Alert: Secret document bares Indian subversion in Pakistan

Defence Correspondent

Islamabad—Even as India and Pakistan were actively engaged in laying a framework for normalizing their relations in the aftermath of Operation Parkaram (Dec 2001 – Oct 2002), RAW’s Counter Intelligence Team – X (CIT-X), assigned to conduct subversive operations targeting Pakistan was working relentlessly to destabilize the country. According to well placed sources the details of these plans came to light once a copy of the classified document detailing these activities was accidentally lost and became available for public scrutiny.

The strategy to advance the interaction with Pakistan on the diplomatic channels, while perpetrating acts of terrorism on a parallel track, was envisaged after the failure of Indian spell of coercive diplomacy vis-à-vis Pakistan during the Premiership of Atal Bihari Vajpaee. The document lays out the extensive espionage network dovetailed into the diplomatic missions in Central Asia, particularly Afghanistan, and Middle East which the Indian under cover intelligence operatives utilize to rake trouble not only in FATA but in Pakistani hinterland as well.

As per details given in the purloined paper, agents for anti-Pakistan subversion were trained in 57 training camps established in the IHK, East Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam. Activists of anti Pakistan nationalist groups were the focus of Indian search for recruits who received cash weapons and ammunitions from undercover RAW operatives masquerading as Al Qaeda agents. While sections of the Taleban have been named as perpetrators of some of the most heinous and bloody acts of subversion in Pakistan, it were their Indian handlers who manipulated the invisible strings. Mossad’s tactics of infiltrating Palestinian resistance acted as model and provided the modus operandi for CIT – X to stir insurgency on Pakistan’s Western border that, hitherto fore, had remained free from a military threat.

Apart from concentrating on the FATA Region, stoking the fires of sub-national movements in Pakistan can be identified as one of the vulnerable area where Indian Agencies are focused; reveals the document. Targeting interior regions of Sind province, Seraiki belt and the Northern Areas of Pakistan forms pivots of the Indian plan, receiving riveting and ceaseless attention of CIT – X , reveals the classified document.
CIT “X” OPERATIONS

1. A declassified document of RAW has revealed CIT ‘X’ Operations which spells out the Mossad / RAW / CIA plot against Pakistan Indicating that Pakistan has been effectively engaged in for a long hot summer as the “Summer Offensive Continues”. Following contents are the proof that Pakistan has been looking for:-

a. Tactics of the Dragon Policy. In retaliation to the alleged unending terrorist pursuits of Pakistan, RAW and MOSSAD had conceived the “Summer Offensive” a year ago. Modus operandi has been successful. The operational tactics are:-

(1) Intelligence has successfully tapped known international drug and mafia dons against Pakistan. CIT “X” is effectively training agents for covert operations in Pakistan. Under the Vajpayee government, the CIT “X” and other sensitive organizations were authorized to strengthen contacts with sleeping agents, and recruit new front men to carry out covert operations in Pakistan.

(2) All possible international criminal and mercenaries, including Afghans were engaged for covert purpose during LK Advani’s tenure in the Home Ministry. CIT “X” is actively involved in drug trafficking to finance its covert operations.

(3) Illegal poppy is being cultivated in bulk in Himachal Pradesh, Arunchal Pradesh, Mizoram and Uttar Pradesh. Drug barons have close links with their Afghan counterparts, completely controlled, and continuously monitored by various intelligence agencies. India today stands as the fifth largest country in the world in the production of illicit opium. Laos is 4th with 20 metric tons and has directly tied up with RAW and internal drug barons. Some people of Indian origin living in Surinam and Holland have been engaged to facilitate Indian agencies in drug trafficking. Under the benign patronage of CIT “X” the business of drug trafficking is flourishing and the money earned is accounted for and is being directed towards covert activities in Pakistan.

(4) The summer offensive includes establishment of 57 training camps in Occupied Kashmir, East Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujrat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnatka and Assam to train and launch terrorists inside Pakistan. Trainees are generally drawn from the Indian hatched dissident groups of Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jiye Sindh Mohaz,

b. Offensive under Diplomatic Cover (The MOSSAD Hands)

(1) RAW Centers at London, Dubai, Iran, and South Africa operate against Pakistan jointly with Israeli MOSSAD. However, for its summer offensive RAW in a joint effort with MOSSAD has laid out a whole network around Pakistan to ensure success through destabilization.

