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Pakistan’s Baluchistan separatists demand Scotland-style vote

Pakistan's Baluchistan separatists demand Scotland-style vote

Baluch separatist leaders today called on Pakistan to follow in Britain’s footsteps by holding a referendum similar toScotland’s on granting independence to the insurgency-wracked province. The Baluch have been struggling against the excesses and tyranny of Punjab-dominated establishment of Pakistan for decades. Resource-rich Baluchistan is the largest of Pakistan’s four provinces, but its roughly seven million inhabitants have long complained they do not receive a fair share of its gas and mineral wealth.

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Azerbaijan Seeks New Security Options

Azerbaijan Seeks New Security Options

Heightened tensions with longtime foe Armenia over breakaway Nagorno Karabakh and mediator Russia’s Ukrainian adventure appear to be pushing Caspian-Sea energy power Azerbaijan ever more strongly toward a military strategy of self-reliance. The strategy comes via two approaches: first, a build-up in Azerbaijani-made military equipment, including drones co-produced with Israel; and, second, a new defense troika with longtime strategic partners Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and neighboring Georgia, a NATO-member-hopeful.

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Libya, neighbour nations snub military intervention

Libya, neighbour nations snub military intervention

Libya’s struggling elected government and representatives of 15 neighbouring nations today unanimously rejected the idea of military intervention as a way to restore stability in the oil-rich nation, which some say is on the brink of civil war. Meeting in Madrid, officials from countries surrounding Libya and to its north across the Mediterranean concluded “there is no military solution to the current crisis.” But Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo warned that the status quo puts Libya in a position where it could slide into a Syria-style civil war.

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Hungarian police swoop on foreign NGOs

Hungarian police swoop on foreign NGOs

The Fidesz government in European Union member Hungary again falls under international scrutiny with a series of crackdowns against civic organisations funded by non-EU Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein. Last week, police raided the headquarters of the Ökotárs Foundation distributing grants for projects in less-developed economies. Budapest accuses the foundation of using funds illegally, and of being ‘problematic because of political ties with the left’. The crackdowns sharpen concern that core democratic values are under threat in Hungary.

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Dhaka to join China’s Asian investment bank

Dhaka to join China’s Asian bank

China had revealed its plan last year to create an Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with a capita of $100 billion. The emerging power will inject half of the total capital. This year, it invited Bangladesh to join as its founder-member.
Though Beijing has sought to downplay the politics behind it, analysts say it will extend its financial reach and compete with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, which are heavily dominated by Japan. China has lesser voting power than the US, Japan, and the UK as a World Bank member.

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Russia, Egypt seal preliminary arms deal worth $3.5 billion

Russia's President Putin and his Egyptian counterpart Sisi attend a welcoming ceremony onboard guided missile cruiser Moskva at Sochi

Russia and Egypt have reached a preliminary deal for Cairo to buy arms worth $3.5 billion from Moscow, Interfax news agency quoted the head of a Russian state arms agency as saying on Wednesday. Speaking during an arms trade exhibition in South Africa, the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation, Alexander Fomin, did not give further details. Russia, the world’s second-largest arms exporter, has sought to boost its military ties with Egypt after relations between Cairo and its long-standing ally Washington soured.

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Exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders would be welcome in Turkey: Erdogan

Exiled Muslim Brotherhood leaders would be welcome in Turkey: Erdogan

Turkey would welcome exiled leaders of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood who have come under pressure to leave Qatar, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. A Brotherhood official said on Saturday that several members of the group were relocating after Qatar came under enormous pressure from other Gulf Arab states to cut support for the Islamist group. “If they make any request to come to Turkey, we will review their request,” Erdogan was quoted as telling reporters on his plane back from an official trip to Qatar late on Monday.

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Russian FSB surrounds Crimean Tatar parliament

Russian FSB surrounds Crimean Tatar parliament

Russian FSB officers have surrounded the Crimean Tatar Mejlis (Parliament) building, the representative-executive body of Crimean Tatars in Simferopol announced on September 16. Masked, armed FSB officers and policemen who have encircled the Mejlis building in Simferopol have as yet refused to comment on the situation, claiming that they are not authorized to comment.”They are not letting anyone in or out, they are assisted by regular police and the FSB (Federal Security Service) is carrying out searches inside,” he said from Crimea’s provincial capital Simferopol.

