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Renegade Lesotho general ‘seizes weapons’

Renegade Lesotho general ‘seizes weapons’

Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, who has refused to step down as the commander of the Lesotho Defence Forces, seized a cache including anti-aircraft guns, mortars and small arms from state armouries. “He has refused to vacate offices and depleted armouries,” Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao said, adding the material was being used to prepare for both “defensive and offensive” operations. “Intelligence reports indicate he slips in and out of the mountains,” Mahao added.

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‘Bangladesh model coup in the works in Pakistan’

'Bangladesh model coup in the works in Pakistan'

Current political crisis in Pakistan is a scripted one that would result in a ‘Bangladesh model’ coup, according to a report published by Pakistani newspaper Dawn. “The ‘Bangladesh Model’, a soft coup, is based on the idea that the political system must be cleansed of corrupt elements for the welfare of the public, which perhaps has been left incapacitated to elect honest leaders,” the report read. According to the Dawn report the model works on the premise that the military and judiciary must intervene to help differentiate the ‘right’ from the ‘wrong’ before it is too late.

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Military coup under way in landlocked region Lesotho

Military coup under way in Lesotho

Military units in Lesotho have surrounded government and police buildings and gunfire has been heard in the small mountainous southern African kingdom. Speaking to Al Jazeera from South Africa, where he had travelled to on Friday, Prime Minister Tom Thabane said that the army had taken over government buildings and he planned to try to return to the country. “The armed forces, the special forces of Lesotho, have taken the headquarters of the police.”

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Pakistan’s powerful army steps in to resolve political crisis

Pakistan's powerful army steps in to resolve political crisis

Pakistan has been gripped by mass rallies for more than two weeks, with protesters led by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and firebrand cleric Tahir ul-Qadri camped outside parliament demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resign. Some officials in Sharif’s administration have accused the army itself of orchestrating the protests as a way to weaken the prime minister, and many believe that the fate of the anti-government movement ultimately lies in the military’s hands.

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Canada’s Controversial Engagement in Honduras

Canada’s Controversial Engagement in Honduras

Canadian mining corporations have a deep-rooted interest in keeping Honduran regulatory mining laws weak. These interests were threatened, however, when left-of-center candidate Manuel Zelaya was elected in 2006. Shortly after taking office, Zelaya announced his plans to reform the mining sector by restricting foreign mining companies in Honduras, distinguishing himself as a leader of an anti-foreign mining viewpoint. In May 2009, only a month before the armed forces ousted Zelaya, the Honduran Congress drafted a new mining bill.

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Are Color Revolutions a New Form of War?

Are Color Revolutions a New Form of War

It turns out that Moscow considers “color revolutions” a new type of warfare. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, “Color revolutions are increasingly taking on the form of warfare and are developed according to the rules of warcraft.” General Zarudnitsky paints a frightening picture of this new type of warfare, saying, “First, the countries organizing the overthrow of the undesirable government use their military potential to apply overt pressure, with the goal of preventing that state from using its security forces to restore law and order,” Zarudnitsky said.

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Protesters attempt coup in disputed Abkhazia

Protesters attempt coup in disputed Abkhazia

Opposition protesters have stormed the presidency in Abkhazia overnight in what the leader of the Georgian breakaway region calls a coup attempt, Russian news agencies say. “This is an armed coup attempt,” Alexander Ankvab was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency on Wednesday (local time). Abkhazia is recognised only by Russia. Its capital Sukhumi is on the Black Sea coast. Interfax said opposition groups took over the presidency overnight following a protest by around 1000 people, forcing Ankvab to flee.

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Thai “Red Shirts” cornered as army stifles dissent

Thai "Red Shirts" cornered as army stifles dissent

While the Reds may for now be cramped by martial law, observers say they are likely to regroup in coming months. They foresee protests, road blocks and moves to cripple provincial governments. Attacks by armed militant cells and a crescendo of calls for a parallel government — a direct challenge to the army’s writ over the country — could also be on the cards. “The chance of violence is very strong,” said Kan Yuenyong, executive director of the Siam Intelligence Unit think-tank.

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Thailand military seizes power in coup

Thailand military seizes power in coup

Thailand’s military has announced it is taking control of the government and has suspended the constitution. In a TV statement, army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha vowed to restore order and enact political reforms. Key political figures, including opposition protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and pro-government protest leader Jatuporn Prompan, were taken away from the talks venue after troops sealed off the area.

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USAID Subversion in Latin America Not Limited to Cuba

USAID Subversion in Latin America Not Limited to Cuba

USAID and OTI in particular have engaged in various efforts to undermine the democratically-elected governments of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Haiti, among others, and such “open societies” could be more likely to be impacted by such activities than Cuba. Declassified U.S. government documents show that USAID’s OTI in Venezuela played a central role in funding and working with groups and individuals following the short-lived 2002 coup d’etat against Hugo Chávez. A key contractor for USAID/OTI in that effort has been Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI).

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Cuban Twitter: Cuba’s Youth Were the Target of USAID’s ZunZuneo

Cuba’s Youth Were the Target of USAID’s ZunZuneo

The generations born in Cuba in the last two or three decades, permeated by the influences of societies that differ radically from the one their government is trying to build, are in the eye of the ideological storm that feeds the conflict between Havana and Washington. On Thursday Apr. 3 the White House acknowledged that from 2009 to 2012, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was behind the ZunZuneo social network – the “Cuban Twitter” that targeted young people and reached a peak of 40,000 subscribers.

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Brzezinski: Finland role model for Ukraine

Brzezinski: Finland role model for Ukraine

The bottom line is – and this is particularly pertinent to Germany – if the EU is to be serious it has to put up some money. It’s very easy to talk about democracy and long-term cooperation, but the fact is that money is also needed right now to stabilize Ukraine. But let me emphasize my key point. If we want a solution that’s constructive it has to be based on compromise. And I can envisage Ukraine evolving in the context of a constructive compromise into a country whose domestic and foreign policies will be somewhat similar to that of Finland.

