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Showing posts from August 2, 2009

Peace with India

By Ayesha Siddiqa Friday, 07 Aug, 2009 | 01:36 AM PST Since neighbours can't be wished away, a better future can only be constructed through cooperation and not `mutually assured destruction.' —Photo by Reuters `But why do we have to talk to India?' was a line echoed by many on television screens in Pakistan with similar sentiments being expressed on the other side. The national security community on both sides suddenly sees no value in building peaceful relations. Under the circumstances, it is very clear that the romantic notion of peace is now defunct. Ordinary people probably get excited when conservative rightwing leaders come on television and say that talking to the other side is of no use. The sad reality is that the days of desiring a great friendship are over. Indeed, the post-Egypt meeting days did not bring a lot of joy to the

Are There Bright Spots Amid the Global Recession?

Nouriel Roubini, 08.06.09, 12:00 AM EDT A snapshot of the better economies. pic This week, I take a look at which countries have best weathered the global recession and credit crunch. All economies have been affected by the crisis, but a combination of policy responses and strong fundamentals has given some countries, especially some emerging market economies, a relative edge. These same strengths could lead the countries I highlight below to perform better as the global recovery begins, even if their growth rates remain well below 2003-07 trends. What do these countries have in common? One major theme is that they tended to have lower financial vulnerabilities due to more restrictive regulation and less developed financial markets, as well as larger and stronger domestic markets that sustained domestic demand. Moreover, they had the resources to enga

Commentary : See how far you can go today

Commentary by Tech Sgt. Shontel Moulton 386th Expeditionary Communications Squadron 8/7/2009 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a runner. I've been running for 10 years and have done everything from a 5K to a marathon. During my thousands of miles, I've had a few epiphanies; moments in time when things seem clear. I've realized that marathon training and a successful Air Force career have a lot in common. They take hard work, dedication and patience. Here's what running has taught me about life , in and out of the Air Force: --Achieving goals is hard, and sometimes painful. Runners have horror stories about blisters, ripped off toenails and, although they may not mention it, serious chafing. But when the race is over and the wounds have healed, you're left with a feeling of accomplishment that nothing can match. So whether you're aiming for the finish line or that next promotion, grit through the pain and keep moving. --You

Air Force culture of responsibility

Commentary by Gen. Roger A. Brady U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander 8/4/2009 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- As Airmen, we have taken a solemn vow to serve and protect our nation, and I commend you for your service. With that service; however, comes great responsibility and the necessity to make proper choices. We are confronted every day with choices, both on and off duty, that can and do impact both the mission and perception by others of our Air Force and Americans in Europe. With that in mind, individuals at every level must relentlessly strive to develop and maintain an environment defined by integrity and accountability, or in other words a "culture of responsibility." My role as U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander allows me the privilege of witnessing firsthand the amazing accomplishments of our team members throughout our area of responsibility, both military and civilian. I am constantly humbled and inspired by the great things we are accomplishing,

US Air Force Global Strike Command activated

by Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs 8/7/2009 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials stood up a new major command to oversee all of its nuclear forces in an activation ceremony Aug. 7 at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. Air Force Global Strike Command will provide combat ready forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations in support of combatant commanders. "This week we achieved a major milestone in the activation of Air Force Global Strike Command ," said Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley. "The command will bring together our strategic nuclear forces under a single commander, and will provide combatant commanders with the forces to conduct strategic nuclear deterrence and global strike operations through intercontinental ballistic missiles, B-2 (Spirit) and B-52 (Stratofortress) operations." The creation of Air Force Global Strike Command began last fall with the approval of a nuclear roadma

Putin, Erdogan to decide on project of first Turkish NPP building

06.08.2009, 08.06 MOSCOW, August 6 (Itar-Tass) - The fate of one of the largest joint projects of Russia and Turkey in the energy sphere will be decided on Thursday within the framework of a working visit of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Turkey. On the results of the intergovernmental talks the sides will sign a protocol on cooperation in the atomic sphere that has direct relation to this project. Deputy chief of staff of the RF government staff Yuri Ushakov told journalists that “Turkey is ready to provide to Russia a tied easy-term loan under construction of a nuclear power plant in Turkey.” Besides, during the talks the two prime ministers are also expected “to discuss the volume of works for each side and the cost of one kilowatt of power that will be generated at the plant.” Ushakov explained that “Russia has offered Turkey a new, lower compromise price that is currently being considered by our partners.” During the talks the sides are expected to finally make p

