July 26, 2012


B.RAMAN ( Based on my remarks at the launching of Amar Bhushan’s spy fiction “Escape To Nowhere” at the Press Club, New Delhi, on July 23,2012. ) The book has already received rave notices. I have no doubt it will be one of the best-sellers of this year. I am sure an exciting movie will follow provided a woman could be introduced into the film script. One misses the presence of a spooky woman in Amar’s narrative. There are woman-spooks in the R&AW---some doing very well. Any spy-fiction has to highlight their role in Smiley’s World. 2.Amar’s book will have a very high excitement value. I hope it will also have an equally high educative value. There is an acute shortage of scholarly works on the craft and profession of intelligence in India. There is an even greater shortage of works on the craft and profession of counter-intelligence. 3.Some of us, who had served in the intelligence profession, have come out of the spooky purdah and started sharing with the public our thoughts and insights on the state of our intelligence in the hope of better educating the public , but we still hesitate to write freely and frankly on the state of our counter-intelligence lest we unwittingly play into the hands of foreign intelligence agencies looking for clues as to how our counter-intelligence operates. What are their weak and strong points? What are the techniques employed by our counter-intelligence? It is much more difficult to write carefully on counter-intelligence than on intelligence without weakening our armour. Amar has sought to do this, but some professionals will doubt the advisability of his discussing the techniques of surveillance employed by the R&AW. A description of the techniques is exciting for a fiction and a movie, but hazardous and weakening for a counter-intelligence set-up. 4.Your intelligence capability helps you to collect information about others that you need for strengthening your national security. Your counter-intelligence capability enables you to prevent others from collecting information about you which they could use against you. You may be able to collect valuable intelligence about others, but if you are not able to prevent others from collecting intelligence about you, your national security will remain weak. 5.The best intelligence comes from human and technical penetration of other governments, intelligence and security agencies, terrorist and other organizations. In Smiley’s World, there is a demonic competitive bid to penetrate each other. The more capable you are in penetrating others, the better the quality of your intelligence. 6.The highest value is attached to the penetration of foreign intelligence agencies. When you manage to place a mole in a foreign agency, you are not only able to collect high-grade intelligence, but also influence the thinking of the political leadership and policy-makers of the penetrated countries through intelligence officers who are generally very close to the senior levels of decision-makers. That is why when there is a mole in an intelligence agency, it is difficult to make a damage assessment when the mole is discovered. It is comparatively easy to establish what information was lost through the mole, but it is difficult to establish what wrong decisions were taken by the political leaders and policy-makers as a result of the use of a mole by a foreign agency to influence thinking at the decision-making levels. 7. The likelihood of the penetration of an intelligence agency by a foreign agency is a constant nightmare for all counter-intelligence set-ups. The ability of an agency to prevent penetration by a mole depends on various factors---the personal and professional integrity of its officers, their security consciousness, their loyalty to the country, their ethical standards, their ability to withstand temptations, their courage to report to their seniors any indications of suspicious conduct of their colleagues and even close friends. When these factors are weak, penetration is facilitated. 8. That is why we as a nation and the R&AW as an intelligence organization ought to have been worried by the ease with which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) penetrated the R&AW twice and managed to evade detection for a long time .The penetration and the ease with which the CIA and its moles managed to evade detection spoke poorly of the state of counter-intelligence in the R&AW. 9. Maj.Rabinder Singh was not only a mole of the CIA carefully planted deep inside the R&AW, but was also the only mole in our intelligence set-up who managed to give the slip to our counter-intelligence and flee to the sanctuary provided by his controlling agency. Rabinder was India’s Kim Philby, the KGB’s mole in the MI 6, the British external intelligence. 10.In the years after the Second World War, the KGB managed to plant in the MI 6 a network of moles believed to have been operated through Kim Philby. When the network came under suspicion, Philby and two others managed to escape to Moscow giving the slip to the MI-5, the security service, which is responsible for counter-intelligence in the UK. 11.After the escape of Kim Philby, there were many years of agonising debate in the British intelligence establishment on how the KGB managed to penetrate the MI-6 and what damage was caused to national security and to the intelligence establishment. The enquiries brought out shocking instances of ethical permissiveness, lack of integrity and old boys’ network ( I cover you up, you cover me up) that prevailed in the MI 6 that made the penetration possible. Did the KGB’s network consist of only Philby and his two associates who fled to Moscow or were there others who remained undetected? There were some who believed strongly that there was at least one more----the fourth man---who remained undetected and continued to cause damage. 12.The Philby enquiries led to a revamp of the Western counter-intelligence set-ups. Despite this, the KGB managed to penetrate the CIA through Aldrich Ames, who exposed to the KGB the identities of some valuable sources of the CIA in the former USSR and Russia, who were arrested and executed. Weak professional integrity and an old boys’ network in the CIA were among the factors identified for this fiasco. The counter-intelligence set-up in the US has since been further strengthened under the joint leadership of the FBI and the CIA. 13. The Gary Saxena Task Force on Intelligence Revamp set up by the A.B.Vajpayee Governmet in 2000, of which I was a member, had recommended the strengthening of the Counter-Intelligence set-up under the leadership of the IB.The Rabinder Singh episode indicates shortcomings in the implementation of the recommendations. 14.Amar Bhushan was the chief spy catcher of the R&AW, the Czar of its counter-intelligence. He has first-hand knowledge of the sins of commission and omission that prevented the early exposure of Rabinder and enabled the CIA to whisk him out of India. His book, which is in the fictional format, throws some light on what went wrong, how and why. It provides some answers but not all the answers to questions regarding the state of our counter-intelligence. A fictional format cannot be a scholarly in-depth format. It is hoped his initiative in writing this book will act as a trigger for undertaking a more in-depth analysis of the state of our counter-intelligence. ( 23-7-12) ( The writer is Addiotional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt of India, New Delhi

July 25, 2012

Time to take strong action against Pak: Expert (Lisa Curtis)

Lisa Curtis's full article is at the Heritage Foundation website here  (with recommendations listed below).  Her suggestion to Immediately List the (former "equivalent of our freedom fighters" (photo attached)  Haqqani network as a FTO. eclare the Haqqanis as a FTO, although this will inevitably result in declaring Pakistan or the Pakistani Army as a terrorist entity. But for a comprehensive long-lasting solution to South Asia, the jehadi Pakistani army MUST be dismantled (similar to German Army after second world war), allowed to survive as a peacekeepers (thola in local lingo), and with the help of international partners, build a de-radicalized democratic Pakistani government built around its citizenry (a 50 year plan).  But until USA declares Haqqanis as a FTO immediately, don't hold your hopes too high that we are really serious about this farcial "war on terror."  As soon as the Pakistani Army throws a face-saving device to us (which they will having extracted all it can), we will grab it, thank them, and go back to our usual bonhomie with the murders of American soldiers. 
Another way to smother the Haqqani/Pakistani army 24 hours without violence is by doing this:  Declare HaqPak army a terrorist entity. Work with various governments to deport ALL family members/relatives (revoke citizenship, green cards in western countries), freeze/shut down money accounts in all foreign govt. banks, holdings; seize properties/real estate - a chateau in Switzerland, a mansion in London, a Bentley in Dubai, and the RAPE (rich, anglicized Pakistani elite) Pakistanis, including it much vaunted military will COLLAPSE and beg mercy within 24 hours.  Guaranteed to work without firing a single bullet! 
Ms. Curtis quotes WSJ line editorial, the dilemma which I am currently facing trying to explain to my eleven-year old son why General John Allen allowed the killing/wounding of our troops by the Pakistani army (message sent in an earlier email!).  I am glad WSJ has articulated my thougths in its editorial. Young Americans must never loose faith in America! It is upto us ordinary Americans and demand that GOTUS makes this right!
Reggie Sinha


Men and Women have physical and psychological difference between them. My intensions are not to devalue men, but to show the equality of women and men. It is true men are physically stronger than women by nature; they are usually more aggressive and externally oriented. In contrast a woman usually embodies the ideal of inner dignity. Some people confuse such subtlety with weakness; in truth it is stronger than the most aggressive physical force imaginable. True human dignity does not shouts it is stronger, steady voice that speaks from within. The nature of a man while aggressive is not brutish, for man and woman to be complete them each possess both energies. Women have participated in every aspect of life, their achievements are magnificent in the history, but I would like to concentrate how they played a brilliant role in the history of wars and revolution. They have proved that women are the essential life force of revolutions and National struggle. In Islamic history, women joined their men in the battlefields of different wars. 

