One of the things that I find most mystifying about Western coverage of Russia is the tendency to treat obvious facts as wild-eyed conspiracy theories. So you have people saying “Putin and his lot are crazy, they think we’re trying to start a color revolution! Where on earth did they get that idea?” Meanwhile, in the plain light of day, the Obama administration makes a push to use tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to support various anti-regime civil society groups. The, unstated, but nonetheless obvious, goal of using that money is to change Russia’s government.
President Bashar al-Assad’s troops in Syria are gaining ground. British Middle East reporter Robert Fisk met some of them when he visited the front lines earlier this month, and told DW about he saw. What role is Iran playing in this conflict? The war is not about Syria, it’s about Iran. And the intention of the West is to effectively destroy Iran’s only Arab ally. And for the Iranians it’s about keeping their only Arab ally. We know that the Iranian government has given advice, but these are very, very small token forces, compared to the propaganda.
Algeria is competing to be the next Arab nation to witness a popular revolt. That is assuming soccer is a barometer of rising discontent in a region experiencing a wave of mass protests that have already toppled the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Yemen and sparked civil war in Syria.
In fact, there is increasingly little doubt that soccer, a historic nucleus of protest in Algeria, is signaling that popular discontent could again spill into the streets of Algiers and other major cities.
Objectives are clear. In the section entitled “Strategic Goals”, the first item on the agenda of the BRICS should reform the global financial system, so as to make it “fairer, more stable, and more efficient.” In subsequent chapters, clearly states that this “reform” is actually dismantling the dollar system.
It is worth noting that the space allotted to this task in the list of priorities of the BRICS, clearly indicates its importance. According to the order of priority, the deprivation of the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is more important than the “prevention of violation of sovereignty” (ie “the Syrian problem”) or “enhanced economic cooperation.”
THE GRAB on bank deposits that accompanied Cyprus’ bailout could be repeated elsewhere in the eurozone, and the bloc’s banking union may not be strong enough when it is introduced, Standard & Poor’s said yesterday.
“We believe that the events in Cyprus highlight the increased reluctance of financially stronger eurozone countries to make their taxpayers’ funds available to recapitalise banks outside their home jurisdictions,” the credit ratings agency said in a report. “For this reason, although the key features of the Cypriot banking system are not shared by other eurozone countries, we consider that the bail-in may indeed create a precedent.”
Offshore from Syria, Russia’s navy is conducting probably its largest naval deployment outside its own waters since the Soviet breakup. The Chinese navy is in another potential confrontation today with Japan in the East China Sea, and raising questions about where it is headed next.
But the BRIC nations as a whole—a force in the global economic conversation since the acronym was coined by Goldman Sachs to refer to the high-growth economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China—are becoming an increasing naval presence on the high seas.
“Qatar has spent about three billion dollars in the past two years to support the opposition in Syria, which far exceeds what provided by any other government. However, the Saudi Arabia competes now in leading the bodies providing Syrian opposition with weapons,” the paper said. “The cost of the Qatari intervention in Syria, which is the latest effort of the oil-rich emirate to support an “Arab revolution,” only represents a very small part of the international investment of Qatar,” it added. “Qatar’s support for Islamist groups in the Arab countries puts it in confrontation with the other Gulf States and provokes competition with the Saudi Arabia,”
Armenian Defence Minister Seyran Ohanyan has said that the armed forces have begun a large-scale upgrade of their hardware. He said that the military will receive new military hardware and types of weapons, and the existing hardware will be upgraded: “We are regularly making renewals in the army. Now we plan more-large scale efforts in this direction. These projects will also be conducted within the framework of establishing joint ventures with Russia and Poland.”
While Yemen is undergoing drastic social, political and economic changes, Saudi Arabia, the region’ super-power is ever increasingly looking nervously as its southern border, fearing that its unruly neighbor’s crises might spill over onto its territories and thus undermine the security of the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has now announced it will resume the construction of its border-fence barrier, which will run across the entire 1,800 Km of the Yemen-Saudi border demarkation line. This titan project aims essentially to cage out Yemen, preventing not only groups from infiltrating Saudi Arabia but also foiling any factions’ hopes to reignite a decades’ old border dispute with al-Saud.
India continues to view Pakistan as the “real threat” even though it is adjusting its military strategy to include the possibility of a limited two-front war with both Pakistan and China, the first Blue Book on India published by a Chinese think tank said.
Pakistan is India’s main “real threat” to maintain a high degree of vigilance and preparedness, the summary of the Blue Book released by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, (CASS) said. The report says Indian military deployment on land is mainly fixated against Pakistan but in recent times, it is also being adjusted for both China and Pakistan.
A new dynamic was introduced to the militarization of domestic law enforcement. By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”
Addressing the top commanders of the Indian Navy on Tuesday, Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced that additional naval bases and air stations are required to extend the Navy’s reach.
“Antony said the construction of additional bases and naval air stations in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands is necessary to further extend our operational reach,” said a Defence Ministry statement. India is concerned about the growing Chinese maritime presence in the Indian Ocean, said an Indian Navy official.
Hizbullah fighters have been advancing swiftly into southern Syria and have reached the flashpoint southern town of Daraa near the border with Jordan, media reports said on Tuesday.
The source pointed out that Hizbullah fighters are not just groups backing the army regime but comprehensive fighting units that includes a full logistic team. It said that Hizbullah’s military leadership is organizing the transfer of the units and providing them with weapons.
The icy Arctic is emerging as a global economic hot spot — and one that is becoming a security concern for the United States as world powers jockey to tap its vast energy resources and stake out unclaimed territories.
