Asian Development Bank Continues To Fund US Projects In Central Asia–$100 Million for Tajik Roads

[Continuing the theme that has been offered via the illusory TAPI pipeline project in Afghanistan, “peace through pipelines,” improving the traffic flow between sometimes bitter adversaries Tajikistan and Uzbekistan is the American solution for improving relations between them.  More slick Madison Avenue capitalist appeal.  These screwy Washington ideas are being sold to Central Asia as the obvious solution to what ails them, without consideration of the fact that these dictators do not want unfettered traffic between the two isolated nations.  Why else would Karimov blow the  main railroad bridge on the rail line linking them?  Dictators can only maintain their tight grasp over their illegitimate power by the repression of citizens’ rights, primary to those rights is the ability to travel without unreasonable restrictions.  American power-brokers have coerced these ADB investments because they need roads through the Fergana Valley that are capable of supporting the massive transfer of heavy equipment, either to facilitate the egress of US/NATO forces out of the region, or those rushing to the next war front deeper in the Asian interior (SEE:  Asian Development Bank Upgrades Tajik Primary Highway M41  ;  Asian Devel. Bank Funding Uzbek Project To Upgrade Ferghana Valley Highway).]

ADB gives Tajikistan US$100m for roads

The Asian Development Bank is giving the impoverished central Asian nation of Tajikistan US$100 million to rebuild road links with its rival neighbour, Uzbekistan.Reports say the highway will form part of a10,000-kilometre road network connecting Western Europe and Russia to the Middle East and South Asia.

Ties between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have soured over sharp differences on how to share natural resources. The ADB is hoping the route will strengthen regional cooperation and cut freight costs.

British Intelligence Has Named the Mastermind Behind the Deadly Attack in Benghazi–Ayman al-Zawahiri

[Just when the US spymasters have deemed it safe to bring our “Al-Qaeda” connections out into the open, the ungrateful “Islamists” stab us in the back.  How dare they?!!  There are opportunists lurking behind the curtain, just as there are out in front.  Play with hornets’ nests and you WILL get stung.]

ливия протест сша американский флаг бенгази беспорядки

Photo: EPA

British intelligence services have named the Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri as the mastermind behind the deadly attack on the US Consulate in Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, which claimed the lives of the US Ambassador to Libya, as well as of three other American officials.

A source in the British armed forces’ analytic department said al Zawahiri issued an order for the attack, which appears to be a “well-planned” one.

According to the source, the militia task force comprised 20 specially trained gunmen, who used the demonstrations as a pretext to staging an assault.


Boxed-In In Afghanistan

Supply of Nato military vehicles begins–(really…seriously)

Supply of Nato military vehicles begins


Pakistan on Wednesday finally resumed the supply of Nato military vehicles from Karachi port, as paramilitary personnel escorted a convoy across Sindh, sources told Business Recorder. “As many as 50 armoured vehicles atop large flatbed trailers left Karachi port at 5am on Wednesday. These vehicles were escorted by Rangers’ personnel,” sources at the port said.

This was the first such convoy of Nato military vehicles after Pakistan blocked all Nato supplies in late 2011, the sources said. They said the shipment would pass through Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhunkhwa before crossing the Torkham border post into Afghanistan.

“The Chaman route is still vulnerable to terrorist attacks,” sources quoted truck drivers ferrying the shipment of vehicles as saying. There were at least 4,000 military vehicles parked at various berths of the Karachi port different, they said, adding that another batch of armoured jeeps was likely to be dispatched on the night between Wednesday and Thursday.

Pakistan opened its land routes for Nato supplies on July 3 this year, allowing transportation of shipments for Afghanistan after the government held successful talks with the US. The armoured vehicles, the sources said, were loaded onto the flatbed trucks on Tuesday night from berth No13 and 17. According to the sources, a large number of Nato vehicles were also parked on the shore outside the port at Groyene Yard.

These vehicles are largely military ambulances, bullet-proof and armoured jeeps and 10-wheeler trucks, they said. According to the Karachi Port Trust (KPT), there are about 4,000 military vehicles parked at the harbour since late last year. Besides, more than 2,000 Nato containers are also the piled up at the port. Pakistan estimated more than Rs 2 billion in demurrages against Nato’s detained cargo.

Source said no weapon-integrated vehicles were being transported. Pakistan slapped an indefinite ban on all Nato cargo supplies in retaliation against an assault by western forces on a Pakistan Army’s check post on the Afghan border. The attack left more than two dozens Pakistani soldiers dead.

