Tajik Citizens Report Uzbek Tanks and Military Vehicles Lining-Up Along Border

“Ozodi”: Uzbekistan pulled off to the border with Tajikistan, tanks and armored personnel carriers

Ferghana

Uzbekistan has concentrated on the border with Tajikistan, heavy military equipment – tanks and armored personnel carriers (APCs), reported April 13 Ozodi (Tajik Service of Radio Liberty), with reference to the inhabitants of transfrontier Matcha Sogd district of Tajikistan.

, Told radio station by telephone a resident of the Tajik village Padroh Istambek Rozikov, the accumulation of military vehicles seen in the town Sardob. This fact alerted local residents.

“A week ago, on the other side of barbed wire could be seen only Uzbek border guards, and now we see that they have accumulated tanks, armored personnel carriers, and BIP” – said Rozikov.

“We usually Pacem cattle off the coast of the channel on the border with Uzbekistan. Now you can see how their armored vehicles lined up near the border. I have personally seen them fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and “Hummers” with machine guns, submachine, “- said another resident of the district Rahim Matcha Rakhimov. According to him, “the height of the barbed wire over a week ago was much higher.”

He could not give an exact number of armored vehicles, but “it is clear that they are lined up at a distance of 10-15 meters from each other.” According to Rakhimov, on the other side of the border can be seen a large number of military personnel.

Interlocutor Ozodi reported that accumulation of military and technology seen in the perimeter “of the town Sardob to [the village] Akhunbabaev”, which is about 16-17 kilometers.

“Avesta” version pushes that Uzbekistan intends to achieve transmission of Tajikistan’s hydroelectric dams Farkhad: Farkhad dam is operated in Tajikistan, and hydropower with the same name is located on the territory of Uzbekistan.

To confirm or refute their sources of information Ozodi addressed to the Office of the border troops in Tajikistan, but the head of the press-service management Hushnud Rahmatulloev said the lack of credible reports about the concentration of armor on the border line.

Rahmatulloev also said that at present in Sughd representatives of law enforcement agencies of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to hold talks on border security.

Note that in recent years, relations between the two countries is seriously complicated. Back in 2000, after repeated attacks by militants of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) Uzbekistan unilaterally mined the number of mountain sections of the border with Tajikistan, and a map of the Tajik side of the mined areas are not provided. As a result of the explosions the Uzbek mines killed more than a hundred Tajiks, hundreds of people and animals have been injured. At the same time unilaterally between the two countries visa regime was introduced.

In autumn 2009, Uzbekistan announced a unilateral withdrawal from the Unified Energy System of Central Asia, which could deprive Tajikistan opportunity to receive Turkmen electricity. In December of that year, Tashkent launched a sort of “rail war” against Tajikistan, eliminating the movement of passenger trains, coming through the Tajik Sughd.

November 17, 2011 Uzbekistan announced an explosion on a railway bridge, after which the movement of all passenger and freight trains at this station was discontinued , and the south of Tajikistan, was virtually under siege.

On March 4, 2012 Uzbekistan has stopped the transit of goods through the territory of Tajikistan, and in late March, Tajik railway workers learned that their Uzbek colleagues dismantle connecting the two countries the railway.

After that, Dushanbe accused Tashkent of provoking a “social tension and unrest growing population of the country against the leadership of Tajikistan.” The statement of the Tajik Ministry of Foreign Affairs, by the way, and said that “the Uzbek side, contrary to all international norms and sufficient grounds ultimatum requires the transfer of its ownership of the site boundary” Farkhad dam “to the territory, which means nothing else than the attempt to annex sovereign territory of Tajikistan. “

April 3, Uzbek President Islam Karimov held an emergency meeting of the National Security Council, which discussed relations with Tajikistan. The next day, Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev issued a statement in which he stressed that his country’s position “is absolutely justified, fully compliant with international law, and any claims of the Tajik parties are baseless.”

The international news agency “Fergana”

Russian Warships To Patrol Syrian Coast Permanently

Russian Warships To Patrol Syrian Coast Permanently

(RTTNews) – Russian warships will be continuously deployed for patrol duty off the Syrian coast in the Mediterranean, the RIA Novosti news agency reported quoting Russian Defense Ministry sources on Friday.

“A decision has been made to deploy Russian warships near the Syrian shores on a permanent basis,” the report said.