Diplomats from eight Arctic nations, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will meet this week over how to protect the thawing region as its waterways increasingly open to commercial shipping traffic. U.S. officials estimate the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits.
The United States, which is trying to bring Syrian rebels and the Syrian government to the negotiating table, is now increasingly worried that Russia plans to sell a sophisticated air defense system to Syria, American officials said Wednesday.
Russia has a long history of selling arms to the Syrians and has a naval base in the country. But the delivery of the Russian S-300 missile batteries would represent a major qualitative advancement in Syria’s air defenses. The system is regarded as highly effective and would limit the ability of the United States and other nations to operate over Syrian airspace or impose a no-fly zone.
The map comes from this recent reporting project on U.S. energy security by nine student journalists at the Medill National Security Journalism Initiative. The reporters explored all aspects of energy security, from presidential rhetoric on the subject to the oil markets themselves to a breakdown of U.S. military operations to stabilize the oil supply. And the site has plenty of charts and graphs. To accompany the map above, Dana Ballout has a piece looking in more detail at all the potential oil choke points.
Although the government maintained on Monday that no concessions were offered to the Chinese to end the face off in east Ladakh, India forces appear to have agreed to the removal of bunkers built by the army in Chumar close to the line of actual control (LAC) to facilitate an agreement.
Sources in the security establishment familiar with the negotiations and the local topography told TOI that the 21-day confrontation on Ladakh’s desolate Depsang plains ended only after the Indian Army agreed to demolish bunkers it had built in the region of Chumar near the LAC.
However, NDTV has learnt from sources that the stand-off was resolved partly due to the halting of construction of bunkers by Indian Army in the Chumar sector of southern Ladakh, which borders Himachal Pradesh.
The Indian Army was reportedly building seven bunkers in Chumar. The general area of Chumar is disputed and claimed by both sides. According to existing agreements, neither side is allowed to construct any permanent structure, more so if they are either offensive or defensive in nature. The assurance that has been reportedly given to China is that the constructions of the bunkers will be stopped for the time being.
The annual public accounting of Estonia’s security and intelligence agency, Kapo, details numerous activities with which Russia’s clandestine services gathers information and aids the implementation of the Kremlin’s foreign policy.
The Kapo report states that in the last few years the Russian FSB’s attempts at recruitment in Estonia have substantially grown. One can then assume that the focus of the FSB toward Estonia has intensified.g
After five years of relatively stable civilian rule, Pakistan seems ready to move ahead with another democratically elected government. But how will that administration behave at home and abroad?
Many longtime observers of Pakistani politics think that the new administration is most likely to be a coalition government of conservative political parties that enjoy the full support of the country’s all-powerful military establishment.
It is a profound problem, which may evolve into a true existential crisis. It is prompted by a question that organizations must sometimes confront: “What purpose do we serve?”
This is the question that is starting to be asked at the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Meetings in Brussels without any real agenda, that lead to summits without decisions, the organization gets by actively trying to “redefine” itself. In reality, the end of the organization’s mission in Afghanistan in 2014, and its economic uncertainty due to the crisis that its European members are facing, puts it in a very difficult situation.
Shinzo Abe makes no secret of wanting to revise Japan’s constitution, he is seeking to lower the hurdle for revising the constitution as a prelude to an historic change to its pacifist Article 9 – which, if strictly read, bans any military. That would be a symbolic shift, loosening restrictions on the military’s overseas activities, but would have limited impact on defence as the clause has already been stretched to allow Tokyo to build up armed forces that are now bigger than Britain’s. However, sweeping changes proposed by Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in a draft constitution would strike at the heart of the charter with an assault on basic civil rights.
The future of ground forces, the study argues, lies somewhere in the “messy middle,” between long-range, high-tech air- and cyber-strikes against a hostile nation-state — the “AirSea Battle” vision of the Navy and Air Force — and low-profile, low-cost Special Operations and drone raids against scattered terrorists. The study, entitled Beyond the Last War, lays out a score of scenarios, half in the Pacific and half in the Middle East, where the problem will be too big for Special Ops alone but too deeply dug in to excise surgically from afar.
The United States may be deploying 10 additional troops to Mali, but that’s just a drop in the bucket of the U.S. military’s presence in Africa, which has been quietly building for the last decade. You’ve probably heard about the 2,000-troop hub at Camp Lemmonier, Djibouti, and the 100 special operators hunting Joseph Kony. But less is known about the handful of U.S. drone bases scattered across the continent and the dozens of exercises involving hundreds, if not thousands, of American troops (Click the placemarks on the map above for a quick description of what U.S. troops are doing in each country.)
A rebel victory in Syria’s civil war would be the most positive outcome for Israel despite fears of instability and a stronger jihadist presence on the Golan should the regime collapse, analysts say. The Syrian conflict has increasingly affected Israel, as alarm mounts over the deployment of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal and the potential for it to fall into the hands of non-state militant groups. But experts believe a rebel victory would have the best geostrategic implications for Israel.
When most of us think of weapons of mass destruction, we think of nuclear bombs, or nerve gas, or biological agents. So it was surprising to see accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using a weapon of mass destruction after he and his brother allegedly detonated a bomb made from a pressure cooker.
Heinous as the Boston bombing is, a pressure cooker does not fit the commonly used definition of a WMD. In fact, by its own definition, the U.S. government is using WMDs every day.
China has allegedly sold helicopter gunships to ethnic Wa rebels who occupy areas of Shan State in eastern Burma, intelligence monitor Jane’s Information Group reported on Monday.
