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.
The European Union is to move military training of Somali soldiers from Uganda to Mogadishu in a show of confidence in Somalia’s growing stability after two decades of turmoil, the EU special envoy to Somalia said on Wednesday.
The success of Amisom, made up mostly of Ugandan, Burundian and Kenyan soldiers, has encouraged Western countries to look beyond the scars left by the deaths of U.S. and U.N. soldiers during Somalia’s violent disintegration into civil war in the early 1990s, and increase their engagement. The EU’s training mission, separate from Amisom, has trained some 3,000 Somali soldiers and officers in Uganda since 2010.
Bitcoin has come onto the radar of the UK government, with officials gathering in London on Monday to discuss the security threats and tax concerns posed by the digital currency.
About 50 civil servants from HM Revenue and Customs, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Home Office and GCHQ – the intelligence listening service – held a one-day conference which examined how bitcoin works and how criminals might seek to exploit the electronic cash system, which is currently unregulated by any financial authority.
China is allowing anti-North Korean posts on its Internet sites. More importantly, the Bank of China is cutting ties with its key counterpart in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. The apparent back-down can be papered over by propaganda in North Korea but not in the rest of the world, said Denny Roy, a Korean expert at the East West Center in Hawaii. “The sharpest signal may be from the Bank of China,” Roy said. China’s action was “a huge signal to North Korea,” said Scott Snyder, Korean expert with the Council on Foreign Relations.
German-Foreign-Policy.com reports that Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defense has received the results of a study it commissioned seeking advice on counterinsurgency efforts in the wake of U.S. military drawdown in the Northern Hemisphere.
Prepared by researchers at the University of Kiel, “the counterinsurgency study calls inter alia for the stricter centralization of command authority and a drastic enhancement of the espionage apparatus” (May 2; translation ours). The report reveals a startlingly Teutonic aggression in the language used.
Every American president since Harry Truman has announced a doctrine reflecting the priorities of each White House occupant. Globally, Obama intends to put the United States at the head of two giant economic blocks – the Transatlantic and Trans-Pacific Partnerships. This should ensure Washington’s leadership in a polycentric system of international relations.
If the TTP becomes a reality, the U.S. will account for three-fourths of the partnership’s combined GDP. This will ensure American dominance within the new economic alliance. At the same time, the TTP is an alternative to the ASEAN+3 arrangement promoted by Beijing .
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.
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.
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)
France intends to set up a currency swap line with China to make Paris a major offshore yuan trading hub in Europe, competing against London, the China Daily on Saturday cited Bank of France Governor Christian Noyer as saying.
Yuan deposits in Paris amount to 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), making it the second largest pool for the Chinese currency in Europe after London. Almost 10 percent of Sino-French trade is settled in yuan, also called the renminbi or RMB, according to French data cited by the official newspaper. “The Bank of France has been working on ways to develop a RMB liquidity safety net in the euro area with due consideration of a supporting currency swap agreement with the People’s Bank of China,” Noyer told the English-language newspaper.
A group of Iranian lawmakers has begun drafting a bill on reattaching Azerbaijan to Iran by updating the terms and conditions of a 19th century treaty that ceded part of modern-day Azerbaijan and most of Armenia to Russian control.
The 1828 Turkmenchay Treaty ended the last war between Russia and Persia and paved the way for St. Petersburg to establish suzerainty over the South Caucasus. (Tehran already had given up its claims on Georgia in the 1813 Treaty of Gulistan.) But the Iranians now argue that there was a critical detail in the fine print.
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.”
“We will look into various options of creating repair bases on Afghan territory,” the head of the Defense Ministry’s department of international cooperation, Sergey Koshelev, told the press. He added that the maintenance of weapons and military hardware in Afghanistan remains a top priority, as any instability in the country would affect Russia’s own security, as well as the security of other European nations. Russian NATO envoy Aleksandr Grushko also said that Moscow was not excluding the possibility of broader cooperation with the military bloc.
A Kashmiri leader has revealed that China is in occupation of parts of Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and Aksai Chin, despite not being a party to any of these land ownership disputes. In an interview, Dr Shabir Choudhry, Head of Diplomatic Committee and senior leader of the Kashmir National Party (KNP), said: “China also occupies part of Jammu and Kashmir state, some part of the Aksai Chin area and some areas of Gilgit Baltistan.”