Pakistan serves as a chief seaport country, catering to Afghanistan’s supplies over its land routes. The country transports almost 50 percent of the total Nato supplies, including cargo, fuel and military vehicles, sources said. Major transporters of container cargo and fuel to Afghanistan for Nato forces, including Laghari Logistics Limited (LLL), Bilal Logistics, Mengal Brothers, Al Haj and Spin Zar groups, transport sources said. More than 6,000 trucks and tankers were engaged in the cross-border supplies, employing at least 18,000 people, including drivers and their helpers. Thousands of workers work on either side of the border, loading and discharging cargo and fuel.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

The Perils of Saudi Arabia Bankrolling U.S. Foreign Policy

The Perils of Saudi Arabia Bankrolling U.S. Foreign Policy

Jonathan Marshall

Author, ‘The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and The International Drug Trade’

Almost everyone agrees that overdependence on Middle Eastern oil is bad for America’s economy and national security. So why don’t we recognize the similar dangers of overdependence on Middle Eastern money to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives?

Gulf State money helped pay for the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and now isfunding the armed opposition to the Assad regime in Syria. Both causes were backed by the Obama administration and applauded by some humanitarian activists, as well. But in each case — as in Afghanistan before them — such money has strengthened dangerous Islamist elements, transforming reformist political causes into dangerous jihadist movements.

For more than a quarter century, Saudi Arabia and the United States have had a grand bargain: they sell us overpriced oil in exchange for virtually unlimited access to our advanced weapons. (Of the $66 billion in U.S. arms sales abroad last year, half went to Saudi Arabia.) In addition, Riyadh agreed to fund U.S. covert operations around the world with its surplus petrodollars.

In the 1970s, the Saudis spent hundreds of millions of dollars in Somalia, South Yemen, and Zaire to bolster embattled U.S. allies. In the mid-1980s, following the Reagan administration’s emergency delivery of 400 Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Saudi Arabia, Riyadh bankrolled the Nicaraguan Contras, thus bypassing congressional aid restrictions and setting the stage for the infamous Iran-Contra scandal.

That was nothing compared to the many hundreds of millions of dollars that Saudi Arabia spent to help Washington finance guerrilla resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Through its support of extremist Arab fighters, and of Islamist schools of indoctrination, Saudi Arabia helped radicalize the region. Its single biggest Afghan client, Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, was the resistance leader who invited Osama bin Laden to Afghanistan and mentored the planner of the attack on the Twin Towers, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

In 2007, Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department’s top expert on terrorist finances, testified that“wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia are still funding violent extremists around the world, from Europe to North Africa, from Iraq to Southeast Asia.” As Levey told an interviewer, “If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia.”

It should come as no comfort, therefore, that Saudi sources, both official and unofficial, have beenpouring military supplies into Syria’s rebel movement for months. The New York Times reportsthat the Obama administration has encouraged such provisions to supplement its own “non-lethal” aid. “Administration officials say that outsourcing the supply of money and arms to the rebels maintains a crucial distinction that keeps American military fingerprints off a conflict that has already turned into a bloody civil war.”

Efforts by CIA officers to steer the arms to non-jihadist groups appear to be of little avail. The resistance movement is increasingly turning Islamist, even joining up with fighters from al Qaeda. The consequences for human rights, especially for Syria’s minorities, have been terrible.

In the words of one Indian journalist writing for the New York Times, “As Saudi Arabian arms and money bolster the opposition, the 80,000 Christians who’ve been ‘cleansed’ from their homes… by the Free Syrian Army have gradually given up the prospect of ever returning home… The seeming indifference of the international community… is breeding a bitter anti-Americanism among many secular Syrians who see the United States aligning itself with Saudi Arabia, the fount of Wahhabism, against the Arab world’s most resolutely secular state.”

He is not alone in raising the alarm. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki warned that by “sending arms instead of working on putting out the fire,” Saudi Arabia and Qatar “will leave a greater crisis in the region.”

Even some neocons, who for years have championed the downfall of Syria’s regime, now sound uneasy about the prospect of Saudi Arabian money dictating the outcome of what increasingly is turning into a regional conflict.

“Washington must stop subcontracting Syria policy to the Turks, Saudis and Qataris,” declaredDanielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute. “They are clearly part of the anti-Assad effort, but the United States cannot tolerate Syria becoming a proxy state for yet another regional power.”

Surely we already have enough dangerous fires to put out, from Islamists attacking a nuclear air base in Pakistan to jihadists rampaging across Northern Africa in the wake of the Libya campaign. The Obama administration is right to resist foolhardy calls for direct military intervention in another sectarian conflict in the Middle East. But outsourcing our intervention to Saudi Arabia is an abdication of responsibility, an evasion of accountability, and a set-up for long-term disaster.

Jonathan Marshall is the author or co-author of five books on international history and politics, including most recently The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War, and the International Drug Traffic(Stanford University Press, 2012).