Is Emomali Rahmon Shooting Himself In the Foot, or Is Someone Else Pulling the Trigger?

Marco Castro/United Nations 

President Emomali Rahmon address the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2009.

Tajik Regime Sowing the Seeds of Instability

Afghanistan’s northern neighbor faces an uncertain future.

Tajikistan has few natural resources and a fledgling economy that largely consists of decrepit Soviet factories and remittances from migrant workers abroad (over 40 percent of its economy). The country already weathered a destructive ethno-sectarian civil war from 1992 to 1997, during which opposition forces formed ties with radical Islamists in Afghanistan. NATO is set to leave Afghanistan and will create a security vacuum that regional forces will find difficult to fill. In this tenuous environment, President Emomali Rahmon and his allies are passing ever broader and more stringent anti-Islamic policies aimed at their rivals in the Islamic Renaissance Party, or IRP. As a result, the regime might be instigating conflict with the country’s increasingly devout Muslim majority in its bid to centralize power.

After decades of extreme religious persecution under the Soviet Union, many Tajiks have rediscovered their traditions. Over the last few years, however, the old secular Soviet guard has begun a campaign aimed at restricting religious activities: The government has recalled Tajiks studying at Islamic institutions abroad, established control over the content of Friday mosque sermons, dismissed uncooperative clerics from their positions, limited mosque access to youth, and banned praying in unregistered places of worship.

Although these restrictions are ostensibly meant to fight Islamic extremism, they are in fact targeting the fledgling opposition and its religiously minded constituency. According to a series of leaked government documents published in Polyarnaya Zvezda, a Tajik publication, Rahmon signed orders specifically aimed at identifying, blackmailing, and harassing members of the Islamic Renaissance Party. This effort to centralize power, known as Protocol 32-20, is meant to whittle away at the IRP’s constitutionally mandated 30-percent representation in government by coercing its members into leaving politics.

Almost immediately after publication, scanned copies of the documents were widely circulated and discussed on social media sites like Facebook. The government quickly shut down access to these sites, denied their existence, and launched an investigation into the publication of the materials. Although the supposed author denied writing the piece, the information cannot be discounted, especially in light of the government’s forceful, panic-ridden reaction to its publication.

As a result of the article, the Islamic Renaissance Party has challenged some of government’s recent initiatives in court. The IRP believes that the investigation into its activities and finances are a direct result of the unconstitutional Protocol 32-20 and outside the realm of the procurator’s powers. (The procurator is like a western prosecutor, but with additional responsibilities.) However, there is little reason to believe that Tajik courts have either the power or will to resolve the issue.

The regime is destabilizing an already vulnerable country. In the last few years, Tajikistan has experienced incursions from Afghanistan, mainly from factions that refused to accept the peace deal that ended the civil war. The country is overrun with drug traffickers and constantly dealing with a belligerent Uzbekistan to the northeast. In addition, Tajikistan has minimal security capacity: A single helicopter crash in October eliminated 40 percent of the military’s qualified counterinsurgency personnel. The insurgents can sense that the regime has little ability to tolerate stress and that even a limited campaign has the potential to threaten the regime’s existence.

This all raises the question: Why would the Rahmon regime invite more pressure on a fragile system? Rahmon might be confident in his moves because his actions have, so far, resulted in little pushback. Few of his old foes from the civil war are alive and the country still vividly remembers the horrors of the not-so-distant past. Nevertheless, his policies are provoking outrage and could galvanize the opposition, which will be increasingly influenced by more radicalized and militarized Tajik fighters returning from a post-NATO Afghanistan.

Rahmon might very well be ignorant of the dangers. The regime is lashing out against perceived threats because it is far removed from reality. Rahmon’s yes men — and their yes men all the way down to the traffic officer desperate to make his superior happy — feed misinformation into the system. An International Crisis Group report noted that no one has a clear picture of what is going on: Surges of violence are completely unexpected and shock the system into a panic every time.

Despite the urgent challenges facing Tajikistan, Protocol 32-20 is typical of the country’s unending battles for political positioning. Rahmon’s provocative moves are intended to draw out the Islamic Renaissance Party into an open conflict with the state and untie the hands of the power ministries, which have long wanted to reconfigure the political landscape and gain full control.

Unfortunately, the collateral damage is being felt by the country’s growing Muslim-majority population, which will increasingly turn to the opposition in the face of religious oppression. In a post-NATO Afghanistan, the Tajik opposition will once again seek protection, allies, weapons, and funding. Rather than defusing the threats to its power, the regime’s political attacks against the IRP are merely exacerbating tensions and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy that could ultimately lead to its demise.

Eugene Imas holds master’s degree from the Center for Eurasian, Russian and East European Studies at Georgetown University. He was previously a Peace Corps volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and has studied, traveled, and worked in Russia.

Turkey: On Verge of Social Explosion

Bouzan Tekin, deputy leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, center, with other party leaders.

Turkey: On Verge of Social Explosion 




Mehmut is a dark-skinned young Kurd from Turkey’s Kurdistan and I met him far from his birthplace in western Turkey last week. He and his family left their place of origin eight years ago and after a brief stay in Izmir they settled in Antalya.

After he learned that I was a Kurd and I held an Iraqi passport, Mehmut said, “Can I tell you something?” I replied, “yes” and he said, “Do you know that the explosions the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is doing works well for us?”

The bombing in Gaziantep had just happened, and surprised, I asked him, “Why?”

“Because until last year the PKK had not done any bombings and the Turks were giving us a hard time,” he replied. “But now they are afraid of us.”

The words of that young Kurd do not carry any logic. To me the killing of human beings is wrong under any circumstances. But what he said does in fact speak of a deep truth. It speaks of how a people respect you only under fear and how another perceives the death and destruction of humans as a means of survival.

Turkey was not able in the recent years to find a balance between its perspective to the Kurdish question and the Kurdish cause. What is the Kurdish cause and what is the Kurdish problem? Robert Wilson, the author of a number of excellent books on the Kurds writes that Turkey always sees the Kurds of other countries as an issue, but fails to see its own Kurds.

At the moment the relations between Turkey and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq have reached such a great level that recently, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan—in his dispute with Iraqi PM Maliki—was speaking of the Kurds’ constitutional rights with regard to the signing of the country’s oil deals. As for the Kurds of Syria, Turkey has no problem with them living under a federal system, and if tomorrow Iran’s Kurds rise, the same way Turkey will support them. But what about its own Kurds?

As Turkey tries to play the role of the big brother in the region, it is not willing to afford its own Kurds what it gives the Kurds outside its borders. This indicates the lack of a balance in Turkey’s perspective. Apart from the fact that this imbalance has driven Turkey to the edge of social explosion, it has also put the country in a crisis from a foreign policy viewpoint.

Iran, Iraq and Syria have joined hands to fail Turkey’s foreign policy and they use the Kurdish factor in their fight. Turkey should have learned a lesson from its own past. Yavuz Sultan wasn’t able to continue Ottoman conquests until after it made peace with the Kurdish chieftains. So how can Turkey change the traditional regimes of the region while it is stuck with a problem (Kurdish question) that has been dangling on its chest for 90 years like a medal?

Turkey is gambling. It thinks that by the collapse of the Syrian regime, the pressure on its foreign policy will be relieved. To some extent that is true and some of the regional equations will change. But domestically Turkey is standing on the verge of explosion and close to a dead-end.

Also the continuation of the Syrian turmoil has made Turkey think of new ways. It realizes that Syria could become a fire that would engulf the entire region and Turkey will not be able to deal with all the different fronts opened up against it.

Before thinking of putting anyone else’s house in order, Turkey should have thought of putting its own house in order. Turkey knows that by overthrowing the Syrian regime the PKK will not disappear. On the contrary, it might become even stronger. If Turkey fails to create a suitable atmosphere for negotiations with the PKK and a solution for the Kurdish question, all of its dreams will burst like a bubble.

India courts Tajikistan to swing Afghan endgame

India courts Tajikistan to swing Afghan endgame

By Manish Chand, IANS,

New Delhi : Signalling an upswing in its “Connect Central Asia policy”, India is gearing up to roll out the red carpet for longtime Tajik leader Emomalii Rahmon Monday — an important visit from a country which is critical to Afghanistan’s stability and host to the only military facility New Delhi has overseas.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will hold wide-ranging talks with Tajikistan President Rahmon, who has helmed the energy-rich strategically located nation for the last two decades, to deepen bilateral economic and strategic ties.

At the end of the talks, India will unveil a substantial development assistance package for the Central Asian country, official sources told IANS.

There will also be discussions on Indian assistance for upgrading the Ayni base and setting up a military hospital in Tajikistan, said the sources. India has its only overseas military base in Tajikistan, which is operated by the Indian Air Force in collaboration with the Tajikistan Air Force.

The visit coincides with the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Tajikistan.

On top of the agenda will be the ongoing flux in Afghanistan, where the hardline Taliban militia is eyeing the exit of the international combat troops in 2014 to recapture the country they ruled for five years till the ouster of the Mullah Omar regime in 2001.

India and Tajikistan had partnered in the Northern Alliance that played a pivotal role in forcing the Taliban regime out and are set to intensify their collaboration to prevent the Islamist zealots from capturing Kabul.

In fact, Tajikistan, which shares over 1,400 km border with Afghanistan, faces threat from Taliban-linked terror groups like Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and is already reeling from the spillover effects as thousands of Afghans have taken shelter in the country.

Tajikistan’s importance to the shifting Afghan calculus is evident from the way Pakistan is courting the Central Asian country. Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari met the Tajik president in Tehran on the sidelines of the NAM summit Thursday and invited him for the fourth quadrilateral summit on Afghanistan in Islamabad Sep 26-27, to which the presidents of Russia and Afghanistan have already been invited.

Against this backdrop, India and Tajikistan will be looking to expand their counter-terror cooperation and intensify consultations on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.

India has taken positive note of the secularization policy by the Tajik president. In a bid to shield his country from the malignant spread of extremism, Rahmon has banned religious instruction in schools.

Connectivity will be another key issue in discussions as both sides look to expand the number of flights between New Delhi and the Tajik capital Dushanbe.

India plans to operate up to 14 flights to Dushanbe. Tajikistan, on its part, will begin four flights.

In June this year, India unveiled its Connect Central Asia policy which entails a proactive multi-pronged diplomatic thrust by India to accelerate ties with the energy-rich Central Asian nations, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

With its core strengths in capacity building, IT and human resource development, India is uniquely poised to transform the resource-rich strategically-located region that suffers from a massive infrastructure deficit.

India has a long way to go to catch up with other major powers in the region, with its bilateral trade less than $1 billion compared to China’s $29 billion and the US’s $26 billion, respectively.

Davutoglu Crestfallen After His Latest UN Security Council Spanking–Hope He Was Wearing His “Big Boy Pants”

Turkey calls for Syria safe zones, U.N. Security Council remains unmoved

“China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, asked about the Turkish proposal by AP, said: ‘I think that’s not a solution. The solution is to implement a cease-fire, cessation of violence, and implementation of a political process.’

‘Humanitarian efforts must never be militarized,’ Li told the council meeting.” 

Wael Abou Faour, Lebanon’s Social Affairs Minister, left, listens as Ahmet Davutoglu, Foreign Minister from Turkey, speaks during a meeting on Syria at the United Nations Security Council, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP)

(AP) UNITED NATIONS – Turkey appealed to a reluctant U.N. Security Council Thursday for a safe haven for thousands of Syrians facing a “humanitarian disaster” as Britain and France said they would rule out no options — including a no-fly zone — to aid residents fleeing an escalating civil war.


But Turkish leaders held out little hope for the endorsement of a deeply divided council that has been paralyzed on taking action to stop the 18-month uprising that has killed more than 20,000 people.


“How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?” asked Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “Let’s not forget that if we do not act against such a crime against humanity happening in front of our eyes, we become accomplices to the crime.”


Davutoglu, whose country is hosting more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, said he came to the council with hope that its members would take “long overdue steps” to help suffering people and establish camps inside Syria for those forced to flee their homes.


“Apparently, I was wrong about my expectations,” he told the council. “This meeting will not even end with a presidential or press statement, let alone a robust resolution.”


The path to the council’s agreement on a safe zone for Syrians is fraught with obstacles, headed by the reluctance of Russia and China, Syria’s most important allies. They have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council seeking to pressure President Bashar Assad’s government with the threat of sanctions.


Moscow and Beijing were highly critical of the no-fly zone established by NATO to protect civilians during last year’s Libyan revolt against longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, saying its enforcement went beyond the Security Council mandate. Western diplomats said enforcing the zone required taking out Libya’s air defenses and attacking tanks and military vehicles that posed threats to civilians.


Russia and China, Syria’s most important allies, have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council seeking to pressure Assad’s government. They vehemently oppose any threat to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, Russia has a military base in Syria. There are also serious political differences among council members. While the U.S., its European allies and other members say Assad must go, Russia and China oppose any effort to replace him that doesn’t have the support of the Syrian people.


Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari accused unnamed Security Council powers of “promoting imminent military intervention under humanitarian pretexts.”


“It is clear that certain states do not see the issue of humanitarian aid any way other than as part of a biased political agenda,” he said.


Before Thursday’s meeting, Britain and France announced new funding for refugees and left open the possibility of more aggressive action, including a military-enforced no-fly zone to protect a safe area for those fleeing the war.


“We are not ruling out any options for the future,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague told a news conference.


Hague said safe zones should remain an option, although he didn’t say when they might be seriously considered.


“We do not know how this crisis will develop … over the coming months. It is steadily getting worse,” Hague said. “We are ruling nothing out, and we have contingency planning for a wide range of scenarios.”


Britain and France are veto-wielding members of the Security Council as well as key NATO members. Asked whether the options would include a NATO-enforced no-fly zone, without Security Council authorization, Hague said, “We are not ruling out any options.”


French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France and the United Kingdom’s views are in “complete unity.”


“All the possibilities are before us,” he said when asked about the proposal by Turkey, also a NATO member. “We can’t just say yes or no off the bat. We have to discuss it.”


A U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the U.S. had consultations with Turkey on its safe zone proposal and the Americans, British and French are skeptical about the feasibility of NATO establishing such a zone, so “for the time being, nobody is there yet.”

In his speech, the Turkish minister told the council that that the camps established for fleeing Syrians inside the country “should have full protection.”


Davutoglu also called on the council to visit refugee camps in neighboring countries, to adopt a unified response to stop the indiscriminate bombing of residential areas, and to solve the issue of Syrians displaced from their homes and trapped within the country.


Davutoglu mentioned examples of “the cost of procrastination” including the 1995 Serb massacre in Bosnia of more than 8,000 Muslims taken from a U.N. enclave in Srebrenica and Saddam Hussein’s gassing of 5,000 people in the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988.


Referring to the council divisions, Davutoglu said the Cold War is over and it’s time to put aside the mindset, “sterile power struggles and competition of interests” emanating from that era.


U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres warned the council against safe zones.


He praised Syria’s neighbors for keeping their borders open to Syrians fleeing the war, and said their right to asylum “must not be jeopardized, for instance through the establishment of so-called `safe havens’ or other similar arrangements.”


“Bitter experience has shown that it is rarely possible to provide effective protection and security in such areas,” Guterres said.


Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin strongly criticized unilateral U.S. and European Union sanctions against Syria, saying they worsened the plight of the Syrian people, and he agreed with Guterres’ skepticism about safe zones.


“He made it very clear he thought that history showed that they cannot be relied on as an effective tool for protecting civilians — that we must work together in order to help alleviate and improve the humanitarian situation for the entire population of Syria,” Churkin said.


China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, asked about the Turkish proposal by AP, said: “I think that’s not a solution. The solution is to implement a cease-fire, cessation of violence, and implementation of a political process.”


“Humanitarian efforts must never be militarized,” Li told the council meeting.


U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson also cautioned that proposals for humanitarian corridors or buffer zones inside Syria “raise serious questions and require careful and critical consideration.”


Eliasson said more than 2.5 million people — including Palestinian and Iraqi refugees — “are now in grave need of assistance and protection inside Syria,” more than double the number reported in March. Guterres said as of Wednesday, 229,000 people had left Syria and registered as refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.


He said the U.N. humanitarian appeal for Syria seeking $180 million is only half-funded.


“Donors should urgently rise to this humanitarian imperative,” Eliasson said. “Hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake.”


Hague announced that Britain will contribute an additional 3 million pounds ($4.7 million), to the 27 million pounds ($42.7 million) it has already given for humanitarian aid to the displaced and to refugees. Fabius announced that France was giving 5 million Euros ($6.27 million) in addition to the $20 million Euros ($25 million) it has already contributed.


Fabius said the two countries also want to encourage Syrians to defect and Hague urged them to do it sooner rather than later to avoid possible future war crimes prosecution.


The ministers said Britain and France are also working on plans for a transition and for a post-Assad era.


Fabius said there is a clear message to the Syrian people: “Assad will fall but we won’t drop you.”

More Americans Are Killed By Afghan Government Forces Than By the Taliban

[When your allies become more dangerous than your enemies then it’s time to “get the hell out of Dodge.”]

Insider Attacks Now Biggest Killer of NATO Troops


Afghan Local Police gather for a graduation ceremony in Farah province. Photo: ISAF


Rogue Afghan soldiers and police turning their weapons on their allies are now the leading cause of death for NATO troops. On Aug. 28 a man wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire on Australian soldiers in the southern province of Uruzgan, killing three and wounding two.

That attack brought to 15 the total number of NATO personnel killed in so-called “green-on-blue” assaults in August — and raises serious doubts about the alliance’s war strategy, which calls for close cooperation between foreign and Afghan troops as the Afghans gradually assume responsibility for their own security.

Of the other 35 international troops who died in Afghanistan this month, 12 were killed by Improvised Explosive Devices and nine died in helicopter crashes. Insurgent gunfire and a suicide bomber accounted for the remaining fatalities.

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, told Danger Room he didn’t know why the Afghan troops turned their weapons on their foreign allies. He implied the “sacrifices associated with fasting” during the the Muslim holy month of Ramadan might have played a role — then quickly qualified the remark, saying Ramadan wasn’t exclusively the problem. In any event, “there is an erosion of trust that has emerged from this,” Allen said in a separate interview.

For its part, the Afghan government blames “infiltration by foreign spy agencies.” Allen said he looked forward to seeing proof of this assertion. Along with the green-on-blue attacks, there has also been a spike in Afghan troops killing other Afghan troops. “They’re suffering casualties from the same trend that we’re suffering” from, said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“Were the attacks the result of some kind of Taliban infiltration, the problem would thus be one of counter-intelligence,” explained Andrew Exum, an expert on low-intensity warfare. “The alternative — that relations between Afghan forces and their Western partners have structurally deteriorated in fundamental ways — is a far tougher problem to address.”

During Danger Room’s January visit to remote Paktika province in eastern Afghanistan, the rising tension between U.S. and Afghan forces was evident. When an Afghan police recruit began behaving erratically and overstepping his authority, his American trainers took no chances. They fired him — but only after carefully disarming him.

The reasons for the insider attacks are unclear. But the trend of more and more such assaults is inarguable. Before August, green-on-blue attacks accounted for just 12 percent of NATO troops killed. In 2011 they amounted to just six percent — up from three percent in 2010. Foreign soldiers wounded in green-on-blue incidents have also increased steadily in the past three years.

August’s insider killings occurred in 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces but are concentrated in the southern and eastern battlegrounds, according to an analysis by Long War Journal. The three southern provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan account for the majority of green-on-blue attacks.

In the face of the rapidly-escalating insider threat, Allen, who is due to be replaced soon as ISAF’s top general, has not signaled any change in NATO’s strategy. Foreign troops will continue working closely with the Afghan soldiers who now represent statistically the biggest danger to their lives.

In fact, NATO troops should work more closely with Afghan, Exum advised. “I urge U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan to remember that the only people who can truly protect them from green-on-blue violence are the Afghans themselves.”

The international alliance is scrambling to mitigate the threat. It’s now policy for at least one NATO soldier — a “guardian angel” — to watch over any gathering of Afghan and alliance troops, weapon loaded, “and hopefully identify people that would be involved in those attacks,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.

But Panetta himself said spotting attackers before they pull the trigger could prove difficult. “It’s clear that there’s no one source that is producing these attacks.”

Tajik Govt. Plays At “Democracy” While Using Stalinist Tactics Against Tajik Religious Authorities

[SEE: Tajik Mufti Who Sees Through Anti-Islamist Western Subversion, Targeted By Tajik Court]

Tajik Prosecutor General’s Office accuses the Islamic Revival Party


Mehrangez Tursunzoda, Avaz Yuldashev

Tajik Prosecutor General issued a report on the violations discovered during the audit of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, and the members of the Party who have been accused or charged with crimes against the constitutional order.

In particular, the Attorney General’s Office accused the leader of the Khorog city cells IRP Sherik Karamhudoeva in armed opposition to government forces.

In a report released on August 29, says that Sh.Karamhudoev is a member of an armed group killed Imomnazar Imomnazarova, and during the recent events in Khorog use firearms against government forces.

“Sh Karamhudoev evening of July 23 this year, met in a cafe in Khorog “Ales” with Sultonnazarom Imomnazarovym, brother Imomnazar Imomnazarova. Together they formed an armed group, which employs 21 people. They are all dressed in camouflage clothing, armed with firearms, particularly guns, Kalashnikov rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices. Then spread out in front of the city of Khorog border detachment, and in the night from 23 to 24 July, entered into an armed confrontation with government forces “, – stated in the General Prosecutor’s Office reported.

About the activities of the IRP in Khorog, the Attorney General’s Office, with the words Sherik Karamhudoeva, said that “no member of the party has never paid the membership fee, in fact, the party members in Khorog IRP received monthly from 600 somoni.”

Recall Sh Karamhudoev went missing during the active phase of the raid on July 24.Only 8 August it became known that he was in the detention center in Dushanbe, Tajikistan’s National Security Committee. August 23, was killed in Khorog head Badakhshan Oblast cell IRP Sabzali Mamadrizoev. In the ranks of the IRP there are more than three thousand inhabitants of GBAO.

The report of the General Prosecutor’s Office of Tajikistan also has other details on the activities of the IRP. In particular, it states that in the year 2010-2011 IRP reported that Isfara during this period members of the party were 600 people, while the documents were issued only for 80 people.

Prosecutor General also points out that during the reception of new members or exclusion from the party, constantly violated record keeping, payment of membership fees. It also indicates that some members of the IRP involved in the activities of the “Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan” and “Hizb-ut-Tahrir” and, together with members of banned extremist movements in Tajikistan committed crimes against the constitutional order of the country.

Deputy Chairman of the IRP Mahmadali Chait called this post pressure on the party and its members in anticipation of the fall 2013 presidential election.

M. Chait believes that prosecutors Tajikistan, spreading the message is going to stop the desire to challenge in court the IRP of inspection party prosecuting authorities of the country that is not in their power.

“In addition, the Prosecutor General of Tajikistan, to spread the message, which accused some members of the IRP participation in illegal armed formations and extremist, wants to reduce the role and importance of our party in the society”, – said Chait.

He noted that at the end of July, after a two-month review, the court of the metropolitan area did not satisfy the Sino IRP lawsuit against the Prosecutor General to invalidate the order of the agency to audit the activities of the party.

“We are on the subject have already appealed to the court to another body – in the appeal board on civil cases judges in Dushanbe, the party is ready to go further”, – Deputy Chairman of the IRP.

Recall that in May of this year, the IRP has decided to challenge in court the legality of the order of the General Prosecutor’s Office to conduct audits of all political parties. January 6 of this year, prosecutors took the order on the review of all the political parties of the country.

“From January to March were conducted thorough searches for all local, regional cells, and in the central office of the party” – says Mahmadali Chait.

In his view, it was followed by enhanced scrutiny after the “leak” of a secret government protocol 32-20, which was first published on the website of “Polar Star” in the article “Tajikistan on the eve of the revolution.”

Recall that in March poster “Polar Star” host of the article entitled “Tajikistan on the eve of the Revolution,” in which, in particular, has been published report of a secret meeting of the government. The document said to tighten control of political parties, in particular over the Islamic Renaissance Party. After this site “Polar Star”, a social network “Facebook”, where publication is very much discussion, and a few sites have been blocked in the country. Access to the “Facebook” was opened a few days later.


Tajikistan on the eve of the revolution


03/01/2012 Sergei Strokan
Rahmon hardly make it to the next presidential elections, started his political intrigue lead to his removalIn November last year, when the attention of Russian and Central Asian media was focused on the “case of the pilots’ Vladimir Sadovnichy and Alexei Rudenko in Tajikistan is closed, there was another event – a meeting of the board under the chairmanship of the Emomali Rahmon.

And if the “pilot case” has not only lazy, then information on the Presidential Council on November 24 and did not become a part of the media. Although, in my opinion, the decisions made at this Council, in its significance surpass everything that happened in Tajikistan over the past year. I will say more. Analysis is not in my possession Protocol № 32-20 dated November 24, 2011, signed by the head of the Administration of the President of Tajikistan M. Dulatov and approved by the President on November 26, suggests that in power “Dangara clan”, led by Rahmon, ready to change the foreign policy Course Tajikistan.And the new course will be more than an unpleasant surprise for the Russian and Iran.

Protocol № 32-30 – welcome to the world of lawlessness and security forces of political repression

Referring to the content of the document (see scan of original pages here , here , here , here , here and here .) Theme of the meeting of the Council, “On consideration of the social situation in the country and the objectives and responsibilities of responsible persons and offices”, originally an ordinary meeting of the impression that the officials conducted a dozen a week. Ingredients present (Kakharov AA – Minister of Interior, Khudoyarov BT – Minister of Justice, Yatimov SS – Secretary of the National Security Council, Salimzoda Sh – Attorney General, Azizov AA Fattayev C . S. – Adviser to the President Tadzhikestan, Holiқov AG – Chairman of the Committee on Religious Affairs, Assad AA – Head of the Secretariat of the President of Tajikistan) – also has a personal emergency. Questions can only call the absence of representatives of the Ministry of Security, but it is understandable. Neither Rahmon nor his entourage did not trust the Ministry of Security of Tajikistan, believing that it is under the full control of the Russian special services.

Actually, the whole of the Council consisted of Rahmon speech, after which he started giving orders. It is these orders that are of particular interest to any analyst.

Some of these orders are a standard set of administrative measures against religious organizations and movements that the Tajik refers to “extremist”:


  • strengthen the monitoring of the activities of religious institutions, especially mosques and use all means and forces to combat radical and extremist movements, including Salafi (p.1 protocol order Kaharov AA, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yatimov SS , Secretary of the National Security Council and Holiқovu AG, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs); 
  • strengthen the process of withdrawal from public places and shops tapes and disks containing radical religious materials (paragraph 3 of the Protocol, the commission Yatimov SS, Secretary of the National Security Council and Kaharov AA, Minister of the Interior, responsible public administration and local government executive bodies); 
  • take the necessary operational measures to arrest and banning illegal religious schools (p.5 protocol order Holiқovu AG, Chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs);

But special attention to orders, according to the protocol 32-20, play activities against the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. Here the events are more diverse and includes not only purely administrative action, but also a set of operational activities uniformed RT:


  • in coordination with local government officials and local entrepreneurs with funding to keep under constant review the activities of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, especially the activities of its leaders and members, to take the necessary measures to prepare for a full list of members of the Islamic Renaissance Party, determine the methods and techniques of their missionary work to advance our operational goals, including – to create incentives for them to leave the party (step 2 protocol, the commission instructed Kaharov AA, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yatimov SS, Secretary of the National Security Council and Holiқovu AG , chairman of the Committee for Religious Affairs).

In fact, this paragraph provides complete control over the activities of the IRP and its leaders. But at the same time put and purpose – a surgical procedure to achieve that members of the party left the IRP. Particularly touched by the passage that to finance the activities of law enforcement agencies should “use the local businesses.” Such legal innovation (contrary, by the way, the legislation of Tajikistan) – not just a new word in the world struggle with the opposition, but neoskudevayuschy extra income for the “fighters against religious extremism.” Basic question – what would happen to an entrepreneur who does not agree to its money “used” Tajik law enforcement agencies? As will be stated the charges against him, the refusal to cooperate? The obstruction of law enforcement? Or, on the principle of “who is not with us,” – promoting religious extremists?

A similar measure in lawlessness of civil servants, and this is how it should be called a state of affairs that prevailed today at RT, gives new impetus to the corrosive Tajikistan corruption. But the implications of this decision are not exhausted. In terms of fiscal poverty, Rahmon, in fact, creates an additional feeder for security forces, to lure them by buying by Tajik (and not only) business loyalty “Dangara clan.”

However, this point – this is only an indication and a certain direction, in which the efforts of law enforcement officers should strive. Further items include the protocol and specific measures against the IRP.

All the same, the third paragraph of the Protocol: “checking passports of citizens, especially in the capital, to find the place and time of their visit, to determine the party affiliation of citizens … With the help of government experts to identify the sources that fund political parties, including the Islamic Revival Party of Tajikistan; take the necessary steps to control their financial activities. ”

Order Hudoyarovu BT, Minister of Justice, AA Azizov and Fattaevu SS, Adviser to the President of Tajikistan, “take control of the political parties and the media” (p.4).Simple, tasteful and again – without being distracted by such things as the Constitution of the Republic of Tajikistan. And again – without specifying what is meant by the term “take control”: censorship? Antioppozitsionnyh to publish materials? Speaking of this form of work speaks directly paragraph 6, the commission Fattaevu SS, Advisor to the President of the Republic of Tajikistan in accordance with the relevant government authorities’ to take necessary measures for the publication in the media of the facts of illegal activities of the leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan. ” It’s about what else illegal activity in the presence of such a dense “cap” is all about? I do not about that if that will come up in the offices of security agencies and Rahmon’s administration? You will, but there is the impression that is preparing the groundwork for a public trial of the “enemies of the Tajik people – religious extremists”, a plot against the Republic and President.