Abu Nayeem recite that in the battle of Khyber, half a dozen women followed the marching army. The prophet didn't know of this and when he was informed, concerned about the security of women, he angrily asked them why they had come at all. They reverently answered that they had medicines with them, that they would nurse and dress the wounded, take out arrows from the bodies of the soldiers and arrange for their rations, the prophet allowed them to accompany the army and when Khyber was conquered he gave a share of the war booty to the women also. In the battle of Uhud, Nusaybah bint kab al maziniyyah, known as Um Umarah, was involved in nursing and administrating like other women but when she saw prophet (PBUH) in danger, she went forward with her bow in her hand to join small group of archers as they were standing firm with prophet (PBUH) acting as a human shield. Every time danger approached prophet (PBUH) she was there to protect him. Prophet (PBUH) later said wherever I turned, left or right, I saw Um Umarah fighting for me. 

In the political field there are many activities where women can participate. In French revolution, women were especially prominent in food riots in French market places, although men dominated those in countryside, the most momentous French food riot was the women march on the Versailles, this occurred in October 1789 when market women of Paris began calling the men "cowards" and declaring "we will take over". These women proceeded to march to Versailles with soldiers following them. This crowd then forced the king to return to Paris. If we focus on Cuban revolution, women also took part in the armed struggle. The brutality of Batista regime propelled many women to join the revolutionary struggle. Their initial roles, in non-combatant underground work and caring for the male soldiers, did not satisfy many of the women and they demanded equality in the armed struggle, against the opposition of many of the men. Fidel Castro spent a seven-hour meeting, persuading leading opponents that women had the discipline (infect more of it), and also the right to fulfill this role. Later on the women's platoon of the rebel army became known for its discipline and courage, sometimes leading ahead where men feared to go. Thus it was early in the revolution that many men were forced to change their opinion of women capabilities. Samilarly in the Nicaragua revolution, one of the remarkable aspects of the revolutionary process was the

emergence of women as active participants and leaders. Many women often, despite objection from their family members, joined the ranks of the Sandinistas as women and the armed struggle in Nicaragua starting in 1967. Women made up approximately 30 percent of the revolutionary Army and were further involved in activities like organizing, supporting, protecting their female comrades and persuading their husband to join the revolution. Women were important to the success of the revolution in Nicaragua. Balochs women are not less than the others. Qadir marri a prominent Baloch guerilla commander recite, how in the war for independence during Butto era, women used to fetch water from far distances for freedom fighters in the mountains. Water was the basic requirement for the guerilla fighters in kohistan marri where the weather was extremely hot. He says whenever we drank water we used to feel like our mothers, sisters and daughters are firing bullets in the battlefield alongside the men. 

Baloch women also used to take rations to the freedom fighters in the rugged mountains. In Baloch history we can see there were many women who fought the enemies and drove them out of their land. Banadi Baloch even led an army to fight alongside her Baloch brothers. Dadshah's sister always fought beside her brother. Once there was a protest in front of FC Camp in Turbat, which was led by women, but the men, instead of joining this protest, chose to stay away from. The women took out there bangles and threw them on men who were just staring, to make them feel their mothers and sisters are alone standing in front of the enemy and the men are not their to participate with them. These are the evidences from the history, which confirm that Baloch traditions are not against the women participating in armed struggle. There have been written poems about the women who joined the men to defend their motherland. 

Traditions had never been obstacles on their way. Unfortunately there are some ignorant and narrow-minded men who try to impose artificial traditions, which are the blessings of the occupier (Pakistan), that only confine women to the kitchens. If you read the history of Punjab you can realize that they always welcomed the occupiers and conquerors, they not only submitted to them but also pleased them very well from their services. They never resisted them, like Balochs. Occupier state Pakistan is trying to impose its traditions on Baloch since the occupation, like their traditions they want us to submit to the colonial powers. There are some agents of Pakistan who are trying to keep the Baloch women bounded to the self created traditions of these agents, few popular faces of the agents are: Aslam raisani, Zulfiqar magsi, Shafeeq mengal, Siraj raisani, Israr zehri, Sanaullah zehri , Dr.Malik, Hasil Bezinjo and all the parliamentarians of BNP (A), BNP (M) and NP. their intentions are obvious if we see how they threw acids on Baloch sisters. It seems the enemy is fully determined to prevent Baloch women from participating in the National struggle. Pakistan fears Baloch women because they are aware of our history. In Baloch society women have been an integral part of uprisings. Someone can ask these men who try to prevent the women from participating in political activities, "How can you talk about honor and dignity when you have forgotten Zarina Marri ?" What traditions they are talking about?

Since Balochistan is occupied, there are no traditions left for us. From 27th march 1948 Baloch nation has been enslaved. Slave nations are not considered as human beings and alive. Then what traditions we are talking about? Currently Pakistan and her agents (parliamentarians) are spreading their dirty thoughts in Baloch society, like participating in elections, when it comes on elections these parliamentarians feel nothing bad in using the women as their tools to accumulate votes and let them roam in cities all day to fulfill their unjust cause. Participating in elections mean submitting to the occupier, which is an absolute reflection of Punjabi traditions. Baloch true traditions are related to their National struggle for freedom. Once we are freed we can practice our own and true traditions of Balochs. Only the Baloch freedom strugglers, who, since the occupation, are continuously resisting the occupier Pakistan, reflect the true Baloch traditions. For a free and independent Balochistan, where we can preserve our traditions, we have to participate in Baloch national struggle like Banok Karima Baloch and other brave Baloch women. 

Baloch men and women should break all these false artificial traditions like Banok Karima and many others have done. I truly and from the bottom of my heart appreciate pro-independence organizations and parties like BSO-AZAD where Banok Karima as a woman has been given this opportunity to work and struggle alongside her brothers; she is the first women who is the vice chairperson of a revolutionary organization. Recently BRP has taken a good step by establishing a women wing of its revolutionary party. Baloch women should join the armed struggle for liberation and other political activities too. We hope BRP, BNM, BNV and armed political organization (BLA,BLF,BRA) should provide more opportunities for women in the national strugglefor freedom, as soon as possible. Baloch Nation is going through very intense and critical circumstances; we have to do whatever we are capable of. It is not must for every women to participate in armed sturggle, but some women can go from one house to another and organize the women, they can give study circles, and lectures, few of these activities are even possible in Arabian Gulf states either. 

Social networking is possible for anyone no matter where she is living, writers should write, readers should read and share their knowledge with other sisters to help them to understand their rights. Back home in Balochistan women can do military recruitment and participate in protests, demonstrations, join pro-independence organizations, they should always keep eyes on every military movement and inform freedom fighters. Civil disobedience, pamphleting, and wall chalking are also effective methods to boost the morale of activists. Our Baloch brothers should make an effort and provide useful books to their sisters, and encourage them to read these books. These are all possible if the pro-independence parties and Baloch pro-independence forces start mobilizing women regarding these purposes. All the revolutionary parties should start communicating with the women everywhere. 'A people whose women fight alongside men - that people is invincible' Fidel Castro Mahdem Baloch.