(2) During Wana operations the miscreants were fed cash, weapons and ammunition indirectly by RAW operatives under cover of Al-Qaeda. Mossad and AMMAN have also contributed heavily towards the funding and material requirements for those operations.

c. Ministry of Information and Security (Iran’s Involvement)

(1) Iran, having contiguous borders with Pakistan, is a hot bed of intrigues and constant source of support and inspiration to RAW functionaries. The Indian Embassy at Tehran and Consulates in Zahidan, Mashhad and Bandar Abbas are actively engaged in establishing links with disgruntled elements of Balochistan and Sindh for destabilizing these provinces. RAW is maintaining contacts / their sources / links in Pakistan through their consulates at Zahidan and Dubai. Most of the staff at Indian Consulate in Zahidan is from intelligence / security organizations including RAW, Intelligence Bureau and Military Intelligence. Irani intelligence has been providing reliable information and support to RAW operations by using disgruntled Shia elements in Pakistan.

d. Intelligence Model

(1) This intelligence model is an improvement on the practices of MOSSAD, which has infiltrated several Jewish agents into the occupied territory of Palestine as Muslims. These agents practice Islam like any ordinary Muslim. Mingle into local Muslim population just to wait for the appropriate time to strike. While Taliban and Al-Qaeda are getting the blame and Pakistan gets the rap for “not doing enough” by US and FRIENDLY” Afghan authorities

e. UAE Angle

(1) UAE is being used as a launching pad for terrorist activities in Pakistan. Agents are getting hold of young, disgruntled elements and after carrying out their proper brainwashing, they are dispatched to Dubai. Indian Consulate in Dubai is issuing temporary passport to these activists for getting training / briefing. After completion of their formal training, they are launched into Pakistan to carry out their terrorist / sabotage activities.

f. Fake Currency

(1) To cripple the economy of Pakistan, RAW has taken it upon itself the responsibility of pumping fake currency into Pakistan through various illegal means.

g. Subversion

(1) To fan flames of Sindhi Desh Movement subversive literature, published from Bombay and Jammu e.g. Sindh Sujag. Sindh Rises, Sindh Parcham, Sangat and lot of other subversive material is being pumped into Sindh clandestinely. Whereas, RAW is morally and maerially supporting the Saraiki Movement in southern Punjab. Regional Political Parties like Saraiki Suba Mahaz, Pakistan Saraiki Party and Saraiki Sahaliya Sangam are being effectively sponsored. Subversive literature in huge quantity is being published on the subject.

h. Balwaristan Movement

(1) RAW is also involved in sponsoring Balwaristan Movement. It is being organized under Abdul Hamid, self styled Chairman of his own faction of Balwaristan National Front based in Delhi. The Front is working for the independence of Northern Areas. It has been sending into Pakistan a highly subversive material from abroad.

2. The hostile intelligence operatives are making concerted / unified attempts to achieve their aim of destabilizing Pakistan through a well conceived / articulated plan. Pakistan needs to counter it by utilizing all means available.

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The media plays a significant role in manufacturing Islamophobia within western societies

The media plays a significant role in manufacturing Islamophobia within western societies by manipulating and shaping an individuals opinion on anything and everything.  It presents us with distorted images of Islam and that in turn conjures stereotypes and prejudice.

For people who are sceptical about the notion of ‘Islamophobia’, a study was conducted in the US where  the public were asked to write down, with as little thought and as much honesty as possible, all the words that come to mind when you think of the words “Islam” or Muslim”.

Most people gave an almost routine set of answers.  The names and events they thought of tended to be associated with violence, e.g., Osama Bin Laden, 9/11, Palestinian suicide bombers.  The ideas and practices were associated with oppression, e.g., Jihad, veiling, Islamic law. And the places were limited to the Middle East, e.g., Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran.  Of course some answers escaped the pattern, e.g., the Qur’an, pilgrimage to Mecca, Muhammad Ali, but these were relatively few.  When asked about their answers, many responded unfortunate as such associations may be, Muslims and Islam feature prominently in many of the world’s conflicts and injustices, and this they conclude says something about their religion.  Judging from the portrayals of Muslims and Islam in Western media, it’s hard to argue with them.