Indirectly, this is evidenced by this paragraph from step 7 (order Azizov AA, Adviser to the President Tadzhikestan, Kaharov AA, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Yatimov SS, Secretary of the National Security Council, Sh Salimzoda , the Attorney General, the Supreme Court and other state leaders and authorities), “to take the necessary steps to maintain constant readiness of soldiers and officers.” Ready for what?

Generally, familiar with both the protocol and to another document – a statement of MIA “On measures for the implementation of the working protocol Council in the presence of President of Tajikistan, N 32-20 of 24 November 2011,” signed by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of Tajikistan, General Rakhimov the question arises: officials say that there is threat to the stability of the Republic of Tajikistan on “religious extremists” in the first place – from the Islamic Renaissance Party. But if you carefully analyze these two documents, it becomes apparent that deliberately provoked resentment from the top. Return once more to claim 5 minutes:


  • “- To take necessary and effective measures to ensure that all students return illegally studying in religious schools outside the country and warn people about the prohibition of such studies in the future.
  • take the necessary operational measures to stop the operation of illegal religious schools;
  • agreement with the Executive and the relevant bodies of Rasht district, convert to sports and manufacturing, those objects that are registered for social activities and are used as a mosque. “

If you add all the things mentioned above – increased passport controls, restrictions on freedom of movement, restrictions on the right of religious education, the media campaign against the IRP and a number of special events – in particular, in Section 3, there are such:


  • to review the activities and the role of women in the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, and take appropriate action.
  • use of existing capabilities, identify those who participated in strikes in 1992 (during the Civil War) and to take the necessary measures in their homes. “), the conclusion is clear – the legal opposition, and IRP – first of all, being pushed to overt action against the regime.

What is so clearly provoke discontent? Yes, and given the fact that the credibility of the authorities in Tajikistan today is very low (for example, a recent study published by the “Eurasia”, proves that with setbacks in legal disputes in the public institutions of justice, the ordinary citizens of Tajikistan are increasingly looking for solutions to their conflicts of opinion leaders, read – to the same opposition). Provoke resentment and, at the same time, to create a great feeder for special services, alert the army units and special forces … For what?

You can attribute it to incompetence Rahmon and his entourage. But it will be a big mistake. Yes, the current regime in Tajikistan is incompetent in all things, with regard to economic and social issues. But in matters of maintaining its own power – it may well be the envy of competence and European leaders. The issue of retaining power in the East – it is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of physical survival. So what pushes Rahmon at provoking conflict?

Something about the survival of the regime in a poor country

If you carefully analyze the performances of the Tajik officials, it may give the impression that the main problem of RT – a kind of “religious extremists” and “opposition” whose machinations prevented Tajikistan tomorrow to enter the kingdom of abundance and prosperity. But it is – a lie. The main problem in Tajikistan – is the president Emomali Rahmon and his entourage. In a secret telegram to the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, dated February 16, 2010, describes how Rahmon controls the economy of the former Soviet Republic, “All power in the country, from the President to the policeman on the corner, covered by cronyism and corruption. Rahmon and his family control the main companies of the country, including the largest bank, and they are hard to protect their business interests, without regard to the damage to the economy as a whole. As one of the foreign ambassadors, President Rahmon prefers to control 90% of ten-dollar pie rather than 30% of the hundred-dollar. “ All industrial exports Tajikistan – are aluminum and electricity from hydropower. However, a large portion of the proceeds “technically owned by the state,” Tajik Aluminium Company “(TALCO) settles in certain mysterious offshore company controlled by the president,” the authors dispatch, adding sadly, “the State Budget of the income goes to a small part.”

Confirmation of what they say in diplomatic cables can be heard from ordinary Tajiks. All my interlocutors in Dushanbe said that in the country there was not a telephone pole, which would not have privatized many daughters-in-law and close relatives Rahman, not to mention the shops and businesses. I was struck by the unanimous conviction of my interlocutors that Rahmon mentally healthy, no measure does not know and has lost touch with reality.

Rahmon’s regime has brought the country to a complete collapse, destruction and dire poverty. Tajikistan today – it is the poorest of the former Soviet republics.Average annual income of a resident of Tajikistan is 260 dollars. Tajikistan’s GDP per capita has one thousand dollars a year (in Russia the figure was eight thousand dollars). 60 percent of Tajiks live below the poverty line, the unemployment rate is 40 percent. According to the Federal Migration Service of Russia, remittances of Tajik migrant workers in Russia are two annual budgets in the country. Tajikistan’s budget is $ 485 million, and from Russia in the republic shall transfer $ 1 billion, and legally – only $ 500 million if not the help of Tajik migrants, the situation in Tajikistan would be worse than even in Afghanistan.

How ironic that it is the money of those who Rahmon condemned to poverty in their own country and forced to work abroad – maintain social stability, involuntarily working to preserve the regime. Issyakni this thread – and the people’s anger sweep Rahmon and his entourage, all Dangara clan, the whole army of footmen and servants who serve them. Need to see the eyes of Dushanbe, when they talk about their “president”. All with whom I spoke were confident that a little more in the country will begin a revolution. I do not know how to call her later, but it is clear that Rahmon waiting at best fate of Muammar Gaddafi. Members of his family, his inner circle already packing their bags, buy property abroad and transfer downloaded from the republic money to foreign accounts. Therefore, I repeat: the issue of preservation of power – it is a matter of physical survival Rahmon and his family and “Dangara clan.”

And on this, to put it mildly, a difficult social background Rahmon picks risky political game, painted in 32-20 minutes. On what he expects? That gives it confidence?Where such a strange desire to go into open conflict, which certainly also plesnet Tajik blood?

The answer to this question can be obtained by: first, instead of just a “conflict” to use the term “controlled conflict”. And then everything falls into place – actions Rahmon and his team aim to purge the political field. By provoking speeches disgruntled (and well to these speeches prepared, ensuring the loyalty of security forces), “Dangara clan” will be able to completely destroy the opposition and to ensure absolute control of the country. A control that will allow him to carry out any change of course in both domestic and foreign policy.

About the features of assistance to Tajikistan and gratitude-Rahmon

Immediately raises the question – what kind of change of direction in foreign policy is all about? And here comes the “second.” If we compare the action in suppressing Rahmon “religious extremism” legal opposition – the IRP, with similar actions of another, to the other post-Soviet state – Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan, opened meaningful coincidences, practically – identity. Azerbaijan is actively “Media” of the Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, are mass arrests of activists of the Azerbaijani counterintelligence reports of disclosure of “terrorist cells” who planned to assassinate Israeli diplomats and prominent figures of the Jewish diaspora. Here’s how to comment on what is happening today in Azerbaijan, leading expert of “Heritage Foundation” Ariel Cohen: “In recent years, relations between Baku and Tehran steadily deteriorating due to strengthening ties between Azerbaijan and the United States and NATO … Iranian pressure on Baku gives the United States and the West in general right with stronger response … In the face of Iranian threats to Azerbaijan seeks to work more closely with the West … The U.S. should increase the volume of cooperation with Azerbaijan, including in the areas of counter-terrorism, intelligence and strengthen border security. The Obama administration should take the initiative in their own hands and push Europe and Turkey to cooperate. “

And here is what the official report Specialist Congressional Research Service (CRS), Jim Nichol, “After September 11, 2001, Tajikistan has expressed willingness to cooperate closely with the United States, but could not go on it because of the negative attitude of Moscow.” Add – and with Rahmon declare a “special relationship with Iran.” Cynically speaking, Rahmon hoped that his position will be paid. What is actually happening – Russia actually subsidizing the Tajik economy, providing 90% of its petroleum products on preferential terms, and the Islamic Republic of Iran has invested in energy projects and small business RT. Thus, direct investment in Iran Tajik economy in the nine months of 2011 amounted to approximately $ 15 million, while trade between Tajikistan and Iran in 2011 amounted to more than $ 204 million (and the goods were imported from Iran to the tune of over $ 161 million).

But at the same time – increasing amount of direct funding from the U.S.. According to the report of the Congress, from 1992 to 2008 in Tajikistan has received irrevocable basis for $ 778.6 million (Freedom Support Act). In 2009 – $ 35.8 million, 2010 – $ 48.3 million in 2011 – $ 47.1 million must be remembered that these figures do not include funding for programs in Tajikistan, which is facilitated through the Defense and U.S. Department of Energy and non-governmental funds, so that the figures can be easily doubled.

By the way, in the approach to solving the economic problems of Tajikistan, there has always been two approaches. Russia and Iran have invested in the real economy. October 16, 2004, during a visit to Dushanbe, Putin announced a major investment (according to various estimates, from $ 1.2 billion to more than $ 3 billion) in the field of special interests Rahmon – hydropower (primarily – Sangtuda-1, then – Rogun) and in the remaining Soviet-era aluminum industry (working on the principle of tolling). From the moment that marked Russia in Tajikistan its fundamental interests, their interest in the creation of a consortium to finance Sangtuda 2 announced Iran, China has pledged to invest in the Nurek hydropower plant. Prior to this, no state, especially in the West, are not taken seriously Rahmon calls to invest in these industrial facilities.

And the West … The West did not put into the economy, and in the development of “democratic institutions.” In fact – in the pocket Rahmon and his surroundings that these public institutions and represented. When traveling in the West, Rahmon has repeatedly emphasized that “satisfied” relations between Tajikistan and the United States. He is particularly pleased with the relationship of security – mainly American help in financing and training, which is designed to strengthen the capacity of the state border control, the fight against drug trafficking and counter-terrorism operations.

And how interesting behaved Rahmon on the one hand, in relation to Russia is increasingly sounded frankly unfriendly statements. The Internet was full of stories about how the Tajik authorities brazenly “threw” Iranian businessmen who had imprudence to do business in Tajikistan. Tajik officials have started talking about the fact that cooperation with Russia and Iran to Tajikistan unprofitable. In an interview with U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Richard Hoagland Rahmon said that Moscow was preparing against him. But complaining to his grave share Rahmon in the same conversation made significant hint – first, in the course lasts two and a half hour meeting, the President expressed his gratitude to the United States, curling, that “the international community is important to temper, as he put it,” the worst instincts Russia “. Secondly, Rahmon ambassador hinted that Tajikistan is ready to certain conditions (read – for a fee, and security guarantees personally Rahmon and his entourage) to host the U.S. military base.

Accuracy of the readiness to shift to U.S. Rahmon sufficiently illustrate some of the facts of daily life: in conditions of severe energy savings for the local population (in the winter cold light turns on for 2-3 hours), RT uninterrupted electricity supplies in U.S. controlled Afghanistan. Even in the controversial issue of the American democratic NGOs Rahmon received “Solomonic solution” denied official registration to organizations such as National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, but, nevertheless, allowing them to carry out most of the programs. Another positive signal from Rahmon, he just authorized the use of the national curriculum tutorial on the basics of civil rights, which is the result of long-term work of the International Development Foundation for Electoral Systems (International Foundation for Election Systems – IFES). For several reasons, IFES – the only Democratic U.S. NGO, delivered from the annoying attention of the Tajik authorities and acting without any obstacles.

Coming changes

But happiness calf sucking two queens at once, can not be infinite. From the autumn of last year Rahmon and his team felt that tolerate his “art” nor Russia nor Iran are not going to. On the Russian side, this has resulted in a number of demonstrative deportations of migrants (as a response to “the case of pilots”), and in the introduction of new Russian export duties on light oil in Tajikistan, as in other CIS countries enjoy preferential tariffs before the entry into By the rules of the Customs Union of the three countries – Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

From this point on, “Dangara clan” started making foreign policy shift toward “heart of the alliance” with the U.S.. It is clear that agreement, the alliance provided Hamrokhon Zarifi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, a figure little studied, but – more interesting than his connections and position, just read his article «The Message from the Roof of the World» in the weekly “New Europe” .

Today for the alliance to three conditions – squeezing Russia out of the RT, the opposition sweep with simultaneous elimination pro-Iranian lobby, which should provoke Iran into unfriendly statements. And then there is a good excuse to ask the protection and expansion in the U.S. presence in the country.

Task of squeezing Russia official Dushanbe decides exhibiting absurd claims for $ 300 million for the operation of the 201 military base in Tajikistan. But the other two conditions are quite capable to fulfill the activities outlined in the protocol № 32-20, made famous by those in Tajikistan, said current plans Rahmon and his environment – an adventure that leads to chaos RT.

But the paradox of the situation is that Rahmon overestimating its importance for the U.S.. The plans of the State Department it would play the role of a “bulldozer”, which should be “clean” political field, pro-Russian and pro-Iranian lobby (including physical destruction), to carry out the foreign policy shift, to ensure entry of the U.S. in Tajikistan … and in this role it is pumped. The fruits of these reforms, all the preferences of the “pro-American in Tajikistan”, will take advantage of others. Since 2006, there are leaks that the post of the next president of Tajikistan Americans “try on” the current head of the MFA RT – Hamrokhon Zarifi. That Washington lobbied his appointment to the post. And it is the policy of Washington holds Zarifi now in office, up to the limit of its strained relations with Russia. Let me quote a passage from a State Department diplomatic cables related to Zarifi: “Pro-American Tajik politician agreed to our proposals and asked to observe strict confidentiality of the meeting in the name of the execution of strategic tasks assigned to him and his team friendly country – the United States.”

Washington’s skill players deserves applause. Artfully entwined Rahmon informal guarantees by buying the entire clan for relatively little money, the U.S. actually made it a mechanical doll that comes up that road, which he charted. Goes – without deviating from the course, is – not even responsive to the wishes, but only on the fingers wiggling their owners. Only here the doll does not know that in the end the way it did not expect the power and luxury, but a garbage dump. And in its place a puppet, opening the way to the heart of the United States in Central Asia, will take another doll. The cycle of dictators “banana republics” pawns “The Grand Chessboard” is unknown from what imagined themselves the rulers …



Mexicans raise questions over CIA role in drug war



Forensic personnel check a vehicle attacked with gunfire in the Tres Marias-Huitzilac highway in Morelos, Mexico (AFP/File, Nuvia Reyes)

Mexicans raise questions over CIA role in drug war

By Laurent Thomet (AFP)

MEXICO CITY — Mexican politicians demanded answers from their government on Wednesday after reports that two Americans wounded when federal police opened fire on a US embassy car were working for the CIA.

The US and Mexican governments have said little about the victims’ work since last week’s shooting, a silence that has put a spotlight on the growing but often secretive US role in Mexico’s brutal drug war.

The left-wing opposition Democratic Revolution Party said it would summon government officials to a Senate hearing in order to clarify the murky role of the US Central Intelligence Agency in Mexico.

“We will ask for a hearing with the public security minister, the foreign minister and the navy to find out what CIA agents are doing in Mexico and why they are fighting each other,” Senator Mario Delgo told MVS radio.

Washington works closely with President Felipe Calderon’s government against drug smuggling under the $1.6 billion Merida Initiative, providing training for law enforcement officials and equipment, including Black Hawk helicopters.

After days of feverish speculation here about who the wounded Americans were working for, the New York Times reported Wednesday that the pair were employed by the CIA as part of an anti-drug task force.

But Mexican daily El Universal, citing a confidential official report, said they were CIA agents who supervise instructors at a navy shooting range.

The CIA and Mexican foreign ministry declined to comment. Calderon voiced regret over the incident on Tuesday and pledged an exhaustive investigation.

A US State Department spokesman would only say on Tuesday that the two were US government employees working on “law enforcement cooperation.” The pair were repatriated to the United States over the weekend.

According to official accounts, the two were driving with a Mexican navy captain to a military training facility south of Mexico City on Friday when federal police shot at their armored US embassy car.

Authorities are holding 12 police officers over the shooting as prosecutors mull charges against them.

Unnamed US officials told the Times that there was no evidence so far that the unidentified Americans were targeted because of their affiliation.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, a member of the Democratic Revolutionary Party, had already raised questions about the CIA’s presence on Tuesday.

“The Mexican government must give a complete report on what the CIA is doing here, with whom it is working and what is the extent of its work,” Ebrard said. “Everything is in the dark.”

Calderon’s government has been forced in the past to defend the presence of US agents or the use of US drones over Mexican territory in the fight against drug cartels.

Analysts say the number of US security officials in Mexico has soared since Calderon launched an anti-drug offensive in 2006. More than 50,000 people have died since Mexican troops were deployed against the cartels.

But Calderon has refused to disclose the number of US law enforcement agents in Mexico. Under Mexican law, foreign agents or soldiers are forbidden from taking part in operations or carrying weapons in the country.

“Of course many of these operations are taking place, and of course they are bypassing the legal framework in doing so,” Edgardo Buscaglia, a security expert and senior research scholar at New York’s Columbia University, told AFP.

Americans have shed blood before in Mexico’s drug war. A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent was killed and another wounded last year when Zetas cartel gunmen shot their car between Mexico City and Monterrey.

“The expansion of the US presence within Mexican soil is unprecedented,” Buscaglia said. “We are reaching levels — not in terms of soldiers but in terms of American intelligence — that are close to Afghanistan.”

West’s worry is Kurdish unity, not Syrian division


West’s worry is Kurdish unity, not Syrian division

Saddam Hussein tried to annihilate them, but the Kurds are suddenly the unlikely beneficiaries of the Syrian conflict, says Patrick Cockburn


A favourite line of defence of embattled dictatorships is that, if their rule is relaxed, their country will be torn apart by ethnic, religious, or social strife.

Opponents of autocracy commonly respond that these fears are exaggerated and self-serving and it is dictators themselves who foment such divisions.

Both these arguments contain elements of truth and self-deception. In Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, many of his opponents genuinely believed that the divisions between Sunni, Shia and Kurd were primarily the result of his machinations.

Likewise, in Syria today, Bashar al-Assad has sought with some success to persuade the Alawites, Christians and other minorities, that they face oppression, if not slaughter, at the hands of Sunni insurgents.

A degree of self-deception about the extent of their own divisions is common to most cities and countries where different communities live side-by-side.

So how far do this apply to Syria after a year-and-a-half of escalating conflict?

Politicians, diplomats and journalists are aware of the dangers of communal strife in Syria.

There is also the knowledge that it is much in the interests of the Syrian insurgents to play up the example of Libya, where Nato intervention appeared to succeed, and downplay Iraq when looking for foreign support.

At this stage, most people who see news of fresh fighting and atrocities in Syria pay less and less attention to what is happening there. Syria comes across as one more murderous imbroglio, like Iraq, Somalia, eastern Congo or Lebanon used to be or remain today.

Television pictures of extreme violence in such places no longer shock because they are part of the expected landscape.

These expectations have numbed the outside world and most Syrians into paying too little attention to a crucial recent development in the Syrian crisis. It is an event likely to have immense impact not just on Syria, but on several of its neighbours. This is the withdrawal of almost all of the Syrian army in the north of the country along the Syrian border.

The Syrian Kurds (whose total numbers are about 2.5 million, or 10% of the Syrian population) have achieved de facto autonomy.

Both Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian rebels are vying for Kurdish support and have to accept, at least for now, the establishment of a Kurdish enclave.

The significance of what has happened is not immediately obvious until it is recalled that Kurdish nationalism is one of the great forces in Middle East politics.

The position of the Kurdish minorities in Iraq and Turkey is crucially important for their stability.

In Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) enjoys autonomy from Baghdad. If the Syrian Kurds achieve the same status of autonomy, close to independence, as in Iraq, how will Turkey be able to deny similar status to its own Kurdish minority in the south-east of the country?

In the years since the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) started guerrilla war against the Turkish state in 1984, Ankara has failed to crush the insurgents politically or militarily.

In the past couple of years, the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has short-sightedly opted for repression rather than concessions.

Turkey may come to regret its intervention in Syria. Turkey threatens to invade northern Syria if the PKK gains control there, but since it has failed to eliminate the movement at home, it is unlikely to do so abroad.

In Washington, Ankara, Baghdad and elsewhere, there is alarm that the political chessboard of the Middle East has suddenly changed in an unexpected way.

“The real fear isn’t that Syria will be divided,” says Aliza Marcus, an expert on the Turkish Kurds. “It’s that the Kurds are uniting.”

Ethnic Russian Woman Suspected as Suicide Bomber

The Moscow Times

Doesn’t look like a suicide bomber, does she?

An ethnic Russian woman, who was both wife and widow of Islamist militants, was named on Wednesday as the suicide bomber who killed a moderate Muslim cleric in Dagestan just as President Vladimir Putin was pleading for national unity.

Police said Aminat Kurbanova, a resident of Makhachkala, had posed as a pilgrim to the home of Said Atsayev, 74, in Chirkei and detonated an explosive belt packed with nails and ball bearings, killing Atsayev, herself and six others, including an 11-year-old boy visiting with his parents.

A security official said the woman, aged 29 or 30, was born with the ethnic Russian surname Saprykina but converted to Islam and was married to an Islamist militant. Two previous husbands, also militants, had been killed, the official added.

The bombing came as Putin made a rousing call for religious and ethnic concord to counter extremism.

“We will not allow anyone to tear our country apart by exploiting ethnic and religious differences,” Putin said in Tatarstan, where the senior officially backed Muslim cleric was wounded last month and one of his former deputies killed.

Atsayev’s killing follows a string of attacks on moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus who have publicly denounced the spread of radical Islamic groups known as Salafis, whose followers advocate an independent state, or emirate, that would include Caucasus and parts of southern Russia that contain a significant Muslim population.

Atsayev, the powerful leader of a Sufi Muslim brotherhood, had recently initiated peace talks between Sufis and Salafis.

The mystical Muslim orders of Sufis have for centuries been popular in Dagestan and neighboring provinces, and their leaders and adherents survived decades of Communist persecution. The Sufi brotherhoods are fiercely opposed to the radical and militant Salafis that have mushroomed across the region. The Sufis often pray over the tombs of revered saints, and Salafi puritans condemn worshipping over graves as idolatry.

Tens of thousands of people attended Atsayev’s funeral Tuesday, and thousands more flocked to his grave Wednesday to pray as Dagestan’s secular authorities declared a day of mourning.

The killing of the white-bearded cleric, who appeared in public wearing a traditional hat made of astrakhan lamb fur, could lead to more violence in Dagestan and the Caucasus, analysts said.

“These are attempts to abort peacekeeping efforts in the region and to escalate the situation in southern Russia,” Ruslan Gereyev of the Center of Islamic Studies in Makhachkala, told the Kavkazsky Uzel online publication.

If the killing goes unpunished, the authority of Atsayev’s influential followers will be questioned, said Alexei Malashenko of the Carnegie Moscow Center. “If the main figure is killed and his followers are silent, this will lead to a major reappraisal of values” in Dagestan, he said.

(Reuters, AP)

The Moscow Times

Devastating Harvard Report On the Destabilizing Effects of Uncontrolled Weapons In Libya

[Excellent contribution to the effort to stop the arming of “Islamists” and assorted criminals under the authority of the government of the United States. You can read the complete report by clicking the title, or go to the Harvard site HERE.]

Explosive Situation Qaddafi’s Abandoned Weapons and the Threat to Libya’s Civilians

Col. Mohammed Torgman of the Misrata Military Council
points to some of the weapons collected by international
deminers at the Misrata ASA, which was under the Council’s
jurisdiction in March 2012. Coordination at the local, national,
and international levels is crucial for dealing effectively with
the threat of abandoned ordnance.
Photograph by Nicolette Boehland.


Deminers gathered and marked off these weapons found at the Zintan ASA. Deminers across the
country said they often could not destroy the munitions they collected due to a lack of explosives.
Photograph by Nicolette Boehland.

NATO-Empowered “Islamists” Mutiny Against NATO-installed Government, Attack Libyan School, Mosques

[That’s the big problem in arming terrorists and criminals, and then empowering them with a false religion, one which compels believers to become killers of “kafir” in the Name of God–only Wahabbis can uphold such a lofty, false standard.  A “true believer” of this false “Islam” has to see every other human being (who DOES NOT believe that it is right to kill all those who believe differently) as the enemies of God.  That is the mechanism that works the devious magic of Wahabbism, the power of suggestion, the “hook” which creates true believers, and then turns them into mass-murderers.  The rabble of Libya, which destroys culture, history and life itself, under the banner of “doing God’s will,” has no more sense of True Islam than does modern Christians have of the original messages of Jesus Christ, PBUH.  God did not bring us here to kill the unbelievers; the unbelievers all have a way of killing themselves.  God sent us here as His emissaries of Goodness in a world corrupted by evil and by human nature itself.  The ways of Sufi Islam are the ways of God/Allah.  The ways of contemporary Sunni Islam fall short of the sacred mark.  In every Muslim country where the corrosive mechanism of Wahabbism is eating away at Sunni faith, the uneducated, as well as the over-educated, fall prey to the false belief which is sold to the masses under the brand name “Shariah.”  It is this faith which is common to ALL of America’s “Islamists,” they are ALL men on a mission, a mission to kill the infidels.] 

Othman Pasha Madrasa 

Islamists attack Libyan school, mosques in challenge to NATO-installed government


McClatchy Newspapers

TRIPOLI, Libya — An estimated 200 heavily armed Islamists destroyed 30 graves at a historic Turkish school in Tripoli’s old city early Wednesday and an unspecified number of other mosques also were attacked, further signs that Libya’s NATO-installed government is facing a major challenge from extremists less than a month after the first elections in this country in 50 years.

Details of the destruction at the Othman Pasha Madrassa, a boarding school, were sparse, but school staff said the attackers also damaged as many as 1,000 books they found on the premises and destroyed a tree that the attackers said people had been worshipping in contravention of Islamic teachings.

The attack at the school, which was founded in the 19th century by a Turkish official who is now buried there along with members of his family, was another in a string of assaults that have targeted mosques and other sites associated with Sufism, a mystical brand of Islam that some conservative Muslims consider heretical.

On Tuesday, Libya’s interior minister, Fawzi Abdel Al, said that heavily armed Islamists posed a serious threat to Libya’s security. He said he was withdrawing the resignation that he’d tendered after the General National Congress, the elected assembly that now rules Libya, criticized him for failing to protect several Sufi shrines and mosques that were destroyed over the weekend.

Members of the police and the Supreme Security Committee, an amalgamation of militias that is the country’s military, stood guard and watched as armed Salafists, followers of a fundamentalist strain of Islam, razed Tripoli’s Sidi Shaab Mosque and the Abdel Salam al Asmar shrine in Zlitan, 100 miles east of Tripoli, over the weekend. Some of the attackers were reported to be serving members of the Supreme Security Committee.

“If we deal with this using security we will be forced to use weapons, and these groups have huge amounts of weapons,” Abdel Al said. “They are large in power and number in Libya. I can’t enter a losing battle to kill people over a grave.”

Who exactly is behind the attacks is unclear. The IHS global information company, which specializes in geopolitical risk and security issues, tied the rise of armed Salafist groups in Libya to a broader trend of radical Islamism in the region.

Suspected jihadi groups also have been accused of being behind recent attacks on foreign interests and Libyan security bases, as well as the assassination of dozens of former high-ranking supporters of the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was forced from power a year ago after a five-month NATO bombing campaign.

There is little doubt, however, that fundamentalist militia groups, and the other militias making up the Supreme Security Committee, have become a significant threat to Libya’s security and future since Gadhafi fell a year ago.

Militia groups still control large swaths of Libya, and while they are all supposedly overseen by the Supreme Security Committee, they have varying loyalties and competing ideologies.

Libya’s interim National Transitional Council, which governed Libya after the revolution until it handed control to the General National Congress after July’s elections, formed the Supreme Security Committee in November in an unsuccessful attempt to bring the militias under a central authority. Similarly, the General National Congress’ Interior Ministry under Abdel Al appears also to have failed in subsuming the militias into Libya’s other security forces.

The Supreme Security Committee’s authority also is being challenged by the Libyan National Shield, a group made up of militia members from the eastern part of the country.

Analysts say the militias control the lion’s share of weapons in the country and that they operate independently of the Libyan government and Libya’s weak military and police forces.

“Libya is awash in weapons, ranging from bullets and mortars to torpedoes and surface-to-air missiles,” said a recent report by the Harvard Law School’s International Human Rights Clinic.

Concern has been expressed internationally about Libya’s heavy armaments falling into the hands of Islamists fighting in regional conflicts.

Libyan weapons also are reaching other Islamist militants in Africa. Nigeria’s defense minister, Olusola Obada, said that weapons traced to Libya have been captured from militants belonging to that country’s Boko Haram terrorist group, and news reports have said that a key leader of al-Qaida in the Mahgreb, the North Africa affiliate of the group founded by Osama bin Laden, was recently seen buying weapons in Libya.

Libyan weapons also have been reported in the Sinai, where Egyptian forces recently battled extremists after an attack that left 16 Egyptian soldiers dead, and have been tied to the takeover of northern Mali by Tuareg rebels and Islamic extremists.

(Frykberg is a McClatchy special correspondent.)

Imperial America Will Fare No Better At Redrawing the Map of the Middle East Than Did the British Crown


What Syria means

Jaswant Singh

Syria’s agony has generated a variety of unproductive responses: verbal condemnation of the excesses of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime; disagreements about the wisdom of armed intervention; and all-around confusion about the possibility of finding a viable long-term solution. Worse, in this sorry state of affairs, the world may be getting a glimpse of a very ugly future.

First, let us try to disentangle some of the cat’s cradle of ironies and contradictions that are bedeviling efforts to end the violence in Syria. Whereas Syria denies political freedom to its citizens, it tolerates significantly more social freedom than many other Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, which is leading the charge to oust Assad. Governed by minority Alawites (a Shia sect), Syria harbors a kaleidoscope of distinct groups: Arabs, Armenians, Christians, Kurds, Druze, Ismailis, and Bedouin.

