If the French defense industry was not alone in crossing the strategic Rubicon, it did so with a splash by starting negotiations in the aftermath of the 2008 Georgia war. The move by the EU peace-broker shocked its Western partners, but no objections were raised (at least officially) by NATO which regarded the defense contract as a “sovereign matter between France and Russia.” As Russian forces tighten their grip on the energy-rich and strategically important Crimean peninsula, the Western alliance faces another awkward French moment.
There are “serious concerns” among some North Korean officials that North Korea could turn into a vassal state of China amid growing economic dependence on its sole ally, a defector said Monday. “Without Chinese capital and goods, it would be impossible for the North Korean government to operate, and ordinary people would not be able to carry on with their daily lives,” Kim said. “North Korea grew so dependent on China in the 20 years of Kim Jong-il’s rule that it’s now impossible to construct buildings, grow farm produce, or sustain the regime without imports of Chinese materials.
Could the republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan see some unofficial territory move from Afghanistan into their respective domains? It could be considered a lot less imaginary than it looks at first sight. Now, with the departure of the Americans and their allies, that wall is due to crumble. With Tajik, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, Turkmen and even Kazakh communities dominating the northern regions and no Pashtun, the Taliban’s ethnic basis, to speak of in sight, the scenario looks quite possible.
Germany’s Angela Merkel delivered a rebuke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, telling him that a planned Moscow-backed referendum on whether Crimea should join Russia was illegal and violated Ukraine’s constitution. Putin defended breakaway moves by pro-Russian leaders in Crimea, where Russian forces tightened their grip on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula by seizing another border post and a military airfield.
Libya’s Defence Ministry has authorized the military to use force to stop a North Korean-flagged tanker from loading crude oil at a rebel-held port, bypassing the Tripoli government, it said on Sunday. The tanker docked on Saturday at the eastern terminal of Es Sider, one of three ports seized by rebels since August to press demands for autonomy and a bigger share of oil revenue. Local daily al-Wasat said the ship had loaded $36 million of crude.
While such incomplete transformations are a common phase in democratisation processes, the range of Egyptian interests in Libya must be protected despite the partial, unfinished democratic change. Egypt is bound to economic, political and border security interests in Libya. Economically, there are Libyan investments in Egypt that are close to $1 billion ($864 million in 2008). What’s more crucial than the Libyan investments in Egypt is the enormous Egyptian workforce in Libya.
Imagine a railroad linking the great industries of South Korea with Europe. The dream might some day come true as the South drafts elaborate plans for shipping goods through North Korea’s Rason special economic zone adjacent to the North’s 10-mile-long Tumen River border with Russia. The South Koreans have the enthusiastic support of the Russians, who have long dreamed of shipping goods by rail from South Korean factories, through North Korea and then onto the trans-Siberian railway.
“Taking the Gulf Cooperation Council to a political abyss serves nobody’s interests. The peoples and leaders of the GCC member states should have a clear awareness of just how lethal a threat the abyss politics pose to everyone,” said Dr Yousuf Al Hassan, a leading Emirati political analyst. “Qatar could face sanctions clamped by the Gulf countries, including the closing of borders with Qatar, and airspace to it if Doha doesn’t stop supporting the Muslim Brotherhood,”.
Saudi Arabia wants to have Egypt included in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional grouping of Arab countries overlooking the Arab Gulf, according to an Arab diplomatic source. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that a Saudi official had notified Egyptian government officials of the Saudi tendency during an Arab League meeting in Cairo. The Saudi official said his country would make the proposal during the upcoming Arab Summit.
At a time when India’s “look east” policy has come of age, expanding into the wider Indo-Pacific region, the absence of seamless connectivity with its neighbourhood has become a glaring lacuna. For India, cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region has the potential to bring the northeastern region of India centrestage by strengthening connectivity, as the easier access would aid in its the development.
Mauritius and Seychelles will soon join the Indian Ocean trilateral group on maritime security. After the third meeting of the trilateral -which includes India, Sri Lanka and Maldives – NSA Shivshankar Menon said the informal grouping now has a system to monitor activities in the Indian Ocean, conduct search and rescue operations and counter piracy among other things. The grouping is an avenue to enhance India’s power in the region at a time when China is stepping up its naval activities.
The European Union Delegation and East African Community (EAC) on inked a financial agreement worth 4.45 million Euros to enhance regional integration processes. Coordination efforts between the three regional organisations – the EAC, SADC and COMESA – will also be supported, with the ultimate goal of the reaching a Tripartite Free Trade Area. The EU and the EAC want to jointly promote social and economic development.
Italy and France were the major euro area countries put on the European Commission’s economic “watch-list” over fears about persistently high debt and deficit levels. The two countries were among 14 nations deemed to have “macro-economic imbalances” in their economy by the EU executive in a series of reports on 17 countries published on Wednesday. Italy “must address its very high level of public debt and weak external competitiveness,” the commission said,
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar on Wednesday in an unprecedented public split between Gulf Arab allies who have fallen out over the role of Islamists in a region in turmoil. The Saudi-led trio said they had acted because Qatar failed to honour a GCC agreement not to back “anyone threatening the security and stability of the GCC whether as groups or individuals – via direct security work..
The defence forces of the 10 members states of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plan to undertake a joint maritime security exercise in the Malacca Straits in 2015. The initiative would be a first for the bloc, and the announcement comes at a sensitive time as a territorial dispute between China and five member states – Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei – absorbed much of the ASEAN Defence Forces Informal Meeting on 5 March in Naypyidaw.
