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Showing posts from August 12, 2007

Global Problems and Regional Issues

Thursday, August 16, 2007 Source : The Hindu , 15th August 2007 Rising global tensions and regional unpredictability will affect India; security managers have difficult choices to make The Cold War era produced its more or less stable tensions of mutually assured destruction as the two superpowers stared across lethal nuclear fences. The transfer of these tensions to the ‘Third World’ where the main antagonists battled each other either through their surrogates or proxies, helped. Besides, these wars helped in other ways. They enabled the testing of new weapons and the transfer of obsolete weapons to others who did not really need them. Threats to the security of nations was quantifiable in those days in terms of weapon holdings, men under arms and their fitness to do battle; it used to be about ORBATS (Orders of Battle), the enemy’s military-industrial base and similar other indices. The threats were simpler and somewhat predictable, if only one got the enemy’s intention right. Id

N/Delta & its midnight children

http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/opinion/2007/aug/19/backpage.html By Louis Odion [louisodion@sunnewsonline.com Sunday, August 19, 2007 It is difficult to contemplate the sheer carnage Port Harcourt has turned lately and not be tempted to conclude that, alas, the leading characters had bolted from Adebayo Williams’ best-selling novel, Bulletin from the Land of the Living Dead, to engage in real-life rampage. True, a reality check today will hardly validate all the details of the apocalyptic picture meticulously painted by the ageing professor of a decomposing nation under an equally demented martial order in post-colonial Africa. But there, surely, remains a few parallels between that fiction and the reality of today that are eerily unnerving. The spectacle of militants audaciously barricading city highways, of the demons of insurgency openly engaging the might of the federal military in the creeks, only tends to attest to the uncanny capacity of life to imitate art indeed.

NIGERIA : Port Harcourt mayhem will not be over soon - MEND

http://www.tribune.com.ng/19082007/news/news2.html Idowu Adelusi and Bolaji Ogundele, Port Harcourt - 19.08.2007 The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) has associated the crisis in Port Harcourt with the struggle by cult groups to gain government's patronage, adding that the problem will not be over soon. Meanwhile, security agencies in the country have been charged to get to the root of the carnage which has continued to fester in Rivers State in the past three weeks, unveil those behind it, and ensure that they were brought to book. Spokesman of the MEND, Jomo Gbomo, in an online interview with the Sunday Tribune, also said the problem in the city may be prolonged as security agencies have started taking sides. "The government's well-intentioned gesture is greatly flawed and more likely to result in a re-emergence of fighting in the short and long term. The military took sides, directing their attacks on Soboma who is percieved to be an enemy of

The Scope of the U.S. Infrastructure Deficit

by the EIR Economics Staff The Aug. 1 collapse of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, is the most dramatic and recent event of a process of decades-long deterioration of U.S. infrastructure. To provide an overview of the rebuilding tasks, we present here a snapshot of the dimensions of the decay and danger of bridges, dams, and a selection of other categories of infrastructure, with references. The American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that $1.7 trillion is required merely to stabilize the condition of core infrastructure. If all the needs are factored in—including new water supplies, a modernized continental rail system, a nuclear power-based electricity supply, and so on, the costs then add up to $8-9 trillion. Bridges, Highways, and Roads There are a total of 592,473 road bridges in the United States of which 26%, or 155,144 are deemed "structurally deficient and/or functionally obsolete," according to the latest Bureau of Transportat

Call by the Ad Hoc Committee for a New Bretton Woods

August 12, 2007 Following up the previous calls of 1997, 2000, and 2006, in which thousands of prominent personalities from all over the work, among them former heads of state, members of parliaments, unionists, entrepreneurs, city officials, church members, members of the military, and so forth, demanded a reorganization of the world financial system, the Chairwoman of the Schiller Institute, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, has written the following new call, which will be circulated worldwide by the Schiller Institute. It should be published on the Internet and in various newspapers with the names of the signers, and will be presented to the American Congress and the parliaments of the world. The systemic crash of the world financial system is in full swing. Shaken loose but not caused by the collapse of the subprime mortgage market in the U.S. and the end of the inflationary yen-carry-trade in Japan, the house of cards of "creative financial instruments," as Alan Greenspan has dubb