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UAE, Egypt plotting coup in Libya, say Libyan RoR rebels

Libya Shield

According to the Middle East Monitor, in a Facebook statement the ROR claimed that UAE’s security agencies has recently formed two “cells” to circumvent the Libyan revolution and to stop Libyan oil exports. The statement read: “We received information that UAE’s security apparatus has formed two high level cells. The first aims at overthrowing the new Libyan regime, the Libyan National Congress, and confronting the rise of Islamists. The second cell is a specialized media one based in Amman, Jordan.” According to the statement, the “media cell” is primarily tasked with disseminating news that would serve the agenda of the “security cell”.

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Kenya’s National Security Advisory Committee Accuses USAID of Scheming to Topple Government

Kenya’s National Security Advisory Committee Accuses USAID of Scheming to Topple Government

The National Security Advisory Committee (NSAC) wants the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon officials from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to give information over what it terms as “plans to topple the government using activists.” According to NSAC Chairman Francis Kimemia, the committee has credible information detailing how the US donor agency has consistently funded demonstrations by activists. Kimemia said that the organisation has used individuals including a defrocked pastor to slander parliamentarians.

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Libya claims to foil military coup

Libya claims to foil military coup

Libya has foiled an attempt by a group of former army officers and politicians to stage a military coup, Defense Minister Abduallah al-Theni said Wednesday. “The Supreme Leader of the Armed Forces [NouriAbusahmain] has ordered the arrest of the officers and politicians who tried to stage a coup against legitimacy,” al-Theni told the private Ahrar Libya TV. He added that the Libyan army and revolutionaries were currently hunting down the leaders of the failed coup attempt.

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Top 20 countries; likely to face coup in 2014:

Top 20 countries; likely to face coup in 2014:

Pakistan has been included in the list of 40 countries having risks of coup in 2014 and residing on the 14th position released by Jay Ulfelder, a famous political scientist who also blogs. A famous political scientist, Jay Ulfelder’s mathematical model which forecasted about expected ‘coups’ across the World in 2014, while the Max Fisher has posted the list in Washington Posts on January 28. Pakistan has been placed on the 14th position in the list while its neighbouring country Afghanistan is on 12th.

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Ukraine shows the ‘color revolution’ model is dead

Ukraine shows the ‘color revolution’ model is dead

These events are so harsh, and so contrary to what anyone expected, that they should lead us to abandon immediately some of the illusions we have long held about this part of the world. First and foremost, it’s time to abandon the myth of the “color revolutions”: the belief that peaceful demonstrators, aided by a bit of Western media training, will eventually rise up and nonviolently overthrow the corrupt oligarchies that have run most of the post-Soviet orbit since 1991. The history of Ukraine, from the 2004 Orange Revolution until now, has proved this belief to be false.

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Thailand’s government is deploying 15,000 police and troops to thwart open rebellion

Thailand-Protest

Nearly 15,000 police and soldiers will be deployed in the Thai capital next week for the planned “shutdown” of Bangkok by demonstrators trying to overthrow the government, officials said Wednesday. The protesters say they will occupy the capital from January 13 until they win their battle to topple the government. They plan to set up stages around the city, preventing officials from going to work and cutting off power and water to state buildings. The government is mobilising 14,880 police and soldiers for the mass rally, national police spokesman Piya Uthayo said in a televised briefing.

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Thailand’s ‘Red Shirt’ UDD group prepares to counter any regime change

UDD prepares for 'coup'

The red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) has called a meeting of its leaders from across the country in Nakhon Ratchasima today. They will discuss plans to counter any coup which they believe could be triggered by protesters’ efforts to paralyse Bangkok. UDD leader Tida Tawornseth said about 5,000 red-shirt leaders are expected to attend the meeting at Chalerm Phrakiat Stadium in Muang district. Ms Tida said she hopes there will not be a coup as the public have had enough of them. She also said the red shirts do not plan to start clashes but they do want to present an opposing political view in a peaceful manner.

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Turkish minister says fending off ‘mini-coup attempt’

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan speaks to the IOC in Buenos Aires

Turkey’s government said on Tuesday it was fending off a “mini coup attempt” by elements in the police and judiciary who served the interests of foreign and domestic forces bent on humbling the country. Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the ruling AK Party had in the past survived military coup plots and attempts in the courts to outlaw it. It would not now yield to a corruption investigation that he said targeted the government but was already damaging the national economy. “These latest formations in the judiciary and the police, we can’t call it a coup, but a mini coup attempt.

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CIS/CSTO will fight Western ‘color revolutions’

Media: CSTO will counter the color revolutions

Organization of the Collective Security Treaty decided to oppose the West, which, according to the CSTO member states, actively influences the minds of Internet users, through NGOs and the media distorts the picture of public sentiment in the CIS, thus preparing new “color revolutions.” Panelists agreed that Russia is losing the information war to the West, which “did not scruple to use propaganda methods developed by NATO in 1970-ies.” Today, in their opinion, these are handled by experts cybersecurity alliance centers, one of which operates in Estonia.

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EU Grooming Klitschko to Lead Ukraine

Anti-government protest in Ukraine

While “regime change” is too strong a term for what Germany is seeking, it’s not entirely off base. Merkel’s center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the European People’s Party (EPP), a family of European conservative parties, have chosen Klitschko as their de facto representative in Ukraine. His job is to unite and lead the opposition — on the street, in parliament and, finally, in the 2015 presidential election. “Klitschko is our man,” say senior EPP politicians, “he has a clear European agenda.” And Merkel still has a score to settle with Putin.

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South Sudan’s Government Was Nearly Overthrown Last Night

South Sudan's Government Was Nearly Overthrown Last Night

South Sudanese President Salva Kiir said today that an overnight coup has been averted, blaming former Vice President Riek Machar for leading the attempt. Kiir assured the public that the government had regained control after gunfire and explosions broke out overnight, pitting military factions against each other in the capital city of Juba. He reported that the fighting started when an unidentified man began shooting during a meeting of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), and after an attack on army headquarters.

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UAE Funding Former Dictator’s Son for Coup in Yemen

UAE Funding Former Dictator’s Son for Coup in Yemen

“Ahmad Ali, the son of Ali Abdullah Saleh, is leading a militant group in Yemen which carries out violent acts in the country,” informed Yemeni sources who called for anonymity told FNA. According to the sources, Saleh’s son, who ran the country’s security body and part of the army during the rule of his father and even a few months after Saleh’s fall, is now trying to infiltrate in Yemen’s army by bribing a number of commanders and high-ranking officers. Following Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the UAE is the third Persian Gulf Arab state running clandestine operations abroad to change the political trend in those countries which have experienced a revolution in the last two years.

