Turkmen President Orders Man To Choose Prison, or Surrender Dog for Execution

[The moral is–don’t walk your pets on the main streets of Turkmenistan.]

Man forced to choose prison or death of pet dog

For residents of Ashgabat, capital of one of the world’s most bizarre dictatorships, taking the dog for a walk has become a dangerous pastime. Earlier this month, a pet-lover was walking his dog through the streets of Turkmenistan’s capital late one evening, when he was suddenly surrounded by police, pushed to the ground, and dragged off to the local police station.

According to police, the cortège of the country’s leader, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, had been speeding along a nearby boulevard, which in Turkmenistan means that the streets are cleared of cars and people for several blocks around. The unfortunate dog-walker had strayed into a restricted area, and the police soon told him that an order had come from the top – either they could shoot the dog, or the man would have to go to prison for two weeks. Unable to pronounce the death sentence on his pet, the man agreed to prison.

The story, which was recounted on an independent website run by Turkmen émigrés, is hard to verify, as there are no free media in the country. But the incident would fit with an apparent pathological hatred of household pets on the part of Mr Berdymukhamedov, detailed in an American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last year.

The cable recounted an incident where a cat ran in front of the presidential motorcade. The President was so angry that a top military official was fired. The Turkmen press has also reported an extermination drive to remove stray dogs and cats from the capital on his orders.

 

To get around Pak blockade, US eyes other supply routes

“the average cost of hauling a 20-foot container on NDN truck and rail routes between April and September was $12,367. The cost was about $6,700 per container on the Pakistan route.”

[The closing of Pakistani transit for NATO will cause the price of every container shipped to double, over the NDN.  In the face of our collapsing economy, has the Pentagon shot itself in the foot, by allowing itself the satisfaction of a two-hour air assault upon a Pakistani check post, even a C-130 gunship was called in at one point?  This was a helluva costly way to make a point (SEE: This is a clear-cut case of the Pentagon sabotaging the White House).]

To get around Pak blockade, US eyes other supply routes

Uttara Choudhury 

New York: Supply trucks for US-led forces in Afghanistan lined Pakistani roads near the border, after Islamabad retaliated against US strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers by sealing its Afghan border. The Pentagon said on Monday that the blockade had not unduly impacted the US war effort.

US military officials said they had enough stockpiles in Afghanistan to maintain operational capability if Pakistan opted to keep the border crossings into Afghanistan closed. The US military is also looking at alternative supply routes that don’t rely on Pakistan.

“There are other supply routes,” Pentagon Press Secretary George Little told reporters on Monday. “The war effort continues.”

On the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, NATO supply trucks idle after Pakistan sealed the border. Shahid Shinwari/Reuters

According to a Bloomberg report, US-led forces in Afghanistan get 35 percent of “non-lethal” supplies like food and fuel via Pakistan supply routes. Alternative routes are being investigated in Russia and Central Asia, according to US General William Fraser.

The US military and its allies may have to rely more heavily on the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), a key gateway for military equipment. The NDN comprises rail and truck routes cutting across several countries in Europe and Central Asia. It already accounts for about 40 percent of US cargo deliveries into Afghanistan and 52 percent of all coalition cargo, according to US Transportation Command officials.

The US has also been exploring other Europe-based ways to get deliveries to Afghanistan. Earlier this year, “US cargo planes delivered weapons and other supplies from Romania to test whether an airport near the Black Sea could serve as another piece in solving the logistical puzzle of getting gear into Afghanistan,” reported Stars and Stripes.

Although alternatives supply routes exist, they come at double the cost. The US Transportation Command’s back of the envelope calculation showed that in 2011, the average cost of hauling a 20-foot container on NDN truck and rail routes between April and September was $12,367. The cost was about $6,700 per container on the Pakistan route.

India’s Sneaky Plan To Ignore Iran Sanctions, Activate Chabahar, Take Advantage of Pakistan’s MFN Designation

[Since India considers itself a new superpower it thinks that it can do whatever it wants.]

Iran, India Move on Chabahar Transportation Project

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Indian officials arrived in Tehran to finalize a joint working group on the Chabahar Port project, which includes construction of a strategic railway.

Iran’s Southeastern Chabahar Port, which is New Delhi’s strategic link to Afghanistan-Pakistan region, is just 72 km West of Pakistan’s Gwadar port which is being built by China. 

