Smashing Greater Central Asia – (Part IV)–Smashing Systematically

Smashing Greater Central Asia – Part IV

Smashing Systematically

Peter Chamberlin

The pipeline wars are real wars, in that two or more nations are ordering their civilian and military foot soldiers, on a daily basis, into life or death contests to the finish.  For the United States, it is a contest which must be won, if we are to survive, according to most of our national leaders.  But is that really true?  According to both civilian and military authorities, if we lose this war, then we lose “our way of life.”  That may be true, but it does not mean the end of us as a free Republic.  America will go on, even after the impending military defeat.  We cannot win…We cannot be allowed to win, if victory means world conquest.

The next phase of action in the battle to smash greater Central Asia will probably be the most dangerous phase of the war (other than the final global conflagration, if there is to be one).  The unfolding grand production will involve the usual mixture of open and covert measures, following a carefully choreographed ballet of geopolitical and geostrategic forces.

The real danger will arise out of the uncertainty factor that is inherent in all conspiratorial plans.  The great danger will arise when the plan for total control double-crosses dictators who think they have been part of that plan. The uncertainty of their future reactions to threats to their survival is the sand in the wheels of the military machine.  In nearly all cases, normal people can be counted upon to make the choices that seem to guarantee their survival, even if they contradict lucrative backroom deals that have been made with powerful individuals.  Unhinged dictators may choose to bring the grand production down with them.

In the coming conflagration, no one (not even the genius planners who have designed this powerful international soap opera) can know for certain just what will happen next.  No matter how many computer simulations they have run, no matter how many ways they have war-gamed the human psyche, using their complex logarithms for predicting human behavior in a crisis, no one can predict the future.  This is especially true when trying to predict the reactions of dictators, who find themselves alone and cornered.  Cocksure generals and intelligence analysts are convinced that they can predict the course of a limited warfare scenario.  Preventing a planned limited warfare engagement between nuclear-armed adversaries from escalating into total thermonuclear war is the key to our survival.  Asshole generals and admirals do not have that degree of control of our world, no matter what they think.

Students of human nature understand that, in this world of rapidly-building social tensions, the coming conflagration will take the form of a mass human uprising.  There will be no reapplication of the “Libya solution,” over and over, until the world is swept clean.  If the West dares to pull that trick again, this time upon either Syria or Iran, the outcome will be completely different.  Neither Russia nor China is prepared to allow NATO to get away with this again.  There are some actual “red lines” in this brave new world that no power dares to cross.  There are “red lines” in the desert sands and in the blue waters of the Middle East.  Russia has also scattered red lines all over the former Soviet Union.

Given time, every dictator will be unseated, even the secret ones, those faceless men who reveal their faces to the world, while they are manipulating commerce for their own profit.  The day of retribution is at hand for the world-planners, and most of them understand this.  That fact is what elevates the threat from the burgeoning global social revolution, making it even more dangerous to dictators than any military power.  Taking into account this universal fear of all dictators, we can see that the only part that any of us play in this great human drama is in either impeding or accelerating that coming day of freedom.  For the day when the last secret dictator falls will be the day that mankind’s full potential is set free from the cages within our minds, which bind us all.

The problem with predicting the decisions to be made by panicking dictators, is that they are not normal human beings, most of them fitting easily  into the mold of psychopaths, if only because of the methods that they used in pushing themselves into their seats of power.  During the last days of the Soviet Union, not one analyst in the West could have imagined in their best-case/worst-case scenarios the decision that Mikhail Gorbachev had already made, to pull the plug on the Soviet Union and simply allow it to die.  This unpredictability is one of the things which make dictators so dangerous.  It certainly is a major factor in discouraging most people from even trying to understand them.  But I am not most people.  Efforts like mine, to understand the minds of the dictators, who have all been targeted for political “termination,” may be the best path for anticipating what Obama has planned for us next.

I have always tended to believe the worst about our leaders’ intentions, up until now, that one day their actions would make nuclear war inevitable.  After learning of some of their hidden capabilities, especially their ability to manipulate human behavior, I have had to fine-tune my beliefs.  Western behavioral control specialists have devised an elementary mind-control science, which gives them the capability to “manage conflict,” to prevent conflicts from escalating into total global war.

If only our leaders were capable of compromise, making them willing to renounce their great plans for world domination, then they could use their power over man for the benefit of all mankind.  As it is, our leaders are all American supremacists, who believe that American domination of the world would be for the betterment of all mankind.  These types see our wars of “humanitarian intervention” (such as the recent NATO slaughter in Libya) as acts of benevolence.  The rest of the world looks at our wars and the havoc that we have wrought from Afghanistan to North Africa and sees them as the acts of “state terrorism” which they really are.

All the world really is “a stage” in America’s “war on terrorism,” which is actually the greatest psychological warfare operation ever conceived by the minds of men.  The trick for understanding this synthetic world we live in, is learning to think of every event that is reported by national news media as a deception, because it probably is.  Learning to look behind the publicized events which shape popular opinion, is the key to understanding our manufactured reality.  Any report which makes it into the “legitimate press” is either there to help dull our senses, or to mislead us, diverting us from real news stories which might awaken us from our slumber.

In the “global war on terror” everything is based on deception.  American media and Western media in particular, have worked hand-in-glove with the US government to mold American popular opinion, as well as world opinion, around a false narrative.  Together, government and its subservient media have dispensed a synthetic reality of a “heroic” American military intervention, that is serving as a “force for good” around the world.  Not once, have any of the “legitimate news” sources questioned the destruction that has been left in our wake, or the millions of lives that have been sacrificed so far, on the altar of projected American magnanimity.

The global terror war operates around an unknown number of separate psychological warfare operations, with each major production leading its targeted audiences to accept a simple central narrative—“America’s  terror war is one of good –vs—evil.”

There are several central disinformation operations, around which the global narrative revolves—

War between Iran and the US is inevitable.

American forces are at war against militant Islamists.

The United States is a protector of human rights.

The US/NATO will one day end its war and leave Afghanistan.

The American goal is to bring prosperity to the world.

None of these statements are true; in fact, they are all calculated to produce the exact opposite outcomes in the new manufactured reality.  Iranian, American and British intelligence agencies all work together, to create the false impression of an inevitable global conflagration.  Militant Islamists are manipulated by the CIA and by military controllers, to provide America with an excuse to unleash its military power upon a targeted country.  The US is moving us all away from a state of worldwide freedom, where full human rights are the norm, instead of the exception, towards a global police state under American domination.  The US cannot consider leaving Afghanistan, without first giving-up on its plans for “Silk Roads” and “pipelinestan.”  American leaders plan to avoid the effects of the economic collapse (which their greed has caused), by taking control over the global economy, where they will oversee the diminution of personal wealth for most of us.

Obama’s America operates under a different set of rules than those which have governed his predecessors.  He doesn’t even bother hiding the two faces of American foreign policy—one of benevolence and one of menace.

Obama and Hillary are a perfect pair for deploying this strategy—she dispenses the warm smiles, while she uses her feminine wiles to push “humanitarian intervention,” while he often sports the determined grimace of a mafia “Don,” making backroom threats and offers which dictators dare not refuse.

The drive to win the pipeline wars for Central Asian blue gas and black gold makes use of every national and international asset to clear the pipeline corridor, connecting the Caspian to the Arabian Seas, eventually reaching the Pakistani port built by the Chinese at Gwadar.  The US plan has been to network its way into this New World Order.  NATO took a big first-step toward this new world when it created the “Virtual Silk Road,” a computer network which services eight of the CIS governments of the former Soviet Union (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia,  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan).  NATO provides this network to Eastern governments as a service, creating for them a virtual domain over everything in their real domains.  This Western service operates from a central hub at Deutsches Elektronen-SYnchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg, Germany (at the home of one of Europe’s largest particle accelerators).  The Soros Foundation is one of the Silk Project’s backers.

It may be that the German angle is the key to unraveling this whole knot.  Germany seems to be a key-way for “Islamists” to integrate into Europe.  German Industrial giant Siemens has won the Turkmen state contract for electrification of the country, water distribution, Caspian oil exploration.

Germany could be considered to be one of the “nodes” in a greater virtual network, which provides the Empire real power to manipulate the world, using powerful nations (nodes) like Germany as tools to oversee lesser nations, such as those in Central Asia.  Turkey is another node.  Istanbul services the Empire’s need for local personal connections into the Turkmen culture, which stretches deep into Central Asia, all the way to Russia.  Turkey provides unique services, in addition to manufacturing and construction projects, Turkey helps by producing fake “al-Qaeda,” Hizb-ut Tahrir and even Chechen militants, who have been either recruited or arrested inside Turkey.  This militant recruitment circuit is used for funneling militant players into local Turkmen-based psyops.  Turkey also provides the ground troops of Fethullah Gülen’s “moderate Islamists,” who build Islamist-based schools in former Soviet territory, or work from homes to clandestinely spread the teachings of the “Nurcular” movement, which has been banned in Russia as extremist literature.  This provides perfect fertile ground for spreading the seeds of Islamist teachings and the widespread Islamaphobic reactions, which always follow.

It is the so-called “moderate Islamists” of Fethullah Gulen and Hizbut-Tahrir (both of which impart the teachings of Said Nursi) which represent the greatest danger of quietly radicalizing the young men of Russia and Central Asia.  Their manmade versions of Islam are intended to bend innocent, hungry minds, imparting a false set of ideological beliefs, full of triggering injunctions, that give believers a false sense of moral superiority and a hatred of all of those weaker souls (infidels) who dare to believe differently.

The following definition of that psychological danger is a judgment from the Moscow district court, which describes this psychological mechanism, taught in Nursi’s writings, called “Risale-i Nur”–

[Risale-i Nur] “attempts to influence the psyche of the reader subconsciously using mechanisms of religious belief, i.e. the formation of conscious values and convictions with an irrational basis…,the destruction of religious equality, expressed in the formation of a negative, aggressive attitude among its target audience towards adherents of other confessional groups…,propagandises hatred between Muslims and non-believers.”

This process utilizes the same triggering mechanism of religious guilt that has been used for many years by the Wahhabi and radical Deobandi leaders, to brainwash young suicide bombers all over Asia, and the Middle East.  The followers of Nursi follow a gentler approach, but they still motivate young minds with the same mission to defend their false beliefs, which have been methodically drummed into them, filling them with ideas of moral superiority and hatred for everyone who is different.  Once their conditioning is complete, they are given the triggering verses (which have been lifted out of context from the real Quran), confronting them with a moral choice, which they cannot escape—will they defend God, or will they surrender to their own sinful natures?   

Excessive concerns about the dangers from the spread of these forms of pseudo-Islam may be premature, when there are real Islamic scholars, like Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda (SEE:  Tajik Mufti Who Sees Through Anti-Islamist Western Subversion, Targeted By Tajik Court) in Tajikistan, who very boldly speaks-out against these false belief systems. Turajonzoda is second-in-command of the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan.

“He has called Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamist organization, a threat to Tajikistan’s stability.[4] He claimed HT is Western-sponsored and that it wants to “remak[e] Central Asia… A more detailed analysis of HT’s programmatic and ideological views and concrete examples of its activities suggests that it was created by anti-Islamic forces. One proof of this is the comfortable existence this organization enjoys in a number of Western countries, where it has large centers and offices that develop its concept of an Islamic caliphate.”

Hizbut-Tahrir is a British creation, a weaponized form of Islam, which has been passed on to the American Empire-builders.  The spread of this viral form of pseudo-religious mass-hypnosis coincides with a rapidly increasing Western-motivated wave of social unrest in the Muslim world and the rise of militant Islamists in the former Soviet space.

Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE serve as other nodes, which provide the destabilizing forces with unseen access in Sunni-dominant regions of South and Central Asia, such as Pakistan, where the Saudis spread dollars among the radical madrassas like “manna” from on high.  The UAE controls Shamsi air base in Jacobabad, Pakistan.  Saudi penetration into CA is understood to be primarily through the building of Sunni mosques and similar religious institutions (many of them allegedly Gulen schools), throughout CA, particularly in the Fergana Valley.  Saudi service to the Empire goes far deeper than these more obvious efforts, since the Saudis are the financial benefactors of most “Islamist” movements (except for the Shia ones), especially the ones which are active in Chechnya and the Caucasus.    Bahrain provides another kind of service in other areas, where there is contention or commerce between Sunnis and Shias, or in those countries bordering Iran, such as Turkmenistan.

The psywar for borderline states like Turkmenistan must plan around the special circumstances which are deemed to be matters of survival.  The current President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, as well as his predecessor, have maintained a strict neutrality for the country, even though Imperial wars raged all around them.  Any effort by CIA planners to bend the will of the “Hero of Turkmenistan” must not violate that neutrality, or it must at least maintain the appearance of neutrality.  That public appearance of Turkmen “neutrality” must be maintained, even after the presidential mind has been successfully twisted and he has secretly accepted Imperial domination.

According to the following article from the alternative Turkmen website, Gundogar, (SEE: Predetermined range of Turkmenistan), that goal has already been reached.  According to Turkmen author, Ruslan Babanov, Berdimuhamedov’s decisions may all be slanted, as he tries to accommodate his belief that a US/Israeli airstrike against Iran is inevitable.  Babanov contends that he is flying blind, trying to navigate the treacherous currents that are ebbing and flowing around and through his country, moving back and forth between two bitter “frenemies,” Russia and the US/NATO.

He therefore feels compelled to follow American dictates and to accommodate Israeli interests in his country.  This belief apparently causes him to accept Western plans for harvesting Turkmen gas, as the first stage in dominating all Central Asian gas and oil.  He wants to see his gas flowing towards Europe, if only because that is the Imperial demand being made on him. The author of that piece apparently agrees with my contention that the Turkmen President, like all the Central Asian dictators, will eventually turn to Russia, if the Arab Spring revolutions rise-up in their own neighborhood.  At that point in the game, they will fear being overthrown by the very real masses of protesters, more than they will fear a hypothetical American/Israeli strike upon neighboring Iran.

If the tables are turned upon the Imperial planners in that manner, and the political climate in Central Asia begins to resemble that which was recently witnessed in Kazakhistan, then Putin might see his Eurasian Union become a reality.

Until those tables are turned, Berdimuhamedov will have to maintain normal commerce with his heavily persecuted Shia neighbor.  The government in Iran is known to protest vociferously whenever this Turkmen tilt towards the West becomes apparent.   Once more quoting Babanov, the Chief of Staff or the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Seyed Hassan Firuzabadi frames the Turkmen dilemma this way–

”We are taking all measures to limit the influence of the Zionists in the neighboring state of Iran, in particular, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.”

If Berdy really was the “hero of Turkmenistan,” then he would take actions to defend her against all outside aggression, this would mean fighting back against Imperial subversion and destabilization, in the manner of the counter-revolutionary efforts recently made by the Egyptian Army (SEE:  Egyptian Police Fight Back Against State Dept./Soros Subversive NGOs).  Today, the Army cleaned-out the offices of US and other foreign NGOs, whose sole purpose is to undermine the government there, even though they claim to be defenders of “human rights.”

The National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI) and Freedom House are all subversive command centers, whose foot soldiers act like little moles, as they busily burrow their way into local and national service organizations in Turkmenistan and in every country of  Central Asia, or in the CENTCOM area of responsibility.  The compromised local organizations become compromised, turning into larger instruments of subversion.  The biggest problem for subverting the CA countries through human rights NGOs, is that dictators like the Turkmen and Uzbek  presidents are unwilling to tolerate US criticisms of human rights abuses.  The more that the Western groups criticize these governments, the farther apart the two sides become.

Are Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan more afraid of revolution or of a US/Israeli attack upon Iran?  Decrease fears of US strike, increase fears of revolution, especially Islamist revolution, and you move both nations closer to the Russian sphere of influence.  Russians are staunch supporters of Iran supporter and they are thought to be willing to use whatever force is needed to protect the sovereignty of Iran, just as they will do whatever is necessary to quell any insurrection that threatens their own survival.

So far, Uzbekistan has remained a part of CSTO, but its President, Islam Karimov has refused to take part in preparations for a predominantly Russian rapid reaction force.  Uzbekistan’s tilt towards the West has created doubts about its allegiances to any regional grouping that is dominated by Russia.  That may have just changed as Uzbek negotiators participated in recent Moscow meetings to hammer-out details and financing for Collective Operational Reaction Forces (CORF).  This would also include measures to control the Internet during a regional emergency situation.  Recently, Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan submitted a resolution to the U.N., petitioning the General Assembly to delegate to individual states the right to control the Internet during emergency situations, such as the recent Kazakh oil worker protests and major rioting.

Such an explosive situation may be in the making in Russia.  The Moscow protests are shaping-up to be a test, a counter-attack set-up by the State Dept. experts in revolutionary democratic subversion, to prove to the rest of the CIS states that Putin’s way of reviving the violent old ways of the Communist Party will not work in this media age.  In the past, Putin has been quoted as saying that unlawful protestors should “expect a baton to the skull.”  If the world is forced to choose between the violence of the West’s war on terror campaign, or the violence of Russia, based upon the suppression of those democratic rights, then the world will choose to side with the known quantity, the Western ways.  However, the CA dictators are not being asked to do the right thing, they are being compelled to do whatever it takes to survive.

The dictators of the world may have been able to fit into the democratic world on an economic basis, but they can never really fit-into this world, until they loosen their grip on the reins of power.  This is a risk that they dare not take.  In trying to force Putin to give-up power, Obama has reminded the rest of the world’s dictators and authoritarians of the very real dangers to them from the forces of unleashed democracy.  Allow people to say anything that they want and red lines will be crossed, lines which can never be uncrossed.  This is the lesson to be learned from Hillary’s Moscow agitation.

How Putin handles the growing test represented by the Moscow protests will determine for the rest of the former Soviet dictators of the wisdom of a Russian led counter-revolutionary rapid deployment force—vs –an American-led force.  If Putin manages to put-down the challenge and afterwards, he is able to placate the protesters’ demands, then he will have demonstrated the practical value of his approach over that of Obama’s.

How Obama counters the challenge coming from a revitalized Putin (a Putin who is thereafter seen as a force for stability) will probably be the deciding factor in whether America suffers a moderately painful repositioning of its resources and a cessation of hostilities against the world, or whether we take a very large portion of the world with us as we strike-out in a fiery last gasp.  America must face the fact that it cannot continue to have its way with the world, on the lame excuse that we are “fighting terror” and “defending freedom.”   The entire world is slowly catching-on, that we have been sowing terror and snuffing-out the last vestiges of individual freedom.

It is presently in US interests to calm the Central Asian dictators’ fears over an Arab Spring virus breaking out in their domains.  If Russia chooses to challenge the West as it makes a grab for its former national resources, then it would be in Russia’s interests to stoke those fears, as a means to build support for a Russian alliance and rapid reaction force in CA, instead of the American version being pushed upon them.

If Obama doesn’t want Putin to be the leading actor in this psychodrama, then he will accentuate the fears which cause sleepless nights for everyone in the CA neighborhood and the entire hemisphere—Islamists.  It would serve American interests to heighten fears of an Islamist uprising, or a spillover from Afghanistan, or heightened fears over those nasty nuclear-armed Islamists in Iran and Pakistan.

If Russian leaders have been paying attention, then they too, will have copied American dexterity in manipulating people into situations that they would choose to avoid if left on their own.  They would move the people of CA in the direction that they want them to go in, but they would do it in a way which improved people’s lives in some major way.  Just like the Virtual Silk Project, which greatly improved inefficient governments, it also brought with it multiple national Internet systems that let thousands of people improve their lives in countless ways.  By working with the officials and professionals who use this network, the Americans and Europeans have networked themselves into the hearts of these countries, making themselves vital cogs in the great machines of the young Central Asian states.  This says nothing of potential, secret ways in which NATO could have gained advantages over their major adversaries by providing this insiders network.

Russia could also gain similar advantages if Putin would invest some of those Gazprom profits into modernizing some of the decrepit national roads, railroads, water and energy transmission systems that the CA nations are trying to survive on.  If Russia wants to advance itself among civilized Nations then its leaders will learn important lessons from America’s fall and begin to act like a great power.  It will start helping its former allies and stop trying to gain economic advantage over them.  This world is rapidly changing and Nations which refuse to change along with it will be swept away by the howling winds of history.

Russia rises or falls in current world opinion, based on its resistance to American Imperial aggression, or lack thereof.  With the NATO powers rising as world aggressors, the world looks to Russia to resist.   Acting in the role of a champion of the targeted nations of the Middle East and Africa, Russia grows in stature in direct proportion to America’s fall.  The tipping point has now been reached, where every new Western aggression moves greater numbers of people to the side of anyone who will resist the aggression.

The moment of decision has now come, when the atmosphere of fear that America and her Western allies have been striving so hard to create starts to dissipate just a little, so that people might see through the smoky haze of the false reality that has been created.  If the entire world suddenly learns that we have all been following lies for the past ten years there will be no allies left to wage the Empire’s wars.  What repercussions will Americans throughout the world suffer if suddenly it became obvious that we were all being blackmailed into waging a war that none of us wanted?

How many governments have been forced into supporting the US campaign out of fear of an American/Israeli strike upon Iran?  How many have joined us out of a fear of being overrun by an wave of Islamists?  In the Bush/Cheney campaign to gain support for their terror war, they forced every government to decide whether they were “with us or against us.”    This was the prototype of the pattern that was to be followed throughout the perpetual war.  Now, instead of threatening to bomb someone “back to the Stone Age,” we have forced countless conscientious people to warn the world at the top of their lungs, that we are about to cause nuclear war in the Middle East.  The new imperative question then becomes—Whose side do you want to be on?

How corrupt, or how far gone, does a government have to be, if the only way it can survive the damage it has caused by its own excesses is to extort half of the world into doing its will and the other half into serving as its “sacrificial sheep” on the altar of prosperity?  If the only way that this Nation can survive is on the backs of others, then does it even deserve to survive?  What has become of the sterling moral fiber which once allegedly made us so worthy of such international respect?

In the final analysis, how much of this threatened violence, which constantly bombards us from US and Western sources, is for real?  As crazy and as borderline berserker as Bush and Cheney and the rest of the neocons crowd appeared to be, would they really have followed through and eliminated the state of Pakistan, if Musharraf hadn’t given in to their demands?  After ten years of depleting the most expensive and hardest to replace weapons in the US and NATO arsenals, as well as wearing-out their delivery systems, are Western forces still capable of sending any moderately-armed nation like Iran or Pakistan back to the Stone Age, without crossing the nuclear threshold in the process?  Have Bush and Obama “shot our wad,” before taking-out the most important primary targets, which stand between us and world conquest?  There will be no Pipelineistan or Silk Road without either Pakistan or Iran at our side.

What have we really accomplished in either Afghanistan or Iraq, other than totally destroying two previously functioning nations, without defeating any of our chosen “enemies,” considering that their guerilla armies still remain intact?  Does “mission accomplished” mean that we have successfully destroyed these countries and forced their armies to adopt an asymmetric warfare strategy?  We have proved ourselves to be very efficient at mass-destruction, but we are no better at defeating guerilla armies than anybody else.  The bloody terrorist strategy that we set loose upon the Soviets in Afghanistan so many years ago has come home to plague us and to deprive us of an elusive victory.  We taught the original Mujahedeen very well.  They have proven to be very proficient at teaching their learned skills to others.  Through our subversive efforts, the entire world has been made aware of the fact that each man can be an army unto himself, if only he has the will to make it so.

Weighing our future military actions upon these many errors of the past, we begin to see just how many of the military threats that have carried this war (especially the part about recruiting recalcitrant allies) were hollow.  Comparing the red-hot rhetoric sweetened with the honey dripping from the tongues of armies of American diplomats, to the reality of our actions, one thing becomes apparent—all or most of our actions have turned-out to be rational, no matter how insane the threats used to get us to that place seemed to be.  That is the standard that we must use, when judging American and Israeli threats against Iran.  If starting a war with Iran would be an insane act, and most American experts admit that this is correct, then bombing Iran would prove to be an irrational act.  This tells us that there is very little chance that America will allow Israel to bomb Iran.

Following the Imperial line of thinking, beyond the possibilities of war with Iran, for a Nation committed to rationality, are there anticipated circumstances before us, when the only foreseeable rational solution would be to do the irrational thing?  Will there come a time, when taking a calculated, insane-seeming risk is the only rational decision that our leaders can make?  Have the devious American and British planners set us up for a great collision with the other great world powers in our immediate future?  Do they have a Final Solution in mind for us all, a decisive nuclear war with either Russia or China?

Does it make sense to the self-elected world planners that a significant portion of humanity be eliminated, for the sake of some perceived “greater good”?  Have the powers that be come to the merciless, immoral conclusion that “the needs of the many really do outweigh the needs of the few”?  If this is the case, then the rest of mankind would be compelled to make the moral decision to resist this planned genocide.  This is pure insanity; where is the logic in killing millions of innocent human beings?  What exactly is the truth about all the bullshit that our government has been spreading around for so many years?

If the American and other Western oligarchs have foreseen their own destruction at the hands of the people (who will soon respond to the powerful motivations which have been unleashed), then their only logical choice for self-preservation would be to prevent that global mob from reaching that critical mass.  This is the logic of the psychopath, the subject at the center of all “conspiracy theories.”  All such “conspiracy theorists” research this common element, the psychopaths who rule over us.  This probably explains why we have all been branded as lunatics ourselves.

In a reverse logic of that dispensed by the psychopathic ruling elite, we must communicate the threat of this probable future, as our own motivational tool.  Just as the elite use the threat of an insane war upon Iran to force others to join their side, we know that we must project the threat of a US/Russia nuclear war to force people to join us in the anti-Empire resistance.  That is my purpose and that of thousands of others just like me, to warn about the psychopaths who rule us, before it is too late.

BLA claims responsibility of the blast in Quetta: 13 killed

[SEE:  The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army–Mar 1, 2005]

BLA claims responsibility of the blast in Quetta: 13 killed

Injured person being shifted to a hospital after a car-bomb blast in Quetta on Friday. – Photo by APP

QUETTA: At least 13 people were killed and 30 others injured, six among them seriously, when a bomb placed in a car parked near the house of a former minister of state on Arbab Karam Road exploded on Friday evening.

The proscribed Balochistan Liberation Army has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The powerful blast was heard far and wide. It smashed windows of several buildings.

At least six vehicles parked in the area and 10 nearby houses caught fire after the explosion and were destroyed.