In September 2005, the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Postem, published 12 depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.  Awareness of the cartoons became widespread and a global protest soon grew, typified by peaceful gatherings of thousands of protestors in many places.  Unfortunately some Muslim’s reacted violently.

Islamophobia is even presented in popular films such as Hollywood blockbusters and children’s cartoons.  A report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission argues that films such as Aladdin and East is East have contributed to demonizing Muslims as dangerous and violent.  For example, in Aladdin, rather than presenting the Arab culture and Islamic religion in a positive way, it is associated with harsh punishments and oppressive practices.  In the British film East is East, a mixed raced Anglo-Pakistani family is presented struggling with their traditional background forced upon them by their father.  The representation of the Muslim husband is of a polygamous wife beater.


Sadly, media outlets consistently overlook the voices of moderation that come from the majority of Muslims.  When violence flared in 2006 over the controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, very few of America’s frontline newspapers reported the condemnation of the violence issued immediately by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), one of the most important Islamic organisations In the US and only one of many that decried the attacks.  In another instance the year before, a Connecticut newspaper ran an editorial decrying the lack of public statements by Muslim leaders against the then recent terrorist attacks in London.  The state chapter of CAIR wrote back asking why the newspaper had not mentioned its own denunciation of the violence, which the group had sent the newspaper.  In fact, since this event, a great variety and number of Muslim leaders in the US and abroad condemned the attacks but received little coverage by the American media.

The media is always quick to stereotype Muslims as terrorists by linking the news to religion when Muslims have done something wrong.  But does the media link crimes carried out by Westerners to religion?

The answer is no.  The Columbine High School shooters religions were not disclosed, nor are the religions of any Western perpetrators.  The media believes that any Muslim who commits a crime is doing so in the name of Islam and therefore feels the need to disclose his religious views.

Because Muslims seldom appear in news reports or other media sources except as perpetrators of violence, supposedly in the name of Islam, many Westerners understandably conclude that all Muslim’s act from inherently religious motivations and that Islam is dangerous. Muslims become two-dimensional, existing only as Muslims, seemingly never sharing identities or interests with non-Muslims.  However, Westerners engage with Muslims in thousands of ways every day: a student and her classmates, a banker and his customer, a homeowner and her neighbours.  The globalised world we inhabit makes possible increasingly intimate connections between distant individuals with increasing speed.  So why, despite all this contact, do domestic news and entertainment sources seldom mention the terms “Muslim” or “Islam” except in the context of conflict, violence and bloodshed?? By: Ismail Farooki. Cambridge –England

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Islam-phobia in Europe

This may not be thinking of the entire West but it is worth knowing what a section of the society thinks about Muslims and Islam.

Please take the time to read and understand what is written here.

Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, Chairman, Netherlands Party for Freedom in New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots(Infidels) and announcing the “Facing Jihad Conference” in Jerusalem.

Speech by a Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for inviting me.

I come to America with a mission.  All is not well in the old world..  There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic.  We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe.  This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West.  The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe.

First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe .  Then, I will say a few things about Islam.  To close I will tell you about a meeting in Jerusalem .

The Europe you know is changing.

You have probably seen the landmarks.  But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world.  It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration.

All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighborhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen.  And if they are, they might regret it.  This goes for the police as well.  It’s the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children.  Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead.  With mosques on many street corners.  The shops have signs you and I cannot read.  You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity.  These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics.  These are Muslim neighborhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe .  These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe , street by street, neighborhood by neighborhood, city by city.

There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe .  With larger congregations than there are in churches.  And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region.  Clearly, the signal is: we rule.

Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam , Marseille and Malmo in Sweden .  In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim.  Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighborhoods.  Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities.

In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims.

Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils.  In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims.  Non-Muslim women routinely hear ‘whore, whore’.  Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin.

In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin .  The history of the Holocaust can no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity.

In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighborhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves.  Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels , because he was drinking during the Ramadan.

Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II.  French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya , Israel .  I could go on forever with stories like this.  Stories about Islamization.

A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe .  San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now.  Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.

Now these are just numbers.  And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate.  But there are few signs of that.  The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France .  One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks.  The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favor of a worldwide caliphate.  Muslims demand what they call ‘respect’.  And this is how we give them respect.  We have Muslim official state holidays.

