U.S. Hoping To Dominate Kyrgyz Plan To Convert Manas Into Civilian Transport Hub After 2014

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Sudan accuses Israel of air raid, threatens to hit back

Sudan accuses Israel of air raid, threatens to hit back

By Abdelmoneim Abu Edris Ali

Agence France Presse
Onlookers gather to looks at a huge fire that engulf the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
Onlookers gather to looks at a huge fire that engulf the Yarmouk ammunition factory in Khartoum October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer
KHARTOUM: Israeli missiles struck a military factory and killed two people in the Sudanese capital on Wednesday, the government said, 18 months after alleging a similar raid by the Jewish state.

“We think Israel did the bombing,” Culture and Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman told a news conference. “We reserve the right to react at a place and time we choose.”

The military and foreign ministry in Israel, which has long accused Khartoum of serving as a base for militants from the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, refused to comment.

Osman said four radar-evading aircraft carried out an attack at around midnight (2100 GMT) on the Yarmouk military manufacturing facility in the south of the Sudanese capital.

Evidence pointing to Israel was found among remnants of the explosives, he said, adding that the cabinet would hold an urgent meeting at 8:00 pm.

Residents of the area earlier told AFP an aircraft or missile flew over the facility shortly before the plant exploded and burst into flames.

An AFP reporter several kilometres (miles) away saw two or three fires flaring across a wide area, with heavy smoke and intermittent flashes of white light bursting above the state-owned factory.

In 1998, Human Rights Watch said a coalition of opposition groups alleged that Sudan stored chemical weapons for Iraq at the Yarmouk facility but government officials strenuously denied the charge at the time.

In August of that year, US cruise missiles struck the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical factory in North Khartoum, which Washington alleged was linked to chemical weapons production.

Evidence for that claim later proved questionable.

“I heard a sound like a plane in the sky, but I didn’t see any light from a plane. Then I heard two explosions, and fire erupted in the compound,” said a resident who asked to be identified only as Faize.

A woman living south of the compound also reported two initial blasts.

“I saw a plane coming from east to west and I heard explosions and there was a short length of time between the first one and the second one,” she said, asking not to be named.

“Then I saw fire and our neighbour’s house was hit by shrapnel, causing minor damage. The windows of my own house rattled after the second explosion.”

The sprawling Yarmouk facility is surrounded by barbed wire and set back about two kilometres (miles) from the district’s main road, meaning signs of damage were not visible later Wednesday when an AFP reporter visited.

But at least three houses in the neighbourhood had been punctured by shrapnel which left walls and a fence with holes about 20-centimetres (eight inches) in diameter, the reporter said.

There was also slight damage to a Coca-Cola warehouse.

The fires appeared to be extinguished by 03:30 am, more than three hours after they began, an AFP reporter said.

Osman said Yarmouk makes “traditional weapons”.

“The attack destroyed part of the compound infrastructure, killed two people inside and injured another who is in serious condition,” he said.

There have been other mysterious blasts in Sudan — and allegations of Israeli involvement.

In April last year, Sudan said it had irrefutable evidence that Israeli attack helicopters carried out a missile and machinegun strike on a car south of Port Sudan.

Israel refused to comment but officials there had expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan.

Last year’s attack mirrored a similar strike by foreign aircraft on a truck convoy reportedly laden with weapons in eastern Sudan in January 2009.

Khartoum is seeking the removal of US sanctions imposed in 1997 over its alleged support for international terrorism, its human rights record and other concerns.

Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2012/Oct-24/192570-explosion-at-arms-factory-rocks-sudans-capital.ashx#ixzz2AEcLvSGj
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)

The Rogun Dam Project As Seen Through Uzbek Eyes

Megalomania, or again about the tragic consequences of constructing huge dam

It is well known that the territory of Central Asia is an earthquake-prone region. It happened many times catastrophic earthquake, which led to the loss of many lives, the vast destruction, huge economic losses.

