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CARIC: Africa to deploy joint intervention force

Africa to deploy joint intervention force

Mauritanian President Ould Abdel Aziz said: “The gravity of the new threats posed by terrorism, organised crime and all forms of illegal trafficking require the union to adopt a global strategy.” “In the face of the horror of terrorist acts and particularly the massacres of civilians and other barbarous kidnappings, Africa is duty-bound not only to speak with one voice but also to act with a single iron fist to curb violence and terror,” he said about the proposed African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (CARIC).

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Russia invites Argentina to BRICS summit, ratifies support in Malvinas case

Russia invites Argentina to BRICS summit, ratifies support in Malvinas case

Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman met in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergi Lavrov who confirmed a formal invitation to Argentina to take part in a BRICS summit to be held in Brazil next month. The Kremlin also ratified its support to Buenos Aires in its long-standing dispute against the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands. Meanwhile, Levrov’s office confirmed the invitation to Argentina to attend a summit of the so called BRICS countries – Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa

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China calls for new Asian security structure with Russia, Iran

China calls for new security pact with Russia, Iran

China’s president called Tuesday for the creation of a new Asian structure for security cooperation based on a regional group that includes Russia and Iran and excludes the United States. Beijing sees common cause with other CICA members such as Russia and Sri Lanka in promoting a political model that pairs autocratic government with a market-oriented economy in defiance of the Western liberal democratic model. CICA was formed in 1992 at the initiative of Kazakhstan.

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Gulf Countries to Form a Military Alliance with Morocco, Egypt, Jordan

Gulf Countries to Form a Military Alliance with Morocco, Egypt, Jordan

According to Al Massae, the new military alliance will eventually include the 6 countries of the GCC, as well as Morocco, Jordan and Egypt. The GCC, which includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, has already sent a formal request to the three countries to join the proposed military alliance. Through the military alliance, the GCC seeks to secure the assistance of a total of 300,000 troops from Morocco, Egypt and Jordan. In exchange, the three countries will be provided with financial aid.

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Poll shows support for military union with Sweden

Poll shows support for military union with Sweden

Finns are ready to align militarily with their western neighbour, Sweden. That’s the message from a new poll carried out for Yle by Taloustutkimus. The survey asked whether people would support a union under which the armed forces of one country would be called on to support the other in a crisis situation. Some 54 percent said they would support such a union, 36 percent opposed it and 10 percent said they did not know.

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Saudi Arabia wants Egypt in Gulf Cooperation Council

Saudi Arabia wants Egypt in Gulf Cooperation Council

Saudi Arabia wants to have Egypt included in the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional grouping of Arab countries overlooking the Arab Gulf, according to an Arab diplomatic source. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that a Saudi official had notified Egyptian government officials of the Saudi tendency during an Arab League meeting in Cairo. The Saudi official said his country would make the proposal during the upcoming Arab Summit.

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Littoral states around the Bay of Bengal need to embrace more tightly

Littoral states around the Bay of Bengal need to embrace more tightly

At a time when India’s “look east” policy has come of age, expanding into the wider Indo-Pacific region, the absence of seamless connectivity with its neighbourhood has become a glaring lacuna. For India, cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region has the potential to bring the northeastern region of India centrestage by strengthening connectivity, as the easier access would aid in its the development.

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EU injects 4.45 million Euros to support EAC regional integration

EU injects 4.45 million Euros to support EAC regional integration

The European Union Delegation and East African Community (EAC) on inked a financial agreement worth 4.45 million Euros to enhance regional integration processes. Coordination efforts between the three regional organisations – the EAC, SADC and COMESA – will also be supported, with the ultimate goal of the reaching a Tripartite Free Trade Area. The EU and the EAC want to jointly promote social and economic development.

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US Ex-Im Bank opens for business in Burma/Myanmar

US Ex-Im Bank opens for business in Burma-Myanmar

The US government has taken another important step in helping to reintegrate Myanmar (referred to as Burma for official purposes) into the global economy. On 6 February 2014, the Export-Import Bank of the US (Ex-Im Bank) announced the opening of financial support for qualified short-term and medium-term US export sales to Myanmar. Over the past 18 months, the US has substantially removed sanctions on business with Myanmar and has expanded economic and trade support on a step-by-step basis in response to political and economic reforms.

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The Most Important Alliance You’ve Never Heard Of

The Most Important Alliance You've Never Heard Of

If the Alliance were a country, it would be the world’s eighth-largest economy and seventh-largest exporter. Amid all the bad news in the region, the presidents of Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru met with little fanfare in Cartagena last week to seal an economic pact launched in 2012. They call their project the Pacific Alliance, and it will soon include Costa Rica and possibly several other countries. The four founding members are the most successful economies in Latin America; they boast the region’s highest economic-growth rates and lowest inflation rates.

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LYONS and FISHER: Is it time to create an ‘Asian NATO’?

LYONS and FISHER: Is it time to create an ‘Asian NATO’

Many of the ASEAN nations prefer informal defense cooperation that allows the United States to act as a regional stabilizer. However, this situation is also advantageous for China. For decades, China has waged a low-intensity conflict in disputed maritime zones while politically isolating Taiwan. It has illegally built facilities on contested islands in the South China Sea, harassed the Philippines, and are trying to spark a confrontation with Japan in the East China Sea. With its massive military buildup, China will soon have the conventional military-power projection to seize contested areas and potentially deter U.S. intervention.

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With US ties frayed, Saudi calls for Gulf union

With US ties frayed, Saudi calls for Gulf union

Saudi Arabia is calling on the Gulf monarchies to unite for their own self-defence. But in a speech at the Manama Dialogue security forum in Bahrain, Saudi Assistant Foreign Minister Nizar Madani said “Gulf countries should no longer depend on others to ensure their safety.” The oil-rich monarchies “must unite under one political entity in order to face internal and external challenges,” said the minister. “All countries have realised that blind dependence on a foreign power is no longer acceptable. GCC countries must decide their own futures,” said Madani.

