Revolutionizing Awareness

helping humanity, make choices, more so through awareness, than ignorance

Posts Tagged ‘russia’

Tens of thousands back Putin at Russia rallies

Posted by Admin on February 18, 2012

http://news.yahoo.com/pro-putin-rallies-russia-campaign-heats-074424677.html;_ylt=AixE97_3c3CqDdPG.0QCJeus0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNibjVwNTluBG1pdAMEcGtnAzg5NmJiZWI1LTUxZGQtMzc3MC05NDFlLTkxOGM2YjMyODg2MQRwb3MDMwRzZWMDbG5fQUZQX2dhbAR2ZXIDNGYyZDhkZGEtNWEyOS0xMWUxLWJiYmItMmU1OGI4ZTJhMTY5;_ylv=3

By Marina Koreneva | AFP – 12 hrs ago

Tens of thousands of Vladimir Putin’s supporters backed his bid for the presidency in rallies across Russia on Saturday, trying to outdo mass nationwide protests staged by his opponents.

At least 50,000 people attended rallies in European Russia, Siberia and the Far East supporting Putin’s candidacy for a historic third Kremlin term in March 4 polls, AFP correspondents and police reports said.

Russians are taking to the streets with increasing regularity ahead of the election as the opposition and camp seek to outdo each other with competing rallies.

Brandishing slogans like “Yes To Changes! No To Revolution!” and “Putin — We Are With You For A Strong Russia!”, at least 10,000 people attended a rally in his support in the former imperial capital of Saint Petersburg

“For me, Putin is stability. In these years I have personally lived better. I am given my pay on time. I have started to be proud of the country,” Putin supporter Anatoly Stepanov, 42, told an AFP correspondent.

Participants were warmed in temperatures of minus eight degrees Celsius by hot tea and Russian pies sold for nominal prices. “Look at those who are against Putin, they are not the people,” grumbled pensioner Anna Patrusheva, 58.

The opposition has accused the authorities of using the state’s resources or even employing financial incentives to encourage people to show up for the Putin rallies.

Several buses were visible on the fringes of the rally that had brought people in from outlying Saint Petersburg regions.

Pro-Putin rallies took place in almost all of Russia’s biggest cities, the main exceptions being Moscowand the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk where the Russian premier was busy attending an economic forum.

According to a police count quoted by Russian news agencies, 12,000 people turned out for the biggest rally in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk seven time zones away under the slogan “We Have Something to Protect!”.

Rallies mustering at least 10,000 people also took place in cities including Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, and Novosibirsk in Siberia, while several thousand came for events in the Pacific port of Vladivostok and the Siberian city of Irkutsk.

The RIA Novosti news agency said police arrested the over-zealous organiser of the pro-Putin rally in the industrial town of Ivanovo outside Moscow after its turnout of 6,000 was double the figure announced to the authorities.

The demonstrations come ahead of a giant pre-election rally on February 23 in Moscow called by the Putin campaign under the slogan “We Protect the Country!” that organisers hope will muster 200,000 people.

The opposition Novaya Gazeta reported on Friday that factory workers from as far away as Krasnoyarsk would be flown into Moscow to boost numbers.

A page has already been set up on Russian social networking site VKontakte promising that participants from outside Moscow will get transport, an “attractive programme” and two hot meals a day.

The rally is to be followed by a rival action in the capital on February 26 by the opposition, which is counting on tens of thousands to turn out to form a human chain around the capital’s inner ring road.

Putin is still widely expected to win the presidential elections, possibly even in the first round, with his four registered opponents failing to provide a significant challenge.

But analysts say the protest movement could give Putin a rough ride going forward as he embarks on a new six-year Kremlin term amid growing expectations of change.

 

Advertisements

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tens of thousands back Putin at Russia rallies

Gita ban:Russian prosecutors to move higher court

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2012

http://in.news.yahoo.com/russian-prosecutors-move-higher-court-seeking-gita-ban-094509967.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS India Private Limited – 10 hours ago

Moscow/New Delhi, Jan 26 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Stung by a Siberian court’s rejection of their plea seeking a ban on Bhagavad Gita and branding it extremist literature, Russian prosecutors are now planning to move a higher court for appeal.

Insisting that the Russian translation of the Hindu textBhagavad Gita As It Is‘ should be banned for promoting “social discord”, prosecutors in the Siberian city of Tomsk have moved the local court seeking more time to file an appeal.

The deadline for the appeal expired Wednesday.

“The prosecutors are planning to file the appeal in a superior court. They have sought more time to move the appeal. They are yet to actually file an appeal,” Sadhu Priya Das, an Iskcon devotee based in Moscow, told IANS over phone Thursday.

The Tomsk city prosecutors have insisted that the Russian translation of the book written by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) founder A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada be banned as extremist literature, filing an appeal against an earlier court ruling, a RIA Novosti report quoted a Tomsk court spokeswoman as saying.

The report also quoted Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich as having said that the translated version may not be linguistically true to the original as it contained “semantic distortions”, which may have an effect on its meaning.

The Tomsk district court had Dec 28, 2011 thrown out the case of the state prosecutors, filed in June 2011.

After IANS first reported the case in December 2011, India witnessed a major uproar, including in parliament where MPs wanted the Indian government to immediately intervene in the matter, citing Hindu sensitivities.

India, both through its ministry of external affairs and embassy in Moscow, took up the matter with the Russian authorities and urged them to quickly resolve the matter.

Posted in India Forgotten | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gita ban:Russian prosecutors to move higher court

The Justification to Wage War: Libya and UN Security Resolution 1973 Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a “dangerous concept”

Posted by Admin on December 20, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28230

by Ronda Hauben

Global Research, December 15, 2011

I –Introduction

As  is customary, a press conference was held by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin to mark the beginning of the Russian Federation’s Presidency of the Security Council for the month of December 2011. Ambassador Churkin’s comments in this press conference provide insight into an important problem in the structure of the Security Council that became evident in the course of the implementation of the Security Council resolutions against Libya.

The press conference was held on December 2.  There is video of the press conference for those who are interested in viewing the conference itself. (1)

Though other issues were brought up, many of the questions asked by journalists related to the Russian Federation’s views concerning Security Council action on Libya and Syria.

II– Critique of Implementation of SCR 1973 on Libya

During the press conference Ambassador Churkin revealed that NATO had been asked for a “final report…summing up their view of their complying or not complying, of performing or not performing under the resolutions of the Security Council.” But no summary had been received from NATO. Ambassador Churkin said it was his understanding that NATO was not planning to send the Security Council any summary.

The importance of this revelation is that during its military action against Libya, NATO claimed it was acting under the authorization of UNSC Resolution 1973 (SCR 1973). Yet when asked to provide the Security Council with an evaluation of how its Libyan campaign complied with the actual resolution, apparently NATO did not see itself as being held accountable to the Security Council.

This situation reinforces the observation made by some inside and others outside the Council.(2) The Council passed SCR 1973, but it had no means of monitoring or controlling how this resolution was implemented. Thus the implementation of this Security Council resolution on Libya reveals a serious flaw in the structure of the Council itself.

Some members maintained that the resolution called for a cease fire and political settlement of the conflict in Libya.

