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

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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.