insurgents have set the Pakistani military as their target. For instance, on June 9, more than 100 militants stormed a security checkpoint in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least eight soldiers, officials said. The attack happened near the town of Makeen in the tribal district of South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. The area has seen a surge in missile strikes by US drones in recent days.

These drone attacks may have eliminated a number of terrorists, or suspected terrorists, but they have also provoked an intense animosity between the Pakistani military and the local people. The US government, led by the CIA’s Special Activities Division, has been carrying out drone attacks since 2004. Islamabad publicly condemns these attacks, but has secretly shared intelligence with the Americans, and also allegedly allowed the drones to operate from Shamsi Airfield in Pakistan until April 21, 2011, when 150 Americans left the base.

The Brookings Institution suggests that drone strikes may kill “10 or so civilians” for every militant killed. The Pakistani military has stated that most of those killed were hardcore al-Qaeda and Taliban militants. According to secret cables from WikiLeaks, Pakistani Army Chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani not only tacitly agreed to the drone flights, but in 2008, requested that the Americans increase them. However, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said, “Drone missiles cause collateral damage. A few militants are killed, but the majority of victims are innocent citizens.” These strikes have increased substantially under President Barack Obama. Generally, the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) used are MQ-1 Predators and more recently MQ-9 Reapers firing AGM-114 Hellfire missiles.

Here is a quick round-up of the reported drone attacks, and the casualties these attacks caused, during May and early June:

-        May 6: 12-15 people are killed and several injured at Dua Toi, North Waziristan, in the first such attack since the killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2.

-        May 10: Four suspected militants are killed in an attack near Angoor Adda village in South Waziristan. According to Public Multimedia, two missiles hit a vehicle in the village, wounding four. An unnamed Pakistani official said three of those killed were “Arabs.”

-        May 12: 5-8 suspected militants are killed when a US drone fires two missiles into a vehicle in North Waziristan. Pakistani officials stated that some of those killed were “foreigners,” according to the Long War Journal.

-        May 13: Five are killed when at least 4 missiles strike a vehicle in Doga Madakhel village in North Waziristan.

-        May 16: Two strikes in Mir Ali in North Waziristan kill ten suspected militants.

-        May 20: Two missiles fired by drones kill six people in North Waziristan.

-        May 23: Drone strike on a vehicle on the outskirts of Mir Ali in North Waziristan kills seven suspected militants.

-        June 3: Drone strike in Ghwakhwa area of South Waziristan kills nine militants.

-        June 6: Three drone strikes kill 16-21 people. Unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials claim that they were suspected militants.

-        June 8: Five missiles strike a militant compound in Zoynarai village in North Waziristan, near the border with South Waziristan, killing 15-23 suspected militants.

In other words, steady drone attacks have killed at least 80 individuals, some of them possibly of Arab origin, during these five weeks.

Disintegration of Pakistan

Because of the powerful forces, both inside and outside Pakistan, operating at odds with a feeble democratic government and a heavily penetrated Pakistani security establishment, the question arises whether Pakistan will be able to survive as a unified nation for long. There is no question that the country has become virtually ungovernable, and that its economic situation is getting increasingly perilous; the absence of any stable national institution makes the country’s disintegration a genuine concern.

In a recent article in the Indian military journal Aakrosh, analyst Vijay K. Nair pointed out that British-Saudi authorities are in the process of negotiating with what they portray as the “moderate” Taliban, who can be induced to share power with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the post-US-NATO Afghanistan. “By categorizing some Taliban as ‘moderate,’ what Britain and the Saudis are presenting to Washington in particular is those Taliban who have been indoctrinated with the extreme Wahhabi version of orthodox Islam, propagated solely by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These Taliban are all ethnic Pashtuns, who would be induced to demand a ‘Pashtunistan,’ with the objective of joining the Pashtuns of Afghanistan and Pakistan, using the ethno-religious identity of the Pashtuns of the two different countries separated by the non-functional Durand Line

 “Eventually, the formation of such a Pashtun nation will result in the Balkanization of Afghanistan, since the ethnic groups that represent the Northern Alliance will find no reason to remain within Pashtunistan as second-class citizens and would be agreeable to a state of their own. This would be possible only if there is an assured economic patronage that would guarantee to kick-start the new states economic infrastructure and growth.