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Africans closer to forming intervention force

Africans closer to forming intervention force

African leaders have moved closer to the creation of a military force capable of intervening in crises like the one in the Central African Republic. Leaders attending a two-day summit on peace and security at the Elysee Palace in Paris have reached broad agreement on France’s proposals to turn plans agreed in principle earlier this year into a reality. France has offered to provide equipment, logistical support and coordination for the force, and will seek to persuade its European Union partners to help with financing.

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The Trilateral Strategic Initiative: An Allied Air Force Model

The Trilateral Strategic Initiative: An Allied Air Force Model

Col. Cyril Carcy, the only French Air Force officer currently embedded with U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Studies Group as a result of this enhanced cooperation among the three countries, describes the three pillars of the TSI this way: “Mutual trust among upcoming Air Force decision-makers, which is essential to prepare the future; integration of the three Air Forces, which goes beyond interoperability; air power advocacy, which means that air chiefs may speak with a coherent and unified voice.” Trust, integration and advocacy are the credo guiding the USAF, the FAF and the RAF on the road to enhanced military cooperation and integration among themselves.

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Gulf states seek integrated air defence

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Arabian Gulf states aim to integrate their air defence systems to meet threats from ballistic and cruise missiles. “Advances in science and technology have made the world networked and connected,” said Maj Gen Staff Pilot Mohammed bin Sweidan Saeed Al Qamzi, commander of the Air Force and Air Defence. “We need to be a single force to overcome our common threats and challenges. While the UAE faces no armed conflicts, civil wars or internal instability, we must remain vigilant to deter conflicts that are occurring regionally.

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Do we need an African NATO?

Oxford academic Paul Collier is well known for his book The Bottom Billion in which he maps the links between the world’s poorest people and the world’s most war-torn countries. In a chapter in a new book for IPPR, edited by Labour’s shadow foreign secretary, Douglas Alexander, Collier argues that what Africa needs is an “African NATO”. He writes that the international community oscillates between “pusillanimous passivity” and “gung-ho intervention”.

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ASEAN Countries Could Become Ground Zero For Another Proxy War

The countries in the ASEAN aim to achieve full economic integration by 2015. Given how poorly integration has turned out for the EU, that might not seem like such a good idea. But, if nothing else, at least the ASEAN can learn from the EU’s mistakes. Economic integration would allow free flow of goods, services, and labor. Under the plan, tariffs would become almost non-existent. This would help the ASEAN corner more foreign direct investments, which at the moment go mostly to China and India. However, there are a series of economic, religious, and political problems that threaten to derail the ASEAN’s attempts at economic integration.

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E.U. Takes Final Step on Unified Banking Union

The European Union took another step to shore up its battered banking sector after Britain agreed to new rules placing many of the largest lenders in the euro area under the supervision of the European Central Bank. The British decision, which was announced at a monthly meeting of the bloc’s finance ministers here, clears the way for the E.C.B. which is expected to have direct oversight of about 130 of the largest financial institutions in countries using the single currency by the end of 2014.

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Sweden To Join NATO Response Force

Sweden is to join the NATO Response Force (NRF) and participate in Steadfast Jazz — the western military alliance’s largest exercise in the last seven years. According to a NATO statement, the Swedish move comes after the North Atlantic Council approved the Swedish contribution on October 14. “I welcome Sweden’s participation, alongside that of Finland and Ukraine. Our relationship is already strong, and this will make it even stronger,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quoted as saying.

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Germany Outlines New Strategy for a European Army

Rather than create a European army all at once, Germany should focus on building it bit by bit, according to a paper published this month by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (kaf). Germany should develop “islands of cooperation”—small groups of countries whose militaries work together—that can be used as “building blocks” of a pan-European military power, it wrote. The kaf sees the “islands of cooperation” approach as “only the second-best solution” compared with a combined European military. Germany still wants build a combined military if it can; the “islands” approach is simply more practical right now.

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UK and France to create Combined Joint Expeditionary Force

Britain is forging ahead on military co-operation with France, while warning about EU “interference” on defence. The two countries are the EU’s leading military powers. They spent €92 billion on defence last year (more than Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain put together), according to Swedish NGO Sipri. They are also the most hawkish. They took the lead in wars in Libya and Mali and they were keen to join US strikes on Syria. They are “on track” to create a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) with France by 2016.

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Who needs SCO energy club?

In early September China became a full shareholder in Kashagan, buying a share of CanocoPhilips. Partially, this is a very serious factor, because initially the mega-project was thought to be the resource base for the pipeline of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and the main oil flows would go to the West. China’s participation in the project means that at least 1/10 of its oil will go to the East. The necessary infrastructure exists already – the Chinese have built a pipeline through the whole of Kazakhstan. Parallel to this, they are developing gas infrastructure.

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Finland, Sweden Mull NATO Option

Finland’s Armed Forces’ commander in chief, President Sauli Niinistö, has entered the debate over whether the Nordic nation should join NATO as a long-term solution to meeting its future defense needs.The Finnish NATO debate mirrors a similar and even more robust discussion in neighboring non-aligned Sweden, where a number of government and opposition parties see closer ties and membership in the alliance as pivotal to bolstering the country’s overall defense capability and guaranteeing long-term security.

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Massive Expansion: Pakistan, India, Afghanistan likely to become SCO members

Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Mongolia are expected to become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) at its next summit, said former Secretary General of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Akram Zaki on Wednesday. Speaking at an international conference entitled “SCO’s Role in Regional Stability: Prospect of Its Expansion” organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute here, Akram Zaki said China and the Russian Federation had supported Pakistan, India and other countries’s membership of the SCO.

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Arab world needs EU-style democratic union

The Arab world has no such assured common destination, making internecine violence almost inevitable. Egypt and its fractious neighbours desperately need a unifying vision that can inculcate respect for democratic norms across glaring differences. Although Arab nations have no interest in joining the European Union or Nato, the Arab world can draw on the model of Eastern European transition, with fledgling Arab democracies devising their own supra-national organisation dedicated to advancing democracy. Like the EU in its infancy, this Union of Arab Democracies (UAD) could start with limited objectives and evolve toward ambitious goals, including, ultimately, pan-Arab political union.

