Venezuela Seizes 20 Tons of Liquid Cocaine Bound for Mexico

Venezuela Seizes 20 Tons of Cocaine

CARACAS – Venezuelan authorities seized 20 tons of liquid cocaine aboard a ship bound for Mexico, Interior Minister Tareck el Aissami said Tuesday.

The contraband was found as the ship was preparing to embark from a port in the northwestern state of Zulia, the official told state television.

An initial inspection led to tests that detected the presence of liquid cocaine in four containers destined for the Mexican port of Veracruz.

“We are now … analyzing the percentage of purity in each of the containers and the quantity of liquid cocaine they were trying to take to Mexico,” El Aissami said, describing Tuesday’s drug seizure as one of the largest in Venezuelan history.

He said three people were arrested in the operation, one of them a Colombian national, and that authorities were carrying out “other searches” in connection with the case.

Venezuelan security forces confiscated more than 26 tons of cocaine in 2011, according to figures released in March.

While Venezuela is not a drug-producing nation, its neighbor Colombia is the world’s leading source of cocaine. EFE

Islam Karimov–One of the Principle Obstacles To Anybody’s Eurasian Union Plans

Uzbekistan and CSTO: “Come on, Goodbye!”

“The dramatic convergence of the leadership of Russia and Uzbekistan , recorded in the tone of the meetings of Islam Karimov and President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, brings its first fruit. According to data from credible sources, the agency “ reported” very soon Uzbekistan will be ready to sign with Russia rather serious bilateral documents, which may have an impact on the geopolitical “alignment” in the region. “

Do not be surprised that this is not the latest news about the relations between Moscow and Tashkent. With these words began the article “Fergana”, published on our website seven years ago, June 30, 2005.

This was the first time, “Putin’s” closer to Islam Karimov. Just died down a bloody Andijan , the Uzbek president and subjected to Western partners criticized for shooting demonstrators arrived in Moscow for moral support. And the focus of this publication (see the article “Uzbekistan, Russia and NATO: Stages of cooperation and confrontation” ) is a meeting between Putin and Karimov at the Novo-Ogaryovo, the statements that made the two leaders seemed to be very like-minded and totally secure in the knowledge Now that their union is sealed forever.

He spoke at a press conference for journalists , mainly, the head of Uzbekistan. He has long intimidated by Islamic terrorists, the media, seeking to destroy Uzbekistan, and then the whole world, declared the inadmissibility of an international investigation into the Andijan massacre, spoke out against the “colored revolutions” and spread the influence of NATO’s eastward …

Both leaders agreed that the Andijan riots were instigated by Afghanistan and ruled by terrorists, according to Islam Karimov, some “writers and directors,” who “used the religious, extremist, radical forces, which fought so hard in Afghanistan, and so successfully fighting now in Iraq. ” It was a frank attack on the joint conditional “West.” Karimov has clearly swore allegiance to Moscow, hiding under her wing for protection of his regime from outside influence and rebellion from within.

Just a year later he returned to Tashkent, the Organization of Collective Security Treaty.

However, a couple of years, it became clear that Uzbekistan is a member of this organization is only formally: the basic statutes and international treaties signed in the framework of the CSTO, it has not ratified, the joint military activities are not involved.The process of “sluggish” Uzbekistan’s membership in the pro-Russian military bloc ended logical way out of it, announced in late June 2012.

In order to understand why today of Uzbekistan for the second time out of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, it is necessary to remember, which is why he left the organization – then just the Collective Security Treaty, or CST – back in 1999.

CST, which was signed in 1992-th and came into force in the 1994th, joined more than half of the former Soviet republics – Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Belarus. At first it was not even an organization as well – a piece of paper, an agreement of intent to allow States to accept this document as long as desired to look closely to each other without any mutual obligations. Five years later, it became clear that the road-track countries, united in CST gradually diverge. And in the ninety-ninth, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine and Uzbekistan from the Treaty gone, fixing his attitude in the new “block” – the GUUAM .

Strictly speaking, this is an interstate association then it was also quite shaky, especially regional , logically include only countries of the Caspian-Black Sea region, and Uzbekistan, which seemed to do it was absolutely nothing. I think that attracted Tashkent in GUUAM is the orientation of the Union for Europe and NATO. In other words, Karimov was not the need, Moldova and Ukraine to participate in one of them a symbolic club as a bridge to Europe. More and more giving up on an aging Yeltsin and economically unstable Russia, Islam Karimov has relied on the successful partnership with the West, saw in him, and security guarantees, and are much more likely than those from Moscow, the flow of financial investment.