The report claimed China “delivered several Mil Mi-17 ‘Hip’ medium- transport helicopters armed with TY-90 air-to-air missiles to the Wa in late February and early March, according to both Myanmar ethnic minority and Myanmar government sources.” Bertil Lintner, an expert on Burma and author of Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier, confirmed the accuracy of the Jane’s report.
Saxo Bank’s Lars Christensen: Political discontent will soon force the Eurozone’s inevitable break-up
A political rebellion is brewing, and many countries are close to breaking point. Beppe Grillo’s success in Italy was just the start – it could have been anyone standing with an anti-euro message. There’s a new anti-euro party in Germany gathering interest. And the anti-bailout True Finns in Finland are now the country’s third largest party. This will happen in every European country, and it’s all down to economic conditions. As long as you’re in the euro, you’ll be less and less competitive, and will get weaker and weaker against Germany.
Analyzing Beijing’s foreign policy is a relatively simple exercise. That’s because, unlike the United States and other Western nations, China doesn’t even pretend to operate on any other principle except naked self-interest. On one hand, China has courted Israel as a partner in developing Mediterranean gas fields — but it also has been happy to do business with Israel’s arch-enemy, Iran, and has sold weapons that ended up in Hezbollah’s arsenal. In South Asia, meanwhile, China has cynically helped Pakistan check India’s regional role, even as China’s state-controlled press has warned Pakistan that Beijing may “intervene militarily” in South Asia if Pakistani-origin jihadis continue to infiltrate Muslim areas of Western China.
It is not a secret that in recent years, Beijing increased its political activities across several hot spots in the region. China is now one of the largest GCC countries trade partner, the largest exporter to the Middle East, the biggest importer of Iranian oil, and the largest player in the Iraqi oil game. Meanwhile, the GCC countries are eager to diversify their economy and foreign policy; subsequently they welcome the Chinese involvement and investments, but also view such presence as vital toward the creation of balance in international relations and energy markets. From the Arab perspective, there is little concern that China’s increasing status as a world power will constitute a security threat.
This may be a template for a possible plot for “The Expendables 3” but it is a truly bad real-world military operation. Creating limited protection zones for what are now millions of potential refugees would commit the United States to unstable half-measures – and the open-ended use of force to defend them – with the risks of either a continuing civil war or an unplanned process of escalation without allied commitments or support and the reality that the people in such zones would need massive amounts of emergency relief. As Libya showed, “no fly” zones are not enough to end a civil war or halt ground movements and escalation in the use of artillery, missiles, and carefully managed atrocities by competing ground forces.
A new report released in April by the Center for the Study of Chinese Military Affairs at the National Defense University looks at the history of Chinese threat and retaliation signaling. It offers up a future signaling scenario involving the South China Sea that should be required reading for the US Pacific Command and the US National Security Council.
The core of the scenario is based on the proposition that China perceives closer military ties among the US, Philippines, and Vietnam as a “threatening strategic trend” as it did with the 1978 Hanoi-Moscow security treaty. China perceived the treaty as collusion to establish a “regional hegemony” over Vietnam’s neighbors.
The intriguing ‘leak’ of a draft Status of Forces Agreement [SOFA] between the United States and the Maldivian government has led to reluctant confirmation by both countries that they are indeed involved in discussion with each other to conclude such an agreement.
The draft agreement “incorporates the principal provisions and necessary authorisations for the temporary presence and activities of United States forces in the Republic of Maldives and, in the specific situations indicated herein, the presence and activities of United States contractors in the Republic of Maldives.”
U.S. commanders have laid out a range of possible options for military involvement in Syria, but they have made it clear that any action will likely be either with NATO backing or with a coalition of nations similar to the NATO-led overthrow of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.
On Thursday, U.S. officials said there has been no new movement of U.S. military assets to the region. The military options could include establishing a no-fly zone over or a secured area within Syria, launching airstrikes by drones and fighter jets and sending in tens of thousands of ground forces to secure the regime’s chemical weapons caches.
The cost of ignoring Africa is immense—and may be ultimately measured in American lives lost. Left unchecked, Al Qaeda affiliates in North Africa will soon be able to strike at Americans overseas and at home. Ignoring North Africa today is like ignoring Afghanistan in 1998, as Bin Laden’s minions began to plan the September 11 attacks. North Africa is becoming the “new Afghanistan”—a string of toterring and largely ungoverned nations running from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea.
Depositor-preference rules exist in various forms in some EU states. The principle has also been enshrined in the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s rules since 1993. The value of EU-level depositor preference would partly be political. One lesson of the Cyprus affair was that policy makers and the public view depositors as a protected class of creditors, even if deposits are in fact risk-taking investments just like bonds and shares. Arguably, the current regime, which treats depositors as pari passu with senior bank bondholders, better reflects this economic reality.
Not much time is left until 2014, when the withdrawal of NATO anti-terrorism coalition troops from Afghanistan is expected to take place; however, it still remains unknown what type of military contingent will remain in Afghanistan and Central Asia thereafter and which countries of the region will be selected by the West for this purpose.
The fact that military contingents will remain not only in Afghanistan but also in the region is doubtless and is openly stated by officials. On Tuesday, the U.S. Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said the fact of the coalition’s presence in Central Asia is unequivocal, adding that it is still not decided on what other transit points and bases will be maintained in the region.
The first of 500 Marines have begun deploying to Spain as part of a new rapid reaction force to respond to threats against U.S. citizens, government personnel or installations in Africa. The new task force is based at Moron Air Base in southern Spain, which provides quick access especially to northern Africa, where security concerns have grown since the September 2012 attack on a U.S. government facility in Benghazi, Libya, a Pentagon official told CNN. When fully operational, the unit will be required to be airborne within six hours of receiving orders, providing the type of rapid response that the Pentagon says was not possible during the Benghazi attack. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died during the assault at the U.S. mission and CIA annex.