July 24, 2012

Turning Into PIIGS: Why France's Debt Crisis Could Doom the EU


Bill Bonner

From one ragged country to another. We are on a tour of Europe's unraveling economies. Ireland...Spain...and now France.

Spain was in the news again yesterday. Its borrowing rate rose to 7.5%...a level that everyone says in "unsustainable." We haven't done the math ourselves, but we will take their word for it.

Policy makers in Madrid were rattled. Naturally, they took no responsibility for the mess. Instead, they blamed...short sellers! Yes, and banned short selling for 3 months. 

That ought to do it, right? Everybody knows markets go down because people sell. So make selling illegal. Problem solved!

Now our travels have brought us back to France. At the heart of Europe...and at the heart of the alliance with Germany and the whole European Union project, if France can't keep itself together...the whole EU is doomed. 

And yet, France seems to be hanging by a thread too...while Francois Hollande reaches for a pair of scissors!

The Telegraph:
The debt levels which the country has are as unsustainable as Britain's, yet its policies are more irresponsible and its remedies more restricted. Although it is considered a core country in the eurozone, France's economic profile now bears more resemblance to Greece's [than] Germany's.

Public debt in France is at 86.1pc of GDP (146pc if ECB liabilities and bank guarantees are included). The projected budget deficit this year is 4.5pc, with France having exempted itself from the EU's instruction to bring deficits down to 3pct by the end of the year.

These numbers are not unusual in the context of eurozone economies in general. What distinguishes France is the lack of political will to address them and, as a consequence, a projected debt to GDP ratio which would place it firmly amongst the PIIGS grouping...
France's numbers are not so different from those of the US. But America has a very big bazooka....one that France does not have...at least not yet. The US can give out the word to its central banks to buy its own bonds. It can 'monetize the debt' in other words. 

This is always a disastrous policy...but that doesn't make it unpopular. And in a period of debt destruction, the disaster may be far in the future...and it may not be suffered by the people who cause it. But France doesn't have that option. It has to operate in a more honest system...like the individual US states. Which means, it has to cut spending.

But Mr. Francois Hollande doesn't seem particularly interested in addressing the situation in a reasonable way. The Telegraph describes his efforts so far:

Lowering the pension age from 62 to 60.

Increasing the minimum wage above inflation (albeit not much above inflation).

Demanding that the EU take even more money from the national governments than was planned, violating a prior agreement and potentially adding £3bn to Britain's annual tribute.

Introducing a top rate of income tax at 75pc for those earning €1m or more — a move which gives a marginal rate of tax of 90.5pct on certain types of income.

Introducing a tax on anyone owning assets in France but living abroad which will see 15.5pc of the rent or capital gain on property transferred to the state.

Introducing a one off wealth tax at double the rate which had been previously trailed.

Yesterday, a lunch companion explained how the French are reacting:

"France is finished. We're leaving! Well, of course, I'm exaggerating. Young people with talent, brains and ambition are leaving. And old people with money are leaving. That leaves the middle classes...and what you call the 'zombies.' And there are more and more of them. France is becoming a divided place. But it's not divided between those with money and those without...it's divided between those who work and those who don't. Those who do honest work have to work harder and harder to support those who don't work."

Meanwhile, from back in the USA, the Dow fell another 100 points yesterday. Why? Word got out that corporate earnings projections show the slowest growth in 4 years... This was reported as more evidence of approaching recession. 

..and more evidence that the Fed needs to take action. 

"Touch us. Heal us. Give us more QE," said the multitudes. And the economists.

It is probably just a matter of time until the big bazooka fires off another blast...


Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning

Nuclear and Ballistic Missile Defense Deals

By Michael Krepon

The 2005 civil nuclear agreement between President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was characterized as a boon for U.S.-India relations and a grave threat to Pakistan's national security.  It was widely heralded by U.S. advocates as opening the Indian market to American-designed power plants, combat aircraft, retail goods and insurance companies. The deal was also supposed to usher in a new era of strategic cooperation, as Washington assisted New Delhi to become a counterweight to China. In Pakistan, the deal was seen as the harbinger of a steep build up in Indian nuclear forces. 

Wildly optimistic and pessimistic assessments of the deal have been unwarranted. Seven years after its announcement, Indian policies continue to make it very hard for U.S. firms to invest and to sell their goods and services.  U.S. military cooperation and arms sales have certainly increased – which would have been the case with or without the deal -- but New Delhi remains as vigilant as ever in protecting its strategic autonomy. Indian leaders will continue to resist choosing between Washington and Beijing – unless Beijing becomes belligerent.  Over time, increased U.S. market share in some sectors are likely to be realized, but for now, the dividends are far below expectations.

The only true believers in the civil-nuclear deal, beside its U.S. boosters, were the stewards of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.  Nuclear requirements, which were set high to begin with, appear to have grown higher still after the deal.  Pakistan began construction on a fourth Plutonium production reactor to increase Pakistan's inventory of nuclear weapons, it imposed a veto against negotiations for a fissile material cut-off treaty, and it explicitly endorsed requirements for battlefield, or tactical nuclear weapons.

The civil nuclear deal added insult to injury in Pakistan, where it was perceived as providing an international escort for India to sit at the high table of states possessing nuclear weapons, while leaving Pakistan out in the cold.  The deal was characterized as a threat to national security because it permitted a significant influx of foreign-origin nuclear power plants and fuel, because Indian authorities stated their intention to build eight new, unsafeguarded domestic power plants, and because India's breeder reactor program would produce a flood of new fissile material.

These worst-case nuclear planning factors have not panned out. India has purchased Uranium from abroad for its power plants, freeing up domestic material for bomb-making, but the Indian Parliament has strongly resisted liability limits for foreign companies, which stands in the way of power plant construction for the United States and other sellers.  Domestic construction of power plants also remains in the doldrums, and the ambitious plans of India's Department of Atomic Energy for breeder reactors are as suspect as those of the Defense Research and Development Organization for the development of tanks, planes and missiles.

DRDO's promises have become even more wildly optimistic under the leadership of Dr. V.K. Saraswat, who is now promising effective, near-term ballistic missile defenses for Delhi and Mumbai.  India appears to have flight tested six BMD interceptors. The United States, in contrast has flight tested 67 interceptors since 2001, 53 of which have very generously been labeled as successes.  Even so, U.S. BMD programs face severe challenges.  If Dr. Saraswat is to be believed, India will not need U.S. assistance for ballistic missile defense deployments. Far more likely, significant U.S. assistance would be required – if BMD deployments are a higher priority for New Delhi than new ships, planes, and improved equipment for ground forces, and if the necessary funding can be found.

All of these premises are dubious, but this need not foreclose Indian requests to Washington for ballistic missile technology transfers.  Limited U.S. BMD deployments and technology transfers in tense regions is warranted where U.S. allies and friends are threatened by the nuclear and missile programs of outlier states. Washington has a responsibility to protect and to demonstrably shore up states that have abstained from acquiring nuclear weapons in this way, among others. In these cases, BMD deployments have the possibility of countering rudimentary missile threats while shoring up the Nonproliferation Treaty.  These arguments don't apply to the subcontinent, where Pakistan and India are already growing significant nuclear arsenals outside the purview of the NPT.        
The civil-nuclear deal and DRDO's record of poor performance suggest that it would be wise to avoid unduly optimistic and pessimistic assessments about Indian missile defenses. Nonetheless, U.S. technology transfers for BMD, like the civil nuclear deal, would have little up-side potential and considerable down-side risk. These transfers would not help India produce an effective missile defense system, nor change New Delhi's embrace of strategic autonomy. They would, however, add further impetus to a three-cornered nuclear arms competition in southern Asia. President Obama has not endorsed BMD transfers, but President Romney might.   
Michael Krepon is co-founder of Stimson and director of the South Asia program.  Another version of this essay appeared in the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn, on July 23, 2012.