It is this tolerance of cultural and religious diversity that could be endangered if the Sunni-inspired revolt sweeps the country. And that is why Syria simultaneously generates revulsion at the regime’s atrocities and fear of what might follow if the regime is defeated.

In an ancient land such as Syria, there can be no examination of the problems of the present without reflecting upon the past. History, after all, is always the mother of the present, and geography the progenitor.

In his history of the Arab world in the aftermath of World War I, A Peace to End all Peace, David Fromkin suggests that the Middle East today reflects the failure of the European powers to consolidate the political systems that they imposed. Britain and its allies “destroyed the old order,” smashing Turkish rule of the Arabic-speaking Middle East. But then they “created countries, nominated rulers, delineated frontiers, [and introduced] a state system” that would not work.

But, in the wake of the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the intervention in Libya, is not the same experiment being repeated almost a century later? That is the question that realistic policymakers should be asking themselves as they ponder what to do in Syria.

In August 1919, British Foreign Minister Arthur Balfour summarized the essence of the problem that is now confronting policymakers. “The unhappy truth,” he wrote, “is that France, England, and America have got themselves…so inextricably confused that no…satisfactory answer is now possible.”

Does that not sound familiar? And is not an updated version of Syrian (and then Iraqi) King Faisal’s exhortation to Arabs – “Choose to be either slaves or masters of your own destiny” – echoed in the political pronouncements of new leaders in Egypt and elsewhere.

And let us examine the actions of the West in 1919 and the years that followed. The French, as Fromkin reminds us, “shrank Syria, so that they could control it,” rewarding their “Christian allies by swelling the borders of Mount Lebanon with the Bekaa valley, the Mediterranean ports of Tyre, Sidon, Beirut and Tripoli, and…land…north of Palestine. Thousands of Muslims [suddenly] belonged to a state dominated by Christians.”

So, as the Oxford historian Margaret Macmillan argues in her book The Peacemakers, Syria’s leaders, remembering these events when Westerners probably did not, “took the opportunity” presented by the Black September crisis of 1970 to send troops to their country’s lost lands.

The combination of ethnic and sectarian fears and rivalries, historical memories, and willful blindness among outside powers seems almost predestined to destabilize the entire Middle East again. Turkey is resurgent yet troubled; Iraq has been invaded and abandoned; Iran is isolated and threatened; Israel is anxious and belligerent; and Afghanistan and Pakistan are internally imbalanced and politically fragile.

Indeed, the great arc stretching from Cairo to the Hindu Kush threatens to become the locus of global disorder. Little wonder that Iranian envoy Saeed Jalili, after meeting Assad in Damascus recently, announced that “Iran will absolutely not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be a main pillar, to be broken in any way.”

For Turkey, Syria’s plight is a strategic nightmare, because any breakup of Syria implies the possible rise of a greater Kurdistan, which would raise claims to a great swath of Turkish territory.

Is there a solution to this grim impasse? Certainly, one will not be found in more United Nations resolutions, which is why US President Barack Obama is now believed to favor a “managed transition” in Syria that would not fatally erode the existing instruments of the Syrian state.

As Michael Ignatieff has wisely observed, Syria’s crisis has revealed that this is “the moment in which the West should see that the world has truly broken into two. A loose alliance of struggling capitalist democracies” is faced by Russia and China. Western countries’ national interests will no longer determine the moral and political impulses of today’s global community. Indeed, whatever the outcome, Syria’s agony has underscored a further irreversible weakening of the West’s dominant global role.

The Saudi Brotherhood President of Egypt Earns His Pay By Disrupting Tehran’s NAM Summit


In this July 11, photo, Egyptian President, Mohamed Morsi, center left, walks with Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, center right, at the al-Salam palace in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Morsi chose Saudi Arabia as his first destination abroad, a Mubarak ally that strongly disapproved of the uprising that ousted him.

HOPD/Egyptian Presidency/AP

Egyptian attack on ‘oppressive’ Syria sparks walkout

Egypt’s president has told a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (Nam) that the Syrian uprising is a “revolution against an oppressive regime”.

Mohammed Mursi, making the first visit to Iran by an Egyptian leader since 1979, said the movement had an “ethical duty” to support the uprising.

His comments sparked a walkout by the Syrian delegation.

The Nam summit, which represents 120 countries, will also discuss human rights and nuclear disarmament.

Mr Mursi used his speech to tell delegates: “Our solidarity with the struggle of the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty, as it is a political and strategic necessity.”

“We all have to announce our full solidarity with the struggle of those seeking freedom and justice in Syria, and translate this sympathy into a clear political vision that supports a peaceful transition to a democratic system of rule that reflects the demands of the Syrian people for freedom.”

He compared the anti-government movement in Syrian to the Palestinians, saying they were both “actively seeking freedom, dignity and human justice”, and said Egypt was “ready to work with all to stop the bloodshed”.

Mr Mursi’s visit is the first by an Egyptian leader since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, when Iran cut ties with President Anwar Sadat’s administration over its signing of a peace treaty with Israel.

Syria’s delegation to Nam walked out of the conference room when Mr Mursi began speaking about the conflict, Egyptian and Syrian media reported. Iranian media said they had simply left to conduct and interview.

The BBC’s Iran correspondent, James Reynolds, says Syria’s exit illustrates the strong divisions which could derail the summit.

But Egypt and Iran have also been competing for many years to be seen as the natural leader of the region, our correspondent adds, and that fight is likely to be played out in Tehran.

‘No more bullets’

Analysts believe Mr Mursi’s comments are likely to have infuriated both the Syrian government – which says it is fighting an armed terrorist insurgency – and the Iranians, who have been giving staunch backing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The US has accused Iran of training militia in Syria to reinforce Mr Assad’s forces.

An advert for the summit in Tehran, Iran (29 Aug 2012) 
Iran hopes the summit will change the balance of international opinion

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who is attending the summit, said Syria was facing a long-term civil war, and warned that “those who provide arms to either side in Syria are contributing to the misery”.

“The situation cannot be resolved with the blood and the bodies of more than 18,000 people and counting. There should be no more bullets and bombs. I urge all parties in the strongest possible terms to stop the violence now,” he said.

Mr Ban’s acceptance of Tehran’s invitation to the summit was described by the US State Department as “strange”, but the South Korean has not shied from drawing attention to the Iran’s human rights record.

At a press conference, seated next to the speaker of Iran’s parliament and one of the country’s most powerful politicians, he told reporters that he had “serious concerns” about human rights in Iran.

‘Overt dictatorship at UN’

Nuclear disarmament is also on the agenda of the talks and in his speech to delegates on Thursday, Ayatollah Khamenei said that, contrary to the view held in the West, Iran “is never seeking nuclear weapons”.

He said such weapons were “a major and unforgivable sin”, but that Iran would “never give up the right to peaceful nuclear energy”.

The ayatollah also criticised the “illogical” structure of the United Nations Security Council, saying it enabled the US to impose its “bullying manner” on the world, Reuters reports.

“The UN Security Council has an irrational, unjust and utterly undemocratic structure, and this is an overt dictatorship,” he said.

Mr Ban responded to the ayatollah’s statement by calling on Iran to build confidence in its nuclear ambitions by co-operating fully with the Security Council over its nuclear programme.

He also rebuked Tehran for its hostilty towards Israel, saying: “I strongly reject threats by any member states to destroy another or outrageous attempt to deny historical facts such as the Holocaust , claiming that another state, Israel, does not have the right to exist or describing it in racist terms.”

Iran’s unconventional world convention

Schram: Iran’s unconventional world convention

By MARTIN SCHRAM, Scripps Howard News Service

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi delivers his

Photo credit: Getty Images | Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi delivers his speech during the opening session of the expert-level meeting of XVI summit of the Non-Alligned Movement (NAM) in Tehran. (Aug. 26, 2012)

Historians may someday call this week’s convention-hall events — the speech-making and backroom decision-making — the beginning of a change that reordered the way the world works.

Indeed, many delegates may have already concluded just that. Partly because so many world-famous political figures showed up. And partly because of the most unconventional art the delegates had to walk past to enter the convention hall: three clumps of twisted metal, formerly automobiles driven by three Iranian nuclear scientists, blown up by perpetrators officially unknown. Beside each wreck were large photos of the scientists and their children.


No, we aren’t talking about a convention hall in Tampa — but one in Tehran.


Halfway around the world from where the U.S. political media’s big eye was focusing on theRepublican National Convention and hanging on the words of presidential standard-bearer Mitt Romney, much of the rest of the world was focusing on a coincidentally parallel weeklong meeting of an organization called the Nonaligned Movement.

This is no small fringe gathering that opened Sunday in Tehran. Delegates from 120 nations were reportedly attending. The United States mounted a significant back-channel effort to dissuade world leaders from attending the summit. The Obama administration’s effort met with little noticeable success.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh brought a delegation of 250 and reportedly planned to meet separately with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and also with the summit’s hosts, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Egypt’s new president, Mohammed Morsi, changed his plans at the last minute and flew to the summit — a significant policy shift because Egypt ended its diplomatic relations with Iran after recognizing Israel in 1980.

And perhaps most significantly, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon brushed aside the objections of the United States and Israel and decided to attend the summit as well. He showed the world he is strangely unperturbed by the fact that Iran has for years ignored UN Security Council resolutions and obstructed UN nuclear inspectors.

“We, frankly, don’t think that Iran is deserving of these high-level presences that are going there,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement.

The Eagle Has Crash Landed–Pax Americana is over

The Eagle Has Crash Landed

Pax Americana is over. Challenges from Vietnam and the Balkans to the Middle East and September 11 have revealed the limits of American supremacy. Will the United States learn to fade quietly, or will U.S. conservatives resist and thereby transform a gradual decline into a rapid and dangerous fall?

By Immanuel Wallerstein

The United States in decline? Few people today would believe this assertion. The only ones who do are the U.S. hawks, who argue vociferously for policies to reverse the decline. This belief that the end of U.S. hegemony has already begun does not follow from the vulnerability that became apparent to all on September 11, 2001. In fact, the United States has been fading as a global power since the 1970s, and the U.S. response to the terrorist attacks has merely accelerated this decline. To understand why the so-called Pax Americana is on the wane requires examining the geopolitics of the 20th century, particularly of the century’s final three decades. This exercise uncovers a simple and inescapable conclusion: The economic, political, and military factors that contributed to U.S. hegemony are the same factors that will inexorably produce the coming U.S. decline.

Intro to hegemony

The rise of the United States to global hegemony was a long process that began in earnest with the world recession of 1873. At that time, the United States and Germany began to acquire an increasing share of global markets, mainly at the expense of the steadily receding British economy. Both nations had recently acquired a stable political base—the United States by successfully terminating the Civil War and Germany by achieving unification and defeating France in the Franco-Prussian War. From 1873 to 1914, the United States and Germany became the principal producers in certain leading sectors: steel and later automobiles for the United States and industrial chemicals for Germany.
The history books record that World War I broke out in 1914 and ended in 1918 and that World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945. However, it makes more sense to consider the two as a single, continuous “30 years’ war” between the United States and Germany, with truces and local conflicts scattered in between. The competition for hegemonic succession took an ideological turn in 1933, when the Nazis came to power in Germany and began their quest to transcend the global system altogether, seeking not hegemony within the current system but rather a form of global empire. Recall the Nazi slogan ein tausendjähriges Reich (a thousand-year empire). In turn, the United States assumed the role of advocate of centrist world liberalism—recall former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “four freedoms” (freedom of speech, of worship, from want, and from fear)—and entered into a strategic alliance with the Soviet Union, making possible the defeat of Germany and its allies.

World War II resulted in enormous destruction of infrastructure and populations throughout Eurasia, from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans, with almost no country left unscathed. The only major industrial power in the world to emerge intact—and even greatly strengthened from an economic perspective—was the United States, which moved swiftly to consolidate its position.

But the aspiring hegemon faced some practical political obstacles. During the war, the Allied powers had agreed on the establishment of the United Nations, composed primarily of countries that had been in the coalition against the Axis powers. The organization’s critical feature was the Security Council, the only structure that could authorize the use of force. Since the U.N. Charter gave the right of veto to five powers—including the United States and the Soviet Union—the council was rendered largely toothless in practice. So it was not the founding of the United Nations in April 1945 that determined the geopolitical constraints of the second half of the 20th century but rather the Yalta meeting between Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin two months earlier.

The formal accords at Yalta were less important than the informal, unspoken agreements, which one can only assess by observing the behavior of the United States and the Soviet Union in the years that followed. When the war ended in Europe on May 8, 1945, Soviet and Western (that is, U.S., British, and French) troops were located in particular places—essentially, along a line in the center of Europe that came to be called the Oder-Neisse Line. Aside from a few minor adjustments, they stayed there. In hindsight, Yalta signified the agreement of both sides that they could stay there and that neither side would use force to push the other out. This tacit accord applied to Asia as well, as evinced by U.S. occupation of Japan and the division of Korea. Politically, therefore, Yalta was an agreement on the status quo in which the Soviet Union controlled about one third of the world and the United States the rest.

Washington also faced more serious military challenges. The Soviet Union had the world’s largest land forces, while the U.S. government was under domestic pressure to downsize its army, particularly by ending the draft. The United States therefore decided to assert its military strength not via land forces but through a monopoly of nuclear weapons (plus an air force capable of deploying them). This monopoly soon disappeared: By 1949, the Soviet Union had developed nuclear weapons as well. Ever since, the United States has been reduced to trying to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons (and chemical and biological weapons) by additional powers, an effort that, in the 21st century, does not seem terribly successful.

Until 1991, the United States and the Soviet Union coexisted in the “balance of terror” of the Cold War. This status quo was tested seriously only three times: the Berlin blockade of 1948–49, the Korean War in 1950–53, and the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. The result in each case was restoration of the status quo. Moreover, note how each time the Soviet Union faced a political crisis among its satellite regimes—East Germany in 1953, Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Poland in 1981—the United States engaged in little more than propaganda exercises, allowing the Soviet Union to proceed largely as it deemed fit.

Of course, this passivity did not extend to the economic arena. The United States capitalized on the Cold War ambiance to launch massive economic reconstruction efforts, first in Western Europe and then in Japan (as well as in South Korea and Taiwan). The rationale was obvious: What was the point of having such overwhelming productive superiority if the rest of the world could not muster effective demand? Furthermore, economic reconstruction helped create clientelistic obligations on the part of the nations receiving U.S. aid; this sense of obligation fostered willingness to enter into military alliances and, even more important, into political subservience.

Finally, one should not underestimate the ideological and cultural component of U.S. hegemony. The immediate post-1945 period may have been the historical high point for the popularity of communist ideology. We easily forget today the large votes for Communist parties in free elections in countries such as Belgium, France, Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Finland, not to mention the support Communist parties gathered in Asia—in Vietnam, India, and Japan—and throughout Latin America. And that still leaves out areas such as China, Greece, and Iran, where free elections remained absent or constrained but where Communist parties enjoyed widespread appeal. In response, the United States sustained a massive anticommunist ideological offensive. In retrospect, this initiative appears largely successful: Washington brandished its role as the leader of the “free world” at least as effectively as the Soviet Union brandished its position as the leader of the “progressive” and “anti-imperialist” camp.

One, Two, Many Vietnams

The United States’ success as a hegemonic power in the postwar period created the conditions of the nation’s hegemonic demise. This process is captured in four symbols: the war in Vietnam, the revolutions of 1968, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the terrorist attacks of September 2001. Each symbol built upon the prior one, culminating in the situation in which the United States currently finds itself—a lone superpower that lacks true power, a world leader nobody follows and few respect, and a nation drifting dangerously amidst a global chaos it cannot control.

What was the Vietnam War? First and foremost, it was the effort of the Vietnamese people to end colonial rule and establish their own state. The Vietnamese fought the French, the Japanese, and the Americans, and in the end the Vietnamese won—quite an achievement, actually. Geopolitically, however, the war represented a rejection of the Yalta status quo by populations then labeled as Third World. Vietnam became such a powerful symbol because Washington was foolish enough to invest its full military might in the struggle, but the United States still lost. True, the United States didn’t deploy nuclear weapons (a decision certain myopic groups on the right have long reproached), but such use would have shattered the Yalta accords and might have produced a nuclear holocaust—an outcome the United States simply could not risk.

But Vietnam was not merely a military defeat or a blight on U.S. prestige. The war dealt a major blow to the United States’ ability to remain the world’s dominant economic power. The conflict was extremely expensive and more or less used up the U.S. gold reserves that had been so plentiful since 1945. Moreover, the United States incurred these costs just as Western Europe and Japan experienced major economic upswings. These conditions ended U.S. preeminence in the global economy. Since the late 1960s, members of this triad have been nearly economic equals, each doing better than the others for certain periods but none moving far ahead.

When the revolutions of 1968 broke out around the world, support for the Vietnamese became a major rhetorical component. “One, two, many Vietnams” and “Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh” were chanted in many a street, not least in the United States. But the 1968ers did not merely condemn U.S. hegemony. They condemned Soviet collusion with the United States, they condemned Yalta, and they used or adapted the language of the Chinese cultural revolutionaries who divided the world into two camps—the two superpowers and the rest of the world.

The denunciation of Soviet collusion led logically to the denunciation of those national forces closely allied with the Soviet Union, which meant in most cases the traditional Communist parties. But the 1968 revolutionaries also lashed out against other components of the Old Left—national liberation movements in the Third World, social-democratic movements in Western Europe, and New Deal Democrats in the United States—accusing them, too, of collusion with what the revolutionaries generically termed “U.S. imperialism.”

The attack on Soviet collusion with Washington plus the attack on the Old Left further weakened the legitimacy of the Yalta arrangements on which the United States had fashioned the world order. It also undermined the position of centrist liberalism as the lone, legitimate global ideology. The direct political consequences of the world revolutions of 1968 were minimal, but the geopolitical and intellectual repercussions were enormous and irrevocable. Centrist liberalism tumbled from the throne it had occupied since the European revolutions of 1848 and that had enabled it to co-opt conservatives and radicals alike. These ideologies returned and once again represented a real gamut of choices. Conservatives would again become conservatives, and radicals, radicals. The centrist liberals did not disappear, but they were cut down to size. And in the process, the official U.S. ideological position—antifascist, anticommunist, anticolonialist—seemed thin and unconvincing to a growing portion of the world’s populations.

The Powerless Superpower

The onset of international economic stagnation in the 1970s had two important consequences for U.S. power. First, stagnation resulted in the collapse of “developmentalism”—the notion that every nation could catch up economically if the state took appropriate action—which was the principal ideological claim of the Old Left movements then in power. One after another, these regimes faced internal disorder, declining standards of living, increasing debt dependency on international financial institutions, and eroding credibility. What had seemed in the 1960s to be the successful navigation of Third World decolonization by the United States—minimizing disruption and maximizing the smooth transfer of power to regimes that were developmentalist but scarcely revolutionary—gave way to disintegrating order, simmering discontents, and unchanneled radical temperaments. When the United States tried to intervene, it failed. In 1983, U.S. President Ronald Reagan sent troops to Lebanon to restore order. The troops were in effect forced out. He compensated by invading Grenada, a country without troops. President George H.W. Bush invaded Panama, another country without troops. But after he intervened in Somalia to restore order, the United States was in effect forced out, somewhat ignominiously. Since there was little the U.S. government could actually do to reverse the trend of declining hegemony, it chose simply to ignore this trend—a policy that prevailed from the withdrawal from Vietnam until September 11, 2001.

Meanwhile, true conservatives began to assume control of key states and interstate institutions. The neoliberal offensive of the 1980s was marked by the Thatcher and Reagan regimes and the emergence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a key actor on the world scene. Where once (for more than a century) conservative forces had attempted to portray themselves as wiser liberals, now centrist liberals were compelled to argue that they were more effective conservatives. The conservative programs were clear. Domestically, conservatives tried to enact policies that would reduce the cost of labor, minimize environmental constraints on producers, and cut back on state welfare benefits. Actual successes were modest, so conservatives then moved vigorously into the international arena. The gatherings of the World Economic Forum in Davos provided a meeting ground for elites and the media. The IMF provided a club for finance ministers and central bankers. And the United States pushed for the creation of the World Trade Organization to enforce free commercial flows across the world’s frontiers.

While the United States wasn’t watching, the Soviet Union was collapsing. Yes, Ronald Reagan had dubbed the Soviet Union an “evil empire” and had used the rhetorical bombast of calling for the destruction of the Berlin Wall, but the United States didn’t really mean it and certainly was not responsible for the Soviet Union’s downfall. In truth, the Soviet Union and its East European imperial zone collapsed because of popular disillusionment with the Old Left in combination with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to save his regime by liquidating Yalta and instituting internal liberalization (perestroika plus glasnost). Gorbachev succeeded in liquidating Yalta but not in saving the Soviet Union (although he almost did, be it said).

The United States was stunned and puzzled by the sudden collapse, uncertain how to handle the consequences. The collapse of communism in effect signified the collapse of liberalism, removing the only ideological justification behind U.S. hegemony, a justification tacitly supported by liberalism’s ostensible ideological opponent. This loss of legitimacy led directly to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, which Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would never have dared had the Yalta arrangements remained in place. In retrospect, U.S. efforts in the Gulf War accomplished a truce at basically the same line of departure. But can a hegemonic power be satisfied with a tie in a war with a middling regional power? Saddam demonstrated that one could pick a fight with the United States and get away with it. Even more than the defeat in Vietnam, Saddam’s brash challenge has eaten at the innards of the U.S. right, in particular those known as the hawks, which explains the fervor of their current desire to invade Iraq and destroy its regime.

Between the Gulf War and September 11, 2001, the two major arenas of world conflict were the Balkans and the Middle East. The United States has played a major diplomatic role in both regions. Looking back, how different would the results have been had the United States assumed a completely isolationist position? In the Balkans, an economically successful multinational state (Yugoslavia) broke down, essentially into its component parts. Over 10 years, most of the resulting states have engaged in a process of ethnification, experiencing fairly brutal violence, widespread human rights violations, and outright wars. Outside intervention—in which the United States figured most prominently—brought about a truce and ended the most egregious violence, but this intervention in no way reversed the ethnification, which is now consolidated and somewhat legitimated. Would these conflicts have ended differently without U.S. involvement? The violence might have continued longer, but the basic results would probably not have been too different. The picture is even grimmer in the Middle East, where, if anything, U.S. engagement has been deeper and its failures more spectacular. In the Balkans and the Middle East alike, the United States has failed to exert its hegemonic clout effectively, not for want of will or effort but for want of real power.

The Hawks Undone

Then came September 11—the shock and the reaction. Under fire from U.S. legislators, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) now claims it had warned the Bush administration of possible threats. But despite the CIA’s focus on al Qaeda and the agency’s intelligence expertise, it could not foresee (and therefore, prevent) the execution of the terrorist strikes. Or so would argue CIA Director George Tenet. This testimony can hardly comfort the U.S. government or the American people. Whatever else historians may decide, the attacks of September 11, 2001, posed a major challenge to U.S. power. The persons responsible did not represent a major military power. They were members of a nonstate force, with a high degree of determination, some money, a band of dedicated followers, and a strong base in one weak state. In short, militarily, they were nothing. Yet they succeeded in a bold attack on U.S. soil.

George W. Bush came to power very critical of the Clinton administration’s handling of world affairs. Bush and his advisors did not admit—but were undoubtedly aware—that Clinton’s path had been the path of every U.S. president since Gerald Ford, including that of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. It had even been the path of the current Bush administration before September 11. One only needs to look at how Bush handled the downing of the U.S. plane off China in April 2001 to see that prudence had been the name of the game.

Following the terrorist attacks, Bush changed course, declaring war on terrorism, assuring the American people that “the outcome is certain” and informing the world that “you are either with us or against us.” Long frustrated by even the most conservative U.S. administrations, the hawks finally came to dominate American policy. Their position is clear: The United States wields overwhelming military power, and even though countless foreign leaders consider it unwise for Washington to flex its military muscles, these same leaders cannot and will not do anything if the United States simply imposes its will on the rest. The hawks believe the United States should act as an imperial power for two reasons: First, the United States can get away with it. And second, if Washington doesn’t exert its force, the United States will become increasingly marginalized.

Today, this hawkish position has three expressions: the military assault in Afghanistan, the de facto support for the Israeli attempt to liquidate the Palestinian Authority, and the invasion of Iraq, which is reportedly in the military preparation stage. Less than one year after the September 2001 terrorist attacks, it is perhaps too early to assess what such strategies will accomplish. Thus far, these schemes have led to the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan (without the complete dismantling of al Qaeda or the capture of its top leadership); enormous destruction in Palestine (without rendering Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat “irrelevant,” as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he is); and heavy opposition from U.S. allies in Europe and the Middle East to plans for an invasion of Iraq.

The hawks’ reading of recent events emphasizes that opposition to U.S. actions, while serious, has remained largely verbal. Neither Western Europe nor Russia nor China nor Saudi Arabia has seemed ready to break ties in serious ways with the United States. In other words, hawks believe, Washington has indeed gotten away with it. The hawks assume a similar outcome will occur when the U.S. military actually invades Iraq and after that, when the United States exercises its authority elsewhere in the world, be it in Iran, North Korea, Colombia, or perhaps Indonesia. Ironically, the hawk reading has largely become the reading of the international left, which has been screaming about U.S. policies—mainly because they fear that the chances of U.S. success are high.

But hawk interpretations are wrong and will only contribute to the United States’ decline, transforming a gradual descent into a much more rapid and turbulent fall. Specifically, hawk approaches will fail for military, economic, and ideological reasons.

Undoubtedly, the military remains the United States’ strongest card; in fact, it is the only card. Today, the United States wields the most formidable military apparatus in the world. And if claims of new, unmatched military technologies are to be believed, the U.S. military edge over the rest of the world is considerably greater today than it was just a decade ago. But does that mean, then, that the United States can invade Iraq, conquer it rapidly, and install a friendly and stable regime? Unlikely. Bear in mind that of the three serious wars the U.S. military has fought since 1945 (Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War), one ended in defeat and two in draws—not exactly a glorious record.

Saddam Hussein’s army is not that of the Taliban, and his internal military control is far more coherent. A U.S. invasion would necessarily involve a serious land force, one that would have to fight its way to Baghdad and would likely suffer significant casualties. Such a force would also need staging grounds, and Saudi Arabia has made clear that it will not serve in this capacity. Would Kuwait or Turkey help out? Perhaps, if Washington calls in all its chips. Meanwhile, Saddam can be expected to deploy all weapons at his disposal, and it is precisely the U.S. government that keeps fretting over how nasty those weapons might be. The United States may twist the arms of regimes in the region, but popular sentiment clearly views the whole affair as reflecting a deep anti-Arab bias in the United States. Can such a conflict be won? The British General Staff has apparently already informed Prime Minister Tony Blair that it does not believe so.

And there is always the matter of “second fronts.” Following the Gulf War, U.S. armed forces sought to prepare for the possibility of two simultaneous regional wars. After a while, the Pentagon quietly abandoned the idea as impractical and costly. But who can be sure that no potential U.S. enemies would strike when the United States appears bogged down in Iraq?

Consider, too, the question of U.S. popular tolerance of nonvictories. Americans hover between a patriotic fervor that lends support to all wartime presidents and a deep isolationist urge. Since 1945, patriotism has hit a wall whenever the death toll has risen. Why should today’s reaction differ? And even if the hawks (who are almost all civilians) feel impervious to public opinion, U.S. Army generals, burnt by Vietnam, do not.

And what about the economic front? In the 1980s, countless American analysts became hysterical over the Japanese economic miracle. They calmed down in the 1990s, given Japan’s well-publicized financial difficulties. Yet after overstating how quickly Japan was moving forward, U.S. authorities now seem to be complacent, confident that Japan lags far behind. These days, Washington seems more inclined to lecture Japanese policymakers about what they are doing wrong.

Such triumphalism hardly appears warranted. Consider the following April 20, 2002, New York Times report: “A Japanese laboratory has built the world’s fastest computer, a machine so powerful that it matches the raw processing power of the 20 fastest American computers combined and far outstrips the previous leader, an I.B.M.-built machine. The achievement … is evidence that a technology race that most American engineers thought they were winning handily is far from over.” The analysis goes on to note that there are “contrasting scientific and technological priorities” in the two countries. The Japanese machine is built to analyze climatic change, but U.S. machines are designed to simulate weapons. This contrast embodies the oldest story in the history of hegemonic powers. The dominant power concentrates (to its detriment) on the military; the candidate for successor concentrates on the economy. The latter has always paid off, handsomely. It did for the United States. Why should it not pay off for Japan as well, perhaps in alliance with China?

Finally, there is the ideological sphere. Right now, the U.S. economy seems relatively weak, even more so considering the exorbitant military expenses associated with hawk strategies. Moreover, Washington remains politically isolated; virtually no one (save Israel) thinks the hawk position makes sense or is worth encouraging. Other nations are afraid or unwilling to stand up to Washington directly, but even their foot-dragging is hurting the United States.

Yet the U.S. response amounts to little more than arrogant arm-twisting. Arrogance has its own negatives. Calling in chips means leaving fewer chips for next time, and surly acquiescence breeds increasing resentment. Over the last 200 years, the United States acquired a considerable amount of ideological credit. But these days, the United States is running through this credit even faster than it ran through its gold surplus in the 1960s.

The United States faces two possibilities during the next 10 years: It can follow the hawks’ path, with negative consequences for all but especially for itself. Or it can realize that the negatives are too great. Simon Tisdall of the Guardian recently argued that even disregarding international public opinion, “the U.S. is not able to fight a successful Iraqi war by itself without incurring immense damage, not least in terms of its economic interests and its energy supply. Mr. Bush is reduced to talking tough and looking ineffectual.” And if the United States still invades Iraq and is then forced to withdraw, it will look even more ineffectual.

