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WAR 02/16/2013 to 02/22/2013____****THE****WINDS****of****WAR****
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  1. #41
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    For links see article source....
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    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/wo....html?ref=asia

    February 16, 2013
    Little Hope Amid Push for Afghans on Peace
    By ALISSA J. RUBIN and DECLAN WALSH

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Suddenly, the effort to strike a deal with the Taliban is very publicly back on the front burner.

    Frozen for months last year as another fighting season raged in Afghanistan, and as election-year politics consumed American attention, diplomats and political leaders from eight countries are now mounting the most concerted campaign to date to bring the Afghan government and its Taliban foes together to negotiate a peace deal.

    The latest push came early this month at Chequers, the country residence of the British prime minister, David Cameron, who joined President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan in calling for fast-track peace talks. Weeks earlier in Washington, Mr. Karzai met with President Obama and committed publicly to have his representatives meet a Taliban delegation in Doha, Qatar, to start the process.

    Yet so far the energized reach for peace has achieved little, officials say, except to cement a growing consensus that regional stability demands some sort of political settlement with the Taliban, after a war that cost tens of thousands of Afghan and Western lives and nearly a trillion dollars failed to put down the insurgency.

    Interviews with more than two dozen officials involved in the effort suggest a fast-spinning process that has yet to gain real traction and seems to have little chance of achieving even its most limited goal: bringing the Afghan government and Taliban leadership together at the table before the bulk of the American fighting force leaves Afghanistan in 2014.

    “The year 2014 has begun to be seen as a magical date, both inside and outside Afghanistan,” said Rangin Dadfar Spanta, the Afghan national security adviser. “It’s difficult to find what is realistic and what is illusion.”

    That is not least because the major players — Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United States and the Taliban — have fundamentally different visions of how to achieve a post-2014 peace, according to accounts of setbacks in the process.

    For the Afghans, the simple act of considering what a peace deal might look like has inflamed factional differences that are still raw two decades after the country’s civil war.

    The Afghan High Peace Council, which Mr. Karzai has empowered to negotiate for his government, has put forward a document called “Peace Process Roadmap to 2015.” While many Afghan leaders say they have not seen the proposal, first reported by McClatchy in December, those who have view it as outlining a striking number of potential concessions to the Taliban and to Pakistan. They include provisions for the Taliban’s becoming a political party and anticipation that some of the most important government positions could be open to them, including provincial governorships, police chief jobs and cabinet positions.

    Some Western commentators as well as Afghans view this as returning to the past or opening the door to a division of the country. Senior members of the powerful Tajik and Hazara factions, both of which suffered greatly under Taliban rule, charged that they had been left out of the deliberations. When they are asked about striking a peace deal, they make veiled references to a renewal of ethnic strife.

    “The president is acting on an ethnic basis,” said Haji Mohammed Mohaqiq, a powerful ethnic Hazara leader from northern Afghanistan. “He is trying to win the hearts of a group of Taliban so they back him in the election.”

    Mr. Karzai is a Pashtun, the ethnic group predominant in the Taliban. Mr. Spanta, the national security adviser, countered that any realistic attempt to end a war involves compromise. “I think peace in a country after 33 or 34 years has a price — a very heavy price,” he said. “But we are paying a heavy price every day with our lives.”

    One factor fueling the peace drive is that Pakistan, long considered the Taliban’s silent sponsor, professes to have had a change of heart. For more than a year, Pakistani generals and ministers have assiduously courted their traditional rivals in Afghanistan, particularly from non-Pashtun ethnic groups, as part of a strategy that, they say, favors an inclusive democratic settlement after 2014 — even one that does not include the Taliban’s full return to power.

    But Pakistan’s biggest public gesture so far — the release of 26 Taliban prisoners from Pakistani jails, intended as a trust-building measure to help the peace process — has been shadowed by the old mistrust and accusations of double-crossing.

    The Pakistanis refused Afghan demands to release the prisoners into Afghan custody, arguing it would scare the Taliban away. “The moment we hand them over, it would be the end of the process,” said a senior Pakistani official, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

    Instead, the Taliban prisoners were allowed to roam free, prompting fears from some Afghan and some American officials that they would simply return to the fight — at least two already have, according to one Western official. At Chequers, the Pakistanis agreed to give the Afghans one-week notice of all future prisoner releases.

    “Pakistan is serious about facilitating the peace process,” said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general and political commentator, citing growing fears that chaos in Afghanistan after 2014 would further destabilize his country.

    But Mr. Masood added that the military was also hedging its bets by maintaining some Taliban links. “They want to retain a certain level of leverage in talks,” he said. “That’s the crucial nuance.”

    Hopes for Pakistani cooperation dimmed further on Friday when Pakistan’s most senior cleric pulled out of a meeting planned for March with Afghan clerics in Kabul, after disagreements over the role of the Taliban. But Afghan clerics appeared to believe that the meeting would go forward, illustrating the tentative and equivocal nature of the peace effort. “We want them to invite the Afghan Taliban to the talks. Without them, peace is not possible in Afghanistan,” said Maulana Tahir Ashrafi, head of the Pakistan Ulema Council.

    Afghan senior clerics said they remained hopeful that the talks would be held and that a majority of Pakistani clerics would attend.

    The most immediate obstacle to talks is an apparent standoff between Mr. Karzai and the Taliban. The insurgents refuse to deal with Mr. Karzai, whom they have branded as an American “puppet.” The president, in turn, recently reiterated his demand that the Taliban must recognize the legitimacy of his government and speak to the High Peace Council, which he has appointed to negotiate with the insurgency and which has representatives from many Afghan factions.

    Mr. Karzai, forever fearful of being sidelined by a Western-dominated talks process, has effectively banned the kind of informal discussions with Taliban leaders that have raised hopes over the past few months, including Afghan-centric conferences in France and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and, earlier, in Germany and Japan — even though those talks appeared helpful in easing tensions between longtime enemies.

    Pressure from Mr. Karzai forced the United Nations to abandon a planned “Track Two” meeting, an unofficial diplomacy session involving Taliban representatives and Afghan political leaders, due to take place in Turkmenistan this month, diplomats in Kabul and Islamabad said.

    Within the Taliban, a fierce debate is under way between commanders who support talks and those who have never given up on seeking military victory, instead biding time until the Americans are mostly gone, Taliban watchers say. The group’s leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, widely presumed to be sequestered at his hide-out inside Pakistan, has been silent on the subject. Even if he were to support a deal, it is unclear whether his movement is sufficiently united to stick to it.

