Pak-Iran Pipeline vs TAPI

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Defying Washington, Islamabad has inked the final agreement on the construction of multi-billion dollar Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline in Istanbul (Turkey) on Tuesday. In January 2010, Barack Obama’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke (a Crypto Jew), told Pakistan’s Petroleum Minister Syed Naveed Qamar that Islamabad “would have to abandon its pipeline accord with Tehran” in order to isolate Islamic Iran. Washington had offered Islamabad with an extensive energy assistance in return.

In 1994, Iran and India signed a deal to build a 2,700-kilometre-long gas pipeline (IPI) at the cost of US$7.5 billion to transport Iranian gas through Pakistan to India. Dubbed as the “Peace Pipeline”, hoping that financial collaboration may bring peace between the nuclear rivals Hindutva India and Muslim Pakistan. However, the construction of the proposed pipeline could not go ahead due to Washington’s pressure on New Delhi and Islamabad. Last year, India dropped out of the deal under Washington’s blackmail with a nuclear deal in 2008.

The agreement signed in Istanbul involved the construction of a 900-kilometre-long gas pipeline, from Asalooyeh in Southern Iran and Iranshahr near the border with Pakistan and will transport 750 million cubic feet a day of gas from Iran to Pakistan for the next 25 years to generate 4,000 MW of electricity. And when and if India want to return to its original deal with Islamic Iran – Pakistan will charge India the transit fee according to international practices. Some analysts are saying that China may decide to join the project in the near future.

Naturally, the Israel Lobby is not happy about it and one has to see Washington’s reaction. Washington has long been pushing an alternate pipeline route from Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (TAPI) in its effort to sideline Islamic Iran.

Christopher Bollyn in his August 2009 article Dick Holbrooke – The Zionist Agent in Obama\’s Vietnam: “U.S. troops have been in Afghanistan since October 2001 when they were supposedly sent in response to 9-11, although no Afghans were involved in the terror attacks. The U.S. reportedly gave up its pursuit of Osama Bin Laden years ago. So why did the U.S. invade Afghanistan and why are we still there? Why has President Obama increased troop levels in Afghanistan? The short answer is the TAPI gas pipeline, which will carry gas from Israeli-owned and managed gas fields in Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and China. Turkmenistan and Afghanistan are both very rich in gas reserves. The Turkmen mineral assets are managed by the former Mossad agent Yosef Maiman. Building the TAPI pipeline is a Zionist pipe dream that will use the mineral wealth of Turkmenistan to benefit Maiman and his partners. This is the main development project that U.S. policy is trying to accomplish. Transit fees from the gas pipeline are intended to support the government in Kabul.”

Christopher Bollyn on Holbrooke’s family background wrote: ”To understand why Holbrooke is put into these positions, it is necessary to understand who he really is. Although it is not reported in biographical sketches, Holbrooke belongs to a very highly-connected family that is related to the Rothschild and Guggenheim families, among others. It is his German Jewish family connections that have placed him in positions of power in the U.S. government. Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke was born April 24, 1941, to Dan Holbrooke and Gertrudis “Trudi” Moos Holbrooke. Dan, his father, was a Polish Jewish immigrant who changed his name to Holbrooke. Biographical sketches claim that Dan’s original surname has been lost, which is very unlikely. Dan Holbrooke’s real name has been hidden in the same way that the family has sought to hide its Jewish roots.” —rehmat’s world

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Afghan War and the Central Asia Pipeline Plan

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by Bruce Gagnon:

The Washington Post has introduced us to a controversy over Afghanistan war strategy. The Post reports that operations in Delaram (in the southwest) are “far from a strategic priority for senior officers at the international military headquarters in Kabul. One calls Delaram, a day’s drive from the nearest city, ‘the end of the Earth.’ Another deems the area ‘unrelated to our core mission’ of defeating the Taliban by protecting Afghans in their cities and towns.”
Why then are the Marines fighting in this part of the country?
The Post continues, “The Marines are constructing a vast base on the outskirts of town that will have two airstrips, an advanced combat hospital, a post office, a large convenience store and rows of housing trailers stretching as far as the eye can see. By this summer, more than 3,000 Marines — one-tenth of the additional troops authorized by President Obama in December — will be based here.”
Again the Post adds, “They [some officials] question whether a large operation that began last month to flush the Taliban out of Marja, a poor farming community in central Helmand, is the best use of Marine resources. Although it has unfolded with fewer than expected casualties and helped to generate a perception of momentum in the U.S.-led military campaign, the mission probably will tie up two Marine battalions and hundreds of Afghan security forces until the summer.”
And finally the Post reports, “Brig. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the top Marine commander in Afghanistan now wants Marine units to push through miles of uninhabited desert to establish control of a crossing point for insurgents, drugs and weapons on the border with Pakistan. And he wants to use the new base in Delaram to mount more operations in Nimruz, a part of far southwestern Afghanistan deemed so unimportant that it is one of the only provinces where there is no U.S. or NATO reconstruction team.”

When you check the maps above a clearer picture emerges. The bottom map is the proposed pipeline route to move Caspian Sea oil through Turkmenistan into Afghanistan and then finally through Pakistan to ports along the Arabian Sea where U.S. and British tankers would gorge themselves with the black gold.

The whole reason the U.S. is in Afghanistan and Pakistan today is to deny those pipelines from being routed through Russia, China, or Iran.

