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Showing posts from January 25, 2009

ICELAND: When Govetnment trade sovereignty for short term prosperity

How Iceland's Government made one of History's Most Devastatingly Common Mistakes There's a good chance that you've already heard more about Iceland in the last few weeks & months than you ever cared to. In fact, you probably didn't react much to yesterday's news that the government toppled under the weight of the country's financial collapse. And why should you? The island's only home to 300,000 people - less than Wichita Kansas - and it's historically been the backwater of Western Europe. So why would you really care about what's going on in Iceland? Because it's a perfect example of how governments trade their own sovereignty for prosperity. And how people remain complacent with this trade until they've lost both. Today we're going to look back at it transformed from a handful of fishing villages into a fi

Economy topples Reykjavik

22:00 | 27/ 01/ 2009 MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Andrei Fedyashin) - The entire Icelandic government has become the first victim of the crisis in Europe. In late January, ministers and financial officials began to step down one by one, then the government coalition collapsed, and in the late hours of January 27, Prime Minister Geir Haarde said he and his cabinet would retire immediately. Early elections may be scheduled for February or March instead of 2011. Judging by the tumult of mass rejoicing in the streets of the capital at this dramatic turn of events, the overwhelming majority of Icelanders are convinced that things could not get any worse. Almost the whole week before this, tens of thousands of people were demanding the government's resignation and early elections. As many as 30,000-32,000 people, or 10% of Iceland's entire population (320,000), took part in the political unrest burning effigies of the prime minister and his cabinet members.

Turkey: 'Deep State' conspiracy

27 Jan 2009 The Ergenekon investigation deepens distrust between the Turkish military and the country's police force, as the ruling AKP suspects the 'Deep State' of trying to undermine it in the name of secularism, Gareth Jenkins writes for ISN Security Watch. By Gareth Jenkins in Istanbul for ISN Security Watch Turkish anti-terrorism police on 22 January detained 37 people in simultaneous pre-dawn raids in 16 of the country's 81 provinces as part of an ongoing investigation into an alleged covert organization known as "Ergenekon." The operation was the 11th in a series of coordinated early morning raids over the last 18 months in which over 200 people have been detained and more than 120 formally arrested on charges of belonging to the Ergenekon "armed terrorist organization." Those currently being held on charges of belonging to Ergenekon include retired high-ranking members of the Turkish military, academics, writers, journalists,


B.RAMAN President Barack Obama has been in office hardly for a week now. It will be too early to expect a comprehensive security strategy in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region to emerge from his administration. All one can say is that an exercise to evolve a strategy, which will be considerably different from that followed by George Bush, has been undertaken at various levels in the White House itself, in the National Security Council, in the State Department and in the Pentagon and that some Pakistani analysts such as Ahmed Rashid, the well-known Afghan expert, are playing an active behind-the-scene role in this exercise There has been no involvement of any Indian analyst----either India or US based--- in this exercise. As a result, non-American inputs for this exercise have been coming largely from Pakistan. 2. On the basis of the initial comments of Obama himself, Vice-President Joe Biden, Richard Holbrooke, the newly-appointed Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Fighting Terror: Renovating the Internal Security Mechanism

By Divya Kumar Soti NIA is not a panacea for deeper deficiencies in our C-T mechanism Thousands of ideas are freely floating around these days to strengthen our Counter-terrorism mechanism and so are the terrorists. Terrorism is increasing in co-relation with number of these ideas. We are living in midst of hysteria that is amplified by a jittery media which speculates about ‘who is involved?’ following each terror attack and stories that make up this speculation seems to come straight out of some cheap roadside novels. This stuff generally ends up portraying terrorists as some mysterious cult with extra-terrestrial genius, for whom we helpless ordinary human beings are no match. And then finally some talk about new terror laws and of course new agency and mechanisms. This is summary of our response to terrorism. Actually, it is not so that terror groups have made some revolutionary progress over past few years. Instead we have failed to keep pace with there modest velocity. We

The Starbucks/Ethiopian Coffee Saga

Source : Nordic Africa Institute Geographical Indications as a Linchpin for Development in Developing Countries A coalition of Ethiopian coffee producers and the Ethiopian Intellectual Property Office (EIPO) set up a programme to acquire trademarks in important export markets, with a view to increasing the profits on these brands for the producers.In March 2005, the Ethiopian government filed its first US trademark applications for three contested coffee names. After 15 months the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) agreed that the name Sidamo was generic and therefore could not be trademarked. This led to an outcry by some commentators, including NGOs and Intellectual Property Rights professionals. Yet, the arguments in favour of protecting indigenous knowledge under international trade rules as a linchpin for economic development and poverty eradication has been forcefully put forward by African countries and other developing countries in both regional trade negotiat

Migration in sub-Saharan Africa

The recently published book Migration in sub-Saharan Africa (Current African Issues no. 37) by Aderanti Adepoju was praised in a recent review in the Swedish journal Omvärlden (no. 7, December 2008). Reviewer Mats Wingborg calls the book “a pioneering contribution”, in particular by tracing the circular movement of labour within Africa. The book is available for free download here .