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Ukraine’s Security Service to Investigate Attempts at Coup’d Etat

Ukraine's Security Service to Investigate Attempts at Coup'd Etat

Ukraine’s Security Service has opened an investigation into alleged attempts of politicians to seize state power. In a Sunday media statement, Ukraine’s State Security Service announced that it had launched pre-trial proceedings against an unspecified number of unnamed politicians for “attempting to seize state power.” The announcement came against the back drop of a massive pro-EU rally on Kiev’s Independence Square. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered Sunday in Independence Square to vent their anger at President Viktor Yanukovych’s government over its recent decision to back out of a strategic deal with the EU.

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‘Four Israelis mercs held in Guinea for plotting coup’

Four Israeli mercenaries were arrested in Guinea last Wednesday on charges of planning a coup to overthrow Guinean President Alpha Condé, the French newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné reported. The four are being held at the island of Casa north of the capital Conakry, which serves as a prison for political activists, according to the report. Guinean’s parliamentary elections, which took place Saturday and marked the country’s transition to democracy following a 2008 military coup, were fraught with tensions and uprisings, with dozens reported killed, which Le Canard Enchaîné attributed to foreign involvement.

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Guinea warns of ‘coup from outside forces’

A Guinean government minister said the country was “in danger” from outsiders plotting against it amid media reports that a coup was being planned in the capital Conakry. Security Minister Madifing Diane made the comments in response to a story in the latest edition of Paris-based weekly Le Canard Enchaine which said it had seen French and American secret service documents “announcing a coup in Conakry”. Le Canard said the coup plot had been put together by “French, South African and Israeli mercenaries with links to Paris and Africa and backed by a diamond magnate”.

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INSIGHT-Egypt seen as graveyard of Islamist ambitions for power

As the army ruthlessly crushes the Muslim Brotherhood on the streets of Cairo, having swept away its elected president, Egypt is being painted as the graveyard of the Arab Spring and of Islamist hopes of shaping the region’s future. This week’s bloody drama has sent shockwaves out of Egypt, the political weathervane and cultural heart of the Arab world. The effect on the region of the army’s power grab will not be uniform, because while countries such as Egypt are locked in a battle over identity, other states, from Syria to Yemen, and Libya to Iraq, are in an existential struggle for survival.

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CIA’s favorite Saudi prince is laying the groundwork for a post-Assad Syria

From Washington’s perspective, Bandar’s appointment is important news. Sure, his wife was investigated by Congress a decade ago about her connections to Al-Qaida activists. But Bandar is considered the CIA’s man in Riyadh. When there was a need to transfer money to the Nicaraguan rebels in the 1980s, Bandar dealt with the Saudi “grants” requested by the White House. He also arranged things when Saudi Arabia was asked to help fund the mujahideen’s battles in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

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Syria no-fly zone requires ground control

Britain’s outgoing army chief has warned that attempts to impose a no-fly zone over Syria would be unsuccessful without establishing ground control, in an interview published in Thursday’s Daily Telegraph. Britain is at the forefront of international efforts to topple the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and has promised to supply rebels with equipment to protect them against chemical weapons attacks. But in his interview with the Telegraph, general David Richards said: “If you wanted to have the material impact on the Syrian regime’s calculations that some people seek, a no-fly zone per se is insufficient.

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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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Has Africa Arrived at the Era of the “Good Coups?”

The African Union, proud of its zero tolerance for coups on the continent, advertises this policy as part of what is termed shared democratic values, which all countries are expected to incorporate into a common set of constitutional convergence principles. These principles is expected to automatically elicit joint action when power is seized through unconstitutional means. I am not convinced by the argument that a coup could ultimately good for democracy. The argument that the military was merely enforcing the will of the people and safeguarding democracy from its real opponent, who, in this thinking, was Morsi is nonsensical.

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BREAKING: Egyptian military gives 48 hour ultimatum to Brotherhood, political forces

The Egyptian Armed Forces issued a televised statement on Monday afternoon giving Egyptian political forces 48 hours to “fulfil the people’s demands,” otherwise the armed forces would present a political “roadmap” for the country that would include all political currents.

“The Egyptian Armed Forces will not become involved in politics or administration; it is satisfied with its role as is spelt out in line with democratic norms,” read the statement, stressing that Egyptian national security was in “great danger” and referring to the armed forces’ “responsibility” to step in if national security was threatened.

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A Case for Civil Disobediences: Embracing the Power of Nonviolent Revolutions

This article discusses the shortcomings of violent social struggles – their relative exclusivity, vulnerability to foreign manipulation for geostrategic goals, and their likelihood (if successful) to establish similarly repressive and violent regimes to the ones they seek to overthrow. French philosopher Michel Foucault argues that the idea of ‘empowering’ somebody is misguided since power is already held within every one of us. It is the lack of recognition of this power that keeps us from making effective use of it.

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US ‘helping spark political unrest’

So many devastating changes in the Middle East’s so-called ‘Arab Spring’ aftermath are being blamed on misguided US policies in many countries. This in-depth report reveals how Washington institutions allegedly groom destructive elements when attempting to destabilise nations. Their tentacles are now even touching Turkey’s fully-fledged democracy – one that has achieved economic transformation in only a decade, with tourism and foreign investment booming.

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Israeli expert says military coup possible in Turkey

The ongoing unrest in Turkey may lead to a new military coup in that country, Israeli political expert Avigdor Eskin told ArmInfo. The expert believes that Turkey is changing its image these days. Even if Prime Minister Erdogan manages to suppress the wave of protests, they will have a crucial role in the history for the former Ottoman Empire. “I witnessed the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu in Romania, then the public unrest in Russia in 1991 and 1993. The scales are incomparable. Turkish dissidents managed to awaken the entire city.

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Syrian intelligence service thwarts assassination attempt against Syrian President – Lebanese newspaper

Militants planned to use the mobile anti-aircraft systems they had received from Qatar for hitting Assad’s plane with the help of a surface –to- air missile on its way to Latakia Airport, the Addiyar Newspaper says.