Two Russian warships on their way to the Black Sea have passed through Istanbul’s Bosphorus staits. Russia’s ‘Saratov’ and ‘Yamal’ ships sailed unaccompanied through the Marmara Sea before entering the Bosphorus straits at 07:30 local time (05:30 GMT). The two ships, which were usually based in the eastern Mediterranean to monitor developments in Syria, are now on their way to Crimea due to the latest situation there. At the same time a Ukrainian ship called ‘Hetman Sahaidachny’ entered the straits at Canakkale (Gallipoli) on its way to the Marmara Sea.
Russia is the only serious rival of Turkey in the Black Sea region. Turkey has certain advantages over Russia because it controls the Dardanelles and Bosphorus straits, Turkish studies expert Gevorg Petrosyan told reporters while commenting on the geopolitical importance of Crimea. According to him, Ankara may use the factor of the Crimean Tatars who have pro-Turkish views. “Many thousands of Tatars living in Turkey held protests against Russia, expressing their support for the Crimean Tatars,” he said. He noted that the “Georgian scenario” is likely to be implemented out in Crimea.
A Kremlin aide was quoted on Tuesday as saying that if the United States were to impose sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, Moscow might be forced to drop the dollar as a reserve currency and refuse to pay off any loans to U.S. banks. Sergei Glazyev, who is often used by the authorities to stake out a hardline stance but does not make policy, was cited by RIA news agency as saying Moscow could recommend that all holders of U.S. treasuries sell them if Washington freezes the U.S.. accounts of Russian businesses and individuals.
A document detailing the UK’s position on the Ukraine crisis has been seen being taken into Downing Street. It was photographed as an official went into Downing Street for a meeting of the National Security Council as the crisis deepened. It makes clear the Government is not considering curbing trade with Russia – or closing London’s financial centre to Moscow as part of any possible package of sanctions against the country. The papers also suggest the UK will lobby to exclude any talk of a military response to the deepening crisis. “It does give away some of Britain’s position towards Russia.”
The Government of UAE will help Somali government to rebuild its army, which has endured more than 20 years of chaos and war.”My trip is aimed at strengthening the already close relationship between Somalia and the UAE. The UAE is a great friend and supporter of Somalia, taking an active part in rebuilding our government institutions and infrastructure and aiding social and youth development,” he said in a Press statement. It funded the training program of the Puntland Maritime Police force which was conducted by Saracen International and South Africa-linked private military operator Sterling Corporate Services.
Taken by surprise by the reaction of the Ukrainian people to their president’s rejection of the EU treaty in November, Europeans and Americans have, once again, been caught off-guard these last days — this time by the decision of the Russian president to intervene in Crimea. This move is however not without precedent. The question is which prior moment of history will it resemble the most: the 1968 model, when Soviet troops invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to the Prague Spring; or the 2008 scenario, when the same Vladimir Putin intervened in Georgia.
Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva later, Mr Lavrov said Russian troops were necessary in Ukraine “until the normalisation of the political situation” and dismissed threats of sanctions and boycotts. He added: “We call for a responsible approach, to put aside geopolitical calculations, and above all to put the interests of the Ukrainian people first.” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: “China has always upheld the principles of diplomacy and the fundamental norms of international relations. “At the same time we also take into consideration the history and the current complexities of the Ukrainian issue.”
Large-scale tactical exercises have started in the Kaliningrad region. The coast guard troops of the Baltic Sea Fleet are involved in the maneuvres. According to Russian media, the exercises began following a snap check of the armed forces ordered by Vladimir Putin. More than 3,500 servicemen of mechanised infantry regiments and the guards naval infantry brigade take part in the drills. Representatives of Lithuania and Poland say the exercises pose a direct threat to third countries amid the intervention of Russian troops in Ukraine.
India is contemplating energy pipelines from the Gulf again — this time running under the sea, rather than traversing Pakistan. With international sanctions on Iran fading as a result of a nuclear agreement, an energy pipeline may be the most positive regional consequence. The new plan proposes to transport oil and natural gas through deep sea pipelines via Oman in a process where Iran, and even Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan energy can feed the pipeline for an ever-growing Indian market. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Oman’s foreign minister, raised the possibility with Salman Khurshid during their meeting on Friday.
Russia’s upper house parliament has approved the request of Russian President Vladimir Putin after he asked to send armed forces to Ukraine’s Crimea region. “In connection with the extraordinary situation in Ukraine, the threat to the lives of citizens of the Russian Federation, our compatriots, and the personnel of the armed forces of the Russian Federation on Ukrainian territory (in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea) … I submit a proposal on using the armed forces of the Russian Federation on the territory of Ukraine until the normalisation of the socio-political situation in the that country,” Putin’s statement said.
America may dream of abandoning the entanglements of the Middle East but, for now, as Hagel put it, these ties with America’s Persian Gulf allies are “important, and probably more so than they’ve ever been.” Awkwardly, the U.S. Treasury Department just one week later designated Abd al-Rahman bin ’Umayr Nu’aymi, a Qatari national with links to the emirate’s elites, a “terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al Qaeda and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen.”
Crimea approved the creation of a special forces unit which obey “exclusively” to the regional government
The Supreme Council of Crimea has established a unit of police special forces, known as ‘Berkut’, in the region, located in the southeast of Ukraine, and that has announced this Saturday the Deputy Prime Minister of Crimea, Rustam Temirgaliev, respond “exclusively” at the orders of the regional authorities.Temirgaliev has confirmed that the Supreme Council of Crimea has approved the regional unit of special forces and that “they have already taken the appropriate actions” to begin its operation.