Other Security Council members began bombing Libyan targets, and brought NATO in to carry out a bombing campaign against military, civilian and infrastructure targets in Libya. Ironically, NATO claimed such bombing was about the protection of civilians.(3) Similarly a self appointed “Contact Group” on Libya set as its goal, regime change in Libya. Members of the Security Council who expressed opposition to these activities, arguing they were contrary to SCR 1973, had no means to stop such usurpation of Security Council control over the implementation of the resolution.

The December 2 press conference with Ambassador Churkin helped to illustrate and examine this problem.

In an earlier Security Council meeting, Brazil had indicated it was planning to do a concept paper on the “responsibility while protecting” under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept. (4) Brazil’s two year term on the Security Council will be over at the end of December, but no such concept paper has yet been presented. When Churkin was asked what he could tell journalists about the progress on this paper, he said, “My understanding is that it is going to be a serious process, a fundamental process of revisiting those things.”

On the issue of the Security Council’s summary of what had happened in the course of implementing Resolution 1973 against Libya, Ambassador Churkin explained the dilemma this posed for the Council.“As to lessons learned, this is a much broader issue which unfortunately I think we cannot put together as council members. It is something for round tables, academics, politicians to discuss in various flora. We discussed that. We have had a number of discussions of the various lessons we have learned, and the things we need to do or not to do.”

He recommended looking back at the Security Council meetings held in open chambers, particularly at the statements he had made in his capacity as the Russian Federation Permanent Representative. “I minced no words about some of the conclusions that need to be drawn from our Libyan experience,” he said, “But I am sure the Libyan experience is something that will have an impact of such importance that this will be a subject of attention for years to come.”

Asked whether the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) concept had been misused by the Security Council, Ambassador Churkin responded, “This is a very dangerous thing.”  This was not only the view of his delegation, but also of others both on the council and outside of the council, he explained.

“That is something that makes the life and work on the Security Council very difficult because words are no longer what they used to be. They have different meanings,” he said, offering as an example the implementation of the No Fly Zone on Libya contained in SCR 1973.

He described how, “No Fly Zone in the good old world, used to mean that nobody’s flying. That you prevent aircraft from being used against civilians.”

“In the brave new world,” though, said Churkin, “No Fly Zone means freewheeling bombing of the targets you choose to bomb in whatever modality and mode you want to bomb. Close air support ok. Bombing a television station, ok. And that is a matter of grave concern.”

The significance of there being such a big difference in how words are being used, Churkin explained, was that, “Now we have to think not only about the words and concepts, but about the enormous ability of some of our colleagues to interpret the world out of them. And this is a very serious issue.”

“We need to return to the Council, to our interaction and cooperation with our colleagues, a clear understanding of what we mean,” maintained Churkin.

Demonstrating the significance of this discrepancy between how different members of the Council interpreted the words of resolutions, Churkin pointed out that in the case of Libya, there had been reports that the Gaddafi regime was using airplanes to bomb civilians. (But no evidence was ever presented to support these claims, at the time, or since.-ed) (5)

There were, however, no such reports about Syria. How then could there be “such uncritical enthusiasm” for setting up a No Fly Zone for Syria, Churkin wondered. Where was this enthusiasm coming from?

“Is it,” he asked, “an indication that in fact when they are saying that they don’t plan any military action (against Syria-ed), they don’t really mean it? When they talk about a No Fly Zone, they are already planning targets to bomb in Syria?”

Referring to the implication of this problem, Churkin noted, “On various issues which can have dramatic repercussions for regions and countries, and unfortunately this is clearly the case about Syria and about Iran and about some other issues, so it is not a perfect day for diplomacy, a perfect day to work in the Security Council.”

III- Security Council Action Against Syria

In response to several questions from journalists asking about the Russian Federation’s view of what action was appropriate with respect to Syria, Churkin explained the principles that should guide such action.

“We think it’s the role of the international community to try to help resolve internal crises by promoting dialogue,” Churkin told journalists, “This is what we have been doing with our contacts with the Syrian authorities, opposition, and the Arab League.”

Referring to the proposal of the Arab League to conduct a monitoring mission in Syria, he explained, “We think that the Arab League has a unique opportunity to play a constructive role in Syria.”

This required, however, that the Arab League be willing to consider Syria’s proposed amendments to the Arab League proposal, rather than just offering Syria an ultimatum that it had to accept the Arab League proposal with no negotiations over it, said Churkin.

“We think the Syrian government’s proposed amendments to that plan could have been considered,” he explained. “Personally I looked at the two texts. I haven’t seen in the texts anything which couldn’t have been bridged there with some negotiations on the modalities of the deployment of that mission.”

Concerned that, “this opportunity to really mediate between the government and the opposition is not lost,” Churkin proposed that the Arab League economic sanctions imposed on Syria were “counterproductive.”

Comparing Security Council action on Syria with its action on Yemen, Churkin said that Russia was able to “exercise our position of principle” in Security Council Resolution 2014 (2011) about Yemen, “by encouraging dialogue and political accommodation on the basis of the Gulf States initiative.”(6) In the case of Yemen, Churkin noted, the Security Council and the international community had rallied in support of the action that Russia proposed.

But when it came to Syria, he described how Russia and China had proposed a resolution that “had many of the same elements which were contained in the resolution which was adopted on…Yemen.” In the case of Syria, however, the Russian-Chinese sponsored Resolution, was not supported by several other members of the Council.(7)

“So I think in Yemen the international community can be proud that even in a situation with bloodshed and very serious conflict in a country we were giving a strong signal in favor of dialogue and of political accommodation and this is what we achieved,” said Churkin.

“What we don’t understand,” he noted, “is why if that can be done in Yemen, why that can’t apply to Syria.”

Furthermore, in the case of Syria, he said, the Security Council met with opposition from some of the capitals, to any form of dialogue to resolve the Syrian conflict. The governments opposed to dialogue, he reported, took the position that there was, “no way dialogue can help. That those who go into dialogue they should stop it immediately,” and that “there is no future in the Arab League initiative.”

Such action is, he proposed “something very counterproductive. And this is something that has acerbated the situation in Syria.”

While maintaining that there is “no prescription for different countries” since they are all structured differently with regard to their traditions and political set up, Churkin proposed that there is a general attitude and principles that can be applied in a general way. This is that “the international community is not there to smell blood and to fan confrontation. But the international community is there to prevent further bloodshed and to encourage dialogue.”

Reflecting on the importance of such an international effort in favor of domestic dialogue, Churkin said, “This is what the United Nations is all about. This is what the Security Council is about.”

IV-Concerns about Libya
With respect to Gaddafi, Churkin said members of the council, including Russia, thought that what happened to Gaddafi is something that shouldn’t have happened.”

Ambassador Churkin was asked whether the Security Council was concerned about the conditions in Libya for those who had supported the Gaddafi government and particularly, about the situation of Saif al Islam Gaddafi and whether it was conceivable he could get a fair trial in Libya when there was no functioning legal system in the country.

Churkin responded that these concerns about the situation in Libya had been discussed very often and the delegation of the Russian Federation and of a number of other countries had raised these concerns. Also he spoke to concern over the plight of migrant workers in Libya. “We directed the UN mission in Libya to pay proper attention to these issues,” he said.

He indicated that they would continue to follow these issues closely.

