Uzbekistan Needs Oligarchs of Its Own

Uzbekistan hints at selling off state assets

Uzbekistan has tentatively signalled that it wants to open up its economy by selling off 500 state-owned assets over the next couple of years.

Islam Karimov has ruled over Uzbekistan since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991

Islam Karimov has ruled over Uzbekistan since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 Photo: AFP/GETTY

Saifitdlin Gafarov, deputy chairman of the Uzbek state property committee, said the sell-off would cover all Uzbekistan’s key industries from energy to metals, the AP news agency quoted Uzbek media as saying.

This is the second time this year that the Uzbek government has sent out signals that it may be considering improving its economic and foreign investment climate, although there is little hard evidence of action so far.

Uzbekistan, which is the region’s most populous country with around 29.5 million people living in it, is considered key to Central Asia. Any opening into its economy would attract considerable interest from foreign companies.

The Soviets also viewed the country as its transport and administrative hub in Central Asia. They built vast rail links from Uzbekistan to Russia and the rest of the region, a network that Nato hopes to make the most of when it evacuates its military hardware from Afghanistan in 2014.

Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, is also Central Asia’s largest city.

But since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Uzbek President Islam Karimov has operated a closed economy which has made life uncomfortable for foreign companies investing in Uzbekistan and virtually closed the country off from the outside world.

Uzbekistan’s economy appeared to have become so self-sufficient that the global economic crisis of 2008 and 2009 virtually passed it by untouched. Instead, according to official data, the Uzbek economy continued to grow at an average of 8 per cent a year.

The figures might look impressive, but the reality is starker.

Human rights groups rate the Uzbek government as one of the most repressive in the world, clothing companies have boycotted cotton from Uzbekistan because much of its has been picked by child labour and inflation has corroded any nominal economic growth.

Instead visitors to Uzbekistan report fuel shortages, frequent power cuts and an increasingly frustrated population.

This year’s pronouncements by Uzbek officials on opening the country’s economy may be a reaction to pressure from multi-national financial organisations. They have been urging the Uzbek government to speed up privatisation to both boost the economy and improve the exposure of ordinary people to cash dripping into the country from energy, gold and cotton exports.

The following report alerts us to the latest incarnation of CIA trouble-making in the Levant

[Fatah al-Islam, the fake “Al-Qaeda” front group which has played so heavily in the last round of Lebanon’s troubles is a media creation supported by Said Hariri and his Saudi, US and Israeli sponsors, who have played upon his desire for revenge against Syria for allegedly killing his father Rafik Hariri, as justification for his supporting CIA plans for Lebanon.  After his Future party defeat at Lebanon’s polls, the Saudis pushed him to support agency-contracted terrorism put forth by this latest group, allegedly linked to “Al-CIA-da” in Syria, whose members are drawn from the dregs of humanity trapped/imprisoned in the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain el-Hilweh, located on the outskirts of Sidon.  How many different CIA/Mossad plots does this make since the IDF got its ass handed to in in southern Lebanon in 2006?  

The following report alerts us to the latest incarnation of CIA trouble-making in the Levant.  Lebanon has assumed much greater importance in the grand scheme since the gas bonanza was discovered in the Eastern Med.  This is only the beginning of troubles over the new wealth in hand, or within reach.] 

People escaped from Ain el-Hilweh to the jihadi duty in Tripoli

Site of the Republic  

Confirmed those with Haitham popular one Fatah al-Islam in a radio interview that their son escaped from Ain el-Hilweh to do his duty jihad and support his family vulnerable people in northern Lebanon and Syria. and spoke to press reports the flight elements of the Ain al-Hilweh, he knew them Haitham popular Abu Mohammed Tawfiq Taha and the third titled Shot and the fourth Arefa of each and the fifth did not know his identity.

