July 15, 2017

North Korea: Intra-elite Conflict and the Relevance for Global Security


14/07/2017 Hazel Smith Government

Courtesy of Life As Art/Flickr. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This article was originally published by Pacific Forum CSIS on 24 May 2017.

‘This third-generation Kim already holds the titles of supreme leader, first secretary of the party, chairman of the military commission and supreme commander of the army – but he wants even more. This Kim wants recognition, vindication and authentication.’ The Observer, May 8, 2016

This description of Kim Jong Un is not the most lurid; in fact, it is representative of broadsheet analysis of the leadership of North Korea. It reduces analysis of the leadership of a state of 25 million people, which has an indigenous advanced scientific capability sufficient to develop nuclear weapons and advanced ballistic missile technology, to a level more appropriate to the pages of an airport pot-boiler. It trivializes analysis of a conflict that involves all the world’s great military powers, and which intermittently looks as if it might spill over into warfare that military planners from all sides assess will cost millions of lives, however and whenever the conflict ends.

The focus on Kim Jong Un as supreme leader is misplaced and dangerous. It obscures and prevents discussion of where real power lies in North Korea.

State power today lies with a number of key individuals who are engaged in savage intra-elite political competition and who exercise power via control of North Korea’s security institutions. In turn, those institutions are used by powerful individuals to fight for political and physical survival. These zero-sum political competitions are also struggles for who controls the nation’s new foreign trading companies – the North Korean ‘chaebols’ – and the access to personal wealth and enhanced power offered by such economic leverage.

The conventional prism of leadership omnipotence – the same prism that the North Korean leadership propaganda tries very hard to sell at home and abroad – is not very helpful. It precludes investigating who holds substantive power and why, and how power can shift. We must rethink intra-elite conflict in North Korea and the consequences of these conflicts for security planners dealing with North Korea.

Kim Jong Un – why we need to change the prism

Our character sketches of Kim Jong Un are entirely speculative – and have virtually zero evidential foundation. Equally without authoritative foundation is the assumption that Kim’s holding of specific offices equates to the holding of actual, untrammelled power. Anyone who has ever had any contact with North Korea – diplomats, humanitarian officials, businesses – knows that the person in charge is rarely the formal office-holder. In Kim’s case, the jury is still out.

In some ways, it is understandable why global analysts have focused entirely on Kim Jong Un in trying to analyze North Korean decision-making. They assume that, even if there were differences of opinion within North Korea’s power elite, then both the common interests of the elite and the concentration of power in the leader would make these differences inconsequential in terms of political decision-making in North Korea.

Yet today both these assumptions are moot. There is a mass of evidence to show intra-elite divisions on a scale that has not been seen since the 1950s and there is, equally, not much evidence to suggest that Kim Jong Un has direct control over important levers of state power.

Intra-power elite conflict

There are few indications that any single individual has unchallenged domination of state institutions, although we see the continuing dominance of Hwang Pyong-so within key state, party and, most importantly, military security institutions. Hwang is one of the three vice-chairmen of the State Affairs Commission, whose chair is Kim Jong Un, and which replaced the National Defense Commission in 2016 as the senior executive body in the DPRK. Hwang also controls the surveillance and security mechanism of the military as director of the General Political Bureau [GPB] of the Korean People’s Army [KPA]. Hwang’s power appears to have been institutionally enhanced in 2016 when the Military Security Office (formerly Military Security Command) – responsible for rooting out anti-regime activity in the military and civilian sectors, which formerly reported directly to the National Defense Commission (the predecessor of the State Affairs Commission) – was subordinated to the General Political Bureau under Hwang’s authority.

Hwang’s ascent to power came via brutal intra-elite warfare that involved principals and their families. Hwang’s wife is reported to have died, in either 2010 or 2012, as a result of an interrogation ordered by Kim Won Hong, who was himself deposed as minister of State Security in 2017. It is also reported that in 2014 and 2015, Hwang had the Military Security Office arrest Kim Won Hong’s son, Kim Cheol, who, again reportedly, suffered a stroke during his interrogation. South Korean intelligence officials have recently stated that an ally of Kim Won Hong, Kim Yeong Cheol, former head of the powerful Reconnaissance General Bureau, one of a number of powerful military intelligence organizations, was forced to undertake ‘re-education’ in 2016.

Intra-elite North Korean conflict is not founded on ideological differences. The largely unquestioned ideology is not communism but a lowest common denominator nationalism, not dissimilar in objective and articulation from the nationalism espoused in South Korea. The aim is unification and the underpinning ideology is that all Koreans share a nearly 5,000-year history that can be traced back to the national founder, Tangun, and are distinctive in blood line and culturally homogeneous. Today, as in South Korea, North Koreans live in a capitalist economy (although not a liberal one).

Neither is intra-elite competition about state goals, the most important of which is to prevent regime change. The common understanding is that the nuclear ‘deterrent’ does just that – it deters military intervention from abroad. Another shared goal is that of economic development and an awareness that foreign investment is necessary to achieve this goal. It is this economic goal that may propel North Korea to respond positively to overtures from South Korean President Moon Jae-in to reopen negotiations on denuclearization – with the hope of a substantial package deal involving eradicating sanctions, gaining public capital inflows, and encouraging private international investment.

Nor are regime rivalries fundamentally conflicts of bureaucratic interest of the different state institutions – e.g., the army, the Party, the security apparatus – although these institutions are mobilized in intra-elite conflict.

In the war between the different centers of power in North Korea, control over the military security apparatus is paramount. The military is the only organization of the state that has maintained continuous funding and organizational capacity since the economic collapse of the 1990s (and even this is relative, as there are indications of some degradation of command and control systems). KPA security officials, because of their subordination to military discipline, have fewer opportunities than their civilian counterparts to participate in individual market activities, which effectively involve local security officials flouting the law to sustain their own living standards.

The wealth nexus

The motor force of the new capitalist economy in which all of North Korea – government, institutions, and individuals – is embedded is provided by the North Korean foreign trading companies that grew fairly spontaneously from the ashes of the command economy that was destroyed by the famine and economic collapse of the 1990s. Similarly to the chaebol in South Korea or the zaibatsu in Japan, the most important of these enterprises established themselves (and defeated competition from other incipient capitalist businesses) as a result of their ability to secure backing from influential political individuals.

In North Korea trading companies are legalized by the ‘waku’ or licensing system. Foreign trading companies must receive a ‘waku’ from an official entity – of the Party, military or the state, or a part of those entities, for example the different security apparatuses. The official in charge of these agencies acts as ‘patron’ of the individual trading company and, to a greater or lesser extent, the fortunes of those companies and the individuals who provide the license become interchangeable.

There are many important trading companies, many of which are, in the context of analyzing intra-elite struggles, matter because they add another dimension to complexity in the power plays in Pyongyang. Capitalism breeds competition for profits and markets that in turn fuels political rivalries between key players among North Korea’s political elite.

Lines of control of the big trading companies in North Korea are, predictably, somewhat murky but it is thought that Kim Won Hong’s son, Kim Cheol, controlled the important Cheongbong Trading Group and his father controlled the Shinheung Trading Group. Hwang’s political attacks on father and son therefore constituted an attack on family economic security.

Illustrative of the nexus of power/wealth and family struggles is the fate of the Seungri Trading Group, which was formerly controlled by Kim Jong Un’s uncle, Jang Song Thaek. After Jang’s execution in 2013, Seungri Trading was incorporated into the Korea Songsan Economic and Trading Group, today controlled by Hwang Pyong-so and de facto managed by his foster daughter, Ri Yeong-ran.

Missing a trick

The focus on Kim Jong Un misses a trick – perhaps the trick. The febrile, fragmented, and brutal competition between power-holders in North Korea looks by no means to be over and explains much more about North Korea’s decision-making than any assumption of omniscient leadership. This is well-illustrated by the recent arrests of US citizens in Pyongyang – perhaps best explained by one set of security institutions demonstrating muscle, not to the outside world but to rival security institutions.