V-Conclusion

Ambassador Churkin’s press conference was an important and all too rare example of a press conference held by a member of the Security Council which helps to shed light on the workings of the Council. All too often the problems that develop in the course of Security Council activity are shrouded in shadows and kept from public view. This is contrary to the obligations of the Council, which is obliged to report on its actions to the General Assembly in annual and special reports under the UN Charter, Article 15(1). Members of the General Assembly responding to the annual report from the Security Council ask for more analytical reports, rather than just summaries of the activities that have gone on over the year.

In his December 2 press conference, Ambassador Churkin shared some of the problems that developed in the Security Council over the course of the implementation of the resolutions on Libya. In the process he has helped clarify what future difficulties in the Security Council will be given a failure to understand and resolve the problems he has outlined. By helping to reveal the difficulties in the functioning of the Security Council, Ambassador Churkin has provided important details that need further attention and consideration.

Notes

1) Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation and President of the Security Council for the month of December 2011 on the Programme of Work of the Security Council for the month.

http://www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast/2011/12/press-conference-ambassador-vitaly-churkin-president-of-the-security-council.html

2) See for example the critique of Resolution 1973 by the Concerned Africans, “An Open Letter to the Peoples of Africa and the World from Concerned Africans,” July 2011.

http://www.concernedafricans.co.za/

See also Mahmood Mamdani, “A Ugandan’s Perspective: What Does Gaddafi’s Fall Mean for Africa.”

http:// www.unaatimes.com/2011/10/

3) For some of the examples of NATO’s bombing of civilians that went on during its military campaign against Libya see:
Global Civilians for Peace in Libya

http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/tag/bombing/

“Libya: War Without End” by Stephen Lendmain, ThePeoplesVoice.org, October 30, 2011.

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2011/10/30/libya-war-without-end

4) See Nov. 9, 2011 meeting of the Security Council on Protecting Civilians in the Situation of Armed Struggle, S/PV.6650, pg. 16

Ambassador Viotti said:
“The Brazilian delegation will shortly circulate a concept paper. It elaborates on the idea that the international community, as it exercises its responsibility to protect, must demonstrate a high level of responsibility while protecting.”

http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/PRO/N11/585/43/PDF/N1158543.pdf?OpenElement

5)Actually no evidence was ever presented that airplanes were ever used to bomb civilians under the Gaddafi government. It was only under NATO that there is evidence that airplanes were used resulting in the bombing of civilians. See for example:

http://globalciviliansforpeace.com/reports

“Despite detailed investigation we could not find any evidence that the three regions of Tripoli cited in UN resolution 1973  had been subjected to government forces bombardment nor that  their had  been fighting between government troops and the people, we received many testimonies to the contrary.”

6) See Security Council Resolution 2014 (passed October 21, 2011)

7) See for example Ronda Hauben, “UN Security Council Challenges Hidden Agenda on Syria,” taz.de/netizenblog

http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2011/10/27/security_council_veto_on_syria/

Ronda Hauben has been a resident correspondent at the UN for the past 5 years covering the UN first for the English edition of OhmyNews International, and more recently as a blog columnist at taz.de .  She is co-author of the book “Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet.”
This article appears on my blog.
http://blogs.taz.de/netizenblog/2011/12/14/lessons-from-unscr-1973-on-libya

Global Research Articles by Ronda Hauben

Posted in Global Research, War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Justification to Wage War: Libya and UN Security Resolution 1973 Responsibility to Protect (R2P) is a “dangerous concept”

Obama Raises the Military Stakes: Confrontation on the Borders with China and Russia

Posted by Admin on December 20, 2011

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28144

by Prof. James Petras

Global Research, December 10, 2011

Introduction

After suffering major military and political defeats in bloody ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, failing to buttress long-standing clients in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia and witnessing the disintegration of puppet regimes in Somalia and South Sudan, the Obama regime has learned nothing: Instead he has turned toward greater military confrontation with global powers, namely Russia and China. Obama has adopted a provocative offensive military strategy right on the frontiers of both China and Russia .

After going from defeat to defeat on the periphery of world power and not satisfied with running treasury-busting deficits in pursuit of empire building against economically weak countries, Obama has embraced a policy of encirclement and provocations against China, the world’s second largest economy and the US’s most important creditor, and Russia, the European Union’s principle oil and gas provider and the world’s second most powerful nuclear weapons power.

This paper addresses the Obama regime’s highly irrational and world-threatening escalation of imperial militarism. We examine the global military, economic and domestic political context that gives rise to these policies. We then examine the multiple points of conflict and intervention in which Washington is engaged, from Pakistan , Iran , Libya , Venezuela , Cuba and beyond. We will then analyze the rationale for military escalation against Russia and China as part of a new offensive moving beyond the Arab world ( Syria , Libya ) and in the face of the declining economic position of the EU and the US in the global economy. We will then outline the strategies of a declining empire, nurtured on perpetual wars, facing global economic decline, domestic discredit and a working population reeling from the long-term, large-scale dismantling of its basic social programs.

The Turn from Militarism in the Periphery to Global Military Confrontation

November 2011 is a moment of great historical import: Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.

Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime and aerial armada facing the Chinese coast – an overt policy designed to weaken and disrupt China ’s access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia . Obama’s declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base-building and economic alliances was directed against China , challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obama’s iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.

“Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region … The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay … As we end today’s wars [i.e. the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan]… I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority … As a result, reduction in US defense spending will not … come at the expense of the Asia Pacific” (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).

The precise nature of what Obama called our “presence and mission” was underlined by the new military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia ( Darwin ) directed at China . Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China . Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam , Philippines , and Brunei in the South China Sea . Even more seriously, Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan , Taiwan , Singapore and South Korea , as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along China ’s coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”. It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join …

Obama’s presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China .

A most recent example of Obama-Clinton’s delusional, but destructive, efforts to deliberately disrupt China ’s economic ties in Asia, is taking place in Myanmar ( Burma ). Clinton ’s December 2011 visit to Myanmar was preceded by a decision by the Thein Sein regime to suspend a China Power Investment-funded dam project in the north of the country. According to official confidential documents released by WilkiLeaks the “Burmese NGO’s, which organized and led the campaign against the dam, were heavily funded by the US government”(Financial Times, Dec. 2, 2011, p. 2). This and other provocative activity and Clinton ’s speeches condemning Chinese “tied aid” pale in comparison with the long-term, large-scale interests which link Myanmar with China . China is Myanmar ’s biggest trading partner and investor, including six other dam projects. Chinese companies are building new highways and rail lines across the country, opening southwestern China up for Burmese products and China is constructing oil pipelines and ports. There is a powerful dynamic of mutual economic interests that will not be disturbed by one dispute (FT, December 2, 2011, p.2). Clinton’s critique of China’s billion-dollar investments in Myanmar’s infrastructure is one of the most bizarre in world history, coming in the aftermath of Washington’s brutal eight-year military presence in Iraq which destroyed $500 billion dollars of Iraqi infrastructure, according to Baghdad official estimates. Only a delusional administration could imagine that rhetorical flourishes, a three day visit and the bankrolling of an NGO is an adequate counter-weight to deep economic ties linking Myanmar to China . The same delusional posture underlies the entire repertoire of policies informing the Obama regime’s efforts to displace China ’s predominant role in Asia .

