The Correct Deft Blow To Fergana “Solar Plexus” Could Overcome Many Issues In Central Asia

“THE BALKANS EURASIA”

ANDREY GROZIN THREATS ‘ARAB SPRING’ IN CENTRAL ASIA

Post-Soviet Asia clearly divided into two categories of States: with historical and cultural tradition of sedentary existence within the state structures (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan) and the republic formed nomadic titular ethnic groups who did not have a full-fledged state formation up to the accession of Russia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, ). These two blocks differ in many ways, among which is related to the integration of Russia and under its auspices.

In this state formation is not fully completed yet no country in Central Asia. Power elites in post-Soviet Asia, it is time to clearly understand the formation of states is bound to be a tough, but judging by recent events, bloody and brutal fight. And its outcome is not predetermined by the “recognition of the international community” or foreign investments.

The region has been a lot of trends occurring in direct conflict with any officially declare elites “modernizing” vectors of development of societies of the republics. These trends can be generally described as “de-modernization.”

a) After the collapse of the Soviet Union in Central Asia began to develop authoritarian political regimes with a bias rooted in local traditions and values ​​of secular model of state-paternalistic sense. Political Leader posits itself above and below is perceived as the “father of the nation.” The whole system of government is built under this scheme. In four of the five Central Asian republics is not simply a power hierarchy, headed by President, but “the super” form of government.

b) As a carrier of political and institutional structures are the mechanisms and procedures for strong presidential republic, where leaders actually cemented its powers and prerogatives of the “president for life” that are not just seen as guarantor of the Constitution, but are above the branches of government “constitutional monarchy “scope of the powers and capabilities are close to absolute. To the maximum extent this is manifested in the phenomenon of “Turkmenbashi” Niyazov and his successor , Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov , as well as the “Uzbek model” in Kazakhstan.

c) the entrenched clan system is a constant process of self-reproduction of the elite: no educational program has not affected the quality change of the controlling authority and business FIGs. Phenomenon clan maintains a stable position in society and the ruling class by maintaining a dominant position in the structure of traditional social relations. Definitely one can predict that a certain “overcome clans” in the foreseeable future in Central Asia should be expected. This situation is complicated by the unresolved question of succession in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, will inevitably contribute to a permanent state of struggle between the major groups within the Uzbek and Kazakh elite.

This trend could theoretically be changed only when a massive presentation of requirements in place in government and business, a new generation of politicians and voters – without the baggage of internationalism, mostly do not speak Russian, less conciliatory, more radical in the aspirations and methods. But such a “surge of drive” can not be predicted: in each of the republics it can happen at any time (or not happen at all).

Overall, the entire system is hardly any way oriented upgrades: everywhere there archaism – in the ideological and practical political life. Naturally, the clan system and the elite of society, capturing all the power pulses, also, in the end, focuses on different anti-modernization, “traditional”, “state-conservative”, etc. value.

Infrastructure, roads, power plants, hospitals and schools built in the Soviet time, slowly but surely destroyed, and monitor their state of the last generation of Soviet specialists are gradually disappearing. In five to ten years in the classroom will not be teachers, hospitals – physicians, and the lack of electricity will become the norm. Perhaps the governments of all countries of Central Asia seemed that the Soviet legacy will bear fruit forever.It is the destruction of the infrastructure can be a major cause of the fall easing, which would create huge uncertainty in one of the most fragile parts of the world.

It is difficult to find another such region as Central Asia, where undermining any of the five states can trigger the collapse of the whole pyramid. So for those who are ready to undermine this “Eurasian Balkans”, the only question is which of the States should be the first to push for maximum effect.

It seems that the “collective West”, despite the difference in estimates and tactical steps in Central Asia, in the foreseeable future will stick to a single strategy in the region.

Western regional organizations (OSCE, NATO and the EU) are guided by liberal ideology. It implies a liberal-democratic governance in the Member States themselves and the organization as a whole, as well as multilateral conflict resolution. These values ​​lead to the assessment of the political systems in Central Asia, as “defective”, requiring a substantial correction. West estimates the regimes in Central Asia, as a factor of permanent instability.

Based on data from the premises (even if you do not consider the obvious interest of Washington and Brussels in the geopolitical and resource potential of Central Asia) expect “indifference” to the situation in Central Asia from the U.S. and the EU is not possible. In the short term should rather be expected to attempt a broadcast model of the “Arab Spring” (or some of their own “Central Asian model” of regime change) at least in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and perhaps Turkmenistan.