President Bush’s options appear extremely limited, and there is little doubt that the United States will continue to decline as a decisive force in world affairs over the next decade. The real question is not whether U.S. hegemony is waning but whether the United States can devise a way to descend gracefully, with minimum damage to the world, and to itself.

Immanuel Wallerstein is a senior research scholar at Yale University and author of, most recently, The End of the World As We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999).

Faux-Terrorists Eliminated In Ile-Alatau National Park Held Women and Children In Caves

Liquidated terrorists near Almaty forcibly detained the women and children in the shelter

Ликвидированные террористы под Алматы насильно удерживали женщин с детьми в блиндаже

Liquidated in the holiday array Almaty members of the criminal group forcibly detained the women and children in a fortified dugout. These and other details of the raid conducted on August 17, told the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office, said .

“After the raid turned out that the house was minor criminals.’s Testimony established the wives of members of the criminal group that their husbands have practiced long and forcible retention of their children without communication with mothers. Also forbade their wives to go out on their own and communicate with their families and keep them locked up in various rented apartments in the city of Almaty and its suburbs without documents and money, “- said in a press release.

In particular, the Attorney General’s Office announced that from July 20 to August 12, 2012 members of the criminal group held 6 women with children in the capital fortified dugout, built in the mountains and forests in the Ile-Alatau National Park.

“According to the testimony of the women in the dugout, one of the wives of criminals August 4, 2012 gave birth to a child. Currently the data in women who were witnesses in a criminal case under investigation, staffed by physicians and psychologists,” – as the report says.

At present the investigation is fulfilled version of the involvement of members of the liquidated criminal group in the valley in Aksai massacre.

July 11, 2012 at number 98 on the streets of the village Seifullin Tausamaly Karasai district of Almaty region occurred blast , which killed nine people, including four women and five children. In the course of a criminal investigation mined objective evidence of the involvement of this fact an organized criminal group leaders and active members of which were not damaged by the explosion in the village Tausamaly and managed to escape from the police. The structure of this criminal group consisted of 13 persons, of whom 9 had multiple previous convictions for serious crimes.

According to the press service, the head of the group, which is a drug addict, was in an organized criminal group “Four Brothers” and was twice convicted of illegal possession of weapons and extortion, after having been in prison for over 10 years.

“The members of the criminal group, having joined the ideology of religious extremism and finding in it to justify his illegal actions, planned to commit new crimes, including acts of terrorism in different parts of Kazakhstan. Furtherance of their criminal designs members observe strict secrecy, communicated with each other only by their nicknames, ever-changing place of residence, used fake documents or missing documents to other people, “- said in a press release from the Prosecutor General.

Любое использование материалов допускается только при наличии гиперссылки на

Pak Minister for Ports Announced Gwadar Port To Be Transferred To Chinese Company

File:Gwadar Port.jpg Wiki


ISLAMABAD: The Port Singapore Authority (PSA) has decided to leave Gwadar Port due to non-handing over of allocated land required by the Authority for making the port fully operational, according to Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Khan Ghauri.

“The denial of land at Gwadar Port forced PSA to leave the port, which will be taken over by a Chinese company,” the Federal Minister informed the Senate Standing Committee on Ports and Shipping that met with Sardar Fateh Mohammad Hassani in the chair here on Tuesday.

It was agreed in the MoU signed with PSA that the government would provide the required land to make the Gwadar Port fully operational, which was in the possession of Pakistan Navy and Coastal Guard. However, that commitment did not materialise, which led PSA to leave the port, said Ghauri, adding that the government had issued an NoC to PSA in this regard, which was going to sell its shares to a Chinese company.

Hassani said that due to government’s mistakes, PSA was going to leave the port and if corrective measures were not taken the Chinese company could also follow suit. The Committee recommended that GPA, Pakistan Navy, Coast Guard, Balochistan government and Planning Commission should resolve the land issue in three weeks and report to the committee. It further recommended that as an alternative, Pakistan Navy should take the available 300 acres of land from government of Balochistan and vacate 584 acres of land at Gwadar Port.

Pakistan Navy (PN) officials informed the committee that the PN was a legal and legitimate owner of 584 acres of land at Shamba Ismail Gwadar, which was allocated to PN against payment by the Government of Balochistan for Defence/operational purposes. However, PN land at Shamba Ismail was made part of Gwadar Port Development Plan without its consent. Hence, Ministry of Ports and Shipping had been pursuing the case for the transfer of PN land to GPA since long.

The Ministry also took up the case with Prime Minister in 2008, who after thorough scrutiny of records, finally approved the retention of land at Shamba Ismail by PN. However, only 30 acres of land for the rail/road link from Gwadar Port to Free Zone/Container Freight Terminal was to be spared by the PN. Therefore, the PN’s possession of Shamba Ismail land has been well before Gwadar port project was launched, according to the PN.

In lieu of the land at Shamba Ismail, the government of Balochistan had offered two pieces of land at Pishukan and Shabi Tehsil to PN. Later in Jan 2012, the Prime Minister constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Balochistan to resolve the issue. Subsequently, a feasibility study of both pieces of land was carried out by the PN and land offered at North Bay of Pishukan was considered suitable for the PN. The PN also conveyed that the size of alternate land should be approximately 1000 acres instead of the offered 584 acres and that the PN would retain 84 acres of land at Shamba Ismail.

As a future course of action, M/o P & S is requested to undertake necessary action in line with PN stance on the issue. PN being the legal owner is in the possession of the land at Shamba Ismail since 1980 and this land is essentially required by the PN for Defence/operational purposes due to its strategic location. However, PN may consider handing over the land to GPA in the greater national interest provided suitable alternate land meeting all essential PN requirements was offered, PN officials told the committee.

Chairman Gwadar Port informed the committee that the government of Pakistan had decided in year 2002 to construct Port in Gwadar due to its naturally sheltered location from south — westerly monsoons. The main objectives for development of the port were trans-shipment, transit trade, Gwadar industrial development and Gwadar city growth.

Under a Financial arrangement with the Government of China, the port was constructed at an estimated cost of $ 287.8 million. The Chinese government made a $ 220.26 million contribution to the project. M/s Arthur D Little prepared a Master Plan of the Port and identified Strategic Zones and Land Bank requirements for the next 35-50 years.

He further said that in February 2007 through a concession agreement with PSA Gwadar Pte Limited, which is a subsidiary of PSAI, the management, operations, maintenance and development of Gwadar port were transferred to the concession holder for a period of 40 years under the ‘Landlord’ concept. GPA’s share in Gross Income was calculated as follows: PSA Gwadar International Terminal Limited 9%; Gwadar Marine Service Limited 9% and Gwadar Free Zone Company Limited 15 %.

The chairman said that after taking the possession of Port as a concession holder, the PSA installed two Gantry cranes, 200 meter of single rails and one Sub-Station. In accordance with Schedule-5 of the Concession agreement, the PSA was bound to invest US$ 775 million for the development of port, which did not materialize, he added.

The construction of East Bay Expressway on East Bay of existing Gwadar City had been proposed to link the Gwadar Port with existing Makran Coastal Highway, he said and added that the Port, at present, was connected to Coastal Highway through existing city road due to which city population as well as Port cargo traffic faced huge problems. According to him, the existing city road is designed only for city traffic and it is unable to be used for heavy port traffic. During the Port Operations the road is totally congested with the traffic and there is high risk of accidents due to low capacity of the road for bearing the heavy port traffic. There are also observations of the city government as well as existing population of the city for the shifting of heavy port traffic to some other places. Due to prevailing law and order situation in the country as a whole and especially in Balochistan, the existing road is insecure for port traffic.

The 584 acres of land allotted to Pakistan Navy at Shamb-e-¬Ismail Gwadar is to be transferred to GPA. The Prime Minister has constituted a committee headed by the Chief Minister of Balochistan, which held a meeting under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Balochistan in March 2010 to resolve the issue. Pakistan Navy consented to vacate the 584 acres of land at Shamb-e-Ismail Gwadar, and requested for an alternate piece of land at Pishukan having an adequate sea frontage.

In this regard, the last meeting was held in April 16, 2012 at Gwadar chaired by the Commissioner Makran Division. Both parties agreed that 584 acre of land at East Bay Gwadar allotted to Pakistan Navy would be transferred to GPA and in lieu thereof around 1000 acres of land, both government and private, will be allotted to Pakistan Navy at Pishukan as identified by the concerned naval authorities.

The revenue authorities the Gwadar have indicated the price of land to be around Rs 744 million, which would be required to be paid by GPA in this respect, the chairman informed the committee.

Iran Turns NAM Summit Into Syrian Peace Summit

Iran seeks support for Syria ceasefire plan at Tehran summit

By Marcus George

Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani, right, meets with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Tehran on August 29, 2012 ahead of the summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) states. (AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI)
Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani, right, meets with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Tehran on August 29, 2012 ahead of the summit of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) states. (AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI)


DUBAI: Iran will ask developing nations attending a summit there to back its call for a ceasefire in Syria, an official said Wednesday, as Tehran seeks to be seen as a peacemaker in a region where its Arab neighbors often view it with suspicion.

Iran says the 120-nation Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in its capital proves U.S. efforts to isolate it have failed. A resolution on Syria would help Tehran argue that its ties with Damascus are benign.

“Iran’s proposal to the meeting of members of the Non-Aligned Movement to solve the Syria issue is to recommend a ceasefire and the implementation of national reconciliation talks in the country,” deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.

Tehran has steadfastly backed Assad since an uprising began last year, describing the president as a key part of its “axis of resistance” against Israel and Western influence in the Middle East.

Shiite Muslim Iran denies accusations it has helped Assad crush his opponents – mostly from the majority Sunni community. Assad is a member of the Minority Alawite faith, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Tehran blames the West and Sunni Muslim Gulf countries of fuelling Syria’s civil war by supporting the rebels.

Iran supported a failed U.N.-Arab League peace plan and says it should be involved in future international efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria.

“Bashar Assad said that any step that comes from Iran in order to solve the problem in Syria is trustworthy and acceptable,” said Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a senior parliamentarian visiting Syria this week.

“Any plan without Bashar Assad is destined to fail, just like up until now it has failed,” Boroujerdi told Iran’s Fars news agency, saying Assad had “defeated” the uprising.

Iran had an important role to play in regional issues, particularly regarding Syria, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Iranian journalists on his arrival in Tehran on Wednesday. He was due to meet both President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei later in the day.

Iran’s proposal for a 3-month ceasefire has been presented for discussion by NAM foreign ministers, Abdullahian said, and its outcome will be presented at the end of the summit on Friday.

Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi – who is due to attend the summit as the first Egyptian leader in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution – is also expected to lay out further details of his own plan for Syria.

Last week, he spoke of forming a contact group comprising Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to resolve the crisis, an initiative the Iranian leadership is keen to pursue.

“When Mr. Mursi comes to Tehran we’ll see whether there will be other initiatives by NAM. We’ll have to cross our fingers and see how things move,” foreign ministry official Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh told state television on Tuesday.

But speaking to Reuters earlier this week, Mursi made a call for Assad to be removed from power, something Tehran would oppose.

Mursi’s message could also prevent the normalization of relations between Cairo and Tehran. Diplomatic relations between the countries broke down over Egypt’s support for the Shah and its peace agreement with Israel.

In the interview, Mursi avoided answering a question on whether he intended to upgrade Egypt’s relations with Iran but indicated he would pursue a more balanced foreign policy in general.

Suspected Jewish Extremists Torch Car, Spray Anti-Arab Graffiti

Suspected Jewish Extremists Torch Car, Spray Anti-Arab Graffiti

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية


Vandals believed to be Jewish extremists on Wednesday torched a car and sprayed anti-Arab graffiti near a refugee camp near Ramallah, an Agence France Presse correspondent and police said.

The incident took place between Jalazoun refugee camp and Dura al-Qara village, both of which lie very close to Beit El settlement.

But the perpetrators were believed to be extremists linked to the nearby settler outpost of Migron which is facing imminent evacuation.

The attackers torched a Hyundai car, gutting its front end, and poured gasoline over two others, but did not manage to set them alight, the correspondent said.

Nearby, Hebrew graffiti read “Migron” and “Death to Arabs” and linked the attack to the upcoming evacuation of the outpost: “Hi from those who are being deported,” it said.

Israeli police confirmed that a car had been torched and anti-Arab graffiti sprayed nearby, while the army said troops had found graffiti reading: “Migron price tag” and other hateful slogans.

Visiting the site, Ramallah governor Leila Ghanam accused the Israeli authorities of complicity with the perpetrators.

“These people are protected by the army,” she said. “There are a lot of cameras around settlements which are guarded by the army — the settlers can’t do anything without protection from the army.”

“Price tag” is the euphemism for a hate crime by Jewish extremists which for the most part target Palestinians and Arabs in response for state moves against settler outposts.

The incident came a day after Israel’s High Court met to discuss plans to evacuate Migron, the largest and oldest outpost in the West Bank which is due to be razed by virtue of a supreme court order dating back to August 2011.

At the hearing, the state prosecutor’s office said the outpost should be evacuated in the next few days, but the judges are still mulling a response to two settler petitions to head off the move.

“Price tag” attacks tend to involve the wanton destruction of property and have included multiple arson attacks on cars, mosques and olive trees, although the perpetrators are rarely caught.

Syrian Rebel Tank Force Shells Military Air Base Near Aleppo

Syria Rebels Say 5 Choppers Wrecked in Raid on Airport

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية


Syrian rebels claimed on Wednesday they had destroyed five helicopters at a military airport between the northern cities of Aleppo and Idlib, after a watchdog reported fierce clashes there.

Abu Mossab, a rebel who participated in the attack, told Agence Francce Presse via Skype that the rebels had shelled the Taftanaz military airport with two captured military tanks and had destroyed five military helicopters. The claims could not immediately be independently verified.

Fierce fighting broke out at the airport between government troops and rebels near the airport earlier in the day, prompting helicopter gunships to launch attacks on the nearby town of Taftanaz, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Observatory reported that 14 government troops were killed in the fighting at Taftanaz, while two rebels and one civilian died elsewhere in Idlib province.

Explosions could be heard from the airport, a base for fighter planes and helicopters running sorties over the rebel strongholds of Aleppo and Idlib, the Britain-based watchdog said.

The airport has been the target of several attacks in past weeks by insurgents entrenched in Aleppo and Idlib, which have suffered daily shelling by government troops.

In Aleppo city, where the army and rebels have battled for over a month for control, fierce clashes broke out between the two sides in several districts, according to the watchdog.

And in Damascus, activists reported a third straight day of army attacks on rebel strongholds in the eastern outer belt of the city, collectively referred to as East Ghuta.

The Local Coordination Committees, a network of activists on the ground, said warplanes and helicopters bombed and strafed all the East Ghuta suburbs, while the Observatory reported attacks by combat helicopters on the eastern suburb of Saqba as well as shelling further into the city in the district of Zamalka.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out between rebels and government troops in the east Damascus neighborhood of Qaboon and five civilians were killed in nearby Jubar neighborhood, the Observatory said.

The Syrian Revolution General Council, a local network of opposition activists, reported fierce shelling, along with artillery fire, throughout the eastern limits of the city.

In the suburb of Kfar Batna, it said that mortar fire was landing at the rate of one shell per minute over densely populated areas and farmland, while nearby Irbin was also being shelled.

In the central city of Homs, the districts of Old Homs, Khaldiyeh and Juret al-Shiyah came under army bombardment, while one person was killed in shelling on the town of Rastan, the Observatory said.

The violence followed a bloody day on Tuesday in which the Observatory reported that 189 people were killed countrywide: 143 civilians, 14 rebels and 32 soldiers.

The watchdog says that over 25,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule broke out in March last year.

Carve-Off A Piece of Turkey for Syrian Refugees

[Turkey is trying to unload the mess it has made onto the United Nations, just as their Imperial overlords sought to unload the mess they had made of Iraq and Afghanistan onto the world body.  In Afghanistan, a deadly precedent was set by the inclusion of NATO forces into the Imperial stew.  The Turkish leaders failed in their first effort to make their aggression inside Syria a NATO matter, now Erdogan and his backers hope that they can sell the “humanitarian” angle.  If Gul and Erdogan are so upset over the flood of Syrian refugees, which they have set into motion, then they should carve a piece of Turkey off for their Syrian rebel pals and their families.  This is what happens when you contract out your Imperial aggression, things don’t go according to your “genius” plans.]

Turkey urges UN to create refugee safe zones in Syria

Residents on motorcycles look at the damage of a destroyed house after it was hit by an air strike in the town of Tal Rifat on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria.  (AP/Khalil Hamra, File)

Residents on motorcycles look at the damage of a destroyed house after it was hit by an air strike in the town of Tal Rifat on the outskirts of Aleppo city, Syria. (AP/Khalil Hamra, File)


ANKARA: Turkey is in talks with the United Nations on ways to shelter thousands of refugees on Syrian soil and expects the world body to take concrete steps, its foreign minister said Wednesday.

“We expect the United Nations to step in for the protection of refugees inside Syria and if possible housing them in camps there,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

He was speaking before leaving for New York where he was to attend UN Security Council meeting on refugees Thursday.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad scoffed at the idea of buffer zones within Syria for those displaced, speaking in a television interview to be broadcast by the pro-regime Addounia channel on Wednesday.

“Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria,” he said.

French President Francois Hollande said on Monday France was working with its partners on the possible establishment of buffer zones.

His foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, admitted Wednesday that plans to create buffer zones in Syria were “very complicated” and would require the imposition of partial no-fly zones.

Davutoglu urged the United Nations to develop appropriate ways and methods for sheltering thousands of refugees inside Syria, amid fears that Turkey may soon be unable to cope with new arrivals.

Turkey is already home to more than 80,000 refugees staying in camps along the border, up from around 45,000 in late July.

And thousands of refugees have been stuck at the Syrian side of the border since Monday, waiting to be accommodated in new camps Turkey is building.

Turkish media footage showed Wednesday the stranded Syrians demonstrating across the Turkish border, waving Turkish flags and holding banners that asked “we want a buffer zone for our women and children”.

In Ankara, Davutoglu said talks were under way with UN officials, urging the United Nations to “take more concrete steps,” according to Anatolia.

Davutoglu was expected to hold bilateral talks with the French, German and British foreign ministers on the sidelines of the New York meeting.

– AFP/cc

Once Again the Pak Army Moves Into Wana, Instead of Miranshah

[Once again, we see irrefutable evidence of some collusion between Army personnel and the Pakistani Taliban.  This time, they knew the exact date of the planned “operation,” but they apparently were deceived into thinking that it would be in North Waziristan (SEE:  Pakistani Taliban Claim Inside Info On Imminent August 26 Army Raid Into North Waziristan ;  Pakistani Taliban Aug. 26 Army Rumor Sends A Wave of Refugees Onto the Roads Leading To N. Waziristan).  Since the operation was in the south, around Wana, then we do not really know yet the identity of yesterday’s attackers.  (SEE:  The CIA/ISI Soap Opera In South Waziristan).]

Militants attack Pakistan army post, kill 8 troops


Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Taliban militants attacked a Pakistani army post near the Afghan border before dawn Wednesday, killing eight soldiers, a reminder of the threat posed by insurgents despite numerous military offensives against them.

The attack occurred in the South Waziristan tribal area, once the main stronghold for the Pakistani Taliban, said a military official. The military launched a large offensive against militants there in 2009, but insurgents still operate in the area and periodically stage attacks.

In addition to the eight soldiers killed, six others were wounded in the attack near Ghatbadr village in the Shakai Valley, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media. The attack started around midnight and lasted for several hours, he said.

The attack followed the start of a new army operation to rout militants from the area, said the official. During the operation over the last two days, soldiers killed 18 militants and destroyed seven of their hideouts. Another 21 militants were wounded, according to the official.

The official initially said nine soldiers were killed but later lowered the toll to eight.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the post. The group’s spokesman, Ahsanullah Ahsan, claimed they killed 12 soldiers and beheaded some of them.

The differing accounts could not be independently verified.

The military has conducted offensives against the Pakistani Taliban in six of the seven areas that make up Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal region along the Afghan border.

The U.S. said recently that Pakistan plans to launch an operation against the Pakistani Taliban in the last major militant sanctuary in region, North Waziristan. But Pakistani military officials have downplayed the comments, saying they plan to slowly increase pressure against militants in North Waziristan rather than launch a sweeping offensive.

Many Pakistani Taliban militants fled to North Waziristan and other parts of the tribal region following the army operation in South Waziristan in 2009.end of story marker

Russian MP links terrorist attacks against Muslim spiritual leaders to foreign special services

Russian MP links terrorist attacks against Muslim spiritual leaders to foreign special services

Moscow, August 29, Interfax – Yaroslav Nilov, chairman of the State Duma committee on public associations and religious organizations, believes the murder of Muslim theologian Said al-Chirkavi (Atsayev) was aimed at fanning religious conflicts in Russia.

“The purpose of this crime was to destabilize the situation in the country. Unfortunately, such things have happened in the Northern Caucasus before. Such abominable terrorist attacks against clergymen have taken place in calm Tatarstan. This clearly indicates an attempt to destabilize the religious situation,” Nilov told Interfax on Wednesday.

“There is a war going on with Russia. In this case, it’s an attempt to fan religious conflict. Ethnic conflicts periodically take place in our country,” the parliamentarian said.

The parliamentarian believes the tensions are being fuelled mainly by forces from abroad.

“There is a geopolitical motivation here. Consequently, some foreign special services and some world centers are working on decisions to finance and use radical citizens of our country. Some people who are radical Muslims receive sufficient funding to engage in sabotage,” he said.

Nilov believes the situation may necessitate certain amendments to legislation, but there is generally a need for a comprehensive approach.

“We need to adopt a comprehensive approach to this decision. Some changes should, of course, be made at the legislative level. However, I don’t support automatic toughening of punishment. For this reason, we should use all measures to fight this,” Nilov said.

To keep the situation under control, the authorities should conduct harsh operations against terrorists while at the same time conducting dialogue with all trends in Islam that deny terrorism and extremism,” Nilov said.

The parliamentarian believes the killings of prominent theologians and clergymen have been carried out to “compromise the authorities and traditional Islam and increase contradictions in the Muslim community.”

On August 28, a 30-year-old woman called Aminat Kurbanova (Saprykina) came to the house of well-known religious figure Said Atsayev in the village of Chirkei in the Buinaksk District at around 4 p.m. on Tuesday and activated an explosive device attached to her body. The explosion killed Atsayev and six other people who were nearby and caused significant damage to the property.

Syrian Refugees Surefire Formula for American Intervention Under UN Auspices

[It is the creation of masses of war refugees which brings about the justification for R2P “humanitarian warfare.”   It was the creation of waves of “boat people,” adrift in the Mediterranean, which forced NATO’s justification for its intervention in Libya.  Using the UN as its mechanism for triggering US military action, the refugee problem creates a surefire formula for obtaining the authority of the world community for American planned interventions.  The UN buffer zone in northern Syria is inevitable, because the CIA planners have decided that that’s what they want the world to do, as their foot in the door to allow them to bomb Bashar Assad into submission.]
Civilians flee the violence from the Damascus suburbs of Kfarbatna August 28, 2012. REUTERS-Omar al-Khani
 Civilians flee the violence from the Damascus suburbs of Kfarbatna August 28, 2012. 
REUTERS/Omar al-Khani
 (Reuters) – Syria’s refugee exodus is accelerating and up to 200,000 people could settle in Turkey alone if the conflict worsens, the United Nations warned on Tuesday, increasing pressure for creation of a buffer zone inside Syria.

Turkey has floated the idea of a “safe zone” to be set up for civilians under foreign protection as fighting has intensified in a 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Up to 5,000 refugees a day have been crossing into Turkey over the past two weeks while the pace of refugees arriving at a camp in northern Jordan has doubled, heralding what could be a much bigger movement there, the U.N. refugee agency said.

Although there is no sign divided world powers are ready to back a buffer and no-fly zone, as rebels and aid organizations would like, U.N. Security Council foreign ministers are expected to discuss the idea at a meeting on Thursday.

While Turkey could in theory create a buffer zone itself, it has said it is reluctant to go it alone.

Already hosting more than 80,000 refugees, Turkey has warned it could run out of space if the number goes above 100,000.

“We are already looking at potentially up to 200,000 and are working with the Turkish government to make the necessary plans,” Sybella Wilkes, spokeswoman of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told Reuters in Geneva.

Turkey fears the presence of refugees fleeing a conflict with a sectarian dimension could worsen its own tensions as well as straining resources.

Turkey will open four new camps for Syrian refugees by next week, bringing its capacity to 120,000 people, its disaster management agency said, but thousands remain stuck inside Syria.

“We will be asking the United Nations to be more active in terms of helping the Syrians on their side of the border,” said one Turkish official, who declined to be named. He complained that Turkey had received little help so far.

Relations between Turkey and Syria have deteriorated sharply during the uprising. Syria accuses its neighbor, hosting rebel forces, of backing ‘terrorist’ infiltration and shot down a Turkish plane in June.


The refugee flow to Turkey has grown as fighting has worsened around Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo, split between rebels and Assad’s forces in a street-by-street battle that has ground on for weeks.

Heavy fighting has also returned to districts around Damascus, one month after rebels were driven back from the centre of the capital. Twelve people were killed by a car bomb at a funeral in Damascus on Tuesday, state television said. Activists said the attack targeted Assad supporters.

At least 18,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million Syrians are in need of aid or assistance, the United Nations says. More than 200,000 refugees have registered in neighboring countries, though significantly more have left Syria.

At the Azaz-Kilis crossing, the main route into Turkey from Aleppo, Syrians described dire conditions for refugees still trapped on the other side of the border.

“We saw people sitting on the street and sleeping. They don’t have a toilet. It’s very bad … No food. Children in the street,” said Juma’a Handawi, shortly after crossing.

Pick-up trucks crammed with people, mattresses, clothes and wooden furniture ferry refugees to the border. Rebel fighters draped with ammunition belts and carrying automatic rifles loiter among women and children waiting to cross.

Ankara fears a mass influx on the scale of the 1991 Gulf War, when half a million people poured into Turkey.


French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who will chair Thursday’s U.N. meeting, said on Monday a no-fly zone may become an inevitability if refugee numbers continue to soar, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Turkey this month that all measures including a no-fly zone were on the table.

But no U.N. Security Council member has formally proposed such a measure and there are legal and practical obstacles to establishing such a zone, diplomats say, as well as strong opposition from Russia and China.

“At the moment we’re not expecting much,” said one French diplomatic source of the meeting on Thursday.

Many of the refugees in Turkey and other neighboring states have been housed in schools and sports centers but, with the academic term due to begin, they are being moved on.

Refugees sheltering at schools in Marj, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, were told to find somewhere else to stay after the education ministry ordered all schools to be cleared by September 2 for the registration of students, a local official said.

Men, women and children stood in the street in front of one school with their bags and suitcases, some unsure where to go.

“I will look for a house to rent and if we can’t find one, we will have to go back to Syria, and whatever will happen is going to happen,” said Abu Amar, who fled from fighting in the Damascus district of Kafr Souseh last month.

Activists said the new wave of refugees to Jordan may have been caused by shelling on houses in the southern town of Busra al-Sham that killed at least 15 women and children last week.

Jordan called for help with the refugee influx.

“We are being burnt by the impact of this crisis in a direct manner,” Minister of State for Information Samih Maaytah told Reuters.

(Additional reporting by Khaled Yacoub Oweis in Amman, Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva, Afif Dab in Lebanon, John Irish in Paris; Writing by Nick Tattersall and Dominic Evans; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

Wreckage of vehicles and blood are seen after a car bomb exploded at the entrance to a Druze cemetery in the Jaramana district of southeast Damascus August 28,2012. REUTERS-Khaled al-Hariri

1 of 24. Civilians flee the violence from the Damascus suburbs of Kfarbatna August 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Omar al-Khani

Putin: terrorists “will never achieve” their goals in Russia


Путин заседание правления Торгово-промышленной палаты РФ

Photo: RIA Novosti

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that terrorists “will never achieve their dirty goals” in Russia.

“Terrorists, bandits of all shades, no matter what ideological slogans they cloak themselves with, always act cynically, behind one’s back, and they have the sole aim of sowing fear and mutual hatred, disuniting people, and then bringing them under their influence and enslaving them. Replacing genuine values with false propaganda of extremist, aggressive ideas,” Putin said during an honors conferment ceremony in Bolgar in Russia’s Tatarstan republic.

He said there is nothing that terrorists stop at. He accused them of murdering clerics and people professing the same religion as they do, and perpetrating killings during religious holidays.

“But the criminals will never achieve their dirty goals. They have no future, they won’t get anywhere in any of the regions of our large country. Because a united multi-ethnic nation is impossible to defeat,” Putin said.

Putin calls for preserving interethnic harmony

Russia should do everything to preserve peace and interethnic harmony.

President Vladimir Putin reiterated that on Tuesday while giving out state awards to Muslim clerics of Tatarstan, a Russian republic on the Volga.

Russia’s enemies, who resort to terrorism in their bid to pull the country apart, split it according to religious and ethnic principles, will not succeed, he said.

“The multi-ethnic Russian people numbers millions of individuals who cannot be frightened, and therefore cannot be defeated,” Putin said.

He handed the Order of Courage to the widow of Valiulla Yakupov, deputy head of the Spiritual Muslim Board of Tatarstan, who was killed in Kazan on July 19.

The republic’s chief mufti Ildus Faizov, who was wounded in an assassination attempt the same day, was decorated with the Order of Friendship.

Interfax, TASS

Kyrgyz Mining Auction Disrupted By Local Yokels

Kyrgyzstan studio scuffle sinks mining auction 


BISHKEK — Reuters

Many of the protestors who disrupted a mining auction in Bishkek on Monday were wearing traditional Kyrgyz felt hats, like these in a 2005 file photo. (IVAN SEKRETAREV/AP)

Many of the protestors who disrupted a mining auction in Bishkek on Monday were wearing traditional Kyrgyz felt hats, like these in a 2005 file photo.