“None of these developments will happen overnight, but the seeds of these have been laid and watered well during the ongoing 10-year-old Afghan War. The geopolitical ramifications have a greater spill-off on the being of Pakistan when viewed in the light of the map of Pashtunistan projected on the Afghanistan government’s website. The fragmentation of Afghanistan could result in Pakistan being reduced to two of its existing provinces, Punjab and Sindh,” Nair said.

In fact, in tune with the old British colonial concept, billboards demanding Greater Pashtunistan have appeared in recent days in Swat Valley, Dera Ismail Khan, and other areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP, recently renamed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). The map of Greater Pashtunistan that is circulating includes Balochistan, NWFP, and Afghanistan. The Swat Valley, located in the northeastern part of the NWFP, has already become autonomous and has imposed Wahhabi-style Islamic Sharia law, in violation of Pakistan’s Constitution. For all practical purposes, Islamabad has handed the Swat Valley over to the Saudi-funded Wahhabis.

On Sept. 19, 2007, a British historian who uses the pseudonym “Rumbold” wrote: “However much we try and dress it up, both Afghanistan and Pakistan are in the midst of civil wars. In Afghanistan, the situation is serious enough to warrant thousands of foreign troops assisting the Afghan army to hunt down the remnants of the Taliban and their allies. In Pakistan, tens of thousands of Pakistani troops, demoralized and under constant attack, are attempting to fight Al-Qaeda, local tribes and fugitive Taliban. Both countries’ governments are fighting against the same people: the Pashtuns. Most Pashtuns live in Afghanistan and in the part of Pakistan known as the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). My proposal (albeit not a novel one), is to create a Pashtun homeland based in the NWFP and a sizeable section of Afghanistan.”

Rumbold went on to say: “Partition in South Asia has had a chequered history, but it should be pointed out that the reason why the Pashtuns do not have their own country is because the British and Russians carved it up during the Great Game so that a buffer state could be created between British and Russian territory.”

Not the British-Saudi Axis Only

In the United States too, one hears the echo of this British-Saudi plan to dismember Pakistan. For instance, in the July-September 2008 issue of the U.S. Military Intelligence Journal, an article titled “Secessionist Jihad: The Taliban’s struggle for Pashtunistan,” by Michael D. Holmes, pointed out: “One of the reasons for our failure to subdue the Taliban insurgency may be that we have not identified the proper causes behind it. We have labeled the Taliban a jihadist movement and ascribed motives to them based on religious traditionalist goals, in part because that is what the Taliban itself has stated. But had we looked deeper, we might have found that the root causes behind the enduring and resilient nature of the Taliban have very little to do with religion, and much to do with an ancient ethnic struggle between the Pashtun people, and virtually everyone else in the region. . . .

“By mentally segregating the Taliban as an ‘Afghan’ problem, by not addressing their roots of support inside the border with Pakistan, and by ignoring the obvious truth of their largely homogeneous ethnic composition, I believe that we have misdiagnosed not only the nature of their insurgency, but also the best way to deal with that insurgency. This approach has put us on the path of treating the symptom, but not the disease.

“As a result of this imprecision, we have applied a series of remedies designed to combat religious extremism (but not ethnic separatism) with lackluster results. However, had we correctly identified the ethnic nature of this conflict early on, and applied remedies designed to counter and combat an ethnic secessionist insurgency, and in so doing faced that transnational nature of ‘Pashtunistan,’ we would very likely have been more effective in combating them.