For example, the 1911 earthquake Sarez force 10 points caused a landslide of more than 2 billion cubic meters. meters, which blocked the Murghab River and formed Lake Sarez. Then the village was completely destroyed Usoy and its inhabitants. Haitskoe earthquake in 1949 brought down the power of 10 points slopes up to 600-700 meters. As a result, the regional center were destroyed Chait and over 8 ¬ Comrade populated areas, killing tens of thousands.
Suusamyr information about the consequences of the 1992 earthquake force of 10 points and remained not fully understood. Then the data on victims were not made ​​public, as foreign experts and the media were not allowed into the disaster area. The most “fresh” example is Kansk earthquake July 20, 2011 by force 8 points, which led to numerous destructions – the total damage amounted to about $ 100 million.Unfortunately, there have been casualties: at least 70 people in Kyrgyzstan and more than 10 people in Uzbekistan.
Overall, in the last century and a half within the region was 17 cows (with a focal depth of 30 km) and more than 20 of the deep (with a focal depth to 280 km) earthquakes of magnitude 7 and the intensity of shaking at the epicenter to 9-10 points. This is not surprising, since about 70 percent of the territory of Kyrgyzstan and about 80 percent of Tajikistan’s territory is located in the 8-10-point areas. (Scheme II)
However, despite these facts, the leadership of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are not willing to give up the construction of the Rogun and Kambarata, which is a great danger and threat ¬ skim tragic consequences for the region and local residents.
Judge: site of the Rogun HPP is Vakhsh fault zone, which is part of the regional Southern Tien Shan and Hissar-Kokshaalskih faults. Seismic potential of these fault zones is the highest in Central Asia ¬ General.Thus, 8 of 17 above the strongest crustal earthquakes intensity of more than 9 points occurred within these areas, with 6 of them happened over the past 110 years.
According to scientists of the Institute of Seismology of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan, the average time interval between the 9-magnitude earthquake in the area 15-20 years. The past is like a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake and intensely Stu ¬ nine points occurred in 1974. It was called Markansuyskoe earthquake, its epicenter was at a distance of 350 km from the place where the Rogun dam being built. The more prolonged the ongoing 37-year seismic calm is not a sedative, and worrisome, since it leads to the accumulation of large stresses in the crust.
confirmed by the devastating earthquake in Sumatra in 2004, when a period of seismic ¬ nomic revitalization of the Mediterranean-Asian seismic zone to which the Central Asia. After this devastating earthquakes in 2005 and 2011 occurred in Pakistan ¬ mill, in 2006 and 2008 in Iran, in 2009 in China, in 2010 and 2011 in Turkey and in the last year in India.
Due to the intensification of the seismic belt ¬ michnosti increased the likelihood of a major earthquake in the area of the Rogun hydropower plant.
It is appropriate to refer to the research of other scientists. So, by law, seismotectonics I. Gubin, 1976, each subsequent earthquake within an active fault occurs, or the continuation of the previous one, or between the centers of earthquakes that have already happened, that is, in the so-called “seismic windows”. The construction site is located between the Rogun centers Karatag Haitskogo and earthquakes that have occurred, respectively, in 1907 and 1949. Within this area has not yet occurred, such earthquakes as Haitskoe. However, within a limited area, for example, across a distance of 30 km to 20 km from the location of the Nurek hydroelectric station and 30 km away from the construction site of Rogun HPP ¬ tion were three strong 8-point earthquake ¬ tion – Faizabad in 1930 and 1943, and Kafdonskoe 1943.
zones of high seismicity South Tien Shan, Hissar-Kokshaalskogo, Vakhsh fault is confirmed by numerous traces of 10-11-point earthquake or paleoseismodislocations in the past century, scientists discovered D. Kucan in 1976. One of these dislocations located in the area of the Vakhsh fault, just in Rogun. According to scientists, in the event of a major earthquake in the areas of the South Tien Shan, Hissar-Kokshaalskogo, Vakhsh fault strong ground shaking within the Rogun exceed 9 points.
should be noted that high seismic areas is confirmed by seismic zoning of 1978, according to which the construction of Rogun site is situated between 9-point zone. The potential magnitude of possible earthquakes are estimated to be 7.5-8.0. That is, if there is an earthquake of magnitude 7.5-8.0, the seismic intensity in the construction of the Rogun HPP will exceed 10 points.
Further confirmation of this assessment is the seismic zoning map, compiled recently by Russian scientists.Fragment of seismic zoning map of Eurasia in 1997, compiled, edited by Ulomova and trained at the Institute of Physics of the Earth. O. Schmidt, Russian Academy of Sciences, shows that most of it is in Tajikistan to the 10-point area. (Scheme I)
Therefore, Rogun construction site is located in one of the most earthquake-prone zones, in which the force of the earthquake can be up to 10 points.
now turn to other facts: Rogun reservoir with a volume of 15 billion cubic meters. meters will change the geodynamic state area and adjacent areas. Proof of this are the processes observed in the vicinity of the Nurek reservoir, the dam is completed in 1972. Research scientist Chigareva and other in 1985 showed an increase of seismicity in the blocks located in the south-western end of the Vakhsh fault. Before filling the reservoir, these blocks were slaboseysmichnymi. Similar violations geodynamic conditions are expected in the area of Rogun.