The Russian Kashin-class guided-missile destroyer ‘Smetlivy’ is currently deployed near the Syrian coast. Another Black Sea Fleet ship will replace it next month, the sources said, adding that several Russian warships were on their way to the Mediterranean.

The United States, France, Britain, Germany and some other countries have deployed more warships to the Mediterranean since the outbreak of the unrest in Syria 13 months ago. According to the U.N., more than 9,000 people have been killed in the violence.

The Syrian government on Thursday declared a ceasefire with the Opposition fighters as part of a U.N.-brokered peace plan.

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

Pak Parliament Passes New Terms Of Engagement With US Restricting NATO Supplies

“Pakistani territory including its airspace shall not be used fortransportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan.”

Pak Parliament Passes New Terms Of Engagement With US Restricting NATO Supplies

(RTTNews) – A joint session of both Housesof Pakistan Parliament on Thursday approved the revised recommendations of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security (PCNS) pertaining to the terms of engagement with U.S. and matters relating to the national security of Pakistan.

Under the Guidelines for Revised Terms of Engagement with USA/NATO/ISAF and General Foreign Policy, “Pakistani territory including its airspace shall not be used fortransportation of arms and ammunition to Afghanistan.”

This will confine Afghanistan-bound NATO supplies to non-lethal materials only.

The Parliament rejected a call to set “immediate cessation” of U.S. drone attacks as a condition to allow resumption of NATO supplies.

The original consensus report prepared by PCNS was tabled at the joint sitting of the Senate and National Assembly on March 20, and was passed in the House by a voice vote on Thursday after detailed deliberations.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani assured that his government would implement the guidelines “in letter and spirit.”

He told the lawmakers that U.S. President Barack Obama had assured him during a nuclear security summit in Seoul last month that Washington would respect the Pakistani Parliament’s review (of the terms of engagement). The United States responded cautiously to the passage of the crucial report. In a statement, State department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said Washington “respects the seriousness with which Parliament’s review of U.S.-Pakistan relations has been conducted.”

She said the U.S. government wanted to “discuss these policy recommendations with the Government of Pakistan and continuing to engage with it on our shared interests.”

“We seek a relationship with Pakistan that is enduring, strategic, and more clearly defined,” the statement added.

An 18-member parliamentary committee headed by PPP Senator Raza Rabbani was set up as the government came under pressure after a NATO attack on a Pakistani border post killed 24 Pak soldiers in November.

Rabbani urged the government to thoroughly revise the terms and conditions of a transit agreement with NATO, and strike a new deal before reopening a key supply route to NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

Rabbani said drone attacks were counterproductive because of the loss of valuable lives and property. It radicalizes the local population, and creates support for the terrorists and fuels anti-American sentiments. U.S. drone attacks have killed hundreds of militants in north-west Pakistan, but the Obama administration halted the campaign temporarily after the November 26 attack in Mohmand tribal district on the Afghan border that killed the Pak soldiers, undermining bilateral relations.

Pakistan suspended transit of NATO supplies through its territory and its cooperation with the U.S. military.

But the U.S. resumed its drone strikes on January 7, and Obama confirmed that strikes by unmanned aircraft targeted “al-Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

Human Hunting Season In Balochistan and Iran Is Outraged Over Who Is the Prey

[Civil war in Balochistan may pull the Iranians into the fray, depending upon the state of relations between the Pakistani and Iranian governments at the time that the breech of the peace takes place.]

Balochistan governor fears civil war in province

Members of the Ethnic Hazara Shia community mourn the killing of their relatives at a hospital in Quetta on April 9, 2012, following a targeted attack by gunmen.—AFP Photo

QUETTA: Governor Balochistan Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi on Friday said he feared a civil war would erupt in the province if target killings continued unabated, DawnNews reported.

Speaking to provincial ministers and members of the Hazara Democratic Party, the governor questioned the strength of the cabinet, saying there was no need for a cabinet this large if the provincial government was unable to curtail the deteriorating law and order situation in the province.

“Time and again, more and more people are becoming victims of target killings, and not a single suspect has been taken into custody as yet. This is a proof of our government and law enforcement authorities’ failure,” said Magsi.

“If the military was summoned to restore the law and order in the province, then it will be problematic for the civilian government and the administration,” he added.