Shanghai Cooperation Organization: territory of partnership

22:01 | 15/ 08/ 2007 MOSCOW. (Jibek Syzdykova for RIA Novosti) - Developing as an international agency, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has been responding to the geopolitical situation in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world. Former Soviet republic made repeated attempts to streamline integration by setting up different associations, but they were not destined to live for many reasons. Experts are unanimous that the SCO is a success. Many call it a universal model of international partnership and this is no exaggeration. The SCO has obviously helped its members to settle sensitive border issues. Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have a 3,700 km-long common border with China. Lack of cooperation between Central Asian countries would make it very difficult for them to resolve this issue with China tete-a-tete, without any support from Russia or an international organization. Countering new challenges to security was another urgent problem for Central Asia. In th

Russia and Venezuela: two different look-alikes

17:18 | 17/ 08/ 2007 MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Romanov) - Events in Russia and Latin America are sometimes stunningly alike. I still remember my wonder at the similarity of events in Peru ruled by Alberto Fujimori and in Russia during the era of Boris Yeltsin. President Fujimori dissolved the parliament, and Yeltsin soon did the same. Fujimori announced a war on terror, and the first Chechen war began in Russia soon afterwards. Both presidents were sharply criticized by human rights groups, although not always with good reason. These human rights advocates refused to take into account reality, in which the terrorist adversary forced specific forms of fighting on the government. Peruvian Maoists from Sendero Luminoso, whose stated goal was to destroy existing Peruvian institutions and replace them with a communist peasant revolutionary regime, kidnapped people and cut off their arms with machete knives. Chechen terrorists in Russia kidnapped people and cut

Russia restores Soviet-era strategic bomber patrols

21:42 | 17/ 08/ 2007 CHEBARKUL (Urals), August 17 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin said Russia permanently resumed Friday long-distance patrol flights of strategic bombers, which were suspended in 1992 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. "I made a decision to restore flights of Russian strategic bombers on a permanent basis, and at 00:00 today, August 17, 14 strategic bombers, support aircraft and aerial tankers were deployed. Combat duty has begun, involving 20 aircraft." The president, speaking on the final day of large-scale military exercises involving Russia, China, and four Central Asian countries in the south Urals, said that on the first day of patrol flights, bomber planes would spend about 20 hours in the air, with midair refueling, and would interact with naval forces. "Air patrol areas will include zones of commercial shipping and economic activity. As of today, combat patrolling will be on a permanent basis. It has a strategic character

Russia's top Air Force officer denies planes flew over Georgia

17/ 08/ 2007 TBILISI, August 17 (RIA Novosti) - The chief of staff of Russia's Air Force, Gen. Igor Khvorov, denied Friday Tbilisi's claims that Russian aircraft violated Georgian airspace on August 6. Georgia accused Russia of firing a missile last Monday on a village 40 miles northwest of the Georgian capital and next to the border with breakaway South Ossetia. The 1,400-pound missile did not explode, but has become the latest source of tension between the former Soviet allies. "There was no unsanctioned border crossing," Khvorov told a briefing in the Russian Embassy in Tbilisi. "Services on duty were working in normal mode." The general also said evidence that could have explained the situation had been destroyed. "Clues, including the number of the rocket, have been eliminated along with the fuse of the unexploded missile," he said, adding that two thirds of the missile parts were also missing. Khvorov said Russian experts invest

Ten Years After: The Lasting Impact of the Asian Financial Crisis

Author(s): Mark Weisbrot Publisher(s): Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), Washington, DC, US Date of publication: 7 Aug 2007 Format: PDF Pages: 8 URL: www.cepr.net Series: CEPR Reports Description: This paper examines the legacy of the Asian financial crisis of 1997. The author argues that the most important long-term impact of this crisis was the initiation of the process that led to the collapse of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) influence over middle-income countries. The paper states that such a lasting outcome is in large part due to the IMF's role in the crisis which, even at the time, was widely seen as a major failure. General note: © 2007 Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) Download: English - Download the full-text document (173 KB)