US, Pakistan trust very low: Feinstein


July 24, 2012 - Updated 126 PKT 
From Web Edition

WASHINGTON: The trust between the US and Pakistan is very low, a top American Senator has said, ahead of the crucial visit of the new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to Washington.
Noting that the relationship between US and Pakistan is very important, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that she would like to see an improved relationship between the two countries.
"I think it's very important. I would like to see an improved relationship. I'd like to do anything I possibly could to help that improved relationship," Feinstein said in response to a question as the World Affairs Council-Washington.
"I think there is a new head of the Pakistan intelligence unit. I think we have made very clear to Pakistan what our concerns are. "And the Pakistanis agreeing to reopen the GLOCs, which are the routes in which equipment comes into Afghanistan, I think that's a very good sign," she said. "We now have another problem with attacks coming from Pakistan directly into Afghanistan, and so there is a real need there for Pakistan to step up.
This will be a test. Will they step up? Will they stop these attacks? And we need to develop trust. The trust is very low between the two countries. So these are some of the things that I think need to get done," she said.
Feinstein said that there's no question that Osama bin Laden raid into Abbottabad created friction with Pakistan. "But it's very difficult for most of us to believe that Osama bin Laden can live in a relatively large compound in a military-related community for over five years and that community does not know that he's there," she said.
"So this was a very important take-down because this was the head of the movement to kill Americans, 3,000 of them, on 9/11 in those great buildings in New York City.
"And that was a mission really very carefully and very well carried out," Feinstein said.


Trust between US and Pakistan very low: Feinstein

Washington, Jul 24 (PTI) The trust between the US and Pakistan is very low, a top American Senator has said, ahead of the crucial visit of the new head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to Washington.

Noting that the relationship between US and Pakistan is very important, Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said that she would like to see an improved relationship between the two countries. "I think it's very important".

ISI, CIA chiefs to meet in Washington next month

The much awaited meeting between the spy masters of Pakistan and United States has been scheduled for August 2 at Langley on the picturesque banks of the Potomac River in the suburbs of Washington DC, where the visiting Director General of Inter Services Intelligence (DG ISI) Lt General Zaheerul Islam will have a detailed interaction with his US counterpart, CIA Chief General David Petraeus. 

The meeting and visit of General Zaheer was earlier called off unilaterally by Pakistan two months ago during adverse developments in the ties of the two countries. General Zaheer will stay in the US capital for one day.


Source: Mail Today

The position India is taking on the unfolding Syrian crisis does not do honour to our diplomacy.  We supported last week the western resolution providing for sanctions on Syria under Chapter V11 of the UN Charter unless its government effectively ended its military operations against the insurgents who are backed by the West, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 


Russia and China vetoed this one-sided resolution which imposed specific and verifiable obligations on the government such as ceasing, within ten days, troop movements towards population centres and all use of heavy weapons there, a complete pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres and withdrawal of  troops and heavy weapons from these centres to their barracks etc. No obligation was imposed on the armed opposition groups, apart from a general exhortation to "all parties, including the opposition (to) cease all armed violence in all its forms". The resolution took no cognizance of the role of the external backers of the armed groups and sought no end to outside interference. 

In these circumstances, the provision to extend Kofi Annan's UN mission to Syria for another 45 days- something that Russia and China(and India) favoured- became a casualty.  The West has, in reality, little attachment to Annan's mission as it serves to delay what they want- President Assad's quick ouster- while Russia and China (and India) support it in the forlorn hope that some negotiated way out of the crisis can be found. 

Kofi Annan's mission has been subsequently salvaged, with the Security Council unanimously approving( July 20) a compromise western resolution extending the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria for 30 days, with the possibility of extension should there be a cessation of the use of heavy weapons and a reduction of violence by all parties in Syria. The "all parties" referred to will not abjure violence as religious ideology and larger geopolitical objectives are involved. The regime will combat the armed opposition groups to protect itself and the country's multi-ethnic secular foundations. The latest resolution is therefore an exercise in cynicism by those who remain bent on regime change and those who are willing to clutch at such diplomatic straws to uphold their position that the Syrians themselves and not external powers should decide on political change in Damascus. 

If India's conduct in the UN Security Council is questionable, it is because India is buffeted by contradictory considerations of principle and pragmatism in adopting a position. Conscious of its transformed relationship with the US,  India is reluctant to oppose the latter on issues like Syria in the UNSC where its conduct is under scrutiny in the context of its permanent membership aspirations. India is exhorted by the West to assume its "international responsibilities" as a would-be global power on humanitarian and democracy-related issues, which means endorsing the policy of imposing sanctions on delinquent states as identified by them.  India's foreign investment and growth needs dispose its policy makers to bridge political gaps with the US as much as possible. India's vast energy, trade, manpower and remittance linkages with the Gulf countries contrast with limited economic ties with Syria,  placing a premium on pragmatism in defining our position.


On the other hand, strategic autonomy  means taking positions in conformity with our fundamental thinking about the conduct of international relations, even if our western partners find them disagreeable.  The abhorrence for externally enforced regime change seems to have got dissipated in our political thinking.  Syria may be different from Iraq and Libya in method but not in objective.  Western leaders are insisting on Assad's departure and warning that his days are numbered. They are supporting the armed opposition groups; their media has launched an information war against Syria;  for ostensible humanitarian reasons they are creating conditions for a large scale human disaster there. Why should we implicitly support regime change in Syria?

In our longer term interest we should not be complicit in the destruction of secular authoritarian regimes in the Arab world and their replacement by authoritarian Islamist ones. The veneer of democracy being given to these developments is false. The US, which has managed fundamentalism in the Gulf for decades and even promoted it in our region till recently for geopolitical ends, may believe it retains enough levers to manage the developing Islamist trends in the Arab world in which allies like Saudi Arabia and Qatar  are playing a catalysing role. But India is getting exposed to a longer term threat by the lurch of the Islamic world towards Salafism.


India's explanation India for voting for the western resolution on Syria is disingenuous, as it refers only to India's desire to preserve Kofi Annan's mission and ignores completely the sanctions provision that Russia and China were objecting to. Not taking into consideration Russia's cogent arguments against the western resolution reflects a departure from our oft-stated positions, along with Russia, on respect for sovereignty, non-interference in internal affairs of countries, opposition to regime change and support for multilateralism and multi-polarity.  

Our compliant attitude at New York contrasts with the position taken by South Africa which abstained and criticized the western resolution as one-sided. Pakistan too abstained, and opened up space for itself, unlike us, to jointly work with Russia to draft a joint resolution on extending the Kofi Annan mission as an alternative to the UK draft. This reflects poorly on our diplomcy with Russia on Syria. 

A compromise between principle and pragmatism dictated abstention by India on the vote on Syria. If we should not oppose the West when they are right because of old prejudices, we should not support them when they are wrong out of new fears.

The writer is a former Foreign Secretary

New ‘Top Gun’ training academy is not a “private army,” says Maverick owner

New 'Top Gun' training academy is not a
Defence IQ 

New 'Top Gun' training academy is not a "private army," says Maverick owner

Contributor:  Andrew Elwell
Posted:  07/24/2012  12:00:00 AM EDT  |  0   


What if a commercial enterprise could buy a fleet of fighters, lease an international airbase and hire out their services to militaries around the globe for them to train their air forces against within a network-centric warfare environment. A privately-owned integrated opposing force (IOPFOR).

Sound like an ambitious plan? Not for Melville ten Cate, Founder of Schiphol-based ECA Program B.V. In 2005, despite the obvious protestations from naysayers about acquiring aircraft from Russia, ten Cate decided he was going to give it a try. http://www.ecaprogram.com/index.html

"How do you know it's impossible? Has anyone actually been to Moscow to try it?"