“Unknown men put the explosive material into a vehicle and parked it near the house of former state minister Mir Naseer Mengal,” DIG Operation Nazir Ahmed Kurd said, adding that the explosion occurred at around 7pm.

He said 13 people had been killed and another 30 injured who were in hospitals.

Intelligence sources put the number of the dead at 15. Seven of the dead are said to be the guards of Shafique Mengal, son of Naseer Mengal.

Security officials were of the view that Shafique Mengal might have been the target of the attack.

DIG Investigation Hamid Shakeel told Dawn that about 40-50kg of explosive material had been used for the blast.

He said that explosive material had also been planted in another vehicle, parked near the house, adding that the bomb disposal squad defused it.

The injured were taken to the Bolan Medical College hospital and Civil Hospital.

According to doctors, six of the injured were in critical condition. Some of the injured were identified as Abdul Qudoos, Qadeer Mola Bakhsh, Gul Muhammad, Muhammad Rafeeq, Abdul, Khalid Khan, Karam Khan, Abdul Hameed, Faisal Khan, Dost Muhammad, Musawwar Khan, Abdullah Khan, Amanullah, Afzal Khan, Lal Muhammad, Javed Ahmed, Abdul Rasheed, Fazal Kareem, Muhammad Yunus and Abdul Kareem.

According to sources, Shafique Mengal had returned to Quetta from his native Khuzdar district about an hour before the blast and was in the house.

His guards started firing in the air after the blast. They allegedly manhandled some journalists who were there to cover the incident.

Law-enforcement personnel cordoned off the area and started investigation.

Chief Minister Nawab Aslam Raisani condemned the blast and ordered an immediate inquiry.

Claiming responsibility for the attack, BLA spokesman Meerik Baloch told reporters on phone that it was a suicide attack carried out by Darwaish Baloch who he said was a member of their Majeed Shaheed Brigade.

AFP adds: Police said the majority of the dead were passersby making it even harder to piece together what happened.

“We are facing difficulties to know about the nature of the blast because many of the witnesses who were present at the scene have been killed,” said DIG Kurd.

Saudi Arabian State Terror

Saudi Arabian State Terror

By Stephen Lendman

Annually, the State Department publishes human rights reports for over 190 countries. Its latest April 8, 2011 Saudi Arabia assessment discusses “significant human rights abuses and the inability of citizens to change its absolute monarchal rule. Abuses include: “torture and physical abuse; poor prison and detention center conditions; arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention; denial of fair and public trials and lack of due process in the judicial system; political prisoners; restrictions on civil liberties such as freedom of speech (including the Internet); assembly, association, movement, and severe restrictions on religious freedom; and corruption and lack of transparency.” Also mentioned were inequality and violence against women, human trafficking, no labor rights, discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, sect and ethnicity, and violations of children’s rights. Saudi’s absolute monarchal rule is despotic, lawless and brutal. It’s a police state practicing state terrorism internally and regionally. It’s also Washington’s main Middle East ally after Israel. In early December, Amnesty International (AI) published a report on the kingdom titled, “Saudi Arabia: Repression in the Name of Security.” Largely unnoticed in the West like the State Department’s April assessment, major media scoundrels suppressed its ugly findings. AI quoted Khaled al-Johani addressing reporters in Riyadh on the March 11, 2011 “Day of Rage,” saying: “I am here to say we need democracy. We need freedom. We need to speak freely. We need no one to stop us from expressing our opinions.” Shortly afterward he was arrested and charged with “communicating with the foreign media.” He’s now held incommunicado in Saudi’s notoriously repressive prison system. On March 5, Press TV reported the arrest and detention of senior Saudi cleric Sheikh Tawfiq al-Amer. At issue was his call for constitutional monarchal rule. On March 23, Press TV reported 100 Shia protesters arrested after participating in anti-government demonstrations for political reforms and immediate political prisoner releases. More recently on December 5, Press TV reported large anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province and another one on December 9 in Awamiyah, an Eastern Persian Gulf village. Last April, Saudi’s Interior Ministry said 5,831 people were arrested for being associated with a “deviant group,” allegedly Al Qaeda. About 600 were sentenced. Another 600 awaited trials. Unsubstantiated terrorist related charges assures long, repressive prison terms. A more recent high-profile case involved 16 men, including nine prominent reformists. They were sentenced to up to 30 years for allegedly trying to seize power by financing terrorism with laundered money. Their charges and trial had no legitimacy whatever. They were victimized for advocating political change and human rights. AI said Saudi authorities “launched a new wave of repression in the name of security.” Human rights protesters have been brutally oppressed. At the same time, a new anti-terror law exacerbates the absence of civil and human rights. Last June, AI got a leaked copy. Provisions in it include: prosecuting peaceful dissent as terrorism and “harming the reputation of the state or its position;” a minimum of 10 years imprisonment for anyone questioning the integrity of the king or crown prince; authorities will have carte blanche power to detain alleged security suspects indefinitely without charge or trial; and terrorism’s definition is expanded to include endangering “national unity” and/or questioning the integrity of the king or regime. Overall, abusive practices will be legalized, including an anything goes policy of crushing dissent. Saudi Arabia’s Repressive Government Saudi state power rests solely with the king and ruling Al Saud family. He especially wields absolute power to rule despotically. The nation’s Constitution affords ordinary citizens and other residents no rights. Women are especially marginalized and denied. The Constitution gives sole power to the ruling monarchy. Saudi Basic Law, adopted in 1992, declared the kingdom a monarchy ruled by the sons and grandsons of King Abd Al Aziz Al Saud. It also proclaimed Sharia (Islamic) law supreme. Political parties and national elections are prohibited. Saudi kings appoint a Council of Ministers, including a prime minister, first and second deputies, 20 ministers, various advisors, and heads of major autonomous organizations. Thirteen provinces comprise the kingdom. The ruling monarch appoints their governors. They’re either princes or close royal family relatives. In 1993, ministers became subject to four-year term limitations. In 1997, a Consultative Council was expanded from 60 to 90 members. Legislation is by Council of Ministers resolution, subject to royal approval. Democracy is a dirty word. Saudi’s 27 million residents have no rights whatever. The media are severely constrained. Anyone dissenting is subject to arbitrary arrest and detention, including political critics, bloggers, academics, foreign nationals, and others. On September 25, King Abdullah said women, beginning in 2015, will be allowed to run in municipal elections, and be appointed to the Shura Council monarchal advisory body. Nonetheless, they’re severely restricted. They can’t travel, drive, engage in paid work or higher education. They also can’t marry without male custodian permission. Rage Bubbling Up Against the Regime Perhaps mindful of other regional protests, Saudis have begun rallying publicly for change. They demand human rights be respected. They want social and political reforms, including free, open and fair elections. They also want political prisoners released. In response, severe crackdowns followed. Hundreds of peaceful protesters were arrested and detained without trial. Others were charged with “vague security-related and other offenses. (AI) considers many of (them) prisoners of conscience, held solely for peacefully expressing their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.” In recent years, thousands have been detained on security grounds and remain imprisoned under horrific conditions. Victims include clerics, alleged Al Qaeda members, anyone with alleged connections or sympathies, and others suspected of anti-regime sentiment or its ties to Washington and other Western states. Everyone arrested for security reasons faces torture and other forms of abuse. It’s commonplace “because interrogators know that they can commit their crimes without fear of punishment.” Abuse is also encouraged by the “ready acceptance by courts of ‘confessions’ forced (from) detainees (by) beatings, electric shocks, and other forms of torture and ill-treatment.” Many detainees are untried. Others brought to court face grossly unfair proceedings, including secret ones with no right of appeal. Since established in October 2008, Saudi’s Specialized Criminal Court hears them. Victims are mostly human rights defenders, political reform activists, members of religious minorities, and many others guilty of no internationally recognized offense. In the past, sporadic political violence occurred against state institutions, oil installations and Western nationals. Severe crackdowns followed. AI’s report focused mainly on 2011 developments. Philip Luther, AI’s Middle East/North Africa director said: “Peaceful protesters and supporters of political reform in the country have been targeted for arrest in an attempt to stamp out the kinds of call for reform that have echoed across the region.” Many arrested are charged with “disrupting order.” Some are forced to sign pledges to never again protest. In addition, they’re forbidden to travel. Others face secret kangaroo proceedings. Those affected are guilty by accusation. A Final Comment Washington has close ties to despotic regional regimes, including Saudi Arabia. It uses them advantageously to advance its Greater Middle East project for unchallenged dominance. Wars are waged to replace independent regimes with client ones. Saudi and other regional governments rule despotically. They’re also US proxies when called on, including against Gaddafi’s Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Syria. As a result, they’re rewarded for partnering with Washington’s worst crimes. Who said it didn’t pay! Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Prophet Mohammad’s letter to the Christians

Prophet Mohammad’s letter to the Christians


In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

An English translation of that document is presented below.

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.
Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses.
Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them.
If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants.
No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

Baloch Assembly Asks If Rehman Malik Works for US, India or Israel

Balochistan Assembly Asks if Rehman Malik is a Foreign Agent

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly declared Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik a “dubious man” and also asked if he was a Pakistani minister or a “agent of foreign countries.”

This question was raised by senior Provincial Minister Maulana Abdul Wasay on a point of order in the session of assembly which met after two days break with Deputy Speaker Syed Matiullah Agha in the chair.

JUI-F leader and senior minister Maulana Abdul Wasay strongly criticized Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik for his new announcement about demolishing of those religious seminaries next year that were not registered.

He said that mutilated dead bodies were being recovered from Balochistan.“Whenever Rehman Malik visits Balochistan he talks about use of stick” he said, and adding that the statements of Rehman Malik were tantamount to rub salt on the wounds of people of Balochistan,

He said that people were being killed in Karachi and Khyber Pashtoonkhowa and when we talked people of those areas they held Rehman Malik for those killings.

Declaring Rehman Malik a dubious person he said that it was not clear whether he was interior minister of Pakistan or agent of US, Britain or Israel.

JUI leader said that people like Rehman Malik were highly harmful for the democracy and due to his activities the democracy could not flourish in the country.  “Incidents of kidnapping for ransom, recovery of decomposed bodies and killing of religious scholars are on rise,” he remarked, and adding that JUI-F had always invited nationalists, religious leaders and other political parties for uniting on a single platform to foil conspiracies against themselves.

He also raised suspicions about Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani’s statement about declaring 2012 as the year of Balochistan saying that keeping in view the experiences of it might not prove the deterioration of Balochistan. “Whenever the federal rulers make any announcement about Balochistan the results prove contrary. This can be gauged from the fact that tall claims were made about giving more funds to Balochistan but contrary to it only so far  Rs 7 billion out of Rs 34 billion have been released for federal projects in Balochistan” he added.

The JUI leader told the house that all institutions were in miserable condition in the country and there was no fund available for Balochistan. “We have taken up the issue of roads with National Highway Authority that until Gwadar Ratho Dero highway is completed there will be no benefit of investment of billions of rupees on Gwadar Port” he said, and adding there was no progress on Kalat and Chaman highway because of non release of funds by the federal government.

The JUI-F ministers, including Maulana Abdul Wasay, Molvi Sarwar Musakhel and Molvi Abdul Bari Agha condemned the killing of Hafiz Ahmed Qamar, son of JUI-F central vice president Moulvi Qamarud Din, in Karachi and demanded for immediate arrest of the culprits.

Speaking on a point of order, provincial Minister and leader of JUI-F Molvi Sarwar Musakhel drew the attention of the house towards the murder of Hafiz Ahmed Qamar, saying the culprits brutally killed him in Karachi and they were still at large.

He said that Karachi was becoming centre of murder of religious scholars as previously several other members were killed in Karachi. “Karachi was the center of business and education for the people of Balochistan but now we are receiving dead bodies from there,” he remarked.

Maulvi Sarwar Musakhel moved a condemnation resolution against the killing of Hafiz Ahmed Qamar demanding Federal and Sindh governments for early arrest of culprits.

When the chair put the resolution for vote the house adopted it unanimously.

The lawmakers once against criticized NHA for its poor performance in the province.

However, Provincial Minister for Finance Mir Asim Kurd Gilu told the house that the reservations of Members of Balochistan Assembly had been convoyed to authorities of NHA.

He said that federal minister for communication Arbab Alamghair had promised that the members of Balochistan Assembly would be briefed next year along with all team.

Later, the chair adjourned the assembly proceedings for an indefinite period.

There Can Be No Peace In Balochistan Until the Army Withdraws

‘Peace will not prevail without military withdrawal’

The condit­ions in the provin­ce bear a resemb­lance to those in Bangla­desh, say JI leader­s. PHOTO: NNI

KARACHI: Because it fears that Balochistan is on the brink of no return, the Jamaat-e-Islami has called for “an end to the unannounced military operation and the role of the [intelligence] agencies in the province.”

The party has also asked for military leaders, including former president General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, to be held accountable in a court of law for the human rights violations in Balochistan.

The Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Asadullah Bhutto and its leaders in Balochistan and Sindh, Abdul Mateen Akhunzada and Mohammad Hussain Mehanti, met with veteran Baloch leader, Sardar Ataullah Mengal, at the latter’s residence on Thursday. When asked if the situation in Balochistan was bad, Akhunzada darkly remarked, “It is not just bad, it has gone far beyond that.”

The “makruh and condemnable role” of security agencies operating in Balochistan is not the way to developing an understanding, Akhunzada told the journalists present. JI believes that the number of enforced disappearances and the bullet riddled bodies being found are signs of how Balochistan has become reminiscent of the condition in Bangladesh prior to its independence in 1971.

The party and Mengal also spoke about the targeted killings of Punjabi settlers in the province.

Mengal reiterated that the “protectors of the country” – the Pakistan Army – has become an army for Punjab only.

Mengal is reported to have said that, “If a Punjabi is killed, dozens of Baloch youth are taken away by the agencies illegally. People wait for years to hear about their whereabouts and then receive the bullet-riddled bodies of their loved ones. How can there not be a reaction?” He also questioned why the military does not react in a similar manner when people are killed in Karachi.

Despite JI’s call and Mengal’s warnings about the condition in Balochistan, no one sees a way out until the military withdraws from Balochistan. Mengal told JI that there was not a “single person in Pakistan who could gain the trust of the Baloch”.

The leaders agreed that those responsible for targeted killings must be dealt with – but in a legal manner.

Mehanti also questioned the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, for not fulfilling his promise to withdraw troops from Balochistan. JI leaders also blamed the current Pakistan Peoples Party government for having wasted the last four years instead of trying to reverse the situation that Musharraf left Balochistan in.

The JI leaders said there were “no prospects for progress” in the province and highlighted the injustices, deplorable economic conditions and lack of resources given to Balochistan. JI also asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo motu notice of the situation in Balochistan, similar to how it acted on the target killings in Karachi earlier this year.

Mehanti said his party appreciated the fact that Sharif had visited Mengal to discuss the matter and that there was a need to unite to prevent a ‘catastrophe like 1971’.

Published in The Express Tribune

Ukraine fears new Russian gas route

[This is Putin’s ultimatum–Sell us your pipelines, or South Stream will cut you out of the equation.  Now, thanks to Turkey, the threat seems very real.]

Ukraine fears new Russian gas route

Turkey’s decision to allow Russia permission to build the South Stream gas pipeline seems to have cause a degree of panic in Ukraine. The agreement, reached on Wednesday, could have significant implications on long-running gas negotiations between the two countries and reduce Ukraine’s bargaining power in extracting much needed price concessions from Moscow.

The South Stream pipeline would see Russian gas exported across the Black Sea to Europe, bypassing Ukraine, whose gas transit network is currently responsible for carrying 80 per cent of Russian energy exports to the EU.

In a display of understandable nervousness, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, took to Facebook on Thursday to threaten Russia with legal action should no deal be done.

“Ukraine is ready to take this dispute to international arbitration. But we would like to try settling it first,” wrote Azarov on his Facebook page, according to Reuters.

Ukraine’s reliance on Russian gas has placed its finances in a perilous position.

Energy imports account for over a third of Ukraine’s import costs. The government, which currently pays around $416 per 1000 cubic metres of gas, has been trying to get Russia to give it a discount of around 40 per cent, so that it would in effect pay only $250 per 1000 cubic metres.

Talks over a new deal have been on-going for over a year and will begin again in January, according to Ukraine’s Minister for Energy. In return for a cut-price arrangement, Gazprom, Russia’s state-owned gas company, is demanding a share in Ukraine’s pipelines. But selling stakes in the country’s vital rent-generating assets would be politically unpopular for pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovich before parliamentary elections in October next year.

For all Azarov’s threats, the omens don’t bode well for Ukraine. The South Stream deal indicates Russia’s desire to diversify away from its dependence on export routes through Ukraine. This has been made all the more urgent following Wednesday’s signing of a memorandum of understanding between Azerbaijan and Turkey to build  a new pipeline to carry Azeri gas to Europe.

Elsewhere, in a worrying precedent for Kiev, neighbours Belarus – who faced a similar predicament earlier this year – caved in to Russian pressure by selling their remaining stake in Beltransgaz to Gazprom last month.

But as reported by the FT, Gazprom may yet abandon the South Stream project if it succeeds in gaining greater control of Ukraine’s transit network.

Even so, Ukraine’s deteriorating fiscal position means it can’t afford to engage in a game of ‘chicken’ with Moscow. The bloated energy bill – exacerbated by the fact that Ukraine sells the gas onto its citizens at heavily subsidised prices – has contributed to a current account deficit of 5.4 per cent of GDP or $8.6 bn, even as its currency – the hryvnia – is under sustained pressure. Central bank intervention has kept the exchange rate at 8 hryvnia to the US dollar at the cost of $1.5bn every month. With effective gross reserves at only $17bn, intervention can only continue for another 12 months if no new deal is reached. Either way, a devaluation looms.

“The longer it takes Janukovich to make a decision [over gas prices], the wider the deficit will become and the larger the currency shock when it comes” Dmytro Boyarchuk, an adviser with Global Source partners told beyondbrics.

Boyarchuk does not believe the situation has yet reached a critical point, but estimates that if the current gas contract remains, Ukraine will suffer a sharp currency shock in the autumn, with the currency falling to 11 hryvnia per dollar.

This could have fatal consequences for investment.

“If investors see the potential currency risk, the government will not be able to raise financing from the markets for its current liabilities. In this situation and dependent on the depreciation risks, there is a possibility of technical default.”

Egyptian Police Fight Back Against State Dept./Soros Subversive NGOs

[All of the groups mentioned in the article below are CIA/State Dept. proxy organizations, created for the purpose of undermining governments, wherever they are deployed (SEE:  US Subversion Behind Every Arab Uprising and Colored Revolution).]

“The recent ‘color revolutions’ in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan and the widespread suspicion that U.S. groups such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), Freedom House [led by former CIA head James Woolsley, of Project for New American Century fame] and the Open Society Institute [created in 1993 by investor George Soros] played a key behind-the-scenes role in fomenting these upheavals have clearly helped trigger the backlash.”[8]

Human Rights Groups in Egypt Condemn Raids on Their Offices by Police

| Associated Press

  • National Democratic Institute Workers


    December 29, 2011: Workers from a non-governmental organization National Democratic Institute, or NDI, wait as Egyptian officials raid their office in Cairo, Egypt.

CAIRO –  Several Egyptian rights groups on Friday accused the country’s ruling military council of using Hosni Mubarak-era “repressive tools” in waging an “unprecedented campaign” against pro-democracy organizations.

The groups’ joint statement came just hours after security forces stormed offices of 10 rights organizations, including several based in the United States. The Interior Ministry said the raids were part of the investigation into foreign funding of rights groups.

The military, which took over control after a popular uprising toppled Mubarak in February, has previously accused the groups of fomenting protests with the help of funds from outside the country.

Friday’s statement, signed by 28 Egyptian rights groups, said the attacks herald a wider clampdown to target those who led the uprising and were an attempt to “liquidate” the revolution.

“The military council is using Mubarak’s authoritarian and repressive tolls … in an even more dangerous and uglier way,” the statement read. The raids “are an unprecedented campaign aimed at covering up big failures of the military council in managing the transition period.”

The groups also said the ruling military was trying to “liquidate or take revenge on the political and rights groups that played a significant role in preparing for the revolution, getting involved or shaping the vision to build a new system on the ruins of Mubarak’s regime.”

An official with the justice ministry’s inspection teams said computers and cash were confiscated during the raids. He said an earlier investigation revealed these groups had received up to $100 million from abroad, then deposited the money in different Egyptian banks using names of illiterate Egyptians for the fake accounts.

Also Thursday, police arrested and stormed the home of a member of the April 6 group, a youth movement at the helm of the anti-Mubarak protests. A security official said hashish and about $4,000 were found at Ahmed el-Salkawi’s house.

April 6 was among the groups the military had accused of receiving foreign funds and using the money to promote for a “foreign agenda.” Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

Egypt’s youth activists perceive the ruling generals as an extension of Mubarak’s regime, and have rallied in protests that turned deadly, demanding they immediately transfer power to a civilian government.

Among the offices which were raided the U.S.-headquartered National Democratic Institute, Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, which is observing Egypt’s ongoing parliamentary elections, as well as Germany’s Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a think-tank with links to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party.

Germany’s Development Aid Minister, Dirk Niebel said Friday that “political foundations’ possibilities to work abroad are the barometer of freedom for us.”

“So I call on Egyptian authorities immediately to ensure the foundations’ unhindered work and clear up completely what happened,” he added in a statement.

The Obama administration demanded Egyptian authorities immediately halt the raids on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), saying they are “inconsistent” with long-standing U.S-Egypt cooperation.

The U.S. State Department called on the Egyptian government “to immediately end the harassment of NGO staff, return all property and resolve this issue.” Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. ambassador to Egypt and the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East have spoken to Egyptian officials about the situation and “made very clear that this issue needs immediate attention.”

The raids on the NGOs were the first since Mubarak’s ouster. Justice Minister Adel Abdel-Hamid has accused around 300 nonprofit groups of receiving unauthorized foreign funding and using the money to encourage protesters.

Gülen’s Latest Speech On Kurds–“It is really shameful, embarrassing, that the state has not killed them all”

About Fethullah Gülen Controversial speech –

By Kamal Soleimani

Gülen’s latest speech does not come as surprise to the Kurds in Turkey. His speech just corroborates what the Kurds have been saying about Gülen all along. Kurds have long said that if Gülen had his way, he would not be any more lenient than the Turkish military when it comes to the Kurdish question. There is no denying that Gülen is internationally recognized for his image as a lenient religious figure who is eagerly trying to promote world peace and interfaith dialogue. He has been very successful in presenting this image. Of course, even if he were sincere about this — which I doubt — the speech should not be seen as something that contradicts Gülen’s nationalism. Gülen has always promoted the Turkish image, language and culture just as much as he publicizes his interpretation of Islam. His religious interpretation is very much at home with some aspects of Turkish state nationalism. It is a type of missionary nationalism that some of its aspects of shared particularly by the current foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu and by AKP in general.

Gülen’s nationalism is now challenged by Kurdish demands. It should be noted that the Kurdish question is the greatest challenge to Turkish religious nationalism, à la AKP or à la Gülen. Previously, when these groups were in the opposition, they had to make instrumental use of the Kurdish question against the military and the Kemalist establishment. To them, talking about the plight of the Kurds was beneficial for at least two reasons: it would help their standing both at home and abroad and it would further delegitimize the Kemalist military’s rigid political space. In addition, it was a way for them to get the Kurdish electorate behind them. Of course, Gülen himself has always been extremely reticent in expressing his views on Kurdish issues. Others, like the AKP, were more outspoken. However, the entire spectrum of what could be called the Turkish religious nationalist consensus has never offered a meaningful solution to the Kurdish question. Aside from obsolete slogans such as Turkish-Kurdish Kardeslik (brotherhood), these groups have never offered a well-defined project for dealing with the Kurdish question.

This has been the case until last spring, when there was a referendum for the amendment of the Turkish constitution. Despite all the ambiguities in its narrative of constitutional change, AKP received 58% of the vote, and while the Kurds overwhelmingly supported the pro-Kurdish BDP’s stance in that referendum, the BDP separated itself from all the Turkish political parties: the AKP was trying to consolidate its power by amending the constitution, while the rest of the Turkish political parties were content with the existing constitution, which was the product of the military coup of 1982.

That election was a defining moment for both the Kurds and the AKP. After the referendum, the AKP came to the realization that they could no longer rely on the Kurds for support, and the party has had to take care to appease the Turkish electorate. This event would become determinative for the AKP to abandon all the ambiguities in its rhetoric on Kurdish question. The Kurdish question was transformed in the AKP political narrative into the Kurdish citizens’ problems, to use Erdogan’s expression. Consequently, Kurdish politics was about to change and be expressed in forms that were not common until then. For the first time in the last thirty or forty years, the Kurds used their religiosity against a government that is recognized as having a strongly conservative religious background. The Kurds began to challenge the government on its home turf by challenging state-sanctioned religiosity and religious institutions. Many Kurds refused to pray behind the imams appointed by the state and preferred to initiate their own collective Friday prayers on the streets. The Kurdish Friday prayers were a spectacle as they were performed on the streets, while hundreds of hippies and left-minded Kurdish youth for the first time started praying in the face of the heavy-handed police force. This novel strategy was a major step toward unmasking Turkish religious nationalism and toward calling their bluff, because similar strategies hand been used before by Erdogan and his allies when they were in opposition. Now, the AKP and Gülen’s followers have no problem with the state’s religious institutions, such the Directorate of Religious Affairs; it has now been completely baptized since it is used and directed by the ruling party and pro-Gülen figures. This novel strategy enraged the Turkish religious nationalist establishment to a degree that Erdogan publicly declared that the Kurds’ prophet is Abdullah Öcalan, to question the religiosity of the new challenge. Gülen’s latest assertions on Kurds are expressed partly against this background. He seems to be frustrated with the fact that his mission in Kurdistan to naturalize Kurdish nationalist demands is failing.

To many people, considering Fethullah Gülen as a nationalist might sound absurd and over the top. By many, I am referring to those who are unfamiliar with Turkish nationalist discourse. However, for anyone who is familiar with Turkish nationalist discourse, Gülen clearly stands as a mouthpiece for the state’s rhetoric and approach in his assertions. Gülen complains about the inability of the state to civilize the Kurds. Of course, the politically correct term is educate. A student of Turkish history knows that this discourse can be traced back to the era of Abdulhamid II. He was the first Sultan to establish the Asiret Mektepleri — tribal schools — in 1892, as a step toward civilizing the Kurds, especially the ones who were known for their rebelliousness against the state. This course was continued by the Turkish republic combined with the forced migration and systematic policies of assimilation.