Laudatory rhetoric Karimov to the U.S. and NATO has increased substantially in the early 2000s, when the anti-Taliban coalition forces entered Afghanistan. In April 2002 President of Uzbekistan said that the U.S. has done for his country that could not make the CIS partners. Karimov openly “nails it” most of these partners, accusing them that they were limited to “bare statements” about the fight against terrorism, and the practical steps taken only anti-terrorist coalition. “The decisive role in removing tension and danger on the southern borders of Uzbekistan was played exclusively U.S., their determination and well-trained armed forces, and not parties to the Treaty on Collective Security,” – said Karimov.

However, very soon, “guuamovsky” bridge collapsed: Uzbekistan started to ignore the activities of the organization and finally left the bloc in May 2005, apparently fearing the export of “color” revolutions, and the year occurred two years earlier, respectively, in Georgia and Ukraine. Thus, the West, the United States and NATO were needed Karimov only as long as they do not interfere in his personal affairs and do not constitute a threat to his regime.

“We are friends with you, if you do not cry too much about human rights and political reform” – is the key to understanding the relations between Tashkent and the conditional “democratic West”. In relations with Russia and the pro-Kremlin blocks operates another rule: “give us money, but does not strangle us in our allied arms.”

Of course, such as the formation of the SCO and CSTO virtually no threat to the regime of Islam Karimov did not carry. But even with them, especially to overcome the contradictions between the band members, there is no. The Central Asian CSTO members have far more problems in the relationship among themselves than the general trends of development and cooperation. And in the very center of this tangle of contradictions is Uzbekistan, the only leader who is organically incapable of multilateral trade-offs. That is why sources in Tashkent argue out of the block “to a focus on bilateral contacts with the partners.” That’s why some shrewd observers see Karimov’s resignation from the CSTO more pluses than minuses .

The transition from the integration model to those most “bilateral contacts” means nothing more than a desperate desire to Uzbekistan on their own, without the obligations of the group, to “deal” with its neighbors, among which the most problematic for Tashkent Dushanbe remains first and foremost. “The tension in the Uzbek-Tajik relations reminds the “cold war”, – wroteback in 2008, unfortunately, too early deceased, Sanobar Shermatova. – Without increasing the degree of trust between the two countries, no integration initiative, in which Russia is interested, including the projects of the Eurasian Economic Cooperation, will not work. This circumstance makes Moscow has leverage in Central Asia, to seek ways to reconcile recalcitrant neighbors. “

It seems that these “searches” without success. Moscow is not there either looking for or were too naive in the hope that after the bloody Andijan, the Uzbek leader would meekly accept all of its initiatives. Or against integration is the very life, the realities of the post-Soviet political landscape. In particular – a stern authoritarian (read – egoism) of the Central Asian rulers.In fact, according to the exact observation of the same Sanobar Shermatova made back in 2004, “the relationship of the elite of the CIS to the limit personified: Do not get on with the head – do not wait for mutual understanding between nations.”

Islam Karimov – exactly the kind of person who gets along with great difficulty with other presidents. And at that moment, when Uzbekistan is again very necessary to the NATO countries, Karimov can not use this chance, at least, to strengthen its regional neighbors, in defiance of the authority-competitors.

So begins a new cycle of isolation from the Tashkent CIS partners and enhance cooperation with the most “conventional West.” Especially now that the U.S. and Europe virtually abandoned the excessive criticism of the Uzbek authoritarianism and, in fact, Karimov pledged to support and respect the status quo of the political regime. This position of the “West” looks for the Uzbek dictator’s far more attractive than the Kremlin’s policy, which set the Eurasian integration, and thus often deterring some “too independent” neighbors.

In other words, the same conditional West, yesterday tried to re-naive Asian Khan Karimov, planting his democratic manners such as “political competition” and “open society”, is now completely changed his tactics, declaring, in effect, a complete “non-interference in internal affairs.” Such and such States of the West, finally closed their eyes to human rights violations and other dictatorial mess back in “the camp”, Islam Karimov, is much nicer than the neo-imperial policies fledgling Putin’s Kremlin, step by step dominates for a post-Soviet periphery.

