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Showing posts from July 29, 2012

Dispute with Iran: A Strategic Risk Assessment Tool for the Nuclear Talks

May 21, 2012 By Carsten Giersch What are the chances of success and what are the factors of risk in the new round of talks between the Iranian government and the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (“P5+1”) about Iran’s disputed nuclear programmed? These questions will draw much attention by political decision-makers and business executives and students of international affairs in the coming weeks, in particular, given that the Persian Gulf region will ultimately be facing the risk of war should the negotiations fail again. The following study contains a tool for assessing the strategic risk factors which will impact upon the nuclear talks with Iran. The added value of any strategic risk assessment consists in informing decision-makers about the major risks that affect the process of achieving the envisioned outcome of a mission or project. Thus, st

Analyzing the Role of Politically Exposed Persons in Tender Projects July 28, 2011 By Carsten Giersch A major concern for a company getting engaged in a tender project in a foreign country is the opaque role that Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) might play through the relationship between business and politics surrounding the project. This article builds on previous explorations of approaches to political risk research , and ties in with the recent analysis of the UK Bribery Act in this magazine. It suggests a strategic approach for dealing with PEPs, in particular political due diligence, relationship mapping and median analysis, particularly suited to dissecting formal and informal power networks. PEPs defined By definition, a PEP holds a public mandate, as member of a parliament, or a high-level public office as a member of the government or administration, including the military and the “security services” (so-called foreign public offi

Save Balochistan

Rustam Shah Mohmand Saturday, August 04, 2012 The breakup of Pakistan would not have taken place if the Pakistani state had not unleashed a reign of terror on Bengalis after its refusing to accept the results of the 1970 general elections. There is no point blaming an external force when conditions are deliberately created for foreign interference to become inevitable. Some such drama is being enacted in Balochistan. The story of Baloch deprivation goes back to 1948 when Qalat was invaded in contravention of the agreement that had been reached with the Khan of Kalat. From then on, it is a lamentable account of a state which seems bent upon forcing its will on a population it has never taken into confidence. The death of Nawab Bugti added a dangerous dimension to the Baloch demand for independence. The Pakistani state began to use terror as its principal weapon of repression. Kidnappings, torture and killings became the weapon of choice. How could the US or its proxies stay aloof w


B.RAMAN While advocating a strong counter-terrorism strategy towards Pakistan, including the selective use of covert action against the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) and other Pakistani terrorist organisations operating against India from Pakistani territory, I have been suggesting for over a year now greater contacts between the policy-makers of the two countries so that they know each other in flesh and blood instead of assessing each other on the basis of media and intelligence reports. 2. Among the suggestions I have been making in this regard is a no-frills,no-emotions visit by the Prime Minister to Pakistan in response to the visit to India by former Prime Minister YousefRazaGilani last year and President Asif Ali Zardari earlier this year.I have also been suggesting an exchange of visits by the chiefs of the Army and the intelligence agencies of the two countries.My hope is that such personal interactions at the political, military and intelligence levels could lead to a gra

Gujarat: Significant decline in rural poverty

Bibek Debroy Saturday July 07, 2012, 04:12 PM This is a follow-up of the earlier blog and I will only focus on poverty. Inequality is a separate issue and one can turn to that later. Inequality is relative, poverty is absolute. In other words, to determine poverty, there is a poverty line and one computes what percentage of population is below the poverty line. There are data issues, because one needs data on income distributions. National accounts only give us aggregate measures, not distributions. Distributions come through NSS (National Sample Survey) and NSS large samples occur at infrequent intervals, an average of once every five years. The last large NSS samples were in 2004-05 and 2009-10. There are three issues that we can mention and forget about, because they are irrelevant for present purposes. First, NSS does not collect data on income. It collects data on con

Dissing Price Discovery

How the feds are subverting Mr. Market’s best efforts Joel Bowman, reckoning today from Paris, France... Joel Bowman Da-da, da-da, da-data... What, if anything, does it all mean? Dow down 92...Crude holding tight at $88...Gold hovering around just below $1,600 an ounce...Ten-year Treasuries retesting historical lows, at 1.46%...Dollar index up half a smidge, to 83.5... Muddle along...muddle along...muddle along... What are the markets telling us, Fellow Reckoner? In a word: Nothing. As investors are fast coming to realize, the markets couldn’t tell us anything even if they wanted to. Mr. Market has a gag in his mouth, his voice muffled by the price fixers. And we don’t just mean LIBOR-rigging bankers in The City. We’re wagging fingers at the real fixers...the Feds. It’s something we heard again and again at last week’s AF investment symposium in Vancouver. “Prices are broken,” noted Dan Denning, the big, bright mind behind the Aussie Daily Reckoning. “They are not to be truste

U.S.-Pakistan spy talks called productive

By Pam Benson The first meeting between the head of the Central Intelligence Agency and his new Pakistani counterpart was labeled "substantive, professional and productive" by a senior U.S. official. CIA Director David Petraeus and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt. Gen. Zahir ul-Islam met Thursday at CIA headquarters in suburban Washington in an effort to bring the contentious relationship back on track. The U.S. knows little about Islam, who rose through the ranks of the Pakistani military before being appointed to head the ISI in March by Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistani government has been reassessing its relationship with Washington after a number of high-profile incidents last year, particularly the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, of which the Pakistanis had no prior knowledge, and the accidental killing of Paksitani soldiers operating along the Afghanistan border by U.S. airstrikes in November. The missile