Then look at the top map where the U.S. Marines are operating inside Afghanistan and causing some controversy within the military. They are building big bases in desolate southwestern Afghanistan and wanting to extend control in that region near the border of Pakistan – all of which are areas that must “be controlled” if pipelines are to be successfully built and maintained.

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Prognosis 2012: Towards a New World Social Order

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Richard K. Moore | Global Research

Historical background – the establishment of capitalist supremacy

When the Industrial Revolution began in Britain, in the late 1700s, there was lots of money to be made by investing in factories and mills, by opening up new markets, and by gaining control of sources of raw materials. The folks who had the most money to invest, however, were not so much in Britain but more in Holland. Holland was the leading Western power in the 1600s, and its bankers were the leading capitalists. In pursuit of profit, Dutch capital flowed to the British stock market, and thus the Dutch funded the rise of Britain, who subsequently eclipsed Holland both economically and geopolitically.

In this way British industrialism came to be dominated by wealthy investors, and capitalism became the dominant economic system. This led to a major social transformation. Britain had been essentially an aristocratic society, dominated by landholding families. As capitalism became dominant economically, capitalists became dominant politically. Tax structures and import-export policies were gradually changed to favor investors over landowners.

It was no longer economically viable to simply maintain an estate in the countryside: one needed to develop it, turn it to more productive use. Victorian dramas are filled with stories of aristocratic families who fall on hard times, and are forced to sell off their properties. For dramatic purposes, this decline is typically attributed to a failure in some character, a weak eldest son perhaps. But in fact the decline of aristocracy was part of a larger social transformation brought on by the rise of capitalism.

The business of the capitalist is the management of capital, and this management is generally handled through the mediation of banks and brokerage houses. It should not be surprising that investment bankers came to occupy the top of the hierarchy of capitalist wealth and power. And in fact, there are a handful of banking families, including the Rothschilds and the Rockefellers, who have come to dominate economic and political affairs in the Western world.

Unlike aristocrats, capitalists are not tied to a place, or to the maintenance of a place. Capital is disloyal and mobile – it flows to where the most growth can be found, as it flowed from Holland to Britain, then from Britain to the USA, and most recently from everywhere to China. Just as a copper mine might be exploited and then abandoned, so under capitalism a whole nation can be exploited and then abandoned, as we see in the rusting industrial areas of America and Britain.

This detachment from place leads to a different kind of geopolitics under capitalism, as compared to aristocracy. A king goes to war when he sees an advantage to his nation in doing so. Historians can ‘explain’ the wars of pre-capitalist days, in terms of the aggrandizement of monarchs and nations.
A capitalist stirs up a war in order to make profits, and in fact our elite banking families have financed both sides of most military conflicts since at least World War 1. Hence historians have a hard time ‘explaining’ World War 1 in terms of national motivations and objectives.
In pre-capitalist days warfare was like chess, each side trying to win. Under capitalism warfare is more like a casino, where the players battle it out as long as they can get credit for more chips, and the real winner always turns out to be the house – the bankers who finance the war and decide who will be the last man standing. Not only are wars the most profitable of all capitalist ventures, but by choosing the winners, and managing the reconstruction, the elite banking families are able, over time, to tune the geopolitical configuration to suit their own interests.
Nations and populations are but pawns in their games. Millions die in wars, infrastructures are destroyed, and while the world mourns, the bankers are counting their winnings and making plans for their postwar reconstruction investments.

From their position of power, as the financiers of governments, the banking elite have over time perfected their methods of control. Staying always behind the scenes, they pull the strings controlling the media, the political parties, the intelligence agencies, the stock markets, and the offices of government. And perhaps their greatest lever of power is their control over currencies. By means of their central-bank scam, they engineer boom and bust cycles, and they print money from nothing and then loan it at interest to governments. The power of the banking elites is both absolute and subtle…

“Some of the biggest men in the United

States are afraid of something. They

know there is a power somewhere, so

organised, so subtle, so watchful, so

interlocked, so complete, so pervasive

that they had better not speak above

their breath when they speak in

condemnation of it.”

— President Woodrow Wilson

The end of growth – capitalists vs. capitalism

It was always inevitable, on a finite planet, that there would be a limit to economic growth. Industrialization has enabled us to rush headlong toward that limit over the past two centuries. Production has become ever more efficient, markets have become ever more global, and finally we have reached the point where the paradigm of perpetual growth can no longer be maintained.

Indeed, that point was actually reached by about 1970. Since then capital has not so much sought growth through increased production, but rather by extracting greater returns from relatively flat production levels.  Hence globalization, which moved production to low-waged areas, providing greater profit margins. Hence privatization, which transfers revenue streams to investors that formerly went to national treasuries. Hence derivative and currency markets, which create the electronic illusion of economic growth, without actually producing anything in the real world.

If one studies the collapse of civilizations, one learns that failure-to-adapt is fatal. Continuing on the path of pursuing growth would be such a failure to adapt. And if one reads the financial pages these days, one finds that it is full of doomsayers. We read that the Eurozone is doomed, and Greece is just the first casualty. We read that stimulus packages are not working, unemployment is increasing, the dollar is in deep trouble, growth continues to stagnate, business real estate will be the next bubble to burst, etc. It is easy to get the impression that capitalism is failing to adapt, and that our societies are in danger of collapsing into chaos.