“Up to this point, we have viewed the Taliban as a Jihadist Muslim insurgency, composed largely of Pashtun tribesmen. I argue that what we should be doing is viewing and, more importantly, treating the Taliban as a Pashtun ethnic insurgency, composed largely of Jihadist Muslims.”

Could It Get Worse?

The primary reason that Pakistan is in such difficulty now is that its so-called only institution, the military, had walked in lockstep with Britain and Saudi Arabia, driven by its zeal to remain in power forever by projecting India as its mortal enemy. These two forces have different geopolitical agendas: Britain wants not only an independent Kashmir in order to position itself on the driver’s seat at a highly strategic location, but also to seek control of Pashtunistan, if that comes into being. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, wants to spread its vicious doctrine of Wahhabism so as to secure control of the majority Muslims, who are Sunnis. The intrusion by these forces has not only kept such regional nations as Iran, Russia, and India out of Pakistan’s circle of friends, but it has opened up Pakistan for subversion and chaos.

If the Pashtuns of Pakistan and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan join hands, with the help of the British and the Saudis, while the Pakistani military, under pressure because of the threatened dismemberment of the nation, indulges in large-scale killing of the Pashtun population, as it did in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971, it is not unlikely that Balochistan will also become a center of a secessionist movement.

For decades now, different Baloch organizations, demanding greater autonomy or independence from Pakistan, have managed to maintain their freedom struggle. An independent Balochistan will not be to the liking of either Iran or China. Iran will be exceedingly uneasy, since a large number of Baloch tribes live in Iran, bordering Balochistan and they are Sunnis in a Shi’a-majority Iran. A Sunni-dominated Balochistan would then be used by both Britain and Saudi Arabia to undermine Iran’s integrity.

Pakistan’s inability to resolve the Balochistan mess with the help of Iran is yet another indicator of who is calling the shots in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. For different reasons altogether, China would also be opposed to the independence of the Baloch tribes. China has provided Pakistan with significant financial support to develop the Gwadar Port, on the Makran coast of Balochistan next door to the Strait of Hormuz.

It was said that long-term Chinese interest is to use the port to bring oil and gas from Iran and Arabia to West China, across the Pakistan landmass. But the Chinese reluctance to take up further commitments in Balochistan at this point has become evident. Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, during his visit to China in July 2010, had reminded the Chinese of the Pakistani proposals for the upgrading of the Gwadar port, the construction of an oil refinery and an airport in Gwadar, and the construction of oil/gas pipelines from Gwadar to Xinjiang. At the time, China did not respond to Zardari’s request.

The Chinese reluctance to get involved in present day Balochistan came out in the open during Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s May 17-20 visit to China. An analyst pointed out that the Chinese officials, for the first time, openly indicated to Gilani their lack of enthusiasm for upgrading the Gwadar commercial port, built and commissioned by them initially, into a base for the Pakistan Navy, and subsequently into a base that could be used by Chinese naval vessels operating in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf.

The author is South Asian Analyst at Executive Intelligence Review News Services Inc.

http://www.vijayvaani.com/FrmPublicDisplayArticle.aspx?id=1836

It Is No Coincidence That Most Major Terrorist Leaders Were Long-Term Prisoners of the CIA

Rebel military chief says he was tortured by CIA

Abdulhakim Belhaj’s allegations suggest a close relationship between the US and Gaddafi’s regime

By Patrick Cockburn

Tripoli's notorious Abu Salim jail

The overthrow of Gaddafi has brought together strange allies, but few stranger than Abdulhakim Belhaj, the military commander of all rebel military forces in Tripoli, and Nato. An Islamist whom Gaddafi tried to have the US list as a terrorist, Mr Belhaj says he was tortured by CIA agents after being arrested in the Far East in 2004 and later handed over by them to Colonel Gaddafi for further torture and imprisonment in Libya.

Mr Belhaj, the head of the military council for Tripoli, who led an Islamist guerrilla organisation fighting the Gaddafi regime in the 1990s, told The Independent in an interview that he had been directly “tortured by CIA agents” in Thailand after being first arrested in Malaysia.