Russia to rebuild army by 2016

19:48 | 22/ 01/ 2009 MOSCOW. (Nikita Petrov for RIA Novosti) - The financial crisis has affected Russia's military reform plan. That became clear after Dmitry Medvedev signed a corresponding decree, now posted on his website. In contrast to Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov's order issued last year to finalize the army and navy reforms by 2012, the new presidential decree sets the date at January 1, 2016. It is not the transition from the "district-army-division-regiment" hierarchy to "district-operations command center-brigade" pattern, or the reduction in number of cadre units, reshaping the regiments and divisions into permanent readiness brigades, which is a major challenge in terms of organization and expenditure, that is the main obstacle to Russian military reform. The biggest headache is the reduction of 200,000 officers and the abolition of chief warrant officers and midshipmen. During the reform, all the reduced personnel with a serv

A Comparative Study of the Counter-Terrorism Strategies in the West with Objective of an Effective Strategy for Indian Scenario

Guest Column by Sivasathivel Kandasamy (The views expressed by the author are his own) Source: South Asia Analysis Group Introduction India and Israel could be considered as the countries most affected by Jihad Terrorism, especially from across the border. While the actions of Israel might not be the best of favorites in the agenda of Indian Policy makers, a thorough study is required to formulate the policies and strategies to deal with terrorism that has come into existence both as an endogenous and exogenous entity. In this work, counter-terrorism strategies of some multi-cultural countries are studied in an attempt to identify the past mistakes in the Indian System as well as extract lessons for an effective counter-terrorism strategy suiting the Indian scenario. CounterTerrorism Strategies in Netherlands [1] Islamist terrorism is put on high alert after the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent wave of ‘powder letters’ both in the national and international agenda and Netherlands rea

Swat — towards a Wahhabi state?

Source: The News , Pakistan Link: Monday, January 19, 2009 by Khurshid Khan In his article, “Behind the crises in Swat” (Nov 27, 2008), Sartaj Khan described the conflict in Swat as a class struggle. Farhat Taj (Dec 18) responded with “No class war in Swat.” Sartaj’s contentions are believed by many as the real depiction of the current turbulence, but that is not the case. Before coming to any conclusions about the current turbulence in the valley we have to keep in view the weaknesses of the state institutions, people’s grievances and the impacts of international politics on the valley. Fredrik Barth, a Norwegian social anthropologist author of Political Leadership among Swat Pathans, carried out considerable research in Swat in the 1950s and wrote numerous papers. His work is of great importance but the situation has immensely changed since then. Since the early 1970s people travel to the Arab states in search of lucrat

President Obama's Policy Options in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)

- Dr. Hassan Abbas Report by Institute of Social Policy and Understanding ( ), January 25, 2009 Excerpt: There is an emerging consensus among foreign policy experts that the growing insurgency and militancy in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) poses the greatest security challenge not only to Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also to the United States. Some scholars even project that a major terrorist act with al-Qaeda footprints in the United States might result in an American strike and ground invasion of this area. President Barack Obama has repeatedly talked about stepping up military action in Afghanistan as a panacea to the expanding crisis in that country and hinted as early as August 2007 that if elected, he would sanction direct military strikes in FATA if there were “actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets” and if Pakistan failed to act. Situation has deteriorated in the region during the last year further complicati

Pakistan in Peril

Volume 56, Number 2 · February 12, 2009 By William Dalrymple Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid Viking, 484 pp., $27.95 Lahore, Pakistan The relative calm in Iraq in recent months, combined with the drama of the US elections, has managed to distract attention from the catastrophe that is rapidly overwhelming Western interests in the part of the world that always should have been the focus of America's response to September 11: the al-Qaeda and Taliban heartlands on either side of the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The situation here could hardly be more grim. The Taliban have reorganized, advanced out of their borderland safe havens, and are now massing at the gates of Kabul, threatening to surround and throttle the capital, much as the US-backed Mujahideen once did to the Soviet-installed regime in the late Eighties. Like the rerun of an old movie, all journeys out of the Afgh