Kyrgyzstan abandoned its first attempt to sell a batch of new mining licences on Tuesday after protesters stormed a televised auction, disrupting efforts by the impoverished former Soviet state to attract investors to its untapped mineral riches.

Around 50 protesters, many wearing traditional Kyrgyz felt hats, burst into a television studio shouting nationalist slogans shortly before the scheduled live broadcast of the first public auction under new mining laws adopted this year.

A Reuters correspondent in the studio saw officials flee the building as scuffles broke out between police and protesters, some of whom shouted: “We won’t let you sell our motherland!”

Kyrgyzstan’s new government revised its mining laws in April in an attempt to stamp out corruption and attract investors to bolster a fragile economy that relies heavily on output from a single gold mine, owned by Toronto-listed Centerra Gold.

The mining law amendments require all small concessions to be auctioned publicly to the highest bidder, a move designed to end the clandestine exchange of licences for a handful of dollars with the sole purpose of re-sale.

Uchkunbek Tashbayev, director of the State Agency of Geology and Mineral Resources, which organized the auction, said he believed the protest had been orchestrated by opponents of these reforms. He told Reuters the auction would be rescheduled.

“This was the work of those who want to sell licences under the carpet,” he said. “We must not deviate from this path.”

The protest comes amid political infighting that led to the collapse last week of the coalition government, under the strain of a shrinking economy and corruption allegations against Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov.

A sharp fall in production at Centerra Gold’s Kumtor mine due to ice movement in the high-altitude pit contributed to a 5 percentage-point contraction in GDP in the first seven months of the year.

Angry villagers have sporadically blocked the only road to Kumtor and, after a move by some deputies to renationalize the mine in June, lawmakers directed the government to revise the current operating contract.

Demonstrators inside the television studio called on the government to complete its Kumtor review before proceeding with the sale of other mineral assets.

“There’s a great mistrust of the government as long as the Kumtor question is unresolved,” said Mavlyan Askarbekov, leader of the Erkin El youth movement.

President Almazbek Atambayev has appointed the Social-Democratic Party, which he previously represented as prime minister, to form a new coalition government within 15 days.

Kyrgyzstan ranked joint 164th of 183 countries in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perception Index, level with Guinea. The country has overthrown two presidents since 2005 and has suffered periodic bouts of ethnic violence.

Mr. Atambayev has been a proponent of the mining law reforms, which would potentially unlock hundreds of mineral deposits mapped by Soviet geologists but never brought into production.

Compared with Kumtor, the 11 small gold concessions and a coal licence offered up for auction are tiny. Located across four provinces, most are still at the exploration stage, with starting prices ranging from $60 to $65,000.

According to a list of participants published by the agency before the auction, around 50 local and foreign firms, including companies from Azerbaijan, China, Russia and Turkey had been due to bid. The list did not include any major mining companies.

Some of the protesters had travelled to the capital Bishkek from regions where the mining concessions are located. They expressed fears about environmental damage and suspicion that mining profits would not be shared with the local communities.

“The people are being swindled. The foreigners are robbing us,” protester Bakytbek Muraly uulu, leader of the Kyrgyz National Solidarity movement, said as he was being ejected from the studio.

Supporters of Mr. Babanov’s government, which is continuing in an acting capacity pending the formation of a new coalition, say a transparent system of auctions would put an end to illicit licence trading they say flourished under earlier presidents.

“Who is behind this? What do they suggest? That we do away with auctions and tenders and sell the licences for 300 som (about $6)?” Mr. Babanov said in parliament.

A date for the rescheduled auction has not yet been set. Economy Minister Temir Sariyev, also speaking in parliament, said: “If there is no responsibility and no discipline, the investors will not come.”

Militant Destabilization Attacks In Dagestan–Aug. 28, 2012

[America’s “Islamists” have had a busy day, engineering the murder of a beloved spiritual leader and hitting a Special Forces armory in the same day, within a hundred mile stretch of each other on coastal Dagestan, Russia.   As you can see on the map below, there has been a line of trouble created across the Caucasus region, from The Caspian to the Black Sea.  This could be called a terrorist Maginot Line, to cut-off Russia from its southern access.  May God help us.]

Spiritual leader of the militants killed in Dagestan


Sheikh Said Afandi.  Photo:
Sheikh Said Afandi. Photo:

One of the spiritual Leaders of Muslims of Dagestan, Sheikh Said Afandi died Tuesday After a suicide Bomber Attack. A woman blew herself up in the House of Sheikh Came to HIM in the guise of pilgrims.

As a result, the spiritual Leader was Killed in an Explosion at HIS Home in the village of Chirkey Buinaksk District. “To the House of Our Investigation Team arrived, but near a Lot of People Gathered.Undermining the House Carried out suicide bombers. Sheikh died, “ – said the Representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Republic.

Apart Said Afandi Killed and Injured Several others.“Five members died as a result of Blasting.Confirm That Also Sheikh died, “- added to the Investigative Committee.

, Told the Press Service of the republican Interior Ministry, the Situation at the Scene Investigation Team Confirmed running. “The Explosion of suicide bombers in the House of Sheikh Chirkey Afandi, according to Preliminary Data, seven People Killed, Including the Bomber Itself and the sheikh “- cites RIA Novosti .

According to some information, the spiritual Leader of Muslims of Dagestan and the Faithful have Been Blown up DURING the sermon. Courtyard homeownership Sheikh Bomber Entered in Motion and set a Bomb fixed to the Body.

Sheikh Said Afandi was the leading spiritual Leader of Muslims of Dagestan. October 21 he was about to turn 75 years old. He wasConsidered one of the Most Famous and Influential NaqshbandiSufi Sheikhs and Shazaliyskogo tarikats in Dagestan and HAD a major Impact on the work of the Spiritual Board of Muslims of the Country. cats Recently Said Afandi writing Books, articles, Poems, and ACTED in the Press in order to Attract Followers.

Contractor shot seven comrades


Photo: RIA Novosti
Photo: RIA Novosti

Soldier suddenly opened fire on his colleagues, killing seven members of the Special fire team. The incident occurred in the village on the frontier Belidzhi Derbent region of Dagestan.

As the representative of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Republic, the gunman was killed in a firefight. “According to preliminary information, the military opened fire on his fellow soldiers. Killed seven people. Information confirmed victims” – told the agency.

According to RIA Novosti , opened fire contract soldiers. Went to the scene investigation team of investigators and staff of the military investigation department. In the near future will be decided whether to institute criminal proceedings.

Meanwhile, reports “Interfax” , one of the versions of contract was recruited Wahhabi bandit underground.

Note that this is the second serious state of emergency in Dagestan day. Earlier suicide smertintsa blew one of the leading Muslim spiritual leader of the Republic, Sheikh Said Afandi. As a result, the spiritual leader was killed in an explosion at his home in the village of Chirkey Buinaksk district.

Apart Said Afandi killed and injured several others. “Five members died as a result of blasting. Confirm that Sheikh also died,” – added to the Investigative Committee. According to some information, the spiritual leader of Muslims of Dagestan and the faithful have been blown up during the sermon.

Shades of Afghanistan in the Levant

“The Iran-Syria mutual defence treaty has been activated and Tehran has threatened to supply SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles to Kurdish rebels in case Turkey persists in arming the FSA with Stinger missiles.”

Shades of Afghanistan in the Levant


The Hindu

In their eagerness to topple the Assad regime, the U.S. and its allies are actively encouraging al Qaeda, now firmly entrenched in Syria

For those who have closely followed the anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan, the recent events in Syria have a familiar ring. Quite like Pakistan, Turkey has emerged as the frontline state — the spearhead targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad. The Central Intelligence Agency is playing its part, and its ominous presence at the “nerve centre” in the Turkish city of Adana, coordinating the military strikes buffeting the Assad government, has been well recorded. The wealthy Gulf Arabs are also in attendance, with Qatar playing the role of second-in-command to Saudi Arabia, which is bankrolling and channelling the flow of Islamic extremists, drawn from various parts of the globe, into Syria.

Sense of déjà vu

Grabbing the headlines, and imparting an unmistakable sense of déjà vu, is the story of Syrian “rebels” being armed with Stinger missiles — the shoulder fired super-weapons, whose use by the mujahideen nullified the Red Army’s advantage in the air, and eventually proved decisive in atrophying the Soviet Union’s military campaign in Afghanistan.

But the comparisons with Afghanistan end here. Unlike the fighting in the Hindukush mountain ranges, the so-called Free Syrian Army is not battling an invading force in the heart of the Levant. The Assad government evolved out of Syria’s anti-colonial struggle, the secular ideology of Arab nationalism and its emphasis on an independent foreign policy. Its aspiration to chart its own course during the post-Cold War era was unacceptable to the United States and its allies. With an eye on a resurgent Russia and China, any enclave of independence — Iran, Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah, being the chief holdouts in the case of West Asia — had, therefore, to be smothered with utmost urgency.

Any excuse for a regime change in the region, however farcical and puerile, was acceptable. Thus, non-existent weapons of mass destruction became the cause for a disastrous invasion of Iraq. The mirage of Iran’s quest for atomic weapons is quite deliberately being kept alive. Syria, the lynchpin of an alliance whose geographical spread extends from the barren stretches of eastern Iran to the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon, is being primed up as a target of a “humanitarian war”. The West has been trying to perfect the technique of foreign military interventions on the ground of human rights protection, first in the former Yugoslavia and more recently in Libya. The mainstream international media, the repository of copious reserves of soft power, is an essential ally in accomplishing regime change in non-compliant states.

Both China and Russia, with Libya fresh in their mind, have with great clarity read the unfolding script in Syria. A commentary on the Syrian situation inGlobal Times, the Chinese communist party daily, pointed to the compulsiveness that has emerged in the “U.S.-led western world” to promote the notion of “human rights above sovereignty.” The daily added: “The U.S. launched wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and engineered a war to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. In reality, what the U.S.-led defence forces brought to these countries were death, destitution and humanitarian crises.” It then concluded that “by emphasising self-proclaimed efforts to promote democracy and protect human rights, the West is trying to eliminate dissenting voices and fulfil its geopolitical interests.”

Vitaly Churkin, the outspoken Russian permanent representative at the United Nations, has been equally precise in his identification of the core western aspirations in Syria which, in his view, are decisively geopolitical and not humanitarian in their intent. In an incisive interview with Russia Today, Mr. Churkin said: “You know, humanitarian intervention unfortunately only sounds humane, but the fact of the matter is that any military intervention for whatever reason is inevitably going to cause more bloodshed. And we know the greatest humanitarians in the world — the U.S. and the U.K. — intervened in Iraq, for instance, citing all sorts of noble pretexts, in that particular case, non-existent weapons of mass destruction. What it caused — 150 thousand civilian deaths alone, to say nothing about millions of refugees, displaced persons and the whole dislocation in the country. So, don’t be duped by humanitarian rhetoric. There is much more geopolitics in their policy in Syria than humanism.”

Desperate efforts

So obsessive and desperate has been the drive of Americans and the ex-colonial powers — chiefly Britain and France — to topple the Assad regime that they are hardly averse to using al Qaeda to “liberate Syria”. The presence of al Qaeda was formally acknowledged in May by the U.S. when its Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, told The Guardian that “we do have intelligence that indicates that there is an al Qaeda presence in Syria.”

Several influential Americans have welcomed al Qaeda’s presence in the anti-Assad ranks operating in Syria. Among them is Ed Husain, a luminary of the Council for Foreign Relations — the heavyweight U.S. think tank that is well networked in Washington. He wrote recently that the “Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al Qaeda in their ranks”. He then extolled some of the virtues of al Qaeda that had helped steel the Syrian armed opposition. “The influx of jihadis brings discipline, religious fervour, battle experience from Iraq, funding from Sunni sympathisers in the Gulf and, most importantly, deadly results. In short, the FSA needs al Qaeda now.”

Mr. Husain points out that the al Qaeda rank and file in Syria has established itself as Jabhat al-Nusrah li-Ahli al-Sham (Front for the Protection of the Levantine People).

More details are now emerging about al Qaeda’s entrenchment in Syria. The Saudi owned Al Hayat newspaper is reporting that al Qaeda has also permeated the Ahrar al-Sham Brigades. The al Qaeda fighters are the best equipped — the only ones with access to satellite internet browsers that function even during power outages — and have regular access to the media. Unlike others whose access to finances is often choked in Turkey, the al Qaeda units are paid regular salaries. Funding for this elite force comes from “Syrian expatriates in the Gulf countries in addition to Arab and international charitable societies”.

Mr. Husain acknowledges that al Qaeda’s strategic objectives in Syria go far beyond the overthrow of the Assad regime. “Liberation of the Syrian people is a bonus, but the main aim is to create an Islamist state in all or part of the country.” Failing to achieve this maximalist objective, the al Qaeda would “hope to at least establish a strategic base for the organisation’s remnants across the border in Iraq, and create a regional headquarters where Mujahideen can enjoy a safe haven”. The scenario sounds familiar again — the emergence of a Syrian Taliban providing the bubble of protection to al Qaeda, as it plots the next phase of global jihad.

Mr. Husain accepts that the full blown revival of al Qaeda in a post-Assad situation should worry Washington. But he speciously argues that the “unspoken political calculation among policymakers [in the U.S.] is to get rid of Assad first — weakening Iran’s position in the region — and deal with al Qaeda later”. But others more familiar with the ways of the Empire contend that the western powers could be quite content if the al Qaeda prevails and Syria disintegrates into pliable mini-states, undermining Iran and paralysing the Hezbollah.

Fighting chance

Despite the heavy onslaught, the Assad government has refused to throw in the towel. The Syrian government has continued to take on the opposition fighters with credible success in Damascus. Aleppo has failed to emerge as another Benghazi — a firm base from where a sustained campaign against government forces can be launched. The Iran-Syria mutual defence treaty has been activated and Tehran has threatened to supply SA-8 anti-aircraft missiles to Kurdish rebels in case Turkey persists in arming the FSA with Stinger missiles. Unlike some of its former friends, Russians and Chinese have not abandoned Syria. With its allies standing-by, the Syrian government might still have a fighting chance of escaping the fate of Afghanistan.

The Lily-Pad Strategy

The Lily-Pad Strategy

How the Pentagon Is Quietly Transforming Its Overseas Base Empire and Creating a Dangerous New Way of War

By David Vine

The first thing I saw last month when I walked into the belly of the dark grey C-17 Air Force cargo plane was a void — something missing. A missing left arm, to be exact, severed at the shoulder, temporarily patched and held together.  Thick, pale flesh, flecked with bright red at the edges. It looked like meat sliced open. The face and what remained of the rest of the man were obscured by blankets, an American flag quilt, and a jumble of tubes and tape, wires, drip bags, and medical monitors.

That man and two other critically wounded soldiers — one with two stumps where legs had been, the other missing a leg below the thigh — were intubated, unconscious, and lying on stretchers hooked to the walls of the plane that had just landed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. A tattoo on the soldier’s remaining arm read, “DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR.”

I asked a member of the Air Force medical team about the casualties they see like these. Many, as with this flight, were coming from Afghanistan, he told me. “A lot from the Horn of Africa,” he added. “You don’t really hear about that in the media.”

“Where in Africa?” I asked.  He said he didn’t know exactly, but generally from the Horn, often with critical injuries. “A lot out of Djibouti,” he added, referring to Camp Lemonnier, the main U.S. military base in Africa, but from “elsewhere” in the region, too.

Since the “Black Hawk Down” deaths in Somalia almost 20 years ago, we’ve heard little, if anything, about American military casualties in Africa (other than a strange report last week about three special operations commandos killed, along with three women identified by U.S. military sources as “Moroccan prostitutes,” in a mysterious car accident in Mali). The growing number of patients arriving at Ramstein from Africa pulls back a curtain on a significant transformation in twenty-first-century U.S. military strategy.

These casualties are likely to be the vanguard of growing numbers of wounded troops coming from places far removed from Afghanistan or Iraq. They reflect the increased use of relatively small bases like Camp Lemonnier, which military planners see as a model for future U.S. bases “scattered,” as one academic explains, “across regions in which the United States has previously not maintained a military presence.”

Disappearing are the days when Ramstein was the signature U.S. base, an American-town-sized behemoth filled with thousands or tens of thousands of Americans, PXs, Pizza Huts, and other amenities of home. But don’t for a second think that the Pentagon is packing up, downsizing its global mission, and heading home. In fact, based on developments in recent years, the opposite may be true. While the collection of Cold War-era giant bases around the world is shrinking, the global infrastructure of bases overseas has exploded in size and scope.

Unknown to most Americans, Washington’s garrisoning of the planet is on the rise, thanks to a new generation of bases the military calls “lily pads” (as in a frog jumping across a pond toward its prey). These are small, secretive, inaccessible facilities with limited numbers of troops, spartan amenities, and prepositioned weaponry and supplies.

Around the world, from Djibouti to the jungles of Honduras, the deserts of Mauritania to Australia’s tiny Cocos Islands, the Pentagon has been pursuing as many lily pads as it can, in as many countries as it can, as fast as it can. Although statistics are hard to assemble, given the often-secretive nature of such bases, the Pentagon has probably built upwards of 50 lily pads and other small bases since around 2000, while exploring the construction of dozens more.

As Mark Gillem, author of America Town: Building the Outposts of Empire, explains, “avoidance” of local populations, publicity, and potential opposition is the new aim. “To project its power,” he says, the United States wants “secluded and self-contained outposts strategically located” around the world. According to some of the strategy’s strongest proponents at the American Enterprise Institute, the goal should be “to create a worldwide network of frontier forts,” with the U.S. military “the ‘global cavalry’ of the twenty-first century.”

Such lily-pad bases have become a critical part of an evolving Washington military strategy aimed at maintaining U.S. global dominance by doing far more with less in an increasingly competitive, ever more multi-polar world. Central as it’s becoming to the long-term U.S. stance, this global-basing reset policy has, remarkably enough, received almost no public attention, nor significant Congressional oversight. Meanwhile, as the arrival of the first casualties from Africa shows, the U.S. military is getting involved in new areas of the world and new conflicts, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Transforming the Base Empire

You might think that the U.S. military is in the process of shrinking, rather than expanding, its little noticed but enormous collection of bases abroad. After all, it was forced to close the full panoply of 505 bases, mega to micro, that it built in Iraq, and it’s now beginning the process of drawing down forces in Afghanistan. In Europe, the Pentagon is continuing to close its massive bases in Germany and will soon remove two combat brigades from that country. Global troop numbers are set to shrink by around 100,000.

Yet Washington still easily maintains the largest collection of foreign bases in world history: more than 1,000 military installations outside the 50 states and Washington, DC. They include everything from decades-old bases in Germany and Japan to brand-new drone bases in Ethiopia and the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean and even resorts for military vacationers in Italy and South Korea.

In Afghanistan, the U.S.-led international force still occupies more than 450 bases. In total, the U.S. military has some form of troop presence in approximately 150 foreign countries, not to mention 11 aircraft carrier task forces — essentially floating bases — and a significant, and growing, military presence in space. The United States currently spends an estimated $250 billion annually maintaining bases and troops overseas.

Some bases, like Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, date to the late nineteenth century. Most were built or occupied during or just after World War II on every continent, including Antarctica. Although the U.S. military vacated around 60% of its foreign bases following the Soviet Union’s collapse, the Cold War base infrastructure remained relatively intact, with 60,000 American troops remaining in Germany alone, despite the absence of a superpower adversary.

However, in the early months of 2001, even before the attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration launched a major global realignment of bases and troops that’s continuing today with Obama’s “Asia pivot.” Bush’s original plan was to close more than one-third of the nation’s overseas bases and shift troops east and south, closer to predicted conflict zones in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Pentagon began to focus on creating smaller and more flexible “forward operating bases” and even smaller “cooperative security locations” or “lily pads.” Major troop concentrations were to be restricted to a reduced number of “main operating bases” (MOBs) — like Ramstein, Guam in the Pacific, and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean — which were to be expanded.

Despite the rhetoric of consolidation and closure that went with this plan, in the post-9/11 era the Pentagon has actually been expanding its base infrastructure dramatically, including dozens of major bases in every Persian Gulf country save Iran, and in several Central Asian countries critical to the war in Afghanistan.

Hitting the Base Reset Button

Obama’s recently announced “Asia pivot” signals that East Asia will be at the center of the explosion of lily-pad bases and related developments. Already in Australia, U.S. marines are settling into a shared base in Darwin. Elsewhere, the Pentagon is pursuing plans for a drone and surveillance base in Australia’s Cocos Islands and deployments to Brisbane and Perth. In Thailand, the Pentagon has negotiated rights for new Navy port visits and a “disaster-relief hub” at U-Tapao.

In the Philippines, whose government evicted the U.S. from the massive Clark Air Base and Subic Bay Naval Base in the early 1990s, as many as 600 special forces troops have quietly been operating in the country’s south since January 2002. Last month, the two governments reached an agreement on the future U.S. use of Clark and Subic, as well as other repair and supply hubs from the Vietnam War era. In a sign of changing times, U.S. officials even signed a 2011 defense agreement with former enemy Vietnam and have begun negotiations over the Navy’s increased use of Vietnamese ports.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Pentagon has rebuilt a runway on tiny Tinian island near Guam, and it’s considering future bases in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei, while pushing stronger military ties with India. Every year in the region, the military conducts around 170 military exercises and 250 port visits. On South Korea’s Jeju island, the Korean military is building a base that will be part of the U.S. missile defense system and to which U.S. forces will have regular access.

“We just can’t be in one place to do what we’ve got to do,” Pacific Command commander Admiral Samuel Locklear III has said. For military planners, “what we’ve got to do” is clearly defined as isolating and (in the terminology of the Cold War) “containing” the new power in the region, China. This evidently means “peppering” new bases throughout the region, adding to the more than 200 U.S. bases that have encircled China for decades in Japan, South Korea, Guam, and Hawaii.

And Asia is just the beginning. In Africa, the Pentagon has quietly created “about a dozen air bases” for drones and surveillance since 2007. In addition to Camp Lemonnier, we know that the military has created or will soon create installations in Burkina Faso, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mauritania, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Sudan, and Uganda. The Pentagon has also investigated building bases in Algeria, Gabon, Ghana, Mali, and Nigeria, among other places.

Next year, a brigade-sized force of 3,000 troops, and “likely more,” will arrive for exercises and training missions across the continent. In the nearby Persian Gulf, the Navy is developing an “afloat forward-staging base,” or “mothership,” to serve as a sea-borne “lily pad” for helicopters and patrol craft, and has been involved in a massive build-up of forces in the region.

In Latin America, following the military’s eviction from Panama in 1999 and Ecuador in 2009, the Pentagon has created or upgraded new bases in Aruba and Curaçao, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, and Peru.  Elsewhere, the Pentagon has funded the creation of military and police bases capable of hosting U.S. forces in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, and even Ecuador. In 2008, the Navy reactivated its Fourth Fleet, inactive since 1950, to patrol the region. The military may want a base in Brazil and unsuccessfully tried to create bases, ostensibly for humanitarian and emergency relief, in Paraguay and Argentina.

Finally, in Europe, after arriving in the Balkans during 1990’s interventions, U.S. bases have moved eastward into some of the former Eastern Bloc states of the Soviet empire. The Pentagon is now developing installations capable of supporting rotating, brigade-sized deployments in Romania and Bulgaria, and a missile defense base and aviation facilities in Poland. Previously, the Bush administration maintained two CIA black sites (secret prisons) in Lithuania and another in Poland. Citizens of the Czech Republic rejected a planned radar base for the Pentagon’s still unproven missile defense system, and now Romania will host ground-based missiles.

A New American Way of War

A lily pad on one of the Gulf of Guinea islands of S­ão Tomé and Príncipe, off the oil-rich west coast of Africa, helps explain what’s going on. A U.S. official has described the base as “another Diego Garcia,” referring to the Indian Ocean base that’s helped ensure decades of U.S. domination over Middle Eastern energy supplies. Without the freedom to create new large bases in Africa, the Pentagon is using S­ão Tomé and a growing collection of other lily pads on the continent in an attempt to control another crucial oil-rich region.

Far beyond West Africa, the nineteenth century “Great Game” competition for Central Asia has returned with a passion — and this time gone global.  It’s spreading to resource-rich lands in Africa, Asia, and South America, as the United States, China, Russia, and members of the European Union find themselves locked in an increasingly intense competition for economic and geopolitical supremacy.

While Beijing, in particular, has pursued this competition in a largely economic fashion, dotting the globe with strategic investments, Washington has focused relentlessly on military might as its global trump card, dotting the planet with new bases and other forms of military power. “Forget full-scale invasions and large-footprint occupations on the Eurasian mainland,” Nick Turse has written of this new twenty-first century military strategy. “Instead, think: special operations forces… proxy armies… the militarization of spying and intelligence… drone aircraft… cyber-attacks, and joint Pentagon operations with increasingly militarized ‘civilian’ government agencies.”

Add to this unparalleled long-range air and naval power; arms sales besting any nation on Earth; humanitarian and disaster relief missions that clearly serve military intelligence, patrol, and “hearts and minds” functions; the rotational deployment of regular U.S. forces globally; port visits and an expanding array of joint military exercises and training missions that give the U.S. military de facto “presence” worldwide and help turn foreign militaries into proxy forces.

And lots and lots of lily-pad bases.

Military planners see a future of endless small-scale interventions in which a large, geographically dispersed collection of bases will always be primed for instant operational access. With bases in as many places as possible, military planners want to be able to turn to another conveniently close country if the United States is ever prevented from using a base, as it was by Turkey prior to the invasion of Iraq. In other words, Pentagon officials dream of nearly limitless flexibility, the ability to react with remarkable rapidity to developments anywhere on Earth, and thus, something approaching total military control over the planet.

Beyond their military utility, the lily pads and other forms of power projection are also political and economic tools used to build and maintain alliances and provide privileged U.S. access to overseas markets, resources, and investment opportunities. Washington is planning to use lily-pad bases and other military projects to bind countries in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America as closely as possible to the U.S. military — and so to continued U.S. political-economic hegemony. In short, American officials are hoping military might will entrench their influence and keep as many countries as possible within an American orbit at a time when some are asserting their independence ever more forcefully or gravitating toward China and other rising powers.

Those Dangerous Lily Pads

While relying on smaller bases may sound smarter and more cost effective than maintaining huge bases that have often caused anger in places like Okinawa and South Korea, lily pads threaten U.S. and global security in several ways:

First, the “lily pad” language can be misleading, since by design or otherwise, such installations are capable of quickly growing into bloated behemoths.

Second, despite the rhetoric about spreading democracy that still lingers in Washington, building more lily pads actually guarantees collaboration with an increasing number of despotic, corrupt, and murderous regimes.

Third, there is a well-documented pattern of damage that military facilities of various sizes inflict on local communities. Although lily pads seem to promise insulation from local opposition, over time even small bases have often led to anger and protest movements.

Finally, a proliferation of lily pads means the creeping militarization of large swaths of the globe. Like real lily pads — which are actually aquatic weeds — bases have a way of growing and reproducing uncontrollably. Indeed, bases tend to beget bases, creating “base races” with other nations, heightening military tensions, and discouraging diplomatic solutions to conflicts. After all, how would the United States respond if China, Russia, or Iran were to build even a single lily-pad base of its own in Mexico or the Caribbean?

For China and Russia in particular, ever more U.S. bases near their borders threaten to set off new cold wars. Most troublingly, the creation of new bases to protect against an alleged future Chinese military threat may prove to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: such bases in Asia are likely to create the threat they are supposedly designed to protect against, making a catastrophic war with China more, not less, likely.

Encouragingly, however, overseas bases have recently begun to generate critical scrutiny across the political spectrum from Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul to Democratic Senator Jon Tester and New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. With everyone looking for ways to trim the deficit, closing overseas bases offers easy savings. Indeed, increasingly influential types are recognizing that the country simply can’t afford more than 1,000 bases abroad.

Great Britain, like empires before it, had to close most of its remaining foreign bases in the midst of an economic crisis in the 1960s and 1970s. The United States is undoubtedly headed in that direction sooner or later. The only question is whether the country will give up its bases and downsize its global mission by choice, or if it will follow Britain’s path as a fading power forced to give up its bases from a position of weakness.

Of course, the consequences of not choosing another path extend beyond economics. If the proliferation of lily pads, special operations forces, and drone wars continues, the United States is likely to be drawn into new conflicts and new wars, generating unknown forms of blowback, and untold death and destruction. In that case, we’d better prepare for a lot more incoming flights — from the Horn of Africa to Honduras — carrying not just amputees but caskets.

David Vine is assistant professor of anthropology at American University, in Washington, DC. He is the author of Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2009). He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and Mother Jones, among other places. He is currently completing a book about the more than 1,000 U.S. military bases located outside the United States. To listen to Timothy MacBain’s latest Tomcast audio interview in which Vine discusses his experiences with the Pentagon’s empire of bases, click here or download it to your iPod here.

Follow TomDispatch on Twitter @TomDispatch and join us on Facebook, and check out the latest TD book, Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050.

Copyright 2012 David Vine

Our Terror War Is Making Some of US Very Rich

[War is the only thing that drives the American economy.  International arms transfers by the United States are just selling some of our potential wars to somebody else.   Last year was our best year yet–all thanks to Obama’s bloodthirsty wars of aggression. It should be a crime to sell arms to small, unstable countries.  We are the Wall-Mart of weapons.]

U.S. Arms Sales Make Up Most of Global Market


WASHINGTON — Weapons sales by the United States tripled in 2011 to a record high, driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies concerned about Iran’s regional ambitions, according to a new study for Congress.

Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or more than three-quarters of the global arms market, valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion.