If true, his story is evidence of the close co-operation between the CIA and Colonel Gaddafi’s security services after the Libyan leader denounced the 9/11 attacks. After his stint in the hands of the CIA, Mr Belhaj was kept in Abu Salim prison in Tripoli. He says: “I was in prison for seven years during which I was subjected to torture as well as solitary confinement. I was even denied a shower for three years.” Other Libyan Islamist prisoners have related how they were sometimes taken from Abu Salim to be questioned by US officials in Tripoli.

Released from prison in 2010, Mr Belhaj, who had military experience from fighting in Afghanistan against the Russians in the 1980s, became one of the most effective rebel military commanders. He is said by diplomats to have played a crucial role in the capture of Tripoli at the end of last month, and is highly regarded by the chairman of the Transitional National Council (TNC), Mustafa Abdul Jalil.

Ironically, given his claims of previous mistreatment at US hands, Mr Belhaj has emerged as one of Nato’s most important allies during their air campaign in support of the rebels over the last six months. Speaking in his headquarters in the Mitiga military airbase on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli, he forcefully denied that he and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which he helped found in 1995, had ever been allied to al-Qa’ida.

“We never had any link to al-Qa’ida,” said Mr Belhaj, a short, soft-spoken, bearded man, who does not use a military title. “We never took part in global jihad. The fact that we were in the same country, Afghanistan, [as al-Qa'ida] does not mean we had the same goal.” He stresses that the sole aim of the LIFG was always to overthrow Gaddafi.

Despite his current close co-operation with Nato, Mr Belhaj says he finds it difficult to forgive his treatment by the CIA in the past.

When first detained at an airport in Malaysia in 2004 he says he was with his wife: “She was six months pregnant and she suffered a lot.”

After a few days, CIA agents took him to Thailand as part of the notorious rendition process by which the agency transferred prisoners to countries where security forces were known to use torture. He says that in Thailand CIA agents took a direct part in his torture, though he did not give details. He says that “if I ever have the chance I will take legal action” against those responsible.

The disclosure of Libya’s intelligence files may reveal embarrassing details of co-operation between the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies with Gaddafi’s brutal and ruthless security services in pursuit of Islamist opponents. Mr Belhaj says that in the wake of 9/11, the US administration reacted by pursuing “any organisation with an Islamic agenda”.

Mr Belhaj spent seven years in Abu Salim prison which was the site of the Gaddafi regime’s most infamous atrocity, the massacre of some 1,200 prisoners in 1999, almost all of them Islamists, who had protested against conditions. The first protests which ushered in the uprising in Benghazi this February was by lawyers representing the families of the dead Abu Salim prisoners.

The Libyan prison was run with great savagery even against those whose offences were minor. Students accused of being excessively religious were stripped naked and attacked by dogs. Prisoners who survived might spend decades without seeing their families. In Abu Salim, Mr Belhaj helped write a 419-page document, published in 2009, which repudiated the Jihadi doctrine of holy war and the use of violence to change regimes. The name of the LIFG was changed to the Libyan Islamic Movement for Change. The ideological change, spurred by the failure of radical Islamic groups fighting on their own to overthrow governments, led to Islamists seeking the co-operation of more secular and liberal groups also opposed to Arab police states. It is these popular front coalitions that have won victories in Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya.

Mr Belhaj is keen to underline that he and other Islamists are not seeking to impose their agenda. He says: “The Libyan people have different views and those views will be respected.” He also evidently wants to reassure Nato countries that they have not helped get rid of Gaddafi only to see a fundamentalist Islamic state replace him. He had just returned from a meeting in Doha, the capital of Qatar, which has given him significant support, where “I explained to them our vision of the future.” Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the TNC, specifically says he was taken to a Nato meeting in order to reassure the West that he presented no threat.