It turned out that 2 technical workers from the Mezza military airfield near Damascus from where the airliner of the Syrian President was due to take off were involved in the above-mentioned plot. According to the Lebanese newspaper, among the master minders of an attack on the airliner of the Syrian President were the militants of the radical Islamist group Jebhat al-Nusra

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Venezuela defense chief rules out coup

Venezuela’s defense minister said Sunday that he would never support a military coup to unseat President Nicolas Maduro and has never even entertained the idea. Adm. Diego Molero also said that Venezuela’s military takes advice from Cubans but that they do not influence its decisions.

Molero’s statements during a television talk show appear to reflect official concern over the opposition’s recent release of a recording allegedly showing an influential pro-government figure discussing coup rumors with a Cuban intelligence officer, a conversation that seemed to highlight Cuban influence in the oil-rich nation.

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Egypt’s anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaign: An inside look

Founders of Egypt’s ‘Rebel’ campaign, a newly established movement that aims to withdraw confidence from President Mohamed Morsi by collecting citizens’ signatures, spoke at an open forum on Wednesday to discuss the campaign, which has recently gone viral online and on the streets. ‘Rebel’ campaigners hope to collect 15 million signatures and hold a mass sit-in on 30 June – marking the end of Morsi’s first year as president – to call for snap presidential elections and force Morsi out of office.

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NATO Expansion And Russia: You’re Not Paranoid If They Really Are Out To Get You

One of the things that I find most mystifying about Western coverage of Russia is the tendency to treat obvious facts as wild-eyed conspiracy theories. So you have people saying “Putin and his lot are crazy, they think we’re trying to start a color revolution! Where on earth did they get that idea?” Meanwhile, in the plain light of day, the Obama administration makes a push to use tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to support various anti-regime civil society groups. The, unstated, but nonetheless obvious, goal of using that money is to change Russia’s government.

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Venezuela’s Maduro accuses U.S. of “plot” to kill rival

Venezuela’s acting president urged U.S. President Barack Obama to stop what he called a plot by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency to kill his opposition rival and trigger a coup ahead of an April 14 election.

Nicolas Maduro said the plan was to blame the murder on the OPEC nation’s government and to “fill Venezuelans with hate” as they prepare to vote following the death of socialist leader Hugo Chavez. Maduro first mentioned a plot against his rival, Henrique Capriles, last week. He blamed it on former Bush administration officials Roger Noriega and Otto Reich. Both rejected the claim as untrue, outrageous and defamatory.

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North Korea: Kim Jong Un targeted in assassination attempt, South Korean intelligence says

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was recently the target of an assassination attempt, South Korean intelligence has said.

The London Telegraph reported that the alleged murder plot may have been the work of a faction loyal to Kim Yong Chol, a four-star general demoted last year before being restored to his previous rank and rehabilitated. The Telegraph cited the Joong Ang Ilbo newspaper as reporting that an exchange of gunfire in Pyongyang last November may have signaled the attempt.

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Gulf States Buy Egyptian Riots

So who is behind the unrest? The money fueling the confrontation comes from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, none of which are enamored of the Muslim Brotherhood or Morsi. They fear that the untidy democracy, such as it is, in Egypt and elsewhere amid the Arab Spring could spill over to their states, and they desire a return to something like the military-backed regime of Mubarak, which was politically reliable and dedicated to suppressing political extremism and even dissent in all forms.

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Why Wasn’t There a Chinese Spring?

arab-spring-china

The collapse of regimes like Hosni Mubarak’s in Egypt, which many considered “an exemplar of…durable authoritarianism” was a salient reminder to many that such revolutions are “inherently unpredictable.” Before long some began to speculate that the protest movements might spread to authoritarian states outside the Arab world, including China. Indeed, the Chinese government was among those that feared the unrest would spread to China because, as one observer noted, China faced the same kind of “social and political tensions caused by rising inequality, injustice, and corruption” that plagued much of the Arab world on the eve of the uprisings.

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‘Semi-coup d’etat toppled me’ says Berlusconi

G20:  BERLUSCONI SOTTO RIFLETTORI UE, RISPETTERO' TEMPI E RIGORE

Ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi on Tuesday reiterated his contention that he was forced out of office at the height of the euro crisis in November 2011 by a conspiracy involving Germany.

“In 2011 there was a semi-coup d’etat,” the media magnate said. Berlusconi cited two contributing factors: the weakening of his coalition because of the defection of one-time heir-apparent Gianfranco Fini; and the German government’s “order” to its country’s banks to sell Italian bonds, pushing up the yield spread to bailout levels.

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France Looking for ‘Total Reconquest’ of Mali

mali-troops_2451809b

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says France will accept nothing less than the “total reconquest” of Mali from Islamist militants. Le Drian told French television Sunday that his forces “will not leave any pockets” of resistance.French troops went into the country last week at the request of Mali’s government, after al-Qaida-linked Islamists who control the northern part of the country began moving south towards the capital, Bamako.

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Pakistan’s crisis could end in a military coup as arrest warrant issued for Prime Minister

pakistan-soft-coup

Experts are not ruling out the possibility of a military takeover in Pakistan after the country’s top court ordered the arrest of the PM. Anti-government protesters continue with their sit-in outside parliament.

An anti-government protest in Islamabad enters its third day as tens of thousands of people demand the resignation of the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) government and that an “impartial,” interim government backed by Pakistan’s powerful army and newly-independent judiciary be formed.

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Russia’s hand exposed: Spying Imams and mosque plots reveal Chechen link to Syria

chechnya-spies-Russia

With the crisis in Syria seemingly never ending, the question of Russia’s influence in the world has resurfaced. The former Soviet state has been playing its hand in the Arab world with an eye to widening its influence.

While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may be glad of the Slavic support, the history of Muslim/Russian relations inside the ex communist state shows he would be wise to be wary. The secret war in Chechnya, the largely Muslim area of Russia, has seen dissidents as far away as Istanbul and Dubai assassinated in recent years by the FSB.