Gülen complains about the failure of assimilationist policies and the state’s inability to kill off all the nationalist Kurds who believe in armed struggle against state policies. Throughout his speech the possessive pronoun “our” is used to claim possession of the Kurds. In his speech, Gülen speaks in the name of the sovereign or the state; this is a well known form of addressing the Kurdish issue in Turkish politics. A student of contemporary Turkish politics may very well remember the late former prime minister Bülent Ecevit’s statement contending that “the Kurds are not a distinct ethnic group; they are OUR citizens.”

Of course, Gülen supports taking harsh measures against the PKK. He is very adamant about this in his speech. He suggests that in the 1980s, the Turkish state could have completely destroyed the Kurdish resistance. However, it can be inferred that he blames Turkish military government at that time for being complacent about the PKK’s emergence. He asserts that the Turkish military state was able to bring the entire nation to its knees; they could jail, kill and oppress whomever they wished, but how in the world the state could be so ineffective in dealing with Kurdish resistance. “It is really shameful, embarrassing (°ayiptir, ardir),” that the state has not killed them all”, says Gülen. He vehemently advocates the killing of every single Kurdish guerilla, and he is unequivocal about this when he says: “let us say there are 15,000 or 50,000 of them. So [addressing the Turkish state], you have around…a million intelligence personnel. I don’t want to mention them all by name but you have several intelligence organizations; you are member of NATO; you are involved in cooperative projects with a number of international intelligence organizations. … So, use these projects and programs and localize, identify and triangulate every single of them and then kill them all one by one…”

As to the question of whether or not Gülen wants to kill Kurdish civilians? Forget about distinguishing civilian and non-civilian, he utters the word Kurd only once and refers to the Kurdish language twice in his entire speech. But if one listens carefully to his speech, his treatment of the Kurdish issue seems frightening. He does not seem to think of the Kurdish question as anything more than a foreign conspiracy. To him the entire enterprise is an artificial phenomenon rooted in a) foreign plot to undermine the integrity of “that beautiful country, Turkey” and b) Kurdish simplemindedness, illiteracy and economic backwardness, which has provided Turkey’s enemies with grounds that are very conducive for plotting against the state.

He does not see the PKK, or any Kurdish political group for that matter, as having a legitimate raison d’être. It is clear that he thinks any politics that is defined as Kurdish is dangerous. It seems to oppose the PKK not just because of its armed struggle or because of what he sees in a negative light as its political strategy. He is against any form of Kurdish politics whatsoever. That is why he believes that if it were not for illiteracy and economic underdevelopment, such a brand of politics would not have come into being. He is well aware that the PKK is more than a just a few thousand guerillas in the mountains. The PKK is the dominant force in Kurdish politics in Northern Kurdistan and it could determine the outcome of parliaments and municipal elections for the Kurdish region and shape the Kurdish political debate. When one reads his prayers against this background, the prayers and the harsh demands entailed in them become even scarier. We should pray to God to ignore Fethullah Hoca’s prayers. I do not think civilian Kurds to remain unharmed if God listens to this type of prayers. For example he asks to God to do the following things for him: “O God, unify us (Allahim birligimizi sagla), and as for those among us who deserve nothing but punishment (o hakki kötektir bunlar), knock their homes upside down (allahim onlarin altlarini üstlerine getir), destroy their unity (birliklerini boz), burn their houses to ash (evlerine ates sal) may their homes be filled with weeping and supplications (feryad ve figan sal), burn and cut off their roots (köklerini kurut, köklerini kes) and bring their affairs to an end (islerini bitir)”

Blood on Your Hands, Blair!

‘Blood on Blair’s hands’: Former PM accused over Kazakhstan role after dictator’s bloody purge

  • Activists calling for Blair to resign from role as advisor to president Nazarbayev
  • Campaign follows the death of 14 sacked oil workers


Tony Blair has blood on his hands from his ‘consultancy’ work with the dictator of Kazakhstan, opposition leaders in the former Soviet state claimed last night.

In an open letter, activists called for the former British premier to resign from his controversial role as an advisor to their president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The campaigners are part of a growing protest over a bloody Christmas crackdown on sacked oil workers in which at least 14 died and 80 were wounded.

Dubious: Tony Blair and Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev in the capital Astana in NovemberDubious: Tony Blair and Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev in the capital Astana in November

The Daily Mail revealed in October that Mr Blair had assembled a high-powered team to improve the reputation and business links of the oil and gas-rich central Asian state.

According to one source, the consultancy deal brokered by the ex-premier is worth as much as £8million for the companies involved.

Mr Blair’s advisory firm, Tony Blair Associates, has helped him earn as much as £20million since leaving Downing Street in 2007, but a spokesman has insisted he is not profiting from the Kazakhstan deal.

His links with Mr Nazarbayev – who has introduced laws forbidding criticism of himself, and is believed to rig his elections – have roused particular controversy because he began cultivating him a decade ago when the despot made an official visit to London.

The call for Mr Blair to sever links with the regime was made by 50 activists in a letter published in the opposition newspaper Respublika, headlined: ‘Blood on Your Hands, Blair!’

The letter goes on: ‘It is known that you were an adviser to the bloody dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

‘The whole world saw with its own eyes that he used weapons against civilians in his country, trying hard to suppress the riots. The bloody scenario of Libya was repeated in Kazakhstan.

‘The leadership of Kazakhstan in peacetime opened fire and shot at unarmed citizens.  Such bloody methods are being used in our country since you became an adviser to President Nursultan Nazarbayev.’

Controvertial: Blair's relationship with the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been criticised by Kazak activists Controvertial: Blair’s relationship with the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has been criticised by Kazak activists

The activists – young politicians, youth workers and journalists – had made an earlier appeal to Mr Blair to rethink his role.

The latest open letter continues: ‘In our previous appeal we said that your support for authoritarianism and dictatorship will badly affect your reputation. Our forecasts, unfortunately, came true.

‘We once again urge you to resign from the position of presidential adviser and to stop co-operating with the criminal regime.’

The letter highlighted the case of oil workers from the Mangistau region, whose ‘legitimate and fair demands were ignored for many months’.

‘There was bloodshed, the blood of innocent citizens of our country. You are an adviser to Kazakhstan’s leadership. Why within the last seven months were authorities deaf to the demands of oil workers? And finally, they shot at its citizens?’

The U.S. State Department says it is ‘deeply concerned’ over the violence and clampdown, sentiments echoed by the EU and human rights groups.

Nazarbayev has blamed his son-in-law Timur Kulibayev – the head of the company that fired the striking oil workers – for the violence. Kulibayev is a friend of Prince Andrew, and bought the prince’s home in Windsor for £3million above the asking price.

Mr Blair visited Kazakhstan in  January, May and November this year. Former No10 chief of staff Jonathan Powell and ex-spin doctor Alastair Campbell also visited this year.

A spokesman for Mr Blair said:  ‘Tony Blair’s team has been advising on the Kazakhstan government reform programme. He has had no role in this dispute. But the president has promised an inquiry.’

Turkish airstrike aimed at militants kills 35 Kurdish villagers


Turkish airstrike aimed at militants kills 35 Kurdish villagers


ENN via AFP – Getty Images

Locals gather in front of a truck carrying the bodies of people who were killed in a warplane attack in the Ortasu village of Uludere, in Turkey’s Sirnak province on Dec. 29.

By staff and news services

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey – Turkish warplanes killed at least 35 people in an airstrike in southeastern Turkey near the Iraqi border overnight, apparently mistaking smugglers for Kurdish militants, a pro-Kurdish party and local officials said on Thursday.

Turkish warplanes strike militant targets regularly in the region in their battle against Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas, and have stepped up raids after a PKK attack in August.

“We have 30 corpses, all of them are burned. The state knew that these people were smuggling in the region. This kind of incident is unacceptable. They were hit from the air,” said Fehmi Yaman, mayor of Uludere in Sirnak province.Turkey’s Dogan news agency said the attacks occurred near the Turkish village of Ortasu in Sirnak near Iraq, a country where Kurdish rebels are based, and killed more than 20 people. The report said the raids were launched after drones and thermal cameras located a “crowded group” near Ortasu.

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) said in a statement 35 people had been killed, adding that party leaders were heading for the area.

The Turkish military declined to confirm or deny whether it had carried out the Wednesday night raid on both sides of the border.

Local villagers said the smugglers were carrying drums of diesel on mules and tractors, according to the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News. The diesel drums exploded and burned them to death.

Local BDP official Yunus Urek told CNN that one person survived with injuries.

Smuggling is an important source of income for locals in provinces along the Iraqi border, with many villagers involved in bringing fuel, cigarettes and other goods from Iraqi villages on the other side of the border.

PKK militants also cross the border in these areas.

“There were rumors that the PKK would cross through this region. Images were recorded of a crowd crossing last night, hence an operation was carried out,” a Turkish security official said.

“We could not have known whether these people were (PKK) group members or smugglers,” he said.

17 more people missing
Television images showed a line of corpses covered by blankets on a barren hillside, with a crowd of people gathered around, some with their head in their hands and crying.

People loaded the corpses onto donkeys which were led down the hillside to be loaded into vehicles to be taken to hospital in the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country.

Security sources said those killed were carrying canisters of diesel on mules and their bodies were found on the Iraqi side of the border.

They said those killed were from Uludere on the Turkish side of the border on what was a regular smuggling route.

The Firat news agency, which has close ties to the PKK, said that 17 people were still believed to be missing. It said those killed were aged around 17-20.

The PKK, regarded as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States, launches attacks on Turkish forces in southeastern Turkey from hideouts inside the remote Iraqi mountains.

Turkey and Iran have often skirmished with rebels in the region and Turkish leaders vowed revenge in October with air and ground strikes after the PKK killed 24 Turkish soldiers in raids on military outposts in southeastern Turkey.

It was one of the deadliest attacks since the PKK took up arms in 1984 in a conflict in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

Iran Says U.S. Aircraft Carrier Has Entered Zone Near Key Oil Route

Iran Says U.S. Aircraft Carrier Has Entered Zone Near Key Oil Route

Associated Press

  • 122811hormuz.jpg


    December 28, 2011: Iranian submarines and warships participate in navy drill in the Sea of Oman.

TEHRAN –  An Iranian surveillance plane has shot video and photographed a U.S. aircraft carrier during Iran’s ongoing navy drill near a strategic waterway in the Persian Gulf, the official IRNA news agency reported on Thursday.

The report did not provide details and it was unclear what information the Iranian military could gleam from such footage. But the announcement is an indication Iran is seeking to cast its navy as having a powerful role in the region’s waters.

IRNA quoted Iran’s navy chief, Adm. Habibollah Sayyari, as saying the action shows that Iran has “control over the moves by foreign forces” in the area where Tehran is holding a 10-day military exercise.

“An Iranian vessel and surveillance plane have tracked, filmed and photographed a U.S. aircraft carrier as it was entering the Gulf of Oman from the Persian Gulf,” Sayyari said.

He added that the “foreign fleet will be warned by Iranian forces if it enters the area of the drill.”

State TV showed what appeared to be the reported video, but it was not possible to make out the details of the carrier because the footage was filmed from far away.

The Iranian exercise is taking place in international waters near the Strait of Hormuz — the passageway for one-sixth of the world’s oil supply.

Beyond it lie vast bodies of water, including the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet is also active in the area, as are warships of several other countries that patrol for pirates there.

Lt. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the U.S. 5th Fleet, said the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay headed out from the Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday, after a visit to Dubai’s Jebel Ali port.

She described the passage through the strait as “a pre-planned, routine transit” for the carrier, which is providing air support from the north Arabian Sea to troops in Afghanistan.

Rebarich did not directly address Iranian claims of possessing the reported footage but said the 5th Fleet’s “interaction with the regular Iranian Navy continues to be within the standards of maritime practice, well known, routine and professional.”

Thursday’s report follows U.S. warnings over Iranian threats to choke off traffic through the Strait of Hormuz if Washington imposes sanctions targeting Iran’s crude exports. On Wednesday, Rebarich said the Navy was “always ready to counter malevolent actions to ensure freedom of navigation.”

Gen. Hossein Salami, the acting commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard rejected the warning.

“The U.S. is not in a position” to affect Iran’s decisions, Salami told the semi-official Fars news agency Thursday. “Iran does not ask permission to implement its own defensive strategies.”

‘US base in Bishkek very dangerous’

‘US base in Bishkek very dangerous’

US Soldiers board a plane to Afghanistan from the Manas Air Force Base, 30 km from Bishkek, on April 15, 2011.
Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev has said that a US military base in the country’s capital Bishkek is “very dangerous” for the Central Asian nation.

Kyrgyzstan’s new leader made the remarks in a Thursday meeting with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Robert Blake in the capital Bishkek.

Atambayev insisted that the annual $150 million fee the US pays Kyrgyzstan for the right to use the Manas Air Force Base was not worth all the risks involved in the matter.

“We want to transform Manas into a fully civilian airport; and keeping a military base for $150 million is slightly dangerous; not slightly, but very dangerous.”

After becoming the president last month, Atambayev said that his country has notified the US to close its military base following the expiration of its lease in 2014.

“Our country will honor all its international agreements, but we have warned the US embassy that they will have to close the base in 2014,” said Atambayev.

The Manas Air Force Base, which the US currently uses to support its operations in Afghanistan’s ten-year war, is located at a civilian airport on the outskirts of the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek.

The air base has been used since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and has played a major role in American military operations in the country.

The Kyrgyz government wanted to shut down the base in 2009 due to issues caused by US troops stationed in Manas. However, US officials managed to negotiate a new agreement later that year after increasing its annual payment to the Kyrgyz government.

Russia owes rent on military bases unpaid for 4 years – Kyrgyz President

Russia owes rent on military bases unpaid for 4 years – Kyrgyz President

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev described Russia as a key strategic partner but claimed that Moscow had not paid rent for military installations on the country's territory for the past four years.

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev described Russia as a key strategic partner but claimed that Moscow had not paid rent for military installations on the country’s territory for the past four years.

© RIA Novosti. Alexey Druzhinin

BISHKEK, December 29 (RIA Novosti)

Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev described Russia as a key strategic partner but claimed that Moscow had not paid rent for military installations on the country’s territory for the past four years.

The main strategic partner of Kyrgyzstan is Russia but the former leadership “did not leave a good legacy in relations with Russia,” Atambayev said.

“Over the past year and a half we managed to establish relations with Russia, which were ruined by the former government,” he said, noting that a lot of support was afforded to the republic by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Atambayev said that he was able to reach an understanding also with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in particular on the issue of the payment of debt on the Russian side that has accumulated over the past four years for territories in the republic used as Russian military facilities.

Four Russian military facilities are situated on the territory of Kyrgyzstan, as well as an air base in the city of Kant.

Atambayev also said that the U.S. air base at the Manas International Airport in Kyrgyzstan should be closed, as it is a threat to the country.

“Kyrgyzstan does not need a military air base at the civilian airport, it is very dangerous. We want the Manas airport to only be a civilian airport,” he said at his first press conference.

The U.S. airbase at Manas was set up near the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in 2001 in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in America to support military operations in Afghanistan. Under the current U.S. agreement with Kyrgyzstan expires in 2014.

Atambayev, 55, who served as the country’s prime minister, overwhelmingly won the October 30 presidential elections with 62 percent of the vote. Interim President Roza Otunbayeva, who took power after Kurmanbek Bakiyev was ousted as president amid large-scale popular protests in April 2010, was barred from running in the polls.

US Trying To Back Precious War Materiel Out of Pakistan

Safety concerns: ‘US to export all NATO cargo out of Pakistan’

US has directed sensitive NATO supplies to be exported out of Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE/AFP

ISLAMABAD: Barely a month after Pakistan’s retaliatory decision to block Nato supplies for the coalition forces stationed in Afghanistan, the United States has decided to export all its cargo, including military hardware and arms, out of Pakistan.

Sources told Express News that the break in supplies has frustrated US authorities to the point where they are now weighing various options to move around the cargo stranded at various locations in Pakistan.

“It has been a month since the Nato attack which resulted in the port and border closures with no resolution in sight, the US government intends to have all import unit cargo that is currently staged at different Container Holding Yards (CHYs) moved back to Karachi port or the nearest CHY to the port. Once we receive approval, all unit cargo will be exported out of Pakistan,” wrote Anita Rice, Chief of the OCCA SWA (595th Trans Brigade, NSA Bahrain) in an email to all ‘concerned’ persons.

“To ensure smooth transition from import to export cargo in the Pakistan Customs Clearance System (PaCCS) and Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL) computer systems, documents are required to be submitted to the US consulate in Karachi,” Anita added in the email.

“We require all USC-6 (universal contract 2006) carriers to submit the required documents to the US consulate, Karachi ( for cargo/supplies currently staged outside the port for export,” the email read.

According to sources, US cargo, stranded in Pakistan, is worth millions of dollars and US authorities have serious concerns over the safety of the cargo as it includes hammer vehicles, dumpers, anti-aircraft guns, special carriers of anti-aircraft guns, vehicles specially built to jam communications, cranes and sophisticated weapons.

“We will compile information for submission to Pakistan customs for amendment for cargo export,” Rice said in her email, providing US Lieutenant Colonel Jerome Heath’s contact number for further assistance.

Furthermore, it was learnt that the US was using Pakistani routes to supply cargo to its military forces fighting in Afghanistan since 2006 under USC-6 (universal contract 2006).  Under this arrangement, US military personnel were engaged in loading and unloading of cargo while no physical checking was being carried out by Pakistani authorities.

When approached by ExpressNews, Rice refused to comment. Heath was also not available to share his version on this report.

Published in The Express Tribune

Pakistan, India must prevent ‘tripping of nuclear wire’

Pakistan, India must prevent ‘tripping of nuclear wire’: daily

Islamabad: Talks between Pakistan and India to avert conflict is a step in the right direction, said a daily while observing that “the criticality of arrangements to ensure that there is no tripping of the nuclear wire cannot be underscored enough”.

An editorial in the Daily Times on Thursday said that the two countries had a history of hostility and conflict and three wars had been fought in a span of 50 years.

In such a scenario, “confidence-building measures (CBMs) to avert future military and nuclear conflict between arch-rivals Pakistan and India are a step in the right direction”, it said.

Pakistan, India must prevent

Two-day talks were held here on nuclear CBMs. The two countries have extended the validity of their previous agreement to reduce the risk of accidents relating to nuclear weapons for another five years.

During the talks, Pakistan proposed moving heavy artillery 30 km away from the Line of Control (LoC).

“However, while this proposal may be a good one for ensuring peace in that region, it is ineffective unless complemented with a raft of other agreements drawn up to dissipate the tensions between the two sides,” the editorial said.

It suggested making the LoC “porous so as to ease trade and travel across it”.

“The way forward to preserving peace along the divide is by encouraging people-to-people contact through a liberalised visa regime, thereby making it a meeting point…”

The editorial went on to say that if “we are to live with weapons of mass destruction in a region with a volatile history, the criticality of arrangements to ensure that there is no tripping of the nuclear wire cannot be underscored enough”.

“Together with the recent MFN status awarded by Pakistan to India and the meetings between the foreign ministers and prime ministers of the two countries, the CBM talks represent a sea change in the hitherto frozen state of affairs between the two countries since the 2008 Mumbai attacks as India has come back to the negotiating table and understood the need for mutual dialogue,” it added.

News Central Asia Is Back Online (nCa Returns — Starting where we left)

[Happy to report that our good friends in Central Asia have recovered from that devastating hack attack.  nCa is back online, ready to kick some more investigative ass!  I am glad that you are with us, Tariq.]

nCa Returns — Starting where we left

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Tariq Saeedi

We were hacked in late July 2011. It was a thorough job, done by professionals. Now we are back.

Thanks to all the supporters and well wishers.

At the time of hacking we were in the process of starting an investigative-analytic series ‘Smashing Greater Central Asia.’ To provide background information for this series, we posted some of our archive material consisting of investigative reports done by us during the past ten years. It was the archive material that alarmed Uncle Sam and we are happy that our Indian friends got the opportunity to make some money.

Smashing Greater Central Asia actually started soon after hacking. For this I am grateful to my friend Peter Chamberlin, who has already written and published THREE parts of the series at his hugely popular blog

Peter is a complete team in himself: Sharp mind; tremendous analytical skills; ability to grasp the whole picture any time and every time; endless reserves of energy to pursue a point to its logical conclusion; unlimited memory to recall facts and incidents and the rare gift to connect the dots in the right order.

Peter will remain in the pilot seat for Greater Central Asia series. I will contribute whatever I can.

This will be an open-end series because the Evil Empire is writhing like a mortally wounded cobra and things are changing by the day.

Thanks once again to all.

America’s Uzbekistan Problem

Gianpaolo Pagni

America’s Uzbekistan Problem


There is perhaps no country on earth surrounded by more difficult neighbors than Afghanistan. When the U.S. wants to ship matériel to its troops there, it can’t go through Tajikistan because the roads are so poor; it can’t go through Turkmenistan because that country maintains an isolationist neutrality; and, for obvious reasons, it can’t go through Iran.

Until Nov. 26, the U.S. military shipped about a third of its supplies through Pakistan, but after an American attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, the country cut off NATO’s access to the border, and there is little indication that officials in Islamabad intend to change their minds. The U.S. military ships another third of its cargo to Afghanistan by air, but that costs so much more than shipping by land that to expand those operations would be prohibitively expensive. That leaves Uzbekistan.

Anticipating problems with Pakistan, Pentagon planners began putting together the Northern Distribution Network, a series of transit routes from Europe through the former Soviet Union. Nearly all of those routes converge at Termez, Uzbekistan, whose sleepy, dusty streets belie its strategic location: 75 percent of the network’s traffic passes through the town and across the Soviet-built “Friendship Bridge” into Afghanistan. Now, the U.S. will have to ship even more military cargo through Uzbekistan, one of Washington’s least likeable allies.

Ruled since the Soviet era by President Islam Karimov, it is the fifth-most corrupt country in the world, according to Transparency International, and in Freedom House’s rankings of political and civil freedoms it is tied for last.

“The challenge for the United States is to strike a balance between its short-term, war-fighting needs and long-term interests in promoting a stable, prosperous and democratic Central Asia,” John Kerry wrote in the introduction to a report released on Dec. 19 by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations entitled “Central Asia and the Transition in Afghanistan.”

This is a difficult needle to thread, but Washington has so far largely succeeded. The U.S. has kept the supply lines running while compromising little on its principles. The yearly State Department human rights reports have remained consistently critical, even as military cooperation has blossomed. Human rights advocates in Uzbekistan — a small, beleaguered community — still say that, for the most part, they feel like the U.S. Embassy is an ally.

But this balance is difficult to maintain, and lately there have been signs that America may be wavering. The defense budget authorization act passed on Dec. 15 by Congress removed restrictions on military aid to Uzbekistan that had been in place since 2004 because of the country’s odious human rights record. Asked about that decision, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there had been “progress” on human rights and political freedoms, which, while not a realistic assessment of the situation, technically speaking is true.

The Kerry report makes the same claim and as evidence reaches back nearly four years to note only one such bit of progress: that the government began allowing the Red Cross to visit prisoners in 2008. But the overall picture is grim, and, if anything, getting worse.

When Clinton visited Tashkent in October, a State Department official told the reporters accompanying her that “President Karimov commented that he wants to make progress on liberalization and democratization, and he said that he wants to leave a legacy of that for his — both his kids and his grandchildren.” Pressed by an incredulous reporter, the official added, “Yeah. I do believe him.”

This new, more accommodating rhetoric is embarrassing. If Clinton were to say: “No, we don’t agree with how Uzbekistan’s government runs its country. But we need their help in Afghanistan, and so we’re temporarily putting our differences aside,” would anyone object? That is obviously the bargain being struck, and one that few in the U.S. or Uzbekistan would take issue with.

Wikileaked cables reporting on U.S. negotiations with Karimov over the past few years reveal a president who doesn’t seem to care much about how the U.S. sees his government, but just doesn’t want what he calls American “pressure and diktats” to reform.

Though the U.S. has consistently hectored Uzbekistan on human rights over the past two decades, the country has become more oppressive. The U.S.-Uzbekistan military relationship has had its ups and downs — the U.S. operated an air base there from 2001 to 2005 — and through it all, Karimov hasn’t changed.

There is no question that as long as the U.S. is in Afghanistan, it will need to engage with Uzbekistan. But how it chooses to engage can make all the difference. “Achieving our security goals and promoting good governance and human rights are not mutually exclusive,” the Kerry report says. “In fact, security and political engagement are complementary strategies that are more likely to be effective when pursued together.”

The report doesn’t back up that assertion, and in the case of Uzbekistan it plainly isn’t true. No sort of political engagement will work, and the irony is that the more U.S. officials believe it, the more likely they are to compromise their principles. In this case, saying nothing may be the best way for the U.S. to stay true to what it believes.

Joshua Kucera is a freelance reporter based in Washington who writes frequently on Central Asia.

Russia Wins In Central Asia When the Dictators Fear Revolution More Than They Fear A US Attack On Iran

[Berdimuhamedov is flying blind, trying to navigate the treacherous currents, that are ebbing and flowing around and in his country, between two bitter “frenemies,” Russia and the US/NATO.  Keeping with the theme recently sounded on the same website, Gundogar, “Predetermined range of Turkmenistan,” that Berdimuhamedov operates under the conviction that the US and Israel will soon bomb Iran.   He therefore feels compelled to follow American dictates.  This belief apparently causes him to accept Western plans to harvest Turkmen gas, as the first stage in dominating all Central Asian gas and oil.  The author of that piece apparently agrees with my contention, that the Turkmen President, like all the Central Asian dictators, will turn to Russia, if Arab Spring revolutions rise-up in their neighborhood.  They will fear being overthrown by very real masses of protesters, more than they will fear a hypothetical American/Israeli strike on Iran.  In which case,  if the political climate in Central Asia begins to resemble that seen recently in Kazakhistan, Putin might see his Eurasian Union become a reality.]