Mr Belhaj says the thousands of militiamen from all over Libya, who owe allegiance to his Military Council, will ultimately join a new Libyan army or return to civilian life. Asked about mass round-ups of sub-Saharan Africans, often undocumented workers, accused of being mercenaries, he said he wanted harassment stopped, but many immigrants had no identity card. He added: “Last night 10 immigrants came to this base for protection and we will check their IDs and either look after them or help them leave the country.”

On the whereabouts of Gaddafi, he said that the military operation room in charge of locating him had “strong information he is in Bani Walid”. Saadi, one of Gaddafi’s sons had phoned Mr Belhaj a few days ago “to separate himself from his father’s regime” and was told that, if he surrendered himself, his safety would be guaranteed and he would receive a fair trial.

Zardari Fronting for New World Order In China and Central Asia

[Quite an elegant pitch of American proposals by the Pakistani President, first in Tajikistan, now in Urumqi, China (SEE: Washington’s Silk Road Pipe Dream).  The Pakistani people should be troubled by all of this.  What is Mr. 10% up to?  Washington's plans involve the militarization of the entire area that has been envisaged in their "Silk Road" scenario.  This means that an entire region, which is now at total peace, will be agitated and destabilized until widespread violence erupts in the most tortured areas.  Even if the tortured souls refuse to turn to violence in their struggle to survive and to be free, plans are made to commit violent false flag actions on their behalf, or in their names.  And all of this will be done, as usual, with the full consent of the targeted governments, just as it has been done in Pakistan throughout the years.  Zardari and others like him enrich their own lives by serving the will of Empire, even if that will involves acceptance of the killing of their friends and their own countrymen (SEE:  Obama's Wars).  Maybe he is just thinking of his friends, the whole misery loving company thing.  It is true that development of the energy corridor will help everybody in the region, but it will be at terrible cost.  It doesn't have to be accomplished by the power of the gun.  In fact, it cannot be accomplished this way.  Militarizing Central Asia, in order to justify pacifying it, will not only make the task of securing the roads and pipelines that much harder, it will multiply the costs of all of the pending projects, because of the added costs of maintaining heavily-armed security forces indefinitely.  If the pipeline, road and other corridor projects get built at all, it will be because of massive popular support for them, because of the weight of overwhelming citizens' demands (SEE: The Peace Pipeline ).  Governments must work on convincing their constituents to become as excited for the corridor idea as they all are.]

Pakistan supports revival of Eurasian corridor: Zardari

APP

President Asif Ali Zardari. — Photo by Reuters

URUMQI: Terming enhanced rail, road and air connectivity as key to regional development, President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday said Pakistan sees great potential in the Eurasian corridor and fully supports its revival.

“Pakistan is for enhanced rail, road and air connectivity in the region as it is the key to regional development,” President Zardari said while addressing the China-Eurasia Economic Development and Cooperation Forum soon after the opening ceremony of first China-Eurasia Expo here in the capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region from September 1 to 5.

The President who reached Urumqi on Tuesday to attend the mega event said the Chinese government by hosting the China-Eurasia Expo has built economic bridges between Europe and Asia, the East and the West. “This is a timely and laudable initiative,” he remarked.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Dr Asim Hussain, Information Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah, Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chaudhry Abdul Majeed, Chairman Board of Investment Salim H. Mandviwala, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khan and Spokesperson to the President attended the event.

“The need for a forum that brings China and Eurasia together has never been greater. We see great potential in the Eurasian corridor and fully support its revival,” said President Zardari.

Tracing the history of centuries old Silk route that passed through this region and was a link between East and West, President Zardari said the China-Eurasia Expo’s venue carries great significance.

“The earliest exchanges between the East and the West took place through the historic Silk Road that passed through this region,” he said adding it was a conduit for the exchange of ideas and knowledge as well as goods and merchandise between Pakistan and China.

President Zardari said that since Xinjiang was in close proximity to Pakistan, the Chinese monks and envoys, as far back as the fifth century, travelled to what today are known as Chitral, Swat, Peshawar and Taxila in Pakistan.