A worldwide economic decline had suppressed arms sales over recent years. But increasing tensions with Iran drove a set of Persian Gulf nations — Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — to purchase American weapons at record levels.

These Gulf states do not share a border with Iran, and their arms purchases focused on expensive warplanes and complex missile defense systems.

The report was prepared by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, a division of the Library of Congress. The annual study, written by Richard F. Grimmett and Paul K. Kerr and delivered to Congress on Friday, is considered the most detailed collection of unclassified arms sales data available to the public.

The agreements with Saudi Arabia included the purchase of 84 advanced F-15 fighters, a variety of ammunition, missiles and logistics support, and upgrades of 70 of the F-15 fighters in the current fleet.

Sales to Saudi Arabia last year also included dozens of Apache and Black Hawk helicopters, all contributing to a total Saudi weapons deal from the United States of $33.4 billion, according to the study.

The United Arab Emirates purchased a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, an advanced antimissile shield that includes radars and is valued at $3.49 billion, as well as 16 Chinook helicopters for $939 million.

Oman bought 18 F-16 fighters for $1.4 billion.

In keeping with recent trends, most of the weapons purchases, worth about $71.5 billion, were made by developing nations, with about $56.3 billion of that from the United States.

Other significant weapons deals by the United States last year included a $4.1 billion agreement with India for 10 C-17 transport planes and with Taiwan for Patriot antimissile batteries valued at $2 billion — an arms deal that outraged officials in Beijing.

To compare weapons sales over various years, the study used figures in 2011 dollars, with amounts for previous years adjusted for inflation to provide a consistent measurement.

A policy goal of the United States has been to work with Arab allies in the Persian Gulf to knit together a regional missile defense system to protect cities, oil refineries, pipelines and military bases from an Iranian attack.

The effort has included deploying radars to increase the range of early warning coverage across the Persian Gulf, as well as introducing command, control and communications systems that could exchange that information with new batteries of missile interceptors sold to the individual nations.

The missile shield in the Persian Gulf is being built on a country-by-country basis — with these costly arms sales negotiated bilaterally between the United States and individual nations.

Fire at Venezuela oil refinery spreads

Fire at Venezuela oil refinery spreads


A resident looks at a storage tank on fire in Venezuelan Amuay oil refinery in Punto Fijo, Falcon state, northwestern Venezuela. (AFP/Leo RAMIREZ)

CARACAS: A devastating fire at Venezuela’s main oil refinery, which has already left 48 people dead, spread on Monday to a third fuel storage tank, complicating the difficult task facing firefighters.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared three days of national mourning and promised an investigation into Saturday’s explosion at the Amuay refinery after a suspected gas leak, which sparked the massive blaze.

The governor of northwestern Falcon state, Stella Lugo, told local radio the toll has risen from 41 to 48 dead.

“We must announce that a third tank… is on fire,” said Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who is also the head of state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), which operates the refinery on the Paraguana peninsula.

Ramirez insisted that firefighters were working to “control and confine” the blaze, which had previously been confined to two of nine storage tanks at the facility in Venezuela, South America’s biggest oil producer.

Earlier, Ramirez had said that the fire would be contained “in the coming hours.” He later noted that swirling winds were making the task more difficult.

On Monday, the flames and a massive plume of smoke were still visible several kilometres away from the refinery. More than 220 firefighters were still at the scene, trying to douse the flames, the government said.

The accident is the worst ever for PDVSA. About half of the dead were members of the National Guard tasked with surveillance at the site, according to Lugo.

Chavez, who is vying for re-election on October 7, slammed reports that poor maintenance was responsible for the accident at the state-owned refinery, one of the biggest in the world, as he paid a visit there Sunday.

“Some philosopher said – I don’t know who – that ‘life must go on,'” said Chavez, describing as “irresponsible” experts who have suggested that the government had inadequate safeguards in place at the site.

He also said that those who had perished in the tragedy would not be forgotten. On Monday, he visited the wounded at a hospital in Falcon state.

The country’s prosecutor general, Luisa Ortega, said a total of 151 people had been injured, 33 of whom remained in hospital. Ortega differed with Lugo on the death toll, putting it at about 40.

The refinery is located in a residential and commercial complex where workers live with their relatives and poor families who settled in surrounding neighbourhoods. Authorities said 209 homes and 11 businesses had been affected.

Some residents just outside the perimeter cordoned off by security forces gathered belongings and prepared to leave their damaged homes, while others said they would remain on site.

“I am not afraid at all,” said Ali Bello, 60, as he sat in front of his home whose roof was now awkwardly sloping downward. “They are saying it won’t explode again.”

Ramirez predicted that production at the refinery would resume two days after the fire had been brought under control.

But Jose Bodas, general secretary of the United Federation of Oil Industry Workers, questioned these plans.

“It appears to us that it is too early to talk about resuming production without knowing the exact cause of the explosion,” Bodas told AFP.

Before the blast, the Amuay refinery was able to process about 645,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Oil analyst Diego Gonzalez told AFP it was still too early to predict the cost of rebuilding the refinery and nearby residential areas.

Venezuelan media have often reported complaints about safety and maintenance standards at the country’s refineries, but authorities insist there were no maintenance issues at Amuay.

Henrique Capriles, Chavez’s rival for the presidency, on Monday called on the government to thoroughly investigate the incident and identify those responsible.

The Latin American nation produces about three million barrels of oil per day, according to state figures, while the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries puts the number at 2.3 million barrels per day.

OPEC certified in 2011 that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world at 296.5 billion barrels, surpassing Saudi Arabia, the country with the biggest refining capacity.

In March, Venezuela said the reserves were even higher at 297.57 billion.

– AFP/de

Syrian Terrorists Running Out of Steam

More than they can chew

Following an audacious offensive, the rebels are struggling to survive the regime’s counterattack



Trade you an apple for a bullet


A MONTH after rebel forces launched a blazing attempt to capture Aleppo, Syria’s second city, they are starting to wilt. The regime claims to have routed them from their main stronghold in the Salaheddin district. Clashes continue in the southwest of the city and around the airport, but the best that rebel commanders can now hope to achieve is to draw the regime into a quagmire.

Whole streets have been reduced to rubble in the country’s commercial hub of 2.5m people. This is hardly the outcome the rebels were looking for, but it is not surprising either. Commanders have long acknowledged that they find it difficult to hold cities. With the recapture in February of the Baba Amr district in Homs, Syria’s third city, the regime showed it has no qualms over using heavy weapons to kill as many as necessary to regain control. At the end of July, with the battle in Aleppo under way, it brought out fighter jets for the first time. With little more than harsh words to fear from the outside world, the regime keeps using ever more powerful weaponry. A bombing from the air in Azaz, north of Aleppo, on August 15th left scores dead. America tried to put an end to the escalation of force when President Barack Obama declared on August 20th that use of chemical weapons could trigger an American military intervention, not least to keep them out of the hands of third parties, including Islamist terror groups.

Many Syrians—as well as outside observers—conclude that the rebels overreached by taking the fight to Aleppo. “Rebel commanders had a sensible strategy of fighting a war of attrition that matched their capabilities. They were going after roads, military outposts and consolidating control of the rural areas where the regime has retreated,” says Emile Hokayem, an analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies. “Then suddenly they diverted to a plan to ‘liberate’ a city which they knew they couldn’t do.”

Part of the problem is that the rebels are failing to win hearts and minds among the urban middle class in Aleppo. The same was true of the failed attempt to take the capital, Damascus, in July. Most Aleppans cannot stomach the regime, whose brutality has left some 20,000 dead. But they find the rebels’ tactics off-putting too, including summary executions such as that of Zaino Berri, head of a pro-regime militia. Some rebel groups have sent captives in booby-trapped cars to blow up checkpoints.

Meanwhile, the political opposition is as divided as ever. Much to its dismay, America’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton snubbed the Syrian National Council, a group of exiles, during her recent visit to Turkey. The group is “on the verge of irrelevance”, says a Western diplomat.

Foreign powers are trying to strengthen civilian institutions inside the country. Late last year they cheered local co-ordination committees coalescing into more sophisticated councils overseeing cities and provinces. “But many of those have now been taken over by the rebels as the militarisation grows,” says one dejected activist. Fuel and bread go to fighters first.

Some help from Western governments, including intelligence, is still reaching the rebels. In the country’s east and north-west, fighters hope to push the army out of smaller cities by making it too dangerous for them to use the roads to resupply bases. But without a no-fly zone or plenty of surface-to-air missiles to bring down regime jets many rebels think they will struggle.

Take the Tawhid (Unity) Brigade that is leading the assault on Aleppo. It is the biggest and best organised opposition force in Syria. Although formed on July 18th it still lacks a unified command. Its men manage to draw up a rota for front-line duty and joint operations.

Most fighting forces are less organised. Bassel Shahoud, a calm, thoughtful commander of just 80 men in Sarmeen, a small town in the north-western province of Idleb, says it is easier to command that way—and adds that many want to lead. With four groups in Sarmeen alone, he reckons there could be as many as 2,000 groups across the country. Some, such as fighters in Hama, Syria’s fourth city, are not plugged into national networks.

The Idleb Military Council is one of nine or so provincial military councils that were set up late last year by defectors to oversee the fighting groups that are staffed mainly by volunteers. But this is far from a unified force. “There was a lot of hope these councils would create a nationwide military, but we haven’t seen that,” says Asher Berman at the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War.

Competition for resources and personal feuds have already led some groups to fall out. The two main rebel forces in the Homs area, the Khaled Ibn Walid Brigade and Farouq, both work out of the rebellious town of Rastan, but their leaders are at loggerheads. Some groups like Tawhid claim to work under the Free Syrian Army, whose secular figureheads are based in Turkey. But this is more of a brand than an organisation. Others choose to distance themselves. One of Idleb’s largest groups, Saquor al-Sham, churns out mini-documentaries, each starting with its logo morphing into a falcon as thunder crackles in the background. These films are used to attract funding, which comes mainly from wealthy Syrians abroad and Gulf traders. Because the West will not arm and defend the opposition, weapons must often be bought with cash. So far at least there is no sign of its running out.

Survivors Tell of Foreign Terrorists Committing Massacre In Daraya

[The fact that the piles of dead civilians are being cleaned-up by Government troops is proof that the town has been wrested from the hands of the terrorists, who had filmed their own bloody handiwork, in order to air it on Western media as a government war crime.   Western media have taken to operating on a mostly “false-flag” nature, specializing in this sort of thing, where terrorist videos of their own victims are aired as “government atrocities.”  The atrocities are the work of America’s Islamists, have been since day one of the war against Syria (and Lebanon). 

 Syria: Civilians Massacred in Daraya

The NATO run mainstream media claims the Syrian military was responsible for a massacre in the town of Daraya, however the residents of Daraya have a different point of view. 
The civilians of the Daraya massacre were Pro-Assad, & they were threatened by the rebels to support them or they die, so they refused.[ @SyrianUragan ]
For translation turn on CC (CLOSED CAPTIONS)


American Conflict Management In Tajikistan’s South


[Prince Karim Aga Khan seems like a typical American front man in this farce of terror.  He fits the same preferred mold, as did Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq, who was intended to be the primary US front man, except that his past kept catching-up to him.  Aga Khan is allegedly a Muslim religious leader, but it is hard to find anything religious or reverent about the man.  “Agakhanism” is considered to be more similar to Ahmadism (Qadianism)in Pakistan, than it is to actual Islam, even Shia Islam.  It was nearly impossible to find a picture of Aga Khan in religious attire on Google, since he has long preferred to wear the finest suits and tuxedos, to compliment his flamboyant lifestyle.  Besides, pious wear would be entirely out of place upon his £100m yacht.  The only thing that this cowboy could inspire in his Tajik followers would be a desire to be wealthy and to possess a portion of what he has.  This fits precisely the pattern US psy-warriors are seeking to establish in Tajikistan, with their capitalist demonstration projects and in the projected FEZ (Free Enterprise Zone), the latest “sucker bait,” recently offered to induce all Tajiks to want a “taste of the good life…It’s what everybody wants.”  

In typical fashion, America is manipulating both sides of the conflict.  In last month’s  eruption of violence in the Gorno-Badakhshan region, it was the intercession of the Aga Khan Development Network that brought both sides back from the brink of all-out war.  This was a clear demonstration of the secret American capabilities to manage the violence in southeastern Tajikistan, by motivating President Rahmon to initiate military actions in Badakhshan in the first place, and then managing the conflict by using the Aga Khan to calm the Ismailis.  Just as quickly as it had began, the violence ended, after the demonstration of violence had achieved its ultimate purpose–to scare the governments of Central Asia with the Taliban “bogeyman,” in order to force them to get on-board and support the American initiatives.  It is the various American initiatives for Central Asia (border control, force modernizations through Partnerships-for-Peace initiatives, and narco-terrorism control measures) which will all serve to create the “entanglement” with US and foreign interests to the point where resistance becomes impossible.

I would have hoped that Mr.  Bhadrakumar would have made some of these points himself, to validate his odd choice of titles for this article, but then, the former Indian Minister of External Affairs never crosses the line in criticizing America’s real intentions in its global aggressions.  Perfect Indian diplomat/writer following the Indian government line of complete submission to Imperial rule, as always.

Welcome to the American Raj!]   




A playboy for the Pamirs

By M K Bhadrakumar

This has never before happened in Tajikistan – “People Power”. The regime in Dushanbe retreated in the face of a groundswell of popular opinion. A precedent has been set, which has implications not only for the country but the region as a whole. The great game being played out in Central Asia acquires a new vector.

Last Thursday, when small groups of people began gathering in the central square in Tajikistan’s eastern city of Khorog, the capital of the remote Gorno-Badakshshan province in the Pamir Mountains, it seemed an innocuous walk in the afternoon.

But by Friday, the crowds grew bigger and bigger and were already several thousands strong. As the day wore on, they pitched tents and began preparing for what appeared to be the long haul in a pattern ominously reminiscent of “color revolutions”.

In Dushanbe, alarm bells began ringing as if a the sound of distant drums carried by the wind blowing in from the Maghreb and North Africa across the vast expanse of the Greater Middle East were echoing in the silence of the Pamirs.

No more a ‘Little Brother’
The milling crowds in Khorog’s city square had a deceptively simple demand: Dushanbe should honor the terms of an earlier truce agreed with the armed groups in Gorno-Badakhshan and withdraw the government forces from the area and dismiss the region’s top official. The truce had brought to an end the security operations began by the government last month in Gorno-Badakhshan.

By Saturday, the retreat of the Special Forces from Khorog was underway, following the signing of an agreement between the government and the leaders of the protest movement the previous evening “with participation of international organizations”.

The Tajik government had portrayed the security operations as directed against fugitive Islamist warlords but the Pamiri saw them as the latest episode of the unresolved legacy of the Tajik Civil War that erupted in the aftermath of the disintegration of the former Soviet Union and ended in 1997 on the basis of a reconciliation between the secularists and the Islamists brokered by the United Nations.

The point is, the cold peace that descended on the country in 1997 has gradually transformed as a systematic purge got under way in recent years involving the former Islamist fighters who were brought into the power structures within the framework of the peace accord. The Pamirs have been the stronghold of the Tajik opposition, and the local population views the latest security operation as a barely disguised attempt by the central government to hunt down the former commanders of the United Tajik Opposition and bring the remote region, which has been a largely de facto autonomous region, under its control.

Of course, Gorno-Badakhshan is also the route for the drug trafficking from Afghanistan and a thin line separates the local opposition commanders and organized crime-syndicates. But then, there is hardly anyone with authority or muscle power in Tajikistan who isn’t tempted to make a living out of the trafficking of Afghan heroin.

What complicates the matrix are three factors. One, the region has considerable mineral wealth. Second, the Pamiri ethnic group is Shi’ite, belonging to the Ismaili sect, whereas Tajikistan is a Sunni-majority country. Three, the region comprises rugged mountain terrain that borders Afghanistan but the Tajik security forces are weak, ill-equipped and ill-trained and have not been able to cope with the security challenge in the past seven-year period since Dushanbe asked the Russian troops to leave. (Russian troops patrolled the Tajik-Afghan border until 2005.)

Each of these dimensions is fast assuming negative overtones. With the endgame in Afghanistan, a scramble for the mineral resources in Central Asia is about to erupt. Tajikistan used to be Russia’s Little Brother in Central Asia, but the equations have changed and there are major irritants today in their dealings, as evident from the protracted, inconclusive negotiations so far for the extension of the lease of the Russian military bases.

‘More faith and respect’
Meanwhile, China has significantly expanded its presence in Tajikistan and the United States also hopes to establish a long-term military presence in that country. The Russian experts are inclined to interpret the US moves in Tajikistan as directed exclusively against their country but that is being presumptuous.

Tajikistan is also a prospective link in the US’ containment strategy toward China. In the short term, the Russian fears can be justified, but then, the US also has a game plan for Tajikistan that has got to do with the project for the “remaking of Central Asia” in a truly post-Soviet, pro-West direction that creates headaches for Beijing.

The Western discourses over the unrest in Gorno-Badakhshan have made it a point to underscore the Pamiri’s Ismaili identity, and alongside there has been a studied projection of the Aga Khan as the spiritual leader to Ismaili Muslims. Radio Liberty / Radio Free Europe has cited speculation that the “Gorno-Badakhshan Ismailis might seek independence from Tajikistan, exploiting the country’s political instability during the 1992-1997 civil war.”

Last week, in an extraordinary commentary profiling the Aga Khan, it thumb-sketched the prince – a jet-setting playboy who takes keen interest in beautiful women, breeds racehorses and owns fast cars – as a genuine philanthropist in whom the local population in Gorno-Badakhshan would have “more faith and respect” than for Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon.

It is difficult to gauge the authenticity of such profound assessments, but the region has surely become the playpen of Western intelligence. The Aga Khan, by the way, is a multi-millionaire British citizen with extensive business activities.

A point of incessant interest for the West will be Moscow’s ability to swing a deal with Rahmon to extend the Russian military presence in Tajikistan. Equally, the West would ideally like to see Russia quitting the Soviet-era Okno (“Window”) complex in Nurek, which is capable of detecting, identifying and finding orbits of space objects of 1 meter size (such as military satellites) located 2,000-40,000 km high.

The Pentagon knows Moscow will be hard-pressed to replace Nurek, a location of such atmospheric properties and parameters of transparency and stability and number of clear night hours (over 1,500 hours), except, perhaps, somewhere in the Caucasus. It took over a decade to construct the Okno after the place was chosen in 1970.

Suffice to say, the political volatility in Gorno-Badakhshan and the dangerous security situation in the region – an Ismaili “belt” runs down through Afghanistan to Pakistan’s Northern Areas – could be used by unfriendly powers to act as pressure point on Rahmon to reset his alliance with Moscow.

This probably explains the alacrity with which Moscow played down the popular surge in Khorog over the weekend. However, in a longer term, questions marks are indeed appearing about Tajikistan’s stability and viability as a nation state.

There has been an all-round failure of governance and against the overall backdrop of Tajikistan’s steady decline as a “failed state”, separatist sentiment could well rear its head in Gorno-Badakhshan, which is an isolated, impoverished region of rugged mountains several hundred kilometers from Dushanbe with a sparse population of a quarter of a million people only, but comprises 44% of the country’s land mass and connected to the rest of the country by a solitary highway.

A tangle difficult to untie
If political separatism gains ground in Gorno-Badakhshan, there is big trouble ahead for all of Central Asia, since Tajikistan also has an ethnic Uzbek minority population of over a million, which would also seek union with Uzbekistan. Dushanbe has all along suspected Tashkent as covertly fueling the Uzbek separatist sentiments.

Looking ahead, therefore, if Tajikistan fragments, the repercussions will be keenly felt in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan (which are alienated from the north of the country) and in Ferghana Valley (which is carved out between Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan). The tremors won’t end there, because Josef Stalin had ensured that there are Uzbek minorities present in all the Central Asian countries outside Uzbekistan.

Thus, the intentions of Uzbekistan, which is the strongest military power in Central Asia, already cause uneasiness in the Tajik and Kyrgyz mind. Uzbekistan’s recent decision to suspend its membership of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and its lukewarm attitude to participation in the military exercises of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are conveying strong signals.

What perturbs Dushanbe and Bishkek even more is the strategic import of the proximity that is rapidly developing between Uzbekistan and the US. A US-Uzbek axis would upset the region’s balance of power. The relations between Uzbekistan on one side and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan on the other have touched a dangerously low point in the recent period.

Conversely, the dilemma that is facing the US is how to pursue the promise of long-term strategic ties with Tashkent, while stringing Bishkek and Dushanbe along. This is by no means an easy diplomatic tangle for Washington to handle, since Tashkent is also not to be trusted as an enduring ally, given its maverick behavior.

The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be undertaking a delicate diplomatic mission when she visits Tashkent and Dushanbe in October with the intent of finessing the Uzbek-Tajik discords and bringing them somehow below an acceptable threshold for the Pentagon to work on creating its “lily pads” in both the Central Asian countries.

Washington would hope that before it finishes the work in progress to establish its long-term military presence in the region and before Clinton travels to the region, Moscow doesn’t wrap up a deal with Dushanbe. Equally, Moscow will be racing against time in the coming weeks and months to create the underpinnings that would tie down Tajikistan to a long-term partnership with Russia.

The fact of the matter is that Moscow has subjected Russia’s relationship with Tajikistan to a long period of neglect after raising high hopes in Dushanbe during President Vladimir Putin’s landmark visit a decade ago. Again, the stakes are high for Putin’s project of creating a Eurasian Union in the post-Soviet space (which of course Washington is determined to frustrate).

Moscow has achieved remarkable success lately on the path of bringing Kyrgyzstan back into its orbit. The process will continue in the coming months unless the latest turbulence in Kyrgyz politics doesn’t complicate matters. With the job well in hand, Russian diplomacy toward Tajikistan can be expected to attempt a similar approach toward Tajikistan – a strategic partnership with underpinnings of economic assistance and investment in an overall matrix of strong political support embedded within a long-term military presence.

Meanwhile, Moscow will do well to ensure that the Gorno-Badakhshan situation is calmed and does not upset the apple cart.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.

At Summit Meeting, Iran Has a Message for the World

At Summit Meeting, Iran Has a Message for the World

Newsha Tavakolian for The New York Times

Three cars damaged in attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists outside the Tehran convention hall.


TEHRAN — At the entrance to the convention hall where Iran is sponsoring an international summit meeting are the crumpled wreckage of three cars driven by Iranian nuclear scientists who have been killed or hurt in bomb attacks. Placards with the photos of the scientists and their children stand alongside.

The message is clear. As Iran plays host to the biggest international conference the Islamic republic has organized in its 33-year history, it wants to tell its side of the long standoff with the Western powers, which are increasingly convinced that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

Tehran, which denies that it is after the bomb, believes the scientists were killed by Israeli agents, an assertion that Israel has not acknowledged but never fully disputed.

The meeting of the so-called Nonaligned Movement, a group formed during the cold war that considers itself independent of the major powers, has so far proven to be something of a public relations success for Iran.

Last week, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, decided to attend despite pressure from the United States and Israel. Egypt’s new president also said he would come to the conference, although his country has long been estranged from Iran, and India’s prime minister plans to bring a delegation of 250 people in an attempt to advocate for more trade with Tehran.

The announcements were seen as setbacks for efforts by the United States to isolate Iran and cripple it with sanctions.

“Two-thirds of the world’s nations are here in Tehran,” Mohammad Khazaee, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, told reporters on Sunday. “Clearly this conference will be effective for us.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Ali Akbar Salehi, opened the meeting’s early sessions on Sunday with a plea for the 120 countries in the movement to oppose the sanctions imposed on his country, and he asked them to stand against terrorism, saying Iran is the biggest victim of terrorist attacks in the world. An exhibition in the convention hall echoed his assertions, including pictures of victims of what Iran said were opposition bombings in the 1980s, soon after the Islamic Revolution, and of the downing of an Iranian passenger jet by a missile fired from a United States Navy ship in 1988, in what American officials say was an accident.

He also said the United States had “exploited” the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to further its “hegemonic goals.”

Given that history, Iran says it has decided not to take any chances and has launched a comprehensive security operation. More than 110,000 security forces are controlling the streets, the deputy national police commander, Ahmad Radan, told the Fars news agency over the weekend.

They are supported by 30 helicopters and nearly 3,000 patrol cars. There are roadblocks on all highways leading into Tehran, and at night there are checkpoints throughout the city.

“Despite the evil intentions of our enemies, our secret service has taken all necessary measures in order to hold the nonaligned meeting in an absolute secure environment,” Iran’s minister of intelligence, Heydar Moslehi, told state news agency IRNA.

But the tight security might have another goal: to ensure Iran’s narrative is not spoiled by its domestic political difficulties, three years after the country was convulsed by antigovernment protests that followed a disputed election and were quashed in a harsh crackdown.

Foreign-based opposition Web sites called for renewed rallies against the government during the summit meeting.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is expected to address the conference this week. And in an effort to prove that its nuclear program is peaceful, Iran is offering special tours of some of its nuclear sites.

Kurds clash with police in Turkey

Kurds clash with police in Turkey

Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse thousands of Kurds who tried to stage a protest in south east Turkey. The demonstrators had been refused permission to hold a march in support of the Kurdistan Workers Party. Last week PKK militants who are fighting for self-rule attacked two army posts killing at least one soldier.

Afghan Taliban Behead Entire Dance Party of 17–(Even the Women)

No details available Pajhwok

Seventeen civilians beheaded in Afghanistan’s Helmand

Seventeen civilians have been beheaded by Taliban insurgents in southern Afghanistan for attending a party, government officials say.

The bodies of two women and 15 men were found by the side of a road in the Musa Qala district of Helmand province.

Meanwhile, 10 Afghan army soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in the same province.

In eastern Afghanistan, two US soldiers were shot dead by an Afghan National Army soldier.

The bodies of the 17 civilians, which were discovered on Monday morning, were said to show signs of beatings. Some had gunshot wounds.

Local officials said the men had gathered to listen to music and watch the women dance when they were attacked. The Taliban disapprove of men and women mixing socially.

“I can confirm that this is the work of the Taliban,” the Helmand provincial governor’s spokesman, Daud Ahmadi, told AFP news agency.

“Two women and 15 men were beheaded. They were partying with music in an area under the control of the Taliban,” he added.

The BBC’s Quentin Somerville, in the capital Kabul, says some reports suggest the 17 were killed because they were local government workers.

‘Green on blue’

The 10 Afghan army soldiers were killed in a massive attack by the Taliban on their checkpoint in southern Helmand on Monday morning. As many as 200 insurgents were involved in the assault, 11 of whom were killed.

Four soldiers were wounded and six others were missing following the attack in Washir district, a senior police official told AFP news agency.

The two US soldiers with the Nato-led force in Afghanistan were killed in Laghman province in what is termed a “green on blue” attack by an Afghan army soldier, who was subsequently killed by Nato troops.

Such attacks have now killed a total of 42 foreign troops this year.

The Taliban claim responsibility for many of the attacks, but Nato says other issues – including cultural differences and personal animosities – are behind many incidents.

Currently, approximately 130,000 (“blue”) Nato troops are fighting insurgents in Afghanistan alongside 350,000 (“green”) Afghans.

Nato forces are due to withdraw combat troops in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, with only training troops remaining.

Another Son of Jalaluddin Haqqani Killed In North Waziristan

Militants from Afghanistan attack Pakistan


By ANWARULLAH KHAN, Associated Press


KHAR, Pakistan (AP) — Dozens of militants from Afghanistan attacked an anti-Taliban militia post in northwest Pakistan for the third day Sunday, sparking fighting that killed one soldier and 20 militants, a Pakistani official said.

In addition to the dead, four soldiers and four militiamen were wounded in Sunday’s attack in the Bajur tribal area, said Jahangir Azam Wazir, a local government administrator.

Pakistan has criticized Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces for not doing enough to stop the rising number of cross-border attacks by Pakistani Taliban militants holed up in the Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan, across the border from Bajur.

That criticism could soften after the coalition killed a senior Pakistan Taliban commander in an airstrike in Kunar on Friday. Mullah Dadullah, was the leader of the Pakistani Taliban in Bajur. He was killed along with 11 others, including his deputy.

Four soldiers, six militiamen and 38 militants died during the cross-border attacks in the Salarzai area of Bajur on Friday and Saturday, Wazir said.

The airstrike that killed Dadullah followed the cross-border attack on Friday, but the NATO coalition said there was no coordination with Pakistan during the attack.

The U.S. and Afghan governments have long criticized Pakistan for failing to prevent militants using sanctuaries inside the country from attacking targets inside Afghanistan. The main focus has been on Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area, the main militant sanctuary in the country and home to the Haqqani network, considered one of the most dangerous insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s intelligence agency said Sunday that its operatives have confirmed that the son of the founder of the Haqqani network was killed in Pakistan, even as the Taliban vowed that he was alive and in Afghanistan.

Shafiquallh Tahriri, the spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, said Badruddin Haqqani was killed in an airstrike in Pakistan last week. He did not provide further details, and he would not say on what information the agency’s operatives were basing their conclusion or whether they had seen the body.

Tahriri’s account is similar to one provided Saturday by a senior Taliban leader who said Haqqani was killed in a drone strike. It also is close to a version provided by Pakistani officials who said they were 90 percent sure the militant commander was killed Tuesday in a missile strike in North Waziristan.

The U.S. said recently it expects Pakistan to launch an operation soon against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan. But analysts doubt they will target the Haqqani network and other militants fighting in Afghanistan because they are not seen as much of a threat to Pakistan. Islamabad also has historical ties with the Haqqani network, and many analysts believe it is seen as an important potential ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw.

Pakistani military officials have said privately that they plan to increase the pressure against militants in North Waziristan slowly, not conduct a sweeping offensive as they have done in the other parts of the tribal region.