A panel of experts at the recent SISO CEO Summit did a great job describing where they’d put their money now—and in five years. Interestingly, they are looking at, and investing in, MIST: Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea and Turkey. Some say the “S” should stand for South Africa.
In spite of the over-hyped press, Mexico is safe and on the rise. Between rising wages and transportation costs in Asia, the maquiladora business in Mexico is booming. Mexico has more free trade agreements in place than any other country in the world. There are good (privately owned) venues in the major cities and great suppliers, hotels and services.
The Arctic Ocean is deceptively vast, spanning 5.4 million square miles. In comparison, Russia in its entirety spans 6.6 million square miles. While most of the Arctic Ocean remains inaccessible, the shrinking of permanent sea ice has roused global economic interest for two reasons. First, the Northern Sea Route runs from the Bering Strait to the Barents Sea, and condenses the traditional “Royal Road” route by about 2500 nautical miles (approximately 10 days’ travel). If viable, the opening of this route would radically alter the transport of goods from Asian industrial hubs to Western consumer markets.
US preoccupation with Sri Lanka’s internal affairs is a cause for concern. Every incident has prompted a comment from the US. If the office of a newspaper is attacked, it is an attack on the independence of the media despite the fact that any number of possibilities not connected with media freedom exists for such attacks.
The compelling reason for US preoccupation with Sri Lanka is attributed to Sri Lanka’s extended engagement with China. The need to counter or balance China’s engagement in Sri Lanka has been recognized by the US and India. While India’s concern has both national and geostrategic ramifications, to the US it is primarily geostrategic.
Parallel moves by Washington and Beijing appear to have persuaded Pyongyang not to carry out its nuclear threat against South Korea, the United States and Japan. But unless the threat has been completely neutralized, President B. S. Aquino III may yet succeed in making the Philippines a potential target for North Korea or China.
While we had earlier feared that a North Korean missile could hit the Philippines purely by accident or mistake, in the future Pyongyang or even China could aim its missile directly at the Philippines, should it finally host American military bases all over again.
On 15 April, 2013, several dozen soldiers of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered as deep as ten kilometers inside the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in Daulat Beg in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir) and set up a camp there. The audacity of the Chinese operation is reflected from the fact that their ground troops were given cover and logistic help by two helicopters to enable them to set up a camp on the Indian territory. Why did the Chinese choose Daulat Beg? The Chinese have not forgotten that it was at this place where the Indians had set up its landing strip during the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
US academic and former statesman, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has said Western democracies need to create a trans-Atlantic free trade area to remain relevant in world affairs. The 85-year-old, who was a US national security advisor at the height of the Cold War, spoke at the Globsec conference in Bratislava on Thursday (18 April) to an audience of central European VIPs. But he said Europe failed to fulfil its promise, while the US undid itself by invading Iraq. “Europe’s main problem is that today’s European Union is a Europe more of banks than of people, more of commercial convenience than an emotional commitment of the European peoples,” he said.
This has certainly not been a dull week in capital markets. The intraday investor has been exposed to just about everything. As of Friday, we have a commodity market that is telling the investor that global growth is slowing. A U.S. equity market, financed by cheap money, continues to signal that the American consumer is somewhat in the driving seat when it comes to stock prices. And finally, the European sovereign market appears to be convinced that domestic Japan is about to embark on a global shopping spree.
Angered by the British media’s coverage of Brussels, the European Commission says it wants to be a “moral compass” against press misconduct, seeking new national and Europe-wide regulatory powers over journalists.
The EU has spent £2.3 million on the previously unpublicised “Mediadem” project to “reclaim a free and independent media”. In a “policy brief” co-authored by its lead British researcher, Rachael Craufurd Smith, Mediadem says it is “simplistic” to “see state influence [over the press] as inherently stifling”. Dr Craufurd Smith, an Edinburgh University academic, said that it was also “simplistic” to believe that “market-driven media” were now “free and independent”.
“The year 2014 can be expected to usher in another major war involving the U.S.” The threat of war against the United States is making headlines and roiling investors’ nerves. While full-scale war is likely not imminent, it’s something worth considering in light of where we stand in the long-term War Cycle.
To answer this question we need first to realize where we are in the context of the 24-year cycle. This particular cycle, a subset of the Kress 120-year cycle, has been identified as the long-term “war cycle” among industrialized countries. The most recent 24-year cycle bottom occurred in October 1990. This ended a vicious bear market for the stock market.
The Indian ocean once regarded as a ‘neglected ocean’ has, today, become the hub of political, strategic and economic activities because of the presence of conventional and nuclear vessels of the major powers in the area and because of its own economic and strategic significance. The ocean contains several important minerals: 80.7% of world extraction of gold, 56.6 % of Tin, 28.5 % of manganese, 25.2 % nickel and 77.3% natural rubber. Highest tonnage of the world goods, 65% of world oil, and 35% of the gas, located in the littoral states, passes through it. The region today is an arena of contemporary geopolitics.
The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.
One week ago, Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov died from heart failure while choking on a piece of food during lunch. He was badly traumatized five years ago when assailants beat him so badly that several fingers and one of his legs had to be amputated. He was confined to a wheelchair. He could not speak.
Sadly, Beketov’s plight is not unusual. In Russia, violence against journalists is not directed by the state per se, but rather is enabled by the state. In her 2004 book Putin’s Russia, the journalist Anna Politkovskaya explained in detail how this system worked: when a journalist criticizes an official or rich person too strongly, they are first threatened, then hurt a little bit, and then, eventually, killed. The killers are never brought to justice.
