Are the Saudis Manipulating Erdogan To Create Winner-Take-All Sectarian Civil War In Iraq?

[The Saudis can’t afford to take-on the Iranian Republican Guard, but they can afford to hire Turkey to do it for them.  That seems to be the conclusion in the Jewish think tank report cited in the Iranian report below.]

US Think Tank: Iran Preventing Turkey’s Hegemony over Iraq, Syria

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iran as a powerful neighbor of Turkey has blocked Ankara’s bid to establish a hegemony over Iraq and Syria, a US think tank said.

The Washington Institute in an article by Soner Cagaptay and Tyler Evans (SEE:  Turkey’s Changing Relations with Iraq: Kurdistan Up, Baghdad Down) wrote that Ankara has come to believe that Iran’s regional clout is growing, and specially the Syrian and Iraqi governments and people are increasingly getting closer to Iran, which prevents Turkey from achieving its hegemonic objectives in this region.

This perspective has led Ankara to look for allies, including the Kurdistan regional government (KRG) in northern Iraq and Iraq’s Sunni Arab population, the think tank said.

Moreover, Turkey and Iran are engaged in a commercial and political contest in Iraq since the 2011 US troop withdrawal, it said.

Turkey’s ties with KRG in northern Iraq have reached a level unimaginable since a few years ago. From rapidly growing business and oil deals to numerous high-level diplomatic visits, Ankara is in the midst of an unprecedented rapprochement with the Iraqi Kurds, one that has come largely at the expense of the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki government in Baghdad, the think tank said.

In addition, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has stepped up its terrorist activities in Turkey, with more than 700 people killed by PKK-related violence over the past fourteen months.

Ankara has blamed the government of “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for this threat” to justify its aggressive policies against Syria as an ally of Tehran, it said.

Meanwhile, these same developments have damaged Ankara’s ties with Baghdad. The Iraqi government sees Turkey’s direct dealings with Erbil as an affront to its authority, and Ankara’s disdain for Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has only exacerbated the problem.

The KRG’s energy wealth adds another potent ingredient to this mix. Turkey has traditionally viewed Baghdad as the sole interlocutor for energy deals with Iraq, in line with normal international procedures and its reading of the Iraqi constitution.

Indeed, these recent business maneuverings could foreshadow a tectonic shift in Turkey’s posture toward Iraq. The rapidly shifting regional constellation wrought by the Arab revolutions and the US withdrawal from Iraq has battered Ankara’s ties with Baghdad.

Turkey now faces a host of new challenges, from a resurgent PKK to the crisis in Syria and growing competition with Iran. In this disorderly environment, the KRG is syncing its policies with Ankara’s. If this pattern persists, it could spur a rerouting of pipeline flows that matches the broader reorientation of Turkey’s strategic relationships with Baghdad and Erbil, with significant implications for US policy.

The Shia (Hazara) Sanctuary In Northern Afghanistan

Hope and fear mark countdown to NATO pull-out


BAMIYAN, Afghanistan: In a spectacular valley swept by centuries of Silk Road history, the hopes and fears of Afghanistan’s only female governor capture the mood across the country as Western troops prepare to withdraw.