In this case, regardless of the outcome of future elections in the United States, the policy of the Americans will be more “aggressive” and active than the “fading” of the EU, but rather an interest in maintaining stability in the region, the state, to maintain its economic position. For Americans, as their tactical decisions in the CA will depend on several factors. First, the dynamics of expansion of influence in the region, Russia and China, and secondly, the ability to preserve and expand its military, political, logistical and other infrastructure in the region in the upcoming reduction in the Western presence in Afghanistan.

Now the United States rely on Uzbekistan, which is geopolitically most convenient: bound up with all the countries of the region, the Uzbek area provides a significant increase in control of all of Central Asia. The question is how to implement this control: using the current government, or by initiating a new appearance. While there is a “withdrawal” of troops, probably “friendship” with Karimov, and then we will see. Moreover, that the fate of the former leaders of countries emerging from the “Arab Spring” have demonstrated a simple fact: No warranties Washington can not be trusted.

For Kazakhstan, Russia and China will fight for real, using all the opportunities available to them, so the “recycle mode” is not likely to happen. “Arab” technique is in its pure form will not pass, and we can try to organize a large-scale war by the elite (which, apparently, is already happening gradually.)

Through Tajikistan (as in the case of Kyrgyzstan), even in the best scenario for external operators, we can influence the CA only partially: as during the peak of the civil war in 1992-1993., Neighbors simply block the Tajik problem in this country, firmly closing of it.

Turkmenistan – and its gas resources – you can “learn” only “learn” of Iran. Trying to shake the “neutral” from inside Turkmenistan expensive and time – much more efficient to change the ruling elite in the process of “democratization of Iran.”

In the permanent instability in Kyrgyzstan is pointless – the republic lies on the edge of the region, being the most democratic (with a Western point of view) the country: there is no yet president for life. Can be influenced through Kyrgyzstan to China and his plans for economic dominance in Central Asia, however, in terms of control over the region, this is not a good area. So another “revolution” that solves little in the regional projections.

And throughout much of Central Asia can be solved by armed Islamist opposition (or disguised as her). The most dangerous place is the Ferghana Valley, which is in the midst of troubled plexus borders of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Blow to this point solves many problems at once, and without any of the “Arab spring.”

Andrei Grozin, Head. Department of Central Asia and Kazakhstan of the Institute of CIS countries

Source: IA REX

Knee-jerk Russian Reactionaries Attack Putin Even When He Is Doing the Right Thing

[Putin and the rest of Russia’s leaders face a daunting task in seeking to revive Russian spiritual values, which have largely lain dormant, or have been slowly corrupted by subservience to the state for seventy years of Communist totalitarianism. Russia and all of the former Soviet satellite countries are in an extended period of recovery from that era and the illogical dictates of the Central Committee (think, Aral Sea). Spirituality, as much as physical infrastructure, suffered grave deterioration during those years of neglect. Reviving dreams of future greatness for Russia is an essential part of embracing Russian leadership on the world stage today. Without Russian leadership we have very little chance to stop the forces pushing the nations to war.

One further point in parting, for those who misunderstood Putin’s meaning when he mourned the loss of the Soviet Union as humanity’s great loss–Putin meant that the world might have been spared the past 25 years of savage, unrestrained American hegemonic aggression and the threat of world war which looms before us today. If the Soviet Union had learned moderation, instead of simply collapsing in exhaustion, then there would be no impending war between us today, as we square-off over the remains.]

How Satan Is Destroying Russia

Welcome to 1598. In this year, King Henry IV of France proclaimed the Edict of Nantes, which regulated relations between the country’s Catholics and Protestants and put an end to a religious war that had been raging for decades. Four centuries later, in Russia, in September 2012, billionaire and former presidential candidateMikhail Prokhorovproposed a federal religious code to prevent an all-out religious war.

“In recent months, the relationship between citizens and the state and church has already led to a schism in society that threatens Russian culture,” Prokhorovwrotein a comment published in Kommersant on Sept. 12. He noted that despite the secular government clause in the Constitution, “the majority of politicians, including the leaders of parties in parliament, prefer to ignore what’s written there. Cozying up to the church … undermines the basic principles of the country’s supreme governing document and creates a multitude of dangers.”

The words “threat” and “danger” are bandied about by just about every Russian politician and public figure these days. But leaders have vastly different notions of what exactly the danger is. In a meeting with the public in Krasnodar on Sept. 12, PresidentVladimir Putinsaidthe main danger for the country is insufficient patriotism and a lack of “respect for our history and traditions and the spiritual values of our peoples.”

Putin also said Russia has become the “focus of an overt information war … and certainly of a well-directed propaganda attack.”