    The Americans have quietly pledged not to move forward without the Afghan government’s benediction, so previous efforts to build confidence with the Taliban by releasing some of their prisoners from the Guantánamo Bay prison camp are on hold, although the Americans retain the right to consider a prisoner release for strategic reasons of their own. An American soldier is being held by the Taliban, and there has been talk of a prisoner exchange to free him.

    In Afghanistan, the fighting has continued in some places through the winter, and the start of the main spring fighting season is just weeks away.

    “We are stuck here, trying to work out how to take it forward,” said a senior Western official in Kabul, discussing the talks process. But even Western diplomats hold different views on how best to advance, depending on whether they are based in Kabul or Islamabad, reflecting the different outlooks in two capitals that are barely an hour apart by airplane.

    As the snows begin to melt in the high passes between Pakistan and Afghanistan, senior Afghan officials say they will be watching the Taliban’s moves closely to see if attacks this year slow down, remain the same or accelerate. In the absence of more concrete progress, that means that the pace of peace will, at least for now, most likely be determined by the forces of the war.

  2. #42
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    Damascus:

    Mathidiot: RT @kdana64: War really screws up ur mind, twirls your logic and kills ur heart #Damascus #Syria
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:06:35 PM

    Quetta:


    zalashari: @Fereeha Its Extremely Hurting...Its too much now...#Quetta #Pakistan
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:04:33 PM
    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  3. #43
    Posted for fair use and discussion.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...91D0S620130214

    Analysis: Arabs mired in messy transitions two years after heady uprisings
    By Alistair Lyon

    TUNIS | Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:45am EST

    (Reuters) - Two years on, the euphoria has long gone.

    The flame of revolt that first flared in Tunisia, previously one of the Arab world's quietest corners, consumed autocrats there, in neighboring Egypt and, more violently, in Libya.

    Contained in Bahrain, it flickered on in Yemen where in time a veteran leader was pushed aside. In Syria, it is still being fiercely fought over. All Arab countries have felt the heat.

    Gritty political transitions are under way in nations where "revolution" has triumphed, ushering in contests over power, identity and religion, continued economic and social malaise, new opportunities for Islamist radicals, lawlessness and a surge in sexual violence against women that has gained publicity.

    Among a host of unintended consequences is an outflow of weapons and fighters from Libya after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi that has helped to destabilize neighboring Mali.

    Another is rising tension between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims across a region already buffeted by rivalry between Shi'ite Iran and U.S.-aligned Sunni powers led by Saudi Arabia.

    In Bahrain, the Saudis helped to crush protests led by the Shi'ite majority, and in Syria, mainly Sunni rebels are battling Iran's principal Arab ally, President Bashar al-Assad, whose rule is built around his Shi'ite-rooted Alawite minority.

    Many Arabs are proud of their new freedom to speak out and to take to the streets against real and perceived wrongs, but it has proved trickier than many expected to create prosperity, fill power vacuums left by entrenched rulers and convert police states into stable democracies governed by the rule of law.

    "WORK AND DIGNITY"

    Unemployment, poverty and rising prices, which helped to fuel the revolts in Tunisia and Egypt, remain grievances in economies hit by unrest that has deterred tourists and foreign investors.

    "Our basic demand was work and dignity, but now under the Islamists we don't have either," said Aymen Ben Slimane, an unemployed young man in the Tunisian capital. "We have no confidence in them to achieve the goals of our revolution."

    Last week's assassination of opposition politician Chokri Belaid plunged Tunisia into its worst crisis since the uprising and raised fears of violence in a country where an Islamist-led government faces strong liberal and secular opposition.

    Zouhour Layouni, a 22-year-old student in a headscarf, said Tunisia had won freedom of expression and could accommodate differences between Islamists like her and their opponents.

    "The assassination of Belaid is an exception," she said. "Now we ask secular people to give us time and they will see the results. Our hope is that Tunisia will be united."

    Tunisia's troubles and those of other Arab nations in early stages of transition should come as no surprise.

    "These revolutions require a long-term perspective. It would have been unrealistic to think that in two years these countries would have transformed themselves into perfectly functioning democracies," said Eric Goldstein of Human Rights Watch.

    "It's important not to underestimate how much 25 years of dictatorship and the politics of fear and intimidation have distorted the political landscape," he said, adding that Tunisian political parties lacked experience in negotiating their differences peacefully. "They are learning as they go."

    SOARING EXPECTATIONS

    Well-organized Islamist groups such as Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and Tunisia's Ennahda party have won elections after revolts they did not start, but after years of preaching that "Islam is the solution" both have collided with the complexity of managing modern economies and governing unruly societies.

    "People are angry because they feel the revolution did not change their lives," Ennahda's leader Rached Ghannouchi told Reuters this week, acknowledging how hard it is to meet popular expectations raised by the overthrow of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

    Relatively moderate Islamist parties face pressure from ultra-orthodox Salafis, whose drive to write stricter codes into new constitutions and laws dismays their liberal opponents.

    Some Salafis, but by no means all, are ready to pursue their goals through violence. The attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in Tunis, Cairo and Benghazi in September, following an anti-Islam video that surfaced in America, illustrated the danger.

    A smattering of Arab voices reflecting on the ferment of the last two years provides individual insights, even if they cannot encompass the complexity of changes in the Middle East that will take years, if not decades, to shake down.

    In Egypt, liberal activist Abdelrahman Mansour, who helped organize protests on January 25, 2011 that snowballed into an uprising against Hosni Mubarak, said Islamists had failed to bring Mubarak-era officials to account or to establish a real democratic transition after an interim period of military rule.

    "Instead, Islamists staged a series of power grabs that marginalized other political forces," he said, arguing that the military and their Islamist successors had sidelined youth groups and others who had prepared plans for reform of the interior ministry, judiciary and other state institutions.

    "Their aim was to contain the revolution and its youth by convincing the average Egyptian citizen that the youth were the ones destroying the revolution, not the ones who ignited it."

    Samir Wisamee, an Islamist activist, said Mubarak's removal and the holding of free and fair elections were major gains, but also lamented "the lack of accountability within the Interior Ministry and the cycle of violence that plagues the country".

    SYRIA'S AGONY

    While hundreds of people have died in unrest in post-Mubarak Egypt, the violence is dwarfed by that in Syria, where the United Nations says nearly 70,000 have now been killed since a revolt against Assad began with peaceful protests in March 2011.