Ukraine’s interior minister accused Moscow’s military of blockading an airport near a Russian naval base on Friday and armed men took control of another airport in Ukraine’s Crimean capital of Simferopol. In a Facebook post, Arsen Avakov called the seizure of the Belbek international airport in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol a “military invasion and occupation.” He added: “It is a breach of all international agreements and norms.” The Interfax news agency quoted Russian military sources in the region as saying the incident at Belbek airport was intended to stop “fighters” flying in.
Since January, tensions have flared between the West African country’s authoritarian government and the impoverished masses yearning for democratic reforms. Depending on how developments unfold, the protests in Burkina Faso could serve as a catalyst for further uprisings in the region. On January 18, over 10,000 Burkinabe citizens rallied in the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou (WAH-gah-DOO-goo), and other cities to protest the concentration of political power in one man — President Blaise Compaore, who has ruled Burkina Faso since 1987.
Interim President Oleksandr Turchynov held an emergency meeting of the Council of National Security and Defence. “Alexander Turchinov has to split, performing the duties of President and the Speaker. And now, when we see a very dangerous processes in the same Sevastopol, he called a meeting of the National Security Council. We knew it would. The Ambassador of Russia was removed, the Russian Foreign Ministry statement made are all signs of a very dangerous manifestations. Separatist sentiment in Sevastopol is specifically fueled by Russia.
South Korea adopted a quasi- quantitative easing (QE) under the three-year economic innovation plan to stabilize mortgage loan market, whose fast growth was feared to dent private consumption. The Finance Ministry, Bank of Korea (BOK) and Financial Services Commission (FSC) on Thursday unveiled a joint plan to speed up the restructuring of household debts, which topped the psychologically dangerous level of 1,000 trillion won (about 940 billion U.S. dollars) last year. The plan came as part of follow-up actions to the three-year economic innovation plan, announced by President Park Geun-hye
Under the partnership, Djibouti has offered military facilities such as a home port to the Chinese navy, Houffaneh told Sabahi. “In exchange, we have asked for our military co-operation to be expanded to enable us to build the operational capacities of the Djiboutian armed forces in order to safeguard security in the country and help to consolidate peace and security in the sub-region,” Houffaneh said. “In this deal, we laid emphasis on building the capacities of Djibouti’s navy, which lacks patrol boats, and building the capacities of the air force, which will soon acquire Chinese aircraft.”
It’s perhaps not surprising that Tajikistan, which shares a poorly guarded, 750-mile border with opium-rich Afghanistan, has become a major global drug-trafficking hub—in fact, more than 80 percent of Afghanistan’s heroin exports to Russia and Europe now pass through Tajik territory. Over the past decade, the United States, worried that the drug trade would soon be accompanied by all the other security problems that plague Afghanistan, has cooperated closely with Tajikistan’s government to help it stem the narcotics trade. Seems reasonable, right? Unfortunately, that government is such a dubious partner that hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid have done little to stop the drug business—while helping to shore up its apparatus of repression.
Russia says it plans to expand its worldwide military presence by seeking permission for navy ships to use ports in Latin America, Asia and elsewhere.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday in remarks carried by Russian news agencies the military was conducting talks with Algeria, Cyprus, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, Seychelles, Vietnam and Singapore. He said that it was essential for the Russian navy to be able to call at their ports to service its ships. Shoigu said Russia was also talking to some of those countries asking them to allow long-range bombers to use their air bases for refueling.
Russia is believed to be deploying military ships carrying troops in the disputed autonomous Crimea region of Ukraine, as Moscow continues to refuse to recognise the interim administration which has taken control of Kiev. Reports suggest the movement of Russia’s large landing ship Nikolai Filchenkov, with at least 200 soldiers onboard, at the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s base at Sevastopol. The ship is said to be accompanied by at least four other vessels with an unknown number of Special Forces Troops onboard, sailing from the Russian port of Anapa to the Crimean/Ukrainian Sevastopol.
Some time ago, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences released a piece of research entitled “A Report on Developments in the Asia Pacific Area.” This report leveled a great deal of criticism at North Korea. In the report, Chinese experts said that North Korean authorities believe that China will never abandon their country, but they argued that China could very well abandon North Korea if the country continues its brinkmanship-based policies, including nuclear weapons tests. They also said that China could accept a South Korean-led reunification of the Korean Peninsula. The contents of this report are unprecedented.
Recent news Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank were planning to sell off their raw uranium supplies has put a spotlight on Russian nuclear deals that went relatively unnoticed in the West. An investment strategist observed recent Russian nuclear deals including a pact with Sri Lanka are part of a greater geopolitical game to lockup the market for nuclear fuel, which may increase global uranium prices. Marin Katusa, Chief Investment Strategist at Casey Research says Russian nuclear pacts with Sri Lanka, Hungary, Belarus and the Middle East go beyond nuclear fuel sales.
Tensions also mounted in Crimea, in the southeast of Ukraine, where pro-Russian politicians are organizing rallies and forming protest units, demanding autonomy from Kyiv. The region is now seen as a potential flashpoint because of its deep strategic significance to Moscow. Ukraine is deeply divided between its eastern regions, which are largely pro-Russian, and western areas that widely detest Yanukovych. The Crimean port of Sevastopol may be part of Ukraine, but it is the Russian tricolour that flutters proudly above the port’s barrack blocks and warships.