The killing of Jang Song Thaek in 2013 and Kim Jong Nam in 2017 may be signs of a ruthless young leader eager to demonstrate his hardline credentials. An equally plausible explanation is that these were power plays by experienced political players designed to show to the inexperienced Kim Jong Un that the Kim family is no longer exempt from the fray.

Given the intensity and ferocity of today’s intra-elite rivalries, rational actor behavior, in the sense of state-directed means-ends behavior in which the central state holds together all state institutions in the pursuit of a nationally determined strategy, is extraordinarily difficult. Internecine rivalry has also likely degraded command and control systems to the extent that coherent and consistent state security decision-making and implementation cannot be guaranteed.

Elite priorities remain that of survival and that has come to mean physical survival in the face of internal enemies, which must seem much more imminently threatening than the long-anticipated intervention from abroad.

About the Author

Professor Hazel Smith is a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London

Malabar naval exercise: Cautious China 'listens' as India, US and Japan bond on sea


IndiaSujan DuttaJul, 15 2017 15:46:19 IST

New Delhi: Through the winds and waves in the North Bay of Bengal on Saturday and Friday night, a formidable battle group surrounded the USS Nimitz supercarrier of the US Navy, seeking to protect it from a possible submarine attack.

Protecting an aircraft carrier from possible surface, undersea or aerial attack is the primary responsibility of a navy battle group.

INS Sahyadri during Malabar naval exercise 2017. Image courtesy Indian Navy

In simulating the protection of the carrier, the Indian Navy and a flotilla from the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) were practising drills that they have carried out earlier.

The first time it happened in waters close to India in the Bay of Bengal was exactly a decade ago this month. From Port Blair, the capital of the Indian archipelago of the Andamans, a C2 Greyhound COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) took off and landed on the USS Nimitz. In 2007, the Nimitz and the then outgoing US aircraft carrier, the USS Kitty Hawk, and the Indian carrier the INS Viraat, made up three aircraft carriers in that year’s Exercise Malabar.


It wasn’t the first of the series of such exercises held every year. But 2007 marked a difference of magnitude. Flotillas from five navies hosted by India converged in the Bay of Bengal for the wargames. They included, apart from the Indian and the US’, Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

Even as the exercises were underway, China issued a demarche to the Indian government. Beijing wanted to know from New Delhi why it was hosting such drills. The question that was unstated: is this the beginning of an Asian NATO?

Following that, the then UPA government with AK Antony as defence minister decided, all international maritime exercises involving the Indian Navy would be kept bilateral, meaning if the Indian Navy was in drills with the US, no other country would be allowed to participate.

Cut to 2017.

This is the second time on Indian shores — the third time in a series — that the Indian, US and Japanese navies are in the Malabar wargames. A request from Australia to participate in the drills has been kept pending by New Delhi for nearly three years now. As the warships left Chennai and maritime surveillance aircraft of the Indian and US navies — all US-origin Poseidon 8s — took off from INS Rajali in Arakonnam — China also began deploying personnel of its PLA-Navy to Djibouti, a naval base on the Horn of Africa. Even as the Indian-US-and Japanese warships turn around to return to port from the latest edition of the Malabar series of wargames or set sail for onward destinations, a Chinese fleet is due to transit through the Straits of Malacca and waters close to the Bay of Bengal.

In the Indian Navy, there is strong suspicion that the Chinese flotilla is accompanied by — or it has already deployed — submarines and surveillance warships to "listen into" the Malabar wargames.

But that is not deterring either of the participants in going through what they are claiming is among the largest and most complex of naval wargames to ensure “interoperability” – an euphemism to prepare for acting together as a coalition in the event of hostilities.

New Delhi and Washington DC, in particular, are well on the way to reinforcing an already going military relationship. Earlier this morning, in Washington DC, the US House of Representatives passed an enabling act that could allocate upto $621.5 billion to promote defence cooperation with India. The US Department of Defense and the US State Department have been given six months within which to propose a roadmap to intensify the cooperation.

But that roadmap is most likely to depend on India agreeing to sign a new military pact, called the COMCASA – Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement. The COMCASA is the most recent nomenclature for a pact the US proposed more than a decade-and-a-half back. It was then known as the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). India has been hesitant because of fears that such a pact could compromise its military-grade communications equipment.

Year after year, however, and especially in the current edition of the Malabar exercises, the US has sought to demonstrate that a CISMOA or a COMCASA would allow Indian and US military platforms to "talk" to one another seamlessly.

This correspondent has been aboard US and Indian warships during exercises at least thrice — and once last year in the Persian Gulf on the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier — where the US was operating with its 5th fleet partners — and has personally seen the communication that was made possible simply among coalition partners.

India, on the other hand, insisted in 2015 that it would like to use its own communication nodes. But they were incompatible with the US’ and the Indian Navy finally accepted within its warships and submarines "talk boxes" of the US navy for the purpose of the Malabar exercise.

The current and latest edition of the exercise in the Bay of Bengal coincides with an unusually long stand-off between the Indian and Chinese armies. Also, in the South China Sea, where China is locked in maritime disputes with five countries, Indonesia renamed part of its maritime boundaries on Thursday irritating Beijing further.

Like a decade back, this edition of the Malabar series also has three carriers. The Japanese flat-deck carries only helicopters. The USS Nimitz can carry about 90 aircraft of different types. India’s Russian-origin INS Vikramaditya – the only carrier in service in the Indian Navy today – operates the MiG29Ks, also of Russian-origin.

On the deck of the USS Carl Vinson in the Persian Gulf last March — the carrier from which Osama Bin Laden was given a sea-burial after being killed in Pakistan’s Abbotabad in 2011 — the thump of aircraft landing and the boom of aircraft taking off never ends.

It is the same on the Nimitz. This correspondent landed on the Nimitz in 2007 on a C2 COD — short for carrier onboard delivery — going from a speed of 300kmph to zero in 15 seconds flat. The aircraft was “arrested” by cables strung across the deck. From the Nimitz, he was “shot off” — like a human arrow from a bow — in the same plane that was catapulted to fly in the sky.

Ten years back this month, the USS Nimitz, the US’ largest ship, steamed into Indian waters captained by a man who was called “Nasty”. That was Captain Michael C Manazir’s “call sign”. All pilots from carriers have call signs.

In the Bay of Bengal today, there are signs for calls too: from a trijunction in the Himalayas between India, China and Bhutan. And from the Pentagon in Washington DC.

The New Silk Road will go through Syria



Road to Aleppo: The Chinese don't forget that Syria controlled overland access to both Europe and Africa in ancient Silk Road times. Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad monitor traffic on the road to Aleppo in Syria on July 10, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Omar Sanadiki.


China and Syria have already begun discussing post-war infrastructure investment; with a 'Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction' held in Beijing

By PEPE ESCOBARJULY 13, 2017 7:12 PM (UTC+8)7,34725

Amid the proverbial doom and gloom pervading all things Syria, the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune sometimes yield, well, good fortune.

Take what happened this past Sunday in Beijing. The China-Arab Exchange Association and the Syrian Embassy organized a Syria Day Expo crammed with hundreds of Chinese specialists in infrastructure investment. It was a sort of mini-gathering of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), billed as “The First Project Matchmaking Fair for Syria Reconstruction”.


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And there will be serious follow-ups: a Syria Reconstruction Expo; the 59th Damascus International Fair next month, where around 30 Arab and foreign nations will be represented; and the China-Arab States Expo in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui province, in September.

Qin Yong, deputy chairman of the China-Arab Exchange Association, announced that Beijing plans to invest $2 billion in an industrial park in Syria for 150 Chinese companies.

Nothing would make more sense. Before the tragic Syrian proxy war, Syrian merchants were already incredibly active in the small-goods Silk Road between Yiwu and the Levant. The Chinese don’t forget that Syria controlled overland access to both Europe and Africa in ancient Silk Road times when, after the desert crossing via Palmyra, goods reached the Mediterranean on their way to Rome. After the demise of Palmyra, a secondary road followed the Euphrates upstream and then through Aleppo and Antioch.