No ‘Done Deal’ in Syria, as Thermonuclear War Looms

by Ramtanu Maitra July 31—As thousands of Sunni terrorists from Britain, the Arab world, the Maghreb, and South Asia converged on the outskirts of Syria’s most populous city, Aleppo, planning a violent confrontation, the Syrian military was poised to counter the terrorist offensive. According to some analysts, the battle for Aleppo is a decisive one for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is visiting the region and is known for mouthing what the White House wants him to say, told reporters aboard a military plane en route to Tunisia, that “if they [the Syrian military] continue this kind of tragic attack on their own people in Aleppo, I think ultimately it will be a nail in Assad’s coffin.” Major players in this conflict are already planning a post-Assad Syria. Reuters reported on July 31, citing a statement from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office in Ankara, that a 36-minute phone call took place between Erdogan and U.S. Pre


B.RAMAN In an excellent analysis on the morning of August 2,2012, under the title “Dismissive Congress In No Mood To Engage With Anna”, Smita Gupta, the “Hindu’s” New Delhi correspondent, wrote: “ A year-and-a-half after Mr.Hazare placed the issue of corruption in the public domain, striking a chord with a middle class unhappy with the slowdown in the economy, the movement appears to have fizzled out.” 2.The fact that Anna and his Team had themselves realised that their movement had reached a dead-end became obvious a few hours later when a group of eminent persons released a statement appealing to the fasting Anna and his colleagues to end their fast and continue their struggle by building an alternate political force. 3.This appeal was seen by many as the beginning of a search for a face-saving by a group of civil society leaders to salvage the movement from an embarrassing second fizzle-out after the one of last year in Mumbai. The Government’s dismissive attitude and th

F-INSAS update V: Communications and situational awareness

Contributor:  Richard de Silva Posted:  07/18/2012  12:00:00 AM EDT  |  0     Existing Kit Back in 2007, the Indian Army signed an agreement to be supplied with Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) standard secure radio systems, manufactured in partnership with Finmeccanica and the indigenous Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL). BEL has also had a hand in India’s Army Radio Engineered Network (AREN) tactical area communications system that has been supplying ground forces with a secure capability since the early 1990s. This has involved the provision of a truck-mounted shelterised trunk exchange that allows up to 192 digitised voice, 256 teleprinter and 32 data channels, but can no longer cope with the huge growth in demand for high-grade information. AREN is to be replaced with the Tactical Communication System (TCS), while the Army’s Automatic Message Switching System (AMSS) is being ousted by the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN)., connecting all services and installations within In

South China Sea Dispute: The Farce of Chinese Multilateralism

Abanti Bhattacharya July 31, 2012 In the most dangerous turn of events in the South China Sea, on July 23, China’s military body, the Central Military Commission approved the deployment of the People’s Liberation Army to guard the islands claimed by it. Earlier in June, China’s State Council had raised the administrative status of the seas to the level of a city, which it calls Sansha and which is located in the disputed Paracel Islands. These two moves indicate Beijing’s growing aggressiveness and unilateralism, which clearly go against the spirit of the 2002 DOC (Declaration of Conduct of parties), a multilateral political document agreed upon by the ASEAN and China that calls for resolution of ‘territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat of force.’ The main hindrance to the resolution of the South China Sea dispute is, of course, China’s aversion to

End colonial rule in Balochistan: Khan of Kalat

Khanete of Kalat was a princely state located in the territory known as Balochistan today. It was illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1948. Mir Suleman Daud, the 35th leader of the defunct Kalat Royal Family, lives in exile in London following threats by Pakistani forces. He is now fighting for the sovereignty of the Baloch nation. "As far as negotiations with Pakistan are concerned we want third party intervention to resolve the issue, as we are an occupied territory. The issue is different from that of Kashmir. We were forcefully occupied (by Pakistan). This is the ground reality. In Balochistan we have a fort every 30 miles, from where the region was ruled. But, you will not find anything like this in Pakistan. This is evidence that Pakistan has colonized us. And, with the grace of god, we will soon be free from this colonization." says KHAN OF KALAT MIR SULEMAN DAWOOD Though Balochistan has been facing problems for decades, the situation took a turn for the wor

Riot victim Hindus in Assam are not getting proper relief and help : VHP

By Dr. Pravin Togadia, VHP Over 5 days in sustained & systematic violence against Original Tribes & other Hindus in Assam perpetrated by Bangla Deshi Infiltrators who have settled in Assam, around 1,70,000 people have lost their homes, small little jungle agriculture lands & whatever meager source of income they had. Their houses are burnt, invading Muslims have killed men & women, schools are burnt & children are killed as well. Around 1,50,000 people are shelter less, homeless, food-less & are with just one set of old clothes that they wore when being chased away out of their homes & villages.   These are the original tribes on Assam who have been living in the hills there for ages without damaging environment, instead, making our culture rich with their wonderful art, music, dance, paintings & simple eco-friendly life-style. For the past many years Bangla Deshi infiltrators invaded Bharat from North Eastern borders, encroached upon these