British newspaper The Sunday Express claimed yesterday that “British military chiefs were last night (Saturday) ‘carefully monitoring’ developments after Argentina announced a 3 billion pounds sterling (39.2 billion peso) revamp of its armed forces.” The notion that Argentina would threaten Britain’s established military prowess with the former assigning, proportionally, the budget for the armed forces in all of South America is not infrequent in British media and certain politicians’ rhetoric. Argentina spent about 0.8 percent of GDP on the military last year, according to the Centro de Estudios Nueva Mayoría consultancy.
China’s foreign minister meets Iraq PM and counterpart to discuss a range of issues, from trade to arms. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi has held talks in Baghdad on issues ranging from trade to arming Iraq’s hard-pressed security forces. It is the first such visit in over a decade. Mr Wang met with prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, during which the Iraqi premier called for “cooperation in the field of fighting terrorism,” a statement from his office said.
Chinese companies PetroChina and CNPC have substantial investments in Iraqi oil production, which accounts for the lion’s share of government revenue.
The US Pacific Fleet commander arrived in Manila as momentum gathered to finalise an agreement that would see an expanded US military presence in the Philippines. With the US pressing ahead with its “pivot” to Asia, Admiral Harry Harris is expected to use his first official trip to the Philippines to discuss a deal which would allow United States troops to be rotated around the country in bigger numbers and in more areas. Harris will meet senior embassy and military officials during his visit. President Benigno Aquino hinted last week that Manila and Washington were “very, very close” to signing an agreement.
The bottom line is – and this is particularly pertinent to Germany – if the EU is to be serious it has to put up some money. It’s very easy to talk about democracy and long-term cooperation, but the fact is that money is also needed right now to stabilize Ukraine. But let me emphasize my key point. If we want a solution that’s constructive it has to be based on compromise. And I can envisage Ukraine evolving in the context of a constructive compromise into a country whose domestic and foreign policies will be somewhat similar to that of Finland.
However, most of Novinsky’s career is shrouded in mystery. In the early 1990s he is believed to have worked at top St. Petersburg physics research institutes – a milieu shared by some of Putin’s closest friends, such as the Kovalchuk brothers – Mikhail and Yury – and Andrei and Sergei Fursenko. Later in the decade he worked in the Russian oil sector. It was not until around the turn of the century that Novinsky materialised as a metals trader in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk. He quickly managed to privatise key companies, the core of his current fortune.
Three hundred kilometers by high-speed rail between the cities of Eilat and Ashdod, connecting the Red Sea coast to the Mediterranean: They call it the “Red-Med” Project. Financed by Beijing and launched from Jerusalem, China has revealed its strategy for “West Asia” — the term that the China Shipping Container Lines company uses to delineate the area of operations between Hormuz, Suez and Haifa. The use of the term West Asia rather than Middle East is no accident — this gives precedence to the size of the economic link with China rather than the ever troublesome geopolitics of the region.
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych threatened to crack down on anti-government protesters after the bloodiest clashes in the country’s three-month standoff killed at least 25 people. The opposition “has crossed the line when they called people to arms,” Yanukovych said on his website today. “This is an outrageous violation of the law. My advisers happen to be trying to talk me into a tough scenario, the use of force. But I have always considered the use of force a false route.” Yanukovych, backed by Russia, is seeking to end the crisis that has destabilized the country of 45 million.
China said it was “extremely concerned” by a report that Japan has resisted returning to the United States more than 300kg of mostly weapons-grade plutonium, the latest dispute between the two Asian neighbours. Japan’s Kyodo news agency said that Washington had pressed Japan to give back the nuclear material which could be used to make up to 50 nuclear bombs. Japan had resisted, but finally given in to US demands, it added. China is involved in a bitter territorial dispute with Japan and has warned Japan is trying to re-arm.
Offshore exploration areas patrolled by the IAF are located within the Israeli Economical Exclusion Zone (EEZ) spanning up to 200 miles from the israeli coastline and adjacent to the Cypriot EEZ. Aircraft patrolling these areas could benefit from a landing base in Cyprus in case of emergency, or when required to maintain persistent surveillance over remote areas. Israel is operating on maritime patrol missions the Sea-Scan maritime patrol aircraft, S-365 Dolphin helicopters helicopters and Heron-I unmanned aerial vehicles.
The great tunnel of China? Beijing’s plan to build world’s longest underwater passage will cost more than $40B
China is planning another engineering marvel: the world’s longest tunnel – built under the sea. Planned to be more than twice the length of the Channel Tunnel that connects the U.K. and France, China’s latest mega project is not short of ambition. The 123-kilometre tunnel will run between the northern city of Dalian and Yantai, on the east coast. “Work could begin as early as 2015 or 2016,” said Wang Mengshu, an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, speaking to the China Daily.
The sources told Rai Alyoum news agency in London that US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford’s remarks about the need to escalate the situation in the southern front in Syria and further comments by the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman; who said the US administration has a “Plan B” in the event the Geneva II talks failed indicate that the Jordanian-Syrian borders will become a major gateway to transfer advanced military equipment to the Syrian armed opposition from the US and Europe. The sources said that American and European military and security intelligence experts are meeting in Jordan to put together two scenarios in case the talks failed.
According to the Middle East Monitor, in a Facebook statement the ROR claimed that UAE’s security agencies has recently formed two “cells” to circumvent the Libyan revolution and to stop Libyan oil exports. The statement read: “We received information that UAE’s security apparatus has formed two high level cells. The first aims at overthrowing the new Libyan regime, the Libyan National Congress, and confronting the rise of Islamists. The second cell is a specialized media one based in Amman, Jordan.” According to the statement, the “media cell” is primarily tasked with disseminating news that would serve the agenda of the “security cell”.