He told me in an interview: "Two weeks before the Paris Air Show we sent a fax over to Moscow to see if they were open to discussing the idea and 24 hours later we received a response saying there would be a delegation waiting for us."

And so the venture was set into motion. While ten Cate admits that "things became a lot more complicated, really quickly," the business plan ECA has put together is commercially viable; earlier this year the firm raised €283 million (£220 million) from investors.
"Ultimately the idea was to see if we can do Red Flag again. We came to the conclusion that governments didn't have the money anymore to do this out of their own pockets … it's too expensive. Not only do individual nations not have the cash, they also don't have the perceived threat to justify spending that cash."

"It's very important to note that we represent a generic enemy," ten Cate said. "We're not imitating anybody."
ECA has been in negotiations with the Belarusians for some time as it tries to get the acquisition of a fleet of Sukhoi Su-27 "Flanker" jets off the ground.
However, ECA is not buying the Flanker so that opposing forces can learn how to defeat it. It is also looking to acquire more lightweight fighters, such as the Chengdu J-10, RSK MiG-35 and Saab Gripen to offer a more diversified training platform for customers. It is not, ten Cate insisted, acquiring the J-10, MiG or Gripen so that militaries can understand how to fight against the J-10, MiG or the Gripen.

How can ECA assure its suppliers that the aircraft they provide will not be exploited by other militaries? Doesn't it compromise tactical relevance?
According to ten Cate there are two key reasons why he doesn't believe this is an issue. First, many of the systems ECA is procuring can be modified, or "dumbed down."
"We don't need a lot of the systems you'd expect for a typical fighter; we don't have war modes. We don't have data links to communicate with missiles because we're not firing any missiles. We don't have missile approach warning systems. We don't need to have the same sort of jamming capabilities that you would expect from an operational unit."

The other important factor is that, as ten Cate points out, "the Flanker isn't really relevant as a threat anymore." The platforms that ECA is looking to acquire are not the next generation threat – it's not the F-35.

"We're providing a fourth generation training support system in a world where … all the manufacturers are focusing on the fifth generation aircraft. The Flanker secrets, the MiG secrets, the J-10 secrets are all pretty much out there; buy a book on Amazon … you can puzzle it together, it's not that difficult.
"There's about 3% which is locked in a vault that you don't get to know about but the rest, with a bit of research, you can get a good picture of what's going on. With the Flanker and MiG the cat's out of the bag."

ECA is providing training support, acting as an opposing force to its customers. For these purposes it doesn't need to use the latest platforms. One of ECA's key selling points is not the promise of training against a specific fighter; it's fighting an opposing force in an integrated and network centric environment.
It's the integration of fighters with a range of other real-world systems that makes ECA's offering unique.
"Everybody keeps coming back to the question about which plane we are going to use," said ten Cate. "But the plane isn't that important when you consider the big picture of the integrated network. The plane is just another tool in that network, same as ground-based radars or antennas. The plane is a node on a network, it doesn't operate alone and nor does it operate by itself."
Could it really work?

In all government departments "outsourcing is now becoming more acceptable as an alternative" due to budget restrictions.
ECA offers its customers a "fractional ownership" of its jets and systems, which will include C4ISR capabilities, jammers, cyber warfare programmes and, potentially, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars.

"Now that people have less money in hand they become more open to the Avis Rent A Car concept: you pay for what you use."
The company has raised a significant amount of capital, with which it's already bought six lightweight aircraft, so investors must be able to see value in the business case. So too can the end user, with ten Cate saying that a number of Air Forces have shown interest in the project.

"We've been talking to the Singaporeans and to Middle Eastern Air Forces like the Saudi's, the Qatari's, the UAE. We've been talking to the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy and we've been talking to the Canadians … You can include the Swedish, the Norwegians, France and the Dutch too.
"There is definitely a market for this kind of training, but the key word is: control."

ECA is aware that there are a number of issues that could hinder the progress of its IOPFOR concept. Chief among these is the fear from customers that some of their tactical information will leak if they use ECA's training services. How can they be sure that all the computers will be wiped after use, leaving no trace of sensitive data? How can they be sure there aren't any 'sniffing' devices on the aircraft?

"We have to put procedures in place to give our customers the confidence that we can control all of these variables … but as we grow and our operations become more well-known I think this will become less of an issue. We know we have to build that trust first."
Melville ten Cate says that outsourcing sensitive military operations to the private sector is "the price you pay to make training affordable." It's the affordability aspect that ECA's IOPFOR project hinges on. There is a demand for an aggressor combat training service if it's provided at an attractive price point. 
What about those that say you're accruing a "private army"?

"It's completely ludicrous," ten Cate said abruptly and bluntly.

"We've heard this so many times that I could be very abrupt and very blunt about it but the claims are absolutely ludicrous.
"It's a conspiracy theory gone haywire. I know it'll always be there, just like some people will always want to believe that the Pentagon was really hit by a cruise missile [during the 9/11 attacks], because it sells newspapers and makes for good reading.

"But the fact is we disarm all of our aircraft, we don't have any operational armaments, and we don't even have the software for it. We're a training support company."
You get the impression ten Cate has been waiting to set the record straight on that issue. ECA is a commercial enterprise and it's important to note that the combat fighter training isn't the only project ECA is exploring.

"We're not just working on the IOPFOR concept. What keeps getting missed is that we're looking at other ventures too – for example we have an A320 VVIP conversion programme where we hope to operate a fleet of VVIP jets in about 12 to 16 months. That often gets swept under the carpet."
With an army of investors to satisfy ten Cate knows that the company cannot rely entirely on military customers; it needs a balanced order book. IOPFOR accounts for around 80% of ECA's activities at the moment but ten Cate is working at bringing this down to 60% in the coming years.

The next step

In October the company is conducting its first operational deployment where it will be acting as an opposing force, conducting sorties over three weeks which will include signature management, target recognition and data sharing exercises.

"Getting a good report from the operational deployment in October should help in securing the funding at the end of this year," said ten Cate. "It will park the whole thing in reality."

ECA is looking to raise another €150 million (£117 million) by the end of the year to acquire more assets. The company expects to be at full operational capability, which will include everything like all the ground systems and C4ISR capabilities as well as the aircraft, by "no later than 2014."
"There are people out there who operate aircrafts, but that's just aircraft," said ten Cate. "It's not integrated, there's no cyber or electronic warfare aspect to the training, there's no command and control or any network centric capabilities whatsoever. What we're doing is a completely new industry."
Elon Musk, the entrepreneur that The New York Times dubbed the world's first Thrillionaire, was viewed with suspicion when he said he wanted to send tourists to Mars a decade ago. Yet last year, when his company SpaceX became the first private entity to send a rocket to dock with the International Space Station, the Head of NASA declared this "a new era of space exploration."

Ambition is often laughed at before it's lauded. The telephone, Henry Ford's motor company, the microwave – history is littered with examples.
"We are the way of the future, we're on the cutting edge of a growing market segment," ten Cate said. "We're the guys with the microwaves."

Money Is Technology!


Byron King

Money, although most people don't view it as such, is technology.

Think about it. Money is not a "natural" thing.

Money is a human abstraction. Money is an idea that's harnessed to certain standards. For example, archaeologists tell us that primitive societies used colored stones, seashells or pieces of bone as money.

Then for much of human history (including now, depending where you are), mankind used gold, silver and copper as money. In the 13th century, Kublai Khan introduced what some consider the first paper currency (the "chao") throughout China — an idea that Marco Polo brought back to Europe.

The point is that across the ages, money is a construct — an invented tool — whether it's seashells, gold, paper currency or even digital ones and zeros on a mobile device app.

Another way of viewing it is that money is an agreed-upon standard. Money is like time zones, where it's the same time to the east, west, north and south. Money is like a standard unit of measurement, where a pound of steel weighs the same as a pound of feathers. Or money is like the width of railway gauge, so that rail cars from one railroad can run on the tracks of another railroad.