Such an impression would be partly right and partly wrong. In order to understand the real situation we need to make a clear distinction between the capitalist elite and capitalism itself. Capitalism is an economic system driven by growth; the capitalist elite are the folks who have managed to gain control of the Western world while capitalism has operated over the past two centuries. The capitalist system is past its sell-by date, the banking elite are well aware of that fact – and they are adapting.

Capitalism is a vehicle that helped bring the bankers to absolute power, but they have no more loyalty to that system than they have to place, or to anything or anyone else. As mentioned earlier, they think on a global scale, with nations and populations as pawns. They define what money is and they issue it, just like the banker in a game of Monopoly. They can also make up a new game with a new kind of money. They have long outgrown any need to rely on any particular economic system in order to maintain their power. Capitalism was handy in an era of rapid growth. For an era of non-growth, a different game is being prepared.

Thus, capitalism has not been allowed to die a natural death. First it was put on a life-support system, as mentioned above, with globalization, privatization, derivative markets, etc. Then it was injected with a euthanasia death-drug, in the form of toxic derivatives. And when the planned collapse occurred, rather than industrial capitalism being bailed out, the elite bankers were bailed out. It’s not that the banks were too big to fail, rather the bankers were too politically powerful to fail. They made governments an offer they couldn’t refuse.

The outcome of the trillion-dollar bailouts was easily predictable, although you wouldn’t know that from reading the financial pages. National budgets were already stretched, and they certainly did not have reserves available to service the bailouts. Thus the bailouts amounted to nothing more than the taking on of immense new debts by governments. In order to fulfill the bailout commitments, the money would need to be borrowed from the same financial institutions that were being bailed out.

With the bailouts, Western governments delivered their nations in hock to the bankers. The governments are now in perpetual debt bondage to the bankers. Rather than the banks going into receivership, governments are now in receivership. Obama’s cabinet and advisors are nearly all from Wall Street; they are in the White House so they can keep close watch over their new acquisition, the once sovereign USA. Perhaps they will soon be presiding over its liquidation.

The bankers are now in control of national budgets. They say what can be funded and what can’t. When it comes to financing their wars and weapons production, no limits are set. When it comes to public services, then we are told deficits must be held in check. The situation was expressed very well by Brian Cowan, Ireland’s government chief. In the very same week that Ireland pledged 200 billion Euro to bailout the banks, he was being asked why he was cutting a few million Euro off of critical service budgets. He replied, “I’m sorry, but the funds just aren’t there”. Of course they’re not there! The treasury was given away. The cupboard is bare.

As we might expect, the highest priority for budgets is servicing the debt to the banks. Just as most of the third world is in debt slavery to the IMF, so the whole West is now in debt slavery to its own central banks. Greece is the harbinger of what is to happen everywhere.

The carbon economy – controlling consumption

In a non-growth economy, the mechanisms of production will become relatively static. Instead of corporations competing to innovate, we’ll have production bureaucracies. They’ll be semi-state, semi-private bureaucracies, concerned about budgets and quotas rather than growth, somewhat along the lines of the Soviet model. Such an environment is not driven by a need for growth capital, and it does not enable a profitable game of Monopoly.

We can already see steps being taken to shift the corporate model towards the bureaucratic model, through increased government intervention in economic affairs. With the Wall Street bailouts, the forced restructuring of General Motors, the call for centralized micromanagement of banking and industry, and the mandating of health insurance coverage, the government is saying that the market is to superseded by government directives. Not that we should bemoan the demise of exploitive capitalism, but before celebrating we need to understand what it is being replaced with.

In an era of capitalism and growth, the focus of the game has been on the production side of the economy. The game was aimed at controlling the means of growth: access to capital.  The growth-engine of capitalism created the demand for capital; the bankers controlled the supply. Taxes were mostly based on income, again related to the production side of the economy.
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NATO Expansion, Missile Deployments And Russia’s New Military Doctrine

Developments related to military and security matters in Europe and Asia have been numerous this month and condensed into less than a week of meetings, statements and initiatives on issues ranging from missile shield deployments to the unparalleled escalation of the world’s largest war and from a new security system for Europe to a new Russian military doctrine.

A full generation after the end of the Cold War and almost that long since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the past week’s events are evocative of another decade and another century. Twenty or more years ago war in Afghanistan and controversial missile placements in Europe were current news in a bipolar world.

Twenty years afterward, with no Soviet Union, no Warsaw Pact and a greatly diminished and truncated Russia, the United States and NATO have militarized Europe to an unprecedented degree – in fact subordinating almost the entire continent under a Washington-dominated military bloc – and have launched the most extensive combat offensive in South Asia in what is already the longest war in the world.

Of 44 nations in Europe and the Caucasus (excluding microstates and the NATO pseudo-state of Kosovo), only six – Belarus, Cyprus, Malta, Moldova, Russia and Serbia – have escaped having their citizens conscripted by NATO for deployment to the Afghan war front. That number will soon shrink yet further.

Of those 44 countries, only two – Cyprus and Russia – are not members of NATO or its Partnership for Peace transitional program and Cyprus is under intense pressure to join the second.