Major Intelligence Agencies Behind Assassinations and New Terrorism In Lebanon

Groups Seeking to Carry out Assassinations in Lebanon Backed by Major Intelligence Agencies

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية


The sides that are seeking to carry out assassinations in Lebanon are too powerful to be thwarted by the local authorities, revealed security circles to al-Joumhouria newspaper on Thursday.

They said that these groups “are backed by major intelligence agencies that have dedicated billions of dollars for them.”

Theses sides are keen on carrying out their attack during the peak of the sectarian tensions in Lebanon and the region, they added.

They voiced their conviction that these groups are planning to execute a series of assassinations and Lebanon and the region.

They noted however that the fears over the assassinations rises and decreases with the various religious tensions in the region, most notably those fueled by television programs and the media.

“They have since been stoked by the news of various massacres that have been committed by the Syrian army in Syria,” said the security circles.

These news have been exploited by various powers on the ground to fuel the tensions even further as demonstrated by the recent clashes in the northern city of Tripoli, they explained.

The clashes erupted on Saturday in light of the arrest of Islamist Shadi al-Mawlawi.

The development sparked clashes between the rival neighborhoods of Sunni Bab al-Tabbaneh and Alawite Jabal Mohsen, which have killed at least nine people and wounded 50.

Other reports have spoken of an intention to end the stability in Lebanon and once again turn it into an open ground for regional conflicts, the security circles told al-Joumhouria.

Such a plan is aimed at “passing the time in light of the ongoing negotiations between regional and international powers, which have also placed the Syrian crisis on the negotiating table,” stated the circles.

Speaker Nabih Berri confirmed on Wednesday a list of politicians and figures targeted by extremist groups, describing the threat as serious and dangerous.

According to NBN, he called on security agencies to follow up the issue.

Meanwhile, a prominent security source denied the existence of such a list, while a high-ranking source from a major security agency confirmed the threats.

“These are various serious threats and they target Lebanese figures from the March 8 and 14 camps,” he told al-Mustaqbal daily in remarks published on Thursday.

“Terrorism does not have an identity, religion, or affiliations as it can reach all sides,” he stated.

“The information on the threats is a culmination of major efforts by Lebanese and international intelligence,” he added.

Local newspapers reported on Wednesday that international countries warned Lebanese officials that a terrorist group – linked to an extremist organization, has infiltrated the country recently to carry out “sabotage” operations.

According to As Safir newspaper, the information coincided with similar data obtained by Lebanese security agencies.

Speaker Nabih Berri and several other senior Lebanese officials might be the target of a security threat by the terrorist group.

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea escaped an assassination attempt on April 4.

In January, security agencies urged Berri and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat to take precautions as they might be the target of an assassination plot.

On Tuesday, al-Joumhouria newspaper reported that the security agencies succeeded in the past few days in uncovering a terrorist network with local, Arab, and European links.

It said that the confessions of one of the detainees led to the arrest of al-Mawlawi.

Al-Qaeda doesn’t exist in Lebanon

Charbel: Al-Qaeda doesn’t exist in Lebanon


Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said Wednesday that there are individuals in Lebanon who sympathize with Al-Qaeda, but that the group as an organization does not exist in the country does not have any bases and does not receive any funding.

Charbel said that the case of Islamists imprisoned without charge would be resolved soon.

“Al-Qaida doesn’t exist in Lebanon but there are people who support it. It doesn’t have a training base in the country nor does it receive funding ”Charbel told reporters in a news conference in Tripoli following the North Lebanon Security Council’s meeting at the Serail

“We are ready to discuss the recent incidents with all the parties in Tripoli in order to preserve security in the city,” Charbel added

Charbel statements came after an Islamist supporter of the Syrian opposition, Shadi Mawlawi, 25, was arrested and accused of belonging to a “terrorist organization.” Reports surfaced that Mawlawi was linked to Al-Qaeda in Lebanon.

Mawlawi’s controversial arrest Saturday sparked three-day clashes in Tripoli, north Lebanon, between opponents and supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, leaving at least seven dead and 100 wounded.

