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Showing posts from July 15, 2007

Geostrategic and Geopolitical importance of Afghanistan

Afghan Myths An Interview with Anssi Kullberg By: Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. "Afghanistan is not so significant in itself, if we only consider economic interests. Of more importance are some countries situated near Afghanistan, especially those in Central Asia and Azerbaijan. Afghanistan is also a traditional buffer zone, since its landscape is hard to penetrate for tanks and modern armies. It has prevented the expansion of the Eurasian Heartland Empire towards Eurasia's southern rim lands for centuries. It has protected the areas included in Pakistan and India today, but on the other hand, turning Afghanistan into a politically or militarily active area was used to destabilize Pakistan, or Central Asia, in order to alter the status quo, whatever it was. Regarding oil, Afghanistan again forms a bridge or a barrier. As long as Iran is regarded as a hostile country by the US, Afghanistan forms an oil transport route from Central Asia to Pakistan. As long as there is war in Afghanista

BHUTAN: Right Time to Work out a Durable Solution

BHUTAN: Right Time to Work out a Durable Solution: Update No. 65 By Dr. S.Chandrasekharan. Source: SAAAG It is seen that more and more refugees are being persuaded not to accept third country settlement but to agitate for their return to Bhutan. The hardliners appear to be gaining ground and the moderate voices are being threatened and silenced. It is therefore necessary to review the present situation and make an appeal to the hardliners not to lose the present opportunity to find a durable solution for the crisis that has been lingering on for the past sixteen years. The agitation by the refugee outfits to march to Bhutan through the Mechi bridge has been suspended for another month in view of the Presidential elections in India and India’s promise that it is working on a solution. The real reason for postponement of the agitation is based on the hope that now India is involved, an equitable solution can be found and that there is no need in continuing with the agitation at this p


Source: SAAG [A presentation made by the author at an Interaction on “Emerging India-China-Myanmar Relations”, jointly organised by the Chennai Centre For China Studies ( and the Department of International Relations of Stella Maris College, Chennai, at the college on July 19, 2007] By Col R Hariharan (Retd.) Since the World War II, Myanmar better known the world over as Burma, had never attracted so much international attention as now. Actually, there are reasons both global and local for this development. The rise of China as a major global economic power and the unlocking of India’s potential to grow as yet another global economic power are redefining international relationships in South and Southeast Asia. Myanmar is now viewed as a critical area of interest to China and India. It is of special interest to the U.S. which would like to check the over riding influence of China in this region while cruising on its journey to the status of a contending global pow

Georgia: Saakashvili’s Risky Stand

Transitions Online TOL.CZ 20 July 2007 Tbilisi’s commitment to its Western allies, including its own troop “surge” in Iraq, is only one reason why the country deserves close support. Back in the days of chest-thumping bravado before the invasion of Iraq, they were the brunt of jokes and ready prey for editorial cartoonists. A company of Romanians here, a platoon of Czechs there. This was the “New Europe,” willing to stand behind (yes, behind) the American military behemoth all the way to Baghdad. Circumstances are far different in the summer of 2007. The jokes have stopped. The United States needs all the allies it can muster. Gone are the heady days of 2003, when soldiers from former Warsaw Pact states joined the British and American alliance. Pressure is growing in even the most stalwart of these countries to get troops out of what has become a quagmire of human tragedy and destruction. There are exceptions, leaders who are sticking by the Americans at a time when even some nerv

Africa Insight - Can Nigeria Cure its Oil 'Disease?'

The Nation (Nairobi) ANALYSIS 20 July 2007 Posted to the web 20 July 2007 By Okello Oculi Nairobi After underdeveloping the Niger Delta, the Nigerian government is building roads and bridges in the region - which is too late - as the people have learnt that kidnapping foreigners produces rapid results. And, to end the problem once and for all, some Nigerians say corrupt Delta business people, council chairmen, MPs and contractors should be kidnapped as well. On July 10, a workshop was organised in Abuja, Nigeria, to discuss the epidemic of kidnappings which have evolved from targeting oil-workers to seizing primary or kindergarten children either from inside classrooms or from inside cars taking them to school. The most publicised was that of the little girl with a British father and Nigerian mother. Her case had the well-publicised twist of the kidnappers asking to exchange her for her father, Mr Hill, presumably because the kidnappers were getting bad publicity as nauseat