He said Xinjiang is connected with Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan region through the Karakoram Highway as well as other modes of communication, adding, soon, a railway link between the two sides would shorten distance between the two regions.

President Zardari said development of the western parts of China including Xinjiang was truly remarkable and Pakistan viewed Xinjiang’s development and prosperity as its own.

He said China’s policy of developing Xinjiang offered tremendous opportunities for economic collaboration between our two regions.

Pakistan and China are already working towards an “integrated border management” to promote trade ties between our two countries, he added.

President Zardari said Pakistan was keen to participate in the Kashgar Special Economic Zone.

He said Pakistan and China were time-tested friends and the two countries enjoy a high degree of mutual trust and confidence.

“We have a history of fruitful cooperation in a wide range of areas of mutual interest,” he said.

President Zardari said it was a matter of great satisfaction to see Pak-China friendship flourishing in all its dimensions.

China’s economic progress was a source of inspiration for many countries including Pakistan, he said and added that without China’s economic strength the world’s economy would have been in a deeper crisis in the post-recession era.

Talking about terrorism, President Zardari said this menace has spread all over, with Pakistan hit hard. “We have suffered greatly on this count”, he remarked.

“The recent incidents of terrorism in Xinjiang dismayed us,” President Zardari said, adding that Pakistan would extend all possible cooperation to China in overcoming the challenge.

President Zardari expressed his conviction that terrorism would not discourage the march towards development and prosperity.

He also expressed his confidence that the China-Eurasia Expo will be a milestone in promoting development in the region and beyond.

“I wish our Chinese friends and the participants of the Expo all success,” he added.

Zardari arrives in Tajikistan, seeks trade, energy, and anti-terror relations

Tajikistan’s President Imomali Rakhmon (R) shakes hands with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari during their meeting in Dushanbe, September 1, 2011. PHOTO: REUTERS

DUSHANBE: President Asif Ali Zardari arrived in Tajikistan on Thursday to attend the third quadrilateral summit betweenTajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Russian Federation.

The President was warmly received by Tajik Minister for Water Resources Rehmat Bobokalonov, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Tajikistan Amjad Sial and other senior officials at Dushanbe International Airport.

Zardari was accompanied by Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Dr Asim Hussain.

In his arrival statement the president said that this important forum provided an opportunity to reflect upon the co-operation between the four countries in the fields of economy, trade, defence, energy, fight against narcotics, combating extremism and terrorism as well as trilateral consultations.

He said that Pakistan was looking forward to an early establishment and development of of air, road and rail links in the region connecting Central Asia to the seaports in Pakistan. This will further enhance people-to-people contacts and tourism, the President added.

He said that the CASA-1000 (Central-Asian and South-Asian) was the most important project in the realm of our regional energy cooperation and Pakistan was committed to its early implementation.

The President said that Pakistan and Tajikistan had excellent relations in areas of trade, economy, defence, education, investment, energy and human resource development and that both countries were facing similar regional challenges as “our region is infested with poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment and lack of economic opportunities and all these challenges have led our region to an abyss where militancy nourishes”.

He said that Pakistan and Tajikistan’s relationship was a natural union of brotherhood, friendship and of mutual respect, between governments,  for sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Our governments are determined to provide a better future to our generations and we are looking towards that end,” the President said.

From the airport, President Zardari left for the presidential palace to hold a bilateral meeting with his Tajik counterpart.

Zardari meets Takjik President Rahmon

President Asif Ali Zardari and Tajik President Emomali Rahmon met here at Qasr-e-Millat, Dushanbe, to discuss matter relating to bilateral relations, regional situation, common challenges and the way forward in addressing the issues of common concern.