Hundreds of tribal elders, religious leaders and militants held a meeting in North Waziristan on Saturday and called on Pakistan not to launch a military operation, one of the participants said Sunday.

The group cited a nonaggression pact it says the army has with the most powerful local militant leader in the North Waziristan tribal area, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, said Malik Nasrullah Khan, a tribal elder who attended the meeting. Commanders loyal to Bahadur were present at the meeting in Eidak town, he said.

Like the Haqqani network, authorities see Bahadur as less of a threat because he has focused attacks in Afghanistan, not Pakistan. The military has never officially acknowledged having a nonaggression pact with him.

Associated Press writers Rahim Faiez and Heidi Vogt in Kabul, Afghanistan, contributed to this report.

Assad slams anti-Syria ‘conspiracy’ after massacre claims

Assad slams anti-Syria ‘conspiracy’ after massacre claims

An image from a video on YouTube is said to show a wounded man receiving medical treatment in Daraya 
An image from a video on YouTube is said to show a wounded man receiving medical treatment in Daraya

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday the foreign “conspiracy” against his country would be defeated, as his forces were accused of a bloody rampage in a town near Damascus that left hundreds dead.

“The Syrian people will not allow this conspiracy to achieve its objectives” and will defeat it “at any price,” Assad said during a meeting in Damascus with a top official from Iran, Syria’s chief regional ally.

Pro-government television Al-Dunia said “terrorists” carried out the attacks, as it interviewed residents including traumatised children and showed a number of bloodied bodies lying in the streets.

“Our valiant armed forces cleared Daraya of the remnants of armed terrorist groups which committed crimes that traumatised the citizens of the town and destroyed public and private property,” government newspaper Ath-Thawra said.

Meanwhile, the head of the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy committee, Aladin Borujerdi, vowed that Tehran will “stick by our Syrian brothers.”

“We see Syria’s security as our security,” he said in Damascus, where he met both Assad and Vice President Faruq al-Shara, Iran’s state-owned IRNA news agency said.

Shara — the regime’s top Sunni Muslim official — made his first public appearance in over a month when he was seen walking and talking with Borujerdi, following opposition claims he had tried to defect and was under house arrest.

Assad, in his talks with the visiting Iranian official, said Syria is continuing “its strategy of resistance.”

“What is happening now is not only directed at Syria but the whole region. Because Syria is the cornerstone, foreign powers are targeting it so their conspiracy succeeds across the entire region.”

Assad has long characterised the brutal conflict as a fight against foreign “terrorists” aided by the West and Syria’s Sunni Muslim foes in the region, including Saudi Arabia.

Tehran has said it will submit a plan for ending the conflict to a Non-Aligned Movement summit it is hosting on Thursday and Friday.

The Iranian initiative comes as its foes in the West ramp up the pressure on Damascus, with Washington and London threatening action if it uses its chemical weapons and Paris voicing support for a partial no-fly zone.

The Observatory also reported shelling or air strikes in other parts of the country on Sunday including the battered northern city of Aleppo and Daraa in the far south, the cradle of the anti-Assad uprising.

The Britain-based Observatory reported a total of at least 91 people killed countrywide on Sunday — 61 civilians, 13 rebels and 17 loyalist soldiers.

August is already the deadliest single month of the conflict with at least 4,000 people killed, according to the Observatory, while around 25,000 have died since March 2011. The United Nations puts the death toll at more than 17,000.


Pakistani Taliban Aug. 26 Army Rumor Sends A Wave of Refugees Onto the Roads Leading To N. Waziristan

[SEE:  Pakistani Taliban Claim Inside Info On Imminent August 26 Army Raid Into North Waziristan]

Thousands flee Waziristan in fear of military offensive

“Thousands of people have so far left the area, they are fleeing their homes due to the fear and rumours of a military operation,” an official in Miranshah said. -File Photo

MIRANSHAH: Thousands of people have fled one of Pakistan’s troubled northwestern tribal districts in recent days, fearing a military offensive against militants, locals and officials said.

Panicked residents have hastily left the area of North Waziristan despite officials repeatedly insisting that Pakistan has no immediate plan to launch an offensive in the volatile region, they added.

North Waziristan, one of Pakistan’s seven tribal districts and riddled with militancy, is considered a stronghold of the Afghan Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives.

Although Pakistan has fought Taliban militants across much of the region it has so far withstood American pressure to move against the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan.

“Thousands of people have so far left the area, they are fleeing their homes due to the fear and rumours of a military operation,” Saif-Ur Rehman, a government official in the main town of Miranshah, told AFP.

Tasleem Khan, another government official confirmed the evacuation.

Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders North Waziristan, told AFP that thousands of people have reached several districts in his area.

Rumours started early this week after a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban told local media that it had received “an exclusive intelligence report” about an offensive in North Waziristan.

In an email sent to media, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said the campaign was to be launched on August 26 and would last one month.

Government and military officials have taken to local radio, asking people to remain calm.

“This is a peaceful area with a peaceful atmosphere. The government has no plan to launch any military operation here,” a radio announcement heard by local residents said.

On Saturday, some 2000 tribal elders and religious leaders warned the government to not to launch any offensive and threatened to move to Afghanistan “in case of any military operation”.

“We will migrate to Afghanistan, if Pakistan launches any military operation,” Maulvi Abdur Rehman, a religious leader who presided over the tribal Jirga said.

The Jirga held in Mirali Town of North Waziristan also requested residents to stay at home.

An AFP reporter in the area witnessed people fleeing their homes in vehicles.

Washington has long demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqanis, whom the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul last September and of acting like the “veritable arm” of Pakistani intelligence.

Pakistan has in turn demanded that Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban crossing the Afghan border to launch attacks on its forces.

Sen. Richard Lugar Advocates Bilateral Peace In Syria Instead of World War III

Andrea Mitchell interviews retired Sen. Richard Lugar on his new foreign policy initiative, to have Russia and the United States agree to jointly take possession of Syria’s WMD, if the Assad regime falls, or to prevent the weapons falling into terrorist hands.  This would be a real breakthrough, since it would represent a major turn in Obama’s efforts to divide the world against Russia, through action in Syria.  Avoiding a rapidly-approaching US/Russia confrontation, which could easily go nuclear very quickly, would work in the interests of world peace.  A turning away from confrontation would open the door to getting rid of all nuclear weapons.  In the face of probable world war, we could change the course of history and chart a safe course to total peace.

Interview with Senator Richard Lugar

Andrea Mitchell
Richard Lugar
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: And the U.N. has caused a minor uproar today announcing that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is going to attend the summit in Tehran next week. Despite U.S. efforts to isolate Iran for its nuclear program and its support of the brutal Syrian regime.Indiana Senator Richard Lugar is the Senate`s longest-serving Republican, former chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, ranking member now. Just returned from Moscow. Another diplomatic mission. Trying to get Russia on board to help control Syria`s chemical and biological weapons.Senator, it`s great to see you. Thank you very much.Thank you, Andrea.
MITCHELL: You, of course, the co-sponsor of the Nunn-Lugar or Lugar- Nunn Regime which has for decades controlled weapons of mass destruction and tried to prevent — successfully tried to prevent proliferation at the fall of the Soviet Union.Now, tell me about Moscow, because we have a lot of concerns about Vladimir Putin`s stance supporting Assad, propping him up, just as the U.S. is getting more and more worried about that red line the president spoke about, the chemical weapons. Where do we stand?
LUGAR: Well, I appreciated the opportunity to visit Russia. And first of all, to talk about the basis of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, the need to extend the so-called agreement to give legal basis so we can continue to work with the Russians to destroy missiles and destroy engines that had nuclear weapons attached to them and all of the rest.But I took the opportunity with deputy ministers of defense and foreign affairs to suggest that there is another cooperative threat reduction we could do with Russia. United States and Russia, two great powers. A lot of experience with chemical weapons. And we would plan together for a contingency that if the Assad regime falls or there is a general disintegration of order in Syria, we would be prepared, as two nations, to take over those chemical weapons and destroy them.And I suggested this as a cooperative threat reduction program because we want to have, I believe, a stronger relations with Russia. It was good to be with Russia on the Syrian question, and appeared to me this was a possible opening.
MITCHELL: Did you get any, any kind of sense from the Russians that they would be willing to cooperate here? Because there`s been a lot of concern in the administration that the Russians are not playing ball and we`ve seen what they`ve done at the U.N. and we`ve seen very angry statements from the secretary of state and the U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice about what Russia has done in the Security Council.
LUGAR: Indeed, we have witnessed all of that. This is why I took advantage of opportunities in Moscow to forge a different path in which we work with Russia, in which there was experience in working with Russia to destroy weapons of mass destruction. We have a lot of experience doing this. We`re committed both of our countries to get rid of all of our chemical weapons and we`ve helped the weapons at Sochi, a big plant now, from going through tons of the stuff even as we`re speaking today.Therefore, leaving aside all of the debate which has proceeded, it seemed to me this was an opportunity for a breakthrough and at least the reaction of some Russians was that this is very interesting. Others said, after all, Syria is not a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention. They own the weapons and so they do. But I think there`s a general fear, and President Obama expressed this, that red line is there.If the weapons get used or if they`re moved or what have, the United States might take military action. That would be a unilateral step. I`m suggesting a possible bilateral planning and bilateral action.
MITCHELL: You, in fact, took then Senator Obama, I think, on his first trip as a United States senator.
MITCHELL: At least to Moscow. What about the state of our politics today? And, you know, your own experience, of course, you had the Republican primary and we know that you`re going to be retiring from the Senate, not something that you wanted. You`ve lost the primary. But is there a role that you can play now given just how toxic our politics have become in both political parties?Mitt Romney, the standard bearer for the Republicans, has said that Russia is our biggest adversary. Do you agree with that?
LUGAR: No, I don`t agree with that, but I would say simply that I heard truly — and I heard Tom Pickering, former ambassador, use this term, we`ve been kicking the shins of each other. What we`re going to have to find ways to do now is finding ways to work together. And it will not be easy. The non-Lugar program in which literally the Russians finally invited us to come in and destroy the nuclear weapons that were aimed at us for 40 years, is a breakthrough of the sort of no one anticipated.I`m suggesting we need some more breakthroughs. That`s going to require some tough diplomatic work. And so I`m offering one suggestion, but it`s not the only one.
MITCHELL: Have you talked to the White House about this? Or the State Department?LUGAR: No, I have not had that opportunity. We just got back from our travels. And I hope that we`ll have some conversations.
MITCHELL: Richard Lugar, Senator, thank you very much for joining us.
LUGAR: Thank you, Andrea.
Thank you.
August 24, 2012

The 16th Annual Non-Aligned Movement Summit Opens In Tehran with 120 Governments Represented



[The fact that the turnout has been so great (possibly including UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-moon) is a highly relevant political statement being made by world leaders, that they are fed-up with the American disaster which has been masquerading as a responsible foreign policy.  The world wants PEACE, and the United States and NATO had better get out of the way.)

[click image for larger view]

UN General Secretary To Attend NAM Summit in Iran?

The 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement will be held in Tehran from August 26 to 31.

Generally known as NAM, the Non-Aligned Movement originated during the Cold War, as states attempted to avoid becoming pawns in the power struggle between the two competing super powers.

It now consists of 120 countries principally from the developing world, as well as a further 21 observer countries.

This year, the possible attendance of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is causing controversy.

Mohammad Reza Forghani, spokesman for the 16th NAM Summit, affirmed, “there has been no change in Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s schedule to visit Tehran for Non-Aligned Movement summit in spite of the pressures.”

However, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on Monday stated that the United States is against high-level diplomatic visits to Iran by UN officials: “I think our expectation would be that if he goes at this time that he will use the visit to make the point about our broad concern as an international community and the U.N.’s concern about the number of aspects of their U.N. obligations that Iran is flouting.”

Irans’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast argues that the meeting “will bring forward more steps to eliminate world problems and help the resolution of ongoing crisis in every corner of the world.”

Nuland presents a contrasting view: “The fact that the meeting is happening in a country that’s in violation of so many of its international obligations and posing a threat to neighbors, etcetera, sends a very strange signal with regard to support for the international order, rule of law, etcetera.”

Iranian officials maintain that Tehran is fully prepared to host the upcoming NAM summit, with all police and law enforcement bodies prepared to provide full security for the summit .

Morteza Tamaddon, Governor-General of Tehran Province, added: “All preparatory measures have been taken in the Iranian capital for hosting the 16th heads-of-state summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.”

India seeks Afghan hand for Tehran port project

India seeks Afghan hand for Tehran port project


But, Iran’s nuclear ambitions worry Delhi


India is keen to rope in Afghanistan to develop infrastructure in and around the strategically important Chabahar Port in south east Iran to establish an alternative trade route to resource rich Central Asia.  

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai will meet his Afghan and Iranian counterparts in Tehran on Sunday to discuss the project that would give India link to Afghanistan and landlocked countries in Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. New Delhi is likely to propose a trilateral working group to discuss commercial viability of the project.

“The idea is to take forward a kind of general discussion as to what we need to do about Chabahar, what is our common interest in the development of the infrastructure, the port, developing the use of Chabahar and the related infrastructure as an alternative route into Afghanistan which we certainly regard as being of very great significance. So, we will discuss it,” Mathai told journalists on Saturday.

Iran wants India to join the project, which includes building a container terminal at Chabahar Free Port on the coast of Gulf of Oman and Chabahar-Faraz-Bam railway project to get access to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. India, however, has so far been cagey about getting involved in such a huge project in Iran, to avoid the US and the EU crticism.

Afghanistan too has been cautious about joining India in a project in Iran, because Washington is not comfortable with Tehran raising its clout in the region. The US, however, has its own plan – New Silk Road – for turning Afghanistan into a trade link between South and Central Asia.

Mathai on Saturday said that Iran’s offer to India to join the project had raised “a number of very interesting possibilities in terms of the reconstruction at the industrial developments in Afghanistan”.

“Afghanistan certainly also finds it of interest being an alternative route into their country from which they can get vital supplies. So, I think this is a common interest, and we are going to look at it,” he said.

The Ministry of External Affairs had commissioned a study through the Indian Port Association to assess commercial viability of the project and suggest ways to move forward.

Mathai is likely to discuss the report of the IPA with his counterparts at the trilateral meet in Tehran on Sunday.

A Few Good Scots Could Change the World Right Now, Starting with Britain’s Nukes

Nato policy must serve the nation, not US corporate interests

Robin McAlpine


If an independent Scotland managed to join Nato and get rid of Trident, what then?If an independent Scotland managed to join Nato and get rid of Trident, what then?


IN THE SNP’s debate over Nato, two cases are being made. One is that an independent Scotland could have its biggest impact by joining Nato and working with some of the more progressive countries in that alliance towards removing nuclear weapons from European soil.


The other argues that Scotland should remain outside Nato, remove nuclear weapons immediately and then work constructively with counties inside and outside Nato on a host of international issues to set a positive example to the world.

It is to be celebrated that Scotland can have this debate. Both of these visions of a Scottish international role are streets ahead of Britain’s stances of “the only way you’ll get our nukes from us is to prize them from our cold, dead hands” and “we agree with whatever the United States just said”.

However, we need to be realistic. Scotland is small and Nato’s interest in us is heavily tied up with our role as landlord to weapons of mass destruction.

All the experiences of bigger Nato ­countries in Europe are that you can ­certainly vote to remove nukes but voting doesn’t amount to much.

Not a single country has managed it and three – including mighty Germany – have passed votes in their parliament only to have them ignored.

But even if Scotland did join Nato and did manage to get rid of Trident from Scottish soil, what then? Is the best that we can hope for the fixed grin of the Nato group photo, us thinking we’re fighting the good fight, the rest of the world not noticing us in the shadows of US commercial interests?

Because on this I do agree with the pro-Nato side: Nato is not a Cold War relic. As a defensive force it is obsolete, but as a means of protecting commercial interests it has a very specific agenda.

The only conflict in the rough vicinity of Scotland which has been raised as a potential problem to which Nato might be the solution is a confrontation between the US and Russia over drilling rights for Arctic oil. What this means is that Scotland would be trapped in a treaty which requires us to stand side-by-side with Exxon Mobile in a shooting war with Gazprom.

We need to be clear: tiny Scotland would spend a lot more time biting its tongue than speaking words of wisdom to the US. We would have picked one side in a geopolitical war for commercial access to global natural resources and strategic position, and once that side is picked there is no nuance.

Perhaps the day the first shot is fired over Arctic snow by soldiers who flew there from Scottish airbases, Russia and China will instigate a boycott of Scotch whisky.

It will do no good then to say “but we tried”, because Scotland will have become a partisan nation which is engaged in wars of aggression. Scottish soldiers would be bombing Iran or blockading the Arctic many moons before Scottish ­diplomats negotiate even one bomb out of existence.

And it will leave us discredited where it really matters. Wilbert van der Zeijden is a senior figure in the international ­conflict resolution community. He warns that ­because of Nato membership the rest of the global community is “less inclined to take countries like the Netherlands seriously in the Conference on Disarmament, the NPT and other non-proliferation and disarmament forums.

“It would be entirely unnecessary and quite a bad move if Scotland manoeuvred itself in a similar position.”

I once knew someone who would get to every meeting early to secure a chair as close as possible to whomever he believed to be the most important person in the room. He thought we were impressed; we thought he was a bit sad.

The thing about credibility and integrity is that you are judged by your actions and not your explanations.

A Scotland in Nato will gain lip service from the US generals – the very ones who refer to Nato as Snow White and the Twenty Seven Dwarves. Everyone else on the world stage would write Scotland off as an adjunct to the US. In effect, having just gained a credible voice in international negotiations on nuclear non-proliferation, Scotland would choose to give it up again. Which would be a crying shame ­because if Scotland removed Trident from its soil its international credibility would be sky high.

Too many political insiders believe “grubby compromise” to be a synonym for “serious politics”. If Scotland became independent it would have plenty of time to seek out its own grubby compromises. It doesn’t need to be born in one.

Scotland could become the nation leading the world in a fresh effort to get rid of nuclear weapons. The international repercussions of Scotland effectively disarming one of the globe’s eight nuclear powers would be enormous.

It is not overblown to suggest that many in the international community would look to us for leadership, as evidence that a nuclear-free world is possible. To lose that voice for the sake of American corporate profits would be to squander a truly valuable prize.


• Robin McAlpine is director of the Jimmy Reid Foundation

U.S. base deployment in Uzbekistan will dent Russia’s influence in Central Asia

U.S. base deployment in Uzbekistan will dent Russia’s influence in Central Asia

MOSCOW: Washington’s plans to deploy a military base on Uzbek territory could entail negative political and economic consequences for Moscow, Lt. Gen. Leonid Sazhin, a Russian military expert, told Interfax-AVN.

According to recent media reports, Washington launched negotiations with Tashkent addressing the possible establishment of a so-called Operative Reaction Center in Uzbekistan, which could accommodate warehouses storing weapons and military hardware following the U.S. forces’ withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

Such a scenario is “quite probable,” Sazhin said.

“A tentative decision on this matter was most likely adopted before Mr. Karimov [Uzbek President Islam Karimov] turned his back on Russia once again – too many overseas visitors traveled there,” the expert said.

Uzbekistan quit the Collective Security Treaty Organization in June 2012.

“The deployment of such an American facility, no matter what they call it, will entail negative political and economic consequences both for Russia and the Central Asian region in general,” he said.

“Although Americans claims that they are fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan today, it will be them who, by deploying their facility in Uzbekistan, will lead Taliban members there,” Sazhin said.

“Taliban ideologists will inevitably take advantage of the American presence in Uzbekistan to fuel anti-American sentiments among the local population and win some of them over to their side. As a result, anti-American sentiments will spill over into anti-government demonstrations, ” the Russian expert said.

“This problem also has a military-economic component. Americans know how to count money. It is more profitable for them to store weapons withdrawn from Afghanistan nearby than drag them all the way to [America],” he said.

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NATO Inadvertently Kills TTP Commander Cloistered In Afghanistan Refuge

[That’s the problem with bombing near your secret allies–sometimes your bombs kill the wrong people (SEE: The Real War –vs– The Illusions).  The TTP were brought into action against the Pak Army, not  against NATO.  The Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan enclave in Afghanistan was intended to be a hide-out from Pakistani attackers, not Western ones.  In case anyone still wonders about the Pakistani Taliban, they are an American-sponsored organization, intended to create a mirror image set-up along the Durand Line, creating a “safe haven” in Afghanistan for anti-Pakistan fighters, which would be the equivalent of the Afghan Taliban’s safe area Pakistan’s tribal region (SEE:  NW Afghanistan, Where Afghan and Pakistani Taliban Stage Mass Assaults Together In Govt. Vacuum).]  

Nato airstrike kills Maulvi Dadullah among 13 in Afghanistan


The strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province killed Maulvi Dadullah, the self-proclaimed Taliban leader in Pakistan’s Bajur tribal area that lies across the border, late Friday afternoon, coalition spokesman Maj Martyn Crighton said.    – File Photo by AFP


KABUL: A Nato airstrike in eastern Afghanistan targeting a group of insurgents near the Pakistani border killed at least 13 militants including Taliban leader Maulvi Dadullah on Friday, the international military coalition said.  

Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP) spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan confirmed that Amir of the Taliban in Bajaur, Maulvi Dadullah had been killed in the Nato strike along with 12 other militants.

Dadullah reportedly took over after Bajur’s former Pakistani Taliban leader, Maulvi Faqir Mohammed, fled to Afghanistan to avoid Pakistani army operations.

He had reportedly claimed responsibility for last year’s kidnapping of 30 children who had mistakenly crossed the Pak-Afghan border and also on many attacks against security forces and government installations.

Ahsanullah Ahsan while talking to DawnNews exclusively said that Maulvi Abu Bakr had been appointed the caretaker Amir of the TTP.

The TTP spokesman added that the Taliban had plans to attack high profile targets in the country but refused to give further details on the pretext of security concerns.

It added that Dadullah’s deputy, identified only as Shakir, was also killed in the strike.

The strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province killed Maulvi Dadullah, the self-proclaimed Taliban leader in Pakistan’s Bajur tribal area that lies across the border, late Friday afternoon, coalition spokesman Maj Martyn Crighton said.

Crighton would not say whether an unmanned drone or manned aircraft had launched the missiles.

Pakistani intelligence officials said Dadullah and 19 others were killed in the attack. Initially, they said the strike was on Pakistani territory, but later they conceded it was in Afghanistan.

Conflicting reports out of the rugged and remote regions along the Afghan-Pakistan border are common shortly after an attack.

Kunar provincial official Aslam Gul Mujahid said the airstrike killed 20 people, including Dadullah.

It was unclear whether Pakistani and coalition officials coordinated the strike or whether Nato fired on the militants after noticing activity on the border.

However, Crighton said there was no coordination between Pakistani and coalition military leaders on the airstrike. ”This was an independent operation and not associated with any others,” he said.

Zahir Shah Sherazi contributing to reporting for the story

The Same People Who Claim the U.S. Is Leaving Afghanistan, Claim Uzbek Base Rumor Is Russian Disinformation

Sabotage?–Deadly explosion rocks Venezuela’s biggest refinery

Deadly explosion rocks Venezuela’s biggest refinery

An explosion caused by a gas leak rocked a refinery in western Venezuela early Saturday, killing at least 19 people and injuring dozens, an official said. Amateur footage posted on YouTube showed the refinery engulfed in a ball of flames.

Deadly explosion rocks Venezuela's biggest refinery
AP – A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery early Saturday, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 50 others in the deadliest disaster in memory in the country’s key oil industry.

Balls of fire rose over the Amuay refinery, one of the largest in the world, in video posted on the Internet by people who were nearby at the time.

Those killed included a 10-year-old boy, and at least 53 people were injured, Falcon state Gov. Stella Lugo said on state television. She said firefighters had controlled the flames at the refinery on the Paraguana Peninsula in western Venezuela, where large clouds of smoke were rising.


Posted on YouTube by ‘TavoTillTheWorldEnds’.


“The areas that had to be evacuated were evacuated,” Lugo said, according to the state-run Venezuelan News Agency.” The situation is controlled. Of course they’re still a fire rising very high, but … the specialists tell me there is no risk of another explosion.”

The blast occurred after 1 a.m. when a gas leak created a cloud that ignited, Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said. Some nearby houses were damaged by the blast, he said on television.

“That gas generated a cloud that later exploded and has caused fires in at least two tanks of the refinery and surrounding areas,” Ramirez said on state television. “The blast wave was of a significant magnitude.”

Images in state media showed the flames casting an orange glow against the night sky. One photograph showed an injured man being wheeled away on a stretcher.

Ramirez said oil workers will determine what caused the gas leak and were inspecting the damage along with troops. He said supplies of fuel had been cut off to the part of the refinery that was still in flames.

Troops were securing the area at the refinery, Lugo said. Vice President Elias Jaua said on his Twitter account that the military was deployed to the area and that air ambulances were dispatched to ferry the wounded. The defense minister was traveling to the refinery along with Ramirez and other officials, Jaua said.

Amuay is part of the Paraguana Refinery Complex, which also includes the adjacent Cardon refinery. Together, the two refineries process about 900,000 barrels of crude a day and 200,000 barrels of gasoline.

It was unclear to what extent the explosion might affect oil shipments from Venezuela, a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

State Dept. Formulates Guidelines for Avoiding Accidental Nuclear War In Central Asian Contest with Russia

[Many thanks to the folks at Larouche-PAC for pointing-out the following publication from our beloved State Dept.  The assembled American experts have assessed our current path and sought to define rules of engagement that would prevent a miscalculation by the Imperial planners, which would accidentally unleash thermonuclear war with Russia.  This topic is urgently relevant to the currently unfolding American co-opting of the Uzbek and Tajik governments, as well as the further division of Kyrgyzstan between East and West.

The solution proposed by these “genius” planners is to hopelessly intertwine the US and Russia, through cooperation on issues of economic trade and drug control in Central Asia ( Beneficial interdependence ), so that neither side would contemplate finding answers in a nuclear exchange.]

“Along these lines, Gen (ret.) James Cartwright has suggested the concept of ‘entanglement’ as having beneficial aspects.” 


Report on

Mutual Assured Stability: Essential Components and Near Term Actions


A definition for the desired end state was developed:

A relationship among nations and international organizations (such as the European Union) in which nuclear weapons are no longer a central feature for their security, deterrence based on nuclear destruction is no longer necessary, and the likelihood of nuclear war is treated as remote because their relationship is free of major, core security issues such as ideological, territorial, or natural resource competition issues, and the benefits from peaceful integration in economic, political, and diplomatic spheres provide a counterbalance to the perceived advantages of nuclear conflict.


Beneficial interdependence: Interdependence in humanitarian and economic, as well as national security realms contributes to the benefits of mutual assured stability. Along these lines, Gen (ret.) James Cartwright has suggested the concept of “entanglement” as having beneficial aspects. Candidate actions are:

o Increase economic interdependence and investment. Russia agrees to measures of transparency on trade and investment from abroad (reciprocal action); specific actions include:
–Ending Jackson-Vanik restrictions;
–Finalizing WTO membership;
o Extend collaboration with Russia to stop drug trafficking from and through Afghanistan; develop collaboration on promotion of healthy lifestyles;
o Develop further collaborations with Russia on infectious disease (e.g. TB) preventive health promotion;
o Establish cooperation in science & technology (S&T) for safe, secure oil and gas transport, oil and gas exploration, and recovery; and
o Establish science and technology (S&T) cooperation in nanotechnology, pharmaceutical research, and other areas of common interest.


Appendix A – Summary of Recommendations
Recommendation 1. Conduct strategic stability talks with Russia to address matters of force structure, posture, and doctrine to avoid strategic surprise or misunderstanding.
Recommendation 2. Conduct talks with Russia to develop a common understanding of the essential components necessary for mutual assured stability, and a plan for building these components and achieving this new relationship.
Recommendation 3. Conduct a joint U.S.-Russia review of the requirements for national and multinational missile defense in the coming years as missile technology continues to spread, with the goal of achieving a shared understanding of each nation’s requirements for effective missile defense.
Recommendation 4. Change U.S. doctrine and posture away from defining our nuclear posture based on perception of Russia as the primary threat, toward a doctrine of general deterrence, a posture in which attacks from any direction are discouraged without singling out a particular adversary or enemy (reciprocal action required).
Recommendation 5. Continue the Nuclear Security Summit process, with its focus on securing nuclear materials and preventing nuclear smuggling.
Recommendation 6. Conduct talks with Russia for developing a mutual understanding of each other’s motivation for the possession of nuclear weapons, including tactical and hedge/reserve weapons; engage Russia via the NATO-Russia Council, particularly in dialogue on the motivations for tactical nuclear forces.
Recommendation 7. Work together with Russia on standardization of classification guidelines for nuclear-related information (to avoid conflict regarding sharing of data because of differences between U.S. and Russian classification guidelines).
A-2. Summary of Recommendations
Recommendation 8. Work jointly on the definition of a “gold standard” in technologies and best practices for nuclear materiel security, based on CTR work; the creation of a process for continuous evolution of the standard based on changes in threat, technology improvement, and changes in other circumstances; and the development of associated transparency measures for mutual assurance.
Recommendation 9. Conduct talks to define appropriate and acceptable measures useful to influence other nations toward responsible nuclear materiel security, using an appropriately tailored standard.
Recommendation 10. Develop agreements on sharing early warning data with Russia and using satellites to jointly monitor ballistic missile launches (reciprocal action required).
Recommendation 11. Develop agreement with Russia to give five-year advance notice on deployment of new nuclear systems (reciprocal action required).
Recommendation 12. Declare fissile material stocks to each other.
Recommendation 13. Develop a U.S.-Russia understanding on how each would act or not act if a nuclear weapon was used anywhere else in the world.
Recommendation 14. Increase U.S.-Russia economic interdependence and investment, including ending Jackson-Vanik restrictions; develop agreement with Russia for greater transparency on trade and investment from abroad (reciprocal action required).
Recommendation 15. Extend collaboration with Russia to stop drug trafficking from and through Afghanistan; develop collaboration on promotion of healthy lifestyles.
Recommendation 16. Develop further collaborations with Russia on infectious disease (e.g. TB) preventive health promotion.
A-3. Summary of Recommendations
Recommendation 17. Establish cooperation with Russia in science & technology (S&T) for safe, secure oil and gas transport, oil and gas exploration, and recovery.
Recommendation 18. Establish S&T cooperation with Russia in nanotechnology, pharmaceutical research, and other areas of common interest.