Making investments in the Chabahar Port on the Sistan-Balouchestan province in Iran will give leverage to India in the region and by making it as an important transit link it will give India an access to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eurasia thereby reducing the landlocked Kabul’s utter dependence on Pakistan. The Chabahar Port project is set to bypass Islamabad. 

India’s shipping secretary K Mohandas is in Tehran push the plans ahead. The Mohandas-led delegation is the first such high-level team visiting Iran over the port in a while. His visit will conclude on November 30. 

Iran believes that this port collaboration between Delhi and Tehran is the “minimum” that is necessary between the two countries for the development of the people and the region. 

Chabahar could be a “multimodal link” port as the Chabahar-Bam link will help in establishing link to Russia via Iran. 

Iran, India Move on Chabahar Transportation Project

TEHRAN (FNA)- Senior Indian officials arrived in Tehran to finalize a joint working group on the Chabahar Port project, which includes construction of a strategic railway.

Iran’s Southeastern Chabahar Port, which is New Delhi’s strategic link to Afghanistan-Pakistan region, is just 72 km West of Pakistan’s Gwadar port which is being built by China. 

Making investments in the Chabahar Port on the Sistan-Balouchestan province in Iran will give leverage to India in the region and by making it as an important transit link it will give India an access to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eurasia thereby reducing the landlocked Kabul’s utter dependence on Pakistan. The Chabahar Port project is set to bypass Islamabad. 

India’s shipping secretary K Mohandas is in Tehran push the plans ahead. The Mohandas-led delegation is the first such high-level team visiting Iran over the port in a while. His visit will conclude on November 30. 

Iran believes that this port collaboration between Delhi and Tehran is the “minimum” that is necessary between the two countries for the development of the people and the region. 

Chabahar could be a “multimodal link” port as the Chabahar-Bam link will help in establishing link to Russia via Iran. 

“Al-CIA-da” Fills Void Left By CIA Network Elimination In Lebanon, Fires Katyusha Rockets Into Israel

[Hezbollah cleans-out the nest of CIA spies, after first cleaning-out the Mossad network–all that is left for the spooks to do is to activate one of their “al-Qaeda-linked” terrorist outfits to fire into Israel.]

Group linked to al-Qaeda takes responsibility for rocket fire

YNET

The Abdullah Azzam Brigades have taken responsibility for the launch of rockets from southern Lebanon towards Israel. The group are recognized as an off-shoot of al-Qaeda in Lebanon.

In a statement the organization said: “The Rocket unit of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades bombed the settlements of the Zionist enemy in northern Palestine. The rockets hit their targets.” (Roi Kais)

Mumbai attacks: India names judicial panel for joint probe with Pakistan

Mumbai attacks: India names judicial panel for joint probe with Pakistan

Three years after the siege which rocked Mumbai, Pakistan and India will cooperate with each other to record statements of prosecution witnesses. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: Three years after the siege that rocked Mumbai, India has finally nominated a judicial commission to work with the Pakistan government to investigate the attacks on its financial capital.

Indo-Pak officials will for the first time cooperate with each other to interrogate Ajmal Kasab and record statements of prosecution witnesses residing in India, The Express Tribune has learnt. M Azhar Chaudhry, nominated as special prosecutor by the Pakistan government for the Mumbai terror case, will head a three-member team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). The team will leave shortly for India accompanied by defence counsels of the men nominated in the Mumbai assault case in Pakistan, revealed interior ministry sources declining to be identified.

The FIA will submit a letter by the Indian government before Justice Shahid Rafique, judge of an anti-terrorism court hearing the case in Rawalpindi, on Tuesday (today). In compliance with the anti-terrorism court’s order, a judicial officer at Mumbai will be nominated to record statements of prosecution witnesses or those imprisoned in India , states the letter issued by the Indian home affairs ministry and forwarded to the FIA through Pakistan’s High Commission in India.

Ajmal Kasab, the lone gunman caught alive after the attack, is imprisoned in a high-security cell in Mumbai. Chaudhry told The Express Tribune he had attributed the delay in the conclusion of the trial – more than 14 months – to the Indian government during the last hearing of the case. “The Indian government has been slow to nominate a judicial commission and to send copies of documentary evidence to FIA despite repeated requests.”

The judicial commission is expected to take statements from the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RV Sawant Waghule and Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who recorded Kasab’s confessional statement. It is also likely to record the statement of the doctor who carried out the post-mortem of the terrorists killed during the siege, sources revealed.

Indian Foreign Minister SM Krishna, on the eve of the third anniversary of 26/11, had said India is waiting for Pakistan to act “decisively” after providing it with evidence against perpetrators in Pakistan.