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Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ‘Arab Spring’ Faction Detained in UAE

uae-busts-muslim-brotherhood-cell

The United Arab Emirates has arrested an “Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood cell” that trained local Islamists in how to overthrow Arab governments, a Sharjah-based newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the investigation.

The oil-rich Gulf state – of which Sharjah is one part – has previously voiced strong distrust of the Islamist political movement which after long years of being banned took power in free elections in Egypt last year. The cell, of “more than 10 people”, had a defined organisational structure and was recruiting Egyptians in the UAE to join, al-Khaleej newspaper reported.

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Russia wary of post-Soviet color revolution

Color_Revolutions_Map

A close adviser to the Russian president said the Kremlin was paying close attention to “events” in former republics of the Soviet Union. Nikolai Patrushev, the head of the Security Council of Russia, said the Kremlin is keeping a close eye on potential “color revolutions” in former republics. “Events are in motion in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine; we’re dealing with it every day. Are these (events) a danger for us? Yes,” he was quoted by state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

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Egyptian army deploys tanks at presidential palace

EGYPT-POLITICS-CONSTITUTION-UNREST-ARMY

The Egyptian army deployed tanks outside the presidential palace Thursday following fierce street battles between supporters and opponents of Mohammed Morsi that left five people dead and more than 600 injured in the worst outbreak of violence between the two sides since the Islamist leader’s election.

The intensity of the overnight violence, with Morsi’s Islamist backers and largely secular protesters lobbing firebombs and rocks at each other, signaled a turning point in the 2-week-old crisis over the president’s assumption of near-absolute powers and the hurried adoption of a draft constitution.

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Egyptian Protesters Clash Outside Presidential Palace

1204-egypt-protesters-pres-palace_full_600

Opponents and supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi clashed near the presidential palace Wednesday. Large crowds of Morsi supporters converged on the palace as the day wore on, until they eventually outnumbered opponents. Edward Yeranian in Cairo reports that witnesses say the president’s supporters battled opponents and tore down their tents and forced many to flee the area.

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Can Mauritania’s President Survive Both Coup Plotters and al-Qaeda?

Ould Abdel Aziz

For Presidents, one rule of thumb for political survival is not to leave your country for too long, especially if you are thinking of waging a regional war against al-Qaeda militants. Aziz had better hope he returns in time. During his long recuperation in Paris, his rivals have begun to plot their future without the President, who himself came to power in a political coup in 2008. Officials from within the ruling circle recently met with opposition parties, in an attempt to piece together a post-Aziz plan.

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Gulf States Rethink Ties to Muslim Brotherhood

Muslim-Brotherhood121

Observers believe that the reason why some Gulf states have launched a campaign against Muslim Brotherhood members is because they are worried of the group’s reaching power in the Arab Spring countries. Adding to their worries is the developing relationship between Muslim Brotherhood governments on the one hand and the Turkish Republic, which seems to have found in the organization a new ally that could help Turkey extend its influence in the Arab region.

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Exclusive: France sends drones for Mali crisis

french-send-drones-to-mali

France is moving surveillance drones to west Africa and holding secretive talks with U.S. officials in Paris on Monday, as France seeks to steer international military action to help Mali’s feeble government win back the northern part of the country from al-Qaida-linked rebels.

France and the United Nations insist any invasion of Mali’s north must be led by African troops. But France, which has six hostages in Mali and is said to have citizens who have joined al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, is playing an increasing role behind the scenes.

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The Engineered Fall of Syria: Extensive Intelligence and Paramilitary Network Exposed

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At this stage, the “battle for Syria” is a specific role for foreign intelligence agencies, which in the summer of this year, significantly expanded its operations in the country. American, British, Turkish, French and Qatari and Saudi secret services are particularly active on the weakening of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Their subversive work is multifaceted. Until recently, Western intelligence agencies have shown themselves very carefully. This was explained by fears of the U.S. and its European allies to help to strengthen the Islamist component of the Syrian opposition.

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West Africa: Regional Confrontation Looms

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There is a danger that a poorly conceived military campaign could draw many states in the region into a lengthy and bloody conflict. It is more complex and less self-contained than the Somali crisis. Local jihadists, Ansar Eddine and the Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO), have secured most of the key centres in northern Mali, where they profit from highly lucrative drugs, arms and people smuggling operations.

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UANI: US NGOs or covert government agencies?

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It calls itself a non-profit NGO, but it is headed by Mark Wallace, a former US ambassador to the United Nations and close associate of Senator John McCain, and its advisory board comprises former heads of the CIA, the counterterrorism office of the National Security Council and the Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency.

So whatever the cover-up may be, the UANI is definitely pursuing the objectives put forward by the US government.

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Ankara’s War Plans Ready: Armed forces prepared for worst case

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According to this plan, which factors in Syria’s means and capabilities, Russia’s presence in the region and the PKK, 2nd Army is going to play an active role. The plan includes risk analyses and aims to use land, air and naval forces together in any operation. The limits of the plan, which also envisages the use of Special Forces, will be determined by a government directive in the event of war. This directive will determine the desired political and military goals in the event of war as well as how far to advance and which regions will be kept under control.

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More conflicts ahead!

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Welcome Mali, our newest crisis! Open your maps. France used to rule Mali as part of its West African Empire, and still has deep financial, military, commercial and intelligence interests in the region.Not so long ago, France installed West African leaders, financed them, and kept them in power using small garrisons of tough Foreign Legionnaires. Secret payments continue today. Spooks from France’s DGSE intelligence agency, and “special advisors” are active behind the scenes in West Africa as well as North Africa.

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Armenian Politician Warns Of Forces Seeking ‘Orange Revolution’

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Haik Babukhanyan, Chairman of the Constitutional Law Union (CLU), believes that the major cause of the political wrangling in Armenia lies in foreign policy.

At his meeting with journalists on Friday he stated that the forces dreaming of an “Orange Revolution” in Armenia are more active now, playing a somewhat different role, however.Armenia’s important geopolitical location is the reason for a serious struggle for establishing control over the country.