“Despite that occupation, China is not a party in any dispute. Pakistan and pro-Pakistani Kashmiris are trying to make Beijing a party in these disputes. This will be totally disastrous,” he warned.
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.
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.
Large depositors face heavy losses and the Central Bank of Cyprus will be given new powers to shut down struggling banks under a last-ditch plan to prevent the island’s exit from the euro. Included in legislation drafted by the European Central Bank are draconian controls on capital, including unprecedented restrictions on debit card use and cash withdrawals. Cypriot MPs were meeting on Friday night in a final attempt to stop the ECB and eurozone from carrying out a threat to withdraw cash support from the country’s banks next Tuesday.
The Cyprus bailout proposal made by the Eurogroup is both economically and politically absurd. But what if the real reason behind the whole Cyprus crisis is the desire to confiscate the country’s gold?
The European Union, the IMF and the ECB are pushing Cyprus into bankruptcy while risking a contagion effect that could lead to the meltdown of the eurozone. European leaders have already bailed out Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy. Why is the Cyprus bailout so special? Why do the European leaders prefer to push the country into bankruptcy and raid the Cypriot bank accounts instead of saving it?
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.
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.
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.
The deal reached Saturday imposes a one-time levy of 6.75 percent on all deposits under 100,000 euros and a 9.9 percent levy above that amount. The levy is expected to raise 5.8 billion euros. Cyprus’ bailout follows those for Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain’s banking sector, but it is the first time eurozone states and the IMF have dipped into people’s savings to pay for a bailout.
The deal has met with widespread anger in Cyprus, a run on bank deposits over the weekend and fears that the public unease might spread to other at-risk EU countries such as Spain and Italy.
Tensions between the United States and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai have peaked as the Afghan leader accused Washington of conspiring with Taliban to spread fears that the radically militant Islamic movement will regain control after foreign troops withdraw by the end of 2014.
Karzai’s fiery remarks on Sunday came a day after double bombings blamed on Taliban killed at least 17 Afghan people.
“Those bombs that went off in Kabul and Khost were not a show of force to America. They were in service of America. It was in the service of the 2014 slogan to warn us if they (Americans) are not here then Taliban will come,”
“Every day,” Pavlovsky said of Putin, “he gets these terrible revelations. If he believed them all, he’d have to fire everyone or imprison them. They’re all accusing each other not only of theft but of espionage, of being American spies. He suspects them all, but he doesn’t understand the degree of rot.”
This sums up one of the main challenges facing Putin. His grip is not absolute. Factions within the Kremlin vie for supremacy, while Russia’s vast bureaucracy looks out, primarily, for itself. He has his own minefields to deal with.
China is now in the flashing-red zone. The first measure comes from the Bank of International Settlements, which found that if private debt as a share of GDP accelerates to a level 6% higher than its trend over the previous decade, the acceleration is an early warning of serious financial distress. In China, private debt as a share of GDP is now 12% above its previous trend, and above the peak levels seen before credit crises hit Japan in 1989, Korea in 1997, the U.S. in 2007 and Spain in 2008.
The idea of south-south co-operation evokes a positive image of solidarity between developing countries through the exchange of resources, technology, and knowledge. It’s an attractive proposition, intended to shift the international balance of power and help developing nations break away from aid dependence and achieve true emancipation from former colonial powers. However, the discourse of south-south co-operation has become a cover for human rights violations involving southern governments and companies.
Pakistan’s Advisor to Prime Minister on Petroleum and Natural Resources, Dr. Asim Hussain, said that Iran with the cooperation of Pakistan’s State Oil (PSO) will set up an oil refinery in the Southwestern city of Gwadar. Talking to reporters after holding a meeting with Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi, he said that the refinery would refine 400,000 barrels of oil per day. He added that President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari would soon visit Iran to finalize the agreement on establishment of oil refinery.
