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Is Turkey going Pakistan’s way?

Turkish army tanks take up position on the Turkish-Syrian border near the southeastern town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province

But what is happening in Turkey is uncannily similar to what happened in Pakistan. Turkey acted as a conduit to the FSA as much as Pakistan did to the Mujahedeen. The FSA gradually fragmented and spawned the vicious ISIS just like the Mujahedeen became the Taliban. Admittedly Taliban is not as virulent as the IS, but the ideology and modus operandi are the same. Pakistan came into being as a Muslim state with Mohammad Ali Jinnah as the strident advocate of a separate Muslim state in India.

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Operation Washtub?: Fearing invasion, the U.S. once trained Alaskans as “stay-behind agents”

Fearing invasion, the U.S. once trained Alaskans as stay-behind agents

Fearing a Russian invasion and occupation of Alaska, the U.S. government in the early Cold War years recruited and trained fishermen, bush pilots, trappers and other private citizens across Alaska for a covert network to feed wartime intelligence to the military, newly declassified Air Force and FBI documents show. Invasion of Alaska? Yes. It seemed like a real possibility in 1950. “The military believes that it would be an airborne invasion involving bombing and the dropping of paratroopers,” one FBI memo said.

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France remains ‘Africa’s gendarme’

France remains ‘Africa’s gendarme’

France intervened in Africa 19 times between 1962 and 1995, often to sway a state’s internal politics under the murky “francafrique” system put in place by Charles de Gaulle to maintain political and business interests in the former colonies. But it began to adopt a more multilateral approach under Jacques Chirac’s 1995 to 2007 presidency, eschewing political meddling in favour of backing United Nations and African Union peacekeeping operations when crises arose. In 2003 and 2008, France led European Union operations respectively to combat rebels in north-eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and to secure the Central African and Chadian borders with Sudan’s Darfur region.

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Djibouti: A Red Sea state and former French colony

Operation Enduring Freedom

Djibouti was colonized by France which seized it from two tribes, the Affars and the Issas from the middle of the l9th century to l977 when it attained independence and joined the United Nations. Earlier on it was formed into a French protectorate named the French Territory of the Affar and Issas, which have been coexisting peacefully under the French umbrella that has made it into a strong naval base to protect its interests in the Red Sea region. It is a small piece of land facing the erstwhile British colony of Aden with about 800,000 people of African stock occupying 23,000 square kms of mainly desert land.

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Are we on the brink of war? Academic sparks debate by drawing comparisons between 1914 past and 2014 present

Are we on the brink of war

A CENTURY ago, a simple assassination was enough to topple a tenuous balance between the old and new worlds. The resulting war killed millions and spanned the globe. Is history about to repeat itself? The year was 1914. The world was experimenting with economic globalisation. Optimists believed this new world economy would eliminate war. But the concept proved to be in conflict with old notions of empire and fresh attitudes of expansionism. There was friction between the industrial and military powers of the “old” world and the ambitions of the revitalised “new” economies.

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Cold War treaty confirms Sweden was not neutral

Cold War treaty confirms Sweden was not neutral

Sweden signed a top secret intelligence treaty with the US and other countries in 1954, forecast the 2008 Georgian war, and now routinely spies on Russia civil targets, leaked documents from US whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal. “Really interesting information,” said intelligence analysis professor Wilhelm Agrell regarding the Sveriges Television (SVT) report revealing Sweden’s long-standing cooperation with the US and other western nations. Agrell argued that the revelations of the agreement raise serious questions regarding Sweden’s non-alignment self-image.

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The Indo-Pak proxy intelligence war

Two arch-rivals, RAW and the ISI have been always trying to outwit each other, to dictate the terms for Bangladesh. At times RAW was successful, a few times the ISI was successful. Ill-prepared security networks, paid and unpaid agents, friends, and loyalists in Bangladesh also played significant roles here. Members of the Indian or Pakistani intelligence forces were patted on the back by their seniors and the government for doing a good job, though not necessarily good for Bangladesh.

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Operation Able Art: How a 1983 American-NATO war game came close to provoking the Soviet Union into launching a nuclear attack

Able Archer, which involved 40,000 US and Nato troops moving across western Europe, co-ordinated by encrypted communications systems, imagined a scenario in which Blue Forces (Nato) defended its allies after Orange Forces (Warsaw Pact countries) sent troops into Yugoslavia following political unrest. The Orange Forces had quickly followed this up with invasions of Finland, Norway and eventually Greece. As the conflict had intensified, a conventional war had escalated into one involving chemical and nuclear weapons.

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Saudi Arabia’s proxy wars

Saudi Arabia appears resolute: It wants Bashar Al-Assad out of Damascus. The Saudis view the fighting in Syria with the same intensity that they did the civil war in Yemen that raged in the 1960s—as a conflict with wide and serious repercussions that will shape the political trajectory of the Middle East for years to come. The Syrian war presents the Saudis with a chance to hit three birds with one stone: Iran, its rival for regional dominance, Tehran’s ally Assad and his Hezbollah supporters. But Riyadh’s policy makers are wary.