    Syrian opposition campaigner Fawaz Tello, now in exile, said he was saddened by the human cost of freedom extracted by Assad's "savage" ruling system and by international inaction.

    But his biggest disappointment was a Syrian opposition that he said lacked leadership, political acumen and administrative skill. "It has not managed to connect effectively with the spirit of the revolution and it is responsible for corrupting the revolt by trying to buy loyalties of the rebels," he said.

    "But I'm proud that a defenseless people who have challenged a totalitarian system that has been strengthening itself for the last half a century are on their way to victory," Tello said.

    After so much carnage, the outcome of Syria's conflict is far from clear. Nor can anyone be sure what will emerge in other countries where Arabs rose up for freedom and dignity.

    Nathan Brown, at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the uprisings expressed "disgust in the prevailing political order and a hope that if societies could just get their politics right they would solve their pressing problems".

    Structures that kept self-serving Arab leaders in power had been toppled, "but there was no systematic thought about what should positively replace these systems, and building good ones has been far harder than anticipated", he said.

    "The biggest obstacle to such a process in Egypt and Tunisia - the two most hopeful countries two years ago - has not been the actions or attitudes of any particular actor but the deep polarization among various camps and the inability to bridge differences or even find a common language."

  4. #44
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    Update: Death toll from Quetta, Pakistan, market bomb jumps to 79, including women and children
    - @AFP

    14 mins ago from www.google.com by editor

    ---------

    ZaheerGillani: RT @SsamanJay: bloody cowards attacking children and women - killing them to defend your religion animals??! Shame shame on you! #Quetta #Karachi #Pakistan
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:04:54 PM

    AzimOfficial: RT @JamilaHanan: Shame on #Pakistan gov for not protecting the #Hazara of #Quetta. As usual it is the kids that suffer the most. http://t.co/CdbzbFUs
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:04:34 PM

    adnanrasool: RT @Umer_Pirzada: I Am Missed Forever, I Live Forever, I Am #Hazara, I Am #Pakistan, You Still Killing Me? #ShiaGenocide #Quetta
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:04:23 PM

    haider_fire: RT @Darveshh: "In peace, sons bury their fathers. In war, fathers bury their sons." #HazaraTown #AlamdarRoad #Quetta #Balochistan #Pakistan #ShiaGenocide
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:07:04 PM

    NoEmptySuits: Yet another disgusting act of #ShiaGenocide in #Pakistan. Large number of fatalities. #Quetta
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:06:42 PM

    SamiNoah: RT @A_Rizvi110: Stop killing Muslims in the name of #Islam!! Stop #ShiaGenocide #Pakistan #Karachi #Quetta #Parachinar #TandoAdam http://t.co/tfXvgEkR
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:06:37 PM

    4shiza: Tragedy falls upon #Quetta, Pakistan tonight #fatiha
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:06:29 PM

    KhayalNur: The bombing in #Quetta is only indicative of how horribly wrong #Muslim's priority are. http://t.co/R9ez5i6n
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:06:05 PM

    Habib_Malik: Religious and ethnic hatred is a signal of danger looming large on the national horizon. #Pakistan #quetta #karachi
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:57:05 PM

    Bayaan96: 79 deaths, 200 injured. I don't even know what to say... #Pakistan #Quetta #Racism #Shia #Sectarianism #NoWords
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 4:56:01 PM
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    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  5. #45
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    http://sg.news.yahoo.com/tens-thousa...162013987.html

    Tens of thousands rally in Tunis to support Islamist rulers
    Reuters By Tarek Amara | Reuters – 6 hours ago

    TUNIS (Reuters) - Tens of thousands of supporters of Tunisia's Islamist-led government marched in the capital on Saturday, one of the biggest in a series of pro-government and opposition rallies sparked by the assassination of a secular politician.

    The February 6 killing of Chokri Belaid, a human rights lawyer and opposition leader, has thrown Tunisia into political turmoil two years after it staged the first of the "Arab Spring" revolts.

    Violent protests, in which one policeman was killed, swept Tunisia after the assassination, with crowds attacking Ennahda offices in Tunis and elsewhere. Protesters shouted slogans against the Islamist party elected to power in 2011, including "We want a new revolution".

    Islamists have launched counter rallies, up to now much smaller.

    After Belaid's death, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali promised to form a non-partisan, technocratic cabinet to run the country until an election could take place, despite complaints from within his own Ennahda party and a junior non-Islamist coalition partner that he had failed to consult them.

    In the strongest reaction yet to the proposal, tens of thousands of Islamist demonstrators flocked to central Tunis on Saturday to support the legitimacy of the government.

    "The initiative of prime minister is a coup against legitimacy, which gave power to Ennahda, that is a coup against the election results," said protester Omar Salem.

    The Islamist demonstrators carried banners reading: "We are loyal to the blood of the martyrs" and "The people want Ennahda again".

    Belaid's killing by an unidentified gunman was Tunisia's first political assassination in decades and has shaken a nation still seeking stability after the overthrow of veteran strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.

    While the political transition has been more peaceful than those in other Arab nations such as Egypt, Libya and Syria, tensions are running high between Islamists and liberals who fear the loss of hard-won liberties.

    Secular groups have accused the Islamist-led government of a lax response to attacks by ultra-orthodox Salafi Islamists on cinemas, theatres, bars and individuals in recent months.

    Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi has rejected Jebali's proposal for a technocrat government but said it was essential Islamists and secular parties shared power now and in the future.

    "Any stable rule in Tunisia needs a moderate Islamist-secular coalition," he told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

    Jebali met with representatives of Ennahda and secular parties on Friday to discuss the formation of a new government and said consultations would continue on Monday.

    (Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

  6. #46
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    http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/engli...al/574156.html

    [Column] Avoid a nuclear arms race between South Korea and Japan

    Posted on : Feb.16,2013 13:52 KST

    프린트

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    Recent calls for nuclear armament in Seoul and Tokyo would make the region less safe and less peaceful
    By Jeong Nam-ku, Tokyo correspondent

    A Japan with an army and nuclear weapons. This has long been the dream of the country's conservatives - and now they have a good opportunity to make it come true, with a cash-strapped Washington asking Tokyo to play a more active role in Northeast Asian security. Prime minister Shinzo Abe has been using tensions with China over the Senkaku (Diaoyu) Islands as an excuse to amend the Constitution and allow the country to have a national guard. Constitutional restrictions on the use of military force are disappearing bit by bit.