So far, Germany’s water supply has fallen under the responsibility of local authorities. Most town and city councils manage water supply systems, maintaining water pipes, ensuring that there are enough pipes for every home to be hooked to the water supply system and managing the quality of tap water. Sometimes councils grant concessions to private companies. But only in rare cases, is the operation of the water supply sectors entirely in private hands. Profit orientation leads to lower water quality
In Egypt, Libya and Syria, where Qatar tried to play a role post-Arab Spring, it finds itself blamed for much that has gone wrong on a local level. Close ties to Egypt’s new leaders, the Muslim Brotherhood, have alarmed countries like the United Arab Emirates, where the group is banned and which in January said it had foiled a Brotherhood-linked coup plot. Senior officials in the UAE have long believed Qatar has long-term strategy to use the Brotherhood to redraw the region. “There is both greater apprehension and appreciation for Qatar two years after the Arab awakening in the region,”
The world’s two largest economic powers would like to join forces via a free-trade agreement. Yet the hurdles are high. The EU and US are aiming not just for a small trade solution, but for the largest proposal of all.
Economists, politicians and entrepreneurs are practically foaming at the mouth. The planned all-encompassing free-trade agreement between the US and EU would spur growth on both sides of the Atlantic. It would also ensure that the global economic rules of the future are put in place by western countries – and not China.
A Chinese official demanding a couple pay a fine for violating the country’s one-child policy crushed their 13-month-old boy to death with a car, a local spokesman said Tuesday.
Under China’s population controls, instituted more than 30 years ago, couples who have more than one child must pay a “social upbringing” fine, while in some cases mothers have been forced to undergo abortions.Authorities in the eastern city of Wenzhou are investigating how the infant ended up beneath the vehicle, a Mayu county official surnamed Zhou told AFP.
Pakistan’s cabinet formally agreed to hand over the operation of its strategically located Gwadar port to China on Wednesday. This puts in place China’s famed “string of pearls” strategy which may have significant implications for India.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan cabinet, in one of its last decisions, transferred the operations responsibility of the Gwadar port from Singapore’s PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) International to China’s Overseas Port Holdings. This had been agreed some time ago as PSA International and Pakistani navy fell out over land transfers, security issues and lack of infrastructure. PSA had asked to withdraw from the contract and Pakistan had agreed.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has begun a process that could lead to Britain’s exit from the European Union – a result analysts say could devastate the country’s economy.
Britain’s economy relies on trade and financial services. The free flow of goods and services with the European continent has been a boon, but more and more Britons see the European Union as an unwelcome infringement on their sovereignty. That has pushed Prime Minister Cameron to promise a re-negotiation of Britain’s ties to the EU and then a referendum within five years, if he is re-elected in the middle of the process.
“Since the first Gulf War of the 1990′s US security policy has been one described as the “Lily-Pad” policy of keeping small military presence in very large numbers of places around the world, but no large military bases in any particular area. The land based Lily-Pads are complemented by the US navy on the high Seas. Yes, US already has many small military contingents in Central Asia and may add to them, but will not ask for establishing long-term military bases in the region including in Afghanistan.
The People’s Liberation Army’s naval air force has carried out attack drills in both the East and South China seas in a show of force directed at countries involved in territorial disputes with China, according to naval experts.
Photos posted on the website of the PLA Navy on Wednesday showed several J-10 fighter jets that had been sent by the East China Sea Fleet to the waters of the East China Sea close to the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan, which are claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo.
Iranian Economy Minister Seyed Shamseddin Hosseini said Monday that Tehran plans to exclude the currencies of the Western states, specially US dollar and euro, from its foreign trade transactions, semi-official Fars news agency reported.
“According to the decision made by the cabinet workgroup, dollar and euro will be gradually put aside from Iran’s trade with other countries,” Hosseini was quoted as saying.
3400 Tons of gold (value: EUR 150 billion) will be kept by the Bundesbank due to the economic crisis, two-thirds of them are abroad, in London, Paris, New York. Criticism: German reserves stored in the vaults in the foreign country were never been checked on their “physical composition” and authenticity.
Now, the Federal Reserve wants to store much of the gold reserves in Germany. A new storage concept foresees to revalue the local location Frankfurt am Main, so the “Handelsblatt”newspaper reported.
Turkey is in a rush to grow its energy sector. And recent news that the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, known as Taqa, will invest heavily in Turkish coal-fired power plants shows how serious Ankara is taking this commitment.
The deal, announced at the start of the year, will see Taqa build and operate a power generation base totalling 7,000 megawatts, or about 10 per cent of Turkey’s electricity needs by the time the plants are completed.