Habiba Sarabi’s hope springs from the transformation of Bamiyan province  from a place of massacres and oppression of women under Taliban Islamists to  one where most people live in peace and young girls flock to school.
It is fuelled by a belief that the historical, cultural and physical beauty  of the central province could become a magnet for international tourists whose  dollars would help support those gains.
The fear comes from the fact US-led NATO forces that have fought Taliban  insurgents for the past 11 years will leave the country by the end of 2014 and  all gains could be lost.
“If NATO totally makes the decision to withdraw I am sure a civil war will  start,” she told AFP in an interview in her modest office in Bamiyan town,  where donkeys vie for space on the roads with cars and few weapons are in sight.
Aged 56, she remembers the bloody strife that engulfed Afghanistan in the  1990s following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, when the West lost interest  after backing the Afghan uprising against the Russians.
“If they repeat this mistake again it will be a disaster.”
Bamiyan is home to the Hazara people, a Shiite Muslim minority, and any  chance of a return to power by the hardline Taliban — or even a share in power  — is frightening, says Sarabi.
“The Bamiyan people suffered a lot during the Taliban. People can remember  several massacres in Bamiyan and still we have mass graves here.”
If Afghanistan is spared the disaster Sarabi fears, it is not inconceivable  that her dream of turning the area between the magnificent Hindu Kush and  Koh-e-Baba mountain ranges into an international eco-tourist destination could  be realised.
If not for 30 years of war since the Soviet invasion of 1979, it would  likely have already drawn travellers seeking new places to ski in winter and  fly-fish for wild trout in summer, while rubbing shoulders with the ghosts of  Genghis Khan and Marco Polo.
Bamiyan’s physical attractions include the sapphire-blue Band-e-Amir lakes,  which rise magically within a jagged, barren mountainscape without a river in  sight — now centre of the nation’s first national park.
They lie about 75 kilometres (46 miles) from Bamiyan town off a smooth new  South Korean-funded highway which winds through canyons and crags of bleached  ochres and past a plateau where a new airport is planned.
One of the few foreign visitors last week was retired Swiss businesswoman  Ruth Mordasini, realising a lifelong dream of returning to a landscape and  culture she first saw as a 21-year-old travelling through Afghanistan in 1969.
“Bamiyan is so beautiful,” she said. “But when I told my son and daughter I  was going to Afghanistan they thought I was crazy. It is sad that nobody knows  what the future will be.”
Beyond the natural beauty lie centuries of turbulent history at a cultural  crossroads of the old Silk Road trading route between Asia and Europe.
The modest Roof of Bamiyan hotel faces the cliffs where famed giant Buddhas  stood for 1,500 years before being blown up by the Taliban in 2001, to  international outrage.
The huge empty niches stand as a memorial to cultural barbarity, while the  cliffs themselves are pockmarked by caves where people still live as they did  centuries ago.
A glance to the right shows the ruins of Shahr-E Gholghola (City of  Screams), where Mongol chieftain Ghengis Khan’s men slaughtered every  inhabitant in the 13th century.
The massacre, according to legend, was to avenge the death of his son in  the battle to capture the city, though there is some dispute over whether he  was killed there or during the siege of the nearby Shahr-e Zohak, or Red City,  carved into red sandstone cliffs and one of Bamiyan’s premier historical sites.
More recent history is visible in the old Soviet tanks scattered around the  town and the mass graves of Taliban victims.
— Bringing change—
Despite its violent past, Bamiyan has been one of Afghanistan’s most  peaceful provinces since the Taliban were overthrown in a US-led invasion in  2001 for harbouring Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
In the afternoons, streams of schoolgirls in their distinctive black tunics  and white headscarves can be seen making their way home, some heading for caves  in the cliffs near the blasted Buddhas.
But the road to Bamiyan from the capital Kabul can be dangerous, with  recent kidnappings and executions, and the safest way into the valley is a  half-hour flight over the snow-capped peaks of the mountain ranges.
There are no commercial flights at the moment. Only the UN and aid agencies  make regular trips — but, like everything else connected to Bamiyan tourism,  there are plans for commercial flights, a new airport, new roads.
Tour operator Gull Bayzadah, who drew 74 international tourists — many UN  and aid workers already based in the country — to ski in Bamiyan last winter,  shares Sarabi’s dream of developing the province’s potential.
But he also shares her fear about the departure of the NATO troops, and  worries that deteriorating security might force him to abandon his business and  leave the country.
“There is always hope that they might stay,” he says wistfully. “That they  won’t waste their blood that has been spilled”.
Sarabi acknowledges the challenges of developing transport and  infrastructure before tourism can take off.
But she is proud of her achievements as the only female governor in a  country which, under the Taliban, was notorious for its suppression of women:  girls were denied an education and women were not allowed to work.
Even after seven years as governor, she faces opposition from  traditionalists uncomfortable with a woman holding power.
“No one would think that a woman could govern a province,” she says with a  wry smile. “It’s a tough job to prove ourselves.
“But I’m happy and at least a bit proud that the people now realise that a  woman can do a big job and can be a kind of role model for the other women and  especially girls.”
Of Bamiyan’s 135,000 schoolchildren, 45 percent are girls, said Sarabi —  up from virtually zero in the days of the Taliban.
The trained pharmacist, in elegant grey suit and white headscarf, said she  has made a special effort to get girls into school — travelling personally in  the summer months to remote districts not accessible during the snowed-in  winters to encourage parents to allow their daughters to study.
“We now have the highest percentage of girls in school in the country,” she  said.
But bringing change in the attitude towards women is a constant struggle.
When Sarabi allocated some shops in the main bazaar to women, creating an  unheard-of mixed gender marketplace, the women were harassed by male  shopkeepers and some quit.
“Day by day there are improvements, but there is definitely resistance from  men to women’s progress — not only from men but also from tradition, so we  have to change the mind of the people, their way of thinking.”
But even if she is winning the battle for women’s rights, Sarabi’s province  remains desperately poor and economically underdeveloped — like most of the  rest of the country.
Afghanistan has an estimated trillion dollars’ worth of minerals buried in  its harsh landscape, but their exploitation depends — like Bamiyan tourism —  on peace once the NATO troops depart. — AFP