Ghost of the “Arab Spring” reached the borders of Turkmenistan

Events in Libya and the color revolutions in the Middle East

Political analyst Andrei Grozin about the background of the unexpected visit of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to Russia …

December 23, visited Moscow, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, where he met with top officials of the Russian state. According to  the site of the Russian President , Dmitry Medvedev and Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov discussed current issues of cooperation between Russia and Turkmenistan. In the official records of the negotiations of Heads of State displayed a dry-officially, without any details that point to the theme of the visit Berdimuhamedov signed the agreement.
According to the  website of the Russian government , the president of Turkmenistan met earlier with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. “You have yet to negotiate with President Medvedev, I know, but I am very pleased that you took the time, stopped to talk on the current trade and economic relations – welcome guest, Vladimir Putin. – In this regard, I note that Turkmenistan – our old traditional partner in many areas of cooperation, of course, primarily in the gas sector. And it is pleasant to note that the volume of our trade grows: we have over the past year was a growth of 33%.This is a very good indicator. We are very pleased this positive dynamics, but fully understand and see with you, how difficult is the situation on world markets. I mean, that we have common interests as suppliers. It’s very good that you and I are in constant contact and coordinating our joint efforts in this direction. “

“Let me thank you for inviting me to visit your beautiful country with a working visit, – Putin said Berdymukhamedov. – I think we will have today is a good opportunity to discuss our cooperation in many aspects, that is for the current period that was done in the future, for the future. And this occasion, I would like to congratulate you. You – a candidate for President of Russia. I wish that you won the election. “

On the question of why Moscow was visited by the President of Turkmenistan and the situation in this country, in an interview with the “Russian people’s lines,” said the head of the Central Asia and Kazakhstan, the CIS Countries Institute  Andrei Grozin .

Andrei Grozin

In the media there is almost no information about what they were talking in Moscow the leaders of Russia and Turkmenistan. One gets the feeling that it was just a “friendly trip.” In fact, it is certainly not the case.Berdymukhamedov, of course, younger and more mobile Niyazov, but just try not to go in vain, as opposed to, for example, from the Tajikistan counterparts Emomali Rakhmonov, who goes wherever he can, if only to ask anyone for money. In Berdimuhamedov with the money more or less in order, and the basis for relations between Russia and Turkmenistan, of course, is a gas.
Obviously, during a visit Berdymukhamedov discussed namely “gas issue”. As far as the discussion was conducted “in private”, and hence – the absence of a leak, a variety of interpretations, etc. I believe that the Russian side is not so much worried about the construction of “Nabucco” (which was built in the foreseeable future will not be), but the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline as a first step towards the implementation of major projects out of Central Asian hydrocarbons to Russian territory. Turkmenistan, in addition to what has serious resource base (which in itself is interesting for the European and U.S. corporations), is a bridge actor, cycling who can uncork the whole of Central Asia and try to expand trade and energy flows from the north and east to west.
The position of Ashgabat depends very much, and in Moscow understand that. Therefore, in my opinion, Berdymukhamedov tries until recently did not give anyone any solid guarantees. Something he said, and the EU are talking about the notorious 10 billion cubic meters, of which argue for three years, but it is so vague that even European bureaucrats who support the idea of ​​”Nabucco”, few believe in the marketability of these promises. Another thing is that, unlike Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan does not have the physical and geographical features to really turn around and refuse to supply gas to the north. So they have to conduct a more cautious, more balanced policy. The same Berdimuhamedov will do next – do nothing, just promise to further extend the pipe the Chinese.
Berdymukhamedov mass care and other issues, not only the possibility of pressure from Europe to Ashgabat in connection with the “theme of the gas.” In February, there are presidential elections, when the easiest way to organize unconstitutional change of power or polukonstitutsionnuyu in any state. In addition, in Ashgabat, as well as throughout Central Asia, many excited bloated reports of some “Russian winter” and everything connected with it. It is clear that Berdymukhamedov came to personally clarify the situation for people that really depends on the political development of Russia as opposed to counter-elite that is trying to ride a strange vague ferment inside individual heads, and sectors of society of the capital.
Of course, Berdimuhamedov is worried about the results of the elections. Now nobody in no way certain. Probably Berdimuhamedov to Moscow to seek confirmation of the fortress of Russian power.Turkmenistan is located in a information vacuum – not only in relation to it, little is known, but little is seen from there. In Turkmenistan, very seriously concerned about the ongoing in various expert groups, talk about the fact that Russia is not highly interested in any attempt to build an alternative pipeline from Turkmenistan to the West and will resist such attempts. Against the backdrop of Russia 2006-2007, such arguments by some Russian experts could skip past the ears, but after August 8, 2008, all, including the Central Asian regimes, began to treat the Russian rhetoric is much more closely. Therefore Berdimuhamedov needed to hear the Russian position, as well as hints on how Russia will act if Turkmenistan is still dare to join the Trans-Caspian, where it is actively being dragged and because of which, if it is in this matter will be actively resisted, can emerge serious trouble in the February elections.
In Central Asia, are also seriously concerned as the “Arab spring” (and reaction to it in Russia) as well as what is happening and will happen in Afghanistan. Technologies that are used in the Arab world, perfectly fit the Central Asian soil. Of course, there is its own specifics, but as the experience of the year, clean technology to implement this kind of scenario is not difficult, especially when it comes to such vertically oriented political systems of Central Asia, which differ in the degree of Russian weakness. Our “vertical of power” still a hybrid, and, by the territorial and other factors, more adapted to the external challenges. However, any Central vertical weak in the first place, sharpened by one person when there is no alternative centers of decision-making and crisis response, and secondly – the limited capacity of a single leader (especially since two of the four Central Asian authoritarian already over 70 years, and there discussed the question of who will replace them), that does not add strength to these political structures that undermine the same way just as the Mubarak regime, it is much easier than, for example, in Libya.
Therefore, all the Central Asian rulers gradually catching up to Moscow, because they understand that moving away from Russia, they find themselves in a situation depending on the mood of the West, in other words, the Anglo-Saxon elite. Nobody does not want such a relationship, especially against the background of how the fate of even such a pro-American policy, as Hosni Mubarak.
Now they are nothing more than not believe and try to get some form of compensatory mechanisms in support of Russia. If the situation will be shaken in any of the Central, frankly, despotisms, in parallel with the worsening situation in Afghanistan, they will become more and more pro-Russian – will sign documents of a close partnership, to pursue a Eurasian Union, etc.
It should be noted another important point. The following year, Turkmenistan – Chairman of the CIS.Given the special position of Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan is not transferred to the CIS championship following in alphabetical order the applicant, taking it to yourself), it is quite revealing. It is quite possible that next year, the Turkmen foreign policy will be less neutral and more attempts to integrate into obscheevraziysky mechanism.

Stakes and options

Stakes and options

Zafar Hilaly

If you err by as much as 14 miles when it comes to giving your location and then ask whether there are any “friendly” forces in close vicinity, the answer is irrelevant. That single US error, more than any other, is responsible for what happened at Salala, the rest is nitpicking and off the mark.

Many continue to feel that the US attack on our border posts was not a genuine mistake, and if that was the case it hasn’t been proved so far. Admittedly, the Americans are notorious for being trigger-happy, but they also know which side their bread is buttered. It makes no sense for them to take on Pakistan or teach us lessons, not as yet, anyway. Our cooperation remains indispensable for the war in Afghanistan and for the safety of their forces. Therefore, ignoring that reality and jeopardising what it is in their best interests seems pointless. Besides, military cooperation between the two militaries was improving after the bin Laden fiasco. And so was the exchange of intelligence information between them, which the US deeply values because without such assistance it would be operating clueless in some situations, and hence far less effectively.

Bearing all this in mind – and the fact that the original grid reference of the position of US forces and, hence, where they were operating in relation to border posts was wide off the mark – Washington would have been better off to accept the advice of its ambassador in Islamabad and have apologised for the mistaken bombing. That no casualties occurred on the American side meant they had little to gripe about and were under no pressure to extract their pound of flesh from those who had apparently fired on them. An apology would have facilitated a joint investigation into the incident and the truth would have been established. Even if the investigation revealed, for example, that Pakistan was entirely to blame, the apology could have been withdrawn and sought from the other side.

Therefore, had the US apologised immediately or soon after their investigators discovered the initial mistake (of giving the wrong grid location of their forces), Pakistan would have had to admit that to err is human, accept the apology and compensation on offer, and move on. And that’s what the world too would have appreciated because honourable nations are not ashamed to own their mistakes and to apologise for egregious errors. The US did not, despite the findings of its own investigators; ergo: the US is thus not an honourable nation. And that’s always been the feeling here and now – thanks to Washington ’s lack of grace and, worse, bullying – it has become the popular credo. So what’s new? Not much, perhaps, but the repercussions can be serious if the US fails to mend its ways.

The sense of outrage in Pakistan , not only among the people but also in the army, has generated much talk of revenge and how it could be exacted to account for the loss of Pakistani lives. This is because, in the minds of many, the deliberate killing of innocent soldiers, unaccompanied by an apology, is a blood debt which must be settled. No one will be surprised if relatives of those killed are already making preparations to join the Taliban or get even with the Americans in some form or other.

Similarly, any chance that the supply routes through Pakistan to Afghanistan would be reopened in the near future has diminished, if not evaporated entirely. Their closure will give the US an opportunity to make good on its boast that they don’t count for much. But one thing is clear: it will, nevertheless, become infinitively more expensive for the US to ferry their supplies by alternative routes. And if the supply lines are reopened as a result of US pressure on the current weak and vacillating leadership here, routes will likely be blocked by demonstrators or made impassable by local Taliban supporters. Parliament too will demand that the government ensure they remain closed.

Even if the US-Pakistan relationship returns to an even keel with the passage of time, Salala will linger in public memory. The sense of hurt in Pakistan will persist and the trust and willing cooperation on which so much depends for a constructive relationship will be sorely missing. Of course, many in both countries will feel the ill-fated Pakistan-US relationship, which has suffered several shocks, in addition to the bin Laden raid, was in any case done for. And that the best we could hope for in the future was a relationship based on cold and correct calculation. The Salala episode has proved them right.

Sadly, the tragedy of Salala could so easily have been turned into an opportunity to restore a modicum of trust between the two countries and their respective militaries. Instead, that moment was frittered away.

Obama stood on his stubborn pride – the never failing vice of fools – and showed he did not have the grace to apologise or the guts to heed the advice of his ambassador in Islamabad , rather than the rednecks in the Pentagon.

But that is water under the bridge. It’s perhaps time to adjust to the new situation we face and that, quite frankly, is to look upon the US as a potential and reckless adversary. Or would that be compounding the error? Can we tackle the Afghan imbroglio on our own without some cooperation with the United States ? Do we have resourceful allies who can help us deal with the security challenges we face if we should decide to sever our cooperation with America and treat it as an adversary?

When mulling over such questions, we must keep in mind our strengths and limitations, and that means, above all, our internal situation, starting with our economic and financial condition. Are we politically and economically strong and stable enough to up the ante with the United States and to get involved in a more heated situation on the Afghan border? Or are we better off establishing a purely transactional relationship based on clear terms of engagement?

On the first count – our economic and financial condition – the popular belief is that we are not, although that’s not entirely true. Pakistan ’s dependence on foreign aid looks more like a “debt trap” from which we could escape given better governance. So we need to get our act together on that as a national priority. But on the second count – how we should handle ourselves in the geostrategic game underway in Afghanistan – we had better play our cards well. And that means making the right bid and using our trump cards skilfully, not impetuously, so that in the end, whenever the Afghan imbroglio comes to a closure, we come out in better shape than we are currently. It will affect us more than anyone else and it has already hurt us badly over the course of this longest-running civil conflict in the world.

And there are no grand slams to be made in this high-stakes game by any side. It is much too complex and multidimensional to be brought under anyone’s control. So it’s best to play it with a sense of realism about its complexity and challenges.

The writer is a former ambassador.


Turkey Has Given Russia a Final Permit To Build the South Stream Gas Pipeline

Turkey gives Russia green light to build South Stream gas pipeline

Turkey gives Russia green light to build South Stream gas pipeline

Turkey gives Russia green light to build South Stream gas pipeline

© RIA Novosti. Igor Zarembo

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) –

Turkey has given Russia a final permit to build the South Stream gas pipeline intended to carry Russian natural gas under the Black Sea to Europe, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.

“I want to address the Turkish government with the words of special gratitude due to its decision to grant final permission to Gazprom to build the South Stream gas pipeline along the bed of the Black Sea in its exclusive economic zone,” Putin said at a meeting with Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yildiz.

The accord will contribute to stable energy supplies to the European market, Putin said.

Russia also agreed with Turkey on extending two long-term contracts on gas supplies until 2021 and 2025, Putin said.

The gas export monopoly would boost gas supplies to Turkey by about eight percent or 2 billion cubic meters in 2012 compared with 25.5 billion cu m planned for this year, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.

“As it normally happens in such cases, a final agreement is the result of a compromise acceptable for both parties,” Putin said.

The South Stream pipeline is intended to transport up to 63 billion cubic meters of gas to central and southern Europe, diversifying Russian gas routes away from transit countries such as Ukraine. Commercial gas deliveries via South Stream will start at the end of 2015, Miller said.

The neighboring ex-Soviet republic accounts for 80 percent of Russian gas transit to EU nations but frequent rows with Moscow over gas prices have sometimes ended with Kiev switching the gas tap off in wintertime.

Miller said that Turkey’s permit to build the South Stream pipeline in its territorial waters will not affect the gas price formula for Ukraine or other countries.

“As for market gas prices, they are linked to petroleum product prices and contractual gas deliveries to our partners are pegged to a basket of oil products, and the permit to build South Stream will not affect in any way the pricing formula Gazprom uses in its contracts as a whole and with separate countries,” Miller said.

Ukraine has long been seeking to alter the terms of the 2009 gas deal it signed with Russia. The deal ties the price of gas to oil prices, which have risen sharply since 2009, inflating Ukraine’s gas bill.

Moscow Protests and Occupy Wall St. Are Twin Instruments of Destabilization

[Putin complains that the new opposition is leaderless, without the ability to formulate one coherent complaint against him and the system.  With this description, he could have been talking about the American “Occupy Wall St.” movement.  The Occupy movement and the anti-Putin movement are twins, fake grass roots movements, generated by the same American sponsors.  Occupy and its twin may be nearly identical in composition, but they have diametrically opposed goals–Occupy is intended as an American pressure relief valve, to confuse any real grass roots “praire fire” from sweeping Obama and friends from power; the leaderless Moscow protests are attempting the impossible, to organize around all issues, hoping that one of them will truly light the fuse and destroy Putin in the process. 

The CIA has, over the years, perfected its formula for social agitation and behavioral control.  Real control of activist populations is a powerful instrument for change, sowing destabilized populations wherever this weaponized political process is deployed.   This weaponized form of democratic-revolution is being used in Moscow to destroy the one man who can pull Russia through the time of testing that we have been forced into.  Both Eastern and Western movements are also identical to the “Arab Spring” movements, only in the case of the Middle East and North Africa, Washington’s “Islamists” are the pawns, the agitators deployed by the State Dept. to stir the boiling broth. 

If the world manages to survive the forces that the CIA has unleashed, the end result will be an entire world organized against the perpetrator of all the trouble and chaos.  Only God knows what will happen after that.]

Russian protesters seeking to sow chaos: Putin


MOSCOW: Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that mass protests against his 12-year rule were being stoked by a hollow collection of leaderless opposition groups who wanted to sow chaos in Russia. 

In his first comments since Saturday’s protest, Russia’s prime minister said it was impossible to annul the December 4 parliamentary election – the opposition’s key demand – but promised the March presidential vote, in which he is running, would be transparent.

Comparing protesters to Russian revolutionaryLeon Trotsky, Putin said they were more interested in sowing chaos than implementing a concrete set of ideas on how the world’s biggest energy producer should develop.

“The problem is that they have no single program,” the 59-year-old leader told top members of his All Russia People’s Front, an umbrella movement of supporters, at his presidential election campaign headquarters in Moscow.

“They have many individual programs, but no unified one and no clear way to reach their goals, which are also not clear, and there are no people who would be able to do anything concrete,” Putin said. 

Facing the biggest protests since he rose to power in 1999, Russia’s most powerful politician has looked out of touch in recent weeks, dismissing thousands of protesters as chattering monkeys while offering gradual political reforms.

With supporters, Putin took the protests more seriously, saying his opponents deserved respect despite their hunger for what he termed “Brownian motion,” the apparently random movement of particles observed by Scottish scientist Robert Brown.

Paramount leader

Putin presented himself as a leader able to ensure stability and protesters as spoilers bend on chaos, a potentially appealing strategy in a country which has been racked by crises and political chaos since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

Putin, who polls show is Russia’s most popular politician, said that he had a solid agenda which included modernization of the $1.9 trillion economy and strengthening of defense.

He said protesters were trying to undermine the legitimacy of the parliamentary vote and called for a transparent presidential election.

“When this kind of situation emerges, there is always an attempt to devalue and undermine the legitimacy of everything that happened in the public sphere, including and, most of all, the electoral process,” he said.

“Therefore, everything must be done in order to ensure that elections are understandable, transparent and objective.”

Putin said his government would spend $500 million to install web cameras at all polling stations, an idea he first aired on December 15, although some of his supporters argued it would do little to boost transparency.

The gulf between Putin and tens of thousands of people who came out onto the streets of Russia’s biggest cities has stoked speculation that Putin may seek to ditch some senior aides.

The Kremlin’s powerful first deputy chief of staff, Vladislav Surkov, did not attend Putin’s meeting, the first such absence for months at a meeting of such importance. Surkov did not return calls.

Other Putin’s allies, including trade union activists, industry workers and war veterans, complained to their boss about the methods used by the opposition, with some calling for tighter Internet regulation.

The West tries out old tricks in Russia

The West tries out old tricks in Russia

By Mikhail L. Titarenko (China Daily)

The West tries out old tricks in RussiaLong before the State Duma elections of Dec 4, the ultra-rightist and liberal mass media, collaborating with anti-Russian elements in the West, forecast that the ruling United Russia party would suffer a serious defeat.

They organized all sorts of sociological surveys to support this thoroughly planned campaign and to push their “predictions” on the “crisis” facing Russian leaders and “sharply declining rating” of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev. The anti-Putin campaign became really vociferous when the United Russia congress officially and unanimously approved Putin as its nominee for the presidential election in March 2012.

It is true that the election results showed the correlation of political forces and sentiments in Russia, which is experiencing the difficult strategic consequences of the disintegration of the erstwhile Soviet Union and the impact of the global economic crisis.

The Russian authorities should learn the lessons from the protests, which shows the global crisis has had a serious impact on Russia’s economy. For example, it has increased the cost of housing and utilities substantially, and led to proliferation of corruption, lack of discipline among bureaucrats, strong bureaucratic stranglehold, and chaos in army and military reforms. Quite naturally, these factors have influenced people’s attitude toward the United Russia party and the bureaucracy, which has won the “top prize” in terms of public repulsion.

However, the “go ahead” for the nasty campaign came from politicians in the United States, who made it clear that they would not welcome Putin back as president of Russia. The opposition in Russia took the signal immediately and went on the “offensive”.

Voters manifested good understanding of the fact that in the past decade as well as during the current difficult times Putin, the non-partisan leader of United Russia, and Medvedev have made substantial efforts to consolidate the country and solve its political and social problems. As for Putin, he has won wide public recognition as a Russian patriot who cares and works for the consolidation and prosperity of the country and to improve the lives and livelihoods of the working people, especially the less-protected section of society.

The West assumes that the disintegration of the Soviet Union was the result of its victory in the Cold War. It hopes that with Western support, separatists and criminals will take the next step to cause the collapse of Russia. In their writings, American politicians such as political scientist and former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski and former secretary of state Madeleine Albright have described scenarios of an expected collapse of Russia and even redrawn its national borders.

Putin, who posed the main geopolitical obstacle to the realization of such goals, outlined the strategy for Russia’s revival and consolidation of its status as an important independent country that would cooperate with other countries, including the US, on the principle of equal rights.

As shown by the Dec 4 election results, the United Russia party, notwithstanding the weakening of some of its authority, retained a very considerable percentage of voters’ confidence and won 50 percent of the popular votes. The results also reflect that the Russian people still have the undoubted confidence in Putin and Medvedev.

The Western media try to fan the liberal opposition’s passions in every which way they can. But the Russian authorities, manifesting maximum tolerance, have allowed such anti-government demonstrations to take place.

Some media outlets are engaged in unbridled propaganda, aimed specifically against Putin. But the Russian people know that it is a preplanned political provocation, designed by anti-Russia elements to destabilize the situation in the run-up to the presidential election.

When the liberal media in Russia and in the West loudly advertise their concern over “democratic development” in Russia, they expose their involvement in efforts to silence true public sentiments, as evident in the protests in the US, Britain, Italy, Germany and France. The demonstrations in the West are aimed against the ruling oligarchs in those countries who have fattened their wallets during the economic crisis and distributed multi-million-dollar bonuses among themselves, thereby aggravating the financial and economic chaos.

The Western media should reflect on their double standard on democracy and protests for justice. As the Holy Bible says, before pointing out a mote in another’s eye, they should remove a beam from their own eyes.

The author is president of Russia-China Friendship Association and director of Institute of Far Eastern Studies, affiliated to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Taking on Turkmenistan’s ruling personality

Taking on Turkmenistan’s ruling personalityPresident has promised clean elections in February, but critics doubt if he’ll risk losing power. Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan is weeks away from elections, but the image of only one candidate is to be found in public spaces.The image in question is of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, the country’s second president since independence and a leader know for commanding absolute power and being intolerant of dissent.Berdimuhamedov has promised the February 12 elections will be transparent, but five years after he came to power, his pledges of democratic reforms have yet to materialise.Al Jazeera’s Robin Forestier-Walker reports from Ashgabat.

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China GPS rival to U.S. goes operational

[China has equalized the odds in its immediate neighborhood.  Hopefully, this will make Western militaries hesitate to make aggressive moves in this region.  Whenever the network is completed, China will extend this capability around the world.]

China GPS rival to U.S. goes operational

China aims to make its military less dependent on foreign technology (Getty Images)

(CBS/AP)  BEIJING – A Chinese rival to the U.S. global positioning system network has started providing services in China and the surrounding area.

The director of China’s satellite navigation system office, Ran Chengqi, told reporters Tuesday that the Beidou navigation system is offering services including positioning, navigation routes and time.

Ran did not specify who the target users are, but he said Beidou would be available to Chinese and foreign companies for research and development.

China, and especially its military, have long been wary of relying on the United States’ dominant GPS network, fearing that Washington might take the system offline in a conflict or an emergency. The Beidou project began at the start of the last decade as China sought to develop an alternative to the United States’ government-run GPS. Another six satellites are slated for space launch next year, when the system will cover most of Asia. by 2020, China expects to have 35 satellites circling the globe.

China has brushed aside suggestions that it might use its global satellite network for military purposes. However, policy analysts aren’t persuaded by the regime’s public statements. In 2004, MIT published a paper, outlining how Beidou might be deployed to aim cruise missiles against Taiwan

More recently, a report by the website noted that an independent global navigation system would afford China “a considerable strategic military advantage” in a regional military conflict.

“Such an advantage could prove useful in deterring or hindering the ability of the United States or even India to project air power to intervene with any military operation China decides to take against Taiwan, the Philippines or any other interests China has in the South China Sea,” it wrote.

Kabul May Withdraw from Its Own Rabbani Commission If Islamabad Continues Blocking Efforts

Rabbani murder probe: Kabul may withdraw from joint commission

Iran’s efforts to bring Afghan and Pakistani leaders together at the trilateral summit fail. PHOTO: EPA/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan has threatened to withdraw itself from a bilateral joint commission set up earlier this year to evolve a consensus on negotiations with the Taliban. Kabul has  accused Pakistan of non-cooperation in former presidentBurhanuddin Rabbani’s assassination probe, an official told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.

“They (Afghan authorities) are no more interested in any bilateral engagement with us … Kabul wants more cooperation from Islamabad in the Rabbani murder probe,” the official told The Express Tribune.

He added diplomatic channels between Pakistan and Afghanistan had been halted since the killing was blamed on elements within the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Even though Pakistan allowed a team of Afghan investigations to visit Islamabad last month, Kabul claimed that the ISI did not cooperate with them.

“It seems as though Rabbani’s murder has cast a long shadow over Pak-Afghan relations … and the situation is worrying Islamabad as the Afghan endgame nears,” said another official, requesting anonymity.

Published in The Express Tribune

Iraq on the Brink of Civil War

Iraq on the brink

The Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki’s accusation that Vice-President Tariq al-Hashimi has been ordering the bombing and assassination of political opponents has caused the fragile coalition government to collapse and taken Iraq close to the kind of sectarian violence that followed the United States-led invasion in 2003. It has also exposed the hollowness of Washington’s claim that Iraqi democracy is now stable enough to justify the December 18 removal of the remaining U.S. combat troops. Mr. al-Hashimi has flown to the Kurdistan regional capital, Erbil, where he is relatively safe for the present. The national President, Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish regional president, Masoud Barzani, have called for an immediate political conference. But the central government’s issue of an arrest warrant for Mr. al-Hashimi, and the withdrawal from parliament of Ayad Allawi’s secular-nationalist Iraqiya group, bring to an end a coalition that actually took 289 days to form after the March 2010 general election. The purported quiet of recent times, in which political violence has claimed 200-300 lives a month, has been shattered by a dozen bombings in Baghdad on December 22 that left 57 killed and 176 injured. Ominously, the attacks happened mainly in Shia-majority neighbourhoods, and could provoke sectarian retaliation.

Even temporary compromise will be very hard to achieve, not least because the Iraqi constitution itself institutionalises ethnic and sectarian divisions. The violence of the post-invasion years caused Shias and Sunnis to flee from mixed areas to regions with greater numbers of their own sect. That deepened mutual distrust and suspicion, which has been exacerbated by allegations that the Shia-dominated government is denying Sunni politicians ministerial posts or is obstructing those who hold them. Now three Sunni-majority provinces on the Syrian border are trying to form a self-governing region. Moreover, the U.S. abolition of civic bodies and the invaders’ destruction of physical infrastructure, on the assumption that all who ran those were fanatical Saddamites, have done more than wreck the everyday functioning of Iraq. They have facilitated arbitrary and brutal policing and judicial practices, with trials conducted as much by confession as on the basis of evidence — a tactic Mr. al-Maliki is now using against his political adversaries. Now the country faces disintegration. That will only add to the terrible price millions of Iraqis have paid already, while the main invader, the United States, washes its hands of responsibility for either causing or preventing it.

Afghanistan tells NATO to disband local force, may open rift

Afghanistan tells NATO to disband local force, may open rift

Sanjeev Miglani
KABUL (Reuters) – NATO is reviewing the activities of an irregular police force set up to bolster security mainly in the troubled north, the alliance said on Tuesday, following a call by the Afghan government that it be disbanded.