What outraged Mawlawi’s supporters was the way he was tricked to be arrested… General Security personnel dressed in civilian clothes lured him to a social services center belonging to Finance Minister Mohammad Safadi with promises of medical care to his sister , only to arrest him.

Lying Bastards!–How Is Selling Saudis Weapons and Then Shipping Them To Syria, “Coordinating” But Not “Supplying”?

[Once again, the creators of “Al-CIA-da,” sitting on a royal throne, are running the real CIA in the Middle East, as opposed to the figurehead agency based in Langley, Va.  Some people claim that the semi-private international intelligence agency calling the shots for the old CIA in Washington is a “rogue” agency, but that is just another misleading lie.  Since the days of Reagan, when Congress officially outlawed supplying weapons to CIA rebels in Central America, the CIA has outsourced its covert military activities to a private organization called the Safari Club, led by Prince Turki.  At the same time, it outsourced its semi-legal subversive foreign activities to a new agency called the NED.  Between the NED and the Safari

Club, the CIA had successfully evaded the constrictions of Congressional oversight.  Since then, the new private CIA has slowly taken over all US foreign policy covert initiatives, running its black ops on its drug-running activities from Central America to Central Asia. 

Blackwater, Dynacorp and a thousand other private entities now make-up part of the private CIA hierarchy.  The private CIA has misled this nation through several manufactured wars, beginning with the Yugoslavian conflict, then Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as many lesser actions, such as the war on Libya and Syria.  In order to start these wars, the private CIA outsources the killing of American soldiers to third-rate criminal and terrorist organizations under its control.

Whenever you hear one of the Saudi Princes addressing American foreign policy concerns, he is speaking on behalf of the real CIA, the one based in Riyadh.]

Syrian rebels get influx, of arms with gulf neighbors’ money, U.S. coordination

(DP-News – The Washington post )

Free Syrian Army fighters at al-Rastan (WP)

Free Syrian Army fighters at al-Rastan (WP)

UNITED STATES- Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.
Obama administration officials emphasized that the United States is neither supplying nor funding the lethal material, which includes antitank weaponry. Instead, they said, the administration has expanded contacts with opposition military forces to provide the gulf nations with assessments of rebel credibility and command-and-control infrastructure.