    If given enough of an excuse, Japan could arm itself with nuclear weapons in no time at all. It already has 30 tons of plutonium, having earned permission from the US to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. It also has superior transportation technology. While it isn't clear whether it has the reentry technology needed to operate intercontinental ballistic missiles, its rocket technology is second to none.

    North Korea's third nuclear test on Feb. 12 prompted open calls for nuclear armament from Japan's conservatives. Shintaro Ishihara, head of the Japan Restoration Party, made oblique reference to this before the House of Representatives, mentioning a previous debate over Japan's need to conduct nuclear tests and saying that the country "needs a system in place to protect itself."

    Meanwhile, South Korea is seeing its own calls for nuclear armament. Chung Mong-joon, a Saenuri Party (NFP) lawmaker who once called for reexamining the return of US tactical nuclear weapons to South Korea, is now saying the country needs its own nuclear deterrent. "If North Korea arms itself with nuclear weapons," he argued, "we need to convince the US that we have to have a minimal self-defense capability ourselves." Hwang Woo-yea, the chairman of the Saenuri Party, said in a Feb. 15 radio address that South Korea "needs to restore the military balance with a system to respond to asymmetrical nuclear weapons."

    Japan's conservatives couldn't be happier about this turn of events. The Sankei Shimbun, a major conservative daily, ran a front-page story on Feb. 15 on the calls for nuclear armament coming from South Korea. In their eyes, this provides an even better rationale for Japan's own armament than North Korea's nuclear program. But we are the ones who are most vulnerable to the threat of nuclear war, the ones who stand to pay the steepest price if the countries of the region get caught up in a nuclear arms race. We must not approach this like little kids playing war games.

    Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

  7. #47
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    shk1234: RT @AtifSal: #Quetta terrorism another example of Pakistan's rulers failed governance, alliance with #US WoT has brought nothing but misery #Raymonddavis
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 6:07:11 PM

    Bab1928: RT @A_Rizvi110: Jungle law in #Pakistan!! Sorry even jungle have some rules! #KillMeImShia #ShiaGenocide #WeAllAreHazara #Quetta #Balochistan
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 6:05:59 PM

    MaryamHBaloch: RT @AnjumKiani: #Quetta : Sunni & Shia leaders have come out near Kirani Road to protest against the Terror attack on their Neighbourhood. #Pakistan
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 6:05:50 PM

    Habib_Malik: An honest endeavour should be made to eliminate poverty which contributes to sectarianism, #terrorism #Pakistan #quetta #karachi
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 6:05:07 PM

    Habib_Malik: Sectarianism provides a happy hunting ground to the foreign elements to exploit the situation to their advantage. #Pakistan #quetta
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:59:58 PM

    SubatKhawaja: It's impossible to look at images out of #Quetta and retain any hope for #Pakistan in your heart.
    Saturday, February 16, 2013 5:34:07 PM
    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  8. #48
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    Video: At least 65 dead, 200 injured from Pakistan market bomb attack
    - @AP

    3 mins ago from www.youtube.com by editor

    ---------

    Associated Press video:

    Published on Feb 16, 2013

    A bomb hidden in a water tank ripped through a crowded vegetable market in a mostly Shiite neighborhood in Quetta, Pakistan on Saturday, killing at least 65 people and wounding nearly 200, officials said. (Feb. 16)


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8lLY9DjDhU

    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  9. #49
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    http://translate.google.com/translat...013/02/14/buy/

    http://lenta.ru/news/2013/02/14/buy/

    11:45, 14 February 2013
    China bought Russian weapons for two billion dollars
    Photo: KnAAZ

    China in 2012 signed a contract with Russia for the supply of arms and military equipment for a total of $ 2.1 billion. This, according to the newspaper "Vedomosti", said chief executive state company "Rosoboronexport" Anatoly Isaikin. According to him, China accounted for 12 percent of total orders received by Russia in 2012. Last year the "Rosoboronexport" signed new contracts worth $ 17.6 billion, which is 2.5 times more than in 2011. Total portfolio of orders of "Rosoboronexport" has reached 37.3 billion dollars.

    At a cost of contracts in China last year, finished third after India and Iraq, bought Russian arms and military equipment to the 7.3 and 4.2 billion dollars. The volume of purchases of vehicles from China in 2012, up to four times the average rate in previous years. In an order entered Chinese aircraft engines, helicopters, and an agreement for the joint development and production of weapons. So far officially confirmed only supply engines AL-31F and Mi-171E in the amount of 1.3 billion dollars.

    It is possible that within the unidentified contracts for 800 million dollars, Russia will supply China systems for air missiles and air defense systems. It is also possible that in the near future will be signed contracts to supply China 24 Su-35 fighters and two diesel-electric submarines of the "Cupid" with the possibility of building in the Chinese territory of two more such ships under license. The total cost of possible agreements is estimated at three billion dollars.

    What is the reason for China's growing interest in Russian arms and military equipment, is not clear. In the 2000s, China has sharply reduced purchases of Russian arms. This was associated with an abrupt development of its Chinese defense industry, which was able to provide the most basic needs of the armed forces of China. In recent years, Russia has sold China mainly aircraft engines (in 2011 also signed a contract for six transport IL-76), high-quality production of which the Chinese side so far failed to establish.

  10. #50
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    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/...s-8498103.html


    Patrick Cockburn

    Sunday 17 February 2013
    A decade after the invasion of Iraq, the Kurds emerge as surprise winners

    World View: Troubles in surrounding countries may puncture Iraqi Kurdistan's boom but, for now, new hotels and malls are mushrooming

    The Kurds of Iraq are the big winners in the 10 years since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. They have also been lucky. Up to a few weeks before the invasion in 2003, the US was intending to invade northern Iraq from Turkey, along with 40,000 Turkish troops. The Kurds were horrified at this, suspecting that once the Turks were in northern Iraq it would be impossible to get them out. I remember the Kurdish relief and jubilation when the Turkish parliament voted against participating in the US invasion.

    Erbil, the Kurdish capital, was at that time a dismal, impoverished place at the centre of three Kurdish provinces with de facto independence from the rest of Iraq since 1991. But self-determination had come at the price of isolation and poverty. The mountains were bare, stripped of trees and bushes by people desperate for firewood. In the middle of minefields, along the Iranian border at Penjwin, I came across villagers who had a peculiarly dangerous occupation. They defused and dismantled a jumping mine called the Valmara in order to sell the explosives, and the aluminium in which they were wrapped, for a few dollars. The local cemetery was full of fresh graves and many villagers were missing hands and feet.