Russia Maintains Its Nuclear ICBMs, Ensuring MAD (mutual assured destruction) Until “Neocon Fever” Plays-Out In the West

Russia to Keep Silo and Mobile ICBM Launchers in Future

Topol-M systems

Topol-M systems

IA Novosti.                             Mikhail Fomichev

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (SMF) will continue deploying silo-based and mobile ballistic missile launchers in the future, SMF Deputy Commander Lt. Gen. Valery Mazurov said on Thursday.

The two-component structure of the SMF reflects its purpose as part of Russia’s nuclear triad. Silo-based ICBMs serve as a preventive nuclear deterrent of any potential aggression while road-mobile ICBM launchers ensure the capability to respond to nuclear strikes by potential foes.

“This SMF structure will most likely remain unchanged for years or even decades to come,” Mazurov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television.

“The composition of ICBM systems [in SMF structure] is based on a thorough analysis of potential military conflicts of varied intensity that involve the use of nuclear weapons,” the general said.

According to open sources, the SMF currently operates at least 58 silo-based SS-18 Satan ballistic missiles, 160 road-mobile Topol (SS-25 Sickle) missile systems, 50 silo-based and 18 road-mobileTopol-M (SS-27 Sickle B) systems, and 18 RS-24 Yars systems.

The SMF said last year that the Topol-M and RS-24 ballistic missiles would be the mainstay of the ground-based component of Russia’s nuclear triad and would account for no less than 80 percent of the SMF’s arsenal by 2016.

Zetas Have Their Own “Free Enclave In the North,” Just Like Free Syrian Army?


Zetas cartel occupies Mexico state of Coahuila

The aggressively expanding and gruesomely violent Zetas group dominates territory by controlling all aspects of local criminal businesses.

Prison break in Coahuila state, Mexico

Coahuila state police guard a checkpoint in the city of Piedras Negras in September after a prison break staged by the Zetas cartel in the northern Mexican state. (Adriana Alvarado, Associated Press/ September 18, 2012)

By Tracy Wilkinson, Los Angeles Times 

SALTILLO, Mexico — Few outside Coahuila state noticed. Headlines were rare. But steadily, inexorably, Mexico’s third-largest state slipped under the control of its deadliest drug cartel, the Zetas.

The aggressively expanding Zetas took advantage of three things in this state right across the border from Texas: rampant political corruption, an intimidated and silent public, and, if new statements by the former governor are to be believed, a complicit and profiting segment of the business elite. It took scarcely three years.

What happened to Coahuila has been replicated in several Mexican states — not just the violent ones that get the most attention, but others that have more quietly succumbed to cartel domination. Their tragedies cast Mexico’s security situation and democratic strength in a much darker light than is usually acknowledged by government officials who have been waging a war against the drug gangs for six years.

“We are a people under siege, and it is a region-wide problem,” said Raul Vera, the Roman Catholic bishop of Coahuila. A violence once limited to a small corner of the state has now spread in ways few imagined, he said.

What sets the Zetas apart from other cartels, in addition to a gruesome brutality designed to terrorize, is their determination to dominate territory by controlling all aspects of local criminal businesses.

Not content to simply smuggle drugs through a region, the Zetas move in, confront every local crime boss in charge of contraband, pirated CDs, prostitution, street drug sales and after-hour clubs, and announce that they are taking over. The locals have to comply or risk death.

And so it was in Coahuila. One common threat from Zeta extortionists, according to Saltillo businessmen: a thousand pesos, or three fingers.

With the Zetas meeting little resistance, wheels greased by a corrupt local government, there was little violence. But the people of Coahuila found themselves under the yoke of a vicious cartel nonetheless.

“It was as if it all fell from the sky to the Earth,” said Eduardo Calderon, a psychologist who works with migrants, many of whom have been killed in the conflict. “We all knew it was happening, but it was as if it happened in silence.”