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Scottish independence: Scottish government officials meet with Nato

A meeting was held last month between Scottish government officials and Nato to discuss membership of the alliance in the event of independence. The talks were held at Nato’s headquarters in Brussels. Senior Scottish government officials met with Dirk Brengalmann, who was then Nato’s assistant secretary general for political affairs and security policy. The meeting was held in early July and was facilitated by the UK’s delegation to Nato, which also attended. A Nato official described the meeting as “informal and informational in nature”.

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East European Defence: Flexing its muscles

Another theme of Polish security policy is the need for NATO to move away from intervention in far-flung lands towards a renewed emphasis on territorial defence and a commitment to Article 5 (which treats an attack on one NATO member as an attack on all). Poland sat out the Libyan campaign in 2011, believing it to be an unnecessary diversion from NATO’s core purpose. Mr Sikorski notes Russia’s rapidly growing defence budget—this year it will rise by more than a quarter—and the belligerent tone that Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin uses towards the West. He calls Poland’s relations with Russia “pragmatic but brittle” and, after the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, he sees conflict in Europe as only too “imaginable”.

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Don’t Be Afraid Of the China Who is Sending Its Armies Across the World

The current discourse regarding Chinese foreign policy tends to focus overwhelmingly on its economic aspects. While some U.S. citizens and politicians consider China’s economic rise a threat, certain diplomatic actions, such as China’s increasing involvement in UN peacekeeping missions should be well received in Washington, could pacify these American apprehensions if employed by China consistently. As China gains power and prestige in the global political economy, it is tasked with assuring the world — and specifically the U.S. — of its intent and goodwill at becoming a responsible power.

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Russia pushes for strengthening SCO’s energy club

In an attempt to give a greater economic role to the regional grouping, Russia is encouraging the strengthening of the ‘energy club’ within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In recent years, SCO member states have sought greater energy cooperation. This follows a formulated dialogue and integrated concept for the creation of an energy club. SCO member states want to create a unified energy market for oil and gas exports, while promoting regional development through preferential energy agreements.

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DoD weighs major COCOM realignment

The Pentagon is considering a major overhaul of its geographical combatant commands, possibly realigning oversight within hot-button areas of the world and eliminating thousands of military and civilian positions,according to defense sources.. While the plans for combatant command (COCOM) realignment and consolidation are still notional, sources say some options include: Combining Northern Command and Southern Command to form what what some are calling “Americas Command” or “Western Command.” Dissolving Africa Command and splitting it up among European Command and Central Command.

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Forging a Common Shipping, Energy Front in Africa

Against the backdrop of the three-day investment roundtable in Cape Town, South Africa, John Iwori, who attended the event, writes that African countries are forging a common front in the shipping and energy sectors of the continent’s economy

That most African countries are working at cross purposes is an understatement. In spite of their proximity, they prefer to work against their common interests. They hardly see each other as partners in progress. In fact, they see themselves as enemies.

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Madrid, The NATO Sentinel Protecting The Skies Across Europe

With “initial operational capability” reached last July 1, the Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in NATO, located at the base of Madrid and led by a Spanish General, Ruben Garcia Servet. This general in the Air Force will have 185 soldiers under his command, of which 44 Spanish, and civilians, but for now the CAOC template has 95 personnel, who will deal with the air defense of an area that stretches from the Canary Islands to Turkey, and also in this country including Spain , Portugal , Italy , Greece, Slovenia , Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania , Hungary and Albania.

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SCO contemplates expanding membership

By opening its doors to India, Iran and Pakistan, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will increase its legitimacy and effectiveness among regional and international powers, and enhance its power posture in the international scene. An observation of the map of the Eurasian region, which includes the members as well as observers of the group, clearly shows the interconnectedness of the whole region. The famed Silk Road stands witness to this connectivity and places like Kashgar, Samarkand and Bukhara in the region were once centres of this Silk Road trade.

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Euromed Survey places Egypt as a key power in the geopolitical redesign of the Mediterranean

Egypt’s evolution after the armed forces removed President Morsi from office will be a determinant in the geopolitical definition of the southern and eastern Mediterranean, according to the Euromed Survey presented by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed) today.

The survey was released at an event in Brussels with representatives of research centres, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, the European Parliament and diplomatic delegations. The Survey, which has been conducted annually since 2009, is funded by the European Union.

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Colombia establishes closer information security links with NATO

“As an Alliance of democracies, we are gratified when countries sharing similar values reach out to us,” the Deputy Secretary General said during his meeting with Minister Pinzón Bueno.

Ambassador Vershbow said that Allies have agreed to pursue tailored cooperation with Colombia on a case-by-case basis, in areas of common interest and that by signing this accord NATO and Colombia stress their shared interest in consultation and cooperation. The Security of Information Agreement does not formally recognize Colombia as a NATO partner but constitutes a first step for future cooperation in the security field.

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UK and ‘mini-NATO’ for the Arctic: can it work?

An interesting proposition for the emergence of a distinctly northern European security arrangement has been circulating the airwaves: a UK-led initiative that would see London align security and defence policies in the Arctic in tandem with Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. The goal is to establish a framework that addresses ‘common interests’ between each nation. This article is going to look at the possible architecture of such a structure, what its goals might be, and the reasons the UK has to begin this partnership.

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Share defence intelligence to strengthen GCC

The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council are being advised to step up their level of cooperation in defence intelligence. As The National reported yesterday, consultants are at work analysing the needs and abilities of Arabian Peninsula countries in these matters, and appear to be reaching the clear conclusion that in the current environment, information-sharing and response coordination demand more attention. The challenge is to find ways to move ahead.