    All this sounds like tales from a medieval past, given the present state of the five million people living under the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Erbil today has a glossy new international airport and its skyline is broken by the towers of new five-star hotels. In contrast to the rest of Iraq, life is safe and the electricity supply almost continuous. New housing and shopping malls have sprung up everywhere.

    Critics argue that there is rather less to this than meets the eye and the main beneficiary of Kurdistan's economic prosperity is the ruling elite. "We have plenty of new hotels," remarked one jaundiced Kurdish observer, "but just try to find a decent school for your children or a hospital for a sick relative." Government supporters respond that 50 to 60 international oil companies are looking for oil, the hotels and new apartments are full, and every week sees the arrival of a delegation of businessmen from Turkey, Germany or the Gulf. The KRG benefits from being one of the few places in the world seen as booming at a time of recession and stagnation elsewhere.

    A striking change is in the countries surrounding Iraqi Kurdistan. I was very interested in these places in early 2003 because I was trying to reach Iraq in time for the start of the US-led invasion. I was certain the government in Baghdad would not give me an entry visa because they disliked a book about Saddam Hussein I had written with my brother Andrew. I knew I would be welcome in the Kurdish enclave, but it was difficult to get there since it was virtually besieged by neighbouring states – Turkey, Iran, Syria and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

    The problem appeared depressingly insoluble until the Kurds persuaded the Syrians that it was in their interest to allow some foreign journalists to pass through Syria into Iraqi Kurdistan. The journalists would be able to publicise the Kurds' hostility to a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq, something both the Kurds and Syria wanted to avoid. I flew to Damascus on a tourist visa, was driven for 10 hours, by a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, to the police headquarters in Qamishli in northern Syria. I waited in some trepidation as a Syrian officer leafed slowly through a large handwritten ledger to see if my name was among those allowed to cross the frontier. Finally, his finger stopped at an approximation to my name and I drove immediately to the Tigris, on the far side of which was a sliver of territory controlled by the Kurds. I got into a tin boat with a spluttering outboard motor, which slowly made its way across the river.

    I spent the next three months in Kurdistan in a hotel called the Dim Dim in Erbil, which was low on creature comforts, but had the great advantage that I could use my satellite phone from my south-facing room instead of having to clamber on to the roof. People in Erbil were in an edgy mood, hopeful that Saddam would be overthrown, but fearful that the Turks might invade alongside the Americans. They were also fearful of a poison gas attack by Saddam, having experienced it first hand at Halabja in 1988. In the days before the invasion started, the city emptied of people, who took refuge in the countryside. The few who remained bought plastic sheeting to cover windows and doors in a touching effort to keep out any gas.

    The last weeks of peace and the short war that followed were filled with incidents that seemed ominous for the future of Iraq. The first American soldiers I saw in Iraq were part of a US State Department security detail guarding Zalmay Khalilzad, the Afghan-born US diplomat, who was overseeing a conference involving the opponents of Saddam Hussein. The US soldiers stood in the driving snow, enforcing stringent search procedures on venerable Shia clerics and bemused Kurdish military leaders, as well as on journalists. "Stop filming and frigging listen to me," shouted an American soldier. "This [the body search] is non-negotiable and anyone who doesn't like it can leave." At this stage, the Americans did not much care what Iraqis thought of them.

    All this seems like very ancient history these days. American influence diminished after its last soldiers left at the end of 2011. Instead of Turkey being feared as a menace to the Iraqi Kurds, it has become their reinsurance policy against action by Baghdad. So dependent is the Kurdish economy on Turkey that some in Erbil wonder if their leaders might not be making the same mistake as in the past when they became overreliant on the US and Iran, both of which cynically betrayed them when it suited their interests. Just at the moment, the Iraqi Kurds probably do not have much choice other than looking to Turkey for support.

    Once the prospect of Turkish military intervention disappeared in 2003, the Kurds were the only military ally of the US in northern Iraq with troops on the ground. They exploited this cunningly, placing themselves under US command and promising not to capture Kirkuk. I was not a great believer in this promise at the time since I had run into a Kurdish police general in a resplendent uniform who told me that he was the director of traffic-designate for Kirkuk once it had been taken. Ten years on, Kirkuk is firmly under Kurdish control, with no sign of acceptance of this by Baghdad or compromise over its future.

    Key to Kurdistan's success is security and there is no sign of this being impaired. But the countries around the KRG are under stress, from civil war in Syria to smouldering guerrilla war in south-east Turkey, rising violence in the rest of Iraq, and economic sanctions and regional setbacks in Iran. These troubles may one day puncture the Kurdish boom and expose it as fragile, but that day has not yet come.

  11. #51
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21489378

    16 February 2013 Last updated at 23:06 ET
    Farc releases Colombia soldier held for several weeks

    Colombia's main left-wing rebel group has released a soldier it had held hostage for nearly three weeks.

    Josue Alvarez was the third person freed in two days by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).

    The 19-year-old was handed over to representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in a remote south-western area.

    He was captured during a clash between rebel fighters and soldiers on 30 January in Narino department.

    On Friday, the Farc released police officers Cristian Yate and Victor Alfonso Gonzalez in Valle del Cauca department. They had been hostages for several weeks.

    Last year, the rebels pledged to stop kidnapping for ransom and released 10 policemen and soldiers who had been part of a group of about 60 hostages held for political reasons since the 1990s.

    After the policemen were seized in January, however, the Farc insisted that capturing security forces personnel was still "part of its right" when they "surrender in battle".
    Map of Colombia

    Also on Friday, the ICRC said the smaller leftist rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), had separately released five employees of a Canadian mining company kidnapped in January.

    The ELN still holds a Canadian and two German nationals.

    The Farc and the Colombian government have been holding peace talks in the Cuban capital, Havana, in an effort to end their almost five-decade-old conflict, but the ELN is not part of the process.

    The Farc declared a unilateral two-month ceasefire at the start of the talks in November, but ended it on 20 January. The government says it will accept a bilateral truce only when a final peace deal has been signed.

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  12. #52
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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-21480282

    15 February 2013 Last updated at 20:21 ET

    Brazil troops to fight wave of attacks in the south

    Brazil map
    Continue reading the main story
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    Sharp jump in Sao Paulo murders
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    The Brazilian government has sent military reinforcements to tackle a wave of violence in the southern state of Santa Catarina.