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The dream of global hegemony

The future is bleak. “Americans today conduct a colossally militarised but morally nugatory global mission supported by apparent majorities of the political, intellectual, and academic elites of the nation. It has lacked from the very beginning an attainable goal. It cannot succeed. George W. Bush is quoted by Bob Woodward as having said that American strategy was ‘to create chaos, to create vacuum’, in his enemies’ countries. This was very unwise. The United States risks becoming such a strategy’s ultimate victim.”

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How prepared is the Russian military for war

Russia’s military preparedness during the last 100 years if plotted on a graph would look like a series of valley and peaks. World War I revealed that in terms of morale and education, the Russian Army was in a race to the bottom with Turkey, which was then known as the Sick Man of Europe. After some spectacular early thrusts that took them deep into Germany, the Russian military eventually crumbled, with the Germans in 1917 advancing within 300 km of Moscow.

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US influence in Egypt: Conflicting interests

This history of double standards shadows the recent events in Egypt and Washington. When a country’s military sends tanks into the streets, deposes an elected President, suspends the constitution, shuts down television stations, and arrests the leadership of the ruling party, the usual word for it is “coup.” But, in the days since all this came to pass in Egypt, the Obama Administration has gone to great lengths to avoid calling it by its rightful name-Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that the events of July 3rd and afterward were under “review”-for the obvious reason that, under the law, it would mean the end of $1.5 billion in U.S. military and economic aid.

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Britain’s struggles in nuclear race

Trident is now Britain’s only nuclear weapon. It retired its last free fall bombs in 1998. And the stockpile of operational Trident warheads is also much reduced from its original level. For the British military, even some of the clouds that have loomed over its efforts to be a big nuclear player have had silver linings. Despite the setbacks, there were elements of its early H-bomb designs that so interested the Americans they helped cement US-UK nuclear co-operation.

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Mansour and el-Sissi – the two men running Egypt

“Mansour is relatively unknown in Egypt’s political scene,” says Christian Achrainer, political scientist at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP). The 67-year-old Mansour, who has been working for the country’s constitutional court since 1992, had been in office as president of the court for just two days when the military pushed Morsi out. Morsi had appointed Mansour to the post after his predecessor, Maher al-Behairis retired at the end of June. A new law which came into force after Hosni Mubarak was toppled forces the president to appoint one of the three longest-serving vice presidents as president of the court.

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Arming Syrian rebels could create a legacy as harmful as Sykes-Picot

As the West begins to gear up for the centenary of the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the Middle East is being convulsed as never before by the legacy of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. Look no farther than Syria, where one part of that legacy – the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which divided the Middle East into British and French spheres of influence even while the Great War still raged – is coming to a brutally violent end. Likewise, the current turmoil in Turkey is, at least in part, a consequence of “neo-Ottoman” overreach by Erdogan’s government.

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CIA report shows Taiwan concerns

“From the legal standpoint, Taiwan is not part of the Republic of China,” a declassified CIA report on Taiwan written in March 1949 says. “Pending a Japanese peace treaty, the island remains occupied territory in which the US has proprietary interests,” the report continues. The report says that communist control of the island would have “seriously unfavorable strategic implications” for the US. It says that the native population of Taiwan would welcome release from Chinese control, but was not strong enough to stage a successful revolt.

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Regional Tensions Force Philippine Leaders To Consider Nuclear Weapons

Parallel moves by Washington and Beijing appear to have persuaded Pyongyang not to carry out its nuclear threat against South Korea, the United States and Japan. But unless the threat has been completely neutralized, President B. S. Aquino III may yet succeed in making the Philippines a potential target for North Korea or China.

While we had earlier feared that a North Korean missile could hit the Philippines purely by accident or mistake, in the future Pyongyang or even China could aim its missile directly at the Philippines, should it finally host American military bases all over again.

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De Borchgrave: Egypt Could Become the Next Iran

The only democracy Egypt has known in 5,000 years of recorded history lasted six years — from 1946, when the World War II British protectorate came to an end, until 1952 when Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser and his Free Officers movement dethroned and exiled King Farouk. Nasser’s coup was inspired by Egypt’s defeat in the first Arab-Israeli war of 1948. No more than 100 colonels, majors and captains were involved, including Anwar Sadat, who succeeded Nasser upon his death in 1970. Officially, Nasser and his Free Officers said they had taken over to wipe out corruption among their generals who, they charged, had led Egypt to its first defeat by Israel in 1948.

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Why uranium could become tomorrow’s gold

Why uranium could become tomorrow's gold

A pound of uranium is currently traded on the spot market at $ 42 a pound, which is ridiculously low. The price may rebound. I had a long discussion with two leading experts uranium last week. They worked on uranium in both the private sector as in the public sector since the 1970s. They attended all the twists and turns of history.