INDIA : ‘Genographic Lab’ set up at Madurai Kamaraj University

Asia or Africa, that is the question Shastry V. Mallady Source: The Hindu ‘Genographic Lab’ set up at Madurai Kamaraj University — Photo: K. Ganesan. INNOVATIVE: At the launch of the facility. MADURAI: Man’s origin and his migration across continents is always a mystery, owing to lack of a clear scientific investigation. But, a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test could unravel the ‘journey of man’ and throw light on some ‘dark secrets’ such as where the actual origin was — Asia or Africa? A sophisticated facility called ‘Genographic Laboratory’ has been established at Madurai Kamaraj University here . This is the first such centre in India and is among the 10 laboratories worldwide mandated to study the chromosomes of 15,000 people. It will decipher the migration pattern of human beings in this country to correlate them with cultural evolution in a global context. According to Rm. Pitchappan, Regional Project Director, the state-of the-art laboratory has been set up at a

Rethinking Western Strategies Toward Pakistan: Frederic Grare

Rethinking Western Strategies Toward Pakistan: An Action Agenda for the United States and Europe By Frederic Grare Carnegie Endowment Report, July 2007 Pakistan’s military is complicit in the worsening security situation in Afghanistan—including the resurgence of the Taliban, terrorism in Kashmir, and the growth of jihadi extremism and capabilities, says a new report from the Carnegie Endowment. Furthermore, current Western policies reinforce Pakistan’s political weakness and contribute to regional instability by allowing Pakistan to trade democratization for its cooperation on terrorism. In Rethinking Western Strategies Toward Pakistan: An Action Agenda for the United States and Europe, visiting scholar Frederic Grare analyzes the cost of continued military rule in Pakistan and presents new guidelines for Western policies. Grare argues that while Pakistan may partially cooperate with the West against international terrorism, without democratization Pakistan will continue its poli

White House preparing to stage new September 11 - Reagan official

13:58 | 20/ 07/ 2007 WASHINGTON, July 20 (RIA Novosti) - A former Reagan official has issued a public warning that the Bush administration is preparing to orchestrate a staged terrorist attack in the United States, transform the country into a dictatorship and launch a war with Iran within a year. Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, blasted Thursday a new Executive Order, released July 17, allowing the White House to seize the assets of anyone who interferes with its Iraq policies and giving the government expanded police powers to exercise control in the country. Roberts, who spoke on the Thom Hartmann radio program, said: "When Bush exercises this authority [under the new Executive Order], there's no check to it. So it really is a form of total, absolute, one-man rule." "The American people don't really understand the danger that they face," Roberts said, adding that the so-called neoconservatives intended to use a

US : Joint Intelligence Operations – Command and Control program kicks off

Joint Systems Integration Command kicks off Joint Intelligence Operations – Command and Control program Joint Systems Integration Command computer labs are using the newest command and control systems from across the services, all working together to test their interoperability and usefulness to the warfighter as part of the Joint Intelligence Operations – Command and Control program. • Listen to the podcast By Army Spc. Andrew Orillion USJFCOM Public Affairs (SUFFOLK, Va. – July 20, 2007) – One of U.S. Joint Forces Command’s (USJFCOM) subordinate commands began an event designed to find and fix interoperability problems in emerging technologies before the U.S. military services field them. Joint Systems Integration Command (JSIC) will host the Joint Intelligence Operations – Command and Control (JIO-C2) program here through July 26. The latest in a series of events designed to resolve key warfighting integration issues identified by combatant commanders, JIO-C2 focuses on closi