Thus, money is, at root, technology as much as any other basic machine like the wedge, lever or wheel. And along with other basic machines, the idea of money has evolved over many thousands of years of human history.

Today, Kublai Khan's Chinese "chao" have evolved into modern U.S. Federal Reserve notes, as well as the multitude of other world currencies, from pounds to euros to yuan and much more.

When Money Breaks Down...

Now, I'd like you to consider what happens when a system of money — a system of technology — doesn't work, or just breaks down. It brings to mind an old expression from the Soviet Union, that "They pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work."

In other words, the Soviet Union was a society with a centrally planned command economy. The system of account, exchange and value was geared for the good of the state, but not much geared for the overall good of the people.

Over time, the currency — the Soviet ruble — ceased being much good for anything. Indeed, the ruble was a dodgy unit of account, a poor medium of exchange and a problematic store of value. Basically, there was little to buy in the Soviet command economy, and the Soviet people behaved accordingly. Their "money" (such as it was) shaped their attitudes.

The Soviets may have had good technology when it came to things like building tanks, rockets and nuclear bombs. But the Soviet economy failed to deliver for the good of the people. Eventually, the Soviet ruble was an economic technology that failed — along with the national construct known as the Soviet Union.

The Best Time-Tested Technology: Precious Metals...Silver

Looking ahead, I'm concerned with the trajectory of U.S. governance and the future of the economy. But I don't anticipate that the U.S. federal system will somehow collapse, like what happened with the Soviet Union — although I'm willing to have that talk at another time and place.

Still, for the life of me, I cannot envision how the U.S. will avoid more inflation. Federal spending is out of control, and the economy is struggling to gain traction.

I don't see how U.S. "monetary technology" — the dollar — can hold its value over the long haul. Next to moving out of the country to Singapore (like Jim Rogers, for instance), my fallback position is to keep building a precious metal portfolio based on physical metal and investing in well-run miners.

Along with gold, every portfolio should have exposure to silver.

Indeed, if you don't own physical silver — coins, small ingots, bars, etc. — then get some! Buy metal and take delivery. I've been saying that for a number of years, since silver was selling at $10 per ounce. Don't dwell over the near-term ups and downs. Silver is your safety fund for if (or when) the wheels come off the economic bus.

The recent silver selloff is due to turn around — silver is currently selling in the range of $27 per ounce. That's far above the historical lows of $5-10 per ounce from the early 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. But it's also far down from the high over $45 last year.

Silver has a long, steadfast history as money, going back to ancient times. Yet it's also a substance with a promising future, thanks to its critical role as an industrial-technological metal. Aside from the traditional uses as money, silver has innumerable uses in electronics, medicine and other metallurgical applications.

In the past several years, silver prices have moved due to demand driven by investors. Silver appeals, along with gold, as a safe (at least, safer) haven as an investment in times of economic uncertainty. Like now.

Money is technology. Many modern currencies are a failing technology. It's time to get back to basics, and that means silver.


Byron King
for The Daily Reckoning

Consequences of the Fall of the Syrian Regime

July 24, 2012 | 0900 GMT

By George Friedman

We have entered the endgame in Syria. That doesn't mean that we have reached the end by any means, but it does mean that the precondition has been met for the fall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. We have argued that so long as the military and security apparatus remain intact and effective, the regime could endure. Although they continue to function, neither appears intact any longer; their control of key areas such as Damascus and Aleppo is in doubt, and the reliability of their personnel, given defections, is no longer certain. We had thought that there was a reasonable chance of the al Assad regime surviving completely. That is no longer the case. At a certain point -- in our view, after the defection of a Syrian pilot June 21 and then the defection of the Tlass clan -- key members of the regime began to recalculate the probability of survival and their interests. The regime has not unraveled, but it is unraveling.

The speculation over al Assad's whereabouts and heavy fighting in Damascus is simply part of the regime's problems. Rumors, whether true or not, create uncertainty that the regime cannot afford right now. The outcome is unclear. On the one hand, a new regime might emerge that could exercise control. On the other hand, Syria could collapse into a Lebanon situation in which it disintegrates into regions held by various factions, with no effective central government.

The Russian and Chinese Strategy 

The geopolitical picture is somewhat clearer than the internal political picture. Whatever else happens, it is unlikely that al Assad will be able to return to unchallenged rule. The United States, France and other European countries have opposed his regime. Russia, China and Iran have supported it, each for different reasons. The Russians opposed the West's calls to intervene, which were grounded on human rights concerns, fearing that the proposed intervention was simply a subterfuge to extend Western power and that it would be used against them. The Chinese also supported the Syrians, in part for these same reasons. Both Moscow and Beijing hoped to avoid legitimizing Western pressure based on human rights considerations -- something they had each faced at one time or another. In addition, Russia and China wanted the United States in particular focused on the Middle East rather than on them. They would not have minded a military intervention that would have bogged down the United States, but the United States declined to give that to them.

But the Russian and Chinese game was subtler than that. It focused on Iran. As we have argued, if the al Assad regime were to survive and were to be isolated from the West, it would be primarily dependent on Iran, its main patron. Iran had supplied trainers, special operations troops, supplies and money to sustain the regime. For Iran, the events in Syria represented a tremendous opportunity. Iran already held a powerful position in Iraq, not quite dominating it but heavily influencing it. If the al Assad regime survived and had Iranian support to thank for its survival, Syria would become even more dependent on Iran than was Iraq. This would shore up the Iranian position in Iraq, but more important, it would have created an Iranian sphere of influence stretching from western Afghanistan to Lebanon, where Hezbollah is an Iranian ally. 

The Russians and Chinese clearly understood that if this had happened, the United States would have had an intense interest in undermining the Iranian sphere of influence -- and would have had to devote massive resources to doing so. Russia and China benefitted greatly in the post-9/11 world, when the United States was obsessed with the Islamic world and had little interest or resources to devote to China and Russia. With the end of the Afghanistan war looming, this respite seemed likely to end. Underwriting Iranian hegemony over a region that would inevitably draw the United States' attention was a low-cost, high-return strategy.

The Chinese primarily provided political cover, keeping the Russians from having to operate alone diplomatically. They devoted no resources to the Syrian conflict but did continue to oppose sanctions against Iran and provided trade opportunities for Iran. The Russians made a much larger commitment, providing material and political support to the al Assad regime.

It seems the Russians began calculating the end for the regime some time ago. Russia continued to deliver ammunition and other supplies to Syria but pulled back on a delivery of helicopters. Several attempts to deliver the helicopters "failed" when British insurers of the ship pulled coverage. That was the reason the Russians gave for not delivering the helicopters, but obviously the Russians could have insured the ship themselves. They were backing off from supporting al Assad, their intelligence indicating trouble in Damascus. In the last few days the Russians have moved to the point where they had their ambassador to France suggest that the time had come for al Assad to leave -- then, of course, he denied having made the statement.

A Strategic Blow to Iran 

As the Russians withdraw support, Iran is now left extremely exposed. There had been a sense of inevitability in Iran's rise in the region, particularly in the Arabian Peninsula. The decline of al Assad's regime is a strategic blow to the Iranians in two ways. First, the wide-reaching sphere of influence they were creating clearly won't happen now. Second, Iran will rapidly move from being an ascendant power to a power on the defensive. 

The place where this will become most apparent is in Iraq. For Iran, Iraq represents a fundamental national security interest. Having fought a bloody war with Iraq in the 1980s, the Iranians have an overriding interest in assuring that Iraq remains at least neutral and preferably pro-Iranian. While Iran was ascendant, Iraqi politicians felt that they had to be accommodating. However, in the same way that Syrian generals had to recalculate their positions, Iraqi politicians have to do the same. With sanctions -- whatever their effectiveness -- being imposed on Iran, and with Iran's position in Syria unraveling, the psychology in Iraq might change.