    More than 100 vehicles and offices have been attacked in the past month.

    The government suspended classes on Friday, a day after bus drivers voted to limit journeys from 0700 to 1900, for fear of attack.

    The reason for the attacks is unclear, but police say they could be a reaction to reported abuse in state prisons.

    Investigators are trying to find out if the incidents are linked to organised crime gangs.

    A video recently emerged showing security officials firing tear gas and rubber bullets at prisoners in a prison in the city of Joinville.

    The state government says it is investigating the incident.

    'Confidential'

    Two military planes loaded with troops, vehicles and equipment landed in Santa Catarina on Friday.

    The authorities say they will not give specific details of how they will be deployed, saying the information is "confidential".

    The authorities have been providing some escort vehicles with armed men to safeguard bus journeys after dusk, but drivers say it's not enough.

    On Friday, they agreed to keep the service running until 2300, after the government promised to increase the number of escorts.

    Nearly 40 buses have been targeted and burnt in recent weeks.

    The attacks have disrupted bus services in a number of cities in Santa Catarina.

    More than 90 people have been arrested since the attacks began at the end of January.

    More on This Story
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    From other news sites

    Yahoo! UK and Ireland Elite police units deployed in restive southern Brazil 12 hrs ago

  13. #53
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    Hmmm, I never think about Brazil being a "hotspot" , but I reckon the whole world has gone mad......
    "America is at that awkward stage, to late to work within the system, but to early to shoot the bastards"-- Claire Wolfe

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hognutz View Post
    Hmmm, I never think about Brazil being a "hotspot" , but I reckon the whole world has gone mad......
    There's a thin veneer of civil society in a lot of places we don't often think of. As for Brazil, with the run up to the World Cup and the continued push to control the semi-independent slums by the government from the gangs, expect to see more on this.

    Interesting factoid that many also forget is that Brazil has the complete nuclear fuel processing and refining cycle operational within the country, a very diverse and talented aerospace and defense industry and besides having a carrier, is talking about building its own SSNs (they already have good SSKs).

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    http://gulfnews.com/news/region/tuni...ring-1.1146808


    Violent tide of Salafism threatens Arab Spring
    Struggles for power have left a vacuum that has allowed the rise of an extremist movement

    By Angelique Chrisafis
    Published: 21:06 February 15, 2013

    London: Late last year, largely unnoticed in the West, Tunisia’s President Munsif Marzouqi gave an interview to Chatham House’s The World Today.

    Commenting on a recent attack by Salafists on the US embassy in Tunis, he remarked in an unguarded moment: “We didn’t realise how dangerous and violent these Salafists could be. They are a tiny minority within a tiny minority. They don’t represent society or the state. They cannot be a real danger to society or government, but they can be very harmful to the image of the government.”

    It appears that Marzouqi was wrong. Following the assassination of opposition leader Shukri Belaid, which plunged the country into its biggest crisis since the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, the destabilising threat of extremists has emerged as a pressing and dangerous issue.

    Violent Salafists are one of two groups under suspicion for Belaid’s murder. The other is the shadowy, so-called neighbourhood protection group known as the Leagues of the Protection of the Revolution, a small contingent that claims to be against remnants of the old regime, but which is accused of using thugs to stir clashes at opposition rallies and trade union gatherings.

    The left accuses these groups of affiliation with the ruling moderate Islamist party, Al Nahda, and says it has failed to root out the violence. The party denies any link or control to the groups. But it is the rise of Salafist-associated political violence that is causing the most concern in the region.

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    Banned in Tunisia under the 23-year regime of Zine Al Abedine Bin Ali, which ruthlessly cracked down on all forms of Islamism, Salafists in Tunisia have become increasingly vocal since the 2011 revolution.

    The Salafist component in Tunisia remains a small minority, but it has prompted rows and mistrust among secularists and moderate Islamists. The Salafists are spread between three broad groups: new small political movements that have formed in recent months; non-violent Salafists; and violent Salafists and jihadists who, though small in number, have had a major impact thanks to violent attacks and arson. It is not only in Tunisia. In Egypt, Libya and Syria, concern is mounting about the emergence of violent fringe groups.

    In Egypt last week it was revealed that hardline cleric Mahmoud Sha’aban had appeared on a religious television channel calling for the deaths of main opposition figures Mohammad Al Baradei, a Nobel peace prize laureate, and former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.

    In Libya, Salafists and other groups have been implicated in a spate of attacks, including the assault on the US consulate in Benghazi.

    Terminology

    It is difficult to describe what is happening because of the terminology.

    Although many of those involved in violence and encouraging violence could accurately be called Salafists, they remain an absolute minority of a wider minority movement that has emerged as a small, but potent political force across post-revolutionary North Africa.

    Although the encouragement to violence from this minority has been most marked in Tunisia, it is not absent in Egypt. “We’ve already started to see real threats,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Centre. “There are many instances in Egypt where Salafists have used the language of incitement against opponents.

    “Last year, one Egyptian Salafist cleric, Wagdi Guneim, called for a jihad on protesters against President Mohammad Mursi, a demand he repeated this month. Another, Yasser Al Burhami, reportedly banned Muslim taxi-drivers from taking Christian priests to church.”

    Yasser Al Shimy, Egypt analyst for the Crisis Group, said: “All it takes is for one guy to take it upon himself to carry out a fatwa. But the prospects of that happening in Egypt are less or certainly not more than they are in Tunisia. In Egypt, there was a deeper integration of Salafists into the political process as soon as the revolution had taken place.”

    Most tellingly, two leading Egyptian Salafists have condemned the death threats against Al Baradei and Sabbahi.

    Nader Bakkar, a spokesman for the Al Nour party, said: “The Salafists in Tunisia are not organised well and they don’t have the scholars who can teach them how to deal peacefully with things that they don’t like in their country. It gives you a clear vision that we will not see in Egypt what we saw happen in Tunisia.”

    Fatwa

    Bakkar also argued that Sha’aban, the cleric who issued the fatwa against Al Baradei and Sabbahi, had little currency in Egyptian Salafism.

    “He doesn’t have many followers,” said Bakkar, who claimed that Sha’aban came from a school of Salafism that had preached obedience to former dictator Hosni Mubarak, and whose reputation had therefore been ruined in the post-revolution period.