Both specialists have strong arguments to suggest that the uranium price increase this year and in the future. “The uranium ore,” remarked one of them, “Today is where gold was 10 years ago. We expect prices four to six times higher in the years to come. “

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Kashmir: The Geopolitical Hotspot That Could Lead To A Thermonuclear War


High in the Karakoram, the stubborn armies of India and Pakistan have faced off for 19 years on the Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battleground and a flash point in the deadly dispute over Kashmir. In this exclusive report, an American writer and photographer spend two months inside the ultimate no-man’s-land, witnessing the human and environmental devastation of a conflict without end. Ten years ago, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Kashmir was emerging as the most likely place on earth for a nuclear war to break out.

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The VICE Guide To Syria


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.

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Odd Bedfellows: The Saudi-Israeli Nexus


One of the most curious of alliances in the Middle East have been the clandestine goings on between the Zionist State of Israel and the Saudi royal family, the guardians of Mecca, among the most conservative of Arab monarchs. As I wrote in a previous blog, that relationship is based on a venerable political tenet: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. The common enemy, in this case, being Iran, radical Islam, and the political upheaval known as the Arab Spring.

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USAID/CIA supporting dictators and stifling democracy – exclusive interview


What happened in the ME is that we also supported dictators – we supported Mubarak, we supported the Saudi royal family which is a very totalitarian Government, we supported the King of Jordan…Iran. And so through their support of these dictators they were able to suppress any pro-democracy movement that might be inclined to nationalize, their fear was that some of these countries would elect a pro-democratic government that would want to nationalize their oil industry.

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New Mideast Theater for Proxy Wars: Syria


From a geopolitical perspective, Syria’s sensitive location played a key role in attracting Western ambitions from World War I until the present day. The region’s decade-long instability has also contributed to this. Syria only witnessed relative stability during the tenure of late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, which was marked by tyranny, oppression, the suppression of freedoms and the erosion of rights. This was primarily due to [Hafez] Al-Assad’s characteristic ability to play various conflicting interests off of each other.

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Can China repeat its 1962 military humiliation of India?


Can the history of India’s humiliation at the hands of China in 1962 repeat itself? As we approach the 50th anniversary of the humiliation next month, we have to analyse this question in depth in our governmental national security community as well as outside. It is important for the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) to organise a series of brainstorming on this subject with the participation of experts on China from the government and outside.

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History Repeats Again: The Game Plan in Syria


Through the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the US and the UK undertook military expeditions to destabilise secular Arab nations. They undertook an invasion of Egypt, which failed. They sponsored two assassination attempts on Nasser, which failed. They tried to instigate two revolts in Syria, which also failed.

Way back in 1957 the British cabinet had approved Operation Straggle, a plot to engineer a coup in Damascus. The plan was to create disaffection on the border areas, infiltrate armed insurgents into urban areas and instigate uprisings.

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Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb Could Be Country’s Next President


Dr. A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, notoriously anti-American and arguably the most popular man among 200 million Pakistanis, is the head of a recently launched political party dedicated to boosting him to the presidency.

Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Dr. Strangelove (“How I Learned to stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”) of Pakistan, recently created his own political party, Tehreek-e-Tahafuz Pakistan (TTP), closely linked to another TTP, Tehrik-e-Taliban.

To avoid prison, Musharraf ordered A.Q. to recant his misdeeds on Pakistani TV. Khan did so in English, not in Urdu.

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US ‘helped Russia cover up Second World War Katyn Forest massacre’


The US deliberately helped Russia cover up one of its most infamous Second World War atrocities to gain favour with Stalin, new documents suggest.

More than 22,000 captured Polish officers and other prisoners were systematically murdered in the Katyn forest on the western edge of Russia in 1940.

Three years later American prisoners of war sent secret coded messages to Washington with news of the massacre after seeing rows of corpses in an advanced state of decay in the forest, proof that the killers could not have been the Nazis who had only recently occupied the area.

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Putin Confirms the Invasion of Georgia Was Preplanned


The fourth anniversary of the August 2008 Russo-Georgian war has been marked by a seemingly open spat between the supporters of President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. In a 47-minute documentary film of unclear origin, “Lost Day,” posted on YouTube, retired and active service top Russian generals, including Army General, former First Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluyevsky, accuse Medvedev of indecisiveness and cowardice during the conflict with Georgia and praise Putin. According to Baluyevsky, a decision to invade Georgia was made by Putin before Medvedev was inaugurated President and Commander-in-Chief in May 2008.

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A History of Bank Runs

Massive account withdrawals are in the news thanks to Europe. But while the proximate causes of the situation are unique to our time, the tradition of freaking out and demanding one’s money is thousands of years old.

