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Showing posts from August 19, 2007

One year after Akbar Bugti's death: Any Lessons Learnt?

One year after Akbar Bugti's death By Gulmina Bilal The News, August 25, 2007 They said he challenged the writ of the state. They said that the poor law and order situation is because of the three nawabs, of which he was one. They told us that in Balochistan there is "No problem" except the nawab who was inciting people. Therefore, he needed to be taken out. And a year ago he was permanently gotten rid off. Whether the cave caved in or he was tricked, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that a year later, peace has eluded Balochistan. Why is that so? If the instigator had been "neutralized" then why is Balochistan still restless? Like yesterdays newspaper, Dera Bugti and Balochistan have receded from our minds. The place that grabbed headlines a year back doesn't even make it to the most obscure of the inside pages. Rhetorical statements have been made, limelight stolen, resignations given and taken back --in short other places and people grab the headline

India: Twin Bomb Blasts Rock Hyderabad

Source: Stratfor Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports India: Twin Bomb Blasts Rock Hyderabad August 25, 2007 16 30 GMT Twin bomb explosions occurred late Aug. 25 in Hyderabad in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, killing nine people and injuring 60. The first bomb exploded in Lumbini Park, near the state secretariat, around 9 p.m. local time during a laser show where many people were gathered. The second explosion took place at popular outdoor eatery Gokul Chat Bhandar about 15 minutes later. Stratfor expected Kashmiri Islamist militants to stage an attack this quarter. The cities of Hyderabad and Bangalore, where India's high-tech hubs are located and where Kashmiri militant cells are spreading, were high on the target list. Though these bombings do not appear to be a direct hit against the IT sector (the park and restaurant are far from Hitech City in the suburbs where all the companies are located), they reveal the militant groups' interest in increasing

U.S.: Managing the Rise of the UAV

Source: Stratfor Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports U.S.: Managing the Rise of the UAV August 25, 2007 14 12 GMT Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part look at U.S. Air Force efforts to assume control over unmanned aerial vehicles. Summary As the U.S. Air Force grapples for control over higher-flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), other services developing their own UAV programs are deeply concerned. The platform is growing increasingly popular throughout the U.S. military, which sees great value in unmanned flight. One branch seizing too much control over the innovative systems could prove counterproductive. Analysis U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England is expected to announce a decision by the end of August whether to grant the U.S. Air Force "Executive Agent Authority" over all U.S. military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also called unmanned aerial systems) that fly above 3,500 feet. The Air Force is seeking to control acquisiti

U.S.: An Existential Move for the Air Force

Source: Stratfor Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports August 24, 2007 17 45 GMT Editor's Note: This is the first of a two-part look at U.S. Air Force efforts to assume control over unmanned aerial vehicles. Summary A battle over unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is being joined in the hallways of the Pentagon. While the U.S. Air Force grapples for control over the acquisition and development of higher-flying UAVs, it also is trying to define its long-term future, which will not involve any seat-of-the-pants flying. Analysis The U.S. Air Force is asking for broad "executive agent authority" over all U.S. military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs, also called unmanned aerial systems) that fly above 3,500 feet. The Air Force wants control over the acquisition and development of all such systems. With each branch of service pursuing its own UAV development programs (sometimes in cooperation with one other), the Army, Navy and Marine Corps are understandably upset

Hyderabad blasts kill 41, CM calls meet

HYDERABAD: At least 42 people, including five women and seven students, have been killed and 50 injured in two explosions at a crowded park and a popular eatery in Hyderabad on Saturday evening, three months after the Mecca Masjid blasts. The week-end outing at the popular Gokul Chat shop at Kothi locality turned into a tragedy when a deafening explosion ripped through it killing 32 people and wounding 21, police said on Sunday. Five minutes earlier, 10 people, most of them from outside the state, were killed and 29 injured in another blast in an open air auditorium in Lumbini Park near the state secretariat in the heart of the city when a laser show was underway, they said. The blast at the auditorium, where 500 people were present, was so powerful that some bodies were flung in the air. Among the dead at the Lumbini Park were two students from Ahmedabad. Four Railways employee are among those killed in the blasts. The condition of some of the injured was stated to be ser