The row over the Critical Infrastructure Protection program (CIP) launched in areas where there are not enough regular security forces threatens to open a new rift with President Hamid Karzai who sees them as parallel structures that undermine his authority.

A spokesman of the Afghan interior ministry said that the CIP, made up of local militia, was operating outside the Afghan police structure, and people have complained in the provinces where the force was launched to protect reconstruction projects and join the fight against the Taliban.

“We have requested NATO that it be disbanded, our people are not happy about it. They only want national police forces that they can recognize,” said Sediq Sediqqi.

Several armed groups have been set up in response to Afghanistan’s downward security  spiral, aiming to capitalize on a demands to protect local communities — much like Iraq’s Awakening Council that helped turn the tide of the Iraq war.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said the CIP program was under review and would continue to operate.

“ISAF has not been asked to terminate CIP from functioning/providing critical infrastructure protection while the review is underway,” a spokeswoman for the ISAF’s regional command north said in an email.

“The CIP program has produced a reduction in insurgent significant actions (IEDs, small arms fire attacks, etc) where CIP has been emplaced,” she said, adding that the program was requested in writing by the Afghan provincial governors where they were deployed.

Human rights groups say that as NATO prepares to withdraw by the end of 2014 it is trying to build up Afghan national security forces as well as irregular units at top speed.

On Tuesday, 70 members of the team stood guard at the opening of a bridge built by a foreign run joint military-civilian team in Char Darah district of northern Kunduz province, a Reuters reporter said.

Besides Kunduz, the force operates in Faryab, Jawzjan, Sar-e- Pul and Laghman provinces, areas that Afghan national forces are not fully represented. The ISAF spokeswoman said CIP had 1544 members and that the ISAF had not issued any weapons.

The governor of northern Kunduz province said he was concerned about what the men will do if the local CIP unit was dismantled.

“Now that the government has decided to dismiss it, it has to provide them with jobs in the military field,” Mohammad Anwar Jigdalik said.

(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Ed Lane)

Iranian Vice Pres. Warns Iran Will Block Hormuz Strait If Sanctions Are Applied

[If Iran actually pulls this off, then I will have to adjust my entire belief system, that the US/Iran hostilities are another intel agency psyop, conducted by agreement, carefully choreographed for maximum political effect, with minimal acts of real violence.  It would be suicidal for both sides if Iran blocks the Hormuz Strait.]

Iran to block Hormuz Strait if sanctions applied

Iranian soldiers prepare rockets on a launcher during a military drill near the Strait of Hormuz. (AFP File Photo/Rouholla Vahdati/ISNA)

Iranian soldiers prepare rockets on a [Hawk AA missile–editor] launcher during a military drill near the Strait of Hormuz. (AFP File Photo/Rouholla Vahdati/ISNA)

TEHRAN – No oil will be permitted to pass through the key oil transit Strait of Hormuz if the West applies sanctions on Iran’s oil exports, Iranian Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi warned on Tuesday.

The threat was reported by the state news agency IRNA as Iran conducted navy wargames near the Strait of Hormuz, at the entrance of the oil-rich Gulf.

“If sanctions are adopted against Iranian oil, not a drop of oil will pass through the Strait of Hormuz,” Rahimi was quoted as saying.

“We have no desire for hostilities or violence… but the West doesn’t want to go back on its plan” to impose sanctions, he said.

“The enemies will only drop their plots when we put them back in their place,” he said.

The threat underlined Iran’s readiness to target the narrow stretch of water along its Gulf coast if it is attacked or economically strangled by Western sanctions.

More than a third of the world’s tanker-borne oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz.

The United States maintains a navy presence in the Gulf in large part to ensure that passage remains free.

Iran is currently carrying out navy exercises in international waters to the east of the Strait of Hormuz.

Ships and aircraft dropped mines in the sea on Tuesday as part of the drill, according to a navy spokesman.

Although Iranian wargames occur periodically, the timing of these is seen as a show of strength as the United States and Europe prepare to impose further sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors.

The last round of sanctions, announced in November, triggered a pro-regime protest in front of the British embassy in Tehran during which Basij militia members overran the mission, ransacking it.

London closed the embassy as a result and ordered Iran’s mission in Britain shut as well.

Tehran in September rejected a Washington call for a military hotline between the capitals to defuse any “miscalculations” that could occur between their militaries in the Gulf.

An Iranian lawmaker’s comments last week that the navy exercises would block the Strait of Hormuz briefly sent oil prices soaring before that was denied by the government.

While the foreign ministry said such drastic action was “not on the agenda”, it reiterated Iran’s threat of “reactions” if the current tensions with the West spilled over into open confrontation.

– AFP/al

Who Killed the Soviet Union?

[Gorbachev and the liberal Russians made no effort to save the problem-plagued home of world Communism.  They simply allowed Russia to succumb to the many injuries inflicted upon itself and upon the far reaches of the Soviet empire, as a result of its “command economy.”  It seemed as though their real allegiances were with the West.  Even today, Gorbachev is singing loudly that Putin needs to surrender now, without even trying to correct the political and economic shortcomings that are motivating people to take to the streets.  Against this belief, we have the imaginings of the conspiracy theorists, who see a plot in every move.  Their explanation suggested that the USSR’s crumbling was a sinister sort of “judo move” by the Gorbachev and the Communists, to turn the tables on the Americans, buying time to recover what had been lost.  If that was really the secret plan by the “powers that be,” then why have they waited so long to make the next move that would put Russia on top?  In that time, the US has merely stumbled, while the USSR disappeared.  Perhaps the US was saved from itself by the brilliant CIA plan to create a new artificial enemy–“Islamist terror.”]

“We Soviets are going to do the worst possible thing to you Americans.   We are going to deprive you of your worst enemy.”—Georgi Arbatov, member of CCCP

Sun Journal – Feb 27, 1990, Lewiston, Maine

Who Killed the Soviet Union?

Twenty years ago, on Dec. 12, 1991, the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic ratified the Belavezha Accords. This agreement, which was signed four days earlier by Russian PresidentBoris Yeltsin, Ukrainian leader Leonid Kravchuk and Belarussian leader Stanislav Shushkevich, dissolved the Soviet Union with a stroke of three pens followed by a hasty vote in parliament.

As a Supreme Soviet deputy during this turbulent time, my speech in parliament opposing this ratification was one of the most difficult of my life — not only because it went against the majority opinion, but also because of the feeling of despair gripping everyone. The walls of the room in which we met seemed to exude a tragic sense of hopelessness, and yet many experienced a naive sense of euphoria over what they mistakenly thought was a “historical achievement.”

Why were Russia’s lawmakers and citizens —not to mention the KGB and military — so indifferent to this destructive and fateful adventurism of Yeltsin, Kravchuk and Shushkevich?

Some of the answers to these questions can be found in the following:

  • The Soviet planned economy had almost completely come to a halt;
  • The monopoly of Marxist-Leninist ideology left Soviet society in a spiritual and political vacuum that intensified the search for alternatives;
  • The people’s desire for basic consumer goods — and the Kremlin’s inability to recognize the importance of this elementary desire — led to the emergence of a pervasive shadow economy that was incompatible with the principles of socialism;
  • The weakening of the ideological underpinnings of society coupled with the nearly lifeless condition of religion in Russia led to increased interethnic tensions;
  • The state campaign against alcohol and the drop in world oil prices drained government coffers, sharply limiting maneuvering room in domestic policy for the Communist Party.

There were also man-made factors behind the Soviet Union’s growing internal crisis. They included the following:

  • For decades, foreign states tried to destabilize the Soviet Union. They ultimately succeeded in establishing anti-socialist and anti-Soviet forces within society;
  • The senior Communist Party leadership allowed control of the media to pass into the hands of “agents of influence” at a time when state counter-propaganda measures had become ineffective;
  • A number of activists advocating change joined forces to disrupt food supplies to Moscow and Leningrad, creating an artificially induced, widespread food shortage from 1989 to 1991.

But why didn’t Soviet citizens arise to defend their country from collapse? Why did the majority of Supreme Soviet deputies and other high-ranking public officials give in to the collusion committed by Yeltsin, Kravchuk and Shushkevich?

One of the most important reasons was the failed putsch of August 1991, after which the staunchest advocates of preserving the Soviet Union were removed from their posts, discredited or arrested. Thus, the movement to save the Soviet Union was all but deprived of its leadership. Meanwhile, the people had lost all faith in Soviet PresidentMikhail Gorbachev, who was incapable of stopping the growth in the country’s interethnic conflicts, separatism and social and economic degradation.

Yet the Soviet Union retained enormous potential for development. It could have continued to exist — perhaps in a slightly different form, but remaining as a federation of states with Moscow as the federal center. Under the right leadership and reforms, the Soviet Union could have recovered from its 1991 crisis to become a strong, healthy country — one based on the traditional values of Russian civilization — as well as a global superpower. There was no reason to throw the baby out with the bath water.

In this context, it is important to remember that 76 percent of the people from the Soviet republics that took part in the referendum on March 17, 1991, voted to preserve the Soviet Union. And they did so despite the growing crisis of confidence in the Moscow leadership and attempts by the democratic movement to discredit the idea of unity with calls to vote down the referendum.

That is why the proponents of the Belavezha Accords tried to hide the destruction of the Soviet Union behind the smokescreen of a new Commonwealth of Independent States, disingenuously promising that the new CIS would provide greater stability, democracy and prosperity than the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, ordinary people were far too willing to believe these fairy tales.

Of course, there were purely practical considerations as well. Gorbachev’s fundamental inability to rule the country led to the widespread desire to remove him from office by any means possible in fall 1991. The public understood that the ship of the Soviet Union was about to collide with a iceberg, and the captain had no interest whatsoever in trying to stave off disaster. As one of my senior Communist colleagues in parliament said at the time, “First we’ll get rid of Gorbachev and then we’ll regroup.”

The Soviet Union did not die from old age. It was killed by a group of opportunists — some of whom were deceived and driven by naive hopes of a better future, while others were driven by a craving for power and a greedy desire to distribute government property into private hands.

Sergei Baburin, who served as a deputy in the Supreme Soviet from 1990 to 1993, is dean of the Russian State University of Trade and Economics.

The Moscow Times


Is Kazakhstan, Not Uzbekistan, The Real Linchpin Of The NDN?

China To Act As Bulwark for Pakistan In Future

Partnership with Pakistan to be enhanced, says China

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei. — Photo by AFP

BEIJING: China would continue to develop its strategic partnership with Pakistan, said Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday.

`No matter how the international situation changes, this policy will not be shaken,` said the spokesman for the ministry, Hong Lei.

He said Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who recently visited Pakistan as a representative of President Hu Jintao, met President AsifAli Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to discuss the state of relations between the two countries.

The future prospects in ties were also discussed.

At the meetings, the Pakistani leaders described the ties with China as a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy, said  Hong.

He said China firmly sup-ported Pakistan’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty, security, independence and territorial integrity and also its endeavours to improve the lives of its people.

Mr Hong said China was ready to launch joint initiatives with Pakistan to improve the already good bilateral relations, strengthen cooperation in international and regional issues and promote their comprehensive strategic partnership.-APP

Instability in Pakistan

Instability in Pakistan

Return to frontpage

The alarm call sounded by Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani of a conspiracy to oust his government has brought out in the open the rift between Pakistan’s elected civilian government and the military. As long as this was confined to whispers in the corridor, there was a possibility that the differences could be papered over. Chances of this are now slim. A public denial by the Army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, of a coup in the making and his pledge of support to the democratic process have failed to clear the air. A military takeover does seem unlikely — the Pakistan Army has learnt that coups work badly for it in the long run. Moreover, General Kayani and the ISI chief, Lt. General Shuja Pasha, both on extended tenures, are hardly popular in the prevailing anti-American environment marked by their failure to prevent U.S. military incursions, notably to kill Osama bin Laden. But the military’s loathing for President Asif Ali Zardari could still see it manoeuvring against him through other means. The opening could come from the Supreme Court, which is considering a petition by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader, Nawaz Sharif, asking it to investigate ‘memogate’. This is the controversy stirred up by a Pakistani-American businessman’s allegation that, on behalf of the Pakistan government, he carried a ‘memo’ to a top American general asking for help to stave off a possible military coup in the aftermath of the Osama raid. Mr. Zardari’s opponents, including former cricketer Imran Khan, blame him for this ‘conspiracy’ against the Pakistan military. The Army has added its voice to the demand that the Supreme Court hear the case. But Prime Minister Gilani’s extraordinary speech makes it clear there can be no selective removal — if the President goes, the government will go too. That would precipitate a political crisis much worse than the present standoff.

Unfortunately, Pakistan will continue to be politically unstable as long as its civilian-military relations remain weighted in favour of the latter. For the region and the world, that means negotiating relations with Islamabad will stay complicated. Indeed, one reason for the present turmoil is the struggle between the Pakistan People’s Party government and the military on who will reset relations with the U.S. after the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border by NATO. For New Delhi, which recently restarted dialogue with Islamabad after more than two years of a ‘pause’ over the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the priority is to ensure that the turmoil in Pakistan does not pose any security risks for India and that constructive bilateral engagement can go on despite the political uncertainty across the border.

Setting Foundations for CSTO Rapid Reaction Force Includes Control of Internet

To beat or not to beat?

That is the question

Lyrics: Vladimir NORTH Photo: Ermek Sarbasov

Ministers of Defense of the CSTO together with foreign ministers and secretaries of security councils have agreed to December 19 in Moscow, as they had better and more profitable for everyone to act in case of various emergencies, regulations and other hazardous situations.After hours of consultation, draft documents and plans for the medium term. The next day the head of these documents, approved and adopted, affixed their signatures. And one and all expressed their confidence that the issues discussed in the Russian capital, capable of providing “new opportunities for rapid and adequate response to threats and risks that exist in the modern world.” Does now that the military “to the teeth” Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) will be assigned to any country alliance to suppress it “color revolutions”, display or performance of Petroleum gas workers disgruntled?

But here there is a reasonable question: what, then, will deal with law enforcement authorities of a State, if the police powers necessary to entrust the RRF? Theoretically, of course, we can assume that the international troops special forces come to the aid of the authorities and opponents of divorce in different corners of the “Ring.” But where can this opposition is to have – one Almighty knows. The idea of ​​entering RRF in a country CSTO initially a failure. Well, who is president agreed to suppress demonstrations by the CORF? Some experts argue that the idea “does not seem well thought-out, because it can disrupt the alliance between the former republics of the USSR.” Political processes that go beyond the law, it should stop its own internal forces, other forces, law enforcement, but not the army. It is obvious that the CSTO is first necessary to define and structure the tasks and objectives for which military unit, in fact, was created – the organization of collective security – and not to undertake non-core areas.

Although each individual country units taken that are part of RRF, as the best trained and mobile, can be employed to restore order and stability. How did this happen in Zhanaozen. Walking up the alarm company air assault brigade moved in a few hours of military transport aircraft in the “hot” area.

– We have really been given the task – to block the city and carry out controls at the checkpoints to prevent the penetration of various Zhanaozen extremists – said the brigade commander, Aydar Kabdenov. – I just got back from there. The situation in Zhanaozen now calm. We operate exclusively within the law. My subordinates are well trained and equipped. This is not a conscript and contract soldiers. The boys and adults understand everything correctly. Recently, we got 10 brand new KamAZ.And we have modern armored vehicles, the 2007 model year. And the form Ksor-skaya on all harvested. So to carry out any tasks assigned by the Minister of Defence, we are ready.

The commander of the air assault brigade told how intense are the teachings of the CSTO and they know how to do his subordinates. As a result of combat competition from all the air assault brigades it – is the best.

– In Russia, were teaching us in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan … And everywhere we showed itself at its best – continues to Major Kabdenov. – A landfill Koktal we recently demonstrated their ability to nyvyki and Minister of Defense. Comments to us have not arisen. And it pleases.

Let me remind the readers ‘Megapolis’: the CSTO comprises seven countries: Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The leaders of these countries, without exception, came to Moscow for negotiations.

– We have reached an agreement on the equipment of the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF), the training of special forces, members of the RRF and the rescue teams. Decisions in the field of information security of the Member States on how to respond to emergency situations of natural and manmade. Determined by the forces and resources allocated to the CSTO member states of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces, and also approved the budget for 2012, – said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

He also noted the agreement reached that the military bases of third countries on the territory of a Member State CSTO is only possible with the common consent of all members. Now, no country in the alliance without permission (without the consent of other members) will not be able to host the U.S. military base, even if they promise to pay for this service billions of dollars annually.

This is understandable. But what can the phrase “decisions in the field of Information Security of CSTO member states.” Is it possible to turn off the authorities in terms of the Internet is now within the CSTO framework, using the “international arm?”

Since about information security first began the CSTO Secretary Bordyuzha, then I can assume that at the summit of the CSTO has been formulated such a specific task, because the alliance at all costs had to be again demonstrate their frantic activity to re-justify their existence. Critics in fact very much to the sound of this expensive organization.

– The immediate task of the CSTO is very complex – experts say – so the earlier work of its agencies to identify their need for dealing with related areas: the fight against drug trafficking and illegal migration.Plot with an Internet confrontation in the same plane – to reveal their government and society structure the meaning of existence. Thereby justify the multimillion-dollar costs.

Whatever it was, we’re all for stability and peace. And for the fact that any of the security forces were entirely within the law. For our own safety.

Sughd court jails 53 people for suicide bombing and membership in IMU

Sughd court jails 53 people for suicide bombing and membership in IMU

Mavlouda Rafiyeva

KHUJAND, December 26, 2011, Asia-Plus  —  The Sughd regional court has sentenced 53 people to jail – including five life sentences – for last year’s suicide bombing in Khujand and membership in the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

Firdavs Karimov, Sohibjon Sobitov, Ismatullo Boboyev, Zafar Karimov and Akmal Hoshimov were sentenced to life imprisonment on December 23 by the Sughd regional court.  Forty-eight other defendants received sentences ranging from eight to 30 years.

The trial for these 53 people began on July 12, 2011 and it was held behind closed at pretrial detention facility # 2 in Khujand.

According to Mr. Justice Dadojon Gadoyboyev, who presided over the trial, the defendants are mainly residents of Isfara, Istaravshan and Spitamen districts and the city of Khujand.  They faced charges of terrorism, organization of criminal group, the violent seizure of power or the violent retention of power, document forgery, illegally bearing, possessing, acquiring, and manufacturing weapons, preparation for crime or criminal attempt, murder, complicity in committing a crime, misuse of power, not reporting a crime to police or covering a crime, and illegal border crossing.

Gadoyboyev noted that 10-12 of those defendants had stood the trial as accomplices to the last year’s suicide car bombing, while the others stood the trial for membership in the IMU.

Some local experts say the verdict was announced without presence of defense lawyers that contradicts rules of procedures.

We will recall that on September 3, 2010, a suicide bomber drove a car packed with explosives into the main gate of the Sughd regional organized crime control division in Khujand, killing himself and three others and injuring 31 people.  The vehicle was driven at high speed into the gated compound of the organized crime control division — as the gate was closing after two police cars entered the complex — and the car exploded.  It was the first-ever such suicide bombing reported in Tajikistan.

Tajik law enforcement authorities blamed the attack on elements with ties to the banned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), whose leadership purportedly has links to Al-Qaeda.

The State Committee for National Security (SCNS)’s office in Sughd province announced on October 5, 2010 that the suicide bomb attack was carried out by Akmal Karimov, whom it identified as a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

US/Israeli Strong-Arm Capitalism and Nuclear Blackmail In Turkmenistan

[SEE: The Great Game – The War For Caspian Oil And Gas ]

Predetermined range of Turkmenistan

Author: Ruslan Babanov

Against the background of the official Israeli officials on high alert for war with Iran and the IAEA report on the occurrence of two-year effort of the Islamic republic to develop nuclear weapons had a special significance as the country’s position of Turkmenistan that could be a crucial springboard for attack, or, conversely, reliable rear defense. It is known that Israel and Iran had a long period of mutual influence in Turkmenistan in order to win over in the process of determining the question of war or peace. And if Israel’s side in this fight for the sympathy of Ashgabat was the objective superiority, and including support for the U.S., Iran has argued its often definitive requirements to its northern neighbor close relationship in economic and ethnic characteristics of the structure of the population.

Tugged on the strings

The regime of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov tend to combine prudence with provocative actions of training and awareness-raising measures. This policy is in the eyes of its traditional partners in Ashgabat often assumes the shape of blackmail, as it is commonly known in the vicissitudes of relations with Russia “gas issue”. Similar tactics in recent years Turkmenistan has uses in trying to find a compromise between participation in a global economy that largely depends on the position of Israel and the United States, and the preservation of peace on its borders, that is to a large extent dependent on relationships with Iran.

Balancing the interests of Israel and Iran to Turkmenistan permissible as long as the question does not arise by an edge. Already, the presence of U.S. armed forces under the guise of transit structures near Ashgabat and Mary stands for the position that will be forced to take a Turkmen president in the event of military operations in Iran to retain power and a respectable position in the global economic structures.

The internal state of the Turkmen society is such that in the short term it does not threaten the major internal manifestations of discontent. On the other hand, excessive pressure makes the internal balance of the state dependent on exogenous factors. Decisive of them could be the expansion of conflicts in neighboring Afghanistan and the beginning of a major war in the south – in Iran. In such circumstances, the Turkmenistan will be subject to all the disasters the rear of the military operation will be borne not only by economic and reputational losses, but that much more important, it may be to those of the international forces, whose task is to eliminate self-willed, authoritarian regimes and the capture of resources through a rough pseudo-grafting institutions. Obviously, to avoid the inevitable choice of priorities in the context of the Iranian-Israeli conflict will not be able to Turkmenistan.


Israeli-Turkmen contacts very rarely the subject of monitoring the media, and yet the economic and political relations between the two countries have a long history and deep roots. One of the cornerstones of cooperation of Israel and Turkmenistan in the economic sphere is energy. The leader in this area is considered a company “Merhav”, owned by Joseph Maiman. Among the major projects implemented by “Merhav”, including with the help of a senior administration official Turkmen President Alexander Zhadan is called a complete reconstruction of the Turkmenbashi oil refinery and Seydi refinery. The total investment in these projects has exceeded three billion U.S. dollars. According to the official website of the company, she also successfully implemented in Turkmenistan, a number of other projects’ in the fields of agriculture, health and safety. ” Maiman and his companion Mirkin belonged at one time the idea of ​​building a trans-Caspian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to Turkey. He was also on the personal instructions of the first president Saparmurat Niyazov, the Turkmen citizenship was granted the rank of Honorary Consul of Turkmenistan in Israel and the official status of a special envoy on issues related to energy exports. On the sidelines of the informal status of Israeli businessman was the title of “treasurer of Turkmenbashi.”

The agreement on opening the Embassy of Israel in Turkmenistan was reached in June 2009, and in September he was appointed ambassador to the former legal resident of the “Mossad” in the CIS Reuven Dinel. However, in early June 2009, Chief of General Staff of the Iranian Hassan Firuzabadi urged the Turkmen authorities to prevent the opening of the Israeli embassy. “We are taking all measures to limit the influence of the Zionists in the neighboring state of Iran, in particular, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan,” – said Firuzabadi. As a result, in February and March last year, it became clear that Dinel not receive accreditation from the Turkmen authorities. His candidacy has not been officially rejected, but in response to requests Israelis were silent.

In terms of geopolitics and the ethnic component of communication of Turkmenistan and Israel is ephemeral. The majority of the Jews of Turkmenistan – Ashkenazi Jews who arrived in the region during the Soviet era. According to official data, the largest Jewish community in the country is in Ashgabat and employs 800 people. The remaining Jews live in an area between the towns of Chardzhou and Mary. In this country there are no synagogues, no rabbis. The Jewish Community of Turkmenistan has no formal status and. Israeli efforts to establish social structures in Turkmenistan communal life have so far been unsuccessful, as evidenced by departure was in 1989, more than 1,000 Jews to Israel.

However, in Turkmenistan, with success, with the support of the Israeli lobby in the Office of the President   working businessmen of Jewish origin from other countries. For general comments participants of the business life of Ashgabat, the confidence of such businesses in the country is such that allows them full voice to declare their caste exclusiveness. For example, little known to the public, the owner of a speculative oil and gas company operating in Turkmenistan, Loewenstein, involved in Russia in 1999 to criminal prosecution for tax evasion amounting to about $ 1 million in private conversations, is wont to say that in business deals only to those whose spiritual home is Israel, and the “gentiles” to discuss business matters has no desire. Such statements often sounded from the lips of Jewish businessmen operating in Turkmenistan, as Mirsky, Mogil’nitskii, Shem, etc.

It can be assumed that the excessive arrogance of such “entrepreneurs”, served, including those who are responsible for some failures of the vowels in the mutual relations of Turkmenistan with Israel. It is reported with reference to informed sources, the Turkmen government refused to deal with an Israeli company to buy for $ 300 million satellite, which could be used in both civilian and military purposes. Experts agree it is a private event correlated with the aggravation of the situation around Iran’s foreign policy and counter-pressure on Tehran’s neighbors, and potential allies. The outcome of the negotiations on the purchase of Israeli satellite is a creature of another long-running story of bilateral relations, namely the opening of the Israeli diplomatic mission in Ashgabat.

In these circumstances, mutual distrust and tension Jewish business is an important link in trade in natural resources of Turkmenistan. However, the government of this country demonstrates the desire to limit the participation of foreign investors brokerage, project processing and in extraction allows them to identify the most risky projects. Thus, the objective conditions and the geopolitical factor of alertness of the Turkmen leadership makes the position of Israel and Israeli businesses in this country wobbly at all the significance of contemporary Israeli involvement in the internal economic life of Turkmenistan.

Active thrust

Turkmen President Berdimuhamedov visited the Nowruz celebration in Iran in 2011, wanting to witness the strengthening of “good neighborliness and brotherhood.” Meanwhile, the ethno-cultural community of Iranian and Turkmen peoples, there are serious flaws. The first line of the split – the religious. The Turkmens, as opposed to the Shiite Persians, traditionally practiced Sunni Islam. Language and ethnic community exists in Iran and Tajikistan, but relations with Turkmenistan in this area are rather forced to fill the vacuum of genuine social and economic contacts.