On Jan. 2 the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) published 190 pages of documents released by the National Security Agency under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The documents confirm key details of the program, known as PerfectCitizen, which was revealed by The Wall Street Journal in an article published in July 2010. The project, for example, includes a major effort to find and remediate vulnerabilities in sensitive control systems (SCS). Technology giant Raytheon received the contract for the program valued at approximately $100 million.
Africa (AFRICOM) command and its Identity Resolution Team now cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for conducting operations in Eastern Africa.Objective: to identify some “bad actors” (KST to known suspected terrorists, the SIA for special interest alien): traffickers, criminal, terrorists likely to attempt to travel to the United States.
The nationals of several countries of Eastern Africa are in the crosshairs: Kenya, Tanzania, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopians, Somalis. But the Sahel and West Africa are now treated as sensitive areas.
Britain will host an international meeting to plan for the period after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “inevitable” departure, the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.The meeting will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and delegates will include Syria experts, academics in post-conflict stabilization, representatives of the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) opposition group and other agencies. The gathering highlights jitters over the shape of a post-Assad Syria, and experts fear regional and sectarian rivalries could extend the bloodshed and destabilize other countries in the strategically sensitive and volatile region.
Turkey’s intelligence services have held talks with jailed Kurdish PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Direct negotiations may lead to a solution to the Kurdish conflict and could end decades of fighting. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government want to work out a scheme with Ocalan that would allow Kurdish rebels to lay down their weapons. News reports have leaked that PKK leaders in northern Iraq’s Qandil mountains would not be brought to trial but would instead be given the opportunity to seek exile elsewhere. Regular PKK fighters would be reintegrated into society.
Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Qods Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which conducts special operations outside Iran, visited Egypt at the end of December at the invitation of President Mohamed Morsi’s government.
The Times of London reported that the purpose of the visit was “to advise the government on building its security and intelligence apparatus independent of the national intelligence services, which are controlled by Egypt’s military.” During the visit he met with Essam al-Haddad, foreign affairs adviser to Mr Morsi, and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood.
The new military doctrine has been declared by incorporating a new chapter titled ‘sub-conventional warfare’ in the Pakistani army’s ‘Green Book’ which spells out operational preparedness, capacities and objectives of the armed forces. According to the new doctrine, the guerrilla actions from the tribal areas along Afghan border and bomb attacks on armed forces and civilians by certain groups have been identified as the “biggest threat” to national security.
What should be an Indian military doctrine for 21st Century? Further how do we create defence professionals who will fulfill the emerging needs which are increasingly complex in multiple dimensions including potential 360 degree threat spectrum that India face. Today we are facing 7-dimensional wars. Soldiers, who will fight these wars, need to be multi-dimensional. Further, given the education scenario in India the key challenges that India will face to create the 7-D Soldiers of the future, need an open discussion and focus.
The official announcement came from Zhang Ping, head of China’s top economic planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission: the government would “speed up household registration reform” as part of its drive for urbanization of the rural population.
Dubbed hukou, the household registration system dates back to the Mao era, and prevents rural people who move to cities from getting access to local benefits such as health care, pensions and public education. Vice Premier Li Keqiang said that the global economic slowdown requires China to create domestic demand, as it can no longer rely on exports.
Flight data recorders, commonly known as “black boxes,” have been a standard feature in airliners since the early 1960s. More recently, various companies have started offering apps and dedicated devices that essentially serve as black boxes for cars, keeping a record of the vehicle’s parameters and location when involved in an accident. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that similar devices become mandatory in all new light passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by September 1st, 2014.
Properties were being offered for sale as if they were the holdings of politicians, rather than the resources of all Kosovo residents. The “Self Determination” representatives argued that Kosovo’s leaders aim to drive down the value of state assets so that they may be expropriated and sold: “Privatization is the name behind which these officials hide.” General Wesley Clark, chairman of Envidity, a Canadian firm interested in Kosovo’s coal mines and potential for synthetic fuel production, has also gone to Kosovo in search of financial advantage. But Albright’s involvement has given her the highest profile in the discussion of Kosovo’s economic future.
Since the “Orange revolution” in 2004, Ukraine has been seeking a proper balance between its relations with East and West. Ex-President Viktor Yushchenko, who swept to power in the “Orange Revolution,” put Ukraine on a pro-Western path, including formal bid of membership in both NATO and the EU. However, despite the initial enthusiasm for full NATO membership, Ukraine has curbed its pro-Western aspirations, as over the half of its citizens oppose their country’s admission to the alliance.