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Eurogendfor: the new EU police force of limitless power

Among the many projects of international cooperation which Italy is currently involved seems it is appropriate to dwell on what Eurogendfor, or the European Gendarmerie Force. The main feature of this armed force is definitely its large flexible so that it can intervene quickly in any high intensity conflict is under any military command is under the control of civilians, acting jointly with other divisions or in a totally autonomous. It may also intervene at any time of the conflict in the initial phase it will have the task to stabilize or restore the order.

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New geopolitical rivalry between Europe and Russia

In November 2013 Vilnius will host the summit of Eastern Partnership, the EU program on closer cooperation with the post-Soviet countries which is operating since May 2009. Spreading of political and economic Western influence on the former Soviet republics concerns the Russian Federation, especially in the context of development of the Eurasian Economic Union project. According to the chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on International Affairs Alexei Pushkov, the European Union recognizes Eurasian integration as a factor of European politics.

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Colombia heads toward NATO membership

Colombia’s defense ministry later this month will sign a cooperation agreement with NATO, in hopes of joining the international military alliance, President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday.

“In June, NATO will sign an agreement with the Colombian government, with the Defense Ministry, to start a process of rapprochement and cooperation, with an eye toward also joining that organization,” Santos said at a military promotion ceremony.

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Unasur to Create South American Defense School

The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will create the first South American School of Defense to train military officers of the 12 member countries of the regional bloc, it was reported today.

According to the head of the Center of Strategic Defense Studies for Unasur’s South American Defense Council, Alfredo Fori, representatives of the member states are working on drawing up statutes and courses that will be included in the study program.

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US Army Creates NATO Rapid-Deployment Forces

The U.S. Army has shifted its focus to the Pacific, but the service now has a plan to support its NATO allies with rapid-deployment forces based in the United States if necessary, Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Wednesday.

The Army’s footprint in Europe continues to reduce dramatically from the Cold War force that numbered more than 200,000 soldiers. As the Pentagon pivots to the Pacific theater, while maintaining a presence in the Middle East, Army leaders maintain that a new strategy is in the works for managing European ground forces as well.

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The GCC’s robust plans for border control

Over the past few years, border control between and on the GCC periphery is becoming a major security issue. Historically, border demarcation between the GCC states were based on historical differences driven by sea, air and land requirements by tribes and, later, by possible oil deposits. Oman, to date, is the only GCC state that has solidified its borders with its neighbors. Bilateral agreements solved several border disputes, the most threatening problem within the GCC — such as those between Saudi Arabia and both Oman and the UAE.

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Euro ‘Two-Pack’ rules enters into force with budgetary surveillance and compliance

This reform package, the so-called ‘Two-Pack’, enters into force on 30th May 2013 in all euro area Member States. The new measures mean increased transparency on their budgetary decisions, stronger coordination in the euro area starting with the 2014 budgetary cycle, and the recognition of the special needs of euro area Member States under severe financial pressure. The entry into force of the Two-Pack also paves the way for further steps to be taken to reinforce the Economic and Monetary Union, as set out by the Commission in its ‘Blueprint for a Deep and Genuine EMU’

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Turkey Sees Future in Asia With Joining SCO

Frustrated in its attempt to join the European Union, NATO-member Turkey last week signed up as a partner with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu described the signing of the SCO cooperation agreement as an historic day for his country, saying Turkey is the first NATO state to establish such a relationship with the SCO. “If we look from a Cold War perspective,” he said, “these may seem like mutually exclusive institutions. However, the Cold War has ended. Turkey won’t be a slave of the Cold War logic.”

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Syria wants to join SCO and BRICS

The Syrian Information Minister Omran Ahed al-Zouabi said in a new statement at his meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the Federation Council, Ilyas Umakhanov, that Syria wants to become a member of BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa) and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in future.

Thus, Syria seeks to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as well as the membership in the emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, in short BRICS.

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Turkey and Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be dialogue partners

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Friday said that the memorandum of understanding signed with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was a declaration of “common destiny” as well as the beginning of a long journey that the organization and Turkey would walk hand in hand. Turkey and SCO signed a memorandum of understanding in the Kazakh city of Almaty. Davutoglu, who was on a formal visit to Kazakhstan met with Secretary General of the SCO Dmitri Mezentsev, and signed the MoU in regards to the cooperation to be carried out between Turkey and the organization as “dialogue partners.”

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Experts at Abu Dhabi summit want GCC military integration

International defence experts have called on Arabian Gulf countries to establish military command systems able to exchange and share information at the click of a button. The calls were made yesterday at the C4ISR Summit (Command, Control, Communication, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) in Abu Dhabi. The GCC secretary general, Dr Abdullatif Al Zayani, told the summit that the GCC was politically in unison and called for the countries’ militaries to follow suit. “GCC countries have to be able to be integrated and interoperable to share intelligence and information and be ready to work together at a higher and more complete level,” he said.

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Korean Unification: Do Not Be Surprised If It Comes Soon

The most significant geopolitical events of the past half century have been unanticipated. Not that we did not expect them, but they were supposed to happen in the distant future, not now.The North Korean regime could collapse in the same unexpected way, leaving shocked politicians, diplomats, and pundits to fend with its consequences. While it is comforting to believe that predictable rational calculation and self interest determine the course of human events, the most significant changes in the world order are heavily influenced by chance, personalities, emotions, and miscalculations.

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A Mediterranean League?

A union of this nature, reminiscent of the so-called “phantom” and comparatively short-lived Periphery Doctrine adopted by prime minister David Ben-Gurion in 1958 but collectively revived, strengthened, and upgraded in the present context, would pool the military resources of these countries under a joint leadership to be agreed upon, and would have the potential of impeding the Turkish hegemon from acting belligerently in the region. (One can see how this rejuvenated policy would work by studying Israel’s covert military agreement with a resurgent Ethiopia and in its leveraging of its knowledge-based industries with many other countries, such as Brazil, Nigeria, China, and India.)