“We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,” said a senior State Department official, one of several U.S. and foreign government officials who discussed the evolving effort on the condition of anonymity.
The U.S. contacts with the rebel military and the information-sharing with gulf nations mark a shift in Obama administration policy as hopes dim for a political solution to the Syrian crisis. Many officials now consider an expanding military confrontation to be inevitable.
Material is being stockpiled in Damascus, in Idlib near the Turkish border and in Zabadani on the Lebanese border. Opposition activists who two months ago said the rebels were running out of ammunition said this week that the flow of weapons — most still bought on the black market in neighboring countries or from elements of the Syrian military — has significantly increased after a decision by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other gulf states to provide millions of dollars in funding each month.
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood also said it has opened its own supply channel to the rebels, using resources from wealthy private individuals and money from Arab Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, said Mulham al-Drobi, a member of the Brotherhood’s executive committee.
The new supplies reversed months of setbacks for the rebels that forced them to withdraw from their stronghold in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs and many other areas in Idlib and elsewhere.
“Large shipments have got through,” another opposition figure said. “Some areas are loaded with weapons.”
The effect of the new arms appeared evident in Monday’s clash between opposition and government forces over control of the rebel-held city of Rastan, near Homs. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebel forces that overran a government base had killed 23 Syrian soldiers.
Administration officials also held talks in Washington this week with a delegation of Kurds from sparsely populated eastern Syria, where little violence has occurred. The talks included discussion of what one U.S. official said remained the “theoretical” possibility of opening a second front against Assad’s forces that would compel him to move resources from the west.
Syria will also be on the agenda at this weekend’s NATO summit in Chicago, according to administration officials.
Although the alliance has repeatedly said it will not become involved in Syria, Turkey has indicated that it may invoke Article IV of the NATO Charter, which would open the door to consultations on threats to Turkish security and consideration of mutual defense provisions of Article V of the charter.
Last month, after Syrian forces fatally shot four fleeing Syrians who had crossed into Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that under Article V, “NATO has responsibilities to protect the Turkish border.”
The Turks, who have grown increasingly anxious about the growing conflict in their neighboring country, have resisted direct military involvement without the international legitimacy of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Efforts to pass a resolution authorizing any intervention beyond humanitarian aid have been blocked by opposition from Russia and China.
But Turkey’s position has been evolving, with military officials who once opposed any kind of non-political intervention now seeing the region becoming increasingly involved in the crisis. Shiites and Sunnis in neighboring Lebanon battled this week over the Syrian situation, raising concern both in Ankara and Washington.
Officials in the region said that Turkey’s main concern is where the United States stands, and whether it and others will support armed protection for a safe zone along the border or back other options that have been discussed.
The United States and its allies remain formally committed to a U.N. peace plan being spearheaded by former secretary general Kofi Annan. Nearly two-thirds of an authorized 300 unarmed U.N. military monitors have arrived in Syria, with the rest due by the end of this month.
But even Annan has acknowledged the initiative has failed so far to significantly quell the violence or make progress toward a political transition. U.S. officials have said they feel constrained from declaring the mission a failure, at least until the full complement of monitors arrives. Annan himself has expressed pessimism over prospects for success.
Opposition figures said they have been in direct contact with State Department officials to designate worthy rebel recipients of arms and pinpoint locations for stockpiles, but U.S. officials said that there currently are no military or intelligence personnel on the ground in Syria.
The Pentagon has prepared options for Syria extending all the way to air assaults to destroy the nation’s air defenses. U.S. officials, however, have said that such involvement remains very unlikely. Instead, they said, the United States and others are moving forward toward increased coordination of intelligence and arming for the rebel forces.
The Arab Gulf States, which would see the fall of President Bashar al-Assad as a blow against Iran, would welcome such assistance, but they would like a more formal approach. One gulf official described the Obama administration’s gradual evolution from an initial refusal to consider any action outside the political realm to a current position falling “between ‘here’s what we need to do’ and ‘we’re doing it.”
“Various people are hoping that the U.S. will step up its efforts to undermine or confront the Syrian regime,” the gulf official said. “We want them to get rid of Assad.”
Since the uprising began early last year, U.S. efforts to promote a political solution have been stymied by President al-Assad’s political intransigence and his ongoing military assault on Syrian towns and cities, as well as the opposition’s failure to agree on a unified political leadership or game plan.
Despite administration hopes that the Sunni-led Syrian National Congress would become an umbrella organization, it has failed to win support from minority Syrian Christians, Kurds, Druze and pro-regime’s Alawite sect. All have resisted what they say is the group’s domination by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Free Syrian Army, the opposition military force, has resisted direction from the fractured political opposition. Its troops, many of them Syrian army defectors, are said to operate in independent entities spread across Syria, leading the United States and others in the past to express caution about assisting them. Tags: 

Syria Opposition Meeting In Cairo Opened To An Empty House

Syria Opposition meeting in Cairo Collapsed

Syria`s main Opposition groups

(DP-News – agencies)

CAIRO- International efforts to unite Syria’s opposition were blown up as plans for an Arab League-sponsored conference to unite Syria’s opposition collapsed on Tuesday and international envoys found themselves the only participants in a meeting that the main opposition parties decided to boycott.

The breakdown of the conference highlights the extent to which the six-point plan of Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy charged with finding a peaceful resolution to the more than year-long Syrian conflict, has run into trouble.
The Cairo meeting was billed as a significant effort to bring the disparate opposition groups together as a first step towards a dialogue with the regime on a political transition, as stipulated in the Annan plan.

