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Showing posts from March 21, 2010

Pakistan’s other fault lines —Sanaullah Baloch

Daily Times, Pakistan Islamabad’s unkind approach and over-centralised political and discriminatory policies have resulted in massive despair among the Baloch masses. Conflict in the region has resulted in killings, displacement and human rights crises well documented by reputable organisations Predominantly, the fear of the Taliban and al Qaeda, and the rise of religious militancy has become Pakistan’s hallmark. In fact, there are numerous other fault lines and factors behind Pakistan’s gradual fall into fundamentalism, sectarianism, rise of ethnic conflicts and mounting political instability. Pakistan’s colonial rule and policies, ethnically structured institutions, over-centralisation, inflexible constitutional arrangements and lack of formally designed conflict resolution mechanisms are the main causes behind the endless crisis. Repeated martial laws, supremacy of the military establishment and inferiority of the democratic system, including monotonous democratic regimes in a

'China's Military Buildup is Affecting Regional Balance'

LALIT K JHA/WASHINGTON | MAR 27, 2010 item.aspx?677988 The buildup of Chinese armed forces is continuing "unabated" and Beijing's goals appears to be power projection beyond Asia and to challenge America's freedom of action in the region, a top US Admiral has said. Outlining that Chinese buildup was affecting regional military balance, Admiral Robert Willard, Commander of the US Pacific Command said, "China's rapid and comprehensive transformation of its armed forces holds implications beyond the Asia-Pacific region". The Admiral's comments came in a testimony to the Congress armed services committee and raised concerns that whether Beijing harboured global military ambitions. "Of particular concern is that elements of China's military modernisation appear designed to challenge our freedom of action in the region," Willard said. Elaborating, the top American Admiral said China had augmented its s

Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth

Rethink before It’s Too Late Iran is losing the game to regional actors in its strategic depth –Afghanistan. By Houman Dolati It is no more a surprise to see Iran absent in Afghanistan affairs. Nowadays, the Bonn Conference and Iran’s contributions to Afghanistan look more like a fading memory. Iran, which had promised of loans and credit worth five-hundred million dollars for Afghanistan, and tried to serve a key role, more than many other countries, for reconstruction and stabilization of Afghanistan, is now trying to efface that memory, saying it is a wrong path, even for the international community. Iran’s empty seat in the Rome Conference was another step backward for Afghanistan’s influential neighbor. Many other countries were surprised with Iran’s absence. Finding out the vanity of its efforts to justify absence in Rome, Iran tried to start its

Iran’s Nuclear Program and Chain UNSC Resolutions By Mahdi Mohtashami On Tuesday, White House threatened Iran with further sanctions if it did not stop its enrichment activities and U.S. alleged nuclear weapons program. Barack Obama’s spokesman Robert Gibbs added that America’s allies are serious about the head-on and time was running out for Iran. Evidences signal that Iran’s nuclear dossier will once again fall at the hands of the United Nations Security Council. As the records show, IAEA resolutions are usually followed by UNSC resolutions when a dossier is referred from UN atomic watchdog to the Security Council. The big difference this time is that Five plus One has long planned for referral of Iran’s case to the council. Iran’s treatment of the nuclear dispute will affect future measures by the global powers in the upcoming days and months; however, new resolutions and further sanctions are not unlik

Iran-Pakistan Pipeline accord: “Grand Religio-Commercial deal of the century”, says Baloch Leader

WASHINGTON DC, March 26 - Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA) strongly opposes Iran-Pakistan Gas pipeline operational accord signed between Pakistan and Iran in Istanbul on March 17th . The proposed project doesn’t take into consideration the aspirations of Baloch people on either side of the border, as pipeline passes through Balochistan. Dr. Wahid Baloch, President of BSO-NA said, “Baloch people cannot guarantee safety and security of the pipeline that passes through Baloch territory. We consider Balochistan as an occupied territory and Pakistan has no legal and moral right to sign any such deal.” He warned both countries that “Those who invest in the project without taking into account Baloch consent are at their own risk, as Baloch are fighting their war of independence against the occupying forces”. It is time to reiterate our stand by quoting our leader Shaheed Nawab Akbar Bugti’s words said in 2005, on the pipeline projects that passes our Baloch land. He said “

China's hollow constitution By FRANK CHING In many ways, the Chinese Constitution is a marvelous document. It guarantees Chinese citizens a host of rights, including "freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration." The problem is that these rights exist only in theory, not in practice. The latest human rights report on China released by the U.S. State Department shows just how far removed from reality these rights are for many Chinese citizens. Last year was supposed to see a marked improvement in human rights, with the unveiling of a National Human Rights Action Plan. The trouble is, by the end of the year, the plan had not yet been implemented. The human rights report talks about extrajudicial killings, executions without due process, torture and coerced confessions of prisons and the use of forced labor. What is most depressing is the realization that these things go on even though they are

IRAN: Gasoline Near Top of Imports List: 150 Percent Increase in Gasoline Imports