While any one policy adopted by the Obama regime does not, in itself, present an immediate threat to peace, the cumulative impact of all these policy pronouncements and the projections of military power add up to an all out comprehensive effort to isolate, intimidate and degrade China’s rise as a regional and global power. Military encirclement and alliances, exclusion of China in proposed regional economic associations, partisan intervention in regional maritime disputes and positioning technologically advanced warplanes, are all aimed to undermine China ’s competitiveness and to compensate for US economic inferiority via closed political and economic networks.

Clearly White House military and economic moves and US Congressional anti-China demagogy are aimed at weakening China ’s trading position and forcing its business-minded leaders into privileging US banking and business interests over and above their own enterprises. Pushed to its limits, Obama’s prioritizing a big military push could lead to a catastrophic rupture in US-Chinese economic relations. This would result in dire consequences, especially but not exclusively, on the US economy and particularly its financial system. China holds over $1.5 trillion dollars in US debt, mainly Treasury Notes, and each year purchases from $200 to $300 billion in new issues, a vital source in financing the US deficit. If Obama provokes a serious threat to China ’s security interests and Beijing is forced to respond, it will not be military but economic retaliation: the sell-off of a few hundred billion dollars in T-notes and the curtailment of new purchases of US debt. The US deficit will skyrocket, its credit ratings will descend to ‘junk’, and the financial system will ‘tremble onto collapse’. Interest rates to attract new buyers of US debt will approach double digits. Chinese exports to the US will suffer and losses will incur due to the devaluation of the T-notes in Chinese hands. China has been diversifying its markets around the world and its huge domestic market could probably absorb most of what China loses abroad in the course of a pull-back from the US market.

While Obama strays across the Pacific to announce his military threats to China and strives to economically isolate China from the rest of Asia, the US economic presence is fast fading in what used to be its “backyard”: Quoting one Financial Times journalist, “China is the only show [in town] for Latin America” (Financial Times, Nov. 23, 2011, p.6). China has displaced the US and the EU as Latin America’s principle trading partner; Beijing has poured billions in new investments and provides low interest loans.

China’s trade with India , Indonesia , Japan , Pakistan and Vietnam is increasing at a far faster rate than that of the US . The US effort to build an imperial-centered security alliance in Asia is based on fragile economic foundations. Even Australia , the anchor and linchpin of the US military thrust in Asia, is heavily dependent on mineral exports to China . Any military interruption would send the Australian economy into a tailspin.

The US economy is in no condition to replace China as a market for Asian or Australian commodity and manufacturing exports. The Asian countries must be acutely aware that there is no future advantage in tying themselves to a declining, highly militarized, empire. Obama and Clinton deceive themselves if they think they can entice Asia into a long-term alliance. The Asian’s are simply using the Obama regime’s friendly overtures as a ‘tactical device’, a negotiating ploy, to leverage better terms in securing maritime and territorial boundaries with China .

Washington is delusional if it believes that it can convince Asia to break long-term large-scale lucrative economic ties to China in order to join an exclusive economic association with such dubious prospects. Any ‘reorientation’ of Asia, from China to the US , would require more than the presence of an American naval and airborne armada pointed at China . It would require the total restructuring of the Asian countries’ economies, class structure and political and military elite. The most powerful economic entrepreneurial groups in Asia have deep and growing ties with China/Hong Kong, especially among the dynamic transnational Chinese business elites in the region. A turn toward Washington entails a massive counter-revolution, which substitutes colonial ‘traders’ (compradors) for established entrepreneurs. A turn to the US would require a dictatorial elite willing to cut strategic trading and investment linkages, displacing millions of workers and professionals. As much as some US-trained Asian military officers , economists and former Wall Street financiers and billionaires might seek to ‘balance’ a US military presence with Chinese economic power, they must realize that ultimately advantage resides in working out an Asian solution.

The age of Asian “comprador capitalists”, willing to sell out national industry and sovereignty in exchange for privileged access to US markets, is ancient history. Whatever the boundless enthusiasm for conspicuous consumerism and Western lifestyles, which Asia and China’s new rich mindlessly celebrate, whatever the embrace of inequalities and savage capitalist exploitation of labor, there is recognition that the past history of US and European dominance precluded the growth and enrichment of an indigenous bourgeoisie and middle class. The speeches and pronouncements of Obama and Clinton reek of nostalgia for a past of neo-colonial overseers and comprador collaborators – a mindless delusion. Their attempts at political realism, in finally recognizing Asia as the economic pivot of the present world order, takes a bizarre turn in imagining that military posturing and projections of armed force will reduce China to a marginal player in the region.

Obama’s Escalation of Confrontation with Russia

The Obama regime has launched a major frontal military thrust on Russia ’s borders. The US has moved forward missile sites and Air Force bases in Poland, Rumania, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic and Bulgaria: Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile complexes in Poland; advanced radar AN/TPY-2 in Turkey; and several missile (SM-3 IA) loaded warships in Spain are among the prominent weapons encircling Russia, most only minutes away from it strategic heartland. Secondly, the Obama regime has mounted an all-out effort to secure and expand US military bases in Central Asia among former Soviet republics. Thirdly, Washington , via NATO, has launched major economic and military operations against Russia ’s major trading partners in North Africa and the Middle East . The NATO war against Libya , which ousted the Gadhafi regime, has paralyzed or nullified multi-billion dollar Russian oil and gas investments, arms sales and substituted a NATO puppet for the former Russia-friendly regime.

The UN-NATO economic sanctions and US-Israeli clandestine terrorist activity aimed at Iran has undermined Russia ’s lucrative billion-dollar nuclear trade and joint oil ventures. NATO, including Turkey , backed by the Gulf monarchical dictatorships, has implemented harsh sanctions and funded terrorist assaults on Syria , Russia ’s last remaining ally in the region and where it has a sole naval facility (Tartus) on the Mediterranean Sea . Russia ’s previous collaboration with NATO in weakening its own economic and security position is a product of the monumental misreading of NATO and especially Obama’s imperial policies. Russian President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mistakenly assumed (like Gorbachev and Yeltsin before them) that backing US-NATO policies against Russia ’s trading partners would result in some sort of “reciprocity”: US dismantling its offensive “missile shield” on its frontiers and support for Russia ’s admission into the World Trade Organization. Medvedev, following his liberal pro-western illusions, fell into line and backed US-Israeli sanctions against Iran , believing the tales of a “nuclear weapons programs”. Then Lavrov fell for the NATO line of “no fly zones to protect Libyan civilian lives” and voted in favor, only to feebly “protest”, much too late, that NATO was “exceeding its mandate” by bombing Libya into the Middle Ages and installing a pro-NATO puppet regime of rogues and fundamentalists. Finally when the US aimed a cleaver at Russia’s heartland by pushing ahead with an all-out effort to install missile launch sites 5 minutes by air from Moscow while organizing mass and armed assaults on Syria, did the Medvedev-Lavrov duet awake from its stupor and oppose UN sanctions. Medvedev threatened to abandon the nuclear missile reduction treaty (START) and to place medium-range missiles with 5 minute launch-time from Berlin , Paris and London .

Medvedev-Lavrov’s policy of consolidation and co-operation based on Obama’s rhetoric of “resetting relations” invited aggressive empire building: Each capitulation led to a further aggression. As a result, Russia is surrounded by missiles on its western frontier; it has suffered losses among its major trading partners in the Middle East and faces US bases in southwest and Central Asia .