The Christian-Democratic attorney general is willing to accept sharia in the Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority.  We have cabinet members with passports from Morocco and Turkey .

Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behavior, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots.  Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs, the banlieus.  I call the perpetrators ‘settlers’.  Because that is what they are.  They do not come to integrate into our societies; they come to integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam.  Therefore, they are settlers.

Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighborhoods, their cities, their countries.  Moreover, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be ignored.

The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet.  His behavior is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized.  Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem.  But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriages – at the same time.  Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed.  Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza.  If it is good for Islam, it is good.  If it is bad for Islam, it is bad.

Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion.  Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins.  But in its essence Islam is a political ideology.  It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person.  Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life.  Islam means ‘submission’.  Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia.  If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.

Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam ‘the most retrograde force in the world’, and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran.  The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor.  I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times.  I support Israel .  First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam’s territorial advance.  Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines , Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan , Lebanon , and Aceh in Indonesia .  Israel is simply in the way.  The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

The war against Israel is not a war against Israel .  It is a war against the West.  It is jihad.  Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us.  If there would have been no Israel , Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest.  Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.

Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities.  But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values.  On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam.  They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed…  The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning.  It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination.  If they can get Israel , they can get everything.  So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a ‘right-wing extremists’ or ‘racists’.  In my country, the Netherlands , 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II.  And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat.  Yet there is a danger greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing.  The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine.  An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for America – as its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs.  With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome , Athens and Jerusalem .

Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts.  My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives.  All throughout Europe , American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish.  My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians.  We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe ‘s children in the same state in which it was offered to us.  We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams.  Future generations would never forgive us.  We cannot squander our liberties.  We simply do not have the right to do so.

We have to take the necessary action now to stop this Islamic stupidity from destroying the free world that we know.


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Russia, Turkey and the Great Game: Changing teams

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s visit to Turkish last month shows that Turkey and Russia are rapidly developing close economic and political ties.

For all intents and purposes, Turkey has given up on the European Union, recognising it as a bastion of Islamophobia and captive to US diktat. As Switzerland bans minarets and France moves to outlaw the niqab, the popular Islamist government in Istanbul moves in the opposite direction — supporting the freedom to wear headscarfs, boldly criticising Israel and building bridges with Syria. This is nothing less than a fundamental realignment of Turkish politics towards Turkey’s natural allies — the Arabs … and the Russians.

This new alignment with Russia began in 2001 when Turkish and Russian foreign ministers signed the Eurasia Cooperation Action Plan. It went into high gear in February 2009, when Turkish President Abdullah Gul made a state visit to Russia, including a visit to the Russian Federation’s thriving and energy-rich Autonomous Republic of Tatarstan, populated by a majority of Muslim Turks, with pipelines, nuclear energy and trade the focus of attention.

In the past, Russia had poor relations with Turkey, which since its founding as a republic in 1922 was firmly in the Western camp and seen by Moscow as a springboard for infiltration into the Caucasus and its Turkic southern republics. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Yeltsin’s Russia acquiesced to US hegemony in the region, and as part of this opening to the West, Turkish schools, construction firms and traders came in great numbers to the ex-Soviet “stans” (Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan). 9/11 convinced Russian president Vladimir Putin to go so far as welcoming US military bases in the most strategic “stans”. The old Great Game appeared to be over, lost resoundingly by Russia.

But as the world tired of the US-sponsored “war on terrorism”, it seemed the Great Game was not over after all. A NATO member, Turkey was soon joined by Bulgaria and Romania, making the Black Sea a de facto NATO lake, alarming a now resurgent Russia.

Ukraine’s Western-backed “Orange Revolution” in 2004 further tilted the balance away from Russia, with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko defiantly vowing to join NATO and kick the Russian fleet out of Crimea. He even armed Georgia in its war with Russia in 2008.

However, not only Russia was fed up with the new pax americana. Over 90 per cent of Turks had an unfavourable view of the US by 2007. It is no surprise that Turkey began to back away from unconditional support of NATO and the US, notably, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, by its refusal in 2008 to allow US warships through the Bosphorus Strait to support Georgia, and by its outspoken criticism of Israel following the invasion of Gaza that year.