A host of Ethiopian army commanders have voiced their readiness to protect the country’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project, currently at the heart of a major row with Cairo due to Egyptian fears the dam could threaten its traditional share of Nile water. State-run television reported that military commanders had visited the project site, during which they had voiced their readiness to “pay the price” to protect the dam, which they described as a “national project.” According to state television, the visit – the first by military commanders to the site – came as part of activities marking Ethiopia’s Army Day.
If the Alliance were a country, it would be the world’s eighth-largest economy and seventh-largest exporter. Amid all the bad news in the region, the presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru met with little fanfare in Cartagena last week to seal an economic pact launched in 2012. They call their project the Pacific Alliance, and it will soon include Costa Rica and possibly several other countries. The four founding members are the most successful economies in Latin America; they boast the region’s highest economic-growth rates and lowest inflation rates.
Syria’s regime and rebels are likely to ratchet up military pressure on the ground after the failure of peace talks, setting the scene for a grim escalation of fighting, analysts say. Barely a day after a second round of peace talks in Geneva broke down on Saturday, the rebel Free Syrian Army fired its military chief Selim Idriss, citing “the paralysis within the military command these past months”. A source inside the Syrian opposition said that Mr Idriss — who was appointed to the role in December 2012 — had faced criticism for failings on the battlefield.
Germany is debating plans to expand its counter-espionage personnel and conduct “foundational monitoring” of the embassies of such nations as the United States and Britain, Spiegel said in its report on Sunday. The operations would include the tracking of US agents operating under diplomatic cover on German soil, the report said. Spiegel said Merkel’s office, the Interior Minstry and Foreign Ministry would all have to agree to give the green light to the enhanced counter-intelligence measures.
The European Union plans to deploy 1,000 soldiers in the Central African Republic to assist in the restoration of order, said the head of European diplomacy, Catherine Ashton, after a meeting with the Security Council. So far, the most commonly cited figure for a European operation was 500 effective. “They will be more than 500 men,” Ashton told reporters, adding that “it is anticipated double that number.” “I am confident that the force (European) will be on the ground very, very soon,” he said, without specifying a date.
Frustrated and discouraged by the ever-shifting Cabinets that rarely deliver on their promises, reform-hungry Jordanians increasingly view the pandering monarch with a skeptical eye. And the global financial crisis, waves of refugees from neighboring Iraq and Syria and failed economic reforms have hit the country hard. Food prices have skyrocketed, economic growth has been halved and unemployment stands officially at 12 percent, and unofficially hovers around 30 percent. So far, public outrage has been limited to weekly Friday protests in cities such as Amman, Maan and Karak.
Countries in the Eastern African region will prioritize investment in modern intelligence gathering to forestall an eruption of conflicts in the region, regional military chiefs said on Saturday. The regional defense chiefs, who wrapped up a three-day meeting here, agreed that poor early warning systems were to blame for sporadic conflicts and general insecurity. “Some of the conflicts witnessed in the region lately could have been avoided had we acted on indicators that were above board. We need to invest in early warning to forestall chaos,”
United States secretary of state John Kerry has announced that China is willing to exert more pressure to get North Korea to give up its nuclear programme. He told reporters in Beijing he was pleased China “could not have more forcefully reiterated its commitment” to the goal of denuclearising North Korea. The reclusive Asian state has defied international warnings not to build atomic bombs and long-range missiles. North Korea is believed to have enough fissile material to build up to ten nuclear bombs, but most intelligence analysts say the country has yet to master the technology to deploy such weapons.
Intelligence officials and issue analysts report signs that Saudi Arabia wants to develop a capacity to enrich uranium, despite proliferation concerns. Riyadh is understood to be worried that world powers will agree to allow Iran to maintain some limited uranium-enrichment capability in a potential lasting deal on its nuclear program. Saudi Arabia has an established interest in developing an atomic-energy program, but its concerns about Iran could be causing the Persian Gulf kingdom to consider a more expansive domestic nuclear capability, the Daily Beast reported on Friday.
The Central African Republic’s northern neighbor, Chad, is a military heavyweight in the region. Under the leadership of President Idriss Deby Itno, it is a driving force behind key decisions in the current crisis. For example, on the question of the president: CAR’s interim president Michel Djotodia was invited to attend a summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) in the Chadian capital N’Djamena in January 2014. He then resigned following pressure put on him by President Deby. This was not the first time Chad had decided on the rise and fall of a Central African president.
The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) wants the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give information over what it terms as “plans to topple the government using activists.” According to NSAC Chairman Francis Kimemia, the committee has credible information detailing how the US donor agency has consistently funded demonstrations by activists. Kimemia said that the organisation has used individuals including a defrocked pastor to slander parliamentarians.
Japan risks losing a global PR battle with China after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to a controversial shrine for war dead and comments by other prominent figures on the wartime past helped Beijing try to paint Tokyo as the villain of Asia. Sino-Japanese ties have long been plagued by territorial rows, regional rivalry and disputes stemming from China’s bitter memories of Japan’s occupation of parts of the country before and during World War Two. Relations chilled markedly after a feud over disputed East China Sea isles flared in 2012.
Libya has foiled an attempt by a group of former army officers and politicians to stage a military coup, Defense Minister Abduallah al-Theni said Wednesday. “The Supreme Leader of the Armed Forces [NouriAbusahmain] has ordered the arrest of the officers and politicians who tried to stage a coup against legitimacy,” al-Theni told the private Ahrar Libya TV. He added that the Libyan army and revolutionaries were currently hunting down the leaders of the failed coup attempt.