Beijing always plans years ahead. And the government in Damascus is implicated at the highest levels. So, it’s not an accident that Syrian Ambassador to China Imad Moustapha had to come up with the clincher: China, Russia and Iran will have priority over anyone else for all infrastructure investment and reconstruction projects when the war is over.

The New Silk Roads, or One Belt, One Road Initiative (Obor), will inevitably feature a Syrian hub – complete with the requisite legal support for Chinese companies involved in investment, construction and banking via a special commission created by the Syrian embassy, the China-Arab Exchange Association and the Beijing-based Shijing law firm.

Get me on that Shanghai-Latakia cargo

Few remember that before the war China had already invested tens of billions of US dollars in Syria’s oil and gas industry. Naturally the priority for Damascus, once the war is over, will be massive reconstruction of widely destroyed infrastructure. China could be part of that via the AIIB. Then comes investment in agriculture, industry and connectivity – transportation corridors in the Levant and connecting Syria to Iraq and Iran (other two Obor hubs).

What matters most of all is that Beijing has already taken the crucial step of being directly involved in the final settlement of the Syrian war – geopolitically and geo-economically. Beijing has had a special representative for Syria since last year – and has already been providing humanitarian aid.

Needless to add, all those elaborate plans depend on no more war. And there’s the rub.

With the demise of Daesh (ISIS), or at least its imminent loss of any significant urban center, no one knows in what manner a fragmented, phony Caliphate “Sunnistan” might be manipulated into cutting Syria from its New Silk Road future.

Qatar has already provided a game-changer; Doha has gotten closer to Tehran (common interests in South Pars/North Dome gas-field oblige), as well as Damascus – much to the despair of the House of Saud. So, unlike the recent past, Qatar is not engaged in regime change anymore. But still there are the diverging interests of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and, of course, Washington, to accommodate.

A possible scenario out of what Putin and Trump negotiated in Hamburg – that was not relayed by either Lavrov or Tillerson – is that the ceasefire in southwestern Syria, assuming it holds, could mean US peacekeeping forces in effect sanctioning the creation of a demilitarized zone (DMZ) between the Syrian Golan and the rest of the country.

Translation: the Golan de facto annexed by Israel. And the “carrot” for Moscow would be Washington accepting Crimea de facto re-incorporated into the Russian Federation.

That may sound less far-fetched than it seems. The next few months will tell if this is indeed a plausible scenario.

The other big sticking point is Ankara against the YPG Kurds. Contrary to the ominous and quite possible Balkanization scenario, Washington and Moscow might well decide, in tandem, to let them sort things out by themselves. Then we will inevitably have the Turkish army occupying al-Bab for the foreseeable future.

The bottom line: that Saudi Arabia gets nothing. And Israel and Turkey get political/military “wins”. It’s hard to imagine how Moscow could possibly sell this arrangement to Iran as a victory. Still, Tehran may not have a free flow Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezbollah route totally back in action, but it will maintain close relations with Damascus and be engaged in the expansion of the New Silk Roads.

The key question from now on seems to be whether Washington will follow the deep state “Syraq” policy – as in “Assad must go” mixed with support or weaponizing of non-existent “moderate rebels”; or whether Trump’s priority – to eliminate Daesh/ISIS for good – will prevail.

Beijing, anyway, has made up its mind. It will work non-stop for the Iran-Iraq-Syria triumvirate to become a key hub in Obor. Any bets against a future, booming Shanghai-Latakia container route


(Daily Sangar)  BLF is striving for a free Balochistan since its inception

The core reason for the establishment of the organization has always been to reinstate the separate Baloch identity and regain motherland's sovereignty from the occupier Pakistan.With the founding of the organization, BLF along with armed struggle, began to create political
and ideological awareness to Baloch nation and has endeavored to bring Baloch people from all walks of life together to join the armed struggle, so that the masses consciously, politically and ideologically get involved in the resistance. Because, the struggle for independence is impossible
without the participation of masses.
On the fundamental principle of freedom of occupied Balochistan, BLF is educating the Baloch nation to be ideologically and politically aware. Ideologically motivated BLF fighters, along with armed resistance, expanding the struggle with political awareness across Balochistan.

Baloch nation is destroying occupying state’s army and responding in a befitting manner to the parliamentarian tools, death squads, religious extremists including countering the occupying state’s propaganda machinery and its fake narrative.

Organization's fundamental principle is to ensure vetting and educating BLF fighters enough, so that the weapon in their hands must remain a weapon in the hands of a revolutionary and their steps may never startle defending motherland.
Today, in the length and breadth of occupied Balochistan, BLF's brave fighters are present on the ground with their revolutionary weapon in defense of their country against Pakistan's regular army and other security forces.

Certainly, fighting on various fronts at once against Pakistan army, federalists, local agents, informers, death squads, drug dealers and religious extremists is difficult. But at every given moment, BLF fighters are sacrificing their lives and vigorously leading the Baloch national struggle on the principles of the organization towards the ultimate goal.
Balochistan Liberation Front is the embodiment of its martyrs and nation's unaccounted for sacrifices and if God wills, the struggle, with the organization's principles and values will reach the

The journey is certainly long and difficult, but the destination of this revolutionary war is independent Balochistan upon which Baloch’s survival and national identity depends.BLF Activities Published by “Ashoob” from the statements of BLF spokesperson Gwahram Baloch issued in Electronic and Print Media.

During the first six months of 2017, 241 attacks were carried out on Pakistani

More than 228 soldiers were killed, 118 plus injured, 67 military vehicles including 13 motorcycles destroyed.

9 attacks were carried out on Pakistan army’s construction company Frontier Works Organization (FWO), working on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, more than 24 (FWO) personnel were killed and dozens injured including a FWO officer, 6 vehicles of (FWO) damaged. Blown up two bridges.

5 attacks carried out on Pakistan Army’s death squads, 7 militants of ISIS affiliated terrorist organization were killed.

2 main electricity transmission towers and one Pakistan Telecommunications Ltd. (PTCL) transmission tower on CPEC route were destroyed.

Attacked on mineral exploration company’s convoy consisted of seven vehicles in Kandaro area of Wadh district Khuzdar, Balochistan and the mineralextraction site including all the machineries were destroyed.
One military vehicle loaded with rations taken into custody which were being delivered to a Pakistani army camp in Mangoli area of Mashkay district Awaran.
In Taplo area of Zamuran, a construction company camp was attacked, tractors and other machineries in the camp were burned, the construction company was working on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the construction company including army camp were intensively attacked due to which heavy casualties reported.

Brave martyrs of Balochistan Liberation Front

From January 2017 to June 2017, Seven BLF fighters stood firmly in the struggle of independence and sacrificed their lives defending the country.

The ideology of our martyr comrades is not only the asset of our organization but also a guide to the path of righteousness.
We pay highest tribute to our martyrs’ invaluable services and sacrifices for the nation.

On 11 January 2017, Commander Mohammad Jan aka Baba Darvish fought bravely and embraced martyrdom after helping his comrades to break out from Pakistani forces encirclement. Baba Darvish was affiliated to BLF for more than a decade and has defended his motherland in many fronts against Pakistani army.

In Baalgathar, Tump, Mand, Kolwah and Zamuran areas, BLF fighters under his command defeated Pakistani forces in many battles.

He stood like a wall at his last moment in front of Pakistan army and successfully helped his comrades to safely break out from the enemy encirclement

On 25 February 2017, Commander Rafiq Baloch Shahsawar aka Duda embraced martyrdom while fighting against the enemy forces and helped his comrades safely break out the enemy forces encirclement.

On 07 March 2017, BLF fighter Zubair Baloch aka Rustam Jan Resident of Buleda district Kech, got ill for several days and passed away.

On 08 May 2017, Commander Asghar Dadullah aka Nako embraced martyrdom while fighting against the enemy in Gayab, Mand district Kech, Balochistan.

28 May 2017, Commander Chakar Josh son of Dr. Rauf aka Jadok and BLF fighter Abdul Salam Abdul Ghafar aka Ali Jan, on Saturday were on routine patrol between Kaleero and Kross Thank and came face to face to the enemy forces and embraced martyrdom while defending motherland.