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Canada takes its turn defending only NATO country without an army, Iceland

In mid-March, six CF-18s and more than 160 Canadian Forces personnel bunked down at a Cold War-era base just outside Reykjavik to kick off Operation Ignition, a periodic mission in which Canada takes its turn defending the island nation, which is the only NATO member without a single soldier or pilot on the payroll. Canadians will monitor radar, escort “unauthorized” aircraft out of Icelandic airspace and practice scrambling jets to “intercept and identify unknown airborne objects,” according to a statement by the Department of National Defense.

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EU-US trade deal: Creating a new world order

“Globalisation is out, regionalism is in! One could argue that we might need to thank the lasting economic crisis for at least a few sweeping developments on the global level: Amongst them, the awareness that the world is in no way as ‘flat’ as some contemporary thinkers made many believe.

Because resolution of crises may primarily originate from bi-and multilateral, often region-to-region forms of cooperation and free trade conditions that governments (and corporations) hope will stimulate economies.

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“NATO against forming of Kosovo army”

kosovo-army

NATO does not agree with the idea of Kosovo getting its own army, Priština-based Albanian language daily Koha Ditore writes. According to the daily, the main obstacle to the forming of the Kosovo army are four NATO member states that have not recognized Kosovo’s independence. “Kosovo can decide to turn the Security Force into Kosovo Army but NATO would not like such a step at all. The future status of the Kosovo Security Force is unclear and it remains a topic for debates within NATO,” a source told the daily.

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Turkey: Trading Europe for the Shanghai Five

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Starting in 2007, Ankara applied three times, unsuccessfully, to join theShanghai Cooperation Organization (informally known as the Shanghai Five). Founded in 1996 by the Russian and Chinese governments, along with three former Soviet Central Asian states (a fourth was added in 2001), the SCO has received little attention in the West, although it has grand security and other aspirations, including the possible creation of a gas cartel. More, it offers an alternative to the Western model, from NATO to democracy to the U.S. dollar as reserve currency.

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Nato-Iran-Armenia: “Shadow Geopolitics”

Earth Day Network & Green Apple Festival Present Earth Day on the Mall

The present NATO-Armenia relationship is still in the phase of identification of goals rather than real regional partnership. As to real military cooperation, Armenia provides services to NATO without receiving military assistance, namely supply of weapons.

Armenia’s priority of its relation with NATO is political cooperation, identification of a form of cooperation which would allow avoiding isolation, prevent the use of the arena and mechanisms of NATO for isolation and blockade of Armenia. While Russia has not identified the nature of its claims to and concerns over NATO-Armenia rapprochement, there are no alternatives to further cooperation with the alliance.

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Turkey: With EU Talks Stalled, Erdogan Suggests Ankara May Join SCO

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Speaking on Turkish television the other night, the PM was asked about his country’s stalled and troubled European Union membership drive. Erdogan’s blunt bombshell of an answer suggested Turkey is considering dropping its EU bid in favor of joining the China- and Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). “When things go so poorly, you inevitably, as the prime minister of 75 million people, seek other paths. That’s why I recently said to Mr. [Vladimir] Putin: ‘Take us into the Shanghai Five; do it, and we will say farewell to the EU, leave it altogether. Why all this stalling?’”

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Bank of England ready to set up first G7 yuan swap

Bank of England ready to set up first G7 yuan swap

The Bank of England is prepared in principle to become the first G7 central bank to enter into a foreign exchange swap agreement with China, opening the door to another substantial step in moves to liberalize the yuan currency.

The bank’s executive director for banking services, Chris Salmon, told a meeting of senior bankers in London that the move was aimed at underpinning a developing offshore market in yuan trade out of London that Britain is keen to encourage.

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U.S., Canada think ahead to NORAD Next

norad-next

More than a half century since it was established to confront the Cold War threat, North American Aerospace Defense Command is at a new crossroads as officials in the United States and Canada determine the capabilities it will need to confront emerging challenges and threats in the decades ahead.

Members of the Permanent Joint Board of Defense, the highest-level defense and security forum between the two countries, discussed the so-called “NORAD Next” concept during their meeting in Colorado Springs, Colo., last month, Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. J.A.J. “Alain” Parent, NORAD’s deputy commander, told American Forces Press Service.

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AU Ready to Increase Military Presence in CAR

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The African Union (AU) is ready to deploy extra troops in the Central African Republic if the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) requests it.

ECCAS is considering asking for an increased military presence in the country, where a peace-keeping mission of about 400 soldiers is already active. A rebel group known as Seleka, which began an offensive in the north on December 10, is now within 300 kilometers of the capital, Bangui.

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David Cameron: we will never join a European army

David Cameron we will never join a European army

The Prime Minister was accused of taking the first steps towards a single military force across the whole of Europe under a deal reached in Brussels on Friday. Leaders of all 27 EU countries promised to “strengthen” Europe’s ability to deploy troops “rapidly and effectively” in any future crisis.

They committed to “systematically considering cooperation” across Europe whenever EU member states begin drawing up their national defence plans.

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Russia once again to unite the post-Soviet space

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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.

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Russia Is Building Diplomatic and Military Tools to Prevent Western Resistance to its Eurasian Union

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With so much economic and political influence, Russia will then be able to promote its preferred candidates in national elections along its periphery—and will basically own the national governments. Such an outcome would also trigger a diffusion into neighboring countries of Russia’s political system, which is a form of “smart authoritarianism” mimicking democratic institutions and processes. This type of governance forces its citizens to trade between some minimal level of social welfare assured by the government in exchange for giving up many individual freedoms.

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Russian troops will not be used for suppressing protests in Tajikistan, says CSTO secretary general

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Servicemen of the Russian military based deployed in Tajikistan will not be used for suppressing protests in Khorog [the capital of the Gorno Badakhshan Autonomous Region] in the event of recurrence of them, Nikolai Bordyuzha, Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. “I completely rule out this, because Russian military contingent deployed in Tajikistan is intended to provide assistance to Tajikistan with repulsing external threats,”

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‘Gulf Union’ Plans Emerge As Middle East Braces To Meet Challenges

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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.

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German irritation grows as Britain mulls ‘velvet divorce’ from EU

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Until recently, German officials tended to down play divisions with Britain when pressed about its semi-detached stance on Europe. Not any more. Now they tend to make their irritation plain.