addition, Nurek and Rogun located within 50-km interval between the South Tien Shan and Vakhsh active tectonic faults. In this case, Nurek water reservoir capacity 10.5 billion cubic meters. meter itself is a major hazard because its dam break could cause flooding and destruction in 100 thous. km and kill millions of people.
testify about what the above facts? They only confirm what is the object of Rogun huge risk. After serial arrangement of two such objects increases the risk of disaster in a few times since breaking Rogun HPP will, with great probability, to the catastrophe of the Nurek hydropower plant. And the results will be the most tragic.
should be noted, is not there a public computer and-loop models for how to evaluate the stability of the two dams to strong earthquake and the corresponding risk of disaster.
Regarding the construction site Kambarata-1, it is located above the Toktogul in the mountainous parts of Central Tien Shan. We know that there is an intensive seismotectonic processes. Kambarata-1 is located within the area of influence of the dynamic of the Talas-Fergana deep tectonic fault, which is a highly active regional fault. Talas-Fergana fault length of 1200 km is a major shear zone, which is similar to the scale of the well-known San Andreas fault in California. Such a shear zone on the planet Earth are rare.
should be noted that the Talas-Fergana fault has undergone several stages of geological activation and remains active today. This is evidenced by the modern movement along a fault, up to 2-3 cm per year, offset headwaters of rivers within the fault and the extensive development of landslides along the Naryn River.
And yet, according to satellite measurements in the Talas-Fergana fault in the south-east part of the Tien Shan observed anomalously high values ​​of the displacement velocity of the crust. The speed of modern movements in the construction of power plants reach 10-12 mm / year, which confirms the high tectonic activity in the area.
seismic potential of the Talas-Fergana fault zone is estimated as about 7.5 magnitude and intensity of the shock of 9-10. Greatest seismic activity are different areas of intersection and Talas Chatkal ridges, where in 1946 there was a 10-point Chatkal earthquake, with its epicenter located 20 km from the location of the Toktogul hydroelectric power station.
To the south-east of the construction site Kambarata-1 at the intersection of the Talas- Fergana fault with the South Tien Shan fault in 1902, was a 10-point Kashgar earthquake. The last strong earthquake Suusamyr in 1992, a magnitude 7.4, and the intensity of shaking at the epicenter of 9-10 occurred at a distance of 100 km from the construction of power plants.
On other sections of the fault zone to persist, that is over 65 years of seismic calm. Given the overall planetary and regional activation of seismicity from the beginning of this century, the probability of a strong earthquake is very high.
According to well-known scientists and Charles K. Abdrahmatova Utirova, land paleoseismodislocations thickening, so-called footprints of large earthquakes in the past, are observed in the area of the Talas-Fergana fault on the site Alabuga Valley Naryn, just on the construction site hydropower. This fact suggests the possibility at this point 10-point earthquake.
study also showed that, according to seismic zoning maps of different years, under construction Kambarata-1 is located in a seismically dangerous 9-10-point zone. For example, the seismic zoning map of 1978 construction site Kambarata-1 is a 9-point seismic zone.
Probably professionals should pay attention to the seismic zoning map of North Eurasia in 1997, developed by experts of the Joint Institute of Physics of the Earth of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which indicates that this area is attributed to the 10-point area with a probability of 99 percent.
In the event of an earthquake of magnitude 7.5 in the reservoir area intensity shocks can reach 9-10, which is likely to entail the destruction of dams Kambarata-1 and Toktogul HPS. (Scheme III)
Thus, the construction area of Kambarata-1 is characterized by high seismic hazard and is the object, which increases the overall risk of catastrophe.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov during a recent visit to Astana, again drew attention of the leaders of Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as the entire international community the inadmissibility of construction of huge dams in the upper reaches of transboundary rivers. Uzbek leader, voicing principled position of the country on the management of water and energy resources in Central Asia, said that before you start to build, before signing with any great powers agreed on the construction, let us carry out the pre-objective examination and give a clear explanation of our people , our people, and that then tomorrow will be those who live down the flow of the river. “Moreover, these projects – and the Rogun and Kambarata were created at the same time, in the 70’s and 80’s, when the Soviet Union was, and we are living in the Soviet Union suffered a disaster – megalomania, – said Islam Karimov at a press conference in Astana, during a visit to Kazakhstan. – But times are changing, it took no less than 40 years, today is the other codes and standards, today waterworks should be based totally on a different basis, why not make an examination – and then let’s sit down and discuss. ”
Uzbek President said that despite the decision to kill “Guinness World Records”, we’re talking about the lives of hundreds of people. Stronger than this there is no argument. Because only civilized ways people in all countries of the region will be able to protect themselves from the terrible misery and dire consequences of megalomania …