On February 4 and 5 all 28 NATO defense chiefs met for two days of deliberations in Istanbul, Turkey which concentrated on the war in Afghanistan, the bloc’s military deployment in Kosovo and accelerated plans for expanding a world-wide interceptor missile system to Eastern Europe and the Middle East. That gathering followed by eight days a two-day meeting of the NATO Military Committee in Brussels which included 63 military chiefs from NATO nations and 35 Troop Contributing Nations, as the bloc designates them, including the top military commanders of Israel and Pakistan. That conference focused on the Afghan war and NATO’s new Strategic Concept to be officially formalized at an Alliance summit later this year.

The commander of all 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, attended both two-day meetings. Pentagon chief Robert Gates presided over the second and “Afghanistan and missile defense are examples of the new priorities that Gates wants NATO to focus on.” [1]

As indicated by the number of Chiefs of Defense Staff in attendance at the Brussels meetings – 63 – NATO’s reach has been extended far beyond Europe and North America over the past decade. Troops serving under the bloc’s command in Afghanistan come from every inhabited continent, the Middle East and Oceania: Australia has the largest non-member contingent with over 1,500 soldiers, and other non-European nations like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Colombia, Egypt, Georgia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates have troops in Afghanistan or on the way there.

On the day the Istanbul NATO defense ministers meeting began Romanian President Traian Basescu announced that he had granted the Obama administration’s request to base U.S. interceptor missiles in his nation, following by five weeks the news that U.S. Patriot anti-ballistic missiles would be stationed in a part of Poland a half hour drive from Russia’s westernmost border.

The next day, February 5, which marked two months since the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between the U.S. and Russia regulating the reduction of nuclear weapons and delivery systems expired, [2] the Russian Interfax news agency announced that “President Dmitry Medvedev has endorsed Russia’s military doctrine and basic principles of its nuclear deterrence policy in the period up to 2020….” [3]

The same source cited Security Council Deputy Secretary and former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Yury Baluyevsky commenting on the new doctrine: “It is planned to develop the ground, sea, and aerial components of the nuclear triad….Russia needs to guarantee its consistent democratic development using such a stability guarantor as nuclear weapons, as a form of strategic deterrence….Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons only if its very existence as a state is endangered.” [4]

Commentary in the Indian daily The Hindu specified that “The doctrine details 11 external military threats to Russia, seven of which are traced to the West. NATO´s eastward expansion and its push for a global role are identified as the number one threat to Russia.”

The feature added: “The U.S. is the source of other top threats listed in the doctrine even though the country is never mentioned in the document. These include attempts to destabilise countries and regions and undermine strategic stability; military build-ups in neighbouring states and seas; the creation and deployment of strategic missile defences, as well as the militarisation of outer space and deployment of high-precision non-nuclear strategic systems.”

Regarding the timing of the authorization of Russia’s new military strategy, the report connected it with recent U.S. missile shield decisions and the START talks between Washington and Moscow still dragging on.

“The new defence doctrine was signed into law and published a day after Romania announced plans to deploy U.S. interceptor missiles as part of a global missile shield fiercely opposed by Russia. Earlier reports said the Kremlin had been holding back the doctrine, prepared last year, because it did not want to jeopardise talks with the U.S. on a new nuclear arms pact that are still going on.” [5]

A similar observation was made in a report from China’s Xinhua News Agency:

“Analysts say the Romanian decision came at a crucial moment when Washington and Moscow are about to sign a successor document to the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1). Therefore, the move may upset the thawing Russia-U.S. relations and put their bilateral ties to test.” [6]

The new Russian Military Doctrine (in Russian at http://news.kremlin.ru/ref_notes/461) listed under the heading of “Main external threats of war” the following concerns, with the most pressing first: Read more of this post

Afghanistan: the Helmand huff

“It is better to be torn by a loin than to be loved by a jackal.” : Pashto proverb

Helmand has been a graveyard of foreign forces. Kipling advised in 1898, “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains, And the women come out to cut up what remains, Jest roll to your rifle an’ blow out your brains An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier..” The British Defense Secretary Ainsworh has warned of the expected casualties! Helmand hardcore heeds its horrid history!

by I. M. Mohsin

The foreign forces appear to be pursuing confusing tactics to tame the enemy. Till about two months back, Karzai was a “cheat” and US and its allies had to find an aggressive way-out of the Afghan quagmire. Though the US manpower losses are nominal, the history of the area proves that far more pernicious prospects lie in store than in the case of Vietnam, with all its awful baggage. As the new strategy recommended by the General staff was adopted by the Administration, there was huffing and puffing in the government circles in US etc. The Afghans heard, with mixed feelings, of new reinforcements to the US troops. Other countries have their problems in adding to their military stre-ngth. Predictably the Taliban threatened more attacks on the occupation forces, while the status quo milieu welcomed it. Pakistan questioned this development for two reasons. First, that it would lead to more bloo-dshed on both sides; the Afghan civilians, who have been subjected to indiscriminate bo-mbings would be affected more, like their brothers on the Pakistani border. Second, that as the Taliban experience disproportionate bombing etc, they will tend to seek refuge in the mountainous hideouts on our side.

The AfPak border is a much worse delineation as compared with the Mexican border, which also has a poor history. At many points there is no formal boundary; a wall, pillar or check post. Till now Pakistan has no surveillance equipment worthy of mention despite having been a partner of the US’ “war on ter-ror” launched by George W. The NATO forces deployed on the other side of border should be much better equipped in principle but they also appear to have no clear policy. As tradition rules the roost, the people on either side have enjo-yed the right of passage for routine purposes, and even the British Empire put up with this anomaly handled by their ‘political administration’. Besides, the border did not matter at all when the US and Pakistan were helping these brave people to force out the Soviet forces.