Putin’s speeches often sound like they have been written by professional diplomats, and their ambiguity raises more questions than his statements answer. For example, what “spiritual values” does Putin have in mind? This is, after all, the man who used the phrase “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” to describe the dissolution of the Soviet Union, one of the most militantly anti-religious regimes in history. And who is “directing” these attacks against the spiritual values of Russia’s nations?

Perhaps the key to understanding Putin’s speech can be found in a recent television program by Arkady Mamontov, “Provocateurs. Part Two,” aired on Rossia 1 state television a day before Putin spoke in Krasnodar. Mamontov, who has already established himself as a politically sensational filmmaker, revealed in his latest program that the United States has developed a plan for revolution in Russia. The foot soldiers in this revolution are members of the punk-performance group Pussy Riot. We were told that the main organizer of the revolution, including the Pussy Riot stunts, is billionaireBoris Berezovsky, who is pulling the revolutionary strings from his self-exile in London.

Neither Mamontov nor his interview subjects, professional Putin-lovers, produced a single fact proving contact between Berezovsky and the punk musicians. Nor did Mamontov interview Berezovsky, although the tycoon immediately responded with a categorical denial of having anything to do with Pussy Riot.

The film was harshly criticized not only by the liberal end of the political spectrum but even by some members of the Russian Orthodox clergy. Deacon Andrei Kurayev, whose views are hardly liberal,wroteon his LiveJournal blog: “I am not a supporter of Pussy Riot or Berezovsky. But why lie? Why pass off licentious animal instincts for the norms of Christianity?”

Perhaps Kurayev and Mamontov have different notions about Christianity and its norms. In aninterviewwith the Internet portal Orthodoxy and the World, Mamontov spun out a truly apocalyptic picture: “The devil really wants to destroy Russia and its people, to build something else on its territory,” he said.

Mamontov isn’t the only one seeing dark visions. A statementissued by the Eurasian Youth Union, headed by the pro-Kremlin ideologue Alexander Dugin, reads: “Everyone who sympathizes with liberals, Pussy Riot and the West belongs to Satan. This is the army of hell.”

In the days leading up to Saturday’s opposition march, the Eurasian union called upon its supporters to take to the streets to defy them: “On Sept. 15, the devil’s spawn will crawl out on the streets. Eurasians will go out with crosses, daggers and silver bullets to stop hell.”

Satan, evil oligarchs and punk rockers who have sold their souls to the devil, silver bullets, daggers and crosses. It sounds like a script for another Hollywood film about the eternal war between mortals and vampires. Unfortunately, in Russia this is simply a description of public opinion, which exists alongside the Internet and digital television. In fact, technology just spreads the paranoia.

Society has become split between the liberals and the Orthodox fundamentalists, who are locked in a Cold Religious War. There are no fatalities in this war yet, but there are casualties and prisoners of war. Take, for example, the three Pussy Riot members locked up for two years in prison.

In this context, Prokhorov’s proposal to ratify a religious code likely won’t go anywhere, at least in the near future. If we are lucky, the cold war won’t turn hot, and virtual silver bullets won’t be transformed into real bullets fired from a Kalashnikov rifle.

Victor Davidoff is a Moscow-based writer and journalist who follows the Russian blogosphere in his biweekly column.

The Moscow Times

Syria accuses Turkey of allowing al-Qaida transit

Syria accuses Turkey of allowing al-Qaida transit

DAMASCUS, Syria – Syria accused neighboring Turkey Sunday of allowing thousands of Muslim extremists to cross into its territory, as the government and opposition said an explosion killed at least seven and cut off a main road leading south from the capital.

In letters to the U.N. Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Syria’s Foreign Ministry said Turkey allowed “thousands of al-Qaida, Takfiri and Wahhabi terrorists” access to the country in order to “kill innocent Syrians, blow up their properties and spread chaos and destruction.”

Syrian authorities blame the anti-government uprising that began in March last year on a foreign conspiracy and accuse Gulf countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar, along with the U.S, other Western countries and Turkey, of offering funding and training to the rebels, whom they describe as “terrorists.”

Turkey serves as headquarters for the leaders of the Free Syrian Army rebels and hosts many meetings of the Syrian National Council opposition group. Relations between Turkey and Syria, once strong allies, have been deteriorating since after the crisis began last year and Ankara became one of President Bashar Assad’s harshest critics.

Although the conflict has left Syria internationally isolated, Iran has stood by Assad.

On Sunday, the top commander of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard says the elite unit has high-level advisers in Lebanon and Syria but remains undecided on whether to send military reinforcements to help save Assad’s regime.