In this regard, the tone of relations between the two sets of the infamous trade of resources. Turkmen gas supplied northern provinces of Iran, and it was initiated by Tehran and its funding in the mid-1990s, began to implement this project. Today, Turkmenistan and Iran have linked two natural gas, which Iran arrives in about 14 billion cubic meters of gas per year from the possibility of increasing to 20 billion cubic meters.

In 2010, the total amount of Iranian oil exports Turkmenistan has made ​​$ 386 million and imports – 403 million dollars. Total for 2009 and 2010, bilateral trade grew by 15% compared to previous years. At present, according to the Minister of Commerce Mehdi Ghazanfari in February 2011, the total volume of trade between Iran and Turkmenistan exceeded $ 4 billion, and by the parties, there is every possibility and conditions for the increase in this indicator over the next 5 years to 10 billion dollars a year. In addition, in the relations between Turkmenistan and Iran greater role for the implementation of joint projects . The last of those is the construction of the railway Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran, launched in 2007.

On this list of important joint economic projects between the two countries has been exhausted, and serve very definite pragmatic and vital interests of Iran’s security. For this reason, the steady drift of Turkmenistan in the direction of the United States, whose armed forces planned and under various disguises being developed in this country, is often the hysterical reaction of Tehran. Every further step of Turkmenistan and the United States, whether increased cooperation in the field of fuel supply and logistics support of coalition forces in Afghanistan, or the deepening of cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and terrorism, is loud statements by officials in Tehran.

Thus, the November 9th member of the national security and foreign policy of the Iranian parliament Zohreh Elahian said in an interview with Iranian news agency Fars, that Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are the regional outposts of the Israeli secret service “Mossad”, as well as U.S. intelligence and the UK. According to her, with the territories of these countries have bases whose purpose is to “lead and coordinate terrorist groups, as well as operations to intelligence gathering and sabotage against the Islamic republic and its citizens.”

The choice is made

The above and many other statements of Iranian officials and public figures indicate that not only the community of experts, but also to recognize the fait accompli, Tehran Turkmenistan choice in favor of Israel and its Western allies. This choice for President Berdymukhamedov has made history, spreading an international force with a clear advantage in favor of the United States and Israel. Active economic contacts between Turkmenistan and Iran were not strong enough arm to break the trend. In turn, Israel, and sustaining the local lesion, regular and unobtrusive work achieved considerable success in the bridgehead to the north of Iran. Thus, in practice there is no response but the extent of Turkmenistan’s participation in future operations against Tehran. But it depends on the nature of the operation itself: whether it will be long and aimed at changing the political system in Iran, or the local end and after attacks on nuclear facilities. Today, “informed sources” is thrown into the message field information about upcoming local operation, but, as we know, appetite comes with eating, and under certain conditions, Turkmenistan, whose policy of “neutrality” and “diversification” and otherwise – of pleasing “and yours and ours “- which deprived him of reliable and key allies may be in the center of a fiery tangle of Iran and Afghanistan.


CIA should have no role in any new Lockerbie investigation

CIA should have no role in any new Lockerbie investigation

You report that during his visit to Washington Scotland’s Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland agreed with senior US Government officials that US investigators might join Scottish police in seeking further information on the Lockerbie bombing (“Lockerbie detectives will be in Libya early next year, The Herald December 22”).

While I am pleased that Scottish police officers are to pursue answers to the many unanswered questions about the atrocity and the guilt of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi and others, I am less sanguine about them being “assisted” by US anti-terrorist agencies.

The main contribution of the CIA and FBI to the original investigation was to offer a huge bribe to jog the memory of the main prosecution witness about his identification of a casual customer in his shop several years earlier, and to magically find a tiny piece of the detonator casing in a Lockerbie field six months after the local police had scoured every inch of the area. We don’t need any more of that kind of co-operation.

In seeking justice for the victims’ families, and to restore the reputation of the Scottish justice system, what would extremely helpful would be the publication in full of the 800-page Report of the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission (SCCRC), which found six reasons to indicate that there had been a miscarriage of justice in the original court conviction.

It is an ongoing disappointment to many who are concerned about the Camp Zeist trial that Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill and his officials have consistently found reasons to conceal this report, despite it being clearly in the public interest that it should be published. Now sections of it are to be revealed in Megrahi’s biography early next year and will no doubt appear on the internet for all to see.

There is another possible scenario. Official Libyan Government documents may reveal what many have always suspected, that Libyan involvement was merely as an undercover agent for an Iranian terrorist group backed by Syria, seeking revenge for the unlawful shooting down of an Iranian civil airliner a few months earlier for which the captain and crew of the US warship were decorated and feted as heroes. How would the CIA manage to cover that up? Is that why it wants to be present at a Scottish criminal investigation?

Iain A D Mann,

7 Kelvin Court, Glasgow.

AN extraordinarily detailed research paper published last month seems to confirm that US intelligence was well aware that a timer device of the type used by Palestinian terror group the PFLP-GC was used to detonate the bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, because of the flight time, but that even by November 1991, it was still unaware of the Heathrow break-in. The academic paper also reveals the interception of messages of relief from Iran following this switch of suspicion away from her.

During Mr Megrahi’s trial in 2000, the Heathrow break-in remained unknown, blinding the court to an all-too-obvious route by which the bomb may well have been infiltrated.

The Heathrow break-in occurred just after midnight, 16 hours before the Lockerbie disaster. Because of the nature of the device, it could not possibly have been put on board in Malta.

Iran seemed to be the motivating force in the time between the US shooting down of her airbus and the “Autumn leaves” operation by the (West) German BKA.

Mr Megrahi is now near to death in Tripoli, but his guilt or innocence seems to tell us nothing about what the Gaddafi regime and Abu Nidal were up to between October and December 1988.

Scotland’s compassion in allowing Mr Megrahi to go home to die looks like the release of an innocent scapegoat. The performance of her investigating police in failing to reveal the existence of the Heathrow break-in looks, at best, like a serious omission.

When a person is seriously injured, there is said to be a “golden hour” when life-saving treatment can best be given. At Heathrow 16 golden hours were allowed to elapse between the break-in and the Lockerbie bombing, with no appropriate counter action being taken.

Even so many years after the event an apology would still be welcome, along with proof that things really are done better now.

Having released Mr Megrahi in 2008 Scotland has been unable or unwilling to enforce a comprehensive review of the evidence against him, despite the findings of the SCCRC that the trial may indeed have resulted in a miscarriage of justice.

We hear that the Scottish police are to go to Libya soon to investigate whether other evidence can now be found as to whether the Gaddafi regime was itself involved in the Lockerbie bombing.

I wish them luck when they do finally get to Libya: they will need to remember it’s a country where old scores against the Gaddafi regime are certainly still being actively settled.

Should the Scottish police find any such evidence, it is unlikely to connect with the story heard at Zeist, where, in retrospect it seems clear that Megrahi was no more than a convenient scapegoat. That would be a bitter pill for them and the Crown Office to swallow, and they would need great integrity to admit it.

Meanwhile Tehran is immune to accusations over Lockerbie, but the convulsions in Syria may, hopefully lead to new revelations from that direction. Perhaps the failure of the west to indict those two states over Lockerbie added to its boldness in threatening its own people as well as those of other countries.

Dr Jim Swire,

Rowans Corner, Calf Lane, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

Tajik court convicts 53 for terrorist attack

© RIA Novosti. Andrei Starostin

DUSHANBE, December 26 (RIA Novosti)

A court in northern Tajikistan convicted 53 people for a terrorist attack that killed two last September, with five of those convicted receiving life sentences, a court spokesman said on Monday.

The attack took place near the organized crime police office in Khudzhand city, when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a car, killing two policemen and injuring 25. A closed trial of the 53 people charged with involvement in the attack began in July.

The suspects were found guilty of masterminding the attack, involvement in terrorism, organizing a crime group and forging documents.

The court spokesman said the other 48 people received jail terms of 8-13 years and added that all were residents of the Sogdiiskaya district in northern Tajikistan.

Uzbek Dictatorship Puts Squeeze On Gas To Uzbek-Dominant S. Kyrgyzstan

Uzbekistan totally restrained natural gas supply to the south of Kyrgyzstan due to the contract’s termination – Turgunbek Kulmurzaev

Bishkek – news agency

“Uzbekistan totally restrained natural gas supply to the south of Kyrgyzstan due to the contract’s termination,” the Director General of Kyrgyzgas OJSC Turgunbek Kulmurzaev told news agency today.

According to him, Kyrgyzstan could ask additional volumes of the fuel from Uzbekistan pursuant to the current contract. “We had sent the application for supply of 5 million cubic meters of the natural gas in October but the supplier delayed its answer. Now the management of UzTransGas informed that they couldn’t supply the fuel due to problems with its production. They don’t want to meet and hold negotiations with us,” Turgunbek Kulmurzaev explained.

He noted that the population of the southern Kyrgyzstan is gaining additionally remains of the fuel at moment. “It’s not for the first time when the intricate situation emerged. Uzbekistan restrained fuel supply many times in the year-end. They want to confront us with a fait accompli. We counted that supposedly cost of Uzbek gas will increase up to $320 in the first quarter of 2012,” Turgunbek Kulmurzaev said.

Central Asia to be hugged to death?

[The US is counting on its ability to slowly sneak into key positions in all of these countries, where it can provide some kind of service which will come to be seen as indispensable, i.e., border control, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, crowd control (SEE: Washington’s New Foxy Plan To Sneak Into the Central Asian Hen House).]

Central Asia to be hugged to death?

Photo: EPA

Russia’s Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have become strategically important for the US as Washington seeks to diversify cargo routes to Afghanistan following a split with Islamabad.

The US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee has published a report on the transit of cargoes via Central Asia to Afghanistan (SEE:  Committee report transit Afghanistan). Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan are described as being of exceptional political and strategic importance for the international operation in Afghanistan. According to statistical data, 40% of cargoes entered Afghanistan via Uzbekistan this year. The remaining 60% were delivered via Pakistan. However, Islamabad has blocked cargo traffic twice over the past few months. It did so last after a NATO air strike against Pakistani border guards in November. Even though the report says that the US-Pakistan relations might still normalize, the Senate has chosen not to depend on Islamabad and look for other options.

As long as this cooperation serves humanitarian needs, Moscow has no objections. Daniil Kislov, chief editor of the Fergana International Agency, comments:

“Russia was the first to grant its overland routes and airspace for the US and NATO to transport cargoes to Afghanistan and back when the withdrawal of troops begins. There are no grounds for conflict, not until the US or NATO announces the opening of new military facilities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan.”

A step of this kind is fairly possible. In September this year US Congress resolved to abolish the 2004 restrictions on granting military aid to Uzbekistan and offered to supply Tashkent with weapons no longer needed in the Afghan campaign. A military base would be logical to come next, and then the region will be declared a US interest zone. What will follow becomes clear too if we recall the developments in the Middle East and North Africa, says Andrei Grozin of the Institute of CIS Countries.

“As a rule, this is followed by a variety of problems in this so-called “interest zone” as the US has its own vision of what course the “interest zone” countries should follow and won’t heed local opinions. The secular regimes of the five Central Asian countries are weak compared to countries of the Middle East. An outside intervention threatens to shake the unsteady situation in these countries and may lead to numerous conflicts, both internal and external.”

The Senate’s report recommends rendering economic assistance to the Central Asian countries as a measure to counteract the influence of Russia and China, two major players in the region. Russia, China and other countries of Asia and Pacific which have direct economic and political interests in Central Asia are unlikely to put up with this. Andrei Grozin has this to say:

“None of the states with interests in Central Asia will welcome a US presence in the region. All countries concerned will resist such a step. And they will resort to various methods in doing this.”

Given that Russia shares its past with Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, it can’t turn a blind eye on what’s happening in close proximity to its borders.

Nazarbayev: rioters in Zhanaozen were paid 20,000 tenge each

Nazarbayev: rioters in Zhanaozen were paid 20,000 tenge each

Zhanaozen. Photo by Maxim Popov.

Zhanaozen. Photo by Maxim Popov.

Those who took part in the recent riots in Zhanaozen (a town in Mangistau oblast, West Kazakhstan) were drunk at the time of committing the unlawful actions, additionally, each of them was paid 20 000 tenge ($ 135), Interfax-Kazakhstan reports.

“Each young man (who partook in riots) was given 20,000 tenge and made drunk. We are closely investigating this case and will look at each death separately,” President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev said at the meeting with the town residents. The meeting was broadcast by state TV channel “Khabar” on Friday.

“We will look for organizers (of the riots), where ever in the world they are hiding now. There will be a trial, and those guilty will be punished,” Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed. “The investigation is not a matter of one day. The instigators did their thing and went into hiding. Half of them have been already detained, but the one who orchestrated this has not shown up in Zhanaozen at all,” the head of the state remarked. He also added, that “oil workers who simply fell for the crowd effect will be let go if they are not found guilty.”

Nevertheless, president noted that he sympathized with the families of killed people. “I came to express my condolences to the families of those killed, but you are all aware how it happened: peaceful people came to celebrate, and instigators, drunk and armed, intruded the crowd. Everything was purposefully planned, but the police had no fire arms at hand at the time. They were hit on the head when they fell, and when someone wanted to give help they were not let to,” Nursultan Nazarbayev said.

He said that “the police had to go back to the building of the department of internal affairs and get armed.” “What were they left to do? They were entitled by law to use the weapons if they were attacked. The police however, despite anything, were shooting into the air. When this did not help, they started shooting into the ground. The instigators however were pushing the crowd forward.” Nursultan Nazarbayev stressed.

The head of the state promised that Zhanaozen residents will be offered jobs. “(…) we will ensure Zhanaozen residents are employed, but if they do not agree, we have another alternative: a large number of new production enterprises under industrialization project are opening throughout the country. These are new opportunities. If the youth see no prospects at home, they can go to work in other regions of Kazakhstan. We will facilitate: pay for transportation and training, provide accommodation and employment,” Nursultan Nazarbayev noted.

He also told that he planned to visit Mangistau oblast earlier. “Already this summer I wanted to come to visit, but I was ensured, that everything is all right and all issues are being addressed, the people come down and get employed. Then I planned to visit in September and again, everyone from oblast authorities and KazMunaiGaz management told me that there is no need to visit, and all issues are being solved. It turns out I was simply misinformed,” the head of the state told.

Last week widespread violence and clashes took place in Zhanaozen and Shetpe village in Mangistau oblast. 16 people were killed and 100 injured in total. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the instigators of clashes were laid off workers of oil companies. This Thursday, aside from staff changes in KazMunaiGaz and change in authorities of Mangistau oblast, the head of the state announced that the chair of the board of state fund of national welfare Samruk-Kazyna Timur Kulibayev will be asked to resign.

The strikes in Zhanaozen were started in late May by the workers of Ozenmunaigaz (production branch of JCS KazMunaiGaz Exploration and Extraction). The workers of Karazhanbasmunaigaz and its branches ArgymakTransService and TulparMunaiService were also on strike. There were asking for the salary raise. Due to unauthorized strikes around 2000 workers were fired.

Turkmenistan Looking for a Path To Europe, Even If It Leads Through Russia


Turkmenistan is looking for a window to Europe


Roman Larionov

The main purpose of his visit to Moscow, Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on the fate of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. Its construction, which is actively supported by the EU may weaken Russia’s position on European gas markets.

Aspects of cooperation

During his visit to Moscow, met with President Berdymukhamedov , Dmitry Medvedev andVladimir Putin . The discussions focused on Russian-turmenskie economic relations.According to Putin, last year trade turnover between the countries has grown by 33 percent. It is “a very good indicator,” said the Russian prime minister and stressed that Russia is pleased to “positive dynamics”. In turn, Berdimuhamedov wished Putin wins the presidential election of 2012.

The Russian prime minister also focused on issues of energy cooperation in a deteriorating situation on world markets. He said that “we have common interests of suppliers, and it’s very good that you and I are in constant contact and coordinating our joint efforts.”

However, the Trans-Caspian pipeline issue at the moment is a complicating factor in the bilateral dialogue.

Window to Europe to Turkmenistan

Due to the nature of its geographical position the energy-rich Turkmenistan denied the opportunity to sell their treasures to the world’s major markets – Europe and the rapidly developing Asian countries. With more than 70 percent of the GDP generated by exports of oil and gas. Until now, virtually the only channel of distribution of the main product was the Turkmen Soviet-built pipeline “Central Asia – Center” that connects the fields of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, with the central regions of Russia.

In this situation, Turkmenistan is looking for other shipping options for its gas to potential buyers. The most attractive of them are European consumers, long seeking to ensure that the South Caucasian and Central Asian gas has become full-fledged competitor to Gazprom.

Began to appear different projects to deliver gas from oil fields in Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan to Europe bypassing Russia. One of the most likely scenario is the construction of a pipeline under the Caspian Sea and its connection with the gas pipeline “Nabucco”. This year, the Commission received a mandate to negotiate directly with Ashgabat and Baku for this project.

Thus, Turkmenistan will be able to negotiate with the Europeans on the price of its gas without the mediation of Russia, which is now a buyer of Turkmen gas. Moreover, this project creates a lot of other perspectives: new markets among the transit countries (Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria), as well as the possibility of access to the sea, followed by transportation of natural gas in liquefied form.

The position of Russia

It is clear that Russia is opposed to this project. Apart from the fact that Gazprom is risking a serious competitor in the markets of Europe, which will inevitably reduce the price and volume of purchases of Russian gas, there may be other equally significant consequences.

First, Russia will lose its status as a transit country – but it is not only an economic but a political tool. Secondly, the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline lobbyists will play into the hands of “Nabucco” pipeline, occupancy of which in this case the increase. In this project “Nabucco” construction reduces the chances of strategic importance to Russia “South Stream”.

Despite considerable success in the northern direction (run “Nord Stream”), Russia still had to lead a bargain – the economic and political – to transit Ukraine and Belarus. In this situation, “South Stream” while that is further complicated by the fact that in the final stages of negotiations took place “hitch” with Turkey.

In turn, Moscow is acting in respect of the Trans-Caspian project in two ways – legal and economic.

Uncertainty concerning the legal status and delimitation of the Caspian Sea area of ​​responsibility in this case is against the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline.

Russian lobbying rules according to which any large-scale projects in the Caspian zone must be approved by all Caspian littoral states (the “Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea”). However, at this moment, this idea has not received the approval of the partners, because of what hampered the further process of delimitation in the Caspian Sea area of ​​responsibility (in particular, was foiled planned for this year’s summit of Caspian states).

In addition, Russia is ready to make significant economic concessions to Ashgabat.Probably, at this meeting Russia will make Turkmenistan an attractive offer – an increase of purchases of Turkmen gas. Back in 2008, Gazprom committed to purchase from Ashgabat 80-90 billion cubic meters. m of gas a year and gave the European price.

But after an explosion on a gas pipeline “Central Asia – Center” in the spring of 2009 the purchase of Turkmen gas ceased. They were restored only in 2010, but since Moscow buys only about 10.5 billion cubic meters. meters of gas per year, causing serious damage to the Turkmen budget. Under these conditions, an increase in purchases of Turkmen gas to Russia would be beneficial to Ashgabat. The extent to which Moscow is ready to increase procurement officials did not say. The signed in December 2009 the Russian-Turkmen gas agreement specified ceiling – 30 billion cubic meters. m per year.

Clearly, this amount of Turkmen gas to Gazprom will create difficulties for its sale. And in the face of declining purchases by European buyers of Russian gas corporation can do to stay in a big minus. However, in the current strategic plan costs may result in large benefits.

Parallel to this, Russia is promoting the construction of the Caspian gas pipeline route is virtually identical to the route of gas pipeline “Central Asia – Center”. It will significantly increase gas purchases by Russia and thus become, though indirectly, but rival Transcaspian gas pipeline.

Other problems Trans-Caspian

However, the Trans-Caspian, but rejection from the Russian side, there are lots of other problems. First, this political conflict between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over the ownership of oil fields with reserves of Kapaz 100-150 million tons.

Second, the Turkmen gas may be of interest to China. In this case, European buyers will be a serious competitor, but to work on two “fronts” Turkmenistan is unlikely to be able to.Third, there are certain difficulties connected with the fact that the environmental risks of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is not clear. After all, the Caspian Sea is a closed body of water.

This argument may have an impact on the behavior of European countries in which the strong position of the environmental movement. Thus, the Trans-Caspian pipeline prospects still remain vague – and Russia has the time to promote his project “South Stream”, which is a more advanced stage than the “Nabucco” and, especially, Transcaspian.

Source: Radio Russia

Russian FM Lavrov Warns Against Dangerous Consequences from America’s Islamists

Russia warns of religious rift after Arab Spring

Russia warns of religious rift after Arab Spring

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei LavrovAP


MOSCOW, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Russia is concerned that the Arab Spring revolutions could sow further turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa by provoking a potentially catastrophic rift between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

In written answers to Reuters, Lavrov said the events in the region were still unfolding and cautioned that social, political and religious tensions showed signs of increasing.

“There are serious fears about the possible emergence of new zones of instability in the region that could become potential sources of challenges to international stability and security,” Lavrov said.

Such threats, he said, included the spread of terrorism, contraband weapons, the narcotics business, illegal immigration and especially the use of religion to ratchet up tensions.

“Attempts to bring the religious factor into regional confrontations are especially troubling,” said Lavrov, the longest serving Russian foreign minister since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

“If there were an open rift between Sunnis and Shi’ites – and such a threat is fully realistic – then the consequences could be catastrophic.”

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has warned the West that meddling in rebellions across the Arab world risks bringing radical Islamists to power and undermining long-term stability in the world’s biggest oil-producing region.

Lavrov, 61, is an eloquent face of Putin’s assertive foreign policy which is aimed at restoring Russia’s global clout as the United States, China and the European Union try to expand their influence.

“We understand that not everyone likes a strong, confident Russia,” he said. “But for us external independence is a key question.”


Critics say Moscow’s reaction to the relatively bloodless revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt was sometimes slow, while Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev differed in public over how to react to Western military intervention in Libya.

Russia has now shifted its focus to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has cracked down on protests against his rule. Thousands of people have been killed in the clampdown and in fighting between mutinous troops and security forces.

Moscow offered a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria this month to try to look less recalcitrant, without giving ground on its opposition to sanctions or foreign military interference.

Lavrov urged an end to violence in Syria but said the West should not ignore the danger posed by what he called extremist groups in the country.

“If you close your eyes to this part of the truth, the situation could disintegrate to what we saw in Libya,” Lavrov said. “There, Western countries used the slogan of protecting civilians to overthrow the regime of M. (Muammar) Gaddafi.”

“We categorically cannot agree with the calls of some of our partners to use the ‘Libyan precedent’ to resolve other conflicts,” Lavrov said.

He said the patience and compromise shown by all sides involved in the conflict in Yemen, where a pact has been agreed for a peaceful power transition, was an example to follow.

“If you need a model to follow, it is without doubt the experience of the way the internal political crisis was resolved in Yemen, where all the external players worked extremely patiently and persistently with all the sides, without ultimatums, encouraging them to compromise,” he said.

“That is how to act in Syria’s case.”


Putin’s criticism of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for questioning the validity of Russia’s parliamentary election on Dec. 4 has prompted some policy experts to suggest the “reset” in relations with the United States since Barack Obama became president is under threat.

Putin, who faces demonstrations by protesters demanding the election be rerun as he prepares to return to Russia’s presidency next year, also accused Clinton of encouraging “mercenary” Kremlin opponents.

Lavrov said much had been done in the last few years to strengthen relations with the United States and that dialogue had become more “pragmatic” with Moscow’s former Cold War enemy.

But differences remain over a proposed U.S. missile shield in Europe, which Washington says is meant to protect against Iran but Moscow sees as a threat to its security.

“Of course we face a difficult search for acceptable outcomes on sensitive matters, above all on anti-missile defence,” Lavrov said.

“We have not yet managed to have a constructive dialogue, and the creation of a NATO anti-missile system according to the American plan is going full-steam ahead without our legitimate concerns being taken into account.”

Russia, he said, was ready to look objectively at even the most difficult questions and added: “We hope that our American partners will take the same reasonable and responsible approach.”

Washington helped pave the way to Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization, which was approved by the global trading body this month.

Lavrov said he hoped WTO entry would help develop economic ties with the United States but added that for this to happen it was vital for the U.S. Congress to repeal the Jackson-Vanik amendment, a 1974 provision linking trade to emigration rights for Soviet Jews.

Kazakhstan’s leader sacks his son-in-law after last week’s deadly clashes

Kazakhstan’s leader sacks his son-in-law after last week’s deadly clashes


DUSHANBE, December 23, 2011, Asia-Plus — Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said on Thursday he would fire his son-in-law from the top job at the sovereign wealth fund, accusing its oil and gas unit of mishandling a strike that erupted into deadly clashes, international media outlets report.

Reuters reports Kazakh leader’s surprise arrival in the western oil-producing region of Mangistau coincided with growing international pressure to investigate the violence on December 16-17, which killed at least 16 people and wounded 110.

Kazakh state television showed President Nazarbayev in the regional capital Aktau saying he had replaced the heads of state oil and gas firm KazMunaiGas and its London-listed subsidiary KazMunaiGas Exploration Production.

He said the management of KazMunaiGas had failed to implement his order to resolve a labor dispute that has been simmering since thousands of oil workers downed tools in May.

“The workers’ demands were in general justified,” he told a gathering of local officials and members of the public in Aktau.  “The employer should not have forgotten that these are our citizens. They have not fallen from the Moon.  They should have listened to them and, as much as it is possible, supported them.  To my regret, this was not done.”

The Kazakh president announced that Timur Kulibayev had lost his job at Samruk Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s $80bn sovereign wealth fund.  “I am dismissing Timur Kulibayev who heads Samruk-Kazyna,” he said in remarks broadcast on state TV.

Experts note that Timur Kulibayev, who is married to Nazarbayev’s middle daughter Dinara, is seen as one of the closest people to Nazarbayev.

Billionaire Kulibayev, one of the country’s most influential people, runs the sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna, which owns KazMunaiGas.

Reuters says that a shrewd businessman who rarely speaks in public, Kulibayev is ranked Kazakhstan’s third-richest man by Forbes magazine, with a fortune of $1.3 billion.  He has played down the idea of political ambitions, saying he is more concerned with business.

He is also chairman of the board of KazMunaiGas and a board member at Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom.

In a major reshuffle of oil sector management, Nazarbayev replaced the chief executive of KazMunaiGas – Bolat Akchulakov, a Kulibayev appointee in the job for less than three months – and installed Deputy Oil and Gas Minister Lyazzat Kiinov.