National Intelligence Estimate: An Update to "Prospects for Iraq's Stability"

Key Judgments There have been measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation since our last National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq in January 2007. The steep escalation of rates of violence has been checked for now, and overall attack levels across Iraq have fallen during seven of the last nine weeks. Coalition forces, working with Iraqi forces, tribal elements, and some Sunni insurgents, have reduced al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s (AQI) capabilities, restricted its freedom of movement, and denied it grassroots support in some areas. However, the level of overall violence, including attacks on and casualties among civilians, remains high; Iraq’s sectarian groups remain unreconciled; AQI retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks; and to date, Iraqi political leaders remain unable to govern effectively. There have been modest improvements in economic output, budget execution, and government finances but fundamental structural problems continue to prevent sustained progr

'Last Supper' Syndrome Plagues Nepal's Royal Family

Saturday 25th of August 2007 Are Fridays and feasts unlucky for the royal family of Nepal? Such a strong streak of superstition runs through the kingdom, nourished by history that shows that many of the momentous events concerning the royals either occurred on a Friday or after a feast, with the greatest catastrophe befalling after a Friday banquet. The beginning of the end of Nepal's 238-year-old Shah dynasty of kings can be traced to June 2001, on a Friday when the then king Birendra went to attend a family dinner in his fortified palace. The feast turned into a midnight massacre with the monarch and nine members of the royal family dying in a mysterious shootout blamed on the then crown prince Dipendra, who too perished in the national tragedy. After inheriting his brother's throne, when King Gyanendra decided to take the reins of the country in his own hands, he sacked prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba after a lavish dinner with the unsuspecting premier and his wife. D

The Small World of FOIA Brokers The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which provides access to confidential government papers in the U.S. and Britain is being used by private firms to business intelligence ends. In a study on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the United States, the Coalition of Journalists for Open Government revealed that 60% of requests officially submitted under the law emanate from the private sector. Companies which work for the government use the FOIA to examine the internal processes leading to the signing of contracts and to glean details of the bids submitted by their competitors. In both the United States and Britain (where a FOIA was introduced in 2000), private groups funnel most of their requests for information from FOIA through highly specialized law firms and business intelligence concerns (see graph below). The companies in question, which know the FOIA in and out and can submit a large number of requests, offer highly specific research ser

Russia: The Unveiling of the Skat

Source: Stratfor Stratfor's Free Intelligence Reports August 24, 2007 16 06 GMT Summary A new Russian unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) called the Skat was on display Aug. 24 at Russia's MAKS 2007 air show. Though the UCAV is still under development and details about its capabilities remain unknown, the Skat should not be underestimated. Analysis A mock-up of a Russian unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) being developed by the MiG Aircraft Corp. was displayed Aug. 24 at the MAKS 2007 air show near Moscow. This UCAV, dubbed the Skat, is not to be underestimated, though much about its development and capabilities remains to be seen. Vaguely similar in appearance to the U.S. Navy’s Northrop Grumman X-47B, the Skat is hardly a new product on the world arms market. UCAVs, which are designed to deploy weapons, are under development in a number of locations around the globe, particularly in Europe. Hence, it is no surprise that Russia, one of the world's chief a

Ways to Reduce Terrorist Threat from Regions with Weak Governmental Control

RAND Study Analyzes Ways to Reduce Terrorist Threat from Regions with Weak Governmental Control Governments around the world should take a new approach to fighting terrorism by treating regions where governmental control is weak as a distinct category of security problems, according to a RAND Corporation study issued today. It is not enough to simply focus on individual regions like the Pakistan-Afghanistan border and how they become havens for terrorists, according to the study titled “Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks.” “Ungoverned territories are areas where the central government's authority is weak or non-existent, and they can generate a myriad of security problems,” said Angel Rabasa, a RAND senior policy analyst and lead author of the report. “All these areas have certain elements in common. In order to design appropriate responses, the factors that produce ungoverned territories and their effects on U.S. security interests need to be analyz