The U.S. government green-lighted a program in March to retain data on U.S. citizens for up to five years as part of a counterterrorism monitoring and analysis effort, despite privacy concerns raised by high-ranking homeland-security and justice officials.
The concerns, first reported in the Wall Street Journal this week, suggest that the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) is trying to build an extensive monitoring system that can find terrorists using large datasets. Established in 2004, the NCTC brings together analysts from a variety of agencies and tasks them with sifting through intelligence reports for signs of terrorism activity.
Russia’s foreign policy will focus during the third term of Putin for integration in the post-Soviet space. Such a conclusion can be drawn from “the foreign policy concept of the Russian Federation”, developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The concept pays great attention to the CIS Customs Union, EurAsEC Eurasian Economic Union and the future), the CSTO and the Union State of RUSSIA and Belarus (which previously had raised the concept). It is expected that the intensive integration processes will join and Ukraine.
Israel has set up military bases in Eritrea to monitor Iran and other hostile activities in the Red Sea, Stratfor Global Intelligence reported Wednesday.
The U.S.-based strategy consultancy firm quoted “diplomatic sources” as saying that the Israeli military presence is comprised of docks and small naval units in the Dahlak Archipelago and Massawa, and a listening post on Mt. Amba Sawara.
“Israel’s presence in Eritrea is very focused and precise, involving intelligence gathering in the Red Sea and monitoring Iran’s activities,” Stratfor said.
The US Senate recommended that US President Barack Obama study the possibility of imposing the no-fly zone over Syria in an amendment approved on Wednesday.
The senators have voted 92-6 to require the Pentagon to report on options for using U.S. military assets to prevent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from using air power against opposition forces.
Former Arab league Secretary-General Amr Moussa spoke out in a recent interview about Qatar “paying” to have U.S. military presence on its lands in return for protection, said a London-based Arab newspaper.
Moussa said that Qatar’s Prince Hamad Bin Khalifa told the United States he was going to fulfill all their military expenses in Qatar if they agree to establish bases in the Gulf state, according to an interview with Al-Hayat newspaper.
A sub-committee of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights has prepared a draft bill proposing the establishment of an Inter-Service Intelligence Agency (ISIA) to be overseen by the country’s prime minister.
The agency will be responsible for arresting, detaining, interrogating and prosecuting suspects to deal effectively with the challenges of national security and matters related to it. The proposed legislation is called Inter Service Intelligence Agency (Functions, Powers and Regulation) Act 2012.
Consider just one key issue: is Lord Justice Leveson, whose 2000-page report on abuses committed by the tabloid press was released to an explosive response on Thursday, really recommending statutory control of the press?
Lord Leveson himself says not. He writes: “This is not, and cannot be characterized as, statutory regulation of the press. What is proposed here is independent regulation of the press organized by the press, with a statutory verification process to ensure that the required levels of independence and effectiveness are met by the system.”
The return of Asia-Pacific to the centre of world affairs is the great power shift of the 21st century. This economically integrated region is traversed by half the world’s commercial shipping worth $5 trillion of trade a year. More than 4.2 billion people live there, constituting 61 per cent of the world’s population. And apart from straddling vital supply chains, it holds dense fishing grounds and potentially enormous oil and natural gas reserves, though at present it is a net importer of fossil fuels.
The United States should focus increasingly on courting Brazil, India, Indonesia and Turkey, four “global swing states” critical to the preservation of the Western-dominated international order, according to a new report released here Tuesday by two major U.S. think tanks.
“These four nations each possess a large and growing economy, a strategic location in their region and a commitment to democratic institutions. And critically, each nation’s precise international role is now in flux,” they noted.
11 November representatives of disparate Syrian groups were combined to form the national coalition of revolutionary and oppositional forces “(NKROS), all the seats and positions in which the head of the American delegation had distributed at the Conference in Doha, United States Ambassador to Syria, Robert S. Ford.
In 2004-2006/07 he worked as Assistant to John Negroponte, the head of a diplomatic mission in Iraq and the United States engaged in war, the methods used there in Honduras: using” death squads “and” Nicaraguan Contras. “the same model that Ford used for destabilization of the situation in Syria.