Belatedly Russian officials have moved to replace the delusional Medvedev for the realist Putin, as next President. This shift to a political realist has predictably evoked a wave of hostility toward Putin in all the Western media. Obama’s aggressive policy to isolate Russia by undermining independent regimes has, however, not affected Russia ’s status as a nuclear weapons power. It has only heightened tensions in Europe and perhaps ended any future chance of peaceful nuclear weapons reduction or efforts to secure a UN Security Council consensus on issues of peaceful conflict resolution. Washington , under Obama-Clinton, has turned Russia from a pliant client to a major adversary.

Putin looks to deepening and expanding ties with the East, namely China , in the face of threats from the West. The combination of Russian advanced weapons technology and energy resources and Chinese dynamic manufacturing and industrial growth are more than a match for crisis-ridden EU-USA economies wallowing in stagnation.

Obama’s military confrontation toward Russia will greatly prejudice access to Russian raw materials and definitively foreclose any long-term strategic security agreement, which would be useful in lowering the deficit and reviving the US economy.

Between Realism and Delusion: Obama’s Strategic Realignment

Obama’s recognition that the present and future center of political and economic power is moving inexorably to Asia , was a flash of political realism. After a lost decade of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in military adventures on the margins and periphery of world politics, Washington has finally discovered that is not where the fate of nations, especially Great Powers, will be decided, except in a negative sense – of bleeding resources over lost causes. Obama’s new realism and priorities apparently are now focused on Southeast and Northeast Asia, where dynamic economies flourish, markets are growing at a double digit rate, investors are ploughing tens of billions in productive activity and trade is expanding at three times the rate of the US and the EU.

But Obama’s ‘New Realism’ is blighted by entirely delusional assumptions, which undermine any serious effort to realign US policy.

In the first place Obama’s effort to ‘enter’ into Asia is via a military build-up and not through a sharpening and upgrading of US economic competitiveness. What does the US produce for the Asian countries that will enhance its market share? Apart from arms, airplanes and agriculture, the US has few competitive industries. The US would have to comprehensively re-orient its economy, upgrade skilled labor, and transfer billions from “security” and militarism to applied innovations. But Obama works within the current military-Zionist-financial complex: He knows no other and is incapable of breaking with it.

Secondly, Obama-Clinton operate under the delusion that the US can exclude China or minimize its role in Asia, a policy that is undercut by the huge and growing investment and presence of all the major US multi-national corporations in China , who use it as an export platform to Asia and the rest of the world.

The US military build-up and policy of intimidation will only force China to downgrade its role as creditor financing the US debt, a policy China can pursue because the US market, while still important, is declining, as China expands its presence in its domestic, Asian, Latin American and European markets.

What once appeared to be New Realism is now revealed to be the recycling of Old Delusions: The notion that the US can return to being the supreme Pacific Power it was after World War Two. The US attempts to return to Pacific dominance under Obama-Clinton with a crippled economy, with the overhang of an over-militarized economy, and with major strategic handicaps: Over the past decade the United States foreign policy has been at the beck and call of Israel ’s fifth column (the Israel “lobby”). The entire US political class is devoid of common, practical sense and national purpose. They are immersed in troglodyte debates over “indefinite detentions” and “mass immigrant expulsions”. Worse, all are on the payrolls of private corporations who sell in the US and invest in China .

Why would Obama abjure costly wars in the unprofitable periphery and then promote the same military metaphysics at the dynamic center of the world economic universe? Does Barack Obama and his advisers believe he is the Second Coming of Admiral Commodore Perry, whose 19th century warships and blockades forced Asia open to Western trade? Does he believe that military alliances will be the first stage to a subsequent period of privileged economic entry?

Does Obama believe that his regime can blockade China , as Washington did to Japan in the lead up to World War Two? It’s too late. China is much more central to the world economy, too vital even to the financing of the US debt, too bonded up with the Forbes Five Hundred multi-national corporations. To provoke China , to even fantasize about economic “exclusion” to bring down China , is to pursue policies that will totally disrupt the world economy, first and foremost the US economy!

Conclusion

Obama’s ‘crackpot realism’, his shift from wars in the Muslim world to military confrontation in Asia , has no intrinsic worth and poses extraordinary extrinsic costs. The military methods and economic goals are totally incompatible and beyond the capacity of the US , as it is currently constituted. Washington ’s policies will not ‘weaken’ Russia or China , even less intimidate them. Instead it will encourage both to adopt more adversarial positions, making it less likely that they lend a hand to Obama’s sequential wars on behalf of Israel . Already Russia has sent warships to its Syrian port, refused to support an arms embargo against Syria and Iran and (in retrospect) criticized the NATO war against Libya . China and Russia have far too many strategic ties with the world economy to suffer any great losses from a series of US military outposts and “exclusive” alliances. Russia can aim just as many deadly nuclear missiles at the West as the US can mount from its bases in Eastern Europe .

In other words, Obama’s military escalation will not change the nuclear balance of power, but will bring Russia and China into a closer and deeper alliance. Gone are the days of Kissinger-Nixon’s “divide and conquer” strategy pitting US-Chinese trade agreements against Russian arms. Washington has a totally exaggerated significance of the current maritime spats between China and its neighbors. What unites them in economic terms is far more important in the medium and long-run. China ’s Asian economic ties will erode any tenuous military links to the US .

Obama’s “crackpot realism”, views the world market through military lenses. Military arrogance toward Asia has led to a rupture with Pakistan , its most compliant client regime in South Asia . NATO deliberately slaughtered 24 Pakistani soldiers and thumbed their nose at the Pakistani generals, while China and Russia condemned the attack and gained influence.

In the end, the military and exclusionary posture to China will fail. Washington will overplay its hand and frighten its business-oriented erstwhile Asian partners, who only want to play-off a US military presence to gain tactical economic advantage. They certainly do not want a new US instigated ‘Cold War’ dividing and weakening the dynamic intra-Asian trade and investment. Obama and his minions will quickly learn that Asia ’s current leaders do not have permanent allies – only permanent interests. In the final analysis, China figures prominently in configuring a new Asia-centric world economy. Washington may claim to have a ‘permanent Pacific presence’ but until it demonstrates it can take care of its “basic business at home”, like arranging its own finances and balancing its current account deficits, the US Naval command may end up renting its naval facilities to Asian exporters and shippers, transporting goods for them, and protecting them by pursuing pirates, contrabandists and narco-traffickers.

Come to think about it, Obama might reduce the US trade deficit with Asia by renting out the Seventh Fleet to patrol the Straits, instead of wasting US taxpayer money bullying successful Asian economic powers.

James Petras is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by James Petras

Posted in Geo-Politics, Global Research | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Obama Raises the Military Stakes: Confrontation on the Borders with China and Russia

Russia warns against any military strike on Iran

Posted by Admin on November 7, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/russia-warns-against-military-strike-iran-102133490.html

By Thomas Grove | Reuters – 6 hours ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia‘s foreign minister warned on Monday that any military strike against Iran would be a grave mistake with unpredictable consequences.

Russia, the closest thing Iran has to a big power ally, is deeply opposed to any military action against the Islamic Republic, though Moscow has supported United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme.

The U.N. nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, is expected this week to issue its most detailed report yet on research in Iran seen as geared to developing atomic bombs. But the Security Council is not expected impose stiffer sanctions as a result.

Israeli media have been rife with speculation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is working to secure cabinet consensus for an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.