Commander Josh was an educated youth, his services in war battles is a unique part of the history and guidance for other young fighters. He was a nationalist poet, who with his poems spread awareness, patriotism and national identity awareness in youths and overall nation.
He joined BLF in 2009, and his services in cities were invaluable, with his excellent and effective strategies and tactics inflicted heavy damage to the enemy forces.

In 2014, because of the changing situations and party's decision, he went and resided in mountains and defeated the enemy forces in a series of battles. Abdul Salam was only 18 years old when he took up arms against slavery and embraced martyrdom while he was young.

On 08 June 2017, Commander Abid Zamurani aka Basham embraced martyrdom when Pakistan intelligence agencies with the help of religious extremists and Death squads opened fire on him in Ashar city of Sarbaz, western Balochistan.

He dedicated his whole life for the Baloch nation and the struggle for independent Balochistan.

He was affiliated to BLF and national struggle for 14 years.



Worlds 8 superb sentences

🌿 *Worlds 8 superb  sentences*🌿


*Shakespeare :*👌

Never  play  with the feelings

of  others  because  you may

win the  game but the  risk is

that  you  will surely  lose

the person  for a  life time.



The world  suffers  a  lot. Not

because  of  the  violence  of

bad people, But because   of

the silence of good people!


*Einstein :*👌

I  am  thankful  to  all those

who  said  NO  to  me   It's

because  of  them  I  did  it



*Abraham Lincoln :*👌

If friendship is your weakest

point  then  you  are  the

strongest  person  in the



*Shakespeare :*👌

Laughing  faces  do  not

mean that  there is  absence

of sorrow!  But it means that

they  have the ability to deal

with it.


*William  Arthur :* 👌

Opportunities   are  like

sunrises, if  you  wait too

long  you  can miss them.


*Hitler :* 👌

When  you  are  in  the light,

Everything follows  you, But

when  you  enter  into   the

dark, Even your own shadow

doesn't  follow  you.


*Shakespeare :* 👌

Coin  always  makes  sound

but  the  currency  notes are

always  silent.  So  when

  your value  increases

keep quiet. 


Philippines: Ignored victory?



Philippine Daily Inquirer / 05:18 AM July 15, 2017

On July 12 a year ago, the Philippines won a stunning victory on the international front when the case it had brought against China was upheld by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague. The ruling invalidated China’s claim to almost all of the South China Sea: The court said China has “no historical rights” on the area via its so-called “nine-dash line,” and recognized the Philippines’ sovereign rights to fish and explore for minerals in waters within its 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

“Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the Tribunal found that it could—without delimiting a boundary—declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China,” declared the ruling.

Not only that. While the court said it would not “rule on any question of sovereignty over land territory and would not delimit any maritime boundary between the Parties” (China and the Philippines), it unequivocally declared that China had violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone “by (a) interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, (b) constructing artificial islands and (c) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone.”


In much of the international community, the ruling was immediately hailed as a milestone document, a way forward to clarify and resolve, via international law, the bitter disputes that have arisen over ownership and fishing rights in the South China Sea (Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have competing claims to it alongside China and the Philippines). As late as last April, the issue was in the minds of the foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States—when it issued a statement backing the ruling, saying it could be “a useful basis for further efforts to peacefully resolve disputes in the South China Sea.” G7 added that it strongly opposed “any unilateral actions which increase tensions, such as the threat or use of force, large-scale land reclamation, building of outposts, as well as their use for military purposes and urge all parties to pursue demilitarization of disputed features and to comply with their obligations under international law.”

That reminder was deemed necessary, because China had not only rejected the tribunal’s ruling despite being a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, under which the arbitration case was heard; it also defied world opinion by upping the ante, constructing military facilities on three islands in the disputed region that have now allowed it to potentially deploy military forces and exercise an effective lockdown over the vital waters.

While other claimant countries have continued to protest Beijing’s muscle-flexing, the Philippines, the main beneficiary of the tribunal’s ruling, has instead chosen rapprochement with China by, first of all, “setting aside” the historic decision. That was how President Duterte worded his rebooted foreign policy, under which the Philippines would be silent for now on its legal claim, in exchange for billions of dollars in loans and financial commitments from its giant economic neighbor. The President sees it as a pragmatic arrangement: The Philippines is in no shape to fight China militarily, and so must assume a less provocative, more suppliant position.

Meanwhile, China’s encroachment and increasing control over the West Philippine Sea continues.

Only time will tell if the Duterte administration’s strategy over this invaluable piece of national patrimony is correct, or if in fact, as Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said, it “dropped the ball

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/105588/ignored-victory#ixzz4muLdsmrq 
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Congress falsely implicating Bhagwat, charge Sonia, Rahul for perjury, says Swamy


Updated: Jul 15, 2017 12:41 IST      

New Delhi [India], July 15 (ANI): Lambasting Congress for falsely implicating Rashtriya Swayamseak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat for perpetrating "so-called Hindu terror' across the country, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and party leader P. Chidambaram should be charged with perjury.

"The government should set up something to register an FIR and make Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and P. Chidambaram as accused in a conspiracy to subvert the country and falsification of information, tantamounting to perjury," Swamy told ANI.

Swamy said he was already aware of the conspiracy hatched by the UPA Government to implicate Bhagwat.

Swamy further said that even after the United States had declared the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) as an international terrorist organisation, the Congress hatched a new plan to implicate Bhagwat by introducing the nomenclature 'Hindu terror'.

🔴 "They (Congress) did a somersault here and started a new FIR with so-called Hindu terror and the whole objective was to somehow implicate Mohan Bhagwat because he is the head of the largest voluntary organisation of the world, and it is the backbone of the BJP, as far as workers are concerned. Therefore, this cultural organisation was sought to be so defamed, that by the time elections came, people out of fright, would decide not to vote for the BJP and give it to UPA. But that gamble failed, because by the time they could get along to summon and subject Bhagwat to third-degree methods, which was their dirty plan, the police (NIA level) said they wanted further proof and so it was delayed. So when the elections came, we won," Swamy said.

Swamy further said that the same approach was adopted by the Congress in the case of Mahatma Gandhi's murder, but they faced failure there as well.

"In the Mahatma Gandhi murder case also, this was attempted, but it failed. They used the media control they had to propagate against the RSS. Now, we won't allow them to do this. They should be brought to book," he said.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also said members of such nationalist parties were there in the hit-list since the beginning. However, the forces who tried to malign them were exposed in the past and will be exposed now as well.

As per reports, after the extreme violence in Ajmer and Malegaon blast, the UPA Government had pressurised the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to implicate Bhagwat as per their 'Hindu terror' theory

July 14, 2017

Indonesia reportedly renames EEZ in South China Sea


By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2017/7/15 0:03:39


Move aimed at attaining bargaining chip: expert

Indonesia reportedly renamed on Friday the northern reaches of its exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as the North Natuna Sea.

Chinese experts said that as a country which has no territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea, Indonesia is aiming to gain a bargaining chip for maritime boundary delimitation, and the move would do no good to future maritime cooperation.

Arif Havas Oegroseno, deputy coordinating minister of Maritime Affairs and Resources of Indonesia, was quoted by Reuters on Friday as saying that the country wanted to update the naming of the northern side of its exclusive economic zone and "gave a new name in line with the usual practice - the North Natuna Sea."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily briefing on Friday that he didn't know anything about the details of the issue, but the name South China Sea had broad international recognition and clear geographic limits.

"Some countries' so-called renaming is meaningless … We hope the relevant country can meet China halfway and properly maintain the present good situation in the South China Sea region, which has not come easily," Geng said.

"Indonesia has no territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea but have had clashes over fishing rights and oil and gas exploitation around the regions of the South China Sea where the two have not yet finished the maritime boundary delimitation," Wang Xiaopeng, an expert on maritime and border studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Friday.

Wang said that Indonesia may want to gain a bargaining chip and build a favorable public opinion before having talks with China on the maritime boundary delimitation in the future.