The Arab League issued a statement on Tuesday saying the meeting had been postponed.
A prominent dissident resigned from the Syrian National Council (SNC) on Tuesday, Reuters reported, dealing another blow to the opposition organization that has seen several senior figures quit in the last few months.
The resignation of Fawaz Tello came hours after the council’s general secretariat, a body of 45 of who 33 were present, re-elected Burhan Ghalioun as president for a three-month term at a meeting in Rome organized by the Italian government.
A shaky ceasefire negotiated by Mr. Annan has reduced the level of violence and the shelling of towns by government forces but brutal repression has continued as have attacks on regime targets by an increasingly militarized opposition.
UN observers on the ground have also come under attack. On Tuesday, a convoy of four cars was struck by an improvised explosive device near the city of Hama, according to UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi.
Another aspect of the Annan plan – the provision of humanitarian aid – has also been stymied by Syrian government insistence on managing the delivery of aid.
Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, on Monday voiced scepticism about the Annan mission, which was the result of a compromise between western powers and Russia and China, the two UN permanent members of the Security Council that have backed the regime of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
“The violence continues … nobody is satisfied,” Prince Saud said. “Confidence in the efforts of the envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League has started to decrease quickly.”
Diplomats said the Syrian opposition was undermining itself by failing to show up in Cairo, giving the regime a perfect excuse to claim that it has no partner with which to negotiate.
“The question is whether the opposition is unify-able and I have my doubts,” said one diplomat involved in discussions with dissident groups. For the regime, he added, the collapse of the Cairo conference was a “golden opportunity.”
Opposition activists, however, say the Annan plan is designed to force them into an unacceptable compromise with the regime, when the position of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition grouping, all along has been that it opposes talks that do not involve President al-Assad stepping down.
SNC officials insist that at the very least, the regime must first implement other aspects of the Annan plan, including ending its attacks on civilians and releasing prisoners, before any dialogue begins.
But the boycott of the Cairo conference reflects chronic disunity among the opposition as much as it does a lack of confidence in the implementation of the Annan plan.
The SNC complained earlier this week that the Arab League had invited individuals to the Cairo conference rather than the group, undermining its status as an organization.
Earlier, Syria`s National Coordination Committee (NCC) official Haytham Manna, a leading opposition figure, said that the NCC would boycott and would not take part in talks sponsored by the Arab League aimed to get Syrian opposition groups get united.
The General Council for the Syrian Revolution, a smaller opposition group, meanwhile also decided to stay away from the meeting because it saw it as an attempt to bring all other dissident organizations under the SNC’s wing.
The controversy over the Cairo conference is likely to intensify tensions between the opposition and western powers, with each side blaming the other for a lack of progress.
But it reflects above all the dilemma of large parts of the opposition, which had been hoping for international military action to dislodge Syria`s President Bashar al-Assad from power.
With no appetite for a Libya-style mission in Syria, and western powers rallying around the Annan plan, many dissidents have instead found themselves forced into a process that provides no guarantee for the departure of President al-Assad`s regime.
The meeting in Cairo was part of the Arab League’s attempts to bring a fragmented opposition together on a common platform. It is also designed to prepare for dialogue with the regime, a step that is part of the six-point plan of Kofi Annan, the UN and Arab League envoy charged with finding a peaceful resolution to the more than year-long Syrian conflict.
The breakdown of the conference highlights the extent to which the six-point plan of Kofi Annan has run into trouble.
Syria has been mired in violence since March 2011, when President Bashar al-Assad’s forces began cracking down on anti-government demonstrators.
Syria’s uprising began as a peaceful protest movement but has become increasingly militarized as rebels began to fight back against a violent crackdown by Syria’s regime forces.
More than 9,000 people have been killed by security forces, who the government says have lost 2,600 dead at rebel hands.