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$165 Million Dollars Pledged For Arab Spring Endowment Fund

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Rich countries and international lenders on Friday promised $165 million to a fund to provide financing for stronger public institutions in Arab nations seeking to establish democracies. The fund aims to help build economic institutions and promote reforms in countries where huge public uprisings ousted autocratic regimes. Major western economies and wealthy oil states are the founding donors of the fund announced in Tokyo alongside annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

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UAE: Gulf states must stop Muslim Brotherhood plotters

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Gulf Arab countries should work together to stop Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood plotting to undermine governments in the region, the United Arab Emirates’ foreign minister said yesterday.

The UAE has arrested around 60 local Islamists this year, accusing them of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood – which is banned in the country – and conspiring to overthrow the government.

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Israeli minister: Persian Spring on its way

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Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Thursday he believes “the Arab Spring will be followed by a Persian Spring,” with international sanctions against Iran leading to renewed domestic unrest.

“The Arab Spring will be followed by a Persian Spring, instability is spreading in Iran, and not just in Tehran,” Lieberman told Israeli military radio. “There is no doubt that the protest movement will be strengthened by the approach of the Iranian presidential elections next summer,” he added.

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‘Psychological war’ behind Iran’s economic problems, currency hits record low

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

By freezing Iran out of the global banking system, sanctions have made it hard for Tehran to obtain payment for its oil exports. Iranians have responded by rushing to change their savings into hard currency, fuelling the rial’s slide.

“This is going to cause a shutdown in transactions in Iran. All the main distributors of electronics and household items will be concerned about trading — they’ll want to know where the bottom is and how long it will continue,”

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Operation Sabre: France to Send Weapons to Sahel Ahead of Militiary Intervention

Militiaman from the Ansar Dine Islamic group ride on an armed vehicle between Gao and Kidal in northeastern Mali

France has granted its allies in the Sahel region a new batch of weapons ahead of a possible deployment of African troops in the Azawad region in northern Mali. A senior security source said that the countdown to a military intervention in northern Mali has begun, the exact date of which will be determined by France.

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US, France Seek African Force for Mali

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The United States and France want the United Nations to back an African-led peacekeeping force to restore order in northern Mali, where Tuareg militants and al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists have expanded their reach since the March coup against the civilian government in Bamako.

French President Francois Hollande says the time has come for the U.N. Security Council to approve an African-led force for Mali.

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History Repeats Again: The Game Plan in Syria

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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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S Korea, U.S. practise occupying N Korea

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South Korean troops practised a war scenario involving the occupation and stabilization of North Korea during a joint military drill with the United States last month, a report said Tuesday.

The two allies, who staged a similar stabilization exercise in 2010, upgraded it to strengthen the role of the South Korean army in the event of an “emergency situation in the North,” Dong-A Ilbo newspaper said.

It cited an unnamed senior government official, who said the maneuver—called Wind of Freedom—involved humanitarian assistance for North Koreans after occupying the communist state and restoring administrative services.

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Iran on the verge of severe financial crisis: intelligence report

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An apparent classified Iranian intelligence report that has been leaked online warns of an imminent financial crisis in the country that would cause nation-wide upheaval.

Excerpts of the report, posted this week on several Iranian websites, revealed that the government might not be able to pay the full salaries of its employees in the coming three months, which threatens the eruption of massive popular protests across the country.

Large portions of the population might suffer from starvation, the report said, adding that riots are expected to take place in border cities where living conditions are rapidly deteriorating.

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Italy ready to intervene militarily in Syria

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Italy would be ready to send military forces to Syria if President Bashar al-Assad is toppled, Italian Defence Minister Giampaolo Di Paola has said.

“Italy has the ability to do it,” Di Paola said in an interview to Rai state television.

“I think that the international community would have to contribute,” he said, stressing that he was not endorsing intervention.

Di Paola’s comments followed a meeting of Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi and other government officials to make plans for what they dubbed the “post Assad” period.

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An “Arab Spring” scenario in Central Asia?

Central Asian presidents are deeply worried about the potential contagion and effects of the “Arab Spring” events in their countries – which could spark a democratisation process aimed to modify the political status quo – mainly because they fear to lose their power: moreover, the potential overthrow of their secular governments, a following condition of prolonged instability and uncertainty could draw up a kind of power vacuum which radical Islamist forces could dangerously fill.

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Arab spring took British intelligence by surprise, report says

Britain’s intelligence agencies were surprised by the Arab spring, and their failure to realise unrest would spread so rapidly may reveal a lack of understanding of the region, according to the parliamentary body set up to scrutinise their activities.

A particularly sharp passage of the intelligence and security committee’s (ISC) report describes as “ill-considered” an attempt by MI6 to smuggle into Libya two officers who were promptly seized by rebels.

The report says that at the time the Arab spring erupted, both MI6 and GCHQ, the government’s electronic eavesdropping centre, were cutting resources devoted to Arab countries.

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Why Gulf States Want Regime Change in Syria

Ever since the protests started against Bashar al Assad’s regime, the Gulf countries have adopted a tough posture by criticizing and condemning the reactions of the Syrian government and squarely putting the blame upon it for the unfolding situation.

The Gulf monarchies, which suppressed protests in their own countries and were against any kind of regime change in their own region, have accused the Assad regime of killings and violating human rights and have been questioning the regime’s legitimacy to continue its rule. With the protests against the Assad regime turning increasingly violent and the Syrian regime’s strong military response, the political dynamics in the region have become more intricate.

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Zbigniew Brzezinski: ‘There is a need for a Middle Eastern Ataturk’

If we see an unfinished revolution, and the struggle continues between the military establishment, the civic forces and Islamists in a pivotal country like Egypt, how far could such a situation affect US interests in the Middle East?

It will affect the US interests in the sense that it will contribute to increased unrest in the Middle East, and continued unrest in the Middle East is likely to create increasingly less propitious circumstances for a constructive American role in the Middle East. There is no doubt that American influence is declining, but before anyone begins to applaud the emerging decline of America’s presence in the Middle East, they better ask themselves what are the likely wider consequences of such decline.

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Secret war in Syria

Sooner or later, it was bound to come out in the open. Last week, The New York Times reported that CIA agents have been in Turkey for several weeks, helping screen potential arms recipients while also establishing new contacts in Syria.

The Obama administration did not confirm the report, but officials insisted that the United States was not providing “lethal assistance” to the Syrian opposition. Still, other US news sources have corroborated the fact that CIA agents were now playing a major role in establishing contacts with the Syrian opposition and providing advice to Turkey and a number of Gulf countries on weapon transfer.