Magsi ordered the Provincial Home Secretary Naseebullah Bazai to immediately take notice of target killings and initiate a crackdown on the purported miscreants.

Russian Insight Into Balochistan Struggle

[SEE:  The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army]

No Russian presence in Balochistan: Diplomat

The province is integral part of Pakistan.

DESIGN: ESSA MALIK

KARACHI: The Consul-General of Russian Federation in Karachi, Andrey V Demidov, has said that Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan and it is the responsibility of the government to resolve its ‘internal’ issues, not of any global superpower.

Demidov was speaking at a lecture organised by the University of Karachi’s Area Study Centre for Europe on ‘Russian Foreign Policy in the Emerging Global Order.’

When the consul general was asked about how Russia felt about Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s resolution in the US House of Representatives calling upon Pakistan to recognise the right of the people of Balochistan to self determination, he said: “We believe that Balochistan is an integral part of Pakistan. It is for the government of Pakistan to resolve all internal problems there.”

He added that, sometimes, the US congress is ‘ungovernable.’ Regarding Russia’s interest in Balochistan, Demidov clarified that there was no Russian presence in the province.

Speaking on relations between Pakistan and Russia, he said “we have good prospects with Pakistan. We want to work very closely with Pakistan.” He reminded the audience that an invitation had been extended to the Russian President Putin to visit the country, which was accepted.

He stressed that there were a number of areas where the two countries can work with each other apart from cooperation in the war on terror, especially when it came to the energy sector. “Russia is the number one energy supplier in the world” that could help Pakistan in the energy crisis it faces today.

“But [all of this] depends on mutual political will,” he added.

Speaking on Afghanistan and the imminent pull out of US coalition troops within two years, Demidov said the all the goals the US had set out to achieve remain unfulfilled.

“The infrastructure of terror there still exists. Al Qaeda and the Taliban still exist. The government there too remains incapable of leading its people,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune

U.S. Risks Involvement in Regional Central Asian Disputes

U.S. Risks Involvement in Regional Central Asian Disputes

OilPrice.com

The Pentagon, clearly unsettled by its proposed 2014 drawdown of the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, has cast its net wide to retain a presence in Central Asia’s post-Soviet states.

Accordingly, its new potential best buddy is Tajikistan, but the U.S. Department of Defense’s new strategy risks inserting Washington into one of post-Soviet Central Asia’s most intractable problems, energy issues between Central Asia’s former USSR republics. A crystal ball would indicate that the end result will be bitterness and all sides.

But first, the politics.

On 31 March in the capital Dushanbe Tajik President Emomali Rakhmon received U.S. Central Command head General James Mattis, ostensibly to discuss the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking, which the Tajik state media breathlessly proclaimed “were the main topics of the talks.”

Almost as an aside, Rahmon told reporters, “Tajikistan would like to see further strengthening of the development of ties with the United States in the sphere of security and the establishment of peace and stability in the region.”

Mattis had indeed been busy, as last week he also held talks with the Turkmen and Uzbek leaders.

But the outcome of the Dushanbe lovefest was evident in a statement released by Rahmon’s office, which quoted Mattis as saying that the United States would continue providing assistance to Tajik security forces, with Tajikistan continuing transiting of nonmilitary supplies intended for NATO-led troops in Afghanistan.

So, why should this matter?

Because Tajikistan is the poorest, then and now, of the former Soviet republics, two decades after the USSR collapsed, but one in which now both the Russian Federation and the U.S. discern “strategic” interests. And because the U.S., with its grandiose pronouncements, will likely get sucked into Central Asia’s indigenous energy issues that have simmered since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. After the implosion of the “Evil Empire,” of all the former Soviet “stans,” Tajikistan suffered the most, as in 1992 the country descended into a brutal civil war slugfest between Communists and Islamic militants. When it ended in 1997 with an UN-brokered agreement, more than 50,000 Tajiks had been killed in a nation of only 7.5 million, and more than one-tenth of the population had fled the country.

What’s left?

The remains of the USSR’s hydroelectric network, which Dushanbe hopes can be upgraded and expanded to provide a source of export revenue to energy bereft neighbors such as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Simply put, the hydroelectric facilities of alpine Tajikistan and its eastern neighbor Kyrgyzstan control the majority of the water flow that western downstream neighbors Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan need for their agricultural produce, and both nations are aggravating their former Soviet republican tovarishes by proposing new hydroelectric cascades, which their downstream neighbors fear will further disrupt their agriculture.