KazMunaiGas EP also said its chief executive, Askar Balzhanov, had resigned and been replaced by Alik Aidarbayev, managing director of KazMunaiGas and board chairman at KMG EP.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported on Thursday that Kazakhstan has asked the UN to help investigate violence that left 16 dead in an oil town last week.

Clashes between striking workers and police in the western town of Zhanaozen last Friday led the government to declare a state of emergency.

The authorities promise a transparent inquiry into the worst violence in the Central Asian country’s recent history.

The governor of the region and the local boss of the state oil firm have reportedly been sacked.

Eyewitnesses say police fired on unarmed protesters, who have been protesting for months, in the town of 90,000.

But police say they were forced to defend themselves.  A 20-day curfew is in effect until January 5.

The invitation to the UN came after Kazakhstan’s prosecutor general Askhat Daulbayev met the UN human rights envoy for Central Asia, Armen Harutyunyan, on Wednesday in the capital Astana.

Human rights groups have expressed concern over the treatment of protesters.  New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the authorities to investigate immediately allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees following the violence in Zhanaozen and to hold those responsible accountable.  It condemned the death of a 50-year-old man in Zhanaozen from injuries it said were sustained in police custody.

Uzbekistan Blames Tajikistan for Suffering Rail Shortages

[The Uzbek side makes this idiotic charge, based on Tajik railway’s inability to absorb traffic for Qurghon Teppa through Dushanbe.  It is unclear from press reports why Tajik railways cannot accommodate this increase in traffic through Dushanbe.  I read somewhere that the problem was that it was necessary to offload from trains onto trucks to make the changeover.  The problem remains one of outdated Soviet-era tracks and equipment, in addition to unreasonable expectations from the Uzbek govt.]  

Uzbekistan accuses Tajikistan of Khatlon rail problems

Payrav Chorshanbiyev

DUSHANBE, December 23, 2011, Asia-Plus  — Freight cars bound for Tajik Khatlon province are being suck in Uzbekistan because Tajikistan refuses to receive them, O’zbekiston Temir Yollari (Uzbek state rail company) told REGNUM in an interview, commenting on Tajik MPs’ appeal to their Uzbek colleagues over the Khatlon rail problems.

According to the Uzbek state rail company, 327 freight cars bound for Tajik Khatlon province are being stuck in Uzbekistan.

O’zbekiston Temir Yollari reportedly claims that the Tajik side has not rendered any assistance so far to resolve the problem.

We will recall that the bridge on the train track between the Uzbek towns of Ghalaba and Amuzang was damaged overnight on November 16-17 that caused rail traffic between Termez in Uzbekistan and the Tajik city of Qurghon Teppa to be shut down.

Tajik Railways wrote to O’zbekiston Temir Yollari as early as November 17 proposing assistance to resume rail traffic between Termez and Qurghon Teppa as soon as possible.

Uzbek rail authorities have redirected Khatlon-bound trains to Dushanbe and the Dushanbe railway station is currently receiving passenger trains bound for the south of the country.  But the Dushanbe railway station is not able to receive the Khatlon-bound freight cars and organize further delivery of cargo into Khatlon, the Tajik rail authorities noted.  They informed their Uzbek colleagues of these problems on November 22.

Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on December 14 that the head of the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) office in Tajikistan says Uzbekistan’s decision to block rail traffic to Tajikistan threatens to create severe food shortages.

The WFP’s Alzira Ferreira told RFE/RL on December 13 that even food being sent to Tajikistan as humanitarian aid is not reaching its destination due to the Uzbek authorities’ refusal to allow trains bound for Tajikistan to pass through Uzbekistan.  Ferreira said there are 23 trains with food stocks organized by the WFP waiting to make the last part of their journey into Tajikistan.

The WFP regularly provides aid to some 500,000 people and 2,000 schools located mainly in Tajikistan’s southern Khatlon region.

Ferreira said food prices in Tajikistan are rising due to the shortages caused by the blockade of rail traffic and an increasing number of Tajiks are unable to afford basic goods.

In its appeal to Uzbek MPs adopted on December 16, the Majlisi Namoyandagon (Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament) notes that two regions of Tajikistan – Khatlon and Gorno Badakhshan – have remained in blockade for nearly a month as Khatlon-bound freight cars have still been stuck in Uzbekistan.  “Autumn sowing campaign as well as construction of schools and hospitals in these regions have been delayed and the delay in delivery of humanitarian aid to the mentioned regions evokes serious concern.”

The blockade of the rail traffic into southern Tajikistan has also impeded the passage of nonmilitary cargo to Afghanistan for international forces, the appeal said, noting that foreign companies operating in Khatlon and Gorno Badakhshan are also bearing losses, the appeal said.

Russian industry rocked by Kolskaya rig tragedy

[Does this accident demonstrate the real dangers of  drilling rigs in arctic waters?  How safe could it be towing these rigs through waters as they are cleared by icebreakers?]

Russian industry rocked by Kolskaya rig tragedy

Vladimir Afanasiev 

Rescue: an unidentified survivor from the Kolskaya jack-up is evacuated from the Magadan icebreaker to a helicopter in the Okhotsk Sea

Image courtesy of EPA/SCANPIX

Inquiry to begin as country faces up to worst ever incident in its offshore sector

THE authorities in Russia are trying to come to grips with the worst tragedy ever to hit the country’s offshore industry, with 53 personnel presumed dead after the state-owned jack-up drilling rig Kolskaya capsized and sank during a storm in the Okhotsk Sea last weekend.


As Upstream went to press, 16 people were confirmed dead but the death toll seemed certain to rise, with 37 crew members still listed as missing. Only 14 people were initially rescued out of the 67-strong crew on board at the time of the sinking. Lifeboats have been recovered but with no-one on board. The authorities said the rig, which was under tow, suffered a rapid water ingress during the storm, sinking in less than an hour. Kolskaya was on its way to Sakhalin Island, before a planned mobilisation to Vietnam. It was being towed by the tug Neftegaz-55 and the icebreaker Magadan, having recently completed an exploration well for Gazprom on the West Kamchatka block off eastern Russia.

The 1985-built rig was operated by Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka, a company headquartered in Murmansk and controlled by state-owned oil company Zarubezhneft.

One of the survivors, identified by Russian television as Sergey Grauman, said strong waves smashed portholes in the dining room and destroyed equipment.

Salvage of the jack-up is understood to be out of the question, despite suggestions that some personnel had been trapped inside the rig, as it sank in water depths of more than 1000 metres.

Gazprom has been quick to distance itself from the tragedy, saying the rig had completed its job on the West Kamchatka block and was thus the sole responsibility of Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka. Industry analysts in Moscow noted that the rig was being towed with the excess personnel on board and beyond the end of the ice-free safe navigation season in the region.

The list of people who were on board the rig was published by-Moscow daily Komsomolskaya Pravda and included drillers, assistant drillers and geologists, in addition to support personnel.

Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka said that the rig move met “the highest requirements” of safe navigation. It added that the jack-up was in a “good technical condition” and that it had been renovated in 2011 under the supervision of two classification societies – Norway’s DNV and the Russian Register of Shipping. However, relatives of those missing in the accident have openly accused Arcticmorneftegazrazvedka of pushing rig captain Aleksandr Kozlov, who is among the missing, to lead the unit into harsh waters.

Kozlov’s wife, Lyudmila Kozlova, was reported as saying in Murmansk that her husband had even submitted his resignation as a protest against the planned trip. The authorities said a full investigation is to be carried out.

Turkmenistan – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Vladimir Putin start talks

Turkmenistan – Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Vladimir Putin start talks

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, who arrived in Moscow on a working visit, is currently talking with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The meeting is held at the government residence in Novo-Ogaryovo, outside Moscow.

Exchanging greetings, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Vladimir Putin, both nominated as presidential candidates in their countries, sincerely wished each other success in the 2012 elections.

As the Moscow correspondent of reports, the meeting is attended by members of the Turkmen government delegation – Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov, Deputy Prime Ministers Khodjamukhammet Muhammedov Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov and Nazarguly Shagulyev, as well as Ambassador of Turkmenistan in Russia Halnazar Agakhanov.

The Russian delegation consists of First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko, Deputy Head of the Executive Office of the Government Yuri Ushakov, Chairman of OAO “Gazprom” Alexei Miller, Russian Ambassador in Turkmenistan Alexander Blokhin.

It is expected that the sides will discuss a wide range of bilateral cooperation in the trade and economic sphere and the fuel and energy sector, in the field of culture and education, as well as cooperation within the CIS, where Turkmenistan will preside in 2012.

10,000 Troops Leave Afghanistan, While Thousands of Iraq Vets Prepare to Take their Place

[SEE: Returning From Iraq, Soldiers Find Themselves On Turnaround To Afghanistan]

10,000 U.S. troops leave Afghanistan

Detroit Free Press

In this July 14 file photo, U.S. soldiers board a U.S. military plane as they leave Afghanistan. The United States is not alone in pulling combat troops off the Afghan battlefield. More than a dozen other countries have drawdown plans that will shrink the foreign military footprint in Afghanistan. / By Musadeq Sadeq, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama’s order to withdraw 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year has been accomplished, a little more than a week before the year-end deadline, military officials said Thursday.

The drawdown is the first step in the plan to wind down the war, transition security to Afghan forces and end the combat role for international troops by the end of 2014.

TTP Successfully Launch Massive Attack On Mullzai Fort

One security official killed, 19 missing in South Waziristan

Militants attack fort of the security forces near Mullazai area, 20km north of the district of Tank. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

PESHAWAR: Militants killed one security official and reportedly kidnapped 19 in an attack on security forces in the Mullazai area north of the Tank district near the South Waziristan tribal area on Friday.

The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan have claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to sources, the incident took place at around 2:30 am.

“The men were from the Frontier Constabulary,” an official said while confirming that 19 people were missing who were “probably taken captive” he said.

The exact number of militants could not be determined. The attack was launched on Mullzai Fort, a guarded fortress used to bombard militant hideouts with artillery shelling during operations, which confirmed that a large number of people must have attacked the secure installation.

Sources also said that the initial number of FC personnel missing after the attack was 23 but seven of them had returned back safely.

The Frontier Constabulary, part of the security forces usually placed in the frontier region areas, monitor zones between the tribal and the settled areas. There were no casualties of militants reported.

A search operation was subsequently launched and a large number of security personnel were deployed in the area, however there are chances that the men were taken to the tribal areas.

The Pakistani Taliban “Tigers” Fight Back In Tank

[The many lies about the TTP come back to haunt the Pak Army.

–If there are units of this strength functioning in  Tank, then it exposes the previous S. Waziristan “operation”  as another sham.

–This disproves recent news reports that the TTP is fizzling-out.  It is as strong as it needs to be to stage these psycho-dramas with the Pak Army.  These attacks, like the cross-border attacks in Mohmand, are soap operas staged for publicity stunts.  The situation recently got out of hand, when Afghans and other Northern Alliance sources started changing the script, resulting in the grievous miscalculation at the Salala Border Check Post.  Indian/Afghan TTP assets undoubtedly provoked the incident, by firing upon the Afghans from near the Pak outpost.  Whenever other players start reading from different scripts, then accidents like that happen.]

Pakistani Taliban attack fort, kidnap 15 soldiers

– File Photo

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Pakistani Taliban fighters attacked a paramilitary fort in northwestern Pakistan on Friday, killing one soldier and kidnapping 15 others, police said.

The brazen attack was followed by a statement to media in which the militants said they would kill the abducted troops.

Armed with assault rifles, at least 35 militants targeted the Frontier Corps fort in Tank district before dawn, said local police Chief Ejad Abid. The militants burned down buildings and captured a significant amount of weapons, he said.

One soldier was killed and two were wounded in the fighting, said Abid.

Another 15 are still missing and believed to have been kidnapped, he said.

Pakistani Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan claimed responsibility for the attack in a phone call to The Associated Press and said it was carried out to avenge the death of a local Taliban commander. He claimed 30 soldiers were kidnapped.

But another Taliban commander who said he carried out the attack, Asmatullah Shaheen, told the AP that he had 15 soldiers in his custody.

Some others managed to escape after the militants captured them, he said.

Abid, the police chief, said at least 22 soldiers were missing originally, but seven managed to return.

Shaheen said the militant commander being avenged, Taj Gul, was killed in a US drone strike in October in South Waziristan, an important sanctuary for the Pakistani Taliban next to Tank.

The militants attacked the Pakistani soldiers in response because of the country’s alliance with the US, he said.

Ehsan, the Taliban spokesman, said the militants have no intention of bargaining for the kidnapped soldiers’ release and intend to kill them.

”We are going to cut these soldiers into pieces one by one, and we will send these pieces to their commanders,” said Ehsan.

MQM Figurehead Pushing Pakistani Revolution from London

[For those who have trouble remembering what MQM is all about, here is a little reminder, from your friends at Jang (SEE: Eyewitness: Karachi ).] 

Peaceful revolution knocking on Pakistan’s door: Altaf Hussain

Speaking during a rally in Multan, Hussain says “flood” of the people cannot be stopped now.PHOTO: FILE

MULTAN: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Friday said that the support the people of Multan have shown to the party signifies that a “peaceful revolution” is “knocking on Pakistan’s door.”

In a telephonic address, Hussain said that the “flood” of the people cannot be stopped now.

He said that the people who talk about revolution and claim to bring it must know that in the past the MQM has “slapped” politicians and fuedals on the forums of National Assembly and Senate.

Hussain proclaimed that today’s [Friday] rally is the biggest rally in the history of Multan and that it highlights Multan’s citizens’ love for MQM. He added, “Such love was seen in history for Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali.”

Backing his statement, he said that the Quaid was truthful and so is MQM.

The MQM chief said that Multan, “the city of Saints,” has “hammered another nail in the casket of feudals.”

He said that a negative propaganda was being planned in order to drive away the support that the people of Multan give to the MQM so that the feudals could “enslave” them.

Hussain reiterated the need for a Seraiki province in the region and repeated, “Make provinces, save Pakistan.”

He showed satisfaction over the demarcation of Southern Punjab and said that a “province for the underprivileged” should be made.

Speaking about his rally, the MQM chief also said that “Such peaceful processions could not be witnessed again in any other party’s rally.”

CENTCOM Chief Cancels Scheduled Pakistani Briefing

News that General Mattis’ visit to Pakistan has been cancelled came a day after the US released its inquiry report. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

ISLAMABAD: A briefing by the head of the US Central Command to Pakistani officials on a November 26 cross-border Nato air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and severely strained ties with Washington has been cancelled, a Pakistani official said on Friday.       

News that General James N Mattis’ visit to Pakistan has been cancelled came a day after the United States announced that its investigation into the attack found both American and Pakistani forces were to blame for the border incident.

According to the investigation report, a lack of trust and series of miscommunications contributed to the events that took place on November 26.

On the other hand, Pakistan has rejected the US inquiry report.

“Pakistan’s army does not agree with the findings of the US/Nato inquiry as being reported in the media. The inquiry report is short on facts,” the military said in a short statement.

“A detailed response will be given as and when the formal report is received,” it said.

Scores of dead and wounded in two suicide bombings in Damascus

Scores of dead and wounded in two suicide bombings in Damascus

The sound of explosions this morning in the Syrian capital of Damascus, al-Manar correspondent reported that the first explosion targeted a building near the General Intelligence Department Roundabout “Kafar Souseh” while the second bombing targeted a security branches near the Hotel “Carlton” in the capital. Syrian television and declared that “the two terrorist attacks occurred in Damascus, one aimed at the General Intelligence Department and other branches of one security and initial investigations indicate that it acts of al Qaeda.”

The Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Miqdad that more than thirty people were killed and wounded more than a hundred others in the blasts, which targeted the Damascus this morning. Mekdad said to reporters at the site of one of the attacks “has been more than thirty people dead and more than a hundred wounded, and in the explosions in the day.” “In the first day of the arrival of Arab observers. It is the first gift from terrorism and al Qaeda, but we will facilitate the task to the farthest extent of the Arab League.” He Mekdad that “terrorism wanted to be the first day of the observers in Damascus tragic day, but the Syrian people will face a killing machine supported by the Europeans and the Americans and some Arab parties.”

The Syrian state television announced that “a number of civilian and military martyrs” killed in the bombings, which targeted the Friday morning security headquarters in Damascus. The television said that “a number of military martyrs and civilians were killed in two terrorist attacks carried out by suicide bombers and car bombs targeted the headquarters of General Intelligence Department and one of the security branches” of Syria. The news agency said Syria, “SANA” that “initial investigations indicate the involvement of al-Qaeda to these blasts.”

The “Al-CIA-da” Killing Machine Has Begun Its Work In Syria

More than 30 dead in Damascus bombings

An image grab taken from Syrian state TV shows Syrians ispecting a burnt car at the site of a suicide attack in a security service base in Damascus (AFP PHOTO/SYRIAN TV)

An image grab taken from Syrian state TV shows Syrians ispecting a burnt car at the site of a suicide attack in a security service base in Damascus (AFP PHOTO/SYRIAN TV)

DAMASCUS: More than 30 people were killed in twin suicide bombings against security service buildings in Damascus on Friday, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad said.

“There are more than 30 dead and more than 100 wounded in today’s two attacks,” Meqdad told reporters at one of the bomb sites.

“On the first day after the arrival of the Arab observers, this is the gift we get from the terrorists and Al-Qaeda,” he added, referring to an Arab League mission intended to oversee a plan to end nine months of bloodshed.

“But we are going to do all we can to facilitate the Arab League mission,” Meqdad added.

“The terrorists wanted the first day of the observer mission in Damascus to be a tragic day but the Syrian people will stand strong in the face of the killing machine supported by the Europeans, the Americans and some Arab countries,” he said alluding to Western support for the opposition.

He was accompanied to the bomb site by League assistant secretary general Samir Seif al-Yazal, head of the observer mission’s advance team which arrived on Thursday.

“We are going to press on with our work,” Yazal told reporters.

“We have started today, and tomorrow (Saturday) we will meet (Foreign Minister) Walid Muallem.”

Yazal offered his condolences to the families of the victims of the bombings. “What has happened is regrettable but the important thing is that everyone stay calm,” he said.

– AFP/ms/cc

US Scatters Bases To Control Eurasia

US Scatters Bases To Control Eurasia

By Ramtanu Maitra

30 March, 2005
Asia Times

The United States is beefing up its military presence in Afghanistan, at the same time encircling Iran. Washington will set up nine new bases in Afghanistan in the provinces of Helmand, Herat, Nimrouz, Balkh, Khost and Paktia.

Reports also make it clear that the decision to set up new US military bases was made during Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s visit to Kabul last December. Subsequently, Afghan President Hamid Karzai accepted the Pentagon diktat. Not that Karzai had a choice: US intelligence is of the view that he will not be able to hold on to his throne beyond June unless the US Army can speed up training of a large number of Afghan army recruits and protect Kabul. Even today, the inner core of Karzai’s security is run by the US State Department with personnel provided by private US contractors.

Admittedly, Afghanistan is far from stable, even after four years of US presence. Still, the establishment of a rash of bases would seem to be overkill. Indeed, according to observers, the base expansion could be part of a US global military plan calling for small but flexible bases that make it easy to ferry supplies and can be used in due time as a springboard to assert a presence far beyond Afghanistan.

Afghanistan under control?
On February 23, according to the official Bakhter News Agency, 196 American military instructors arrived in Kabul. These instructors are scheduled to be in Afghanistan until the end of 2006. According to General H Head, commander of the US Phoenix Joint Working Force, the objective of the team is to expedite the educational and training programs of Afghan army personnel. The plan to protect Karzai and the new-found “democracy” in Afghanistan rests on the creation of a well-trained 70,000-man Afghan National Army (ANA) by the end of 2006. As of now, 20,000 ANA personnel help out 17,000-plus US troops and some 5,000-plus North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops currently based in Afghanistan.

In addition, on February 28, in a move to bring a large number of militiamen into the ANA quickly, Karzai appointed General Abdur Rashid Dostum, a regional Uzbek-Afghan warlord of disrepute, as his personal military chief of staff. The list of what is wrong with Dostum is too long for this article, but he is important to Karzai and the Pentagon.

Dostum has at least 30,000 militiamen, members of his Jumbush-e-Milli, under him. A quick change of their uniforms would increase the ANA by 30,000 at a minimal cost. Moreover, Dostum’s men do not need military training (what they do need is some understanding of and respect for law and order). Another important factor that comes into play with this union is the Pentagon-Karzai plan to counter the other major north Afghan ethnic grouping, the Tajik-Afghans.

Since the presidential election took place in Afghanistan last October, Washington has conveyed repeatedly that the poison fangs of al-Qaeda have been uprooted and the Taliban is split. There was also reliable news suggesting that a section of Taliban leaders have accepted the leadership of two fellow Pashtuns, Karzai and US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, and are making their way into the Kabul government.

With al-Qaeda defanged and the Taliban split, one would tend to believe that the Afghan situation is well under control. But then, how does one explain that a bomb went off in the southern city of Kandahar, killing five people on March 17, the very day US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice landed in Kabul on her first visit to Afghanistan? And why has Karzai pushed back the dates for Afghanistan’s historical parliamentary elections, originally planned for 2004, and then to May 2005, now to September 2005?
One thing that is certainly not under control, and is surely the source of many threats to the region, is opium production. During the US occupation, opium production grew at a much faster rate than Washington’s, and Karzai’s, enemies weakened. In 2003, US-occupied Afghanistan produced 4,200 tons of opium. In 2004, US-occupied and semi-democratic Afghanistan produced a record 4,950 tons, breaking the all-time high of 4,600 tons produced under the Taliban in the year 2000.

Though the problem is known to the world, the Pentagon refuses to deal with it. It is not the military’s job to eradicate poppy fields, says the Pentagon. Indeed, it would antagonize the warlords who remain the mainstays of the Pentagon in Afghanistan, say observers.

Back on the base
When all is said and done, one cannot but wonder why the new military bases are being set up. Given that al-Qaeda is only a shadow of the past, the Taliban leaders are queuing up to join the Kabul government, and the US military is not interested in tackling the opium explosion, why are the bases needed?

A ray of light was shed on this question during the recent trip to Afghanistan by five US senators, led by John McCain. On February 22, McCain, accompanied by Senators Hillary Clinton, Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham and Russ Feingold, held talks with Karzai.

After the talks, McCain, the No 2 Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he was committed to a “strategic partnership that we believe must endure for many, many years”. McCain told reporters in Kabul that America’s strategic partnership with Afghanistan should include “permanent bases” for US military forces. A spokesman for the Afghan president told news reporters that establishing permanent US bases required approval from the yet-to-be-created Afghan parliament.

Later, perhaps realizing that the image that Washington would like to project of Afghanistan is that of a sovereign nation, McCain’s office amended his comments with a clarification: “The US will need to remain in Afghanistan to help the country rid itself of the last vestiges of Taliban and al-Qaeda.” His office also indicated that what McCain meant was that the US needs to make a long-term commitment, not necessarily “permanent” bases.

On March 16, General Richard Myers, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said no decision had been reached on whether to seek permanent bases on Afghan soil. “But clearly we’ve developed good relationships and good partnerships in this part of the world, not only in Afghanistan,” he added, also mentioning existing US bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

A military pattern
But this is mere word play. Media reports coming out of the South Asian subcontinent point to a US intent that goes beyond bringing Afghanistan under control, to playing a determining role in the vast Eurasian region. In fact, one can argue that the landing of US troops in Afghanistan in the winter of 2001 was a deliberate policy to set up forward bases at the crossroads of three major areas: the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Not only is the area energy-rich, but it is also the meeting point of three growing powers – China, India and Russia.

On February 23, the day after McCain called for “permanent bases” in Afghanistan, a senior political analyst and chief editor of the Kabul Journal, Mohammad Hassan Wulasmal, said, “The US wants to dominate Iran, Uzbekistan and China by using Afghanistan as a military base.”

Other recent developments cohere with a US Air Force strategy to expand its operational scope across Afghanistan and the Caspian Sea region – with its vital oil reserves and natural resources: Central Asia, all of Iran, the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the northern Arabian Sea up to Yemen’s Socotra Islands. This may also provide the US a commanding position in relation to Pakistan, India and the western fringes of China.

The base set up at Manas outside Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan – where, according to Central Asian reports, about 3,000 US troops are based – looks to be part of the same military pattern. It embodies a major commitment to maintain not just air operations over Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, but also a robust military presence in the region well after the war.

Prior to setting up the Manas Air Base, the US paid off the Uzbek government handsomely to set up an air base in Qarshi Hanabad. Qarshi Hanabad holds about 1,500 US soldiers, and agreements have been made for the use of Tajik and Kazakh airfields for military operations. Even neutral Turkmenistan has granted permission for military overflights. Ostensibly, the leaders of these Central Asian nations are providing military facilities to the US to help them eradicate the Islamic and other sorts of terrorists that threaten their nations.

These developments, particularly setting up bases in Manas and Qarshi Hanabad, are not an attempt by the US to find an exit strategy for Afghanistan, but the opposite: establishing a military presence.

Encircling Iran
On February 28, Asia Times Online pointed out that construction work had begun on a new NATO base in Herat, western Afghanistan (US digs in deeper in Afghanistan ). Another Asia Times Online article said US officials had confirmed that they would like more military bases in the country, in addition to the use of bases in Pakistan (see The remaking of al-Qaeda , February 25).

Last December, US Army spokesman Major Mark McCann said the United States was building four military bases in Afghanistan that would only be used by the Afghan National Army. On that occasion, McCann stated, “We are building a base in Herat. It is true.” McCann added that Herat was one of four bases being built; the others were in the southern province of Kandahar, the southeastern city of Gardez in Paktia province, and Mazar-i-Sharif, the northern city controlling the main route to central Afghanistan.

The US already has three operational bases inside Afghanistan; the main logistical center for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan is Bagram Air Field north of Kabul – known by US military forces as “BAF”. Observers point out that Bagram is not a full-fledged air base.

Other key US-run logistical centers in Afghanistan include Kandahar Air Field, or “KAF”, in southern Afghanistan and Shindand Air Field in the western province of Herat. Shindand is about 100 kilometers from the border with Iran, a location that makes it controversial. Moreover, according to the US-based think-tank Global Security, Shindand is the largest air base in Afghanistan.

The US is spending US$83 million to upgrade its bases at Bagram and Kandahar. Both are being equipped with new runways. US Brigadier General Jim Hunt, the commander of US air operations in Afghanistan, said at a news conference in Kabul Monday, “We are continuously improving runways, taxiways, navigation aids, airfield lighting, billeting and other facilities to support our demanding mission.”