In today’s world order, economic interests, political motives and security agendas of major powers are usually intertwined, although zero-sum rivalries are still valid on many occasions of political friction. In addition, China’s administrative tradition has brought its own fears, dreams and specific definitions of interest from centuries back to this date and synthesized these elements into what we refer to as its contemporary foreign policy perspective.
The Australian reported that MPs and members of the House of Lords are also considering whether to have a joint debate on Britain’s UAV deployment policy and the ethics of “remotely” killing suspected insurgent targets in Afghanistan battling the International Security assistance Force troops.
There also remains the possibility that British ministers could face questions as to whether they share British intelligence with the United States under terms of the 1946 U.K.-U.S. intelligence sharing agreement to help UAVs operated by the CIA to kill terror suspects in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
An arms-buying spree across south-east Asia will be the elephant in the room when almost 20 world leaders meet in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, on Tuesday. Flush with economic success and wary of China’s military expansion, countries are acquiring sophisticated sea- and air-based arsenals that include dozens of submarines that can operate in secret.
Five leading EU countries, but not the UK, have said the Union needs a new military “structure” to manage overseas operations. The foreign and defence ministers of France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain issued the call in a joint communique after a meeting in Paris on Thursday . The paper says: “We are convinced that the EU must set up, within a framework yet to-be-defined, true civilian-military structures to plan and conduct missions and operations.” It adds: “We should show preparedness to hold available, train, deploy and sustain in theatre the necessary civilian and military means.”
Speaking at the Atlantic Council Energy and Economic Summit, former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said Turkey was on the edge of one of the most combustible parts of the world, and that an explosion such as military action in Iran or wider violence in Syria would be catastrophic for world stability.
“Turkey is a key pivotal power. Its success as a European-type democracy is vital for Europe’s security,” he said.
The law has provoked an outcry from activists. They say the legislation is part of a broad crackdown against the opposition in revenge for the unprecedented protests that erupted as Putin returned to the Kremlin in May for a third presidential term. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that the Kremlin would watch how the law was implemented and did not rule out the legislation being amended. “The president has indeed expressed readiness to look at this law very carefully,” Russian news agencies quoted Peskov as saying.
The United States military will station a powerful radar and a space telescope in Australia as part of a major refocusing of priorities towards Asia, the two countries announced Wednesday. US Defense Secretary Leon Panettea described it as “major leap forward in bilateral space cooperation and an important new frontier in the United States’ rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region”.
“NATO has a perfect logistic system. We are ready to share experience in this issue with Azerbaijan”, the alliance representatives said.
It was noted at the meeting that due to the existing military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, NATO imposes embargo for the sale of arms and military hardware to these countries. Nonetheless, according to the official representatives of the alliance, NATO can pass a decision about the sale of arms to both countries by the organization member-states.
China’s political leaders put stability above all else. So it’s a remarkable sign of the times that they could be passing around well-thumbed copies of a book about the sudden, bloody outbreak of the French Revolution two-and-a-quarter centuries ago. Why would China’s modern rulers, preoccupied with the leadership handover under way in Beijing this week, be interested in Alexis de Tocqueville’s The Old Regime and the French Revolution?
Since the Communist Party seized power in 1949 in a violent revolution, its highest priority has been to guard against what it calls ”counter-revolution”.
The French effectively view the launch of new EU military missions as a Trojan horse for a European military headquarters and France will mount a major offensive in mid-2014 that could see it back treaty change to scrap national vetoes over defence.
Britain last year blocked moves to create an EU military operations HQ (OHQ), with William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, threatening to veto the plan over concerns that it would rival Nato command.
Outgoing President Hu Jintao, in his agenda-setting report this week at a Communist Party gathering to choose the coming decade’s leadership, signaled China’s intent to step out more on the world stage.
Hu said China would “get more actively involved in international affairs, play its due role of a major responsible country,” while underlining Beijing’s deep sensitivity to matters of sovereignty and its rejection of “any foreign attempt to subvert the legitimate government of any other countries.”
To many Chinese, China is at an inflection point. Its old model of heavily state-directed growth that lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and made China an economic powerhouse is sputtering in the face of rising domestic debt and a weak global economy. Meanwhile, the government has to contend with the public’s continued expectations of higher living standards and for less corruption and greater accountability, if not outright democracy.
Whether the new leaders want to move China in a new direction is not known. Xi and other top candidates for the new leadership have forged their careers as capable administrators in provinces and bureaucracies, not as policy trail-blazers.