This is Zardari’s third visit of President to Tajikistan—first as Member National Assembly in 1995 and second in 2009 to participate in first Quadrilateral Summit. He hoped that this visit would not only help in bringing Pakistan and Tajikistan closer and cementing bilateral relations but would also help in chalking out mutually agreed strategy to find way forward to the issues concerning the two countries and to explore possibilities where all participating countries could pool their resources for the betterment of the people of the region.

Zardari said that being the immediate neighbours, the two countries have vital stakes in peace and stability of Afghanistan.

He said that during today’s meeting the two Presidents agreed upon the need to work earnestly on extending existing connectivity modes between Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

Zardari said that the existing road link from Dushanbe to Peshawar via Kabul-Torkhum did not generate much business activities owing to difficulties faced by the business community in shape of security hazards and high tariffs. Moreover, the bounds restrictions on goods vehicles also impede business activities due to unnecessary off-loading and on-loading process twice in Afghanistan thus multiplying the cost and transportation time.

The two Presidents discussed matters relating to extending air links between the two countries. Various options in this regard were explored by the two Presidents and both the sides agreed to work further on establishing air links as soon as possible.

President Emomali Rahmon appreciated President Zardari for his efforts for promoting regional connectivity which promises to usher a new era a development for the region.

Later the two Presidents left for Ismail Somoni where President Zardari laid the foundation of Pakistan Embassy Complex.

Zardari meets Karzai, agrees to joint military commission

President Zardari, proposed a trilateral trade agreement to include Tajikistan along the line of Afghanistan-PakistanTransit Trade Agreement.

During his meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai here at Dushanbe – one day before the Quadrilateral Summit - President Zardari said that in order to eradicate poverty and illiteracy, the root cause of breeding militant mindset, the regional countries need to concentrate on exploring more and more economic opportunities for their people and to provide them better future prospects.

President emphasized upon the need to have trilateral trade arrangements said that such an arrangement would not only benefit the people of the three countries would also generate huge economic activity in Afghanistan.

Zardari said that connectivity through all available modes hold the key to the development of the region by tremendously boosting the mutual trade activities and prompting people to people contacts.

The two Presidents also discussed issues related to Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement. They both agreed upon the need to resolve all the issues in this regard, if any.

They also discussed issues including the situation in Afghanistan, war against militancy, regional situation, developmental projects in the region with special reference to the energy projects under consideration, reconciliation process undergoing in Afghanistan and post 2014 future scenario.

Talking about situation in Afghanistan, the President reiterated that stability and peace in Afghanistan were vital for stability and peace in Pakistan. He said that our mutual efforts have enabled us opening a new chapter in our bilateral relationship and we are keen to see a stable and peaceful Afghanistan on our western side.

Zardari said that Pakistan had always called upon the international community to support and work for the permanent solution to the issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan was ready to provide all possible assistance to the international community in this regard. He said that Pakistan would continue to support an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process of reconciliation.

The President said that Pakistan was looking forward to the fifth meeting of the trilateral ‘Core Group’ later this month in the USA. He said that Islamabad would soon host the 2nd working level meeting of the Joint Commission for Peace Reconciliation. Zardari said that the success of Afghanistan transition hinges on the progress in reconciliation with various factions as well as preparedness to Afghan institutions to handle its responsibilities. He said that Pakistan was ready to provide all help in capacity building of Afghan institutions.

Discussing development of Afghanistan, the President highlighted that the two countries direly need energy avenues to meet their developmental requirements. He said that we should work zealously on all the energy related projects to meet our growing needs and to expedite process of development. The President also emphasized upon the early implementation of CASA-1000 project.

Recent incidents on the border also came under discussion during the meeting. The two leaders welcomed setting up of a joint military commission to deal with such unwanted incidents that could hamper the amicable equation of the two countries.

Both, Zardari and Karzai welcomed the holding of third Quadrilateral Summit in Dushanbe by Tajikistan hoping that the forum would help to bring the participating countries further closer to one another and would provide them with an opportunity to not only find ways and means for promoting development in their countries but would also help to find regional solutions to the regional problems.