Fourth Century B.C.: The Platonic Ideal of Financial Chicanery

The first credit crisis chronicled in Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s This Time Is Different: Besieged by angry lenders, Dionysius of Syracuse ordered that all metal coins be collected under penalty of death, restamped one-drachma pieces as two drachmas, and used his newly doubled assets to pay his IOUs.

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The Balkanization of Pakistan: Is Baluchistan the next to cede?

Way back in 2006, the eminent US think tank Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published a report titled, “Pakistan: The Resurgence of Baluch Nationalism”. The report highlights the rich natural resources of Baluchistan and then makes the case to use Baluchi rebels against Islamabad and Tehran. Furthermore, the US State Department-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the Voice of Baluchistan (VOB) have been instrumental in fomenting dissension and nationalistic feelings. NED has been funding the Baluchistan Institute for Development (BIFD) which claims to be the leading resource on democracy, development and human rights in Baluchistan, whereas the VOB on the other hand, has been active in carrying propaganda messages on behalf of the American government. Also, there is the Baluchi Society of North America’s, which openly carries messages of support from Rohrabacher. Over the past few years, the US has also been pressing Pakistan to allow it to open a consulate in Quetta the capital of Baluchistan.

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The rise of Turkey as a superpower

Turkey’s rise has been engineered by its brilliant, proud, and often prickly prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A devout Muslim, Erdogan has revolutionized Turkish politics by challenging his country’s historic commitment to secularism and introducing a greater role for Islam in Turkish politics. Under his leadership, Turkey was, for a time, the only country that managed decent relations with all the regional powers, including Israel, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

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Inside Russia: Putin’s Private National Guard

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that President-elect Vladimir Putin is poised to undertake the most significant reform Russia has seen in recent years by creating a National Guard from scratch. These special forces, numbering up to 400,000 men, would answer directly to the president and would be charged with protecting the country from internal threats.

As a result, Russia would resemble a classic South American or Middle Eastern dictatorship. Take, for example, Syria, where for decades men from the lower classes have had only two career options — a dead-end job with a state company or joining the troops that guard the president. Ironically, Putin is considering adopting such a system even after the entire world witnessed how the Libyan version of this model failed miserably, while the Syrian version of this model is headed toward a similar demise.

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Our Men in Iran?

It was here that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) conducted training, beginning in 2005, for members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a dissident Iranian opposition group known in the West as the M.E.K. The M.E.K. had its beginnings as a Marxist-Islamist student-led group and, in the nineteen-seventies, it was linked to the assassination of six American citizens. It was initially part of the broad-based revolution that led to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah of Iran. But, within a few years, the group was waging a bloody internal war with the ruling clerics, and, in 1997, it was listed as a foreign terrorist organization by the State Department. In 2002, the M.E.K. earned some international credibility by publicly revealing—accurately—that Iran had begun enriching uranium at a secret underground location.

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Silence kills, in Sri Lanka and Syria

Riding the tiger is an art that isn’t easy to master in the best of circumstances. While a tiger’s back may be the safest place to be when you are riding it, you should be ready for what comes when the ride inevitably ends.
There was a time when many in India, including the Tamil, identified with Tamil Tigers with the establishment and Indian agencies offering every possible support to “our boys.” The LTTE training camps in Tamil Nadu were a secret that no one bothered to hide.

This support proved crucial in the Tigers’ transformation into one of the deadliest and successful insurgent forces in recent history.

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Secret Australian war efforts in Uruzgan revealed by US adviser

For hours, a battle raged against a force of about 50 Taliban until the convoy, backed by Australian special forces, had to withdraw, leaving the village to the insurgents.

Just another day in the often secret war Australians have been fighting in Uruzgan province, as detailed in a new book on Afghanistan, The Valley’s Edge, by a former US State Department adviser and scholar, Dan Green.
The navy reservist spent a period in 2005 and 2006 working in Uruzgan as a political adviser for a US provincial reconstruction team, some of the time alongside Australian troops whose early operations involving special forces and the 1st Reconstruction Task Force have mostly been shrouded in secrecy.

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Letters warned Kremlin of ‘corrupt Vladimir Putin’

The Kremlin was warned 20 years ago not to appoint Vladimir Putin to “any other positions” until a corruption scandal during his time as a local government officer in St Petersburg had been resolved, according to a cache of documents released on the internet.

Hundreds of scanned letters and other papers were published on Facebook on Tuesday by friends of Marina Salye, a former member of St Petersburg city council who launched an inquiry into Mr Putin’s office in the early 1990s, and who died earlier this month at the age of 77.

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Turkey edges nearer to buffer zone for Syrians

Events are pushing Turkey ever closer to setting up a buffer zone in Syria to protect civilians.

Turkish officials have long been hesitant about the idea, even while the U.N. reported that thousands of Syrians were being killed as President Bashar Assad’s forces crush dissent.