Salim Doniyorov.

Leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan–Number One Went To the US, Number Two Went To Russia

[Number two in the IRP, Hoji Akbar Turajonzoda, traveled among  the Tajik migrant workers in Russia this week, tending to the faithful there (SEE:  The Smartest Man In Tajikistan, Even When He Is In Russia), while party boss Muhiddin Kabiri spent the week visiting his friends in Washington.  According to this Wikileaked cable, he is known as anagent of the west.”   Turajonzoda regularly denounces Salafi and Wahhabi “Islam” as tools of Western intelligence agencies.  The fact that the Tajik govt. allowed the top two representatives to make these simultaneous trips to opposite destinations is proof positive that Emomali Rahmon is working with state intelligence agencies to split the IRP.]

Russia’s new role in Central Asia

Russia’s new role in Central Asia

Clare Nuttall in Astana

Russia’s recent striking of far-reaching deals in the energy and security spheres with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan show Moscow’s determination to regain ground in Central Asia. Russia has ensured its continued military presence in the region as the Nato withdrawal from Afghanistan approaches, offering in return support on key economic issues – hydropower in Kyrgyzstan and fuel in Tajikistan.

On his September 20 visit to Bishkek, Russian President Vladimir Putin succeeded in extending the lease on Russia’s airbase at Kant in northern Kyrgyzstan until 2032, with provision for a five-year extension. Moscow agreed to settle Kyrgyzstan’s debts of $489m as part of a package of deals that also included agreements on funding for two large-scale hydropower projects, Kambarata and the Upper Naryn cascade.