The Indian foreign minister had said, “The use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy has no place in today’s world and is self-destructive. I think the evidence provided by the ministry of home affairs would be sufficient for any normal civilian court to prosecute the people involved in the conspiracy and the perpetrators of this crime.”

On Friday, Interior Minister Rehman Malik had asked India to provide “credible evidence” against the perpetrators. He said Pakistan did take action against Hafiz Saeed and others based on information provided by India but the suspects were released by the courts because it did not count as legal evidence. “Pakistan is ready to take action on information shared by India, provided it is acceptable in court.”

Published in The Express Tribune

Pakistan to boycott Bonn conference over Nato attack

Pakistan to boycott Bonn conference over Nato attack

A meeting of the federal cabinet in progress. — Photo by APP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan decided Tuesday to boycott a key international conference on Afghanistan next month, ramping up its protest over lethal cross-border Nato air strikes that have plunged US ties into deep crisis.

The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting in Lahore, just days after Islamabad confirmed it was mulling its attendance in the German city of Bonn, where Pakistan’s participation was considered vital.

“The cabinet has decided not to attend the Bonn meeting,” a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The prime minister’s office said the cabinet agreed that “unilateral action” such as Saturday’s strike in the tribal district of Mohmand and the May 2 US killing of Osama bin Laden near the capital was “unacceptable”.

US-led investigators have been given until December 23 to probe the attacks, threatening to prolong significantly Pakistan’s blockade on Nato supplies into Afghanistan implemented in retaliation for the killings.

The US military appointed Brigadier General Stephen Clark, a one-star air force general based in Florida, to lead the investigation into the attack.

The team, set to include a Nato representative, is yet to arrive in Afghanistan but an initial military assessment team went to the border at the weekend after Saturday’s catastrophic strike killing 24 Pakistani troops.

The Afghan and Pakistani governments are also being invited to take part.

Russia Dispatching Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier In Flotilla of Warships to Syrian Base

Russia Sending Warships to Syrian Base

Reuters

Russia is sending a flotilla of warships to its naval base in Syria in a show of force that suggests Moscow is willing to defend its interests in the strife-torn country as international pressure mounts on President Bashar Assad’s government.

Russia, which has a naval maintenance base in Syria and whose weapons trade with Damascus is worth millions of dollars annually, joined China last month to veto a Western-backed UN Security Council resolution condemning Assad’s government.

The Izvestia newspaper reported on Monday, citing retired Admiral Viktor Kravchenko, that Russia plans to send its Admiral Kuznetsov flagship aircraft carrier, along with a patrol ship, an anti-submarine craft and other vessels.

“Having any military force apart from NATO is very beneficial for the region because it prevents the outbreak of armed conflict,” Kravchenko, who was navy chief of staff from 1998 to 2005, was quoted as saying by Izvestia.

A navy spokesman quoted by the newspaper confirmed that the Russian warships would head to the maintenance base Russia keeps on the Syrian coast near Tartus, but said the trip had nothing to do with the uprising against Assad.

The paper said the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier would be armed with at least eight Sukhoi-33 fighters, several MiG-29K fighters and two helicopters.

It will also have cruise and surface to air missiles, the paper said.

A navy spokesman was not available to comment.

Yegor Engelhart, an analyst with Moscow-based defense think tank CAST, said Moscow did not want its position to be ignored while the Assad government was under pressure.

“At the very least, Moscow wants to show that it is willing to defend its interests in Syria,” he said.

Russian officials say the naval base at Tartus, Syria, is used for repairs to ships from its Black Sea fleet, and Izvestia said about 600 Russian Defense Ministry employees worked there. There are currently no Russian ships there, the paper said.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the UN Security Council, abstained from voting on a resolution that paved the way for Western military intervention in Libya but later criticized the mission saying NATO overstepped its mandate and interfered in a civil war.

Russia said it lost of tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals with Moammar Gadhafi’s fall and is loath to lose another customer in the region. Syria accounted for 7 percent of Russia’s total of $10 billion in arms deliveries abroad in 2010, according to CAST.

Moscow has traditionally used what influence it still has in the Middle East as a lever in diplomatic maneuvering with Europe and in particular the United States, Moscow’s Cold War foe.

Arab League sanctions and French calls for the establishment of humanitarian zones in Syria have increased international pressure on Assad to end bloodshed that the United Nations says has left 3,500 people dead during nine months of protests against his rule.