"No party should complicate the situation before bilateral talks on the issue and Indonesia's move would do no good to future maritime cooperation on the South China Sea," Wang said.

An Indonesian expert on the Law of the Sea at Indonesia's Universitas Gadjah Mada was quoted by Reuters as saying that the renaming carried no legal force but was a political and diplomatic statement. And it will be seen as "a big step by Indonesia to state its sovereignty."

"Indonesian President Joko Widodo has always taken a tough stance on implementing the country's maritime strategy. There have been reports about Indonesia expelling and detaining fishermen from China and Vietnam," Chen Xiangmiao, a research fellow with the National Institute for the South China Sea, told the Global Times on Friday.

Chen said that Indonesia's move follows the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration's ruling against China's claim on South China Sea and undermines China's interests when the South China Sea issue has cooled down with joint efforts made by relevant nations.

"Aside from lodging diplomatic protests, China should add presence in the South China Sea by strengthening resources exploitation and launching exchanges with neighboring countries on economic development and dispute control," Chen said.

The South China Sea issue is the business of China and other directly concerned countries, which have agreed to focus on joint development and regional peace and stability, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kand said in an interview with the NBC News in January 2017.

Reuters cited an Indonesian expert from the Lowy Institute as saying that Indonesia's action followed renewed resistance to Chinese territorial claims by other Southeast Asian states.

"Indonesia should know that the trend to deal with the South China Sea issue via peaceful means is inevitable. There is no way for it to change the situation especially when major claimants have agreed to control disputes," Wang said



BY ELEANOR ROSS ON 7/14/17 AT 12:31 PM

Why Russia Is Way Ahead In The Race To Control The Arctic

Every January, thousands of sculptors head to China’s northernmost city, Harbin, armed with tools, chisels and thick gloves. Cheeks reddened by cold—the temperature can fall to minus 36 degrees in Harbin—the sculptors carve snow angels, cathedrals and cities out of shimmering, translucent ice.

But however much China wishes it was, this is not the Arctic. Harbin, sits 1,440 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Temperatures are currently pushing 86 degrees, and more ice creams are being bought than ice sculptures made.

China wants resources to support its growing population, and the Arctic, with its untapped resources, offers those opportunities to mine natural resources. China’s lack of geographical presence in the Arctic has not stopped it laying out its 2017 launch of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a massive infrastructure project encompassing 60 countries and designed to boost the global economy and link China with the world, via sea, land and rail.

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Now the rest of the world knows that China is staking a claim on the Arctic.

Classified as all land above 66 degrees north latitude, the Arctic is one of the most resource-rich regions in the world. Oil, natural gas and various ores are all available for the taking, and unlike in the rest of the world, not all states give their word to international treaties. Up to 20 percent of the Earth’s natural resource reserves can be found in the Arctic, and it’s one of the world’s least-populated areas —just 4 million people live above the Arctic Circle.

The Arctic is the 21st century’s equivalent of the Wild West. As scientific expeditions reveal how many natural resources can be found under the sea ice, competition is heating up, and China is throwing its resources at winning the race to the North.

Malte Humpert, strategic director and founder of the Arctic Institute, describes the region as “the last white dot on the map.”

The Ny-Aalesund research station is the world’s northernmost community. It’s situated on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, Norway.REUTERS/GWLADYS FOUCHE

“It’s the last frontier, at least, from an outsider perspective. It’s a mysterious place with plenty of opportunity, from a geopolitical perspective, fishing perspective or resource perspective. There are no police standing around the arctic, surveillance or constant military awareness,” he said.

And China is taking advantage of that. Last month President Xi Jinping referred to BRI as a way to strengthen its “Northern Link.” China’s charm offensive with countries in the Arctic has increased in 2017, and during the launch of China’s BRI project, Xi Jinping also mentioned his plan to look North.

Xi’s trips to Finland, Alaska and Iceland in May are no coincidence, says Damien Degeorges, an Arctic consultant told the Nikkei Asian Review. “Looking at visits to Finland, Alaska and Iceland, you can see the connection with the Arctic Council's chairmanship calendar.”

After meeting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in May, Xi confirmedDegeorges’ statement, saying China and Finland will “seize the opportunity of Finland’s rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council to enhance cooperation in Arctic affairs.”

The Arctic Council is comprised of countries with land in the Arctic Circle, and includes Canada, Denmark, the United States, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia. Observers are permitted at the table; they can see what is happening but have no vote or power to veto the main council. In 2013, China, South Korea and India were added to the Arctic Council’s roster of observers, keen to remain involved in Arctic affairs despite their distance from the actual Arctic itself.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Healy,” in the midst of their ICESCAPE mission, retrieves supplies dropped by parachute from a C-130 in the Arctic Ocean.REUTERS/KATHRYN HANSEN/NASA

China has been interested in the Arctic since the 1990s. “It has emerging policy goals, but they’re not really defined yet. They’ve expressed interest in the Arctic for some time because of interest in oil, natural gas, fishing and shortened shipping routes,” says Mark Eades, at the Foreign Policy Institute.

Developing the Arctic is important for China. Firstly, as China’s population edges toward the 1.3 billion mark it is predicted to hit by 2040, it must find other sources of oil and natural gas. Secondly, 90 percent of the world’s international trade takes place between Asia, Europe and North America. The Arctic Ocean connects these continents, and if a route were established through the Arctic, shipping costs and time could be slashed for China, which controls a large amount of the world’s trade.

China’s interests expand to more than just mining investment. As one of the world’s major shipping nations, finding alternative ways to move cargo is crucial.  The South China Sea area is under dispute. The Panama Canal recently had to expand as it reached capacity. The Suez Canal runs through pirate-infested water.  “Using the Northern passage [which runs along Russia’s north Arctic coast and is ice-free in the summer] would cut transportation time by 40 percent. Plus, there are no pirates,” says Heidar Gudjonsson, Eykon Energy, an Icelandic oil exploration company. “Opening up the Arctic shipping route makes China less dependent on the South China Sea, where there is currently tension.”

China is expected to dominate global shipping by 2030, a Shanghai report predicts, and Hong Kong, Shanghai and Qingdao will become supercontainer hub ports.”

The Eureka ice shelf. China is seeking a geographical presence in the Arctic.REUTERS/NASA/MICHAEL STUDINGER

With no direct connection to the Arctic, China is relying on its allies to make beneficial investments for them. The only BRI partner in the Arctic Council is Russia, and the two countries have agreed to cooperate on more Arctic-based BRI projects. Large-scale Arctic investment by China can be seen in the Yamal LNG project, a proposed liquefied natural gas plant based in Russia’s northeast peninsula. China’s Silk Road Fund bid is for a 9.9 percent stake in the $27 billion project, which means Chinese companies now control 29.9 percent of Yamal LNG. This is important because China is increasing its influence in the Arctic, despite not having any territory there.

China’s search for natural resources drives its interest in the Arctic, and the country has the political and economic strength to shape activity in the underdeveloped region. The CAA, China’s Arctic and Antarctic Administration is responsible for organizing trips and expedition in the region—their website emphasizes China’s contribution to “peaceful development” in the Arctic.

In 2016, China invested heavily in Greenland. A Chinese iron trader called General Nice bought the remains of London Mining, a Sierra Leone–focused mining company now in liquidation. However, it then imported thousands of Chinese workers, which caused controversy in Greenland. Despite not having a place on the Arctic Council, China has managed to maneuver itself into a strong position in Greenland too—the Citronen Fjord Zinc-Lead Project mines are influenced by a branch of China’s Non-Ferrous Company. Greenlanders are worried that the mines, not far from the North Pole, are forecast to employ plenty of foreign labor, and there are fears that the country’s natural environment will be destroyed if the mines expand.

Chinese investment hasn’t stopped there. In September 2016, Shenghe Resources bought a stake in Greenland Minerals and Energy. Greenland’s government has so far been mostly supportive of Chinese investment. It reduces reliance on Denmark, which colonized Greenland in 1721 aspiring to become a colonial power. Currently, Denmark provides Greenland with financial support and subsidies, but Greenland wants to become self-sufficient.