Two weeks later, Putin flew to Dushanbe for another round of talks. On October 5, it was announced that he had reached an agreement ensuring the continued presence of Russia’s 201st Motor Rifle Division in Tajikistan for 30 years. The amount that Russia will pay to lease its bases in Tajikistan has not been disclosed, but Putin aide Yury Ushakov told Russian journalists that it would be “almost free”. Tajikistan, meanwhile, is set to benefit from a new deal on cooperation in combatting drug trafficking, and a Russian concession on residency and work permits for Tajik migrant workers.

Back in the game

With the Tajik agreements hard on the heels of those signed in Bishkek, this appears to be a concerted Russian effort to cement its relations with the Central Asian countries more than two decades after the break-up of the Soviet Union. They follow several years of greater economic integration led by Moscow in the post-Soviet space, most significantly with the creation of the Customs Union, which currently comprises Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but is due to be expanded.

“Even before Putin came back to power, Russia has been trying to redefine a long-term role for itself in as many of the Central Asian countries as possible,” Martha Brill Olcott, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, tells bne. “What we see is Russia realising that if it doesn’t define a new role, then it is going to be eclipsed in Central Asia. Russia feels the pressure of time if it wants to preserve a special role for itself in the economy and security of any of the five countries.”

In less than two years, Nato-led forces are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan, which borders three of the Central Asian republics. There are concerns not just in Moscow but also in many of the Central Asian capitals that the Nato withdrawal is premature, and will leave the region more vulnerable to the dual threats of terrorism and drug trafficking. Tajikistan is particularly at risk because of its long and porous border with Afghanistan, a fact highlighted by the fighting between government forces and militants around Khorog, a town on the Afghan border, in July and August this year.

According to Olcott, withdrawal from Afghanistan is at the forefront of everybody’s minds. “It creates a potential security vacuum in the region,” she says, “that could have the capacity to tip already unstable states into greater instability.”

At a time when the West’s interest in Afghanistan and the wider Central Asian region appears to be declining, especially from a security perspective, Russia is staking its long-term claim. Its potential role as the protector of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan from future instability serves Moscow’s ambition of re-establishing its dominant role in what it calls its “near abroad”.

“From Russia’s perspective it makes sense to take advantage of the common historic ties that it has with the Central Asian countries. Russia is aiming to become a global player and promoting its security and business interests in its neighbourhood is a logical move,” says Lilit Gevorgyan, senior analyst of Russia/CIS at IHS Global Insight. “The military and political clout in these countries can also serve as a risk mitigating factor for Russian businesses if they enter the difficult Kyrgyz and Tajik markets.”

Chinese whispers

Countries from all sides – from Europe to Iran, and South Korea to India – have sought to take a piece of Central Asia’s natural resources. However, the greatest change in recent years has been the emergence of China, which has established an economic presence in all five republics. In addition to the construction of new oil and gas pipelines to China, Chinese companies bought up assets in the oil and gas and mineral sectors across the region. Chinese companies are also involved in infrastructure projects; Tajikistan’s road-building programme, for example, has been funded by soft loans from China, and carried out by Chinese construction companies.

Bringing Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan into the Customs Union will help to counter Beijing’s growing economic influence. Kyrgyzstan is already on the way to becoming a member, and its accession would pave the way for Tajikistan – which does not share a border with any of the current members – to join. Expanding the Customs Union is expected to form the basis for deeper economic integration in the region.

Olcott points out that when considering Russian motivation, “the economic and security dimensions are very intertwined”. While there are definite economic advantages to expanding the Customs Union, at the same time there is a perception on the part of many Russians that Putin has also made strategic gains in Moscow’s traditional sphere of influence.

Within Central Asia, it has been easier for Russia to influence Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which lack the oil and gas resources and are therefore are highly dependent on Russia economically. Russia is the main source of remittance payments from migrant workers from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. In both countries these make up a substantial share of GDP; in Tajikistan, remittances from migrant workers account almost 50% of GDP, making it the most remittance-dependent country in the world.