    If there are differences between the strands of Salafist extremism in North African countries, there are some striking similarities.

    Like Egypt, as Anne Wolf pointed out in January in a prescient essay on the emerging Salafist problem in Tunisia for West Point’s Combating Terrorism Centre, “certain territories have traditionally been more rebellious and religiously conservative than others.

    “Tunisia’s south and interior, in particular, have found it difficult to deal with the modernisation policies launched by the colonial and post-independence governments, whose leaders came from more privileged areas.”

    And while violence and the threat of violence by the “minority of the minority” of Salafists has the potential to disrupt the post-revolutionary governments of the Arab Spring, for the new Islamist governments it also poses considerable political problems, which are perhaps as serious.

    In Tunisia, the government estimates that 100 to 500 of the 5,000 mosques are controlled by radical clerics. Although the majority of Salafists are committed to non-violence, the movement has been coloured by the acts of extremists.

    That has created problems for Al Nahda, which secular opponents suspect of secretly planning with Salafists the ‘re-Islamisation’ of Tunisia, not least because of the government’s unwillingness or inability to move against the most extreme Salafist groups.

    For Al Nahda, confronting extremist violence has become a challenging balancing act.

    Fearful of radicalising the wider movement by cracking down too hard as the former Bin Ali regime did, it has sought instead to have a dialogue with those renouncing violence by condemning the “rogue elements”. This is a policy that has led to accusations that it has been too soft or has secretly tolerated violence against secular opponents such as the murdered Belaid.

    Criticism

    In particular, Tunisia’s secular leftist parties were critical of the setting up of a religious affairs ministry under Nour Al Deen Al Khademi, an imam affiliated to the Al Fateh mosque in Tunis, known for its Salafist presence and protests.

    Khademi’s office vowed that several hundred mosques in Tunisia which had been taken over by Salafist preachers after the revolution would be brought back under moderate control. Last year, his office said that around 120 remained controlled by extremist preachers, of which 50 were a serious problem.

    Even Al Nahda MPs have recently woken up to the problem. Ziad Ladhari, an MP for Sousse in the Assembly, said the Salafist issue was a concrete part of the heritage of the Bin Ali era and “must be handled in a concrete manner”.

    He said violent Salafism “presents a danger for the stability of the country”, while non-violent Salafism “a way of life and literal reading of Islam” often “imported and foreign to our society” was something that Al Nahda distinguished itself from. “The violent element must be fought very firmly by police and the law,” said Ladhari. “Then there should be dialogue with the peaceful element, in the hope of evolution through dialogue. It’s more of a sociological issue than a political one.”

    He said social-economic issues and fighting poverty and social exclusion were crucial. He said: “We have to deal with it seriously and with courage, a drift must not take hold.”

    Selma Mabrouk, a doctor and MP who recently quit the centre-left Ettakatol party in protest over the coalition’s stance on the constitution and power-sharing, said: “The problem is the violent strain of Salafism, not the strain of thought, because we now have freedom of expression, everyone can have their views.”

    She warned against an “ambiguous” stance by Al Nahda and the centre-left CPR in the coalition towards street violence, hate speech and attacks which she said were going unchecked. She was also highly critical of the fact that two Salafists arrested for the US embassy attack died in prison after a long hunger strike without a proper trial procedure coming into effect.

    She said: “There is this ambivalent attitude from the government, a permissivity on street violence on one side and, on the other hand, indifference to prisoners and the hunger strike.”

    — Guardian News & Media Ltd

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    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...06b_story.html

    Islamist militia edging back into Benghazi
    By Abigail Hauslohner, Published: February 16

    BENGHAZI, Libya — After the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission last fall that left the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans dead, the Islamist militia widely accused of leading the assault all but disappeared amid a popular backlash.

    But Ansar al-Sharia is edging back into society, and many of Benghazi’s residents now say they want it here.

    The militia tentatively resumed its role as guardian of Benghazi’s two main hospitals last week. Its fighters have staked out positions at the western entrance to the city. They have also moved back onto their base, and residents say the group has been participating in community cleanup and charity work.

    Its resurgence — and that of Rafallah al-Sahati, another Islamist militia — underscores the city’s reckoning with a harsh reality, residents said. No one else is capable of securing volatile Benghazi.

    “Desperate times call for desperate measures,” said Jalal al-Gallal, a prominent political activist in the city and a former member of Libya’s transitional government. Ansar al-Sharia has some “hard-liners,” he said, “but they do actually carry out a lot of good work, whether we like it or not.”

    The eight-month war that toppled Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi in 2011 left the country awash with weapons and brigades of former revolutionary fighters, many of whom now operate as militias loosely allied with the government and determined to play a security role in the new Libya.

    Thousands of Benghazi residents protested against the militias and the prevailing lawlessness in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission, and some locals assisted by government-allied militias eventually overran bases belonging to Ansar al-Sharia, Rafallah al-Sahati and two other groups.

    But the country’s police force, much of it still stocked with men who served under the ousted regime, remains weak and has continued to face opposition from the militias.

    ‘The only realistic option’

    After Ansar al-Sharia left its post as the self-appointed guardian of Jelaa Hospital in Benghazi, security rapidly deteriorated there, health officials said.

    Feuds between families carried from the streets into the emergency room, as angry relatives followed gurneys taking victims of the fighting into the hospital. Patients sold drugs in the hallways and stole hospital equipment.

    Doctors were sometimes threatened at gunpoint, said Mohamed Khamis, an emergency room surgeon. Last month, a militia member walked into the emergency room and shot his rival dead on the operating table, he said.

    “After that, we closed for two weeks. We called for help. We reached out to the Interior Ministry and the Health Ministry, but all they’ve done is make promises,” Khamis said.

    Last week, the hospital finally reopened its doors — but only after a security force made up of Ansar al-Sharia alumni and neighborhood fighters took up position outside. Ansar al-Sharia’s black flag flies above the main entrance. Two of its tan gun trucks — their identifying stickers replaced with a new title, “The Selmani Youth Forum” — stand outside.

    For the past four days, there have been no violent incursions, Khamis said.

    “We would prefer it if the Interior Ministry was protecting life here,” he said. “But the only solution is to go with Ansar al-Sharia because they’re the only realistic option right now.”

    It’s a cynical arrangement, many here say. But as Benghazi commemorates the two-year anniversary of its revolution this weekend amid heightened fears of violence, some residents suggested that the government in Tripoli may have called on the militias to maintain order.