But on Monday, a Turkish official indicated that a surge of refugees from Syria might compel Turkey, preferably with international backing, to establish a buffer zone on Syrian soil to guarantee the security of its own southern border as well as the welfare of civilians fleeing violence.

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RAF trained to bomb airfields in Argentina

RAF bomber crews trained to attack airfields in Argentina in retaliation for any attempt to retake the Falkland Islands, it can be disclosed for the first time.

Vulcan bombers, designed for nuclear raids on Russia, trained night and day in Scotland, Wales and Canada for a low-level attack hundreds of miles deep into Argentine sovereign territory, a new book has shown.

The news is likely to strain further the poor relations between Britain and Argentina, which have been at their lowest since the Falklands conflict 30 years ago next month.

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How India created Bangladesh & lessons for Sri Lanka

With a population of 1.2billion living across a landmass of 2973190 square kilometers, there is no denying India’s power. Yet, if not for its inferiority we cannot comprehend why India would desire to adopt a consistent policy and go to great lengths to destabilize each of its neighbors whilst pretending to be their friend.

The example of Bangladesh is perfect to describe the birth of Indian intelligence agency RAW tasked to partition Pakistan and create Bangladesh in 1971. It was in 1947 that 2 different countries were created – Pakistan and India. Muslims were divided into 2 countries bearing 2 different nationalities. West Pakistan was dominated by Punjabi’s while East Pakistan was the home to Sindhis, Pathans, Balochis and Mohajirs.

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Moscow abolished “independence” of Abkhazia

A new position – special representative of President of Russia in Abkhazia has emerged simultaneously in Russia and Abkhazia. In political vocabulary of the 19th century such post was called “viceroy” while in modern it is called “governor.” On March 16, 2012 governor of the Krasnodar Territory Alexander Tkachev was appointed on this post. He will work on both these two positions.

Appointment of Tkachev was not accompanied by “instructions” – functional responsibilities that he will be given in relations to Abkhazia, “independence” of which Moscow recognized in 2008 after yet another invasion of Georgia and another ethnic cleansing in other occupied region – Tskhinvali. Therefore, analysts will have to make an effort to learn a true purpose of this appointment. The more so that “Russian ambassador” Semyon Grigoryev is already working in Abkhazia.

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Iran muscles in on Azerbaijan

Wars between Russia and Persia in the early 19th century ended the rule of local khans and established the present border between Azerbaijan and Iran, as the former was made part of the Russian Empire (and later Soviet Union) while “southern Azerbaijan” became part of the Persian Empire. Since 1991, the independent Republic of Azerbaijan has emerged as an autonomous player in Caspian Sea and world energy markets with significant offshore deposits of oil and gas.

With a population just over 9 million scattered over an area of 86,600 square kilometers (approximately the size of Portugal), including Nagorno-Karabakh, the 20% of Azerbaijan’s land surface occupied by Armenia since the 1994 ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijan’s energy resources and geopolitical location have given it over the past two decades an international profile far higher than could otherwise be expected.

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Soviet Collapse Altered Ongoing World Power Balance

“Normally, Russia is a spoiler in international relations. It wants a global role. It wants to sit astride the world stage and act as it used to be able to do. And it can still do that to a certain extent. But for the most part, it acts as a spoiler or a counterweight to the West, at best,” said Nixey.

The world has changed a lot since the fall of the Soviet Union. China has become a major world power. The European Union has expanded into the old Soviet sphere of influence, and may go farther into the former Soviet Union itself. Militant groups have sought new benefactors.

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Cold War Propaganda Revisited – spinning the ideological battlefront

“This conference spurred a vital conversation about the channels and means by which governments ‘sold’ the Cold War to their own people – and how journalists, movie-makers, academics, researchers and the general public took up the ideological battle of their own volition.”

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Thinking the Unthinkable: How to Break Up the Euro Area

The unthinkable is becoming possible. Until recently, the breakup of the euro area seemed nothing but an illusion, but suddenly this possibility is a clear and evident danger. If the euro area is to be broken up, it should be done as amicably, cleanly, symmetrically —and as fast as possible.

A collapse of the euro only a dozen years after its introduction would be a great folly. But as Wolfgang Munchau of the Financial Times has pointed out, such a risk is steadily rising and policymakers need to consider how to minimize the damage of such an economic disaster.

Collapses of currency zones are usually very painful, and a dissolution of the euro area will be no exception.

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North Korea’s new class system

It is often overlooked how much North Korea has changed over the past 20 years. Its Stalinist and militaristic facade is carefully maintained by the state, but in the new circumstances it is increasingly misleading. Behind this official veneer of militant posters and goose-stepping soldiers, the society itself has changed much.

In a nutshell, the past two decades were the time when the state was steadily retreating from the private life, and also was losing its ability (perhaps also its will) to control the daily activities of its subjects as well as how they made a living. One of many significant changes has been the steady decline in the significance attached to family background (known as songbun in North Korean parlance) – once the single most important factor.