“This would be a very serious mistake fraught with unpredictable consequences,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said when asked about reports that Israel planned a military strike against Iran.

Lavrov said there could be no military resolution to the Iranian nuclear problem and said the conflicts in Iran’s neighbours, Iraq and Afghanistan, had led to human suffering and high numbers of casualties.

A raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities would be likely to provoke Tehran into hugely disruptive retaliatory measures in the Gulf that would sever shipping routes and disrupt the flow of oil and gas to export markets, political analysts believe.

Iran is already under four rounds of United Nations sanctions due to concerns about its nuclear programme, which it says is entirely peaceful.

Washington is pushing for tighter measures after discovering what it says was an Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States.

Russia has tried to push Tehran to disclose more details about its nuclear work to ease international concerns.

Senior Russian security officials accept that the West has legitimate concerns about the nuclear programme though Moscow says there is no clear evidence that Iran is trying to make a nuclear bomb.

Any military strike against Iran would be likely to sour ties between the West and Russia, whose leader, Vladimir Putin, is almost certain to win a presidential election in March.

“There is no military solution to the Iranian nuclear problem as there is no military solution to any other problem in the modern world,” said Lavrov, who has served as foreign minister since 2004.

“This is confirmed to us every day when we see how the problems of the conflicts around Iran are being resolved — whether Iraq or Afghanistan or what is happening in other countries in the region. Military intervention only leads to many times more deaths and human suffering.”

Lavrov added that talks between Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, Germany and Iran should be resumed as soon as possible.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Posted in War Quotient | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russia warns against any military strike on Iran

Russia’s Putin considering Kremlin return: sources

Posted by Admin on July 28, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/russias-putin-considering-kremlin-return-sources-121459651.html;_ylt=AoIno6lF81k3AzVvIhoqwgNvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTM5ZXFpbTNrBHBrZwM1ZjEyZDJhYy0yYzdiLTM2NzQtYmU3Mi0zOWMzOTlhZDhjYWUEcG9zAzUEc2VjA01lZGlhVG9wU3RvcnkEdmVyAzYyNTAzYzkwLWI4NjgtMTFlMC04ZWZkLTMyZGVmN2YyMzlmMQ–;_ylg=X3oDMTFqOTI2ZDZmBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdAN3b3JsZARwdANzZWN0aW9ucw–;_ylv=3

By Guy Faulconbridge | Reuters – 2 hrs 37 mins ago

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is close to a decision to bid for the presidency in an election next year because he has doubts about his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, senior political sources say.

Putin ruled as president from 2000 to 2008 before handing over to Medvedev to comply with a constitutional ban on a third consecutive term. He will be free to run in the March presidential election.

Putin, 58, and Medvedev, 45, have repeatedly refused to say which of them will run but as Russia‘s paramount leader, officials and diplomats say the decision is Putin’s.

“I think Putin is going to run, that he has already decided to,” said a highly placed source who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the delicacy of the political situation.

The source said Putin had been troubled by the perception that his protege, whom he has known for more than two decades, did not have sufficient support among the political and business elite or the electorate to ensure stability if he pushed ahead with plans for political reform.

“Putin has much more support from the people than Medvedev. Medvedev has overestimated his weight inside the system,” he said.

Another highly placed source who declined to be identified said: “Putin wants to return, really wants to return.”

The source said an attempt by Medvedev to assert his authority in recent months had unsettled Putin, but the two leaders communicated well on a regular basis.

A third source also said Putin was thinking of running and that if he became president he could appoint a reformist prime minister, an apparent attempt to dispel fears that his return would usher in a period of stagnation two decades after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Investors see few differences between the two leaders’ policies but many say privately that Medvedev would be more likely to carry out reforms than Putin.

Medvedev’s spokeswoman, Natalya Timakova, dismissed talk of any discord between them.

“I do not quite understand where these rumors come from because the president and the prime minister communicate not only on formal issues, but informally too,” Timakova said.

A senior Kremlin source said it was up to the people, not the elite, who ruled Russia.

“The discussion should be not about support within the elite but about who has more support from the people,” the Kremlin source said. “Support from the elite is not always decisive for the country to move forward.”

Asked whether Putin was considering a return to the Kremlin, the prime minister’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said: “Vladimir Vladimirovich is working, working hard, rather than thinking about whether to run in the election.”

BATMAN AND ROBIN?

Most officials and foreign diplomats believe that, as the ultimate arbiter between the powerful clans that make up the Russian elite, Putin will have the final say on who will run in 2012.

As Russia’s most popular politician and leader of the ruling party, Putin would be almost certain to win a newly extended six-year term if he decided to return to the presidency.

He could also then run again for another term from 2018 to 2024, a quarter of a century since he rose to power in late 1999. He would turn 72 on October 7, 2024.

The picture of Russia’s “alpha-dog” ruler eyeing another Kremlin term corresponds to the assessment of U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle who cast Medvedev as playing “Robin to Putin’s Batman,” according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

“Russia’s bicephalous ruling format is not likely to be permanent based on Russian history and current tandem dynamics,” Beyrle wrote in February 2010 according to a copy of the cable on http:/wikileaks.org/cable/2010/02/10MOSCOW272.html

Because of Medvedev’s weakness in relation to Putin, the Kremlin chief’s attempt to present himself as anything other than Putin’s loyal protege has puzzled investors and irked some of the officials who make up part of Putin’s court.

In a host of choreographed public events, Medvedev has pitched himself as the right man for Russia, calling for opening up the tightly controlled political system crafted by Putin and even reportedly lobbying Russia’s powerful tycoons for support.

A Kremlin insider said it appeared that both Medvedev and Putin wanted to be president, but that the tandem had not shown itself to be an effective way to rule Russia.

“Neither Medvedev nor Putin have shown that this construction is stable,” said the source, who added that talk of any discord was overblown and that Putin had shown his confidence in Medvedev by steering him into the Kremlin in 2008.

Asked about Medvedev, the source said: “He is not stupid but he is not a brilliant manager and I am not completely convinced he has enough steel… Putin does not plan to leave power anytime soon.”

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russia’s Putin considering Kremlin return: sources

Russian scientists expect to meet aliens by 2031

Posted by Admin on July 2, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/russian-scientists-expect-meet-aliens-2031-145615642.html;_ylt=AlyK.mPsGh4UscgUEHBVPJLtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTNhM2lzNzdzBHBrZwM3YjY3MTBmZS1kYmMyLTMzZTItOWJlYS0xNmY4ZDQ5ZjZlZjYEcG9zAzEyBHNlYwNNZWRpYVRvcFN0b3J5BHZlcgMyYjIxYmQ4MC1hMTk3LTExZTAtYmY5ZS02YTdlMTk4N2YxYzk-;_ylg=X3oDMTFxcW12NnU4BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lfG9kZG5ld3MEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnM-;_ylv=3

By Alissa de Carbonnel | Reuters – Tue, Jun 28, 2011

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian scientists expect humanity to encounter alien civilizations within the next two decades, a top Russian astronomer predicted on Monday.

“The genesis of life is as inevitable as the formation of atoms… Life exists on other planets and we will find it within 20 years,” Andrei Finkelstein, director of the Russian Academy of Sciences‘ Applied Astronomy Institute, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Speaking at an international forum dedicated to the search for extraterrestrial life, Finkelstein said 10 percent of the known planets circling suns in the galaxy resemble Earth.