This is particularly the case because of intensifying Turkish interest in Iraq. In recent days the Turks have announced plans for pipelines in Iraq to oil fields in the south and in the north. Turkish economic activity is intensifying. Turkey is the only regional power that can challenge Iran militarily. It uses that power against the Kurds in Iraq. But more to the point, if a country builds a pipeline, it must ensure access to it, either politically or militarily. Turkey does not want to militarily involve itself in Iraq, but it does want political influence to guarantee its interests. Thus, just as the Iranians are in retreat, the Turks have an interest in, if not supplanting them, certainly supplementing them. 

The pressure on Iran is now intense, and it will be interesting to see the political consequences. There was consensus on the Syrian strategy, but with failure of the strategy, that consensus dissolves. This will have an impact inside of Iran, possibly even more than the sanctions. Governments have trouble managing reversals.

Other Consequences

From the American point of view, al Assad's decline opens two opportunities. First, its policy of no direct military intervention but unremitting political and, to a lesser extent, economic pressure appears to be working in this instance. More precisely, even if it had no effect, it will appear that it did, which will enhance the ability of the United States to influence events in other countries without actually having to intervene.

Second, the current situation opens the door for a genuine balance of power in the region that does not require constant American intervention. One of the consequences of the events in Syria is that Turkey has had to reconsider its policy toward countries on its periphery. In the case of Iraq, Turkey has an interest in suppressing the Kurdistan Workers' Party militants who have taken refuge there and defending oil and other economic interests. Turkey's strategy is moving from avoiding all confrontations to avoiding major military commitments while pursuing its political interests. In the end, that means that Turkey will begin moving into a position of balancing Iran for its own interests in Iraq.

This relieves the United States of the burden of containing Iran. We continue to regard the Iranian sphere of influence as a greater threat to American and regional interests than Iran's nuclear program. The decline of al Assad solves the major problem. It also increases the sense of vulnerability in Iran. Depending on how close they are to creating a deliverable nuclear weapon -- and our view is that they are not close -- the Iranians may feel it necessary to moderate their position.

A major loser in this is Israel. Israel had maintained a clear understanding with the al Assad regime. If the al Assad regime restrained Hezbollah, Israel would have no objection to al Assad's dominating Lebanon. That agreement has frayed since the United States pushed al Assad's influence out of Lebanon in 2006. Nevertheless, the Israelis preferred al Assad to the Sunnis -- until it appeared that the Iranians would dominate Syria. But the possibility of either an Islamist regime in Damascus or, more likely, Lebanese-style instability cannot please the Israelis. They are already experiencing jihadist threats in Sinai. The idea of having similar problems in Syria, where the other side of the border is the Galilee rather than the Negev, must make them nervous. 

But perhaps the most important losers will be Russia and China. Russia, like Iran, has suffered a significant setback in its foreign policy that will have psychological consequences. The situation in Syria has halted the foreign-policy momentum the Russians had built up. But more important, the Russian and Chinese hope has been that the United States would continue to treat them as secondary issues while it focused on the Middle East. The decline of al Assad and the resulting dynamic in the region increases the possibility that the United States can disengage from the region. This is not something the Russians or Chinese want, but in the end, they did not have the power to create the outcome in Syria that they had wanted.

The strategy of the dominant power is to encourage a balance of power that contains threats without requiring direct intervention. This was the British strategy, but it has not been one that the United States has managed well. After the jihadist wars, there is a maturation under way in U.S. strategy. That means allowing the intrinsic dynamic in the region to work, intervening only as the final recourse. The events in Syria appear to be simply about the survival of the al Assad regime. But they have far greater significance in terms of limiting Iranian power, creating a local balance of power and freeing the United States to focus on global issues, including Russia and China.

Read more: Consequences of the Fall of the Syrian Regime | Stratfor 

US-India ties: A sagging 'strategic partnership'

July 24, 2012 12:49 IST

Even as the prime minister's office and the foreign ministry deepen ties with Washington, the defence ministry cold-shoulders the Pentagon [ Images ], notes Ajai Shukla.

US Deputy Secretary of Defence Ashton Carter's ongoing tour to Japan [ Images ], Thailand, India [ Images ] and South Korea illustrates Washington's "rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region" that President Barack Obama [ Images ] first enunciated on January 3. In that momentous policy speech, India alone was mentioned as a strategic partner that had to be courted.

Since then, New Delhi [ Images ] has presented an increasingly ragged spectacle, deterring prospective suitors with strategic foot-dragging, non-governance and a decelerating economy. And so Japan, not India, was Carter's first destination. In Tokyo, Carter hailed Japan as America's "central and anchoring" ally in Asia. "Naturally I come here first, to Tokyo," he proclaimed. Was this just diplomatic hyperbole?
But New Delhi hardly cares! Even as the prime minister's office and large chunks of the foreign ministry deepen ties with Washington, A K Antony's defence ministry systematically cold-shoulders the Pentagon.
Antony has ignored Ashton Carter's appointment as Defence Secretary Leon Panetta's point man on India, charged with cutting through red tape in Washington and New Delhi and facilitating joint development and production. Like Panetta, Antony has a competent deputy, M M Pallam Raju, who could join hands with Carter to channel defence high technology to India.

But Antony, as many know, opposes the US on a dual count: ideology and inertia. His left-of-centre political roots in Kerala [ Images ] predispose him towards a distance from capitalist America. And his personal aversion to decision-making kicks in with double strength when the proposed decision is contested. In this case it involves a strategic relationship with a country that has confronted India during the Cold War, socked us with technology sanctions, and played ball with Pakistan and, hell, China.
But there is also a counter argument, since a defence relationship with the US offers incontestable advantages. These include weaning our military off its crippling reliance on Russia [ Images ] and a dubious dependency on Israel.

Can there be a more equal relationship with Washington? That would involve mastering the US technology control regime, a legislative maze seemingly custom-designed to provide employment to an army of lawyers and bureaucrats in the US capital.

For most of India's strategic elites, navigating their way around these regulations is too cumbersome. And so they prefer to air grievances, castigating America for denying us technology.
A common complaint in India is: "The Americans want to sell us weaponry, but not to part with technology." This is now being challenged by US officials as senior as Leon Panetta and Ashton Carter, who insist that the US is willing to partner India in the joint development of high-tech weaponry. What, then, does it take for Washington and India to become security partners? It is important to understand the mechanics.

All US-India policy discussion on defence technology is conducted through the Joint Technology Group. The Indian side of the JTG consists of the Defence R&D Organisation, or the DRDO. On the US side is the OUD (A,T & L), the cumbersome abbreviation for the office of the undersecretary of defence for acquisitions, technology and logistics.

Unlike the DRDO, whose discussion team consists mainly of scientists, the OUD (A,T & L) brings to the table a formidable combination of managers, lawyers and scientists.
While the JTG handles policy, the DRDO processes any joint R&D proposals with its three counterpart laboratories in the US defence department. But the crucial factor on the US side is funding. An American laboratory can only pursue an R&D proposal if one of the US armed forces is willing to fund the project. In India, the DRDO is pre-allocated funding through the defence budget.

This could also be done on a government-to-government (G2G) basis. If a DRDO laboratory wants to adopt the G2G route for a joint project with a US laboratory to develop state-of-the-art underwater sonar, the proposal would be mooted through the JTG. The JTG would allocate the project to a suitable US agency, which would then have to persuade the US navy to fund their share of the development cost.
This means that the US military must see some practical utility in financially sponsoring joint R&D. With Antony bent on keeping the US military at arm's length, and unwilling to sign even a logistical support agreement for fear of being sucked into America's wars, the American military has little reason to view their Indian counterparts as friends who deserve technological support.