The power that Moscow wields is already evident. This was demonstrated by Dushanbe’s brief show of independence in 2011, when a Tajik court jailed a Russian and an Estonian pilot for smuggling. Moscow’s reaction was swift and decisive; the ensuing crackdown on Tajik migrant workers was followed by the speedy release of the two pilots. Moscow is also widely believed to have at least given its consent to the toppling of the former Kyrgyz president Kurmanbek Bakiyev in 2010. For the current president, Almazbek Atambaev, who presides over the still turbulent Kyrgyz political scene, Moscow’s support, psychologically as much as economically, is crucial.

The remaining Central Asian republics have a greater degree of independence thanks to their oil and gas reserves and wider geographic spread of investors. Kazakhstan is already a close ally of Russia, but in the last two decades Moscow’s level of influence in Ashgabat and Tashkent has fluctuated.

The new deals signed with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan follow a sharp deterioration in Russia’s relations with Uzbekistan, which according to Wojciech Górecki, Russia expert at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), is in keeping with Moscow’s divide and rule policy. “For the last 20 years, every deterioration in Moscow’s relationship with, for example, Tajikistan has been accompanied by a warming in the relationship with Uzbekistan, and vice versa. This is nothing new,” Gorecki says.

Relations with Turkmenistan reached a low point in 2009, when Gazprom suddenly suspended taking deliveries of Turkmen gas, causing an explosion that put the country’s main export pipeline out of action for months. Relations have since improved, but Ashagbat is still looking away from Moscow toward European and Asian markets, especially China. Gevorgyan points out that Uzbekistan is “once again drifting away from Russia and wooing the West”. In 2012, Uzbekistan quit the Russian-led CSTO and in the economic sphere and forced a subsidiary of Russian mobile operator Mobile TeleSystems (MTS) out of business.

At the same time as sealing the deals with Kyrgyzstan, Putin also invited Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to take part in planned hydropower projects in Kyrgyzstan. The proposal was intended to break the deadlock in Central Asia over the construction of new hydropower plants. This is fiercely opposed by Tashkent over fears they will restrict water supplies to Uzbekistan’s cotton fields, and Putin’s proposal got an unenthusiastic response.

Had the approach been successful, it would have further reinforced Russia’s position not just as a source of funds and military might but as the region’s diplomatic power broker. The deals already signed in September and October do, however, send out a strong signal to the whole Central Asian region about Moscow’s intentions to remain the dominant power in the region.

Despite Lies To the Contrary from the Candidates, American Forces Will Not Leave Afghanistan In 2014

Obama entering Afghanistan and never leaving

Obama prepares protracted Afghanistan occupation

Unnamed American military sources have been quoted in the US media as estimating that some 25,000 US soldiers and Marines would continue occupying Afghanistan at least until 2024

By Bill Van Auken

With the US presidential election little more than two weeks away, the Obama administration is quietly preparing to keep tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan.

These preparations, little noted in the corporate media, are unfolding even as Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joseph Biden, tell voters that the 11-year-old war is to end in 2014.

There was one mention of Afghanistan in last Wednesday’s debate, with Obama declaring: “I said we’d transition out of Afghanistan and start making sure that Afghans are responsible for their own security. That’s what I’m doing.”

In the vice presidential debate the week before, Biden was somewhat more categorical: “We are leaving Afghanistan in 2014, period. There are no if, ands or buts.”

In reality, US and NATO officials are feverishly engaged in working out the fine print of a Strategic Partnership Agreement signed in Kabul by Obama and Washington’s puppet, President Hamid Karzai, on May 1. The agreement envisions tens of thousands of US soldiers remaining in Afghanistan for a full decade after 2014.

Unnamed American military sources have been quoted in the US media as estimating that some 25,000 US soldiers and Marines would continue occupying Afghanistan at least until 2024. A report issued by German intelligence, cited by Der Spiegel this week, predicted that a total of 35,000 troops would stay on, including a smaller contingent from other NATO countries.