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Color Revolution Contribution?: The European Union establishes a fund to fight tyrants

EU member states agreed to create a European endowment for democracy.

The fund should become operational by next year and will primarily target EU neighbouring countries such as Belarus, where people are routinely jailed for showing opposition against President Alexander Lukashenko.

The fund was the brainchild of the Polish EU presidency in June 2011 and will function primarily as a grant-awarding institution.

Pro-democracy and social movements, young leaders, civil society, independent media, foundations and educational institutions among others are its intended target beneficiaries.

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U.S. military completes planning for action in Syria

The military planning includes a scenario for a no-fly zone as well as protecting chemical and biological sites. Officials say all the scenarios would be difficult to enact and involve large numbers of U.S. troops and extended operations.

The planning, officials insist, is being done protectively and there have been no orders for any action from the White House.

The U.S. Navy is maintaining a presence of three surface combatants and a submarine in the eastern Mediterranean to conduct electronic surveillance and reconnaissance on the Syrian regime, a senior Pentagon official said. The official emphasized that the U.S. routinely maintains this type of naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, but acknowledged the current focus is on Syria.

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The Ukrainian government is preparing a militia to suppress color revolutions and other rebellions

Representatives of the Party of Regions registered a bill that would empower officials of the Interior Ministry troops. The ministry is preparing for the possible suppression of the riots

The draft law “On State Service Law Enforcement” provides for the empowerment of Interior Ministry troops. Under the bill, the military service law of the State have the right: to check the documents, carry out the inspection of persons, their belongings and vehicles, to detain persons, to enter homes and premises of institutions, enterprises, organizations and carry out their inspection, perform search activities.

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Thailand intelligence agencies put on alert over coup rumours

All 12 military, civilian and police intelligence agencies in Thailand have been ordered to monitor an ongoing political rally against a Pheu Thai Party attempt to debate a bill in favour of defacto leader Thaksin Shinawatra, according to a directive from Deputy Prime Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha signed yesterday.

He said the heightened intelligence service would be helpful in “silencing” rumours of a possible military coup, which had been circulated among redshirt supporters and media. The rumours said a coup would be staged in support of the rally organised jointly by the yellowshirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the antiThaksin Multicoloured group, and the 13 Siam Thai movement.

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Emails alleged evidence of former military coup plan in Colombia

Alleged emails were sent a major and a retired Army General, also forwarded to thousands of military assets, with the serious “invitation” to “disrupt” the government of Juan Manuel Santos, were revealed last weekend by Channel Capital and the Noticias Uno television news

The intention is revealed in one of the email: “the time will come that (sic) some colonel or general, whether in the auditorium of the War College or the same presidential palace, put the cards on the table, demanding Santos to meet its obligations and commitments election or otherwise remove him from office, to commission an interim government and hold elections in six months. “

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The Kremlin’s Cognitive Dissonance

It seems that for the past five months the authorities have been suffering from cognitive dissonance in their relations with Muscovites.

This is a disorder in which someone’s beliefs do not match objective reality. Unable to change his convictions, the person instead rejects reality and enters an imaginary world. That explains why Russian leaders behave as if they enjoy the support of the majority of Muscovites, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

There have been more street protests in Moscow in the past five months than in the previous 15 years combined. Of course, the demonstrators account for only about 1 percent of Moscow’s population, but that means that there are several angry, opposition-minded people in practically every apartment building in the city. A Ph.D. in sociology isn’t necessary to understand that Muscovites are unhappy with the ruling regime.

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Awaiting the Next Revolution

The violence that accompanied the inauguration of Vladimir Putin as Russian president this week is an ominous sign that Putin’s apparent desire to rule for life is leading his country toward a dangerous political confrontation.

Initial demonstrations following last December’s fraudulent Russian parliamentary elections were cheerful. Crowds of more than 100,000 kept to agreed meeting places and routes and even thanked the police for showing restraint.

On the eve of this Monday’s inauguration, however, police made 450 arrests and attacked demonstrators with batons, sending at least 17 people to the hospital. More than 20 police were injured by debris and beer bottles thrown by protesters.

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Color revolutions won’t succeed in Post Soviet regions – Nazarbaev

The economy of Ukraine lost its leading positions due to color revolutions. Georgia lives on credits. All these make successful future of these countries doubtful. Kyrgyzstan has ongoing permanent revolution and livelihoods of people do not improve from that, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbaev said in an interview with the Russia-24 television channel.

When asked about risks of recurrence or continuation of color revolutions in the CIS region, Nursultan Nazarbaev said some attempt was observed after the presidential elections in Russia, but color revolutions, their first wave, lost their strength, since the population of the post-Soviet countries became cold eyed.

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ECOWAS moves against the endangered business of coup plotting

From a community once dominated by military heads of state, majority of whom came to power through the usurpation of constitutional order, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) is fast gaining a reputation of intolerance of undemocratic succession to power.

From mere rhetoric and handling of military and undemocratic usurpers with kid gloves, ECOWAS has indeed transformed into a community that is ready to go to war to restore constitutional order.

Barely weeks after sustained pressure, including threat of military intervention, caused a reversal of the forceful take over of government in Mali by elements of its military, the sub-regional body once again bared its fangs against the military junta in Guinea Bissau, which forced its way into power penultimate week.

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‘Attempted military coup against Qatari regime fails’

A military coup was staged against the regime of US-backed Qatari King Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani with no success, a Saudi TV channel reports.

According to Al Arabiya TV, a number of high-ranking military officers rose against the Qatari Emir, triggering fierce clashes between some 30 military officers and US-backed royal guards outside the Emir’s palace, the report said on Tuesday.

The coup was foiled following the arrest of the officers involved in the effort.

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Duma in Spin Over Anti-Color Revolution Council

Russia’s State Duma’s CIS Affairs Committee announced on Tuesday the creation of an “anti-color revolution” council, but then retracted its statement several hours later after what appeared to be reluctance to go ahead with the plan.

Duma’s CIS affairs committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky told Kommersant daily on Tuesday that the committee would establish an “anti-revolution council” to study threats to Russia and CIS-States’ security.