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Do Oligarchies Create Insurgencies?

One of the tenets of pop-centric COIN is that better governance will deliver the loyalty of the people who are the center of gravity over whom the insurgent and state contest. This usually means cajoling the state to reform and remove the worst abuses that serve to politically fuel the insurgency. Occasionally this is successful (El Salvador), frequently it is not (South Vietnam, Afghanistan) and in other cases it may be irrelevant as the method is eschewed in favor of indiscriminate brute force and punitive expeditions (Sri Lanka, Soviet COIN) but it begs the question of:

“What kind of governance is most likely to create insurgencies in the first place?”

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What happens when a currency collapses: ask Bulgaria

According to the International Institute of Finance, inflation in Bulgaria hit 174.4 percent in 1996 and a record of 1,077.5 percent the next year. Its curency, the lev, went from 500 per US dollar in late 1996 to 2,200 per US dollar in February 1997.

Food shortages and a harsh winter drove people to despair, with mass rallies ultimately forcing out the post-Communist government largely blamed for the disastrous policies that led to the currency collapse.

“For the average people, it was just terrible. Nobody really understood what happened, the only thing we could see was that it all ended in disaster,” says Komneva.

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‘Rich Communist’ Elite: China’s ‘Princelings’ Pose Issue for Party

A look at China’s leaders, past and present, and their offspring, often known as ‘princelings.’ State-controlled media portray China’s leaders as living by the austere Communist values they publicly espouse. But as scions of the political aristocracy carve out lucrative roles in business and embrace the trappings of wealth, their increasingly high profile is raising uncomfortable questions for a party that justifies its monopoly on power by pointing to its origins as a movement of workers and peasants.

Their visibility has particular resonance as the country approaches a once-a-decade leadership change next year, when several older princelings are expected to take the Communist Party’s top positions.

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Fear of a “Brown Army Faction”

After the Red Army Faction, leads Der Spiegel, is a “Brown Army Faction” now haunting Germany? Following the explosion in a house in the town of Zwickau last week, the country has learned of the existence of a “National Socialist Underground”, a small neo-Nazi group that may be responsible for the deaths of nine Turkish and Greek immigrants and a German policeman, an attack in Cologne in 2004, and dozens of bank robberies.

Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, who shot themselves after a failed robbery last week, and Beate Z., who handed herself into the police, have apparently been active for 14 years without coming to the attention of the authorities.

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Military Doctrine of the Republic of Turkey – Analyse

The provisions of military doctrine of every state may alter depending on thorough change of military security environment, military-political situation, as well as on internal political development and radical changes regarding strategic choice. In this regard, revision and update of military doctrine from time to time is expectable. In order to evaluate influence of military doctrinal views on establishment of peace and stability, development of freedom and democracy, people welfare integration in South Caucasus, first of all military doctrines’ of the region countries (Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan), as well as military doctrines of Russia, Iran and Turkey, which have traditional interests in the region should be studies and evaluated in this regard.

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Ivanishvili: We Started The War With South Ossetia

Citing Tagliavini report, Ivanishvili said that it was Georgia, which had triggered off the August war with Russia. He said that President Saakashvili responded to shelling of Georgian villages in the conflict zone in August, 2008 with “absolute recklessness by shelling Tskhinvali.”

He also cited a resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) and said that both the resolution, supported by the Georgian delegation, and Tagliavini report were saying that Georgia started the war. He was apparently refereeing to the PACE’s October, 2008 resolution, which at the time was at the time became an issue for debates in the Georgian politics.

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Let’s Admit It: Globalization Has Losers

FOR the typical American, the past decade has been economically brutal: the first time since the 1930s, according to some calculations, that inflation-adjusted incomes declined. By 2010, real median household income had fallen to $49,445, compared with $53,164 in 2000. While there are many culprits, from declining unionization to the changing mix of needed skills, globalization has had the greatest impact.

Yes, globalization. The phenomenon that free traders like me adore has created a nation of winners (think of those low-priced imported goods) but also many losers.

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Flashpoints: NATO’s Offer India Can’t Refuse

In a surprise move, NATO has reportedly offered to share its ballistic missile defence (BMD) technology with India. The tentative proposal, premised on the acknowledgement of the ‘commonality of threats’ faced by NATO and India, includes the sharing of BMD technology as well as the possibility of ‘training together.’ There has yet to be any official response to this offer, but its acceptance would make India the only non-NATO ally, apart from Russia, in the alliance.

Russia’s reservations on this issue are well known, and it’s most likely that India, too, won’t be jumping at the bit. This could be attributed to at least three factors.

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Super Computer Predicts Civil Unrest

Leetaru used a database of 100 million news articles spanning the period from 1979 to early 2011. The data is from the Open Source Center and Summary of World Broadcasts, both set up by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies to monitor what amounts to nearly every news source in the world, and translate them into nuanced English. By analyzing the text in the news stories and the tone — whether they were largely positive or negative — Leetaru found that patterns emerged that seem to line up with major periods of unrest. For example, in Egypt, the tone of news articles about Mubarak grew increasingly negative as the protests grew, until eventually Mubarak resigned.