Regime Hoarding Gasoline, Reducing Consumption in Anticipation of US Sanctions ISNA – Summary translation by Persia House March 17, 2010 With the import of over five million tons of gasoline worth over [$3.3 billion*] during the [Iranian calendar] months of Azar, Dey, and Bahman [November 22 – February 19], the amount of gasoline imports during the first 11 months of this [Iranian calendar year, March 2009 – February 2010] reached about $4.5 billion. This was a 62 percent increase over the same period the year before, despite a 30 percent drop in the price per kilo of gasoline. Persia House Analysis: The dramatic spike in Iran’s gasoline imports in recent months indicates that the Iranian government is seriously concerned about the effect gasoline sanctions may have on the already ailing Iranian economy. In the absence of sufficient refining capacity to meet the country’s domestic gasoline needs, the government is attempting to reduce the country’s vulnerability to gasoline sanctions

Analytic Best Practices :Dungarvan Conference 2010

Dungarvan Conference 2010 Sunday, July 11, 2010 - Tuesday, July 13, 2010 FOR MORE DETAILS : Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland United States As one of the United States’ thought leaders on intelligence analysis, and an innovative research institution on intelligence analysis best practices, Mercyhurst College has embarked on a number of outreach initiatives to capture best practices in the Intelligence Community. Toward that end, Mercyhurst is hosting the first of what we hope to be annual conferences in Dungarvan, Ireland that will focus on key intelligence issues from a global perspective. We believe that the intelligence discipline can best be explored and comprehended by taking a holistic and generalist approach. Therefore we are reaching out to our friends across the globe in a wide variety of fields to converse and discuss analytic best practices. The conference panels will be composed of leading practiti

Chermany vs. Gremerica

The Daily Reckoning Presents Bill Bonner Bummer! You work hard. You save your money. You make a product and sell it at a profit. Everybody's happy. And then, your customers, the silly spendthrifts, go broke. And what do you know? Everybody points his finger and blames you! "World leaders are choosing recession," charges The Financial Times. The "world leaders" the FT is talking about are Premier Wen Jiabao of China and Germany's Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble. The FT says they should loosen up; have some fun. China should raise the value of the yuan, adds Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, backed by 130 members of Congress. Germany should raise wages, says France's finance minister Christine Lagarde. That is, they should be more like grasshoppers than ants. But neither the Germans nor the Chinese prospered by being grasshoppers. They got rich by being ants. And they're still at it. China is still exporting...and making a $291 billion current

US-Pakistan strategic dialogue :Hype and hyphen

Saturday , Mar 27, 2010 at 0225 hrs news/hypeandhyphen/596278/0 The US-Pakistan strategic dialogue in Washington marks the formal beginning of the endgame on the Afghan war. The Americans are searching for a grand bargain with Pakistan to help destroy Al-Qaeda and its proliferations and to conclusively break their link with the Taliban. Total destruction of the Taliban is no longer on the agenda. If the Obama administration can report success on this, it can claim victory and bring back most of its forces from Afghanistan in a victory of sorts rather than in a retreat in defeat. A bit like the story unfolded finally in Iraq. The Pakistanis know this but somehow seem impatient. As if this is their one great, last opportunity and as if Brand Pakistan will go out of fashion. Let us, for a bit, look at the picture from Pakistani eyes, rather than ours. We can then see why the Pakistanis nurse grievances for the Americans. They see 1965, and even 1971, despi

Brazil: we’ve got the power Lula Da Silva’s resources and ambition Brazil wants to broker international diplomacy, host presidential missions and ignore the US. It now has serious economic sway in South America, and it is aiming for much more and much wider influence by Lamia Oualalou “It is embarrassing that Brazil is receiving the head of a repressive dictatorial regime. It is one thing to have diplomatic relations with dictatorships; it is quite another to welcome their leaders to Brazil” (1), wrote José Serra, the governor of São Paulo state and one of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s main political opponents. He was commenting on the visit of Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on 23 November 2009. Serra is rarely so vehement in his attacks on “Lula”, who enjoys an impressive level of popularity. Apart from social programmes, foreign policy is the area in which Lula, the leader of the Workers’ Party has made the greatest changes. Lula may have abandoned part

Reunion, integrated island

India’s Waning Regional Influence: Bad policy Making or Lack of Political Will?

Chacko Philip, France In recent weeks, lot of things were happening in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theatre which are critical to the evolution of India’s regional role and its foreign policy. On 26 February 2010, at least nine Indians, including three army officers were killed in a terrorist attack in Kabul. The attack was carried out focussing the residential areas used by Indians working in Afghanistan. The Indian National Security Advisor, Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon made a two day visit to Kabul on 5 March 2010 to review the security situation of the Indians working there. Following his visit, Pakistani Army Chief General Pervez Kiani met the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai in Kabul, on 6 March 2010, to discuss “matters of mutual interest”. On 7 March 2010, the US Defense Secretary Robert Gates carried out an urgent visit to Kabul. This was in view of the scheduled visit of the President of Iran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad on 10 March 2010. The Iranian president’s visit was aimed at showing stron