China considers its presence in the Arctic to be a win-win situation, experts say. China possesses enough technology, people power and money to be of interest to the Arctic Council. In return, China wants to benefit from the fruits of any collaboration. Beijing is also being careful to tread softly in the North, so as not to appear aggressive. Malte says this is because the Chinese government is adept at thinking long-term, and is able to do so because it doesn’t change every five years. “The Arctic is not necessarily their main focus today but part of longer-term thinking. They think in 20-30 year time frames. The Arctic won’t change in the next five years, but it will in 30 years, and then China will be prepared.”

Anori, a 6-month-old polar bear cub, swims in her enclosure at the zoo in Wuppertal, Germany, June 6, 2012.REUTERS/INA FASSBENDER

In the Arctic, identity is bound up with the environment. Land, animals and ice are integral to the local way of life. “There is no other area in the world where oil and gas are extracted so responsibly, and in the lowest polluting way, as there are strict standards that all mining bodies must adhere to. It’s hard for an international company to come in and not follow these standards,” says Gudjonsson, while discussing potential risks stemming from Chinese Arctic investment.

Historically, China and Chinese contractors have been environmentally heavy-handed during other exploratory endeavors. In Africa, China is frequently criticized for allowing its citizens to mine or log without much care for the environment. In June, 31 Chinese miners were arrested in Zambia for illegal logging. China has also been accused of exploiting local workers in foreign projects, and treating locals poorly. They have been nicknamed “the new imperialists,” and there is muted concern from U.S. bodies over China’s future involvement in the Arctic.

Considering China’s past, its engagement in the Arctic is a risk, says Malte. “However if Russia, an Arctic council member, wants to partner with somebody else, there’s nothing we can do about it. China can’t make security or military decisions in the Arctic, and there haven’t been any major environmental problems in the Arctic yet.”

China has only one Arctic research station, the Yellow River, compared with the five it has in the Antarctic. The Yellow River opened in 2004, and has an observatory, dormitory for 25 people and is based in Ny-Alesund, Norway, in the Svalbard archipelago. It is full of top-of-the-range equipment, highlighting its serious intent in the region.  In December 2016, China announced it was starting the construction of a new icebreaker, which would be ready for sailing in 2019. Produced by shipyard Jiangnan, the vessel will be able to break open 5-feet-thick ice from its front and rear, and will weigh 13 tons, which means it might be able to access the Arctic Sea year-round.

Chinese companies and envoys are visiting the Arctic more and more, striking deals and ramping up investment day by day. China’s research station in Ny-Alesund is symbolic, representing as it does, China’s entry into “an elite polar club previously dominated by the West,” Charles Emmerson writes in The Future History of the Arctic.

The Arctic might be physically distant from Beijing, but China sees 66 degrees north as closer than ever before

For Pakistan, China’s huge energy investments may have serious political costs


07/14/2017 01:09 pm ET


A massive protest against the Gorrano Dam on January 26 2017 in Islamkot, Tharparkar.

Dr. Amiera Sawas, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi and Dr Nausheen H. Anwar, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi


In Pakistan, there’s no topic hotter than the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar bilateral development project that will, officials promised in 2015, “usher in an era of unprecedented progress and prosperity”.

The CPEC is not only Pakistan’s first big injection of foreign direct investment in a while, its focus on energy development is also desperately needed in a country that has suffered worsening energy shortages for two decades.

With renewables constituting much of the US$33 billion earmarked for energy, the CPEC is also set to make Pakistan a global player in meeting its Paris agreement commitments to fight climate change. And for its bulging, skilled youth population, development promises something truly critical: jobs, jobs, jobs.


To mitigate possible hostility from local residents, the government set up a public consultation in Sindh, July 13 2017.

The land and the losers

At least, that’s the theory. Not everyone sees the changes wrought by the CPEC so positively.

On July 13, the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, in the southern province of Sindh, held a consultation with locals concerned about coal expansion in Ranjho Noon, Thar, a desert region shared with India’s Rajasthan state.

The meeting concerned the fourth of 13 planned blocks of CPEC coal projects in Thar, and where serious resistance has already greeted Block 2, now underway.

Based on our fieldwork with those being impacted by CPEC-funded energy projects, growing citizen mobilisation in Sindh and Punjab may be turning into a political problem for Pakistan.

Projects planned for some of the poorest rural areas, including one of the world’s biggest solar parks (Qaid-e-Azam park, in Punjab) and coal and gas exploration in Thar (Sindh) promise prosperity through infrastructural progress, livelihood opportunities and climate resilience.

But while CPEC projects are already benefiting the national economy, the boon is less assured for those living in the project regions. To start with, for such projects, you need land and lots of it. Many of the residents in CPEC target areas are homesteaders, pastoralists and small business owners who hold customary land rights, inherited over decades or centuries.

Often, community members have no official deed to their property or to the common grazing land their livelihoods depend on. Without official papers, their land is seen as government-owned, and ripe for the taking.

The United Nations’ Free, Prior and Informed Consent norm is meant to keep people facing such situations, whether in Pakistan or Bolivia, from being dispossessed and displaced. But in Pakistan, where the CPEC is helping the economy revive from stagnation, development aid has long been politicised, and proper consultation and compensation will be difficult to ensure.


A CPEC road in Tharparkar District, Sindh.

We found that, so far, many of the initiatives have been carried out without free, prior and informed consent, creating unnecessary tensions between environmental projects and local people and raising concerns about maladaptatation as the country progress towards its Nationally Determined Contributions climate plan.

For example, one farmer in Muzaffargarh, Punjab, told us that his community had seen displacement, severe pollution and a surge in waterborne diseases since a geothermal project started there in 1994.

Nor did the community receive promised benefits, such as electricity and employment. In these mega-projects, jobs in construction, driving, engineering and especially management seem rarely to be offered to locals. Instead, Pakistanis from all over the country are brought in to fill them.

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The farmer told us about ongoing resistance to a planned CPEC project that the government had thus far failed to heed. At this point, he said, they should expect violent opposition.

“We will stand and fight,” he warned. “We are a hundred thousand people, not just a few thousand.”

Lower Punjab has seen a disproportionate amount of energy development in recent years, housing six major energy plants within a 28-kilometre radius. The region is inhabited by the Seraiki population, a marginalised ethnic group that is all but invisible to the state.

Even when inhabitants are not directly displaced by infrastructure projects, their livelihoods are often endangered. Livestock routes are truncated by construction; streams and rivers are suddenly polluted.

One woman from Sindh reported that five pipelines had been run through her village, and that construction noise had become unbearable.

“They even blocked our access to hospitals”, she said, also lamenting that when strange men appeared in the fields, “we must cover our faces”.

Such incursions feel like a threat to local culture, particularly regarding gender norms. A man from the same village complained that while local men are not recruited as labourers, developers have sought to train women as drivers.

“We told them we won’t allow our women to do this!” he said with disbelief. “We don’t trust [the developers]”.

The net result for women is that their lives have now become more restricted, both by ongoing construction and by the male response to it.

Fear and anxiety

Many Pakistanis we spoke with in both Punjab and Sindh perceive CPEC development as just another form of oppression: a way to grab land and resources, further marginalising already vulnerable populations.

The CPEC agreement was designed primarily to ensure the security of Chinese investments and citizens. To keep the 8,000-plus Chinese CPEC workers in Pakistan safe, the government is securing concerned areas using invasive monitoring tools such as internet surveillance, stop-and-search policing and phone jammers.


The Qaid-e-Azam plant in Punjab, the biggest solar project in the world

No such steps ensure Pakistani citizens’ well-being. The result of all this change, anxiety and resentment is a burgeoning resistance.

In February 2017, representatives from 12 Sindhi villages affected by the Gorano Dam, a reservoir intended to collect the waste water from coal and gas exploration, held a “patriotic” protest calling for the dam to be relocated to prevent poisoning local people and their livestock.

“No one is listening to us,” one of the protest’s coordinators told us. “Our basic rights are being snatched.”