Millions of our Afghan brothers were accommodated in and around Peshawar, Kohat, etc to facilitate their regular contribution to the then, profusely praised/projected by the CIA, ‘jihad’. Read more of this post

Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan

S.m. Hali

February 5th is being observed as Kashmir Solidarity Day, which is a yearly practice since 1990 as a day of protest against the unjust occupation of Kashmir. The day is marked with renewed firm resolve to continue the struggle for the achievement of the birthright of Kashmiris to self-determination through getting the valley liberated from the Indian yoke of tyranny. Kashmiris observe the solidarity day every year not only to renew their deep-rooted love and affection with Pakistan, but also to reiterate their commitment and dedication to their liberty from the Indian occupation. Kashmiris have been struggling since 1947 to secure their freedom, which was assured by the UN Resolutions; however, subsequent Indian governments have not only remained oblivious to the UN Resolutions, but also continued to subject the Kashmiris to their reign of terror. Pakistan’s endeavours to resolve the issue through dialogue have also been spurned by India.

The Palestinians too continue to suffer atrocities inflicted upon them by Israel, which was created unjustly after evicting the Palestinians from their territory in 1948. Since then the Palestinians have struggled to regain their homeland but have failed despite extreme sacrifice and war against Israel by its Arab neighbours to liberate Palestine.

Two other Muslim countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, which were occupied by the US/NATO forces during the 21st century, are close to being liberated from the tyranny of their invaders. Afghanistan was conquered by USA and its allies, following the 9/11 debacle. The US declared Osama bin Laden and his Al-Qaeda group responsible for the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon and demanded the then Taliban regime in Afghanistan to hand over purported culprits for trial. Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader demanded proof of Osama’s complicity to the 9/11 attack. The Taliban query was interpreted as refusal and Afghanistan was subjected to one of the most ferocious attacks in history and occupied by US and its allies.

Iraq was attacked in 2003 by a US-led coalition force under the plea that Saddam Hussain’s regime possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), which would pose a threat to the rest of the world. That is another aspect that the WMDs were never found during the seven years of occupation.

A number of conspiracy theories were floated to the rationale behind occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Iraq, control of its oil reserves is the apparent reason for subjugating Iraq and installing a pliable and malleable regime there. The case of Afghanistan is slightly different. Michael Klare, author of the book Resource Wars, which has a major focus on the Caspian region, and Ahmad Rashid, Pakistani journalist and author of Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, opine that in the 10 years, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a new great game between Russia, the United States, China, Iran, the European companies, for control of the new oil and gas resources that have been discovered in the Caspian Sea and in the Caucuses and Central Asia. They deduce that “because Central Asia is totally landlocked, distances are huge, and the US strategy has been essentially to keep, new oil pipelines not to be built through Russia or through Iran or China.”

They quote US government Energy Information fact sheet on Afghanistan dated December 2000, which reveals: “Afghanistan’s significance from an energy standpoint stems from its geographic position as a potential transit route for oil and natural gas exports from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea. This potential includes proposed multi-billion dollar oil and gas export pipelines through Afghanistan” which is the shortest route to the Pakistani coastline on the Indian Ocean. To achieve this Afghanistan had to be conquered and a pliant regime installed there.

After tremendous bloodshed and financial losses, the US administration is now considering ways and means of exiting both Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama, in his maiden State of the Union Address on January 27, presented strategies for reviving the sick economy of USA. What he failed to mention, but has been disclosed by the Information Clearing House Newsletter of January 31, 2010 that a number of Iraqis slaughtered since the US invaded Iraq so far is “1,366,350”, while the number of US military personnel sacrificed (officially acknowledged) In America’s War on Iraq is: 4,692. On the other hand, the number of International Occupation Force Troops sacrificed in Afghanistan is 1,611, while the civilian casualties in Afghanistan since 9/11 range between 11,760 and 31,357. To top it all, the cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan is a whopping $955,465,013,902. No wonder plans for the egress of the US and other international forces from Afghanistan and Iraq are underway.

General Viktor Yermakov, the Commander of Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s, while talking to CNN after the proposed troop surge in Afghanistan, commented that the “US is repeating the Soviet blunder of adding more troops in Afghanistan.” He stated that at the height of the Soviet-Afghan War, there were 300,000 Soviet troops deployed in Afghanistan, out of which 15,000 Soviets were killed, 469,685 got wounded while 500 are still missing. What he did not say was that the invasion contributed to the demise of USSR.

It is ironical that during the London Conference, General Stanley McChrystal’s despite being a fighting general, pronouncement that “there’s been enough fighting,” and Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, proclamation: “The Taliban…are part of the political fabric of Afghanistan,” are being used to bolster Hamid Karzai’s plea that negotiations must be opened with the Taliban. The London Conference went a step ahead and approved a multi-million integration fund to lure the Taliban fighters to join the political mainstream.

We hope and pray that peace returns to Iraq and Afghanistan, but what a pity that Kashmir and Palestine continue to bleed since they neither have oil nor are situated on the oil-gas trade route. May their predicament be over and the simmering trauma gets resolved at an early date.