Senior US officials and lawmakers are sending new signals that a fledgling cadre of military spies is a done deal, despite no real substantive public debate. The Pentagon last year proposed creation of the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS), saying the military needed its own team of spies to gather human intelligence across the globe. The country already has a civilian clandestine service within the CIA, which is itching to ditch some of its post-9/11 roles and return full-time to the spying and analysis business.
The pre-election fever in Algeria threatens to morph into a full blown confrontation between powerful political clans. In an unprecedented move, the General Secretary of the National Liberation Front (FLN), ruling party, publically criticized the head of the all-powerful Military Intelligence (DRS) accusing him of mismanagement and negligence. Mr. Amar Saadani blamed General Médiène for the precarious political and security situations in Algeria. For local observers, this new chapter of infightings among the different cliques that form “the system” is a prelude to an upcoming power struggle over the future of Algeria’s presidency.
Western military action against Islamist fighters in southern Libya has been ruled out by France, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said. The announcement essentially rebuffs an appeal for intervention from neighboring Niger, but Fabius said the Western powers were drawing up plans to help the Libyan government deal with the issue. “No, an intervention, no (that’s not being discussed),” Fabius told RTL radio. “But we are going to have an international meeting in Rome at the beginning of March to give Libya more help because it’s true that there are terrorists gathering in the south.
If it is carefully set up and well managed, the AIIB should be able to attract shareholding from Asia Pacific governments committed to their new APEC Framework on Connectivity, as well as from some private sources. If APEC governments on both sides of the Pacific participate in the new infrastructure development bank, the AIIB could be transformed into an Asia Pacific Infrastructure Investment Bank, which could invest in projects to upgrade connectivity among all Asia Pacific economies.
The six agreed regions include four in the north, comprising Azal, Saba, Janad and Tahama, and two in the south, Aden and Hadramawt. A presidential panel has agreed to transform Yemen into a six-region federation as part of its political transition, state news agency Saba announced on Monday. “The final approval” on creating a “federal state of six regions” came at a meeting of the committee, headed by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi and including representatives of Yemen’s main parties, Saba said.
The Egyptian army controls almost 45 per cent of the country’s economy, German newspaper Die Welt claimed.In a report entitled “The Egyptian army is Egypt’s real economic power” the newspaper said following January 25 revolution which ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the military junta led by 75 years old Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi took over power and worked with all of its strength to protect its lucrative economic interests that made the military establishment a business empire and one of the most important factors influencing the country’s economy.
THE worsening political and economic circumstances in Ukraine has prompted the Fitch Ratings agency to downgrade Ukrainian debt from B to a pre–default level CCC. This is lower than Greece, and Fitch warns of future financial instability. “Intensification of political and economic stress is such that default on government debt becomes probable,” Fitch said in an e-mail. On the brink of default, the Ukrainian economy has taken a further beating as protests drag on in the capital Kiev. Foreign debt is $140 billion, nearly 80 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Two and a half years since NATO’s UN-authorized intervention, Libya is teetering on the brink of failure. The still-transitional government has at best nominal control in much of the country, including the capital, but has been unable to disarm dozens of armed groups. Some provide essential security at the government’s behest, while others terrorize, kidnap and murder civilians and government officials with total impunity. An ambitious plan with an already-past deadline of December 31 to integrate the militias into the official security services seems rife with uncertainty.
The post office isn’t known as the most efficient or reliable business in America. It can’t run its operations at a profit, it’s got serious financial troubles, and just try mailing a package on a Saturday without waiting in line for 30 minutes. The idea, most recently floated in a white paper by the U.S. Postal Service’s inspector general and supported in theory by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,estimates that the money-losing agency could make $8.9 billion a year by offering limited banking services to the tens of millions of people who are not served by traditional banks.
Iran, China and Russia are apparently one force against the US and its allies and want Pakistan to strengthen its ties with Tehran whereas Washington is pressing Islamabad to purchase gas from Qatar and Turkmenistan to meet domestic needs. In this scenario, two blocs are in the process of making – one comprising Russia, Iran, Pakistan and China if the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline project gets under way. Russia and China are in favour of Pakistan opt for this project According to experts, the US wants to strengthen ties among Pakistan, Afghanistan and India by pushing them to work on the Turkmenistan-Pakistan-Afghanistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.
An eventual escalation of tension in Bosnia might result in intervention of EU forces, a high official warned Sunday. Valentin Inzko, High Representative of the international community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, told Austrian media that the situation in the country will be analyzed next Tuesday. “Austria will increase its troops there, but if it comes to escalation we would have to consider the intervention of EU forces. Currently, we do not have such intention,” Inzko said for the Austrian Kurier newspaper.
A bill being debated in Brussels would force UK citizens to disclose ‘reams’ of private, financial information on a public register New legislation planned in Brussels is set to heap fresh costs and paperwork on families’ financial planning, as well as leaving their affairs open to unwanted public scrutiny. A European law is being drafted whose original aim was to prevent corporate money-laundering. The objective, supported by the UK, was to force companies to disclose on a register the money and other assets held inside trusts or equivalent legal arrangements.
A senior Kremlin aide accused the United States on Thursday of arming Ukrainian “rebels” and, urging the Kiev government to put down what he called an attempted coup, warned Russia could intervene to maintain the security of its ex-Soviet neighbor. Sergei Glazyev, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin with responsibility for relations with Ukraine, told a newspaper that U.S. “interference” breached the 1994 treaty under which Washington and Moscow jointly guaranteed Ukraine’s security and sovereignty after Kiev gave up its Soviet-era nuclear arsenal.