For half a century, geopolitical theory was effectively banned. In the USSR, this branch of science was described as “bourgeois.” In the West, it was considered politically incorrect, and was largely the preserve of provincial professors with no hope of entering the establishment. The situation began to change with the advent of the new century, and now geopolitics is back in ordinary usage and quickly regaining its political correctness and legitimacy. There is no single definition of geopolitics. But in the most general terms, it can be described as the science of investigating the relationship between foreign policy, international relations, and geographical and natural surroundings.
The most significant geopolitical events of the past half century have been unanticipated. Not that we did not expect them, but they were supposed to happen in the distant future, not now.The North Korean regime could collapse in the same unexpected way, leaving shocked politicians, diplomats, and pundits to fend with its consequences. While it is comforting to believe that predictable rational calculation and self interest determine the course of human events, the most significant changes in the world order are heavily influenced by chance, personalities, emotions, and miscalculations.
Looking forward, more gas transport options in Europe are forecasted. The next five years will see the realisation of a considerable number of ambitious interregional projects, including new supply routes: West Nabucco, Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline, TAPI and Russia-South Korea, which could be possible route alternatives for Gazprom’s South Stream. The trend towards greater European integration ramps up the enforcement to overcome national boundaries and focus to a greater extent on a Europe-wide network.
The Enemy Industrial Complex: How to turn a world lacking in enemies into the most threatening place in the universe
Without an enemy of commensurate size and threat, so much that was done in Washington in these years might have been unattainable. The vast national security building and spending spree — stretching from the Virginia suburbs of Washington, where the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency erected its new $1.8 billion headquarters, to Bluffdale, Utah, where the National Security Agency is still constructing a $2 billion, one-million-square-foot data center for storing the world’s intercepted communications — would have been unlikely.
Morocco could be the first victim among the emerging democracies of Southern Mediterranean, a European strategy for economic independence and political sovereignty. The World Social Forum held recently in Tunis, associative altermondialists Maghreb, South European and Scandinavian, had preached an alarming discourse: It would be according to what was discussed by them, a wide ranging a war that is about to pit the EU-27 countries against the democratic spring countries in the southern Mediterranean. Thus, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and to a lesser extent Jordan, whether it decides its orientation towards democracy or not, will be kept on a leash by Europeans through Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTAs)
In the way China made land grabs across the Himalayas in the 1950s by launching furtive encroachments, it is now waging separate stealth wars—without firing a single shot—to change the status quo in the South and East China Seas, on the line of control with India, and on international river flows. Although China has risen from a backward, poor state to a global economic powerhouse, the key elements in its statecraft and strategic doctrine have not changed. Since the Mao Zedong era, China has adhered to ancient theorist Sun Tzu’s advice, “The ability to subdue the enemy without any battle is the ultimate reflection of the most supreme strategy.”
The Pentagon has thus indicate that, according to him, the troops of the economic community of West African States were “totally incapable” carry on fighting against terrorist groups from northern Mali. History of ‘impulsive actions’ in its own way create a future US intervention in the Malian territory.
More than 300 personnel of Africom should soon settle in the Sahel region, or more precisely in Niger, countries for the less strategic for the French nuclear group Areva, the latter operator an important site of uranium mining on its territory.
The 2008 war with Georgia allowed Russia to greatly enhance its already considerable military presence. Russian officials say there are roughly 5,000 Russian personnel in Abkhazia: 3,500 military and 1,500 Federal Security Service (FSB) officers and “border guards”. Moscow allocated $465 million over four years to the rehabilitation and construction of military infrastructure. This included work on Bombora, the largest military airfield in the South Caucasus, in Gudauta. Though Russian media sources describe significant weapons at the base, Western military officials in late 2012 said intelligence indicated only four fighter craft there on a regular basis – two Sukhoi 27s and two MiG-29s.
One of China’s most influential military strategists has made headlines by saying that a new, lethal strain of bird flu is a “U.S. bio-psychological weapon” conspiracy designed to harm China.
Senior Col. Dai Xu, an air force officer in the People’s Liberation Army, has written several best-sellers, mostly on U.S. military strategy toward China, and enjoys a national following. He is a prominent voice inside China on military strategy and national security.Though many in the West view him as an aberration, Col. Dai is a core member of China’s strategic community and his views are backed by a huge following in Chinese military circles.
There are three major means for the U.S. to conduct deep involvement in the Asia-Pacific region: first, wide alliance to win over various countries in the Asia-Pacific region; second, military forward deployment to realize strategic “re-balancing”; and third, occupy a “leading” position in the region to play “pro-active role”.
The U.S. believes that the time span from the end of the Cold War to 2015 is a period of “strategic opportunity”, during which the rise and development of such major regional countries as China and Russia will pose serious challenges to the U.S. around 2015. Among the two, China “is more likely to become the challenger”.
“We understand what kind of regime North Korea is, but we also understand that North Korea is playing games,” said Sun Zhe, director of the Center for U.S-China Relations at Beijing’s Tsinghua University.
“Most importantly, we are complaining that the United States is using military drills as an excuse to continue to do this (rebalancing), putting up B-2s and other advanced weapons systems,” he said. B-2 and B-52 bombers, radar-evading F-22s and anti-missile system vessels like the USS John S. McCain represented the initial U.S. response to North Korea
U.S. defenses could intercept a ballistic missile launched by North Korea, the top U.S. military commander in the Pacific said Tuesday, as the relationship between the West and the communist government hit its lowest ebb since the end of the Korean War.
Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Kim Jong Un, the country’s young and still relatively untested new leader, has used the past year to consolidate his power.
“Saudi Arabia is supporting groups here that are not religious extremists. Americans are supervising the flow of arms and the Saudis pay for them,” said a rebel who called himself Ahmed Masri speaking to the Daily Telegraph from the southern city of Deraa. Saudi Arabia is also said to be supporting a US-led programme to train Syrian rebel fighters in Jordan. A well-placed opposition lobbyist based in Jordan told the Daily Telegraph that “the Americans are doing the training, but Saudi is paying the money for it”. Those receiving training are mainly moderate Sunni Muslim tribesmen from central and southern Syria, many of whom have served in the Syrian army.
While aggressive war, drone strikes, and a global network of military bases are the most visible aspects of American hegemonic power, what is often overlooked is the U.S. policy of training, assisting, and subsidizing foreign militaries. Although these actions are largely covert and discreet, they serve the same purpose of hegemonic control, diminish peace and national security, and help contribute to the subjugation of foreign citizens. In nearly every continent, the U.S. taught extremely fascistic, right-wing governments the art of cracking down on domestic dissent, jailing and torturing political opponents, centralizing power, making deals beneficial to American corporations, and employing death squads.
Which cruel ruler is continually forcing new rounds of austerity measures on the Greeks? And which dark power managed to break the resistance of Cypriots in just a few days? The answer is not Germany. It is the eurozone’s shadow state.
“Within this euro shadow state is a shadow government, the European Council,” Mayer said at a recent lecture at the Academy for Civic Education in Tutzing, southern Germany. “There’s a shadow executive, the Eurogroup. And there’s a task force to implement discipline that was grossly infringed upon. That’s the troika.”
Cheap drones made in China could end up arming potential U.S. foes such as North Korea, Iran and terrorist organizations. China already makes drones that don’t quite match up to U.S. military drones, but for a fraction of the cost. The Chinese military envisions such unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) scouting out battlefield targets, guiding missile and artillery strikes, and swarming potential adversaries, such as U.S. carrier battle groups. “In whatever future conflict scenario we’re in five or 10 years from now, the proliferation of UAVs is going to complicate things for the U.S. military,” said Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute.
“In Algeria, power likes to hide,” says a political scientist in Algiers. “The military and security forces have come to the conviction that they have to work in a hidden way, that they have to practise power but never in the light, and they try to resolve all domestic and international problems using secret services rather than going through public institutions.” The intellectuals’ story of the origins of the old men who run Algeria goes some way towards explaining the intensity with which the country’s murky elite remain absorbed in their own power games.
It is probable to say that the respective exercise has an interregional message considering the agreement among the Black Sea riparian countries on the relationship and the preservation of the stabilization in Black Sea. On the ground that some new developments take place specifically in Middle East and Syria crisis, it is useful to draw attention to Middle East and Mediterranean rather than Black Sea. As a reminder, Moscow made a decision to permanently possess warships in Mediterranean due to the conflicts in Syria last month, and this decision sparked a debate.
When a two-engine Chinese turboprop darted over disputed islands in the East China Sea, the first foreign intrusion into Japanese airspace in more than 50 years, the People’s Liberation Army was able to truthfully profess its innocence.
The tiny turboprop belonged to China Marine Surveillance, a once-obscure cog in the vast bureaucracy that has become a kind of paramilitary force in Asian waters. A host of Chinese agencies with innocuous titles — the Maritime Safety Administration, the Fisheries Law Enforcement Command, the State Oceanic Administration — have become stealth warriors in Beijing’s campaign to press its territorial claims in Asian waters.
In October, the government started a new program of “nationalization of the elite.” That’s a term that was thought up by Konstantin Kostin, an advisor to President Vladimir Putin. Kostin says the Kremlin is aiming to change the mentality of many elite Russian business people, who see Russia as a country to exploit, but who end up going to live elsewhere. Other sources close to the Kremlin agreed that there was another motivation for these laws. They said that this “nationalization of the elite” was a direct response to the mass protests last year demanding honest elections in Russia. “The government is convinced that there are foreign governments behind these protest movements,” said one source.
Only too aware of the threat of east Mediterranean supply if Europe is able to diversify away from Russian gas dependency, Moscow has been steadily feting Israel to buy into a piece of the action.Moscow has already advanced a $3.5 billion loan and attempted to gain more leverage over Cyprus’ economic and energy assets during the recent bitter negotiations in the banking crisis.
The Kremlin is playing a much bigger game. Gazprom is already eyeing a role in the development of Israel’s gigantic Leviathan gas field. With its estimated 25 tcf of gas Leviathan is due to come on-stream by 2016. And the eastern Mediterranean bonanza is potentially huge. The US Geological Survey estimates the eastern Mediterranean Levant Basin contains around 123 tcf of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of oil.
Recently discovered gas in Mozambique could transform the country into a major player in the world LNG market, speakers said at a public event in Brussels. But some of them warned against high expectations of prosperity and warned that revenues won’t come fast.
The aggregate gas reserves of Mozambique and Tanzania potentially have the same size as those of Australia, which has become a leading supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the Asian market, which accounts for two-thirds of the global LNG demand and is growing fast.
Raw materials and energy reserves in Central Asia make the region of particular interest to both China and Russia. The two countries share interests in region but are also each others biggest competitors.
The countries enjoy what experts have often called a strategic partnership, but that does not mean relations are without problems. The energy sector often crops up as a bone of contention between the nations as both look to increase their power and influence in Central Asia.