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Nuclearisation of South Asia

Victory in East Pakistan made the Indian leaders euphoric and megalomaniac. They ventured upon an ambitious force modernization program and also conducted nuclear test in 1974 which impinged upon the security of Pakistan. It impelled Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to lay the foundations of uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta on 31 July 1976 under Dr. AQ Khan. He pursued the nuclear option despite host of barricades built around him and for this act he was made a horrible example.

Late President Ziaul Haq took full advantage of the favorable phase of Pak-US close relations because of US high stakes in Afghan war and allowed the nuclear program to develop at Kahuta with speed. He announced in December 1982 that Pakistan had achieved the capability to enrich uranium. This miracle was brought about in six years in the face of total ban imposed by the West on transfer of nuclear technology or import of any part related to it. To keep this sensitive project secret from the world was in itself a commendable effort on part of all those associated with it. By the time the western powers got the wind of it, the project had reached an advanced stage and there was no turning back. The significance of the feat becomes more distinguished and inestimable when one realises that this breakthrough was made by a third world country where even needles and ball bearings are not indigenously produced.

Zia made several proposals to make South Asia free of nuclear weapons but India spurned all his offers. No sooner the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 and the threat of communism evaporated in the thin air, it brought about fundamental change in the policies of USA in South Asia. Pakistan lost its strategic significance and its nuclear program once again became an eyesore. In order to restrain Pakistan from pursuing its peaceful nuclear program, the US Administration stopped the flow of arms supply and economic aid through infamous Pressler Amendment in 1990. The US on becoming sole super power after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, sidelined Pakistan and took India on board. Taking advantage of growth of close ties with Washington and souring of Pak-US relations, India stepped up its propaganda campaign to convince Washington to declare Pakistan a terrorist and a nuclear proliferating state. Obsessed by its security concerns and in anticipation to the fourth round, Pakistan strove hard to keep the widening military balance within limits. It was in the context of its extreme security concerns that Pakistan was forced to make its nuclear deterrence credible by conducting six successful nuclear tests on 28 May 1998 in response to Indian five tests on 12 May. These tests were undertaken in spite of extreme pressure put by the US and other world powers.

Even the Indo-Israeli axis exerted pressure by trying to put into action its long conceived plan of a surgical air strike from Srinagar airbase against Kahuta on the night of 27 May 1998.Vested groups within Pakistan did not lag behind in trying to discourage the leadership from giving a tit for tat response to India and strained their lungs asserting that such a venture would be suicidal for Pakistan.

Irrespective of the colossal internal and external pressures, Pakistani nation stood like a rock and urged the government to go ahead with nuclear blasts whatever be the cost. Pakistan under Nawaz Sharif rose to the occasion and lived up to the expectations and aspirations of the nation.

Nuclearisation of Pakistan poured cold water on the aggressive designs of India. The US started to vainly exert pressure on Pakistan to sign CTBT unilaterally since India refused to do so. Pakistan also kept up with its missile development program which was initiated by Benazir Bhutto and produced series of short and medium range guided missiles much superior to Indian missiles. Once Pakistan got caught on the wrong foot due to AQ Khan’s confession obtained under duress in 2004, the Americans started exerting greater pressure and succeeded in not only penetrating into our sensitive areas but also collecting sensitive data like number of warheads and triggers and storage through aerial photography, infra red snaps and satellite triangulation. They succeeded in making our managers separate warheads from delivery means and from triggers and storing the three components separately, all under the pretext of safety and security. Realising that it can no more blackmail Pakistan or wage an open war, India in connivance with USA, UK and Israel is now trying to achieve its sinister objectives through sabotage and subversion as well as psychological and cultural onslaughts. A vile Indo-US-Israeli campaign has been mounted expressing serious concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Irrespective of assurances given by Pakistani leaders, they keep stressing that nukes would be stolen by extremists or by officials working inside nuclear installations. In actuality, the trio is striving hard to steal Pak nukes through Blackwater.

The US is least concerned about Indian nuclear program which has worst safe keeping record in the world because of numerous incidents of pilferage and smuggling of fissile material as well as accidents.

Consequent to Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, output of India’s 22 nuclear power reactors would jump to 10,000 megawatts by 2012 and manufacturing rate of nuclear bombs would leap to 40 per year. India has also inked nuclear deal with Russia, which has promised to set up 4 new reactors. India’s agreement to place only 4 nuclear reactors under safeguards of IAEA by 2014 is inconsequential. In next five year time, it would be able to manufacture 200 additional nuclear bombs thereby doubling existing stock level. It is a purposeful move to pressurize Pakistan to do the same well knowing that US influenced IAEA has double standards when dealing with Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Indian lobby in USA succeeded in making Kerry Lugar aid bill for Pakistan harmful. Apart from other insulting conditions, the bill seeks freeze of Pak nuclear program. Despite achieving quantum jump in nuclear field, Indian leadership remains worried over Pakistan’s nuclear capability. While Indian Army Chief Kapoor is threatening to wage war against Pakistan and China, on the other he and naval chief are fretting and sweating that Pakistan has exceeded minimum nuclear deterrence level and improved its nuclear capability. Blackwater outsourced by CIA and RAW is being used to create anarchy in major cities and to gain access to nukes. Reportedly, Blackwater has begun to make diagrammatical drawings and video films of nuclear installations as well as available routes.