A large portion of this force would be composed of Green Berets and other special operations troops, who would continue carrying out counterinsurgency operations, i.e., the hunting down and killing of leaders and members of armed groups opposed to the foreign occupation and its corrupt Afghan stooges.

For all the official declarations about Afghanistan “standing on its own feet” and rosy projections of the Karzai regime’s puppet security forces, 350,000 strong, taking over security operations, the reality is that NATO does not consider a single unit within the Afghan National Army capable of operating on its own. The Afghan army is facing an attrition rate of one-third of its troops every year, and the mounting number of so-called “green on blue” killings—over 50 this year—has called into serious question the entire US-NATO strategy of relying more heavily on Afghan puppet forces.

In another indication that Washington is digging in for a protracted and potentially even wider war in South Asia, even as it prepares new militarist adventures elsewhere, the Washington Post reported Friday that the Central Intelligence Agency is seeking approval for a major expansion of its fleet of armed drones, adding another 10 of the pilotless aircraft to some 35 that the agency now deploys.

“The proposal by CIA Director David H. Petraeus would bolster the agency’s ability to sustain its campaigns of lethal strikes in Pakistan and Yemen and enable it, if directed, to shift aircraft to emerging al-Qaeda threats in North Africa or other trouble spots,” the Post reported, citing unnamed US officials. It added that the move would significantly advance the agency’s transformation into a paramilitary arm of the US government dedicated to assassinating Washington’s enemies.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Wednesday stated that there have been 336 US drone attacks against Pakistan, the vast majority of them launched since Obama came to office. Of the 2,300 victims counted by the Pakistani government, he said, fully 80 percent were innocent civilians—men, women and children. Now similar crimes are being carried out in Yemen and being prepared across Africa and elsewhere.

Under these conditions, the sole issue in US foreign policy to rise to the level of a controversy in the current election campaign is at what moment President Obama should have publicly defined the September 11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi Libya as a terrorist attack.

Of course, neither candidate can utter a word as to the roots of this attack, which lay in Washington’s backing of Islamist forces, including those linked to Al Qaeda, in last year’s US-NATO war to topple Col. Muammar Gaddafi, followed by its attempt to brush aside these armed militias and install trusted stooges in power in Tripoli. The reaction, the assassination of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, was a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

Both parties are committed to a continuation and escalation of the strategy that has developed over the last two decades of employing military power as a means of offsetting the crisis and decline of American capitalism, particularly by asserting US hegemony over the energy-rich regions of the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Basin.

This essential policy of America’s financial oligarchy cannot be shifted by voting for one or the other of the two capitalist parties, as the 2008 election of the “antiwar” candidate, Obama, has proven.

In poll after poll, between two-thirds and three-quarters of the American public has declared its opposition to the continuation of the war in Afghanistan, while hostility to plans for new and wider wars, including one against Iran, is equally intense. Yet this popular opposition to militarism can find no expression in the capitalist two-party system. The middle-class pseudo-left groups that led protests against the US wars under Bush, meanwhile, have accommodated themselves fully to the interests of imperialism under Obama.

A genuine struggle to end the war in Afghanistan and prevent the launching of new wars that have the potential of dragging mankind into another world conflagration can be waged only under the leadership of the working class, fighting as an independent political force against the Obama administration and the capitalist system.

The demands must be raised for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan and for holding accountable those responsible for launching and continuing wars of aggression. The immense US military and intelligence apparatus must be dismantled and the trillions of dollars spent on death and destruction utilized to provide jobs and decent living standards for the working class in the US and internationally.

This is the program fought for only by the Socialist Equality Party and its candidates, Jerry White for president and Phyllis Scherrer for vice president. The building of a socialist movement to oppose war and the attacks on social conditions and democratic rights will be discussed at regional conferences being held by the SEP later this month and in early November. All those who see the need for a working class alternative to the two parties of war, mass unemployment and repression should make plans to attend.