Mexican shooting wounds two US embassy staff

Mexican shooting wounds two US embassy staff

Forensic personnel check a US diplomatic vehicle attacked with gunfire in the Tres Marias-Huitzilac highway in Morelos, Mexico. (AFP/Nuvia Reyes)

MORELOS, Mexico: Mexican federal police shot at a US diplomatic car as they chased criminals south of Mexico City on Friday, in a chaotic incident that left two US embassy employees wounded.

The two staffers, along with a Mexican marine accompanying them, were treated for their wounds at a hospital and were out of danger, the Mexican and US governments said, in separate statements.

The Mexican navy and public security ministry said federal police officers were conducting anti-crime operations in the area when the incident took place.

The US embassy trio were heading to a military installation in the town of El Capulin when they were approached by a vehicle whose unidentified passengers displayed weapons, the navy and ministry said in a joint statement.

“The driver of the diplomatic vehicle used evasive manoeuvres and when it returned on the highway, the passengers in the attacking vehicle opened fire on the diplomatic vehicle,” the statement said.

“Moments later three other vehicles joined the chase and shot at the US embassy vehicle,” it said.

The statement did not specify who the four attacking vehicles belonged to, or whether it was police bullets that wounded the three victims.

It said, however, that the US diplomatic car “was hit by multiple bullets from personnel of the federal police on the Tres Marias-Huitzilac highway.”

Photos at the scene showed an SUV with diplomatic plates riddled with bullet holes and its tires blown out.

The shooting took pace in the state of Morelos, which has suffered a surge in murders in recent weeks amid a turf war between drug cartels. The bodies of four women were found on another highway near Cuernavaca last week.

Mexico is in the throes of a violent drug war that has left more than 50,000 people dead since President Felipe Calderon deployed soldiers to combat cartels in 2006.

The United States cooperates closely with Mexico under the $1.6 billion Merida Initiative, which provides training for Mexican law enforcement officials as well as equipment to combat drug trafficking.

The US State Department said in a brief statement that the two embassy employees had received “appropriate medical care and are in stable condition.”

“We are working with Mexican authorities to investigate an incident this morning in which two employees of our embassy in Mexico City came under attack by unknown assailants,” said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.

The two wounded employees were taken to a hospital in the city of Cuernavaca, some 90 kilometres south of Mexico City, the Mexican official said on condition of anonymity.

The newspaper Reforma, citing Mexican marine sources, identified the US citizens as Jess Hoods Garner, 49, and Stan Dove Boss, 50.

After the shooting, the army and the police closed a 10-kilometre stretch of highway as well as access to a wooded area around the scene of the incident near the town of Tres Marias.

The road, which has a heavy police presence, is used by Mexico City residents on weekend trips to Cuernavaca, a tourist destination known as “The City of Eternal Spring” and home to a pre-Hispanic temple.

The incident came 18 months after two US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were shot while driving in a car between Mexico City and the northern city of Monterrey in February 2011.

One of the agents, Jaime Zapata, died in the attack by members of the feared Los Zetas cartel.

– AFP/de

Russian Press Reports US Acquiring Uzbek Military Base After 2014

U.S. Uzbekistan negotiates with the creation of a rapid reaction center after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014, reports Russian daily Kommersant today.

“This is the largest U.S. military base in Central Asia,” said the newspaper citing Uzbek Foreign Ministry sources.

The center would coordinate military actions in the event of a worsening of the situation after the withdrawal of Allied troops from Afghanistan.

U.S. and the regime of Islam Karimov in Tashkent in power for more than 20 years, still negotiating how many American soldiers will integrate the military base.

The center will serve as a storehouse for weapons and military equipment are now used by the allied coalition in Afghan territory, part of which will be transferred to the Uzbek armed forces.

Within the last NATO summit in Chicago and both parties signed an agreement on the transit of military cargoes.

In addition, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in a sign of goodwill Uzbekistan has excluded the black list of countries with which they can cooperate militarily because of its human rights violations.

In November 2005, Karimov ordered U.S. forces to leave the Uzbek military base in Karshi-Janabad, where they were in 2001.

Karimov was reacting to criticism from the White House for the May 2005 killing of hundreds of civilians in violent popular uprising in Andijan.

According to Kommersant, Russia has received with concern the news of a possible opening of a new U.S. military base in Central Asia, a region that the Kremlin considers its backyard.

“Our partners Uzbeks should carefully consider all the possible consequences of the expansion of cooperation with the U.S. military,” said a diplomatic source coaster.

In principle, the U.S. must leave the Manas air base in neighboring Kyrgyzstan, where he works for years a transit center in 2014.

Both Russia and China and Iran have called on Washington to date your military presence in Central Asia, a region that hosts major energy resources.

U.S. received permission from Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan to build a corridor through their territories, in order to get supplies to its troops in Afghanistan.

USArmy Corps of Engineers Holds Seminars for Counternarcotics Projects In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan

WINCHESTER, Va. – The U.S. Marine Corps once used the slogan, “We’re looking for a few good men.”

Recently, representatives from the Middle East District went to two countries in the Central Asian States looking for a few good contractors.

To support the U.S. Central Command’s counternarcotics program in Central Asia, district project managers, contracting officers and specialists, and area office personnel are conducting design reviews, participating in bid awareness seminars, and awarding contracts in the region.

The counternarcotics program, which totals approximately $12 million in fiscal year 2012, focuses on improving border crossings in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, according to Robert Strom, program manager, Support for Others Branch. The projects are primarily border crossing facilities or training complexes to help the host nations carry out their efforts to counter trafficking in narcotics.

USCENTCOM conducts security cooperation exchanges with Central Asian nations, including military education and training, global peacekeeping operations initiatives, counternarcotics assistance, and civil military cooperation programs, according to a USCENTCOM release. The programs are important for building security capabilities and maintaining regional security.

“We have 11 projects in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan to award this fiscal year,” Strom said. “The projects are relatively small and are spread out over dispersed locations. Because of the value of the contracts, we expect local firms will be competitive for the work. To help get local companies prepared, we worked with the U.S. Embassy in both locations to set up bid awareness seminars.”

Getting assistance from the embassy staffs was critical for this outreach effort, according to Mike Weaver, deputy for small business. “The embassy made the arrangements for a suitable location for the seminars, advertised them, and hired translators to help during the presentations.

“These types of seminars help to educate local contractors about our contracting processes,” Weaver said. “Contractors must understand our requirements and how to do business with the Army Corps of Engineers in order to submit good proposals. Quality proposals help us make successful contract awards. And that’s our goal: projects that are constructed by successful contractors.”

Helping contractors understand U.S. contracting processes

During the bid awareness seminars in May, Strom, Weaver, and Dr. Khaled Masoud, chief of the United Arab Emirates/Central Asian States Area Office, spoke to contractors about how to prepare acceptable proposals. Counternarcotics project managers from the U.S. Embassy also attended these sessions.

More than 65 representatives, mostly construction contractors from 28 companies, attended the seminar in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The seminar in Almaty, Kazakhstan, brought 22 registered participants from nine construction companies.

Strom opened both seminars with a projection of timelines for each phase of the process, starting with the planning and design phase and continuing through construction completion. He described each project’s location, scope of work and a rough estimated value, as well as legal considerations, ethics, and contract law authority that contractors must abide by in U.S. government contracting.

Weaver then defined acquisition terms, registration and solicitation processes, bonding requirements, and Defense Base Act Insurance to participants. He described procedures for submitting proposals and finished by describing source selection and evaluation processes.

Masoud briefed attendees about site visits and post-award considerations, including the notice to proceed, preconstruction conference, submittals, mobilization, resource management tools, quality control, construction issues, and contract closeout.

The second day of both seminars was arranged so prospective companies could meet face-to-face with U.S. government officials to ask questions, get clarifications, or discuss issues and concerns.

Among those concerns, according to Weaver, was “the registration process in the Central Contractors Registration database, called CCR, that all contractors working with DOD have to overcome. While it is not a complicated process, it could prove a little difficult or confusing for international companies,” he said.

Other agencies were invited to attend the seminars to increase professional networking, Weaver said. Those included the Defense Logistics Agency, which handles material and supply, and U.S. Central Command Joint Theater Support Contracting Command.

“The USACE bid seminar in Almaty was an outstanding event,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Jones, C-JTSCC. “There was a great deal of excitement from the vendors’ perspectives as they seemed eager to conduct business with the U.S. government. The lead contracting officer (Weaver) provided invaluable information on conducting business with the U.S. government. C-JTSCC will look to emulate this event in its own future bid seminars.”

Representatives of Kaznex, the authority responsible for licensing and regulating products and services suppliers in Kazakhstan, also attended.

“Everyone in attendance learned something new and seemed satisfied with their time investment,” Masoud said.

Conducting Design Reviews with Using Agencies

With the schedule set for the bid awareness seminars, the opportunity existed to simultaneously conduct the design reviews with the host nations’ using agencies and the Embassy counternarcotics program managers.

“We’re at the 95 percent design review stage,” Strom said, “so it was necessary for our architect, Dave Colberg, and the architect-engineer firm, Louis Berger Group, to sit down with the using agencies to make sure the design documents meet their requirements before we put them out for bid.”

The users included the host nations’ customs offices, canine training centers and border patrol agencies.

The Louis Berger Group, led by Jim Stroup, presented 11 facilities that will help Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan increase their capabilities for combating drug trafficking, such as border posts, scanning facilities and canine training centers, according to Weaver.

Each project review consisted of project background and an introduction of the site and architectural plans, followed by the common approaches of the various systems including civil, mechanical, fire protection, and electrical systems and sources, Weaver said. The using agencies provided feedback and each meeting concluded with consensus.

The group also discussed related topics, including site access, badging, security and the weather, a key consideration in construction scheduling in this region, according to Strom.

In addition to the trips in May, other Middle East District headquarters team members are traveling to Central Asia to support the counternarcotics projects.

A team recently traveled to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, to award a $3.7 million contract for a national training center, and an electrical engineer performed a construction assessment in May for canine training centers in Shymkent and Taraz, Kazakhstan. These canine training centers were awarded in the fiscal year 2010 program and are nearly complete.

The Middle East District’s field offices in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan – and the embassy counternarcotics program managers – routinely support and participate in the site visits, customer meetings and contracting activities, Ballard said.

During the May meetings in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, representatives of the host nations expressed their appreciation for U.S. assistance with the counternarcotics projects, according to Weaver.

“And they spoke favorably of the relationship between their governments and the United States,” he said.

US Army Corps. of Engineers Helping To Build Better Police States In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan

[SEE:  Smashing Greater Central Asia I, II, III, IV]

USACE supports Defense Department’s counternarcotics strategy in Central Asia

Story by Joan Kibler  

Building for counternarcotics program in Central Asia
The Middle East District, through its Kazakhstan Resident Office, is completing kennel facilities at three locations in that country. Kennel facilities help Central Asian States counter trafficking in narcotics.

WINCHESTER, Va. – Consider that proceeds from illicit drug trafficking can help finance insurgent attacks against U.S. soldiers, help an ill-intentioned group destabilize a friendly nation, or arm pirates with high-powered weapons, and it is clear why the Department of Defense is investing in a strong, sustained counternarcotics program.

The Defense Department’s far-reaching counternarcotics strategy calls for government agencies to build the capacity of Central Asian partners to secure their borders and prevent illicit drugs from entering, and ill-gotten proceeds from exiting, their region. At the next level, combatant commands are responsible for developing their counternarcotics strategic plans in line with the DOD policy.

The Middle East District’s counternarcotics program in Central Asia is accomplished at the behest of U.S. Central Command, with active projects at multiple locations in Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

“CENTCOM Operations Directorate is our customer, and the program has several stakeholders as well,” said Robert Strom, program manager, Support for Others Branch. “We can’t accomplish this work without the close cooperation of the U.S. Embassy staffs in those countries, particularly the Office of Military Cooperation. Several organizations within the host nations are also stakeholders – such as their customs offices, border patrol agencies, and canine training centers. We’ve formed good partnerships with these agencies to make sure we’re building facilities that meet their needs.”

The projects are border crossing facilities or training complexes to help the host nations carry out their efforts to counter trafficking in narcotics, according to Strom.

“The locations for these border facilities are often mountainous or remote,” he said, “and there may be multiple facilities constructed in a specific country. The purpose is to enable these countries to have control at their borders.”

The district’s first efforts in the counternarcotics program started in fiscal year 2010, with a project inherited from the Afghanistan Engineer District and a rushed schedule to award five contracts.

The early program proved problematic for several reasons, including the contractors’ inexperience with working on U.S. government contracts and the district’s inability to get sufficient “eyes on the project.”

Strom pointed out that those early efforts netted a number of lessons learned, resulting in corrective action for managing the counternarcotics program.

“We are improving our program management by sending charrette teams to the sites to develop the planning and programming reports,” Strom said.

In early 2011, the district’s Engineering Division contracted the Louis Berger Group to develop reports for various projects in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Depending on site requirements, projects may consist of new construction, repair, or a combination of the two. Louis Berger delivered programming documents, cost estimates, draft site plans, conceptual floor plans, and furniture and equipment lists, where applicable, for several projects. These documents helped define the requirements for the fiscal year 2012 program.

“We also learned that we need to do a better job of educating local contractors about U.S. government contracting processes and Corps of Engineers construction requirements,” Strom said. “We’ve hosted multiple contractor awareness sessions. We also learned that we need to require offerors to provide their construction licensing as part of their proposals; we have to be sure they’re qualified to do the work.”

The district also put additional resources on the program. In addition to Strom, John Ballard serves as a project manager for several counternarcotics projects. James Slomer started out as the lead architect until deploying for a separate mission, at which point David Colberg stepped into the role. Contracting Division dedicated Dan Hanas and Peter DeMattei to the program.

And then there’s the Construction Operations side.

The district now has a resident office at Manas Transit Center in Kyrgyzstan, which also oversees counternarcotics work in that nation, and project offices in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan established specifically for the counternarcotics work. Host nation citizens serve as project engineers and administrative assistants in these locations.

The field office staffs are supported by Construction Operations employees in Winchester – such as construction managers, contract administration staff, and quality assurance inspectors.

“Delivering these projects successfully requires the expertise of so many disciplines – from civil and structural engineers, to construction representatives, to contracting officers and specialists, attorneys and project managers,” Ballard said. “These are small projects that need a piece of everyone’s efforts to make them successful.”

“When I learned that the district had the mission to construct these small counternarcotics projects in Central Asia, I wanted the opportunity to oversee them,” said Dr. Khaled Masoud, chief of the United Arab Emirates/Central Asian States Area Office. “We have many stakeholders interested in the success of these projects because of their importance to the defense of their countries, as well as ours.”

Strom said that the district is working much closer with CENTCOM Operations Directorate and the Offices of Military Cooperation to improve their customer satisfaction.

Projects nearly complete include kennel facilities in Kazakhstan and border facility upgrades in Kyrgyzstan.

Because of contractor performance issues in the fiscal year 2010 program, the district took corrective action by terminating contracts and re-awarding the work, as necessary. Two projects in Tajikistan were re-awarded: a $546,856 contract to finish two border guard posts (in April) and a $3.7 million national training center (in July).

The district expects to award three contracts for projects in Kazakhstan and four contracts for projects in Kyrgyzstan, representing 11 separate projects, by the end of the fiscal year.

The Unsecured Borders of the Stans

[In the photo above, the ditch is the border…someone moved enough gravel to bridge it with a foot path.  In the photo below this blurb, we see an Uzbek outpost, consisting of narrow bridge guard tower and metal shack.  (Thanks to photojournalist Catherine Ivashchenko for these fine, hard to acquire pictures of the problems.)  Perfect examples of the problems controlling cross-border traffic in Central Asia.  US forces are coming to the area to put an end to all of that.  Their operations will be under the rubric of  “counter-narcotics.’  CENTCOM is taking-on a monumental task in helping Tajikistan secure its borders.]  

Whose water, whose land … How is life in the disputed border areas of Kyrgyzstan


Catherine Ivashchenko

Rights to photos of the author

Kyrgyzstan has a 371 kilometer undocumented sites borders with Uzbekistan andTajikistan. This 58 sites that could potentially at any time become a source of conflict, including the loss of human life. So, a few weeks ago on the border with Uzbekistan, there was another conflict, two people were killed and two were wounded. “Fergana” already written about why the twenty years of independence have failed to solve the problems undocumented border. The correspondent of “Fergana” Catherine Ivashchenko went to press tour in Jalal-Abad and Batken regions to see how people live in the disputed border areas and the challenges faced.

Press tour was organized with the support of the Peace and Development Programme UNDP. The project has a regional dimension and aims to strengthen cross-border cooperation to conflict prevention in the border communities of the three countries.  (READ HERE)

American Economic Psyop for Tajikistan Creates Visions of Shiny Tractors and Automobiles

[The purpose of such American economic demonstration projects as this farmers’ showcase, or new Cadillac dealerships, is to increase popular demand for an “American way of life.”  It becomes a question of choosing to go with the Americans, instead of the Russians, thanks to the ongoing economic psyop.  Envisioning oneself sitting atop a shiny new American tractor, or inside a new American car creates dissatisfaction with the status quo.]

U.S. helped to open shop in northern Tajikistan agricultural products


Specialist in general programs of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Lyle Andrews Bashan participated in the grand opening of agricultural goods store in the village Shaidon Asht Sughd.

As the “AP” in the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe, the store was opened in the framework of strengthening stability in Tajikistan (PPST). The program aims to ensure regional farmers certified resources, such as fertilizers, pesticides, seeds, and offer high-quality farm equipment, including tools and small tractors.

PPST program is committed to strengthening stability in the rural areas of Tajikistan through the dissemination of best management practices and the participation of “disadvantaged” or living in remote areas of the groups in the economic and social regeneration. The program works with the community to solve problems in more than 63 rural communities in Sughd, Rasht and Tavildara and southern Khatlon region.

Program to improve the stability in Tajikistan is one of the many development programs implemented by the American people through USAID. Since 1992, the U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe has provided about $ 984 million in programs that support the development of democratic institutions, education, health and economic growth in Tajikistan.

New Pipeline and Airport Reconstruction Near Issyk-Kul Site of Recent Terror

[SEE:  Murder and Terrorism In Ili-Alatau National Park Linked To Strategic Plant Near Almaty, Kazakhstan? ;More Murder and Intrigue On Lake Issyk-Kul On Kyrgyz/Kazakh Border ]

Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan offers Azerbaijan to invest in the construction of the airport in Tamchy village of Issyk-Kul province

23/08-2012 12:23, Bishkek – news agency , by Darya PODOLSKAYA

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov offered Azerbaijan to invest in the construction of the airport in Tamchy village of Issyk-Kul province. He announced this at the meeting with his Azerbaijanian colleague Artur Tahir oğlu Rasizada. The Kyrgyz Information Policy Department for the Government’s Office informs.

Reportedly, Azerbaijanian Prime Minister was interested in the airport renovation project. Omurbek Babanov noted that a package of major investment projects had been submitted to the Azerbaijanian party. Opening of Azerbaijanian branch banks in Kyrgyzstan is among them.

Construction of joint Kyrgyz-Azerbaijanian-Kazakh oil pipeline and oil refinery and founding of the Kyrgyz-Azerbaijanian Investment Fund was discussed during negotiations as well.

The guest stressed that Azerbaijan was willing to invest in mutually beneficial projects. Artur Tahir oğlu Rasizada added a stable socio-political environment should be in Kyrgyzstan to attract investment.

The Prime Ministers also discussed holding of a large Kyrgyz-Azerbaijanian Investment Forum in the Kyrgyz Republic.

Sounds Like the People of Khorog Decided To Go Home and Government Forces Agreed To Let Them Go

In Khorog signed the first “global” agreement

Protesters in the square Vahdat, the administration building in Khorog, parted on the eve of August 23, just before midnight. As the correspondent of “AP” from Khorog, the demonstrators gathered to protest after the murder of the informal leader of Badakhshan Imomnazar Imomnazarova, until recently, did not believe that the new arrangements will be implemented.

Recall, on the eve between the security forces, mediation team-20, members of the City Council of Khorog, clergy and activists of the city signed an agreement, which was the first since the beginning of operation in the administrative center of Badakhshan – July 24. Previously, all the arrangements were oral.

The agreement, according to the correspondent of the “AP”, signed to address the socio-political and economic situation in Badakhshan, consists of three parts.

According to the first paragraph, all the participants of last unsanctioned demonstration should be exempt from liability for participating in an illegal rally.

According to the second paragraph of the agreement – after signing the rally will be stopped, and all participants will leave the area.

The third item requires translation of all the military forces that are around residential areas of the city, the military unit stationed in Khorog, in the future to consider the full withdrawal of troops to their places of permanent deployment.

“Some of the protesters said they no longer believe the agreements, and are willing to sit in the square until the troops will not go further Kalai-Khumbu (the administrative center of Darwaza). But then it was decided to establish the headquarters of the persons who signed the agreement. This headquarters, which became operational today, will work on the implementation of the third paragraph.Only after that the protesters returned to their homes, “- the correspondent of” AP “.

Today in Khorog calm, the local administration has started to put in order the Wahdat area where residents rallied almost two days.

Turkish Bomb Blast Someone’s Attempt To Merge Kurdish Zone With So-Called “Free Syrian Army Enclave”

[There is a long list of possible suspects.  Whose bomb was it?]  

Turkey blames Kurd rebels for blast

The Associated Press

police gazientep
Firefighters seen with burning cars after an explosion near a police station in southern Turkish city of Gaziantep, Turkey, late Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. Turkish media reported at least eight people were killed and dozens were wounded amid an escalation in fighting between Kurdish rebels and Turkish security forces. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in southeastern Turkey near the Syrian border, where tens of thousands of refugees who have fled the civil war in their country are sheltering in Turkish camps. (AP Photo/IHA) TURKEY OUT

Associated Press

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Turkish government blamed a Kurdish rebel group Wednesday for a bomb attack that killed nine people near the Syrian border, amid concerns by ruling party officials that the militants may be developing links with the regime in Syria, and its civil war could have a destabilizing effect on Turkey.

The explosion in the southern city of Gaziantep on Monday followed an escalation in fighting between Turkish forces and the rebel Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which had close ties in the 1990s to then Syrian President Hafez Assad — current leader Bashar Assad’s father. Turkey, which seeks the ouster of Assad, is sheltering nearly 70,000 Syrian refugees and has urged the United Nations to set up camps inside Syria for the displaced, a step that would require the intervention of a security force and pose a direct challenge to Syrian authorities.

Some commentators, however, have warned that Turkey misjudged the resilience of the Assad regime and is being pulled into a wider conflict with implications for the most vexing issue on its domestic agenda — a resolution of the state’s conflict with Turkish Kurds who want self-rule in the mostly Kurdish southeast part of the country. The PKK has denied involvement in the Gaziantep blast, which numbered several children among the dead on a Muslim holiday, but Turkish officials, including President Abdullah Gul, cited the group’s hand in similar attacks as a sign that it was the likely perpetrator.

‘‘The incident is totally the work of the PKK,’’ said Gaziantep governor Erdal Ata. ‘‘Certain information has been attained. It may not be right to share it now, but evidence is being assessed.’’

Anadolu, Turkey’s state-run news agency, said anti-terrorism police detained four suspects in the neighboring province of Sanliurfa on Tuesday. They were taken to Gaziantep for questioning.

The threat of spillover from the Syrian conflict and its sectarian undertones has already been seen in Lebanon, the scene of clashes between supporters and opponents of Assad. It now appears Syrian Kurds are taking advantage of the chaos to take steps toward autonomy. Turkey fears the PKK, which includes many Kurds of Syrian origin, is also moving into the power vacuum there, possibly with the cooperation of regime elements who want to blunt Turkish efforts to dislodge them.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said any alleged link between the PKK and the Syrian regime in the Gaziantep bombing would be investigated, while Huseyin Celik, deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party, said there were connections between Kurdish rebels and Syrian intelligence.

‘‘The PKK is an organization that is capable of carrying out such an attack on its own, but could it have had supporters in such an attack? It’s possible,’’ he said in an interview with Hurriyet newspaper that was published Tuesday. ‘‘After all, Assad, acting on the premise that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ is in a tendency to regard Turkey’s enemy, the PKK, as its friend. We don’t have full information yet, but even if it is a guess, such a link is a probability.’’

Relations between Turkey and Iran, a supporter of Assad, are strained because they back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war. Iran, which also has a Kurdish minority, has fought the Iranian wing of the PKK and in that sense shared a common fight with Turkey, a NATO member that has often conducted air strikes against militant camps in northern Iraq.

But Iran fiercely opposes Turkish backing for the Syrian political opposition and army defectors who organize from the safety of Turkish camps along the Syrian border. A short commentary on Iranian state television earlier this week hinted at a possible link between the Syrian conflict and the blast in Gaziantep, which lies 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the Syrian city of Aleppo, where regime forces and the rebel Free Syrian Army are battling for control.

‘‘The site of the explosion is close to the Syrian border and Aleppo,’’ the commentary said. ‘‘It seems that Syria’s trouble is going to sink Turkey, which supported Syria’s turmoil, actively.’’

A Kurdish political party in Turkey that has been accused of acting as a political front for the PKK also criticized the Turkish government’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, saying in a statement Tuesday that it was dragging the country ‘‘toward this perilous tide in the Middle East’’ at the expense of efforts to secure a domestic peace. On Tuesday night, the Gaziantep office of the Kurdish party, Peace and Democracy, was attacked by demonstrators who blamed Kurdish rebels for the bombing. The building’s sign and windows were broken before security forces dispersed the crowd.

The government has launched economic initiatives and granted more cultural rights to Kurds while maintaining, along with its Western allies, that the PKK is a terrorist organization. Many in the Kurdish minority, who make up about 20 percent of Turkey’s 75 million people, say their grievances have not been fully addressed and that their leaders are vulnerable to prosecution.

In another twist to the long Kurdish conflict, a bus carrying soldiers plunged down an embankment in southeast Turkey on Tuesday, killing 10 people, including nine servicemen. Turkish media said the soldiers were to provide security for a Kurdish politician who planned to visit some of the families of 34 villagers who were mistaken for Kurdish rebels and killed in an air strike in late 2011.

Associated Press writer Suzan Fraser contributed from Ankara, Turkey.end of story marker

Pakistani Taliban Claim Inside Info On Imminent August 26 Army Raid Into North Waziristan

Taliban dare Pakistan army over raids in North Waziristan


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani Taliban has warned that it would use a team of bombers to target troops if an operation is launched against militants in the restive North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

In a statement emailed to the media, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan spokesman Ihsanullah Ihsan said his organization had learnt that the Pakistan army had drawn up plans for an operation in North Waziristan Agency in the near future. The Taliban are prepared to mount a fitting response to any operations, Ihsan said on Monday.

“TTP has also prepared itself for resistance, we have set up a suicide bombers squad to welcome the army. We will defeat our enemy, who is defending the un-Islamic system of Pakistan by (hitting) them back hard,” Ihsan said.

Ihsan further claimed that his group had received an “exclusive” intelligence report about the operation in North Waziristan from “sources” in the army headquarters. He gave details of the regiments and units and that would participate in the campaign, which he said would be launched on August 26 and would last one month.

There was no official word on the Taliban’s claims.

The US has been pushing Pakistan to act against Taliban and al-Qaida elements in North Waziristan for a long time. Defence secretary Leon Panetta recently claimed Pakistan was preparing an operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan. However, Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani said that his forces will undertake an operation in North Waziristan “at a timeframe of our choosing and determined only by our political and military requirements”.

U.S. official summoned after drone rampage over Eid

U.S. official summoned after drone rampage over Eid


Pakistan on Thursday summoned a senior official of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to register its protest over the flurry of drone attacks in North Waziristan right through the Eid holidays.

Since last Saturday — when the festivities began after the month of fasting — unmanned drones operated by the CIA fired missiles on the tribal agency on four days; even attacking the same target twice.

“The U.S. Embassy was today démarched on recent drone strikes in North Waziristan. A senior U.S. diplomat was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and informed that the drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It was emphatically stated that such attacks were unacceptable,” said the Foreign Office in a statement.

After the first attack on Saturday, the Foreign Office had issued a protest statement. Pakistan has long held that drone attacks are counter-productive and has demanded that they be stopped immediately.

The U.S., for its part, has shown no signs of relenting though its drone policy — particularly stepped up by the Obama administration — has drawn criticism at home also.

With this latest round of drone visits coming at a time when speculation is rife about the Pakistan Army launching an operation against terrorist hideouts in North Waziristan, the probability of the latter is reportedly gaining currency among the locals.

Dawn reported that locals were weighing their options with some already moving to neighbouring Bannu and others shifting to Afghanistan. People in the tribal areas can easily move to Afghanistan by way of a policy of easement rights.

Also, there were reports quoting the spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as stating that military offensive would start on August 26. He was also quoted as saying that the TTP would counter the offensive. Though the U.S. has been pressuring Islamabad to launch a broadside against the Haqqani network — held responsible for many of the brazen attacks inside Kabul — the general assumption in Islamabad is that the military operation will essentially target the TTP, which has claimed responsibility for many attacks inside Pakistan including the recent breach of the Kamra airbase.