Call them American strategy’s Odd Couple. Working together, the U.S. Coast Guard and Air Force could be the best defenders of U.S. policy in the Arctic Ocean, a theater that will expand and contract each year and where threats will — cross your fingers — remain modest in scope. Think about it. One partner is an aviation force, the other a sea service. One operates under Pentagon jurisdiction, the other under the Department of Homeland Security. One is a combat arm designed to break things and kill people, the other a constabulary agency meant primarily to execute U.S. law in offshore waters and skies and render aid and comfort following natural disasters.
In Kachin State, China is waving a carrot to the government in Naypyidaw by putting pressure on the KIA and allowing Burmese troops to detour through Chinese territory. China is waving a big stick as well. According to Jane’s Intelligence Review on Dec. 21, China has supplied Burma’s most powerful ethnic militia, the United Wa State Army (UWSA), with large quantities of military hardware. Chinese-made armored personnel carriers with machine guns have been spotted in the UWSA’s Panghsang headquarters in Burma across the Yunnan frontier.
Another military exercise led by the Pentagon was the Saharan Express 2013. The real purpose behind these exercises of course was revealed by Omar Wad, a spokesperson for the Senegalese Marine Forces General Command, who said “The safety of marine space is a main bet for Sahel countries because it will protect oil that passes everyday through the Atlantic Ocean. Commodities passing through the ocean, especially along the shores of countries participating in the exercise, represent 80 percent of world commodities.”
Standard Bank analyst Simon Freemantle said he thinks China will try to use the BRICS bank to push the status of its currency. “I think very core to the bank from China, at least, has been the desire to use it as a means to continue the internationalization of the renminbi,” he said.
“The idea would not be not to host it in a single currency. … But there will also be benefits in removing the dollar from bilateral trade between, say, South Africa and Brazil, South Africa and India, if that can happen. But I think principally, it’ll be a push for RMB internationalization,” Freemantle added. But he said it is unlikely that this move will unseat the major reserve currencies. He also said trade within the BRICS group makes up a small portion of international trade – which is mainly in dollars.
The U.S. administration is printing dollars without security in order to finance civil wars or American military invasions. Thanks to the theft of resources of entire countries, the White House covered the deficit of the uncontrolled printing of currency, and distributed the rest in the pockets of the accomplices from the administration. This rule, in force since the end of the Second World War, changed with the coming to power of George W. Bush in 2000. His greed resulted in the fact that the covering of deficit now led to the enrichment of his family and the IMF political commissars.
Afghanistan is considered to have a highly strategic value during the 21st century in southern and central Asian regions, owed to its geopolitical situation and untapped mineral resources. The country has proven to be a key inhibitor for the newly formed republics in central Asia besides having a high influence and pressure on China, Russia and Iran. Geographical and geopolitical situation of a nation has a direct impact over the internal, external and economical policies of a nation. However, policies implemented by ISI, CIA and MI6 in Afghanistan and the region during the past five decades have had different motives
Cold War forces, armies of Algeria and Morocco have followed models and doctrines opposed. But their strategies have evolved considerably in recent years. Two countries, two doctrines, two worldviews. Algeria and Morocco belonged to two separate blocks. In each “camp” years of alignment – that of the East for the first and the West for the second – marked the ranks. Officers became officers and general officers, NCOs and officers have sometimes become officers. Some trained “Soviet” other “French” or “American.”
For a businessman renowned for steering clear of politics, Oleg Deripaska, chief executive of Rusal, is unusually frank about Russia’s ills. He also faults Gazprom for being “preoccupied with its business in the west”, that is, Europe – at the expense of fast-growing Asian markets. The solution, he says, is to break the company up, forming two distinct entities – one focused on the west, its traditional market, and the other on the east of Russia, which has huge gas reserves but has been starved of investment.
A lot of people in Europe, especially the French, cheered heedlessly when the Arab Spring took off in 2011. But then came the 70,000 dead from the Syrian war; the proliferation of terrorism in Libya and Mali; the assassination of the main Tunisian opposition leader Chokri Belaid in a country where there is actually less freedom than before; and of course, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, knee deep in economic and social chaos.
The Arab Spring of these secular republics wasn’t as positive and peaceful as many had expected.
Less than six months ago, U.S. Under Secretary of State Robert D. Hormats gave an exclusive interview to Caixin, in which he said that one of the most important tasks in US-China relations was to define differences on intellectual property rights protection and find common solutions within the next six months.
On Feb. 20, the White House released a strategy paper outlining an approach for protecting the trade secrets of U.S. companies. “Emerging trends indicate that the pace of economic espionage and trade secret theft against U.S. corporations is accelerating,”
China has sparked off a fresh scare in India’s national security establishment, this time with its little-known collaboration with neighbouring countries’ space-related programmes, adding a new dimension to fears among intelligence agencies the eastern neighbour was encircling India strategically with large communication networks. A string of satellite deals China has struck with Sri Lanka, potential space-related partnerships in Maldives and Bangladesh and their security implications have raised concern in New Delhi.
German politicians and many of their European colleagues suspect Cyprus to be a tax haven and a money-laundering site for Russian oligarchs. Of the 68 billion euros stored in Cypriot bank accounts, around 20 billion ($26 billion) belong to Russian account holders. A report compiled last year by the German secret service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, claims to have found evidence that Cypriot banks or Russian bank branches based in Cyprus are used to launder illegal money.
Although not unseen before – Italy imposed a one-off 0.6 percent bank account tax in 1992 — it is the first time it has been proposed since the eurozone debt crisis began.