This does not mean the break in relations between Tashkent and Moscow itself, the “dear Vladimir Vladimirovich,” at least as long as he sits in the Kremlin. However, the yield of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in Uzbekistan indicates the next failure of attempts to entice Moscow Islam Karimov in a strategic paramilitary club under his reign. And the fact that relations between Uzbekistan and Russia, CSTO and “conditional West” now back on ten years ago – about 2002. For how long? Until the next “Andijan”?

The international news agency “Fergana”

“Al-CIA-da” Car Bombs Continue To Rock Syria

In Syria, at least 85 killed by car bombing at funeral

At least 85 people were killed when a car bomb exploded during a funeral procession Saturday evening in the Syrian town of Zamalka, activists and human rights groups said.

People had gathered to honor a resident of the town near Damascus who had been killed earlier in the day, said Abu Omar, an activist in Zamalka who attended the funeral. The resident, Abdul Hadi Halabi, had been killed by gunfire when government forces briefly entered the town from their checkpoints, said Abu Omar, who requested to be identified by a nickname for his safety.

Men, women and children had gathered for the funeral for the town’s 30th victim since the uprising began 16 months ago, a low number compared with some of the bloodshed nearby towns have experienced.

The car bomb went off as the procession passed a mosque. Hazy video clouded by dust in the first moments after the explosion showed dozens of mangled bodies lying on the road and the stretcher carrying Halabi’s body on the ground nearby.

“I can’t describe my feelings, because I am still numb right now given what I saw today,” said Abu Omar, whose cousin was killed and father and uncle injured. “No one can withstand what we saw today.”

The antigovernment Local Coordination Committees put the number of dead at 85. The toll and the accounts of the bombing could not be independently verified because the Syrian government has restricted outside journalists’  access  to the conflict zones.

Abu Omar said the death toll continued to rise late Saturday, with a large number of people critically injured.

The wounded were taken to field hospitals in nearby towns  and a plea went out for people to donate blood. One doctor who was on his way to help was shot and killed by snipers, Abu Omar said.

Though protests and funeral processions have been attacked with gunfire and shelling, activists said it was the first time they could recall a bomb targeting such a gathering.

Syria says Palace of Justice in Damascus hit by twin “terrorist explosions”

A Syrian fireman tries to extinguish fires at the scene of two huge bomb explosions outside the Palace of Justice in central Damascus, June 28, 2012. (Getty)

(CBS/AP) DAMASCUS, Syria – Strong explosions rocked the Syrian capital Thursday, sending black smoke billowing into the sky.

Syrian State TV said a “two terrorist explosions” hit the parking lot of the Palace of Justice, a compound that houses several courts.

CBS News’ George Baghdadi says three people were hurt in the explosions, but there were no reported deaths, according to Syrian government officials.

Baghdadi reports that, according to witnesses, at least 20 cars were damaged by the blasts, which sent smoke and flames shooting up from the structure. The witnesses did not report seeing any dead or injured being carried away by ambulances near the Palace.

According to State TV, a third device was discovered unexploded in the parking area at the Palace on Thursday.

Syria has been hit by a wave of massive explosions in recent months, killing dozens of people. Most of the explosions targeted the security agencies of President Bashar Assad, who is fighting to end a 15-month-old uprising against his rule.

Brit Press Reports Russian Specialists Involved In Downing of Turkish F-4

Russian specialists involved in Syria intercepting Turkish jet, sources say

Diplomatic sources talking to the Sunday Times say Syria shot down the Turkish plane to warn NATO not to intervene in the Syrian conflict.

By Haaretz, Reuters and The Associated Press
Turkey army Syria - AFP - 28.6.2012

Turkish military trucks carrying missile batteries in the center of Hatay, Turkey, on June 28, 2012.Photo by AFP
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz and Reuters

Russian technicians were involved in the taking down of the Turkish fighter jet by the Syrian military last week the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.

Sourcing Middle Eastern diplomatic sources the Times reported that the decision to down the Turkish jet was intended to signal a warning to NATO to stay out of the conflict raging in Syria for over a year.

Russia supplied Syria with advanced anti-aircraft missile systems three years ago. It is believed that Russian specialists trained the Syrian forces to use them. According to diplomats that spoke with the Sunday Times some Russian specialists are still stationed at the missile battery control centers.

“We would not be surprised if these Russian experts, if they didn’t push the button, at least were beside the Syrian officers who did it,” an Israeli air force source told the British paper.