If water can be found there, then so can life, he said, adding that aliens would most likely resemble humans with two arms, two legs and a head.

“They may have different color skin, but even we have that,” he said.

Finkelstein’s institute runs a program launched in the 1960s at the height of the Cold War space race to watch for and beam out radio signals to outer space.

“The whole time we have been searching for extraterrestrial civilizations, we have mainly been waiting for messages from space and not the other way,” he said.

(Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; editing by Paul Casciato)

Posted in Exopolitical Interventions, Press Releases | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russian scientists expect to meet aliens by 2031

Fresh NATO raids target Libyan capital

Posted by Admin on May 28, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110528/ts_afp/libyaconflict_20110528083220

Fresh NATO raids target Libyan capital
 Smoke billows behind the trees following an air raid on the area of Tajura, east of Tripoli on May 24
by Imed Lamloum 51 mins ago

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Fresh NATO-led air strikes on Saturday targeted the district of Tripoli where Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi has his residence, after G8 world powers intensified the pressure on the strongman to step down.

For the fourth successive night, powerful blasts rocked Bab Al-Aziziya near the city centre, an AFP correspondent said as Libyan state media reported air raids on the Al-Qariet region south of the capital.

The strikes came after US President Barack Obama told a summit of G8 world powers that the United States and France were committed to finishing the job in Libya, as Russia finally joined explicit calls for Kadhafi to go.

Russia’s dramatic shift — and an offer to mediate — came as British Prime Minister David Cameron said the NATO mission against Kadhafi was entering a new phase with the deployment of helicopter gunships to the conflict.

“We are joined in our resolve to finish the job,” Obama said after talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the G8 summit of industrialised democracies in the French resort of Deauville.

But the US leader warned the “UN mandate of civilian protection cannot be accomplished when Kadhafi remains in Libya directing his forces in acts of aggression against the Libyan people.”

G8 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US called in their final statement for Kadhafi to step down after more than 40 years, in the face of pro-democracy protests turned full-fledged armed revolt.

“Kadhafi and the Libyan government have failed to fulfil their responsibility to protect the Libyan population and have lost all legitimacy. He has no future in a free, democratic Libya. He must go,” it said.

But the Libyan regime rejected the call and said any initiative to resolve the crisis would have to go through the African Union.

“The G8 is an economic summit. We are not concerned by its decisions,” said Libya’s deputy foreign minister, Khaled Kaaim.

Tripoli also rejected Russian mediation and will “not accept any mediation which marginalises the peace plan of the African Union,” he said. “We are an African country. Any initiative outside the AU framework will be rejected.”

Kaaim said it had no confirmation of a change in Moscow’s position after President Dmitry Medvedev toughened Russia’s stance at the G8 meeting by declaring: “The world community does not see him as the Libyan leader.”

African leaders at a summit in Addis Ababa on Thursday called for an end to NATO air strikes on Libya to pave the way for a political solution to the conflict.

The pan-African bloc also sought a stronger say in resolving the conflict.

Kaaim meanwhile confirmed the visit on Monday of South African President Jacob Zuma, without indicating whether the exit of Kadhafi from power would be discussed as the South Africans have claimed.

On Thursday, the Libyan regime said Tripoli wanted a monitored ceasefire.

But NATO insisted it would keep up its air raids in Libya until Kadhafi’s forces stop attacking civilians and until the regime’s proposed ceasefire is matched by its actions on the ground.

Meanwhile Kadhafi’s wife Sofia on Friday slammed strikes against the Libyan leader and his family, and accused NATO forces of “committing war crimes” with its action against the regime.

Arab League chief Amr Mussa said there was a yawning gap between Tripoli and the rebel National Transitional Council on Kadhafi’s fate, with the rebels demanding he go immediately and the regime saving his exit for “later.”

“I was not there. But I wished that I was so I may die with him,” she told CNN in a telephone interview, describing the reported death of her son Seif al-Arab from a NATO air strike.

“My son never missed an evening prayer. We had strikes every day, and the strikes would start at evening prayer. Four rockets on one house!” she said in the rare interview.

International forces, which have been attacking Kadhafi forces under the terms of a UN resolution to protect civilians, “are looking for excuses to target Moamer. What has he done to deserve this?” asked Sofia.

NATO, she said, is “committing war crimes” in the North Africa country.

“They killed my son and the Libyan people. They are defaming our reputation, she said.

“Forty countries are against us. Life has no value anymore,” she lamented, in the wake of her son’s death.

Doubts have been raised in recent days of the veracity of reports on Seif al-Arab, Kadhafi’s youngest son, being dead.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pointed out Wednesday that the international coalition had no information on his demise, and said the report from a Libyan government spokesman was “propaganda.”

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fresh NATO raids target Libyan capital

Russia announces Libya arms deal worth $1.8bn

Posted by Admin on March 27, 2011

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8489167.stm

Vladimir Putin (left) faces Libya's Abu Bakr Yunis Jaber at talks in Moscow, 29 January

Libya had been in talks with Russia for several days

Russia is to supply Libya with small-arms and other weapons to the value of $1.8bn (£1.1bn, 1.3bn euros), Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced.

The contract is worth nearly a quarter of the Russian state arms exporter’s entire sales last year, which were put at $7.4bn.

Mr Putin said the deal had been signed on Friday during a visit by the Libyan defence minister.

There was no immediate word from the Libyan side on the deal.

Abu Bakr Yunis Jaber, Libya’s defence minister, has been in Moscow for several days, meeting defence officials.

Keeping busy

Mr Putin gave no details of the arms covered by the contract. Russian media speculated earlier that it might include fighter planes.

“Yesterday a contract worth 1.3bn euros was signed,” Mr Putin announced at a meeting near Moscow with the director of the Russian small-arms manufacturer Izhmash, which makes the Kalashnikov assault rifle.

“These are not just small-arms.”

Mr Putin gave no further details. However, according to a military diplomatic source quoted earlier by Russian news agencies, the deal included fighter aircraft, tanks and a sophisticated air defence system.

Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms export monopoly, announced on Thursday that its 2009 sales had seen a 10% increase on the previous year.

Customers included India, Algeria, China, Venezuela, Malaysia and Syria, with air force weaponry making up 50% of sales.

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russia announces Libya arms deal worth $1.8bn

Khodorkovsky found guilty as protests mount against Putin and ‘charade’ trial

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2010

http://www.headlinenewsbureau.com/siterun_data/news/world/doc8ac71af75251466f60756bf50c507c62.html

Khodorkovsky found guilty as protests mount against Putin and ‘charade’ trial

Extended term expected for jailed former oil tycoon as supporters cite Kremlin influence in political trial

The fate of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was left hanging in the balance today after a court in Moscow found him guilty of theft and money laundering in a politically tinged trial that is seen as a weathervane for Russia’s future course.

Viktor Danilkin, the trial judge, told the packed court that Khodorkovsky, 47, and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, 54, “carried out the embezzlement of property entrusted to the defendants”.

But the trial remains delicately poised because Danilkin will not sentence until he finishes reading his full 250-page verdict, which could take several days.

Opposing factions in the Kremlin are said to be in dispute over how much longer the businessman, who has already spend seven years in jail on earlier fraud charges, should stay behind bars.