In contrast to the US-sponsored colour revolutions in the ex-socialist bloc, Turkey’s “Green Revolution” brought the religious-oriented Justice and Development Party to power in 2002. Its political direction has been in search of balance in the region and peaceful relations with its neighbours, including Armenia and the Kurds. In 2004 Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a joint declaration of cooperation in Ankara, updated in February 2009 by Gul and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow. Gul declared, “Russia and Turkey are neighbouring countries that are developing their relations on the basis of mutual confidence. I hope this visit will in turn give a new character to our relations.”

Key to this is Turkey’s proposal for the establishment of a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform. Following Gul’s visit, Turkish media even described Turkish-Russian relations as a “strategic partnership”, which no doubt set off alarm bells in Washington.

None of this would be taking place without solid economic interests. Turkish-Russian economic ties have greatly expanded over the past decade, with trade reaching $33 billion in 2008, much if it gas and oil, making Russia Turkey’s number one partner. They may soon use the Turkish lira and the Russian ruble in foreign trade.

This is the context of Medvedev’s visit 13 January to Ankara, which focussed primarily on energy cooperation. Russia’s AtomStroiExport had won the tender for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear plant last year, and Medvedev was eager to get final approval on Turkish cooperation in Gazprom’s South Stream gas pipeline to Europe. Turkey will soon get up to 80 per cent of its gas from Russia, but this dependency is no longer viewed as a liability in light of the two countries’ new strategic relations.

Just what will happen to the West’s rival Nabucco pipeline, also intended to transit Turkey, is now a moot point. Nabucco hopes to bring gas from Iran and Azerbaijan to Europe through Turkey and Georgia. Given the standoff between the West and Iran and the instability of Georgia, this alternative to Russia’s plans looks increasingly unattractive. Azerbaijan, shrewdly, has already signed up with South Stream.

Kommersant quoted Gazprom officials as saying that Turkey could soon join Italy and Germany as Russia’s “strategic partner”. Italy’s ENI is co-funding the South Stream project. The other arm of Gazprom’s pincer move around Ukraine is Nord Stream, and Germany late last year gave its final approval for Nord Stream. A Polish minister compared the Russia-Germany Nord Stream project to the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentropp pact, because the pipeline allows Russia to deliver gas to Western Europe and “turn off the taps” to Ukraine in case it stops paying or starts stealing gas as happened several times under the Orange revolutionaries.

Turkey is very much a key player in this new Great Game, only it appears to have changed sides. The Russian and Turkish prime ministers voiced the hope that their trade would triple by 2015, and announced plans to for a visa-free regime by May this year. “In the end, without doubt, [a visa-free regime] will lead to activating cooperation between our countries,” said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.

The presidential elections now in progress in Ukraine could take some of the wind out of the sails of South Stream. Its rationale could be brought into question if the new Ukrainian president succeeds in convincing Moscow that s/he will make sure no further hanky-panky takes place. Ukraine, in dire economic straits, needs the transit fees, which would disappear if current plans go ahead. But the damage the Orange revolutionaries did to Ukraine’s economy and relations with Russia is already a fait accompli. Says Alexander Rahr at the German Council on Foreign Relations, “Under every leadership, Ukraine will try to make use of its geographical position and the Russians realised this some time ago. This is why they desperately need a way to circumvent Ukraine.”

Even if Ukraine, too, changes teams and rejects NATO expansion plans, it will still have to thrash out a new role, most likely minus its gas transit commissions. Contender Viktor Yanukovich has signalled he would sign up to an economic cooperation agreement with Russia and smooth over existing political problems like the question of the Russian fleet and possibly the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Turkey could well follow suit. “If any Western country is going to recognise the independence of Abkhazia, it will be Turkey because of a large Abkhazian diaspora there,” says Rahr.

There is no reason why Ukraine couldn’t join the budding Russian-Turkish alliance, founded on regional stability and peace, unlike the current NATO-led one of confrontation and enmity. This would leave only the mad Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili quixotically fighting his windmills, dictator of a rump state — the very opposite of his intended role as NATO’s valiant knight leading its march eastward. Even inveterate Turkish foe Armenia seems eager to join the new line-up, as last year’s exchange of ambassadors demonstrated.by Eric Walberg

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