It isn’t just the tone, howvever — it’s also the change in tone over time. Saudia Arabia’s government has remained in power, becuase the tone of the news there has been equally negative before, whereas Tunisia and Egypt hit new lows. Leetaru notes that many of the country experts on Egypt said Mubarak would likely ride it out, as he had done before.

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China offered Gadhafi huge stockpiles of arms: Libyan memos

The documents suggest that Beijing and other governments may have played a double game in the Libyan war, claiming neutrality but covertly helping the dictator. The papers do not confirm whether any military assistance was delivered, but senior leaders of the new transitional government in Tripoli say the documents reinforce their suspicions about the recent actions of China, Algeria and South Africa. Those countries may now suffer a disadvantage as Libya’s new rulers divide the spoils from their vast energy resources, and select foreign firms for the country’s reconstruction.

Omar Hariri, chief of the transitional council’s military committee, reviewed the documents and concluded that they explain the presence of brand-new weapons his men encountered on the battlefield. He expressed outrage that the Chinese were negotiating an arms deal even while his forces suffered heavy casualties in the slow grind toward Tripoli.

“I’m almost certain that these guns arrived and were used against our people,” Mr. Hariri said.

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Oh, So This Is What The Chinese Government Is Scared Of

The Chinese government is terrified of rising food prices. They did, after all, help spark the Tiananmen Square Riots.

And now they’ve arrived. According to Shangahai Daily, an index of 18 Chinese staple vegetables rose by 6.1% from August 22nd to August 28th — lettuce rose 18.1%, eggplant 14.1%.

In that same week, pork continued its rise, inflating 0.3%, while rice (0.3%) and flour (0.4%) followed in suit.

So what does it all mean?

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CIA’s Bay of Pigs foreign policy laid bare

A once-secret CIA history of the Bay of Pigs invasion lays out in unvarnished detail how the American spy agency came to the rescue of and cut deals with authoritarian governments in Central America, largely to hide the U.S. role in organizing and controlling the hapless Cuban exile invasion force.

CIA pilots and Cuban foot soldiers then help suppress a Guatemalan Army coup attempt that threatened their foothold in the country. Gen. Anastasio Somoza hits up the CIA for a $10 million payoff, development loans, as the price of letting the Americans launch the Cuban exile invasion from Nicaragua.

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WikiLeaks cable: Cebuanos tolerated death squads?

Cebu residents may have allowed death squads to go on killing sprees in the city in the mid-2000s as a means to combat crime, a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks said.

Cable 05MANILA1774 titled “Latest Vigilante Killings in Cebu – No End in Sight” said summary executions of suspected criminals by “death squads” in Cebu rose by an alarming rate from December 2004 to the time of the cable’s creation on April 18, 2005.

The embassy memo, sent by then US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone Jr., said suspected vigilantes killed at least 41 people in a 4-month period alone.

“Civil society groups have condemned the extrajudicial killings, but much of the public appears willing to tolerate them as an expedient means of combating crime,” the cable said.

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‘New Gandhi’ used fear and violence to build model village

INDIA’S ‘new Gandhi’, the anti-corruption leader whose hunger strike has provoked nationwide protests, led a campaign of fear and intimidation to create his acclaimed model village, his followers said yesterday.

Anna Hazare’s campaign for an anti-corruption watchdog has paralysed the Congress-led government and inspired millions to protest against widespread fraud and bribery.

Now in the 10th day of his fast, Mr Hazare has lost about 15lb and his health is deteriorating. The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, paid tribute to him yesterday and called for parliament to debate the reform proposals today.

But while Mr Hazare is widely admired for his campaign, there are growing concerns over his authoritarian style and use of violence to effect change.

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South Korean Intelligence Services Resorts To Repression

In censoring and controlling the flow of information reaching its citizens, the democratic South is mirroring — albeit to a lesser degree — the notoriously closed North.

The relationship between the North and South has worsened since North Korea’s sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan and its shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last year — and, more recently, another live-fire incident in the Yellow Sea and reports that a North Korean assassination team was targeting the South’s defense minister. As tensions rise, Lee Myung-bak’s conservative government in Seoul is wielding the National Security Law to cut off even ostensibly innocuous attempts at engagement and understanding.

Before South Korea achieved its inchoate democracy in the early 1990s, the National Security Law was used by successive military governments to detain, torture, and sometimes kill student dissidents and others thought to have pro-North Korean sympathies. The law can be radical, broad, and arbitrary in its application.