The “silence” ended in rapid-fire succession in a few weeks’ time starting mid-September. Coahuila saw one of the biggest mass prison breaks in history, staged by Zetas to free Zetas; the killing of the son of one of the country’s most prominent political families (a police chief is the top suspect); and, on Oct. 7, the apparent slaying of the Zetas’ top leader by federal troops who say they stumbled upon him as he watched a baseball game.

“Apparent” because armed commandos brazenly stole the body from local authorities within hours of the shooting. The military insists that the dead man was Heriberto Lazcano, Mexico’s most feared fugitive, acknowledging that he had been living comfortably and freely in Coahuila for some time.

“He was like Pedro in his house,” former Gov. Humberto Moreira said, using an expression that means he was totally at home and could go anywhere.

The Zetas had such confident dominion over the state that Lazcano, alias the Executioner, and the other top Zeta leader, Miguel Angel Trevino, regularly used a vast Coahuila game reserve to hunt zebras they imported from Africa.

Since their formation in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a paramilitary bodyguard for the then-dominant Gulf cartel, the Zetas operated primarily in Tamaulipas state on Mexico’s northeastern shoulder and down the coast of Veracruz and into Guatemala.

For most of that time, Coahuila, rich in coal mines and with a booming auto industry, was used by cartels as little more than a transit route for drugs across the border. The Zetas maintained a presence limited to Torreon, the southwestern Coahuila city that served as a bulwark against the powerful Sinaloa cartel that reigned in neighboring Durango state.

In 2010, the Zetas broke away from the Gulf cartel, triggering a war that bloodied much of Tamaulipas and spilled over into neighboring states. Coahuila, with its rugged mountains and sparsely populated tracts, became a refuge for the Zetas, and they spread out across the state, including this heretofore calm capital, Saltillo.

Even if the violence hasn’t been as ghastly as in other parts of Mexico, nearly 300 people, many of them professionals, have vanished in Coahuila, probably kidnapped by the Zetas for ransom or for their skills.

The man in charge of Coahuila during most of the Zeta takeover was Moreira, the former governor. After five years in office, he left the position a year ahead of schedule, in early 2011, to assume the national leadership of the Institutional Revolutionary Party on the eve of its triumphant return to presidential power after more than a decade.

But scandal followed Moreira, including a debt of more than $3 million he had saddled Coahuila with, allegedly from fraudulent loans. He was eventually forced to quit the PRI leadership, dashing what many thought to be his presidential aspirations.

Tragedy followed when Moreira’s son Jose Eduardo was shot twice in the head execution-style in the Coahuila town of Acuna early last month. Investigators believe that most of the Acuna police department turned Jose Eduardo over to the Zetas as a reprisal for the killing of a nephew of Trevino. The police chief was arrested.

Copyright © 2012, Los Angeles Times

A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan–(for a Pakistani friend)

Book Review:A Comparative Analysis of Media and Media Laws in Pakistan

Review by Brig ( Retd) Farooq Hameed Khan ( defence/ security analyst/ columnist)  

Author : Yasmeen Aftab Ali, Masters in Mass Communications/Law, teaches in Beaconhouse National University, Lahore

Published by Sang-e- Meel Publications, Lahore- Pakistan

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher a British Spy Who Created Salafi Wahibism

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher a British Spy Who Created Salafi Wahibism.

by Dr. Khurrum Yousafzai

Memoirs Of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy To The Middle East is the title of a document that was published in series (episodes) in the German paper Spiegel and later on in a prominent French paper. A Lebanese doctor translated the document to the Arabic language and from there on it was translated to English and other languages. Waqf Ikhlas publications put out and circulated the document in English in hard copy and electronically under the title: Confessions of a British spy and British enmity against Islam.

In this narrative Hempher, tells a tale for his instrumental role in founding the conservative Islamic reform movement of Wahhabism. The Stratigies to Contain islam through Tampering and Also invention of False Superficial Religion , and to Further its Goals of Great Game this Salafist Wahibism was Used to make further Inroad in Form of Deobandi , Barelevis and Even Qadiani Movement in India too .

The book has been denounced by Wahhabi Muslims and called an “imaginary fictional narrative, coined deliberately to discredit” Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab “and his followers by the British”

by Mr. Hempher Member of British Intelligence and Ministry of Colonies

Book By Dr Siddik Gumus Exposing Salafi Wahibism After translating Memoirs of British Spy.