Iran-Armenia pipeline, gas vs geopolitics

For residents of the remote southern Armenian town of Meghri, an Iranian pipeline is about gas, not geopolitics. By Joshua Kucera for EurasiaNet (17/08/07) Deep in remote southern Armenia, the town of Meghri lies at the frontlines of one of the region’s most controversial geopolitical showdowns: the construction of a 140-kilometer-long gas pipeline from Iran that could reduce Armenian dependency on Russian gas while clearing the way for a greater role for the Islamic Republic in the South Caucasus. But in this sleepy town of 4,000, that aspect of the pipeline does not register. Meghri may have been the site of a March pipeline launch ceremony between Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but, to residents, the strategic questions that surround it account for little. For nearly 20 years, the town has been reachable only by a long, tortuous mountain road, the highest in Armenia, passing over a 10,000-foot pass. It is frequently closed during t

Nigeria: Reining in Niger Delta Militants

Source: Stratfor Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports August 17, 2007 17 04 GMT The Nigerian military killed Soboma George, a gang leader associated with the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) militant group in Port Harcourt, Reuters reported Aug. 17, citing Maj. Sagir Musa of the Nigerian Joint Task Force. The operation against George, who long enjoyed political protection in the area, indicates his backers succumbed to pressure from President Umaru Yaradua to bring an end to violence and instability in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Although Western energy companies operating out of Port Harcourt will not be directly targeted in the ongoing violence, the city remains dangerous. The current violence began late Aug. 5 when a clash between rival armed gangs erupted into six days of street fighting before the Nigerian army entered Port Harcourt to restore order. Skirmishes between gangs and army units continued at a low level until Aug. 16, when a combined army

Deconstructing Martha Nussbaum: The Hindu Right Revisited

Posted on 05.23.07 by Jaffna @ 4:44 am Martha Nussbaum, Professor of Law, Religion and Philosophy at the University of Chicago launches her book this week titled The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India’s Future. The Harvard University Press published this. She had a preview published at The Chronicle for Higher Education on May 18, 2007. Here are my preliminary impressions on the latter. READ MORE

Russia: Moving Beyond Words

Source: Stratfor Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports August 17, 2007 20 42 GMT Summary Russia's attempts to expand its influence to date have had a half-hearted feel. That is about to change, with Ukraine serving as the inflection point. Analysis The Russians have been pushing out in many of directions of late, sending long-range bombers out to poke at NATO states, starting riots in the Baltics, unnerving the Georgians at every opportunity, challenging Arctic boundaries and putting down flags in the Asian rim and Middle East. All of these things capture global attention, but most are really rather symbolic. A flag on the seafloor under the North Pole does not really make a claim, musing about a naval base in Syria is not the same as actually putting one there, and intimidating Georgia is about as hard as barking back at a Chihuahua. Part of determining the gravity of a resurgence is separating signal from noise. Russia is about to get serious about its efforts, and the

Pakistan Tribal Unrest Intensifies

Source: SAAG.ORG By B. Raman. Anti-Musharraf and anti-US anger continues to run high in the Pashtun tribal areas of the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan. 2.The fresh wave of anger, which initially started after the raid of the Pakistani Army commandoes on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13,2007, has further intensified after the death of Abdullah Mehsud, a pro-Taliban tribal leader of South Waziristan and a former detenu at the Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba, at Zhob in Balochistan on July 23,2007 . According to the Pakistan Army, he blew himself up when he was surrounded by the security forces. But, his supporters allege that he was shot dead at point-blank range by the security forces. 3. The intensified anger has not only led to many more clashes between the tribals and the security forces, but also to a boycott of the celebration of Pakistan's 60th Independence Day anniversary in ma