Khodorkovsky, wearing a scuffed black jacket, and Lebedev, in a white tracksuit top, whispered to each other inside the enclosed dock and ignored the judge as he said the court had established their guilt.

Hundreds of protesters outside the court in the Khamovniki district of southern Moscow shouted “freedom” and “Russia without Putin”. Police arrested about 20 people, dragging them out of the crowd and crushing their placards.

Speaking during a recess, Khodorkovsky’s lead lawyer, Vadim Klyuvgant, said: “The trial was a charade of justice, the charges were absolutely false, but I fear the sentencing will be very real.”

Yury Shmidt, another lawyer, said Danilkin was “not talking, but droning” through his verdict.

Supporters of Khodorkovsky, who part-owned the Yukos oil company and was once Russia’s richest man, say the Kremlin controls the court system and singled him out for punishment because he funded opposition politicians.

The oligarch has been in prison since he was seized by special forces as his plane landed to refuel on a Siberian runway in 2003. A court sentenced him and Lebedev to eight years in prison two years later, but a trial on fresh charges of embezzling $25bn (£16bn) of oil began last year.

Analysts say the length of the sentence, which is expected this week or in early January, will show which of two Kremlin clans – the siloviki (security and military veterans) associated with Vladimir Putin, the prime minister , and the liberals grouped mainly around the president, Dmitry Medvedev – has gained supremacy in the country.

Prosecutors want the men to stay in prison until 2017, and Putin said this month that “a thief should be in jail” when he was asked about the trial. Medvedev, however, has distanced himself from the case and said on Friday that “neither the president nor any other official in public service have the right to express their stance on this before the verdict is delivered.”

The friction over Khodorkovsky channels into a wider debate over which man from Russia’s “ruling tandem” will stand for the presidency in 2012. US diplomats believe Medvedev is “Robin to Putin’s Batman” and Putin will try to get back the post he held from 2000 to 2008, according to documents disclosed by WikiLeaks earlier this month. But Medvedev has given muted signals that he’d like to stay in the job.

Andrei Illarionov, a former economic adviser to Putin, told the Guardian outside the court that the liberal camp was unlikely to prevail.

“This prosecution is the result of a coup,” he said. “In 2003, the siloviki became afraid that Khodorkovsky and the political forces surrounding him were becoming too powerful, so they decided to arrest him. These people are still dominant in the country and for them it would be a defeat if Khodorkovsky was released.”

Vladimir Ryzhkov, a former MP and opposition politician who was also outside the court, said: “There has been open pressure on the judge from Putin who consistently expresses his hatred for Khodorkovsky and says publicly that he is guilty of theft.”

Ryzhkov added: “I believe they want to keep him in prison for another three or four years at least, so he is not released until well after the next presidential elections, in 2012.” He dismissed suggestions that Medvedev might ensure a softer sentence. “There is never any action behind Medvedev’s rhetoric,” he said.

One protester among the crowd opposite the court was Vladimir Yurovsky, 54, the manager of a small Moscow financial services company.

“I’ve seen the indictments and they are absurd,” he said, adding. “I once worked for a company that competed with Khodorkovsky’s business and he took away our clients. But it was done in a gentlemanly way that only demanded respect.”

The decision comes as leaked US embassy cables reveal that US diplomats believe attempts by the Russian government to demonstrate due process in the trial are “lipstick on a political pig” .

Despite the protests, many Russians are indifferent to Khodorkovsy’s fate, believing that oligarchs who grew rich in the turbulent 1990s should also be prosecuted.

“Given such significant international implications to the case, and given Khodorkovsky’s former stature, one might expect a large amount of focus on the Yukos case inside Russia,” noted a US diplomat in Moscow last year, according to the WikiLeaks documents . “However, most Russians continue to pay scant attention.”

The trial resumes tomorrow.

Profile

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was one of the most successful of the first wave of Russian oligarchs, politically connected businessmen who made good in the chaotic decade after the Soviet collapse in 1991. Born in Moscow in 1963, he was active as a student in the Communist youth movement, using his ties to devise a scheme to turn government subsidies into hard cash. He also sold imported computers.

In 1988, he set up Menatep, a commercial bank he later used to acquire control of the Yukos oil company. Yukos developed rapidly after major investment and Khodorkovsky turned it into a western-style quoted company. But he fell out of favour with Vladimir Putin, then president, when he began complaining about corruption, promoting private oil pipelines and funding opposition politicians. He was arrested in 2003 and later sentenced to eight years in prison for fraud.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky Vladimir Putin Russia Tom Parfitt

 

Posted in Economic Upheavals | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Khodorkovsky found guilty as protests mount against Putin and ‘charade’ trial

Medvedev welcomes US arms treaty

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2010

http://www.headlinenewsbureau.com/siterun_data/news/world/doc408f9d676abcb1764492d160e8a15470.html

Russian president says country is ready to ratify the arms reduction pact with the US

MPs in Russia could approve a new strategic arms reduction treaty with the US as early as tomorrow after President Dmitry Medvedev welcomed the pact.

The country’s overwhelmingly pro-Kremlin parliament is likely to push the agreement through swiftly, despite doubts over Washington’s desire to station a missile defence shield in Europe.

Medvedev’s office said today he was “pleased to learn that the United States Senate has ratified the Start Treaty and expressed hope that the State Duma and the Federation Council [lower and upper houses of parliament] will be ready to consider this issue shortly and to ratify the document”.

The US Senate voted 71 to 26 in favour of the treaty yesterday, despite expectations that Republican members might try to block its passage.

The speaker of the State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, said the Kremlin-controlled United Russia party, which dominates the chamber, was ready to approve the treaty at a parliamentary session scheduled tomorrow.

The speaker of the Federation Council, Sergei Mironov, said he could push it through the same day.

Under New Start, as the agreement is called, strategic nuclear warheads deployed by each country will be reduced to 1,550 within seven years. Deployed missile launchers would be cut to 700.

Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council’s foreign relations committee, said the treaty “represents a shift away from cold war mentality and demonstrates that Russia and the US are focused on achieving 21st-century global security”.

Its ratification in both countries will be seen as step forward after a difficult period in bilateral relations since Medvedev and Barack Obama signed the treaty in Prague in April.

Two months after that meeting, the US exposed 10 Russian sleeper agents living in New York and Washington, although the fallout was partly defused when they were exchanged for four men jailed in Russia who had allegedly worked for western intelligence agencies.

Relations appeared to be warming last month when the Nato military alliance invited Russia to participate in a US-led missile defence system about which Moscow is deeply suspicious. But the thaw came under threat when WikiLeaks revealed US diplomatic cables suggesting Russia is a “mafia state”.

Analysts say the treaty overrides such irritants, showing progress in the attempts to improve ties with Russia, which began after Obama came to power.

Sergei Rogov, head of the influential US and Canada Institute in Moscow, told the RIA Novosti news agency: “It is, of course, a positive step and it shows that the ‘re-set’ in Russian-American relations is bringing real results, but the question now is, what next?”

Top of the agenda for the Kremlin will be hammering out details of its role in the missile defence project. Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, warned this month that Russia would be obliged to deploy “new strike forces” on its borders if talks with Nato over the system failed to show progress.

Dmitry Medvedev Russia Nuclear weapons United States Tom Parfitt

 

Posted in Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Medvedev welcomes US arms treaty