We have put together this guide in an attempt to condense the facts gleaned from thousands of pages of reference books, biographies, religious texts, firsthand accounts, reports and other information that have informed this issue. We could’ve included dozens of additional entries, but in our opinion the topics below are the most important for you to begin to understand the complexities of the conflict.
Yet, the US Embassy in Beirut was directed to be cautious in announcing any position due to the critical nature of the situation in Lebanon at this stage and the fact that the region is still focused on the Syrian crisis. The US desire to carefully approach the issue of the government is the product of a realistic view, which sees that even if the government resigns it would have to act as caretaker until a new government is formed.
The main concern at the conference was to identify the source of security threats against Bahrain in particular, and the Gulf Arab states in general. The results of the so-called “Arab Spring” — the popular Arab movement that took place, and is still taking place, in several Arab countries — were also topics of interest, especially amid continued domestic tension in Bahrain between the opposition and the government.
“The new law would expand the scope for prosecution of and reduce the burden of proof for charges of treason and espionage,” the statement continues. “The abstract definition of treason contained in the law will make it difficult to apply in a fair manner. It also potentially penalises contacts with foreign nationals with up to 20 years in prison.”
The bill – which has not yet been ratified by Russia’s Upper House and President Putin – further restricts the disclosure of state secrets, toughens punishments for leaks, and widely expands the definition of high treason.
To lessen its dependence on the U.S. Dollar and gain entry into the International Monetary Fund’s currency basket, the Chinese government has indicated that they would like to make the RMB fully convertible on the international stage by 2015 (which some say is a bit overly ambitious especially given the current global environment), and has increased the use of the RMB in international trade and investment.
Yes, no-fly zone but nobody is talking about using any military force of any kind, no-fly zone for the purpose of creating a safe zone, safe area, preventing the Syrian air force from attacking this secure zone, so that the Syrian Free Army will have abase in Syria itself and they will be better prepared in dealing with the eventuality. The consensus here is that Bashar Assad is going to go one way or the other whether in a month or two, even 6 or more, he is going to go but the concern is what will Iran do, what will Russia do, what will Saudis do.
European Council President hailed the result of the summit as highly successful: “This is a small revolution, it means that we’ll have only one supervisor for the whole Europe, who – to a certain extent – will replace all the national supervisors. If we had this in 2008 I don’t think the crisis would have reached this level.”
“The art of compromise has prevailed once again in Europe, but there is still much more that needs to be done, as the Spanish and Greek emergencies are still waiting,” our special correspondent Audrey Tilv reports from Brussel.
Government plans to extend the use of secret evidence in court are Kafkaesque and threaten the very principles of fair and open justice, Amnesty International said today. In a damning criticism of the controversial proposals, the leading human rights organisation said they would simply enable the Government to “play the ‘national security’ card whenever it wants to keep things secret”. Its 50-page report comes before the Justice and Security Bill is debated in the House of Lords over the next few weeks.
President’s Council on International Relations presented the draft of the National Policy Strategy 2025. The document contains a set of tools aimed at the prevention of ethnic conflicts, as well as the fight against extremist propaganda.
The authors proposed to set up in every region of the Russian Federation specialized monitoring centers, which will keep track of publications in the media and social networks for possible provocations national conflicts. And to combat the extremist ideas in social networks plan to attract Internet service providers, and the media want to create a system of incentives for the promotion of national unity, according to the document.
Beijing began a large-scale propaganda campaign to win over international opinion, especially in the United States.
Last month, China ran advertising spreads in major US newspapers asserting its claim to the Senkaku Islands. In addition, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made remarks about the islands at the UN General Assembly at the end of September, saying Japan “stole” them from China.
The government of Portugal has approved what ministers called the most austere budget in decades. Lisbon has set its sights on quickly reducing its debt load after being bailed out last year by the EU and the IMF. Portugal is on course to implement a draconian 2013 austerity budget. Following a 20-hour marathon session, the cabinet on Thursday approved massive spending cuts next year and a string of corrections to this year’s budget.
Details of the measures in the pipeline are yet to be made public, but the package looked certain to include hikes in income tax and other taxes to replace a stalled rise in workers’ social contributions which had been wiped off the table after widespread protests across the country.