Indian Intelligence : Why top officials are upset with a new book

Codeword Omerta The ex-RAW man's book has ruffled many plumes within the agency Source: Outlook , India Saikat Datta India's premier foreign intelligence agency, RAW, does not take kindly to criticism. Which is why top officials are upset with a new book authored by an ex-officer. India's External Intelligence: Secrets of Research and Analysis Wing by Major General V.K. Singh (retd), who has served as a joint secretary in raw, is an insider's story on the inner workings of an agency which isn't even accountable to Parliament. Ever since Outlook (July 2, '07) first highlighted the book's contents, a storm from within the top echelons of RAW has greeted Singh's effort. Senior officials have been debating the right course of action against the whistleblower. Finally, last week, secretary, RAW, Ashok Chaturvedi, shot off a letter to the cabinet secretary and also spoke to national security advisor M.K. Narayanan. The conversation had a single- po

Khyber Pass: The gun market

This gun market has nothing to do with terrorism nor does it have anything to do with the war on terror. So stop writing stupid comments. It's just a gun store in a town in Pakistan run by Pashtuns. If the United States felt it was a threat, then it would have been long gone

Pakistan: The Supreme Court Verdict and Musharraf's Limited Options

Source: Stratfor July 20, 2007 12 43 GMT Summary In an unprecedented move July 20, Pakistan's Supreme Court reinstated Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who was suspended March 9 by President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Musharraf will try to use this event to defuse the political crisis, but the verdict makes it virtually impossible for him to sustain his hold on power. Following the court's move, the judiciary will become all the more assertive in its efforts to force the president to seek compromises. Analysis The 13-judge Supreme Court in Pakistan ruled 10-3 on July 20 that President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's March 9 suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry was illegal, and reinstated the top jurist. Stratfor had forecast that Musharraf, in an attempt to try to defuse the legal and political crisis in the country, could allow Chaudhry to be reinstated. The Supreme Court verdict, however, will prevent Musharraf from securing his own controversial

Afghanistan: A Possible Move by a Political Survivor

Source: Stratfor July 20, 2007 18 52 GMT Reuters, citing Afghan television, reported July 19 that Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, leader of the Afghan insurgent group Hizb-i-Islami, has issued a signed statement saying his group will cease fighting U.S., NATO and Afghan government forces, and that it will resume political activities. If the statement is true -- and not one invented by the Afghan government and foreign agents, as a purported spokesman for Hekmatyar later claimed -- it indicates Hekmatyar is changing sides -- again. Given the beating his Taliban and al Qaeda allies have been taking at the hands of U.S. and NATO forces, Hekmatyar could be trying to cut his losses and maneuver himself into a more advantageous position on Afghanistan's political scene. It does seem unusual for Hekmatyar to announce a major shift in his strategy and allegiance in a written statement. In May 2006, when he declared his allegiance to the Taliban and al Qaeda, he did so in a videotaped message. F

Geopolitical Diary: Pakistan on the Table, Germany on the Rise

Source: Stratfor July 20, 2007 02 09 GMT Frances Townsend, Homeland Security adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush, said on Thursday that the United States would be willing to send troops into Pakistan to root out al Qaeda, noting specifically that "no option is off the table if that is what is required." Just in case Islamabad -- or al Qaeda -- missed Townsend's statement, White House spokesman Tony Snow paraphrased it shortly afterward. While the statements are hardly a declaration of war, one can be positive that Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is going to need a nightcap to get to sleep. It is not every day that the global superpower ruminates that invading your country is an option "not off the table." Townsend and Snow are hinting at an operation that has been six years in the making. There has never really been any doubt that al Qaeda sought refuge in northwest Pakistan after fleeing the United States' November 2001 assault on Afgh

PAKISTAN: The Road to Lal Masjid and its Aftermath

The Road to Lal Masjid and its Aftermath By Hassan Abbas Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation; Volume 5, Issue 14 (July 19, 2007) It is clear that most Pakistanis wanted Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) leader Maulana Abdul Rashid Ghazi to be held accountable for his vigilantism and for trying to enforce his extremist version of Islam on society. The public's views have changed, however, now that it has become obvious that the government used indiscriminate force during the operation and since its claims about the presence of foreign militants inside the mosque complex have not been independently verified. The following important questions remain unanswered: why did the government act so benignly for the past six months and allow a problem to augment into a major crisis; who was Abdul Rashid Ghazi and how did he manage to smuggle a huge cache of weapons into the mosque complex; was intelligence flawed or were intelligence agencies involved in the plot; and why did President Pervez M