If there is likelihood of early change, it is in the maritime domain where America's "rebalance to the Asia-Pacific" seems likely to boost interaction between the two navies. Meanwhile, Washington has undertaken a major review -- called the Export Control Reform Initiative -- of its export control system. There is consensus that the current system is "confusing, rigid, and controls too many items for the wrong reasons", to quote Ashton Carter. Washington's export control horizon is set to change and India must prepare to benefit from these changes.
Ajai Shukla

July 23, 2012

July 15: Balochistan's Memorial day

WASHINGTON-DC. Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA) pay highest tribute to Shaheed-e-Watan Nawab Nauroz Khan and his sons and Nephews on Balochistan's Memorial day for scarifying their lives for motherland Balochistan. Their Sacrifices along with thousands of other Baloch Martyrs will not go in vain. We are resolute to continue their mission until Balochistan is free from all the occupiers and united. 

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those Baloch nationals who have died in the service of our great nation. It is a day of reconciliation of all the Baloch worldwide. It is day about coming together under one flag to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, commonly known as Babu Nouroz was the chief of the Zehri tribe of Balochistan. He started the armed resistance against the occupation of Balochistan by Pakistan. The Pakistani armed forces could not militarily contain the Baloch freedom struggle, and thus they changed tactics and offered amnesty to the Baloch fighters as well as "peaceful" negotiations to resolve the Baloch grievances over the oath of Holy Quran.

As soon as the Baloch freedom fighters ended their struggle to opt for peaceful negotiations, the conniving Pakistani armed forces reneged on their promises and arrested all of them, including Nawab Nauroz, his sons, nephews and followers. On July 15th, 1960, in the Hyderabad and Sukker Jails, the Government of Pakistan executed through hanging the sons, nephews and followers of Nawab Nauroz Khan Zarakzai, and imprisoned him for life where he died on December 25, 1965, in Hyderabad jail.

Related links:
Nawab Nauroz (Nowroz) Khan: Wikipedia
Balochistan Insurgency - Second conflict 1958-59

Visa scam involving Pakistan’s Olympic team uncovered

Agencies | 15 hours ago

The London Olympics are set to begin at the end of July. -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: A British tabloid has allegedly uncovered a visa scam involving Pakistan's Olympic contingent.

According to the investigation, a group of travel agents and politicians are involved in the scam which allows anyone to travel with the Pakistani contingent as support staff if they pay a certain amount of money.

Fake passports, travel documents, a visa for two months and a letter from the Pakistan Sports Board claiming that the person is part of Pakistan's Olympic support staff can all be arranged for around one million Pakistani rupees (7000 pounds), it was reported.

Abid Chodhary, the politician and Dream Land travel agency were allegedly involved.

The British and Pakistani authorities have been notified. Pakistan's advisor to the Prime Minister on interior, Rehman Malik, said that the relevant people have been informed and will be looking into the matter.

Malik has formed a joint investigation team to investigate the scam.The team would include officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Intelligence Bureau (IB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The Director General (DG) FIA would head the investigation team.

Eight employees of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) have been suspended and Chairman Nadra Tariq Malik has  has ordered inquiry into the matter.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani official, while talking to DawnNews, rubbished the story as an attempt to discredit Pakistan. He also added that it was not possible for anyone to sneak in as part of Pakistan's contingent as there were proper checks conducted and a lot of documentation required.

July 22, 2012

The world's only floating church?

The harbour chapel in Sandefjord, on the south coast of Norway, could be the world's only floating church.

The chapel has a very unique architecture compared to most other churches. It is built on a raft, and its design is based on two boathouses that used to be located where the chapel is now moored.

The idea of a chapel on the pier originated in 1997, and was a suggestion by former vice mayor Inger Marie Aurlien, explains Per Ramberg, who carried the idea forward after Aurlien passed away in 2001.

"Aurlien's idea was to build a holy space close to Kilen in Sandefjord, which soon became a new neighborhood in Sandefjord, Ramberg says. An association led by Ramberg was established in 2000, whose goal was to build a pier chapel.

Different donors funded the church, and the foundation Kristian donated money for the actual raft. Most of the work was done by volunteers who wanted to lend a hand and see the project completed.

The names of several whalers that had passed away were put up on memorial plaques in the chapel - an industry Sandefjord became well-known for from the 1850s. Tourists as well as residents visit the chapel, and many people wish to see the names of the many whalers who never returned from the South Seas.


Julie Ryland

When will Pakistan’s affair with terror end?

By G Parthasarathy 21st July 2012 11:09 AM

Is India the sole victim of Pakistan's State-sponsored terrorism? While some Indians may believe that this is indeed the case, the reality is somewhat different. Hounded out of Sudan by American pressures, Osama bin Laden had nowhere to go in 1996. But, lo and behold, he headed for Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, then a virtual ISI protectorate. Laden soon joined Taliban leader Mullah Omar in creating an "International Islamic Front," committed to worldwide jihad, with a particular focus on countries ranging from Israel and the US, to Russia, the Central Asian Republics, Saudi Arabia, China and India.

Two close allies of Pakistan — the US and Saudi Arabia — were the targets of bin Laden's al-Qaeda. He turned against Saudi Arabia and vowed to overthrow its monarch after the king allowed American forces (regarded as kaffirs) to be stationed in Saudi Arabia in 2000. Despite this, Pakistan turned a blind eye to and even encouraged the links that bin Laden and the Taliban forged with Pakistani and other jihadi groups worldwide. Shortly after bin Laden arrived in Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda targeted American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and placed explosives on the US naval ship, USS Cole, in Yemen. At the same time, elements of the al-Qaeda clashed with Saudi security forces. The Americans responded with an unsuccessful cruise missile attack on one of bin Laden's hideouts in Khost, in southern Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia's powerful intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal met Mullah Omar in Kandahar and demanded that bin Laden should be extradited to Saudi Arabia. Mullah Omar flatly refused.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the US responded with the invasion of Afghanistan. bin Laden became the most wanted terrorist in the world. Helped by followers of Taliban warlord Sirajuddin Haqqani, who remains a close ally of the ISI, bin Laden crossed into the tribal areas of Pakistan in November 2001. He lived briefly in Peshawar, before moving to Haripur near Islamabad, along with two of his many wives, four children and a few grandchildren. His youngest and favourite wife Amal gave birth to two children in government hospitals, when he was in Haripur.

In 2005, bin Laden moved from Haripur to the heavily guarded cantonment town of Abbottabad, where he lived in a huge mansion, barely one kilometre away from Pakistan's prestigious military academy. Amal gave birth to two more children in Abbottabad, though her life became somewhat uncomfortable when bin Laden was joined by his first wife Khairiah in 2011. There was no love lost between these two ladies. When the Americans stormed the Abbottabad residence on May 2, 2011, they found that bin Laden's entourage included his son Saad bin Laden, who was gunned down, apart from three wives, eight children and five grandchildren.

Despite the circumstances under which bin Laden and his large family and entourage were living in a cantonment town, where not a bird can fly without the army's knowledge, Pakistan still peddles the fiction that the ISI did not have a clue about the whereabouts of the world's most wanted terrorist. Moreover, bin Laden was also public enemy No. 1 in two countries — Saudi Arabia and the US — which have sustained Pakistan financially and militarily for over five decades.

Can one, therefore, seriously believe that Pakistan will suddenly have a "change of heart" and turn over Hafiz Saeed and the perpetrators of the 26/11 outrage to India? Have we forgotten that Dawood Ibrahim, the perpetrator of the 1993 Mumbai bomb attacks in which 250 people were killed and over 700 injured, lives in plush comfort in the elite Defence Housing Society of Karachi? Members of the Babbar Khalsa, which was responsible for the assassination of Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, still roam around the Dera Sahib Gurudwara in Lahore. The use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy by the Pakistan army will end only when it finds the costs of such a policy unaffordable