“If someone wants to leave, you can’t stop them,” said one senior German official, summing up a view in Berlin that the door is open if Britain really wants to quit the European Union.

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The SCO, China, Iran & Bullion

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Gold is now a strategic metal for present and future SCO governments, which between them have over 40% of the world’s population; and now that the price of gold is re-establishing its rising trend, understanding its future role as a replacement for the US dollar is increasingly urgent, because gold is wealth and this wealth is being transferred from west to east.

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Sovereignty curtailed?: Armenia agrees to ask CSTO permission for hosting other states’ military facilities

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On October 4, the Parliament ratified the Protocol on the Location of Military Installations in Collective Security Treaty Organization (OSCE) Member Countries that was signed still in December 2011 and under which Armenia is not entitled to host military forces or other infrastructure of other states without the permission of the CSTO, a Russia-led defense alliance

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EU president launches big power grab

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European Union chief Jose Manuel Barroso launched a campaign today to grab sweeping new powers for the bloc under the pretext of solving the EU economic crisis.

The European Commission president, who heads the EU’s powerful yet unelected 27-commissioner policy-making and enforcement body, used his annual state of the union address to its weak parliament to tell countries that they should get used to giving up power to Brussels.

Faced with global powers such as the United States and China, he claimed, “even the biggest European countries run the risk of irrelevance.”

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U.S. Urges African Air Forces To Form NATO-style Ties

Defense Breaking News

The United States urged African nations to pool their air force assets in a NATO-style effort to take on terrorists and international criminals rather than struggle to fund costly independent operations.

Many African air forces are small components of the national military and Washington, concerned about Africa-based al Qaeda agents, traffickers and illegal fishing, wants to help improve cooperation across the continent.

General Philip Breedlove, commander of the U.S. Air Forces, Europe, told African air chiefs meeting in Senegal the situation meant any one nation would struggle to tackle groups operating across borders.

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Ukraine Looks To Central Asia, Wants SCO Observer Status

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Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said he is interested in the export of Ukrainian high-tech products to Asian countries and said Ukraine would like to get observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

He also said Ukraine would like to change its stance regarding natural gas imports from Russia.

He spoke while meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.

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Iran wants “Islamic CSTO”?

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It seems that a possible U.S. attack on Iran is at hand. In recent days, Iran is making frantic efforts to find allies to repel aggression. Last week, Secretary of Defense Persian state A. Vahidi made a sensational statement. According to the head of the military department, it’s time to create a “military alliance of Muslim countries to reflect external aggression to them, and to protect the Palestinian people.”

Observers immediately drew an analogy with the Russian-led military-political alliance CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization Security) and was named the alleged formation of a new “Islamic CSTO” . Recall that now the Organization of the Collective Security Treaty includes six countries: Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan .

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Can a New Middle East ‘NATO’ Deter Iran?

Strictly speaking, extending a formal U.S. security umbrella over the Gulf would require guarantees in the form of defense pacts with GCC states, or with the GCC as a whole. These security guarantees would have mutual or collective self-defense provisions, promising that an attack on any one member state would require a military response from them all. When a nuclear weapons state like the U.S. extends such guarantees, it implies a willingness to use its own nuclear weapons on behalf of its allies if that becomes necessary.

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CSTO will not interfere in situation in Tajikistan

The Collective Security Treaty Organization will not interfere in the situation in Tajikistan, RIA Novosti quotes CSTO Secretary General Nikolai Bordyuzha as saying.

“The processes occurring there are internal affair of Tajikistan and do not require intervention of collective forces,” Bordyuzha told reporters following a meeting in Minsk with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.

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Turkish party Saadat proposes establishment of Islamic NATO

The chairman of the Turkish party Saadat, Mustafa Kamalak, stated that it is necessary to establish an Islamic NATO and Islamic Peacekeeping Forces as soon as possible, SalamNews reports, citing the Turkish mass media.

The chairman of the party arrived in Morocco to participate in a session of the Justice and Development party. There he met the prime minister of Morocco, Abdelilyah bin Kiran, and the foreign minister, Saadeddin Al Osmani. At the session he proposed establishing an Islamic NATO.

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China: US Uses Drills like RIMPAC 2012 to accelerate its eastward shift of strategic focus

First of all, the U.S. uses military exercise diplomacy to accelerate its eastward shift of strategic focus, and enhance its influence in the Asia-Pacific region. Since Obama took office, the U.S. has proposed a new approach to shift its strategic focus eastward, attempting to consolidate its dominance in the Asia-Pacific region and maintain its global dominance. Economically, the U.S. has set up an economic body outside the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) by actively promoting the establishment of the Trans-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP).

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Russia makes case for Eurasian Union

Negotiations between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus are advancing over the creation of a Eurasian Union, which would abolish customs duties and unify economic policies amongst participating countries.

In February a Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) was established, with the fully ratified economic union expected to enter into force by 2015. The lengthy process of legal codification and harmonisation is under way.

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The EU is an empire, and empires mean war

Partisans of the European project invariably argue that nationalism leads to war and while the development of Europe will safeguard peace – a noble objective that is more than sufficient compensation for any loss in democracy, sovereignty and transparency caused by Brussels. However, this theory is fundamentally flawed.

Nationalism does not lead to war. Attempts to build European empires lead to war. The urge to impose a straitjacket on the will of peoples will leads to war. In short, the European project will lead to war.

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South Caucasus countries’ integration into NATO discussed in Brussels

Discussions have been held at a conference organized by the European Policy Centre in Brussels. The conference is associated with South Caucasus countries’ participation in the Eastern Partnership, Azerbaijani official Asim Mollazade told Trend today.

While speaking at the conference, Mollazade said unresolved conflicts are the primary obstacle to the integration of South Caucasus countries in the Euro-Atlantic space. He stressed that international legal norms are not applied to resolve them.

He stressed that support should be expected from NATO and European countries to resolve these conflicts.