Sunday’s comments by Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari were the clearest indication to date of Iran’s direct assistance to its main Arab allies, Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. It also suggests Tehran is wary about being drawn into a Middle East conflict if outside forces attack Assad, who is locked in a civil war with rebel forces.

Jafari told reporters that Quds force members have been in Syria and Lebanon as advisers for a long time, but was not more specific.

He said decisions about whether to boost military aid to Syria if attacked would “depend on the circumstances.”

Also Sunday, state-run news agency SANA said rebels detonated a 600 kilogram (1,320 pound) bomb under the highway near the southern town of Khirbet Ghazaleh. It said the bomb was detonated by remote control and cut the highway that links Damascus with the southern city of Daraa and the Jordanian capital of Amman.

U.S. Tactics Threaten NATO

U.S. Tactics Threaten NATO

A growing chasm in operational practice is opening up between the United States and its allies in NATO. This rift is putting the Atlantic alliance at risk. Yet no one in Washington seems to be paying attention.

The escalating use of unmanned aerial vehicles to strike terrorist suspects in an increasing number of operational environments from the Arabian Peninsula to Southeast Asia, coupled with the continued use of military commissions and indefinite detention, is driving a wedge between the United States and its allies.

Attitudes across the Atlantic are hardening fast. This isn’t knee-jerk, man-on-the-street anti-Americanism. European governments that have tried to turn a blind eye to U.S. counterterrorism practices over the past decade are now forced to pay attention by their own courts, which will restrict cooperation in the future.

As recently as last month, the German federal prosecutor’s office opened a probe into the October 2010 killing of a German national identified only as “Buenyamin E.” in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan. There are at least four other similar cases involving German nationals and several reported strikes involving legal residents of the United Kingdom.

In March, Polish prosecutors charged the former head of Polish intelligence, Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, with “unlawfully depriving prisoners of the their liberty” because of the alleged role he played in helping to establish a CIA secret prison in northeastern Poland in 2002–2003.

Last December, British Special Forces ran afoul of the UK courts for informally transferring two Al Qaeda suspects detained in Iraq, Yunus Rahmatullah and Amanatullah Ali, to U.S. forces. The British government has been instructed to recover the men from U.S. custody or face legal sanctions that could result in two senior ministers being sent to prison.

Perhaps the most dramatic example illustrating the gap that has opened up between the United States and its European allies concerns the 2009 in absentia conviction of twenty-three U.S. agents in an Italian court for the role they played in the extraordinary rendition of radical Imam Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr from Milan to Cairo.

Britain, Poland, Italy and Germany are among America’s closest military partners. Troops from all four countries are currently serving alongside U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but they are now operating within a very different set of constraints than their U.S. counterparts.

The European Court of Human Rights established its jurisdiction over stabilization operations in Iraq, and by implication its writ extends to Afghanistan as well. The British government has lost a series of cases before the court relating to its operations in southern Iraq. This means that concepts such as the right to life, protection from arbitrary punishment, remedy and due process apply in areas under the effective control of European forces. Furthermore, the possibility that intelligence provided by any of America’s European allies could be used to target a terrorism suspect in Somalia or the Philippines for a lethal drone strike now raises serious criminal liability issues for the Europeans.

The United States conducts such operations under the legal theory that it is in an international armed conflict with Al Qaeda and its affiliates that can be pursued anywhere on the globe where armed force may be required. But not one other member of NATO shares this legal analysis, which flies in the face of established international legal norms. The United States may have taken issue with the traditional idea that wars are fought between states and not between states and criminal gangs, but its allies have not.

The heads of Britain’s foreign and domestic intelligence services have been surprisingly open about the “inhibitions” that this growing divergence has caused the transatlantic special relationship, telling Parliament that it has become an obstacle to intelligence sharing. European attitudes are not going to change—the European Court of Human Rights is now deeply embedded in European life, and individual European governments cannot escape its oversight no matter how well disposed they are to assist the United States.

The United States has bet heavily on the efficacy of a new array of counterterrorism powers as the answer to Al Qaeda. In doing so it has evolved a concept of operations that has much more in common with the approach to terrorist threats taken by Israel and Russia than by its European partners. There has been little consideration of the wider strategic cost of these tactics, even as the Obama administration doubles down and extends their use. Meanwhile, some of America’s oldest and closest allies are beginning to place more and more constraints on working with U.S. forces.

NATO cannot conduct military operations under two competing legal regimes for long. Something has to give—and it may just be the Atlantic alliance.

Tom Parker was formerly policy director for Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights at Amnesty International USA. He is also a former officer in the British Security Service (MI5).