Cyprus is the fourth eurozone nation to fall victim to the crisis, which has already resulted in enormous EU/IMF bailout packages for Greece, Ireland and Portugal. Eurozone finance ministers have suggested changes to the bank levy terms to protect the smallest savers.
Rich reservoirs of oil, natural gas and industrial minerals believed to lie under the China Sea may merely be door prizes in the contests for control of East Asia’s great inland sea.
Beijing claims some 300 million square kilometers (or 80 percent) of the East and South China Sea and the Yellow Sea that separates the Korean Peninsula from China’s east coast. Conventional analyses of China’s aggressive claims focus on rivalries among the coastal states over the underwater resources the China Sea is believed to contain.
The bailout format is therefore a gamble on several levels. Most importantly, massive questions still linger over the precedent this sets. If Cypriot depositors are forced to pay today, why not Spanish ones tomorrow? People queuing up in massive numbers outside ATM machines is always an incredibly scary sight wherever you are and given the anger in Cyprus, we just don’t know how people will react when banks open again (unclear when, the Cypriot government may declare both Tuesday and Wednesday bank holidays as well). But fears of deposit-led contagion to other parts of the eurozone should definitely not be be overstated.
Excessive secrecy in government has now been recognised at all levels, from Obama down. In 2009 he effected an executive order that provided for information to be released to the public as soon as possible, and the following year he signed HR 553, the “reducing over-classification act”.
Yet, at the same time as Obama has talked about enhancing transparency, he has also presided over one of the toughest administrations in terms of policing state secrets. There have been six prosecutions under the 1917 Espionage Act under his watch – more than under all previous presidents combined.
Japan plans to strengthen its maritime security alliance with Sri Lanka to curb China’s growing influence on countries with Indian Ocean coastlines. A joint statement on maritime security cooperation will be issued after a meeting between Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on March 14, sources said.
China, which replaced Japan as the largest aid provider to Sri Lanka in 2009, has been helping with construction of a number of port facilities in countries around India in a strategy known as the “String of Pearls.” A government source said tightening ties with Sri Lanka is “a step toward driving a wedge into the String of Pearls.”
India and China are fuelling mutual suspicion by their ongoing military build-up, even though neither of them currently appear to seek to overturn the strategic balance on their borders, US spy chief said today.
“Neither India nor China currently seeks to overturn the strategic balance on the border or commit provocations that would destabilise the relationship. However, India and China are each increasing their military abilities to respond to a border crisis,” James R Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, said during a US Congressional hearing on global threats.
The recent revelation, by a member the general secretariat of Kuwait´s National Party, according to whom the USA and Qatar are planning to divide Syria into small-states, is likely to further cool down east-west relations. The agreement, so al-Hamad, contains several points, such as a division of Syria into several smaller states with so-called moderate Islamist governments, the permanent annexation of the disputed Hatay region by Turkey, a reduction of the Syrian military forces to maximum 50,000 troops and other, which coincide with recent analysis by Dr. Perencik and Major Agha H. Amin.
The events of the Arab Spring and the variables that have happened in Iraq after invading it in 2003, which led to the fall of the dictatorial rulers, caused authoritarian and political vacuum, over which the States whose governments still hold the reins of power in it have competed and thus have turned into powerful States. Qatar is one of these States that is small but yet have great ambitions and is supported and backed by the United States and Israel. It is clear that Qatar’s policy aims at strengthening its authority and role in the region at the expense of the Saudi role.
On Monday, South Korea and the United States began their annual war games and North Korea responded by following through on some of its latest threats. Thankfully, Seoul hasn’t been turned into a “sea of flames” and there are no nuclear weapons hurdling toward the U.S., but the country cut off its hotline with South Korea on Monday and announced in the state-run newspaper that the 1953 armistice agreement that ended the Korean War is no more. “Today, on March 11, the armistice agreement is annulled,” said the paper. “Every citizen is a soldier.”
The US and its allies must be viewing this convergence of Chinese, Pakistani and Iranian strategic and economic interests in Gwadar and Balochistan with extreme trepidation. In one fell swoop, the Straits of Hormuz and the Sea Lines of Communication (SLOCs) to and from the Persian Gulf have come under Chinese oversight.
Furthermore, regional economies are getting integrated “independent” of Western influence and domination. The prospects of a network of oil and gas pipelines (IP, even TAPI) flowing from the Middle East (ME) and CARs to Pakistan and China are that much brighter now.
Intelligence sources say Saudi charities and private donors route zakat (charity) money to J&K through illegal hawala channels. It increases during the Eid season. Whenever mosque managements are questioned about it, their explanation is that it is donation or goat-skin money. All organisations registered under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), 1976, have to submit their annual balance sheets to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). “Not one organisation registered under the FCRA in J&K accounted for money coming in from Saudi Arabia,”
So who is behind the unrest? The money fueling the confrontation comes from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, none of which are enamored of the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi. They fear that the untidy democracy, such as it is, in Egypt and elsewhere amid the Arab Spring could spill over to their states, and they desire a return to something like the military-backed regime of Mubarak, which was politically reliable and dedicated to suppressing political extremism and even dissent in all forms.
Inside Iraq, the forces of Sunni-Shia sectarian conflict had been unleashed by the U.S. invasion. That, in turn, was creating the conditions for a proxy war between the U.S. and Iran, similar to the growing proxy war between Israel and Iran inside Lebanon (where another destabilizing event, the U.S.-sanctioned Israeli invasion of 2006, followed in hand). None of this has ever ended. Today, in fact, that proxy war has simply found a fresh host, Syria, with multiple powers using “humanitarian aid” to push and shove their Sunni and Shia avatars around.