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Ministers want to “transform EU into federal state”

The foreign ministers stressed in the draft document that the EU was in need of new democratic structures due to the economic crisis and tendencies to make the monetary union irreversible.

They also advocate joint European protection of borders and support the joint foreign and security policy that could even include forming of an EU army.

The ten ministers also advocate a direct control of national budgets, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently requested with her fiscal union initiative.

According to the daily, they also want national parliaments to be more involved in the decision-making process in the EU.

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24 Hours For Spain To Break The Euro

Spain has put itself on a collision course with Europe’s paymasters, creating a situation that threatens the Euro more than Greece’s debts do. The reasons might not be entirely obvious but, in essence, Spain is telling Europe: humiliate us and the Euro party is well and truly over.

Here’s the logic, and emotion, of their position. Over the past 24 hours the mixed messages coming out of Madrid suggested both that Spain acknowledged it had nowhere left to turn other than a bailout. And at the same time insisted there would be no bailout – requested or accepted.

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Latvia prepares to join eurozone at worst possible moment

Taking into account that the European Union is currently beset with chaos due to uncontrolled euro monitoring, Latvia’s accession to the eurozone is at the worst possible moment, while the Bank of Latvia acts as if the country’s is already part of the euro area, former politician and project consultant Indulis Emsis (Greens/Farmers) pointed out in an interview with Nozare.lv.

Latvia prepares to join the eurozone at the worst possible moment. Euro advantages are beginning to fade, while euro shortcomings are manifesting themselves. If the crisis had not taken over several countries in southern Europe, the answer would be positive.

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World Economic Forum On East Asia To Kick Off In Bangkok Thursday

The World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA1 2012), which will kick off in Bangkok tomorrow, will gather senior government officials, top business executives and thought-leaders from the region to tap on future opportunities in order to achieve sustainable and equitable growth.

Singapore will be represented by S. Iswaran, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.

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SCO member-states to set up the Development Bank and Energy club

In his turn, Omurbek Babanov, the first deputy prime-minister from Kyrgyzstan, has suggested that the proposed SCO Development bank could be helpful for implementation of major regional scale infrastructure projects, such as high-voltage power lines or the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan rail road construction. Whereas the Tajikistan’s prime-minister Akil Akilov believes that such a bank should provide support and incentives for weaker regional economies.

Wen Jiabao, the chairman of Chinese State Council, has urged to provide for free transit of goods, capital and services through the SCO territories, along with faster development of the regional infrastructure networks for transportation, energy and communication. In turn, China has committed itself to offer soft loans in support of infrastructure projects in the SCO states.

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The Globalisation of U.S. Special Operations Forces

It was recently reported that U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) commander Adm. Bill McRaven and Deputy Director of Operations Brig. Gen. Sean Mulholland want to establish a worldwide network linking special operations forces (SOF) of allied and partner nations to combat terrorism.

If created, the network would comprise regional security coordination centres, organised and structured similarly to NATO SOF headquarters in Mons, Belgium.

According to Mulholland, these centres would not be command-and- control nodes but rather centres for education, networking and coordination to gain regional solutions for regional problems.

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Afghan, Turkish SCO ties sought, Expansion on cards for Central Asia bloc

The Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) is set to approve its first comprehensive strategic plan at its summit in Beijing next month, which could pave the way to upgrade the regional security group to an economic and geopolitical alliance as well.

The six-nation group’s June 6 meeting, in which it will likely adopt Afghanistan as an observer and Turkey as a dialogue partner, comes amid a recent push by the United States to increase its influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The inclusion of the two nations and the effort to expand its scope has led some observers to wonder whether the SCO could develop into a fully fledged regional group, like Asean, or a platform to counter Nato’s influence.

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New School of the Americas For Dictators

A year ago this month, Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated the College for Defense of the Bolivarian Alternative of the Americas (ALBA) with a speech in which he called for the expulsion of U.S. intelligence agencies, a new military doctrine based on “asymmetrical war” against “imperialism” and the “abolition” of the U.N. Security Council. He also attacked the press, calling CNN a “tool of capitalism”,

ALBA is a Venezuelan-led association of anti-U.S. governments which also includes Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua and some Caribbean island states dependent on Venezuelan oil subsidies. The fledgling alliance has been given little importance by U.S. intelligence analysts, who tend to dismiss it as a purely ideological entity.

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Turkey: NATO Article 5 still at play in Syrian crisis

The possibility of invoking the right to military protection of Turkish borders against threats from Syria under Article 5 of the NATO charter is still on Turkey’s agenda, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said, Today’s Zaman reported.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selcuk Unal said during a press briefing on Thursday that Turkey’s expectation from Syria is that it halts the violence as soon as possible to prevent further instability. Unal said: “However, we have many options on the table if this instability deepens. We have to determine these options in accordance with the developments we face. As you know, Article 5 of NATO is related to self-defense. So, this issue was mentioned in the past due to some incidents that occurred [along the Turkish border]. This is, of course, a matter which will remain on the agenda and it will still be assessed.”

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ASEAN moving towards Asian Union and Monetary Fund

ASEAN is at the center of these talks. The association has long sought to use its collective structure to give member states more power in economic and political negotiations with outside parties than any state could achieve alone. But ASEAN has taken a non-interference pledge and as a group has few political or military ambitions. The association lacks the economic, political or military heft of Asia’s two likelier centers — China and Japan.

The United States remains an influential power in Asia. Washington’s perceived effort to use regional alliances to contain China does affect Beijing’s behavior. However, the region has become more dynamic, especially as the regional center of gravity has shifted from Tokyo to Beijing over the past two decades.

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Russia seeks India, Pakistan to join SCO

Russia has given a call to speed up the process of India and Pakistan’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation, RIA Novosti reported.

The call was given by Russia’s acting Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while participating in a meeting of foreign ministers of the SCO member states in Beijing Friday.

He also said delaying the decision on their membership was “counterproductive”.