The proximity of Shindand to Iran could give Tehran cause for concern, says Paul Beaver, an independent defense analyst based in London. Beaver points out that with US ships in the Persian Gulf and Shindand sitting next to Iran, Tehran has a reason to claim that Washington is in the process of encircling Iran. But the US plays down the potential of Shindand, saying it will not remain with the US for long. Still, it has not been lost on Iranian strategists that the base in the province of Herat is a link in a formidable chain of new facilities the US is in the process of drawing around their country.

Shindand is not Tehran’s only worry. In Pakistan, the Pervez Musharraf government has allowed the commercial airport at Jacobabad, about 420km north of Karachi and 420km southeast of Kandahar, as one of three Pakistani bases used by US and allied forces to support their campaign in Afghanistan. The other bases are at Dalbandin and Pasni. Under the terms of an agreement with Pakistan, the allied forces can use these bases for search and rescue missions, but are not permitted to use them to stage attacks on Taliban targets. Both Jacobabad and Pasni bases have been sealed off and a five-kilometer cordon set up around the bases by Pakistani security forces.

Reports of increased US operations in Pakistan go back to March 2004, when two air bases – Dalbandin and Shahbaz – in Pakistan were the focus for extensive movements to provide logistical support for Special Forces and intelligence operations. Shahbaz Air Base near Jacobabad appeared to be the key to the United States’ 2004 spring offensive. At Jacobabad, C-17 transports were reportedly involved in the daily deliveries of supplies. A report in the Pakistani newspaper the Daily Times on March 10, 2004, claimed that the air base was under US control, with an inner ring of facilities off limits to Pakistan’s military.

Ramtanu Maitra writes for a number of international journals and is a regular contributor to the Washington-based EIR and the New Delhi-based Indian Defence Review. He also writes for Aakrosh, India’s defense-tied quarterly journal.

Remaking Central Asia

[This article from Asia Times was loaded with trojans and other malware toys, speaking volumes about the relevance of its content.  The more electronic “noise” any article attracts, the more it must be hitting anti-Empire “home runs.”   This article’s focus on exposing the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement is very important at this point in our research, as it presently relates to the previous story out of Tajikistan on controversial mufti,  Turajonzoda, who also does what he can to expose the HT group as a Western fabrication. 

An important element of the HT ideology are the teachings of Said Nursi, which is also true in the Fethullah Gulen movement.  Like other totalitarian “Islamic” beliefs, such as that of the Wahhabi, or Salafis, the synthetic “Islam” taught by these individuals instills a supremacist belief system in the mind of the believer that compels him to see individuals professing other faiths as “infidels” and unbelievers.  The most extremist believers of this nonsense are convinced by what they are taught that it is their holy duty to kill the enemies of God.  Read a judgment from the Moscow district court, describing this psychological mechanism as taught in Nursi’s writings, Risale-i Nur–

[Risale-i Nur] “attempts to influence the psyche of the reader subconsciously using mechanisms of religious belief, i.e. the formation of conscious values and convictions with an irrational basis…,the destruction of religious equality, expressed in the formation of a negative, aggressive attitude among its target audience towards adherents of other confessional groups…,propagandises hatred between Muslims and non-believers.”

Hizbut-Tahrir is a British creation, which has been passed on to the American Empire-builders.  It is a weaponized form of Islam, intended to infect the mind of those who receive it with a sense of superiority and a mission to be God’s executioner.  The spread of this viral form of pseudo-religious mass-hypnosis coincides with increased social unrest and the rise of militant Islamists in the former Soviet space.  This is why it is banned in Russia and eventually in every CIS country that is striving to survive the great wave of American psychological warfare, otherwise known as the “Arab Spring” movement.]

Remaking Central Asia

By Ramtanu Maitra

May 27, 2005

“Britain has two important ingredients to offer to the United States: first, its ability to undo the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and parts of the Indian sub-continent through the use of people living in London’s Aladdin’s cave; and second, its control of world currency movements through the City of London.”


Most major media outlets have spelled out with a profusion of details the “exact” events that led to the death of what some claim to have been hundreds of people in the eastern Uzbekistan town of Andijan on May 13. Led by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, the world media condemned much-maligned Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov for yet another bloody and ruthless suppression of “public dissent”. Yet, all the details so far provided do not explain who the real players were or their end objectives.

It is certain, however, that the puzzle cannot be solved unless the London factor is understood. The answers lie in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Liverpool. The old British colonial establishment, with former intelligence officer Bernard Lewis as its mentor, appears to have set in motion a series of events that will bring endless bloodshed to Central Asia. London’s objective would appear to be to keep both China and Russia under an open-ended threat. At this point, there is no one who can better serve this “Lewis Doctrine” than Muslims nurtured in Britain – the Hizbut-Tehrir (HT).

Ferghana Valley’s importance
The most significant aspect of the violent incident in Andijan is that it occurred in the Ferghana Valley, a confluence of three former Soviet republics – Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Andijan is located about 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, where the seed crystal for the March uprising against Kyrgyz president Askar Akayev was planted. Within a span of 48 hours after the uprising began in Osh, Akayev was gone.

Andijan is also about 25 miles east of Namangan, the hotbed of the Saudi-funded Wahhabi form of Islamic extremism. Juma Namangani, now dead, was the leader of the movement that began in Namangan. The Ferghana Valley’s 7 million inhabitants make it the most densely populated region in Central Asia. In other words, Andijan is in the heart of Ferghana Valley, and is the key to controlling it.

For years, Central Asian governments have pointed to the valley as a hotbed of Muslim extremists aiming to set up an Islamic state in the region. Largely ethnically Uzbek, the valley is split between Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan in a confused patchwork of Soviet-era borders that often leave enclaves of one country surrounded by the territory of another. In general, Uzbekistan holds the valley floor, Tajikistan holds its narrow mouth and Kyrgyzstan holds the high ground around. Though the valley mouth is narrow, the actual valley is vast at 22,000 square kilometers (8,500 square miles), and the Pamir and Tien Shan mountains that rise above it are only dimly visible, but they are the main source of the water that fertilizes the valley.

During the Soviet era, the valley was a major center of cotton and silk production, and the hills above are covered by walnut forests. The valley also has some oil and gas. That scene has not changed much. What has changed significantly since the1990s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is its integration with the “free world”, and that process has made Central Asia economically decrepit and turned it into a hotbed of transnational Islamic militants, controlled and funded by outside forces. Recently, the Kyrgyz media reported of personnel of the country’s border control services saying that the illegal entry of foreign nationals and individuals without any citizenship into Kyrgyzstan was on the rise. What is important to note is that these militants were not parachuted out of airplanes: they are coming through Afghanistan and Pakistan. It could very well be a ticking time bomb for India, China and Russia.

Footsoldiers of foreign powers
Apart from various Islamic preachers, two major Islamic groups function in the Ferghana Valley, whose common objective is to change the regimes in Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. These are the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the HT. While the IMU openly thrives on violence, the HT is strongly promoted by the United Kingdom, where it is headquartered, as peaceful. But records indicate that that the IMU and the HT work hand-in-hand. Most of the IMU recruits are from the HT, according to Rohan Gunaratna, an expert on world terrorist outfits. Gunaratna claims that Khaled Sheikh Muhammad, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the US, and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian of Chechen origin who has remained active in the Iraqi insurgency against the US occupying forces, were both once members of the HT.

The relationship between the Taliban and the IMU pre-dates September 11. In September 1996, after the Taliban had captured the Afghan capital, Kabul, Juma Namangani and Tahir Yuldashev – long-time adversaries of Karimov and considered the founders of the IMU – held a press conference in the city to announce the formation of the IMU. Namangani, who had served as a Soviet paratrooper in Afghanistan in the 1980s, became the group’s leader (or amir) and Yuldashev its military commander. Their aim was to topple Karimov and turn Uzbekistan, and ultimately the whole of Central Asia, into an Islamic state. The Taliban provided them with a place to shelter and train, and to plot against Karimov. It is also said that Yuldashev developed contact with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and the two became supportive of each other. Although Karimov is a target of the IMU, in recent months he has identified the HT as the greater threat. Following the Andijan incident, Uzbek authorities again blamed the HT.

Unlike the IMU, which has concentrated its role in Central Asia, with the Ferghana Valley as the focus, the HT is an international Islamic movement. It is headquartered in London, but also has a strong organizational presence in Birmingham, Liverpool and Bradford. The UK group was co-founded by Omar Bakri Mohammed, who went to the UK after being expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1986. The HT’s present leader is an information technology professional from the Indian sub-continent, Jalaluddin Patel.

The HT was established in 1953 in Palestine by a well-known religious figure, the judge of the appellate Sharia court in Jerusalem, Takieddin al-Nabahani al-Falastini (1909-1979). According to available reports, the group’s first UK-based website was hosted by the London Imperial College – but following complaints to the college authorities, the site was closed down until a new host could be found. The group now posts in its own name as Hizbut-Tehrir.

Although portrayed as non-violent by British authorities, Bakri’s links to bin Laden are widely known. Excerpts of a letter to Bakri from bin Laden, sent by fax from Afghanistan in the summer of 1998, were published in the Los Angeles Times. Bakri later released what he called bin Laden’s four specific objectives for a jihad against the US: “Bring down their airliners. Prevent the safe passage of their ships. Occupy their embassies. Force the closure of their companies and banks.” Many of those who follow HT activities are intrigued that the group is not more discreet. For instance, its website in 2003 carried “A Cry of Imam from the Muslims of Uzbekistan.” In that article, the “imam” gave the call “to destroy Karimov” . Similar calls have been issued to oust the Jordanian and Turkish authorities. These are not empty threats. The HT is a huge organization. Some claim it has at least 10,000 footsoldiers in Central Asia. A few thousand more are lurking in Pakistan and Afghanistan. HT also has a strong presence in North Africa.

As one Indian analyst pointed out, Osh and Jalalabad, the cities that spearheaded the regime change in Kyrgyzstan, happen to be HT strongholds. HT is making huge gains in an entire belt stretching from the Ferghana provinces of Namangan, Andijan and Kokand (contiguous to Osh and Jalalabad) to the adjacent Penjekent Valley (Uzbekistan) and Khojent (Tajikistan).

The Lewis Doctrine
Writing for the Jamestown Foundation Journal (Vol 2 Issue 4), Stephen Ulph, in his article “Londonistan”, seemed intrigued by that fact that scores of violent Islamic movements remain anchored in London. He writes:
It [London] is also a center for Islamist politics. You could say that London has become, for the exponents of radical Islam, the most important city in the Middle East. A framework of lenient asylum laws has allowed the development of the largest and most overt concentration of Islamist political activists since Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Just ask the French, whose exasperation with the indulgent toleration afforded to Algerian Islamic activists led them to dub the city dismissively as “l’antechambre de l’Afghanistan”. They certainly have a point. Many of bin Laden’s fatwas [religious edicts] were actually first publicized in London. In fact, the United Kingdom in general seems to differ from other European states in the degree to which it became a spiritual and communications hub for the jihad movement …
Ulph does not, however, ask why it is that London remains an “Aladdin’s Cave”, chock-full of Islamic dissidents. Britain is no longer a military or economic power of substance. In order to be an almost-equal partner in the Atlantic alliance, Britain has two important ingredients to offer to the United States: first, its ability to undo the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and parts of the Indian sub-continent through the use of people living in London’s Aladdin’s cave; and second, its control of world currency movements through the City of London.

The West’s policy – in other words, the policy of the Anglo-Americans, as the European Union does not have a policy worth citing – toward the Middle East has long been formulated by Bernard Lewis. The British-born Lewis started his career as an intelligence officer and has remained in bed with British intelligence ever since. Avowedly anti-Russia and pro-Israel, Lewis reaped a rich harvest among US academia and policymakers. He brought president Jimmy Carter’s virulently anti-Russian National Security Council chief, Zbigniew Brzezinski, into his fold in the 1980s, and made the US neo-conservatives, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, dance to his tune on the Middle East in 2001. In between, he penned dozens of books and was taken seriously by people as a historian. But, in fact, Lewis is what he always was: a British intelligence officer.

To understand the “Lewis Doctrine”, one must read the statement he made in Canada recently while discussing his article, “Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East” (Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005). “During the Second World War, Nazi Germany and the allies had all sorts of odd friends,” Lewis said on that occasion. “When [Prime Minister Winston] Churchill was asked in the House of Commons about Britain’s new ally, Russia, he replied that if Hitler would invade hell, ‘I would find occasion to support the devil’. In this way, there is nothing odd about an alliance between Saddam [Hussein] and al-Qaeda.” Or, one might be expected to conclude, between London and the Hizbut-Tehrir.

In 1979, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini took over power in Iran and the West was in a quandary, Lewis sucked Brzezinski into his notion that “Koranic evangelism” could be a very useful political tool against Russia in the long term. His Time magazine story at the time, “The Crescent of Crisis”, ended with the following telling observation:
In the long run there may even be targets of opportunity for the West created by ferment within the crescent. Islam is undoubtedly compatible with socialism, but it is inimical to atheistic communism. The Soviet Union is already the world’s fifth largest Muslim nation. By the year 2000, the huge Islamic populations in the border republics may outnumber Russia’s now dominant Slavs. From Islamic democracies on Russia’s southern tier, zealous Koranic evangelism might sweep across the border into these politically repressed Soviet states, creating problems for the Kremlin … Whatever the solution, there is a clear need for the US to recapture what [Henry] Kissinger calls the “geopolitical momentum”. That more than anything else will help maintain order in the crescent of crisis.
The recent developments in Uzbekistan have all the hallmarks of the same process. This time the objective is to weaken China, Russia, and possibly India, using the HT to unleash the dogs of war in Central Asia. It is not difficult for those on the ground to see what is happening. The leader of the Islamic Party of Tajikistan, Deputy Prime Minister Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda, has identified HT as a Western-sponsored bogeyman for “remaking Central Asia”. He said: “A more detailed analysis of HT’s programmatic and ideological views and concrete examples of its activities suggests that it was created by anti-Islamic forces. One proof of this is the comfortable existence this organization enjoys in a number of Western countries, where it has large centers and offices that develop its concept of an Islamic caliphate.” It is evident that Turajonzoda has seen through this game. But he has little capability to stop the juggernaut once it has been unleashed.

It is not a lack of understanding on the part of American neo-conservatives associated with the Bush administration, but their keenness to use the “Lewis Doctrine” to achieve what they believe is justified that promises untold danger. How important a brains-trust is Lewis to the neo-conservatives? Just read the words of Richard Perle, a leading neo-conservative who remains a close adviser to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: “Bernard Lewis has been the single-most important intellectual influence countering the conventional wisdom on managing the conflict between radical Islam and the West.”

Tajik Religious Council Registers Opinion On Turajonzoda Flap

Religious differences did not lead to unity

Gaffor Mirzoyev, head of the History of Philosophy and Religion
Institute of Philosophy, Political Science and Law of RT
For some time the religious situation in the country always remains a volatile and sensitive areas of social life. Although the emergence of new religious movements such as Wahhabism, Salafi, Jamoati Tabligh and other matter somewhat on the wane, but the confrontation of religious views on the religious situation brings this to the abyss, which can have tragic consequences for society.
Conducting the ceremony of remembrance Oshuro from well-known religious family Turajonzoda, publication circulation Ulema Council, Tajikistan, and discuss controversial comments about this in the media have raised concerns the conscious part of society. From its bitter experience recently, we remember, what has this attitude in a religious environment, so we can not stay away. Moreover, it is our duty, as the foundation of our work is the study of religious processes in modern society, and it behooves us to express an opinion.
That is, we took up this topic not because of passion or selfish intentions of the group and show off, sometimes even more are tightening the existing situation. For example, some priority is to confront each other, rather than the subject matter and methods for their solution.Or some ignorant person, who are far from the notion of essence of the issue by equating the purely religious rite Oshuro to the level of celebrating the New Year, allegedly birth of Jesus Christ, which further complicates the matter in question. It only adds fuel to the fire, and not in the interests of our people.
These minor problems are always at the center of conflict in our society. Is such a tense situation in the confrontation of the great powers around our country, we have other more important issues? Is the economic problems of the country, the situation of migrant workers, unemployment in the society, poverty, provision of schools and education, unsold projects in agricultural and energy sectors, the level of culture and ethics of society, the issues of regionalism, corruption, normalization of relations with neighboring countries, the protection of national interests, that recently the internet were again under attack enemies of the nation, and other existing problems do not matter to us, or they have already been solved?
In the process of solving the above problems the ideological confrontation on issues of religion in religious circles, on the contrary may further exacerbate the problem. This is only available to certain foreign interests for the sake of their interests. And for all of our society and their consequences will be flawed and negative.
The formulation and adoption of the issue so that some of our religious leaders have involved in the dispute Oshuro rite of religious circles, could later lead to confrontation and disagreement between them. And it may worsen the serious aggravation of our good relations with neighboring fraternal people of Iran, which always protects our national and state interests at the regional level.
In addition, it can destroy the religious tolerance that existed in our culture. First, our religious leaders should not have to bring this matter to this state. Ulema Council had to find more appropriate ways and means of reconciling or resolving the issue. To decide whether it would be advisable to try to collect first-known religious figures of the country together and find a more gentle and appropriate ways to address the issue. Maybe then this issue would be resolved in the best way.
Today, when both sides of the issue carried on a review of society and argue about who is right and wrong, and blame each other for defamation, it does not matter who is right.
For example, the ideological differences between Turajonzoda and Mullah Haidar in the 90s of last century and at that time was not important who is right and who is not. The further process of the differences and relations went beyond the problem and its implications for all of us are well known. Include all causes of the tragic events of 90th only to the religious factor can be wrong, but in any case, this factor is considered one of the causes of conflict.
As a result, society was divided into two fronts, with each side looking for a patron in foreign countries. These foreign patrons using our divisions have implemented their own selfish interests, the consequences of which we have hitherto experienced.
The reality is that our religion, which is an important national spiritual foundation that fateful period was unable to fulfill its primary mission to unite and concord of the people. Not only did, but she became one of the factors of disunity. Why did it happen, and what we should learn about it, we should consider.
With regard to the subject matter, then there is the rite of Oshuro emphasize that it is inconsistent with the traditions of Hanafi Sunni religion religious movement. And in the minds of our people Oshuro not perceived as a religious rite. Moreover, the performance of the rite does not add anything and does not decrease in our religion, and religion. That is, there is no need in the Hanafi religious movements. On the contrary, it can only bring problems and disagreements.
When it comes to assessing an unworthy act the murder grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s) – Imam Hussain Ibn Yazid Muoviya, every believer is a Muslim and a reasonable person in spite of religious rites, condemned this unworthy act. Therefore, there is no need to make in our circle of religious traditions, holding this ceremony. All of our great representatives of culture and religion, who lived and worked during the Hanafi confessed, condemned this tragic act and wrote about it in his writings. However, none of them served as a rite Oshuro religious tradition. We would like to say that the conviction and execution of religious rituals are very different things and do not confuse them.
Even supporters of the Ismaili flow, which is constantly remembered, and they are an important part of our religious environment, do not hold a ceremony Oshuro with weeping and mourning observance. And so it was before, even though they are members of the Shi’ite Imam and a branch of Islam.
As for the ceremony Oshuro, we respect the religious traditions and ceremonies of Shia Muslims. And now we do not pursue their goal to show minor religious values. Just want to organize their own religious traditions, which would meet the aspirations of the people. In the course of the Shiite mourning rituals of compliance, weeping, drawing the head and face trauma, etc. taken as the tradition of that branch of Islam. These traditions are accepted by them in subsequent periods, the development of Islam as Sunni opposition to their union, as the leadership and management role belonged to the Sunni representatives.
In that time, the religious ceremony they needed to unite supporters of Shiite unity and flow. But in subsequent centuries it has evolved into a campaign of confrontation, revenge and terror between rival currents, which creates problems even in the Shiite community. In recent years, certain religious groups and senior religious leaders are trying to make changes in the conduct of the ceremony and make it softer, so that at least in some measure to prevent its tragic consequences. Only this year, during the ceremony Oshuro in several cities in neighboring Afghanistan killed 54 and injured more than 100 people. In different areas of Iraq were killed 87 and injured hundreds of people. These events have also occurred in Pakistan and Lebanon.Such events occur each year.
I can not imagine on what grounds, and the feeling with which our religious leaders can make this intense ritual in our religious environment. Is it in our social and religious environment, which is an important part of our religion, there are no other questions, when to make it into our religious idea not necessary, and before there was no need. As noted in other streams of Sunni belief he also did not notice and did not exist.
If we are talking about the benefits of Muharram, which was revered by Muslims and to the tragedy in Karbala at the time of the Prophet, he has a definite place in certain religious calendars as Shavvol month, Rajab and others. That is, they do not comply with such sensitivity as in the Shiite flow.
In conclusion I would like to note that to carry out minor religious rites should be treated so that the religion and rituals have lost their intended purpose and value. Religious conversion will be constructive and positive only when we have to meet the needs of society.
Today, terrible process of globalization, which is constantly and steadily moves around the world, do not leave out any state and any one nation. Civilized and intelligent nation, have learned well the pulse of events, and joined their national, religious and interest groups around the state interest. So they are making progress and in society, and religion, and statecraft.
Look at the most difficult times Russia’s recent history, particularly the confrontation of the Parliament and the executive body of the country, differences of state bodies, the solution of demographic problems, and finally, the deterioration of relations with its neighbors – Georgia and Ukraine, the Russian Orthodox Church has always been next to the state and supported him.
If we will also work in all spheres of life, including the conduct of rituals in the light pulse processes of the modern world and national interests, too, will achieve success. Otherwise, it does not matter, we say loudly or softly month-old Omina, carry out a rite Oshuro as memory or a religious ceremony.
I think that today our society the most important task is to create a stable environment and people’s unity. Known Tajik educator Adzhzi in the early twentieth century, long before the arrival of the Bolsheviks and the spatial distribution of Central Asia felt the need to join the society before the events that followed and put him above all values. Causes fragmentation of society and the problems he saw in the internal religious differences and emphasized the need to prevent them.
In the future, contradictory world, which will be the scene of confrontation between the interests of great powers, disunited nation, society, and their traditions will not occur.

Tajik Mufti Who Sees Through Anti-Islamist Western Subversion, Targeted By Tajik Court

[The following story is about a developing “stink” that is now unfolding in Tajikistan, where US and Russian competition for dominance may be the most serious.  Without Tajikistan, the US and NATO would not be able to control northern Afghanistan and several primary routes for the NDN.  Tajikistan is vital to Russia, especially because it is home to the Russian 201st Motorized Division, with the next nearest Russian facility in Kyrgyzstan.

The report about this Tajik mufti suing the head of the Ulema Council is highly significant, since this guy is a real “fly” in everybody’s “ointment” (our kind of guy!), except maybe for Russia.  He is challenging the Tajik religious authorities for being puppets of the government and its anti-Islamization efforts.  Stirring-up govt. reactions to imagined “Islamist” penetrations is the key mechanism for the takeover of the region.  Turajonzoda has craftily focused upon the puppet religious authorities, instead of the government in his libel suit, for falsely claiming that he led Shiite Ashura ceremonies, even though his Sunni beliefs forbid such things.  The govt. authorities have charged him with “disorderly conduct” because his parishioners became rowdy and insulted the chief Mufti for making false charges against their own Imam. 

Akbar Turajonzoda is of major importance in the international fight against the false “Islamist” front that has been manufactured by the Empire as an instrument of subjugation and agitation of the Muslim masses.  His previous denunciation of the primary instrument of subversion, the  Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, as being a Western creation, manufactured by anti-Islamist forces, proves that he is a primary obstacle to the Western plans to dominate Tajikistan, making him a clear threat to the Empire.  Moves by the Tajik govt. to censure, or isolate him prove that the Rahmon govt. is working behind the scenes to facilitate the Empire’s plans for the region.  If the Islamist model of Western subversion cannot take hold in Tajikistan, then it is doubtful whether it will play well in Russia.  You can be sure that the Kremlin is watching this part of the ongoing psycho-drama very intently] 

Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda

Second-in-command of the Islamic Revival Party, “he has called Hizb ut-Tahrir, an international Islamist organization, a threat to Tajikistan’s stability.[4] He claimed HT is Western-sponsored and that it wants to “remak[e] Central Asia… A more detailed analysis of HT’s programmatic and ideological views and concrete examples of its activities suggests that it was created by anti-Islamic forces. One proof of this is the comfortable existence this organization enjoys in a number of Western countries, where it has large centers and offices that develop its concept of an Islamic caliphate.”[5]

Turajonzoda brothers accused of disorderly conduct 

Nuriddin Turajonzoda
The prosecutor’s office Wahdat handed to the court instituted administrative proceedings for disorderly conduct in respect of certain theologians – brothers Turajonzoda.
According to “AP” prosecutor Vahdat Kurbonali Mukhabbatov, December 9 this year, theologians and Hoji Akbar Eshoni Nuriddin Turajonzoda in his mosque “Muhammad” in Vahdat district was admitted to the presence of many parishioners foul language against the head of the Ulema Council Saidmukarama Abdukodirzoda and other officials.
“Such actions are considered in law as disorderly conduct committed in a public place – said the prosecutor Vahdat. – In any case, the court issues its decision. ”
Actions brothers Turajonzoda qualified under Article 460 of the Administrative Code (petty hooliganism, ie obscene language in public, humiliating harassment of citizens and other such actions that violate public order and tranquility of the population, is punishable by a fine of seven to ten indicators for settlements or administrative arrest for a term of five to fifteen days)
Recall, December 9, the mosque of the family Turajonzoda “Muhammad” to familiarize parishioners with the Ulema Council statement came the head of the Ulema Council Saidmukaram Abdukodirzoda, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs and the Mayor Abdulrahim Kholiko Vahdat Anvari Vaysiddin.

Speech by Mufti met with indignant shouts of the congregation, not letting him finish his speech, and forcing officials to leave the mosque.
The next day, on a complaint the head of the Ulema Council, chairman of the committee and the mayor to the prosecuting authorities nine parishioners were subjected to administrative detention for 10 days, yet few people have been fined.
It should be noted that the entire conflict arose following a statement by the Council of Ulema, who accused the family in carrying out Turajonzoda December 2 Shiite mourning ceremony “Oshuro” in the mosque of Muhammad.
Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda accused the head of the Ulema Council of insult and libel and filed it in court. The claim was accepted Turajonzoda in the metropolitan district court Somoni.