Oman, which faces Iran across the Strait of Hormuz, said it’s poised to start raising cash for a $3 billion rail line offering an alternative route for oil and freight shipments that funnel through the 21 mile-wide channel. By circumventing the Strait of Hormuz the railway would dilute the impact of further closure threats to a waterway through which some 20 percent of crude supplies pass to reach global markets, equal to 35 percent of seaborne traded oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
There is an unmistakeable sense among Western decision-makers of power slipping away. It’s not an argument about American abstention or decline, although that plays into it for some critics of the Obama administration. It is more to do with the exhaustion – moral, political and economic – of nations that have been in the forefront of the international security business, and the vibrant ascendancy of some other players. “It means,” he says, “we will have less influence on the international scene. The vacuum will be filled by other powers and they do not necessarily share our interests and our values.”
After being kidnapped on January 22, Dmytro Bulatov says he was kept blindfolded for eight days as his abductors beat him, sliced off part of his ear, drove nails through his hands, and finally left him for dead in a forest. Through the ordeal, he never once saw his captors. But he could hear them. And when he was finally returned to safety, Bulatov — one of the leaders of Automaidan, the automotive flank of Ukraine’s Euromaidan protests — said on January 31 that his captors had spoken “with a Russian accent.”
Turkish Naval Forces directed a warship to intervene in the seismic exploration being carried out by a Norwegian ship that had entered a Turkish naval authorization zone off the southern part of Cyprus on Saturday.The Norwegian ship was operating on behalf of Greek Cyprus in its search for oil and gas in the east Mediterranean. Turkey does not recognize Greek Cyprus as a sovereign country and insists that the Greek Cypriot search for oil and gas flouts the rights of Turkish Cypriots to any gas-generated wealth while undermining negotiations to reunify the island.
Combat aircraft in Baranavichy may carry nuclear weapons. This statement was made by leader of the United Civil Party (UCP) Anatol Liabedzka. “A number of steps were made in connection with the deployment of Russian troops in Belarus: an appeal to the Constitutional Court; we tried to carry out pickets across Belarus; we appealed to the defence minister to figure out the status of the group of Russian fighter jets in Baranavichy,” he told ucpb.org. We have received an answer. Firstly, it follows from the letter that citizens of Belarus cannot influence the decisions of top officials relating to defence issues. There are no mechanisms of influence.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he proposed to Secretary of State John Kerry a U.S.-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state indefinitely. The proposed independent Palestine alongside Israel would have no army of its own, only a police force, Assad told the New York Times. So the NATO forces would be in charge of ending weapons smuggling and quashing terrorism, major Israeli concerns, he said. The NATO troops could stay in the West Bank “for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders, but also on the western borders, everywhere,” Abbas said.
The US deployed a ballistic missile defense destroyer to Spain to boost NATO’s anti-missile shield in Europe. The move has sparked talks about Russia possibly scrapping the START nuclear treaty. he deployment of the Navy destroyer USS Donald Cook, equipped with the Aegis shipboard integrated combat weapons system, was announced by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. Hagel said the US is committed “to deploying missile defense architecture there,” as a part of Phase 3 of the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA).
In a televised announcement late on Friday, a member of Ukraine’s SBU secret service, Maxim Lenko, said evidence gathered in a December raid on the offices of the opposition Fatherland party indicated that the opposition had instigated the protests, which led to the resignation of the prime minister and cabinet earlier in the week. The news agendy Interfax quoted Lenko as claiming that the opposition had also provoked police violence against the demonstrators. Four people were killed when the protests turned violent last weekend, three of which were victims of gunshot wounds.
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica says Brazil will fund 80 percent of a new deep-water port that will get around Argentine efforts to control shipping in the South Atlantic. Mujica told the Republica newspaper in an interview published Tuesday that construction will begin in about a year on the US$500 million project in Rocha, Uruguay, and that Brazil will pay for most of it through trade bloc Mercosur’s Fund for Structural Convergence. “Brazil has given us and will give us a really big hand with this job,” Mujica said. “Uruguay doesn’t have the capacity to finance this by itself, and depends for now on outside help.”
The results of exams for chief police officer show participants who scored three points out of 100 in the exam scored 79 points for the higher ranking deputy inspector exam. In other words, the latter is a more difficult exam. A policeman, who chooses to remain anonymous, said high-ranking Gülenists within the law enforcement distributed exam questions and answers to Gülen–affiliated candidates a week ahead of the exams. The aspiring inspectors memorized the answers to secure high scores in the exams. Furthermore, dates for the deputy inspector exam were deliberately postponed to allow Gülenist participants more time to prepare for the exams.
Missile batteries poke out from behind camouflage nets in the hills above the Olympic Park. Soldiers stand guard inside tents masked with fake leaves and branches in the mountains. Navy speedboats patrol the coast. Plainclothes police officers mingle among the crowd. Closed circuit security cameras are everywhere. An electronic surveillance program monitors all cell phone and internet activity. Russian security officials have promised a “ring of steel” to safeguard the Sochi Winter Olympics. Putin has ordered tens of thousands of extra troops and police to help secure the Olympics.