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Kashmir: India-China-Pakistan Triangular Conflict

Kashmir: India-China-Pakistan Triangular Conflict

Kashmir’s ‘locational’ relevance for India, China and Pakistan has always been significant and it has become a driver in its own right for the perpetual state of conflict with Pakistan and a reality which has the potential for keeping the Sino-Indian relations adversarial. The indelible factors of geography in terms of ‘location,’ ‘space’ and ‘terrain’ in shaping the destiny of nations remains profound. The conflict that has been going on ‘for’ and ‘in’ the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for seven decades is a prime example.

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The US is now involved in 134 wars or none, depending on your definition of ‘war’

The US is now involved in 134 wars or none, depending on your definition of war

The White House spent much of last week trying to figure out if the word “war” was the right one to describe its military actions against the Islamic State. US Secretary of State John Kerry was at first reluctant: “We’re engaged in a major counterterrorism operation,” he told CBS News on Sept. 11. “I think war is the wrong terminology and analogy but the fact is that we are engaged in a very significant global effort to curb terrorist activity… I don’t think people need to get into war fever on this. I think they have to view it as a heightened level of counter terrorist activity.”

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Arming the Kurds builds on long history of proxy warfare in the Middle East

Military equipment for Kurds

An “initial gifting package”: the opaque label is wrapped around £1.6m worth of heavy machine guns and half a million rounds of ammunition, which has now reached the Iraqi town of Arbil courtesy of the British government. The delivery adds a small British component to a flow of weaponry, air strikes and“advisors” that has washed into the Kurdish region of northern Iraq over the last month. These deliveries are the most concrete aspect of the international response to the gains by Islamic State (IS) militants over the summer.

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Turkish military weighs ‘buffer zone’ against Iraq, Syria threats

Turkish military weighs 'buffer zone' against Iraq, Syria threats

Turkey’s military is drawing up plans for a possible “buffer zone” on the country’s southern border, where it faces a threat from Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, Turkish media quoted President Tayyip Erdogan as saying on Monday. The government will evaluate the plans and decide whether such a move is necessary, Turkish television stations quoted Erdogan as telling reporters on his plane as he returned from an official visit to Qatar. Turkey, a member of the NATO military alliance, has made clear it does not want a frontline role in a military coalition.

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Balkanization and US’ full spectrum dominance

Balkanization and US' full spectrum dominance

Aside from the balkanization of Iraq, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters assigned to the Office of the deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence had redrawn the map of the Middle East as far as Baluchistan, a province of Pakistan and called it “Blood Borders”. The creation of Kurdistan will change the existing map of Turkey, Iran and Syria besides that of Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Jordan will not remain immune from the New Middle East.

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‘Scotland has £1 trillion of energy on tap’

'Scotland has £1 trillion of energy on tap'

As much of Europe focuses on whether Scottish voters will choose to leave the U.K., a key aspect of the debate is the extent to which energy wealth would — or would not — sustain an independent country. Scotland will vote in a country-wide referendum Thursday either to stay part of the U.K. or reclaim its independence after 307 years. Most of the North Sea’s oil and gas reserves lie north and east of Scotland, and those resources have continued to fuel the Scottish people’s hopes of independence since their discovery in the 1960s.

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Serbs in Bosnia “closely watching” Scottish referendum

Serbs in Bosnia closely watching Scottish referendum

According to this, they are hoping that if Scots vote to break away from Britain “it would set a precedent that could boost their own chances of proclaiming a separate state.” President of the Serb entity, Serb Republic (Republika Srpska, RS) Milorad Dodik “has not hesitated to evoke the spectre of separation,” in the wake of Crimea split from Ukraine and joined Russia following a disputed referendum in March, said the agency, and quoted him as saying: “We are following what is going on in Italy (South Tyrol), in Scotland and even in Catalonia.

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Mortar rounds fired from ISIL militants in Syria drop on Turkey

Mortar rounds from Syria drop on Turkey

Several mortar shells from Syria dropped on the southeastern Turkish town of Nusaybin on Monday, according to officials. The rounds, which dropped on the Nusaybin section of the European route E90, known as ‘the Silk Road’ in the region, were purportedly fired by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants fighting in Syria, local sources told Anadolu Agency. No casualties were reported.The anti-Assad insurgency in large parts of Syria has recently been hijacked by militants with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.