The SCO, set up in 2001, includes Russia, China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

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Eurocrats’ secret plan to abolish EU sovereignty

Senior Eurocrats are secretly plotting to create a super-powerful EU president to realise their dream of abolishing ­Britain and other nation states, UK media has revealed.

A covert group of EU foreign ministers has drawn up plans for merging the jobs currently done by Herman Van Rompuy, president of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission.

The new bureaucrat, who would not be directly elected by voters, is set to get sweeping control over the entire EU and force member countries into ever-greater political and economic union.

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Turkey and China host biggest EU outposts

Staff numbers at embassies highlight EU interest in Turkey, China, the Western Balkans and in multilateral bodies, as well as member states’ ongoing reliance on bilateral diplomacy.

The EU’s top 10 delegations in terms of staff numbers are: Ankara (137), Beijing/Hong Kong (116), Moscow (102), Belgrade (100), Tel Aviv/Ramallah (97), Kiev (93), Sarajevo (92), New Delhi (87), Washington (86) and Nairobi (85). The EU also has 187 people posted to various branches of the UN, the WTO, the African Union, the OECD economic club and democracy watchdogs the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

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Euro on brink of collapse: IMF

The crisis-hit euro is teetering on the brink of collapse, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

In a significant vote of no-confidence, Tuesday’s report from the global financial organisation admitted the troubled European single currency had “flaws” and was at risk of a “disorderly default and exit by a euro area member”.

And it warned that a euro meltdown could be even more devastating for the world economy than the 2008 credit crunch, the express.co.uk reported.

The admission in the World Economic Outlook from the IMF came amid renewed fears that Spain could soon follow Greece, Portugal and Ireland in accepting a multi-billion pound international bail-out.

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“Montenegro must get rid of Russian domination to join NATO”

The U.S. Atlantic Council delegation is visiting Montenegro in order to assess the country’s current results regarding fulfillment of conditions necessary to join NATO.

Montenegro is a part of the NATO membership action plan and Montenegrin officials expect NATO to confirm the country’s “membership perspective” at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago.

Wilson stressed that the upcoming summit was not an enlargement summit and concluded that Montenegro “still has a lot of work to do” before it is invited to join NATO.

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The security situation in the SCO region is generally stable

On April 12, 2012, the Seventh Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO Member States was held in Beijing. Chinese State Councilor Meng Jianzhu chaired and spoke at the meeting.

Meng Jianzhu said that China is the rotating presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this year. The 7th Meeting of the Secretaries of the Security Councils of the SCO Member States, which marks the prelude to a series of SCO summits, has laid a solid foundation for the successful holding of the SCO summits this year and for the Organization to better perform the functions of safeguarding regional peace, security and stability in the next 10 years.

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US Army Africa(USARAF) conducts first AT/FP Level II training in Africa to U.S. personnel

Mike Miller, an AT/FP instructor with Department of the Air Force, said it is important to build relationships with the country team and regional security officers due to the unique situation in Africa. To conduct current and future operations, the country team and RSOs are utilized to help conduct joint exercises and other operations.

“Inside AFRICOM (Africa Command), both U.S. Army Africa and U.S. Air Force Africa’s unique mission faces security challenges, and force protection has to be in the forefront, and to do that successfully, you have to have a good relationship with both DoD in-country and DoS. It was an excellent opportunity to get some training for all those organizations,” Miller, a Chicago, Ill. native, said.

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Is NATO’s “Smart Defense” Program a Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

The NATO juggernaut is rolling forward to next month’s summit in Chicago. A key theme of the summit will be improvements to the Alliance’s capability to defend its members and meet evolving threats. NATO has promised concrete deliverables in Chicago including a long-term capability strategy for the so-called “Smart Defense” initiative which focuses on greater prioritization, specialization and cooperation among the NATO members so as to improve actual military capabilities. NATO has already announced that this strategy will consist of three parts: what is called a tangible package of multinational projects to address critical capability shortfalls; a set of longer-term multinational projects that include missile defense, Alliance ground surveillance and air policing; and, strategic projects for 2020 covering areas such as joint intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and air-to-air refueling.

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Will EurAsEC grow into Eurasian economic union?

The last of the EurAsEC summit in Moscow demonstrated that for all the optimistic public statements, the integration processes are not advancing well in practice.

It was predicted that the summit will announce the replacement EurAsEC with full fledged Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). However, the results of the summit were more than modest – comprehensive agreement on formation of EEU can be signed only by January 1, 2015.

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NATO: Member nations should share military systems

Two F-4 Phantom jet fighters under NATO control streaked off the runway at a former Soviet air base in Lithuania this week in response to a report that an aircraft had lost communications as it neared Finnish airspace.

It was all an exercise — a simulation — but one with a point beyond mere rehearsal: NATO officials hope that, at a summit in Chicago this May, member nations will put aside concerns over sovereignty and agree in principle to create joint defense capabilities.
The idea is that, in a time of dwindling defense budgets, it makes sense to have coordinated programs in which specific countries agree to buy certain weapons systems — and forgo others — to create a coherent whole.

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LEND Network To Connect Leaders In Emerging Democracies

The United States and Estonia will lead a groundbreaking new effort to support leaders in emerging democracies.

This was announced by the U.S. State Department after a meeting between Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and her visiting Estonian counterpart Urmas Paet in Washington, DC, on Tuesday.

The LEND Network (for Leaders Engaged in New Democracies) will leverage expertise from the Club de Madrid, the world’s largest forum of democratically elected former Presidents and Prime Ministers, and 21st century technologies developed by Google and OpenText to connect leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges of democratization with leaders in emerging democracies.

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The cracks in the BRICS

As it prepares to hold its latest annual summit in New Delhi on March 28-29, the BRICS grouping — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — remains a concept in search of a common identity and institutionalized cooperation.

That is hardly surprising, given that these countries have very different political systems, economies and national goals, and are located in very different parts of the world. Yet the five emerging economies pride themselves on forming the first important non-Western global initiative.

The lack of common ground among the BRICS has prompted cynics to call the grouping an acronym with no substance.

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