“An expert and consultancy council will be established within our committee,” Kommersant quoted Slutsky as saying.

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Belgium Raises Possibility of ‘Military-Aid’ Move in Syria

Belgium said Sunday that humanitarian intervention in Syria under the protection of military forces would be needed if the regime of Bashar Assad pursues the “path of barbarism”.

“The regime has taken the path of barbarism and I trust President Bashar Assad less and less,” said Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders on TV5 television.

“There is a plan on the table with a deadline, April 10,” he added, referring to a formal U.N. Security Council endorsement of April 10 as the deadline for the Syrian army to withdraw from cities, with a complete halt to violence by all sides 48 hours later.

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The Dominoes Are Falling: Key Events That Could Lead to the CCP’s Disintegration

Beginning in February 2012, it became clear that top leaders in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are locked in a power struggle—a power struggle so intense that as it plays out in public, China watchers are able to analyze it with some accuracy.

The following is a timeline of events—with the most recent on top—that our analysts predict are part of a domino effect that will eventually lead to the disintegration of the CCP.

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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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West’s intervention in Libya tipped Mali into chaos

When Western forces helped topple Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi they forced hundreds of well-armed Tuareg fighters to flee home to Mali, tipping another fragile African state into chaos, experts say.

And for some observers, the Western powers’ role in helping trigger the crisis now gives them a responsibility to help try to end it.

“It must be said and said again that the factor that unleashed all of this is the Western intervention in Libya,” said Eric Denece, director of the French Centre for Intelligence Research (CF2R), a think tank.

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Gulf States to Pay Salaries for Syrian Free Army

Representatives of 60 countries pledged financial assistance to the main Syrian opposition group on Sunday, in an effort to encourage further defections from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

International envoys gathered in Turkey for the “Friends of the Syrian People” conference.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. has agreed to pledge an additional $12 million for a total of $25 million and to provide communications equipment to help the Syrian Free Army organize.

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Foreign Policy Junta: Trained in The U.S.A.

The United States has a long history of inadvertently (and sometimes not so inadvertently) training future coup plotters around the world.

AMADOU HAYA SANOGO

Country: Mali

Training: U.S. military officials have acknowledged that Sanogo “participated in several U.S.-funded International Military Education and Training (IMET) programs in the United States, including basic officer training,” though it’s not yet clear which courses he took. He has affirmed receiving U.S. training in several interviews, but has declined to elaborate. Until this month’s events, the United States allocated $600,000 per year for military training in Mali as part of an effort to combat Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

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Western Powers And Their Mideast Partners Lay Their Syrian Cards On The Table

The Kofi Annan Syrian peace plan has made the gears of the war machine move faster than originally planned. Russia and China have become impatient and want to see this come to an peaceful end ostensibly but their interests are in Syrian and Iranian oil, infrastructure and military sales. U.N. envoy Kofi Annan has met with China’s senior officials and this had led to pressure being put on Assad to agree to the peace plan. Their hope is that their businesses in those respective countries remain the same and they don’t want to lose their investments like they did in Libya after the invasion.

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Syria intervention talk as diplomacy withers

A year of sanctions, diplomacy and harsh rhetoric failed to stop Syria’s bloody crackdown and oust President Bashar Assad. With frustration running high, Turkey and other countries that have staked moral credibility on ending the violence are increasingly looking at intervention on Syrian soil, a strategy they have so far avoided for lack of international consensus and fears it could widen the conflict.

Diplomacy has not yet run its course, but more treacherous options, including aid to Syrian rebels, are likely to come up at a meeting of dozens of countries that oppose Assad, including the United States and its European and Arab partners, in Istanbul on April 1.

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Thousands of Red Shirts take over ‘richest part’ of Bangkok

Thailand’s “Red Shirts” congregated in their tens of thousands at an up-market Bangkok shopping district on Wednesday, preparing a “final battleground” in their fight to oust army-backed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

About 40,000 had gathered by evening as the prospect of further impasse looked set to hit growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy after clashes on Saturday killed at least 22 people, Thailand’s worst violence in 18 years.

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Mali seals presidency as gunfire heard in capital

Mali surrounded its presidential palace with armoured vehicles on Wednesday as heavy gunfire rang out across the capital Bamako and in a nearby barracks, Reuters correspondents said.

Correspondents heard 10 minutes of automatic gunfire coming from close to the state broadcaster, whose programmes went off air. Soldiers blocked the path towards its premises.

The incidents came amid growing anger in the army at the government’s handling of a Tuareg-led rebellion in the north of the country that has claimed dozens of casualties and forced nearly 200,000 civilians to flee their homes.

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Beyond the Fall of the Syrian Regime

Syrians are approaching the one-year anniversary of what has become the most tragic, far-reaching and uncertain episode of the Arab uprisings. Since protesters first took to the streets in towns and villages across the country in March 2011, they have paid an exorbitant price in a domestic crisis that has become intertwined with a strategic struggle over the future of Syria.

The regime of Bashar al-Asad has fought its citizens in an unsuccessful attempt to put down any serious challenge to its four-decade rule, leaving several thousand dead. Many more languish in jail. The regime has polarized the population, rallying its supporters by decrying the protesters as saboteurs, Islamists and part of a foreign conspiracy.

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Analysis: The system will provoke a revolution in Russia

There is already a number of factors that work to decay and disintegration of the system. First – it is the volatility of oil prices, which could undermine our stability at any time, as soon as the price of oil close to $ 70 dollars per barrel. The second – starting collapse of the Soviet industrial structure. Third – the very fact that raskochegarennye hope people, pensioners and working to improve the material status is not justified. reserve fund will be depleted by the end of 2012.

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U.S. intelligence chief sees limited benefit in an attack on Iran

An Israeli bombing attack might set back Iran’s nuclear development program by one to two years, America’s top intelligence official told a Senate committee Thursday, indicating that viable military options are far more limited than Israeli leaders have suggested.

James R. Clapper, director of National Intelligence, said he does not believe that Israel has decided to attack Iran’s uranium enrichment and other nuclear facilities. Clapper said the U.S. intelligence community believes that Iran’s leaders have not decided to build nuclear weapons but are pursuing technology that might allow them to do so.

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