Israel and Syria:The Military Balance and Prospects of War

Israel and Syria: The Military Balance and Prospects of War Anthony H. Cordesman Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy With the Assistance of Ionut C. Popescu Working Draft, Revised: August 15, 2007 Click Please note that this document is a working draft and will be revised regularly. To comment, or to provide suggestions and corrections, please e-mail the author at


In 2005, Dr. Manwaring wrote a monograph entitled Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Bolivarian Socialism, and Asymmetric Warfare. It came at a time when the United States and Venezuela were accelerating a verbal sparing match regarding which country was destabilizing Latin America more. President Chavez shows no sign of standing down; he slowly and deliberately centralizes his power in Venezuela, and carefully and adroitly articulates his Bolivarian dream (the idea of a Latin American Liberation Movement against U.S. economic and political imperialism). Yet, most North Americans dismiss Chavez as a “nut case,” or—even if he is a threat to the security and stability of the Hemisphere—the possibilities of that threat coming to fruition are too far into the future to worry about. Dr. Manwaring’s intent is to explain in greater depth what President Chavez is doing and how he is doing it. First, he explains that Hugo Chavez’s threat is straightforward, and that it is being translated into a consist

India out of world's 'truly corrupt' group

24 Aug, 2007, 0952 hrs IST, IANS WASHINGTON: Corruption in nearly half the world's nations is not getting much better but "a few, most notably India, managed to bootstrap themselves (just barely) out of the truly corrupt group," according to Forbes. While a year ago, some 72 out of 158 nations surveyed by the international watchdog group Transparency International (TI) were classified as "corrupt," now 74 of 163 countries fall into the same category, the US business magazine reported. "A few, most notably India, managed to bootstrap themselves (just barely) out of the truly corrupt group, while others, particularly Iran, dug themselves more firmly into that camp," it said. Forbes' list of the most corrupt countries in the world is based on an index from 0 to 10 comprised of surveys of specialists, opinion leaders, business officials and human rights monitors who live, work or travel extensively in each of the countries ranked. The higher the s

The Coming Balkan Caliphate: The Threat of Radical Islam to Europe and the West

Editorial Reviews Link to Amazon Review "Anyone imagining that Moslem extremists must be seen as a threat only east of Suez should read Chris Deliso's alarming accounts of their activities in parts of the Balkans made vulnerable by wars and poverty." - David Binder, New York Times Central and Eastern European correspondent, 1961-2004. "Chris Deliso is a veteran field reporter and one of the foremost experts on the Balkans. Unlike many of the mainstream 'parachute' journalists who drop in every time a new violent crisis erupts, Deliso lives in the region and therefore better understands the dynamics and political intrigues. This book presents a compelling glimpse into the much overlooked spread of radical Islam throughout the former Yugoslavia. A must-read for those who have prematurely declared the international intervention in the Balkans a "success story"." - Scott Taylor, award-winning Canadian war reporter and publisher, Esprit de Cor

The U.S. and Venezuela: Constitutional Worlds Apart

Friday, Aug 24, 2007 By: Stephen Lendman Although imperfect, no country anywhere is closer to a model democracy than Venezuela under President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias. In contrast, none is a more shameless failure than the U.S.A., but it was true long before the age of George W. Bush. The difference under his regime is that the mask is off revealing a repressive state masquerading as a democratic republic. This article compares the constitutional laws of each country and how they're implemented. The result shows worlds-apart differences between these two nominally democratic states - one that's real, impressive and improving and the other that's mostly pretense and under George Bush lawless, corrupted, in tatters, and morally depraved. US Constitutional Law from the Beginning Before they're old enough to understand its meaning, young US children are taught to "pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it sta