He estimated that 15,000 people, 2,000 animals and 200,000 trees depended on the land now designated for destruction, as well as “fresh-water wells [and] our ancestors’ graveyard”.

If Pakistan’s government and CPEC developers continue to ignore these citizens, anxieties will fester. Already, discontent around the CPEC is being used by local political parties to bolster separatist narratives in Sindh, which has long-standing grievances over resource-sharing with the upper-river province of Punjab.

To secure truly sustainable, safe and equitable development, the governments of both China and Pakistan must improve consultation and communication with impacted local populations. Otherwise, the price of Chinese investment may be too high for Pakistan to pay.

Dr. Amiera Sawas, Researcher in Climate Change and Risk, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi and Dr Nausheen H. Anwar, Associate Professor City & Regional Planning, Institute of Business Administration, Karachi

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Brahumdagh Bugti, head of BRP enjoying in Geneva

Terrorist Use of Virtual Currencies: Containing the Potential Threat

Main content

May 2017

Will virtual currencies (VC) increasingly replace traditional methods of funding terrorism, including the halawa system? According to Zachary Goldman et al, extremists in the Gaza Strip have already used virtual currencies to fund their operations and members of the Islamic State have been particularly receptive to the new technology, at least at the local level. To prevent the spread of VC funding on a larger scale, our authors argue that counterterrorism communities should adopt three guiding principles to shape their future policies. Explore them here.

English (PDF, 56 pages, 1.1 MB)

Author  Zachary K. Goldman, Ellie Maruyama, Elizabeth Rosenberg, Edoardo Saravalle, and Julia Solomon-Strauss

Series CNAS Reports

PublisherCenter for a New American Security (CNAS)Copyright© 2017 Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

A Russian-Chinese Naval Partnership?

The PLAN auxiliary Luomahu conducts replenishment-at-sea with the destroyers Haikou and Changsha, Feb. 16, 2017 (PLA)

By The Lowy Interpreter 2017-07-12 21:21:12

[By James Goldrick]

On 18 June, a small Chinese task group consisting of the Type 052D air warfare destroyer Changsha, the frigate Yungchen and a replenishment ship, together with embarked marines, sailed from Sanya in Hainan bound for the Baltic and Exercise “Joint Sea 2017” with the Russian Navy.

The exercise, which will take place in late July, carries certain messages.

Firstly, it is one element in Xi Jinping’s drive to make China a global power. Chinese warships now regularly deploy all over the world and the frequency of such operations is likely to increase even further. This will be the second PLA Navy deployment to the Baltic in recent years.

Next, a Chinese entry into the Baltic demonstrates to the UK and France in particular that China can match in Europe their efforts at maritime presence in East Asia.

Third, and perhaps most significant, it suggests an emerging alignment between China and Russia on China’s behaviour in the South China Sea and Russia’s approach to security in the Baltic. What littoral states must fear is some form of Baltic quid pro quo for Russian support of China’s artificial islands and domination of the South China Sea.

The exercise was jokingly described by a senior Russian official as a “novelty;” the declared themes of Joint Sea 2017 are rescue at sea and the protection of maritime economic activities. These are useful focus areas, but they are not what the PLA Navy is really interested in, nor where it most needs to improve. The PLA Navy must be acutely aware of the advantage Western navies have derived from their continuing collective efforts over the past seventy years to develop and share doctrine. And the scale and speed of China’s naval expansion must pose enormous difficulties in training and qualifying personnel without external help.

Even the US Navy found the introduction of multiple Aegis destroyers and cruisers in the late 1980s a significant challenge, yet the jump from the previous generation of US Navy combatants was a much smaller one than the PLA Navy is making with its new units. China is inducting two Type 052D destroyers a year, while it must also manage the introduction of the larger and more complex Type 055 air defence ship and the new aircraft carrier program as well.

Given the low base of expertise from which the PLA Navy is working, as well as all its other endeavours (including nuclear-powered ballistic-missile submarines and attack submarines), China’s navy must have some formidable problems. An unconfirmed report that the Changsha has suffered a serious breakdown in the Indian Ocean may confirm some of these challenges. However, the Chinese have apparently substituted a sister-ship already in the Indian Ocean for the Changsha, together with another replenishment ship to replace the unit standing by the crippled destroyer, a response which itself indicates the scale of China’s overseas naval effort.

Western observers will be watching closely to see just what the Chinese task group does in the Baltic. If joint activities with the Russian navy and its air arm move beyond token efforts, this will say a great deal about the developing level of cooperation and trust between the Russian and Chinese navies – and about the future of the partnership.

The Russians have not, in the past, proved eager to share tactics and doctrine with other navies, even those which have been customers of their ships. The emerging relationship with China may see a change, particularly if both countries are serious about its military components. There are obvious difficulties of language and in overcoming the inhibitions of two inwardly focused, strongly nationalistic organisations which have little history of operating as trusted partners, along with the give-and-take this involves.

Nevertheless, if the Russians and the Chinese conduct increasingly sophisticated exercises together, both navies will benefit. The Russians have greater experience and still have the lead in most warfare areas, particularly in submarine and anti-submarine operations. But the Chinese have the resources and are rapidly pressing ahead. Notably, Changsha is the second of the new Type 052D air warfare destroyers and has been in commission since 2015, long enough to be fully worked up to Chinese standards. The Baltic exercise areas and the scale of effort the Russians can mount in their own back yard may well provide a valuable opportunity for the PLA Navy to prove – and come to understand – the capabilities of their new Type 05D destroyer and its systems, whether it is the Changsha or her possible substitute, the Hefei.

With a further exercise in the series to follow in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk in September 2017, the key question must be whether Russia and China really are moving to new levels of naval cooperation. July in the Baltic may provide part of the answer.

James Goldrick AO, CSC is a Nonresident Fellow at the Lowy Institute for International Policy. He joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1974 and retired in 2012 as a two-star Rear Admiral. He commanded HMA Ships Cessnock and Sydney (twice), the multinational maritime interception force in the Persian Gulf and the Australian Defence Force Academy. He led Australia’s Border Protection Command and later commanded the Australian Defence College. 

This article appears courtesy of the Lowy Interpreter and may be found in its original form here

Aggressive China did not anticipate strong Indian response in Doklam: EU Vice President


The Chinese Foreign Ministry and its state-owned media reacted predictably to the Indian action with strong rhetoric, including reminding India of its defeat in the Indo-China war in 1962.

ANI| Last Updated: Friday, July 14, 2017 - 20:15

Brussels: An aggresive China did not anticipate India stepping in a strong manner to defend Bhutan`s territorial sovereignty during its unilateral move to build a motorable road from Dokala in Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp in Zornpelri, according to Ryszard Czarnecki, vice president of the European Parliament.

In an article written for EP Today, Czarnecki has exposed Beijing`s lie of assuring the international community that its `peaceful rise` would not in any way threaten the established order, but instead promote a peaceful international environment.

He clearly states that China has been following a foreign policy that squarely infringes on internationally accepted norms.Referring specifically to the tri-junction politico-military impasse in Doklam involving China, India and Bhutan, Czarnecki said, "On June 16, China`s unilateral move to build a motorable road from Dokala in Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp in Zornpelri is an illustration of this policy .. Bhutan`s objection to construction activities by China in the disputed Doklam area, conveyed through diplomatic channels, was possibly expected by China. 

However, what China may not have foreseen was India stepping in to defend Bhutan`s territorial sovereignty.""(The) Chinese action in the Doklam plateau can be seen as a part of the country`s recent tendency to unilaterally change the ground situation in areas that are disputed. 

The most well-reported example has been China`s deliberate move to disrupt the status quo in the South China Sea.. by conveniently ignoring the maritime territorial claims of Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines in the region .. expanding its strategic outreach in the area," says the European Parliament vice president.

China, he opines, may have only gambled, anticipated and calculated that Bhutan would not be able to retaliate through force, and believed that the construction of the road would be completed within weeks, giving it a clear strategic advantage.

However, all didn`t go as planned. The movement of Indian troops, done in consultation with the Government of Bhutan and with the principal objective to maintain status quo, was probably not anticipated by China.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and its state-owned media reacted predictably to the Indian action with strong rhetoric, including reminding India of its defeat in the Indo-China war in 1962.