The Obama administration is contemplating broad military, political and humanitarian intervention to stop a slide toward chaos and Islamic extremism in Mali, the top State Department diplomat for Africa said Thursday. The international but largely U.S.-funded effort to expunge al-Qaida-linked militants and restore political order in Somalia could present a model for Mali, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Johnnie Carson said. Since 2007, the United States has spent more than $550 million to help train and supply an African proxy force of about 18,000 soldiers in Somalia, which has brought a measure of stability to the war-torn country for the first time in two decades.
The U.S. launched “a serious and wide-reaching diplomatic initiative for a constitutional reconstruction of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina”, said reports.
According to the newspaper, the initiative covers all options: decreasing the number of cantons, changing cantonal borders, transferring certain competencies, abolishing offices and other changes aimed at making the structure of the Federation more efficient
The US Department of Homeland Security this week issued a call for unmanned systems makers to participate in a program that will ultimately determine their safety and performance for use in first responder, law enforcement and border security situations. In a twist that will certainly raise some eyebrows, the program’s results of the ironically named program — The Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) — will remain unavailable to the public
In India, a day-long nationwide strike called by political parties from both the left and right to protest a fuel price hike and other economic reforms has disrupted life. The strike comes as the government grapples with political uncertainty.
Tens of thousands of slogan-shouting protesters marched through streets in major cities, shops closed and transport services were disrupted in some places.
But, although cities in opposition strongholds such as Bangalore and Kolkata virtually came to halt. But businesses remained open in other cities, such as the capital, New Delhi, and the financial hub, Mumbai.
A self-appointed “Future of Europe Group” of 11 EU foreign ministers published yesterday (18 September) its “final’ report, calling for a stronger EU role in foreign and defence policy. Many of their ideas appear to mirror proposals put forward by Commission President José Manuel Barroso in his recent State of the Union speech.
The report finalising seven months of work was adopted during a meeting of the Future of Europe Group held in Warsaw on 17 September, a press release of the Polish foreign ministry says.
The final meeting of the group was attended by the foreign ministers and deputy foreign ministers of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
European Union member states accused of having hosted secret CIA jails in the wake of the 9/11 attacks should come clean on the issue, said a resolution approved Tuesday by the European Parliament.
The non-binding resolution targeted Lithuania, Poland and Romania in particular.
They were urged to shed more light on allegations that they had hosted secret prisons used by the US Central Intelligence Agency for its controversial rendition programme in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
When it comes to “hard power,” the West is in steep decline. Virtually every nation in Europe is cutting its defense budget.Japan refuses to spend more than 1% of its gross domestic product on defense. And Australia is slashing its military budget, leaving it at just 1.5% of GDP, the smallest ratio in more than seven decades. Now add in the cuts of more than $800 billion in current and planned spending on U.S. defenses, with the prospect of nearly $500 billion more over the next 10 years.
Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act more than 130 years ago to restrict the use of military personnel on U.S. soil, and the nation has long possessed an aversion to armed forces being relied upon for enforcement actions against civilians. But the spirit of the law since that time has been subject to different interpretations and is explored in depth in a recent report [PDF] by the Congressional Research Service.
China and North Korea say their relationship is as close as “lips and teeth.” The analogy is discomfiting in Seoul given current trends in bilateral trade, with some concerned that Beijing will simply swallow up its neighbor.
The dependence doesn’t sit well in Pyongyang, analysts say. They predict that the situation will push the North to engage the next South Korean administration and other regional players.
“From an economic and strategic logic standpoint, North Korea would not want this situation to go on forever,” said John Delury, assistant professor of International Studies at Yonsei University. “It wants to have a serious economic relationship with at least South Korea, Russia and China.”
The fog of war has fallen so densely over Iran and the Middle East that it is hard to say for certain whether the latest developments are a sign that one is imminent (in the form of an Israeli strike in the next two months) or that the timetable for a confrontation has been pushed back until the spring and summer of 2013. In the latter case, it is still possible that negotiations would eventually prevail, but this is far from guaranteed or even likely.
All of a sudden, the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is dropping hints left and right that it is willing to postpone action against the Iranian nuclear program. On Tuesday, it announced a number of new high-level military appointments which had previously been delayed amid the war preparations. As a prominent Israeli analyst put it, “You don’t appoint a brand new operations chief when you’re about to go to war.”