Pentagon had conducted a war game in 2000 in which it was brainstormed that whenever Indo-Pakistan war takes place and Pakistan Army is on the verge of throwing up its cards and is preparing its nukes, US Special Forces would swoop in to destroy them during the assembly of warheads and triggers or while on the move. Currently, the US is busy giving final touches to its sinister plan how to quietly extract Pakistan’s nuclear teeth after giving heavy dozes of anesthesia.

It is desperate to gain access to our nuclear arsenal under the garb of making it safe and secure from accidents, proliferation and theft. It wants its special marine force to create secure parameter around each site, or evolve a joint control system. Notwithstanding that acquisition of nuclear and missile capability by Pakistan has greatly minimised the risk of war with India, however, it has earned Pakistan the perpetual hostility of India, Israel and USA in particular and western world in general since possession of nukes with a Muslim country is unacceptable to them. New ways are now being devised by our adversaries to denuclearise Pakistan without having to wage a war.by Asif Haroon Raja

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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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Troika on rampage

Sikander Shaheen | US covert organisation Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) notorious reputation to eliminate its ‘enemies’ is known well to the world and its intensive efforts, which have been underway since long, to form a vicious alliance with Israel and India have finally begun to show.

For the last couple of years, the United States has been immensely pressurising Iran to curtail its nuclear programme. However, after Iran has refused to succumb to Western pressures regarding UN-brokered deal about uranium enrichment and has placed certain conditions on nuclear fuel swamp, US and its Western allies are desperate to tighten the noose around the country. A prosperous nuclear Iran is seen as a major threat to US and Israel. To curtail this threat, both the countries have intensified ties with India and are using Afghanistan as an outfit to ‘tame’ Pakistan, Iran and China as well. To mention the most, Iran has lately confronted assassinations and abductions of its nuclear scientists.

After the assassination of prominent Iranian nuclear scientist Dr Massoud Ali-Mohammadi on January 12 last in a motorbike explosion in Tehran, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament Ali Larijani categorically accused Israel and CIA of the heinous killing. “We had received clear information a few days before the assassination that the intelligence service of the Zionist regime, with the cooperation of the CIA, were seeking to carry out a terrorist act in Tehran,” Larijani had told a news agency, a day after the killing took place.

Another nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri at Malek Ashtar University in Tehran was abducted while he was on his way to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage in June 2009. Iran had accused US of involvement in the abduction.

Back in 2007, Times Online reported that Ardeshire Hassanpour, a nuclear physicist, had been assassinated by Mossad, the notorious Israeli intelligence agency.

Hassanpour reportedly worked at a plant in Isfahan that produced and processed Uranium Hexafluoride gas required for enrichment of uranium in another Iranian plant. Rheva Bhalla of Stratfor, the US intelligence company, claimed then that Hassanpour had been targeted by Mossad and that there was “very strong intelligence” to suggest that he had been assassinated by the Israelis, who have repeatedly threatened to refrain Iran from acquiring the nuclear bomb.

Apart from that, as reported by US Homeland Security Newswire and local Indian media, Israel and India, in December last year, had a series of meetings of joint defence working group focussing counterterrorism and intelligence sharing, delivery of weapons and enhancement of cooperation in research and development. Chinese news agency Xinhuanet’s report quoted a defence official privy to the meeting as saying that the main focus of the talks was on enhancing the counterterrorism cooperation based on intelligence sharing in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks.

More importantly, this meeting followed a low-profile visit of Israeli Chief of Defence Staff, Lt Gen Gabi Ashkenazi to India earlier in the same month, during which he had met the top brass of the Indian armed forces. According to the news service, these developments can be evaluated in the pretext of reports that India has bought military hardware and software from Israel worth $8bn since 1999, making India the biggest buyer of Israeli arms across the globe.

Given that the US barely sees any signs of success in its so-called war on terror in Afghanistan, US and Israel are encouraging Indian military and economic presence in Afghanistan to serve the purpose. While Pakistan is asked to ‘do more’ the US and India, with the help of pro-American Afghan government, are all set to engage ‘likeminded’ and moderate Taliban into talks, to use them for destabilising Pakistan and Iran.

Under the scenario, the situation deems fit into what is described by some analysts as FINISH plan, abbreviated from “financial ruin, infrastructure destruction, nuclear scientists elimination, Indian hegemony, seizing of physical nuclear weapons and harassing Pakistan’s leadership and its public.”

Dangerous Crossroads: U.S. Moves Missiles And Troops To Russian Border

Nuclear and Conventional Arms Pacts Stalled

Rick Rozoff | 2010 is proceeding in a manner more befitting the third month of the year, named after the Roman god of war, than the first whose name is derived from a pacific deity.

On January 13 the Associated Press reported that the White House will submit its Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress on February 1 and request a record-high $708 billion for the Pentagon. That figure is the highest in absolute and in inflation-adjusted, constant (for any year) dollars since 1946, the year after the Second World War ended. Adding non-Pentagon defense-related spending, the total may exceed $1 trillion.

The $708 billion includes for the first time monies for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which in prior years were in part funded by periodic supplemental requests, but excludes what the above-mentioned report adds is the first in the new administration’s emergency requests for the same purpose: A purported $33 billion.