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UK spy files reveal details of 1950s Guyana coup

Secret documents declassified Friday by Britain’s MI5 security service reveal in dramatic and everyday detail how the U.K. under Prime Minister Winston Churchill overthrew the elected government of British Guiana — now Guyana — because he feared its left-wing leader and his American wife were leading the British colony into the arms of the Soviet Union.

The documents reveal how British spies kept up intense scrutiny on Cheddi and Janet Jagan, who founded the People’s Progressive Party to campaign for workers’ rights and independence from British rule for the sugar-producing colony in northern South America.

Christopher Andrew, the spy agency’s official historian, said the files provide new details of the coup, and “further evidence that MI5 played a more important part in British decolonization than is often realized.”

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PR Firms Get Back In The Behaviour Modification Business

PR. Two letters that can spark a volatile emotional reaction in many people. And judging from a recent article in the Guardian detailing its psychologically manipulative roots in Sigmund Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays, they can’t be blamed. Bernays first used public relations during World War I to sell the idea that the purpose of the war was ‘bringing democracy to all of Europe.’ The campaign was tremendously effective, which made Bernays realize that public opinion could be shifted by appealing to the unconscious. PR and other practices spearheaded by Bernays can be credited for creating the modern day consumer, one that is based not on practical needs but emotional gratification.

As Bernays put it, “If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?”

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Turkey prepares for ground assault on Kurdish rebels in Iraq

Recent days have seen an escalation in the conflict between the Turkish state and Kurdish rebel group the PKK, with Turkish forces bombarding rebel positions in neighboring northern Iraq.

The airstrikes, which the government claimed killed some 100 rebels and the PKK said killed only three, followed the killing of nearly 40 Turkish solders by the PKK in recent weeks.

Those PKK attacks were carried out in retribution for earlier special forces operations which reportedly eliminated more than 20 rebels. Stoking Kurdish anger, soldiers were reportedly ordered to leave rebel corpses to decompose, prompting the PKK to vow revenge.

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School of the Americas Graduate Suspect in Murders of Jesuit priests in El Salvador

Federal officials charged today that the former Salvadoran government minister accused of colluding in the infamous killing of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador 20 years ago engaged in immigration fraud while living in Massachusetts.

Inocente Orlando Montano who has lived in Massachusetts for years under his own name — most recently in Everett — is among 20 former military officers charged in fresh indictments from Spain with conspiring to kill the priests, the Globe reported this month.

The international indictments issued in May seek justice for the clergymen, five of them Spaniards; their housekeeper; and her 16-year-old daughter, who were roused at night from their beds on the campus of Central American University in San Salvador and executed by an elite unit of the Salvadoran military.

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Achtung Baby: German Women Seek Pure Blood Aryan Men In India

Nobody knows of their real origin or if they are indeed Aryans. But, regarded as long-lost members of a purebred ‘Master Race’ settled in the Himalayas, Brokpas attract curious visitors, some of who try to satisfy their fantasy of having pure Aryan babies.

In 2007, filmmaker Sanjeev Sivan released his documentary Achtung Baby: In Search of Purity on the phenomenon of German women travelling to Indian villages by the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir to get impregnated by men they believe to be racially pure Aryans. These villages are inhabited by a tribe called Brokpas, who are rumoured to be the ‘last pure specimens’ of the Aryan race. Across the world, several people still regard Aryans as the ‘Master Race’—tall, blue-eyed blondes endowed with superior intelligence and values.

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Cash strapped Aussie families return to Waltons-era lifestyle

A growing number of Australian households have three and even four generations under the same roof due to financial pressures, natural disasters, aged-care limitations, offspring staying at home longer and high childcare costs.

According to futurist Mark McCrindle, by 2020 we will flashback a century and there will be a return to the multi-generational household like the Waltons family, made famous in the smash hit television series of the ’70s and ’80s.

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ParaMil-Business Gone Bananas: Chiquita Brands in Colombia

In March 2007 in a U.S. District Court, Chiquita Brands International pled guilty to one count of “Engaging in Transactions with a Specially-Designated Global Terrorist.”[i] The banana giant confessed to paying the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), the nation’s notoriously violent network of right-wing paramilitary groups, USD 1.7 million in over one hundred payments between 1997 and 2004.[ii] Yet the case was resolved by a cash settlement, thus failing to publicly expose both sides of their quid pro quo relationship. A 2011 declassification of Chiquita documents, confessions by former paramilitaries, and ongoing lawsuits lay bare the U.S. corporation’s ruthless profiteering and invite cautious hope of justice for the victims.

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The Gorbachev Papers: Secret Papers Reveal Truth Behind Soviet Collapse

Communist hardliners staged a coup against Mikhail Gorbachev 20 years ago, and the Soviet Union collapsed soon afterwards. Previously unknown documents, which SPIEGEL has obtained, show just how desperate the last Soviet leader was as he fought to retain power — and how he begged Germany for money to save his country.

There is one moment — a single decision — that some people still hold against Mikhail Gorbachev today, 20 years later.

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