"China`s propaganda machinery has gone into an overdrive to implicate India for the border stand-off, conveniently glossing over the fact that China had taken the first step to change the status quo of the tri-junction area that it had committed to maintain under the Agreement on Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity, signed with India in 1993. 

China is now insisting that it would not hold any dialogue on the matter till Indian troops withdrew from the area," Czarnecki says in his article.

He concludes by saying that "China needs to realize that its unprecedented economic and military growth must go hand in hand with respect for international rules. Without that, it will be hard to believe in assurances of `win-win` and `shared destiny` by the Chinese leadership

Vietnam tugs India into the South China Sea



Hanoi's recent invitation to New Delhi to play a bigger role in the disputed waterway underscores both sides' rising concerns about China's maritime ambitions

By HELEN CLARKJULY 14, 2017 1:04 PM (UTC+8)446

A Vietnamese naval soldier stands quard at Thuyen Chai island in the Spratly archipelago in a file photo. Photo: Reuters/Quang Le

In a move with significant geopolitical implications, Vietnam has formally asked India to play a greater role in the South China Sea, a bilateral invitation New Delhi seems willing to oblige with a wary eye cast towards China.

Hanoi’s proposal, made last week at the Delhi Dialogue IX, a regular meeting between India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), aims to counterbalance Beijing’s rising assertiveness in the maritime region without breaking its fragile peace.

India’s involvement in the region is in-line with its “Act East” foreign policy, a gambit that envisions a more wide-reaching role in regional affairs like disaster relief and humanitarian assistance. India said at the same meeting that greater engagement with Asean is a key part of the policy initiative.

Some analysts describe the policy as India’s own “pivot”, the Asia-centric policy of previous US President Barack Obama that aimed to engage Asian nations while positioning 60% of America’s naval fleet and air force in the Asia-Pacific region. The policy pronouncement arguably intensified US-China competition for influence, particularly in the South China Sea.

While the Donald Trump administration’s commitment to that plan is in doubt, evidenced to some by reduced freedom of navigation patrols in the maritime since his election last year, the region’s geopolitics have always been more multilateral in nature than a mere bilateral struggle for power and influence.

“Asean supports India to play a greater role in the political and security domain, and create a rule-based region,” said Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh at the meeting. “We hope India will continue to partner our efforts for strategic security and freedom of navigation in the South China Sea on the basis of international law and legal convention.”

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang during a meeting at the presidential palace in Hanoi on September 3, 2016. Photo: AFP/ Hoang Dinh Nam

There are three main motivations behind Vietnam’s invitation to India, namely stronger bilateral cooperation between the two sides, promoting involvement of more large nations in agreement with a rules-based order in the South China Sea, and greater Indian input into Asean, a regional grouping which Vietnam sees great value in and wishes to strengthen as a counterweight to China’s influence in the grouping.

Reciprocally, India will gain needed diplomatic support for its “Act East” gambit, a revamp of its previous “Look East” policy towards the region, while at the same time counterbalancing China’s ambitions in the South China Sea at a time Beijing is moving aggressively into the Indian Ocean through new port developments in the region.

Vietnam is also supporting India’s bid to become a permanent member of the United Nations’ Security Council, a position New Delhi has long sought. India has recently flexed its naval muscle in nearby waters by sending warships to monitor the Malacca Straits, a strategic chokepoint through which much of China’s fuel and trade travels.

India has diplomatic, strategic and economic reasons to become more active in the South China Sea. Hanoi recently granted a two-year extension to Indian oil firm ONGC Videsh to continue its exploration activities at block 128 off the southern coast of Vietnam in waters contested by China. The concession was due to expire in mid-June.

A 2014 handout photo by Vietnam’s maritime police allegedly shows a Chinese boat (L) ramming a Vietnamese vessel (R) in contested waters near China’s deep sea drilling rig in the South China Sea. Photo: AFP/Vietnam maritime police

ONGC Videsh has been exploring offshore blocks in the region since 2006 and signed a joint exploration agreement with state-run PetroVietnam in 2011, though it briefly halted in 2012 due to what the company said were “operational” issues. The assumption at the time was that the stoppage was influenced in part by Chinese pressure.

India is openly concerned by China’s perceived aggression in the South China Sea and its fast-rising naval capabilities. “The modernization of the Chinese Navy is truly impressive. It is actually a major, major cause for concern,” Indian Navy Chief D.K. Joshi said back in 2012, suggesting India would forcibly protect ONGC vessels from Chinese interference.

India has since watched closely as China has periodically hassled Vietnamese fishermen and oil and gas survey ships in the maritime area. Both Delhi and Hanoi have strongly supported the need for rule of law and freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, as outlined in the United Nation Convention of the Law on the Sea (UNCLOS).

Minh also said that Asean could learn from India regarding the handling of maritime disputes, likely referring to the nation’s own maritime arbitration case with Bangladesh adjudicated by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague with Bangladesh, a verdict that went in Dhaka’s favor and New Delhi accepted.

Chinese structures on a manmade island in the disputed Spratlys in South China Sea. Photo: Reuters/Erik De Castro

Beijing openly rejected without consequence a similar PCA tribunal’s decision last July in favor of the Philippines and against China’s expansive nine-dash-line map that lays claim to most of the South China Sea. Vietnam has considered but so far shied from filing a similar UNCLOS-related suit against China over its contested maritime claims and remained oddly quiet after Manila’s win last July.

To be sure, Vietnam has asked multiple nations to play a greater role, or at least lend diplomatic support, in the South China Sea – so far with varied degrees of success. A similar overture made to South Korea earlier this year has not yet borne fruit in terms of actual strategic support.

India, Japan and the US all support freedom of navigation and patrols, underscored by a bilateral US-Vietnam naval drill held last week out of Vietnam’s deep water port at Cam Ranh Bay in the country’s central coastal region.

Vietnam Coast Guard commandant Lt. Gen. Nguyen Quang Dam (L), and US Coast Guard commandant Rear Adm. Michael Haycock at a US Coast Guard Base in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 26, 2017. Photo: AFP/US Coast Guard handout.

Washington has sought regular berthing rights at the strategic facility, where a new international port was recently opened and Russia maintains a still strong Cold War legacy presence, but Hanoi has made it clear it would not consider exclusive rights for any one nation.

While a US withdrawal from the region would not be welcomed by Hanoi, which sees the deterrent value of a strong US presence nearby, cooperation with India was poised to improve regardless, as Vietnam puts a premium on relations with larger powers. Like India’s non-alignment policy, Vietnam avoids reliance on any specific country.

Vietnam and India became comprehensive strategic partners last year – Hanoi’s top echelon of ties which China and Russia also share. Strategic partnerships have become increasingly common and not always meaningful across Asia in recent years, but there is genuine value for both sides in enhanced Indo-Vietnamese cooperation.

Historically both countries were arms clients of Russia, and Vietnam would often purchase second-hand gear from India. They now still share strong interoperability as both possess Russian Kilo-class submarines, with many Vietnamese submariners trained in India. India provides more military support to Vietnam than any Southeast Asian country, including satellite cover to help monitor Vietnam’s waters.

India’s BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles are paraded through New Delhi. Photo: Reuetrs/Kamal Kishore

As part of a US$500 million line of credit for defense purposes announced last September, India has since sold its 25-mile range surface-to-air Akash missiles to Vietnam. It has also promised to eventually ship the more lethal BrahMos ramjet supersonic missile which can be launched from a submarine, a crucial capacity for deterrence in the South China Sea.

The missiles are likely an irritant to China, though a tentative peace for now holds in the maritime region. While China and Vietnam maintain various protocols on South China Sea sovereignty issues, recent meetings on military and border matters have inexplicably been cut short.

Indian engagement in the South China Sea won’t resolve the region’s long-running disputes, but another great power’s involvement in the region will help to mitigate the risks of any large country taking undue advantage of smaller ones with overlapping claims and interests in the globally strategic waterway