Already this month several NATO nations have pledged more troops, even before the January 28 London conference on Afghanistan when several thousand additional forces may be assigned for the war there, in addition to over 150,000 already serving or soon to serve under U.S. and NATO command.

Washington has increased lethal drone missile attacks in Pakistan, and calls for that model to be replicated in Yemen have been made recently, most notably by Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who on January 13 also advocated air strikes and special forces operations in the country. [1]

The Pentagon will begin the deployment of 1,400 personnel to Colombia to man seven new bases under a 10-year military agreement signed last October 30. [2]

This year the U.S. will also complete the $110 million dollar construction of new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania to house at least 4,000 American troops. [3]

The Pentagon’s newest regional command, Africa Command, will expand its activities on and off the coasts of that continent beyond current counterinsurgency operations in Somalia, Mali and Uganda and drone flights from a newly acquired site in Seychelles. [4]

But this month has brought even more dramatic and dangerous news. The Pentagon has authorized the completion of a $6.5 billion arms deal with Taiwan with an agreement to deliver 200 Patriot Advanced Capability anti-ballistic missiles. The People’s Republic of China is infuriated, as Washington would be if the situation were reversed and Beijing provided a comparable arsenal of weapons to, for example, an independent Puerto Rico. [5]

As though that action was not provocative enough however, on January 20 the Polish Defense Ministry announced that a U.S. Patriot missile battery, and the 100 American soldiers who will operate it, would not be based on the outskirts of the capital of Warsaw as previously announced but in the Baltic Sea city of Morag, 35 miles [6] from Poland’s border with Russia.

The missile battery and troops are scheduled to arrive in March or April. As part of the Obama administration’s new missile shield project, one which will be integrated with NATO to take in all of Europe and extend into the Middle East and the Caucasus, the Patriots will be followed by Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor deployments on warships in the Baltic Sea and, for the first time ever, a land-based version of the same. “The Pentagon will deploy command posts of SM-3 missiles, which can intercept both short- and mid-range missiles…” [7] An SM-3 was used by the Pentagon to shoot a satellite out of orbit in February of 2008 to give an indication of its range.

Further deployments will follow.

The new, post-George W. Bush administration, interceptor missile system will employ “existing missile systems based on land and at sea… Deployment of the revised missile defense would extend through 2020. The first step is to put existing sea-based weapons systems on Aegis-class destroyers and cruisers. [8]

“Subsequently, a mobile radar system would be deployed in a European nation… More advanced, mobile systems would be put in place later elsewhere in Europe. Their centerpiece would be… Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Defense interceptor missiles and improved Standard Missile-3 IB missiles made by… Raytheon.” [9]

Last December Washington signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that formalizes plans for “the United States military to station American troops and military equipment on Polish territory” and “opens the way for the promised Patriot missiles and US troops to be stationed in Poland… as part of an upgrading of NATO air defences in Europe.” [10]

In October, shortly after U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden visited Warsaw to finalize the plan, Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski met with his opposite number from the U.S., Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow, and announced that the American missiles “will be combat-ready, not dummy varieties as Washington earlier suggested.” The same report added that “Earlier, Ukrainian and American officials stated that Ukrainian territory may be used in some way in the new antimissile shield.” [11] Poland borders Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave, but Ukraine has a 1,576 kilometer (979 mile) border with Russia.

The State Department issued a press release on the agreement to deploy American troops to Poland, the first foreign forces to be based there since the end of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, which stated “The agreement will facilitate a range of mutually agreed activities including joint training and exercises, deployments of U.S. military personnel, and prospective Ballistic Missile Defense deployments.” [12]

A Pentagon spokesperson said “U.S. Army Europe will help the Polish Armed Forces develop their air and missile defense capabilities. Considering the cooperative training we already do with the Polish Armed Forces, this Patriot training program is just another extension of that effort.” [13]

If earlier plans to deploy ground-based midcourse missiles to Poland evoked, however implausibly, an alleged Iranian missile threat, the Patriots can only be meant for Russia.

Russian Lieutenant-General Aitech Bizhev, former commander of the United Air Defense System of the Commonwealth of Independent States, told one of his nation’s main news agencies:

“It’s completely unclear why the air defense group of the northern flank of NATO needed strengthening – NATO has manifold superiority over Russian conventional armaments as it is.

“It can’t be ruled out that the stationing of the Patriots in Poland may be followed by other actions in building up the American military infrastructure in Eastern Europe…” [14]

The 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms expired on December 5 and has been extended, but no agreement has been reached on a new pact, 48 days later.

At the end of last year Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was asked about the delay and identified the main impediment to resolving it: “What is the problem? The problem is that our American partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building one.”

He further defined the problem: “If we are not developing an anti-missile shield, then there is a danger that our partners, by creating such ‘an umbrella,’ will feel completely secure and thus can allow themselves to do what they want, disrupting the balance, and aggressiveness will rise immediately.”

In respect to how prospects for the reduction, much less elimination, of nuclear arms in Europe and North America were faring, Putin added, “In order to preserve balance… we need to develop offensive weapons systems,” [15] reiterating a statement by his nation’s president, Dmitry Medvedev, a week before. The timing of the announcement that the Pentagon will soon station Patriot missiles so close to Russian territory will not help matters. Nor was the State Department’s contention that “the START follow-on agreement is not the appropriate vehicle for addressing” the issue of “missile offense and defense.” [16] Read more of this post

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