As Rakhmon has aggressively been beating the drum for years of foreign fiscal assistance to construct his hydroelectric edifices, several dating from Soviet times, it is most unlikely that he will not squeeze Washington to support his initiatives.

Not that Rakhmon has much choice – since April 2011, prices for gasoline and diesel have risen 50 percent in the wake of the Russian Federation’s decision to raise its tariffs on oil exported to the impoverished nation.

So, the Rakhmon administration is pursuing its dreams of becoming Central Asia’s leading electricity exporter by seeking to complete the massive 3,600-megawatt Soviet-era Vakhsh River Rogun hydroelectric cascade, begun in 1976. Indigenous sources proved not up to the task. In December 2009 the Tajik government issued Rogun stock and made it compulsory for citizens to purchase nearly $700 worth of shares, a sum exceeding most Tajiks’ annual income, in order to collect $600 million for construction to continue, before a World Bank survey of the project halted the initiative.

Any guesses as to what Dushanbe might ‘request’ from Washington in the form of assistance?

And should the U.S. government, seeking to transfer its footprint from Afghanistan to Tajikistan accede to such requests, then there only remains the minor problem of assuring Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan of the wisdom of such a move.

As the proverb puts it, you can choose your friends but not your neighbors – in such a case, Washington is going to have to explain to its new “friends” its decisions and why their crop harvests should suffer for Tajikistan’s energy dreams.

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

The danger that Saudi Arabia will turn Syria into an Islamist hotbed

The danger that Saudi Arabia will turn Syria into an Islamist hotbed

A tentative UN-brokered ceasefire does not settle Western concerns over Saudi intervention in Syria. While the US and its allies are wary of seeing Syria become a sectarian battleground, the power brokers in Riyadh seem to have been hurtling toward it – with a form of state-sponsored jihad.

By Joshua Jacobs

Christian Science Monitor

A Syrian woman walks past a painting of the Syrian revolutionary flag and writing that reads “only al-Arour,” the name of an Islamic cleric living in Saudi Arabia who opposes President Bashar al-Assad, in a neighborhood of Damascus April 2. Op-ed contributor Joshua Jacobs worries that Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Syria will give it ‘free reign in picking the winners and losers among the opposition – likely Islamist groups at the expense of moderates and secularists.’

Anonymous/AP

WASHINGTON

Even as a tentative ceasefire brings an uneasy calm to Syria, opposition leaders and US officials express skepticism that it will hold, particularly in the face of the Assad regime’s record of broken promises. Demonstrations planned for April 13 will test that commitment to stop the violence.

UN-brokered ceasefire does not settle the concerns over what has been an increasingly aggressive Saudi intervention in Syria. While the United States and its allies are wary of seeing Syria become a sectarian battleground, the power brokers in Riyadh seem to have been hurtling toward it. The Saudis look to have clearly made the calculus that the potential fruit from toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and enthroning a Sunni aligned regime in Damascus is well worth the political risk.

The danger with this scenario is that while Saudi Arabiaembarks on its jihad to topple Mr. Assad, it will get free reign in picking the winners and losers among the opposition – likely Islamist groups at the expense of moderates and secularists.

If there was any doubt as to Saudi Arabian intentions in Syria, that veil was ripped away at the recent “Friends of Syria” conference in Istanbul. The Saudis and their Gulf allies spearheaded an effort to create a formalized pay structure for the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and privately ruminated on the possibility of setting up official supply conduits to anti-Assad forces. This effort went much further than what the West, or even neighboring Turkey, seemed willing to embrace.

When the Syrian uprising began last March, Saudi Arabia was in a state of panic. The revolution inEgypt, the uprising in Bahrain, and the bubbling civil war in Yemen consumed Riyadh’s attention and cultivated a manic siege mentality.

However as the Saudi domestic and geopolitical situation began to stabilize, the rulers began to look at the potential opportunity to topple the Assad regime in Syria, and seize the initiative in Saudi Arabia’s increasingly tense standoff with Iran.

In the best of times, relations between Tehran and Riyadh have never been good, but for the past few years the relationship has deteriorated so much that it can best be described as a state of undeclared war.

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