Nicaragua’s National Assembly just approved changes to the constitution allowing President Daniel Ortega to run for a third successive term in 2016. Somewhere, Ortega’s former arch-enemy, the Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza DeBayle, is having a good laugh. Ortega has been in office since 2007 and won re-election in 2011, following an election that observers from both the European Union and the Organization of American States deemed flawed. During this most recent eight years in power the Sandinistas, has consolidated single-party dominance over the country’s legislative and judicial institutions, including its Supreme Court.
Pakistan has been included in the list of 40 countries having risks of coup in 2014 and residing on the 14th position released by Jay Ulfelder, a famous political scientist who also blogs. A famous political scientist, Jay Ulfelder’s mathematical model which forecasted about expected ‘coups’ across the World in 2014, while the Max Fisher has posted the list in Washington Posts on January 28. Pakistan has been placed on the 14th position in the list while its neighbouring country Afghanistan is on 12th.
Land-locked Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world, but it has one thing in abundance: access to the massive Mekong River. The country’s hydropower potential has earned it the nickname “the Battery of Asia” and made it a magnet for investment from its neighbors: Thailand, southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy; Vietnam, a strategic Communist ally since the 1970s; and China, which is writing checks that put the rest to shame. Guan Huabing, Beijing’s ambassador to Laos, announced today (Jan. 30) that China’s cumulative investment in Laos now stands at $5.1 billion, edging out Thailand and Vietnam.
The financial media was buzzing yesterday after a BoA/Merrill Lynch report called the Jan. 27 bailout of a 3 billion yuan ($465 million) investment product in danger of going bust a “Bear Stearns moment.” The report’s author, rates strategist Bin Gao, was referring to the US Federal Reserve’s Mar. 2008 rescue of the investment bank Bear Stearns, which had saddled itself with mortgage-backed securities. If you accept that analogy, the implication is that China’s “Lehman moment” —the equivalent collapse of a much larger bank or investment product—is nigh.
When an uprising toppled Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak, men like Ahmed Saif who helped run his vast patronage network melted away. Three years later, Saif and other former members of Mubarak’s party are back in action in the populous countryside, offering everything from refrigerators for newlyweds to welfare-like stipends to the poor in exchange for votes. This time, the slick political machine is drumming up support for army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who toppled Egypt’s first freely-elected leader, Islamist Mohamed Mursi, and is expected to become president.
For the past six months, there have been intermittent reports in the news media and on specialist websites stating that Burma (Myanmar) is developing a submarine capability. If this is true, it has important implications not only for Burma and the region, but also for the wider international community. However, equally dramatic stories about Burma have emerged in the past, only to prove misleading or false. This is not the first time Burma has been linked to a submarine sale. In 2003, it was claimed that the military government had held discussions with North Korea on the purchase of one or two small submarines.
The World Bank’s former chief economist wants to replace the US dollar with a single global super-currency, saying it will create a more stable global financial system. “The dominance of the greenback is the root cause of global financial and economic crises,” Justin Yifu Lin told Bruegel, a Brussels-based policy-research think tank. “The solution to this is to replace the national currency with a global currency.” Lin, now a professor at Peking University and a leading adviser to the Chinese government, said expanding the basket of major reserve currencies — the dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and pound sterling — will not address the consequences of a financial crisis.
Today, the US invasion of Afghanistan and opening of military bases in Central Asia and the economic expansion of China into the region have convinced experts that a new Great Game is afoot. German journalist Lutz Kleveman writes that a new Great Game “rages in the region.” Quoting Bill Richardson, former Secretary of Energy and US ambassador to the United Nations during the Clinton years, Kleveman writes that the US is involved in Central Asia not only to defeat al Qaeda but also to “diversify [its] sources of oil and gas [and to] prevent strategic inroads by those who don’t share [its] values.”
President Hamid Karzai has frequently lashed out at the U.S. military for causing civilian casualties in its raids. But behind the scenes, he has been building a far broader case against the Americans, suggesting that they may have aided or conducted shadowy insurgent-style attacks to undermine his government, according to senior Afghan officials. Karzai has formalized his suspicions with a list of dozens of attacks that he believes the U.S. government may have been involved in, according to one palace official.
The Algerian military appears to have acquired self-propelled artillery from China and is evaluating Chinese unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as it continues to vastly expand its military forces. Earlier this month photos appeared online showing what appear to be PLZ 45 self-propelled howitzers on a road outside the capital Algiers. The convoy of around 50 vehicles may have been headed to the Central Logistic Base in Blida, to which much of the country’s new military equipment often goes, according to IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly.
France’s top military officer says he favors an international operation to battle a security “black hole” in southern Libya. Admiral Edouard Guillaud suggested that a lack of firm central authority in Tripoli has fostered lawlessness in the southern area and France doesn’t want it to become “the new center of gravity of terrorism.” Guillaud told reporters Monday that Libya remains an independent state and no international operation could happen without its government’s approval, “but we are looking.” He did not elaborate.
“If Germany were making an economic deal for a gas pipeline in a way that would cause large international difficulties, that might be a reason to try to prevent a bad outcome,” Peter Swire, a professor of law and ethics at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told journalists in Brussels on Friday (24 January). He noted that he was speaking in a personal capacity. But his remark sheds light on US President Barack Obama’s thinking about the future of the National Security Agency (NSA) in light of Edward Snowden’s revelations.
Afghanistan would slide into a bloody civil war if the US-led coalition forces walked away without cutting a peace deal with a medley of resistance groups in the war-torn country, says an elusive Afghan warlord and former prime minister. The warning from Engineer Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – who also heads the Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (HIA) — came as foreign forces prepare to pull out after fighting a bloody and costly war for 12-plus years. So far, the United States and its allies have failed to make peace with the Taliban or any other militia.