Nord Stream: Not Just a Pipeline

An Analysis of the Political Debates in the Baltic Sea Region Regarding the Planned Gas Pipeline from Russia to Germany This report is an analysis of the planned gas pipeline from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea known as Nord Stream. The author examines the divergent attitudes and debates that have surged in the region regarding Nord Stream, with the aim to provide plausible explanations as to why the interpretations of the project have been so different in the various states. 2008 Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) Download: English (PDF · 89 pages · 3.0 MB) Author: Bendik Solum Whist ISBN/EAN: 978-82-7613-547-3 Series: FNI Reports Publisher: Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI), Lysaker, Norway

F-22: Ruptured Raptor

7 Aug 2009 The US defense secretary’s decision to end F-22 funding signals a shift from a Cold War fighting mentality to one that is tailored to present-day combat and countering asymmetric threats, writes Andrew Rhys Thompson for ISN Security Watch. By Andrew Rhys Thompson for ISN Security Watch In early April US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates presented his plans to end funding for the F-22 program and to curtail production of the stealth fighter at 187 units. Gates told the assembled media in a Pentagon briefing of the decision: "For me, it was not a close call. … The military advice that I got was that there is no military requirement for numbers of F-22s beyond the 187." Despite this, the announcement immediately caused an uproar on Capitol Hill as members of Congress whose home states are directly tied into the production of the F-22 predictably scrambled to find ways to ignore the directive and continue funding of the costly jets. In mid June, the Hou


B.RAMAN ( To be read in continuation of my article of June 26,2009, titled "Co-Ordinated Hunt For Baitullah Mehsud" at . Article annexed for easy reference) The co-ordinated hunt for Baitullah Mehsud, the Amir of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), undertaken by the intelligence agencies of Pakistan and the US scored a major success early on the morning of August 5,2009, when an unmanned US aircraft (Drone), acting on intelligence furnished by a source of the Pakistani intelligence from South Waziristan fired two missiles on the house of the father of the second wife of Baitullah , Malik Ikramuddin, in the Zangarha area, 15km to the north-east of Ladha in South Waziristan. Eight persons were killed. Seven of them have been identified by local sources as the second wife of Baitullah and six of his bodyguards. The identity of the eighth person has not yet been established, but it is widely believed that the eigh

China's wild west With July's violence in Urumqi following last year's riots in Tibet, is China under threat in its frontier provinces? Xinjiang's minorities, the Muslim Uyghurs in particular, face discrimination. Though their dislocation is more social and cultural than religious, without real autonomy Islamic fundamentalism is set to grow by Martine Bulard My journey to China's westernmost province began this May in the backroom of an ordinary brasserie in one of Paris's eastern suburbs. The Uyghur man I had come to see was accompanied by a plainclothes policeman, but even so, his hands trembled and there was a look of fear in his eyes: had I really come to interview him or was I in the pay of the Chinese political police? He was a member of the dissident World Uyghur Congress (1) and had just been granted political asylum in France. His was a run-of-the-mill story: he had protested about an injustice at his workplace in Xinjiang, which led t


Detained Activist's Kafkaesque Nightmare By Ullrich Fichtner,1518,640109,00.html Ji Sizun, a legal activist who represented ordinary people, disappeared into the clutches of Chinese state security a year ago, on the fourth day of the Olympic Games in Beijing. He had wanted to demonstrate in one of the official "protest parks." Instead, he ended up in prison. When the Beijing attorney Liu receives a telephone call, his answering machine plays a loud electronic version of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." He quickly picks up the phone, shouts into the receiver, laughs loudly and makes the stuttering sound of an engine running. In China, all of this is code for: Okay, I understand, everything is fine. Sometimes Liu gets up while he is talking, stands at a window, his body rocking back and forth, and looks out at the commotion surrounding Beijing's western train station -- a chaotic scene that mirrors his own hectic li


B.RAMAN The post-Prabakaran attempts by some never-say-die sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora across the world to resurrect the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suffered a blow on August 6,2009, when the Malaysian security agencies handed over to their Sri Lankan counterparts Kumaran Pathmanathan (known as KP), whom they had reportedly picked up from a hotel a few hours earlier. 2. It was suspected by investigation and intelligence agencies for some years that KP was residing in Malaysia and operating clandestinely from there with the help of LTTE sympathisers in the local Tamil community-----of Sri Lankan as well as Indian origin. For nearly 20 years he was a great asset to Prabakaran and the LTTE not because of any special political acumen he had, but because of his ability to work clandestinely without attracting much public attention to himself. 3. He emerged as the alleged main brain behind the LTTE's vast arms procurement, gun running, arms piracy f