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Haftar orders closure of Benghazi port, threatens to shell ships entering Libya

Haftar orders closure of Benghazi port, threatens to shell ships entering Libya

Retired Libyan general Khalifa Haftar on Sunday threatened to order his troops to shoot ships entering the Port of Benghazi if port officials did not heed orders to close it down. Haftar had earlier accused rival militias of getting arms supplies through the northeastern Libya port. He sent a letter to port officials, telling them that his troops would shoot any ships entering the port if it was not closed down, according to Libyan activists. He said in his letter that port officials should direct incoming ships to the eastern Port of Tobruk instead.

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Saudi, US pressures behind Qatari move on Muslim Brotherhood

Saudi, US pressures behind Qatari move on Brotherhood

An Egyptian diplomatic source has cited Saudi and American pressures for a recent Qatari move to expel seven Muslim Brotherhood figures from the country. “Saudi and U.S. pressures were behind the Qatari decision,” the high-level source told Anadolu Agency. The source said that diplomats from Saudi Arabia and some Gulf states had held talks with their Qatari counterparts to urge them to take “serious” stances against some Brotherhood leaders. MB sources said that Qatar has asked seven group leaders to leave the country within one week.

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Arab states mull air strikes on ISIS

Arab states mull air strikes on ISIS

Several Arab countries have offered to carry out airstrikes against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, senior US state department officials said on Sunday. The offer was disclosed by American officials traveling with US secretary of state John Kerry, who is approaching the end of a weeklong trip that was intended to mobilize international support for the campaign against ISIS. “There have been offers both to Centcom and to the Iraqis of Arab countries taking more aggressive kinetic action,” said one of the officials.

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Malaysia Risks China’s Wrath By Inviting US Spy Flights

Malaysia’s offer to host US spy planes likely to upset China

Malaysia’s reported invitation to the United States to fly spy planes out of East Malaysia on the southern rim of the South China Sea seems likely to intensify China’s anger at US surveillance of the strategic waterway and its disputed islands, analysts say. The United States’ chief of naval operations, Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, told a forum in Washington last week that the recent offer by Malaysia for P-8 Poseidon aircraft to fly out of the country’s most eastern area would give the United States greater proximity to the South China Sea.

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NSA, British spy agency have secret access to Deutsche Telekom

NSA, British spy agency have secret access to Deutsche Telekom

The US National Security Agency and British intelligence services are able to secretly access data from telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom and several other German operators, according to Der Spiegel weekly. An NSA programme called “Treasure Map” gives the US agency and Britain’s electronic eavesdropping GCHQ near real-time information about the operators’ networks, right through to end users on computers, smartphones or tablets, Der Spiegel said in a report to appear in its Sunday edition.

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Encircle China: India plans to supply Vietnam BrahMos missiles

India plans to supply Vietnam BrahMos missiles

With President Pranab Mukherjee set to leave for a four-day visit to Vietnam on Sunday, New Delhi confirmed that it was in talks with Hanoi for supply of BrahMos missiles to the South East Asian country, which was locked in a territorial dispute with China. Several countries like Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia and Malaysia evinced interest in importing the BrahMos. Sources, however, said that Vietnam could be the first country to have a deal with BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited for import of the missiles.

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Shanghai Cooperation Organization – new regional and global power

Shanghai Cooperation Organization - new regional and global power

Currently, the population of the SCO member states nears one and a half billion people and as a result of expansion of the organization, this figure will almost double. The Chinese economy alone ranks second in the world for the GDP volume after the U.S. The total size of the armies of SCO members even exceeds the size of the NATO member states’ armies. So, it will be impossible to ignore such a large scale organization. The message of the summit clearly reflected the organization’s intention to increase its role and influence in the international arena.

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Scottish independence could leave UK economy in crisis

Scottish independence could leave UK economy in crisis

The UK economy could be on the verge of a crisis if Scotland votes for independence in a referendum on September 18, with a London-based consultancy already reporting that almost £17 billion has been pulled out Britain in the last month. Described as the worst economic crisis to hit the country since the credit crunch of 2008, the information released by CrossBorder Capital comes after major banks, oil companies and supermarkets began voicing concern about Scottish secession amid uncertainty over the currency and a central bank.

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