    “The people attacked Ansar al-Sharia a few months ago because they were angry. But now they’re asking them to come back because there is no police and no real military,” said Essam al-Zubeir, a government spokesman in Tripoli. “All of this needs time. Until the country is able to rebuild the police and military, the people prefer to be protected by their own people.”

    But not all is as it was. If the residents of this city have learned a hard lesson about security and the capabilities of their weak central government, so, too, have the militias learned from the people, many said.

    Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens “was a great friend of the revolution and his death was a great blow. But what came out of it was the toning down of the extremists,” said Essam Gheriani, a businessman and activist. “Everyone is keeping an eye on them now. Benghazi has always been a city that is quite volatile, but now they know what they can do and what they can’t do.”

    A taboo affiliation

    On the street, Ansar al-Sharia remains a taboo affiliation, even thought many residents say they admired the group’s work.

    Bearded “volunteers” in military fatigues manning a checkpoint at Benghazi’s western entrance said Ansar al-Sharia had recently taken up position there to help secure the road. They told earlier visitors that they were members of the group, but none would admit that on Saturday. Their white Toyotas, mounted with machine guns, were anonymous too; rectangles of dirt surrounded the spot where their identifying labels once stuck.

    Rafallah al-Sahati has recoiled, too.In September, the group’s commanders bragged about the militia’s role on the rescue team that assisted the American evacuation from the mission on the night of the attack. But the group largely disappeared from the public eye in the months since.

    The group recently resumed command of checkpoints on the city’s perimeter, but it has changed its name to “Libyan Shield 3” because it now falls under the command of the Defense Ministry, said one of the group’s fighters, Basit Mohamed, who was wounded in the September assault on the group’s base.

    “They are much more restrained. They understand that the spotlight has been put on them,” al-Gallal said of the militia.

    No one in Benghazi ever went on trial for the attack. But whether Ansar al-Sharia carried it out — or a more recent string of assassinations and disappearances of local police officials believed to be ex-regime loyalists — has become largely irrelevant here.

    “People care, people do understand that you need to have due process,” al-Gallal said. “But they also understand that there is an absolute absence of central government.”

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    More: Pakistani police say many who were critically wounded died overnight from their wounds
    - @AP

    3 hours ago from bigstory.ap.org by editor

    Pakistani police officials say death toll from bombing in Quetta is now at least 81 -
    @AP

    3 hours ago from bigstory.ap.org by editor

    ------------

    Death toll in Pakistani bombing climbs to 81


    — Feb. 17 1:33 AM EST

    QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — The death toll from a horrific bombing that tore through a crowded vegetable market in a mostly Shiite Muslim neighborhood of southwestern Pakistan climbed to 81 with many of the severely wounded dying overnight, a Pakistani police official said Sunday.

    Police official Fayyaz Saumbal said 164 people also were wounded by the explosion Saturday in the city of Quetta just as people shopped for produce for their evening meal. The bomb was hidden in a water tank and towed into the market by a tractor, Quetta police chief Zubair Mahmood told reporters.

    It was the deadliest incident since bombings targeting Shiites in the same city killed 86 people earlier this year, leading to days of protests that eventually toppled the local government.

    Shiites have been increasingly attacked by militant groups who view them as heretics and non-Muslims in the country, which is dominated by Sunni Muslims. Many of the Shiites in Quetta, including those in the neighborhood attacked Saturday, are Hazaras, an ethnic group that migrated to Pakistan from Afghanistan more than a century ago.

    The remote-controlled bomb destroyed shops, caused a two-story building to collapse and left a massive crater where it exploded.

    Local residents rushed the victims to three different area hospitals, often in private vehicles because there weren't enough ambulances to transport them.

    Angry members of the minority Shiite sect protested in the streets, blocking roads with burning tires and throwing stones at passing vehicles. Some fired into the air in an attempt to keep people away from the area in case of a second explosion. Sometimes insurgents stagger the explosions as a way to target people who rush to the scene to help those killed or wounded in the first, thus increasing the death toll.

    On Sunday morning, the city was completely shut down as people observed strike called by the Hazara Democratic Party as a way to honor the dead and protest the repeated slaughter of members of their ethnic and religious community.

    Bostan Ali, the Quetta chief of the Hazara Democratic Party, said the group is planning another protest in the city similar to one held in January after twin bombings in Quetta killed at least 86 people. During that protest, Hazaras refused to bury their dead for four days, instead protesting in the streets alongside coffins holding their loved ones.

    "We will not bury our dead until stringent action is taken against terrorists who are targeting and killing Shiites," Ali said.

    The rally in January sparked similar events across the country and an outpouring of sympathy for Shiites. The prime minister flew to Quetta and after meeting with protesters dismissed the local government.

    But Saturday's massive blast indicated that the militant groups are still capable of targeting Shiites.

    The police chief said investigators were not certain who was behind the bombing but a local television station reported that Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni extremist group that has targeted Shiites in the past, had called to claim responsibility.

    Most of the Shiites in the area are Hazaras, and they were quick to blame Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

    "This evil force is operating with the patronage of certain elements in the province," said Qayum Changezi, the chairman of a local Hazara organization.

    Quetta is the capital of Baluchistan province, the country's largest but also the one with the smallest population.

    The province is facing challenges on many fronts. Baluch nationalist groups are fighting an insurgency there to try to gain a greater share of income from the province's gas and mineral resources. Islamic militants, like the sectarian group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, are also active in the province. And members of the Afghan Taliban are believed to be hiding in the region.

    Lashkar-e-Jhangvi took its name after a firebrand Sunni cleric who gave virulently anti-Shiite sermons.

    Pakistan's intelligence agencies helped nurture Sunni militant groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in the 1980s and 1990s to counter a perceived threat from neighboring Iran, which is mostly Shiite. Pakistan banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in 2001, but the group continues to operate fairly freely.

    Last year was particularly deadly for Shiites in Pakistan. According to Human Rights Watch, more than 400 were killed in targeted attacks across the country. The human rights group said more than 125 were killed in Baluchistan province, most of whom belonged to the Hazara community.

    Rights groups have accused the government of not doing enough to protect Shiites in the country.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/pakis...s-20-southwest
    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  18. #58
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    Another attack on Shiites - more muzzie insanity. Hitting shoppers, same as Quetta. How rotten.


    Update: Death toll in Baghdad explosions rises to 23; some 70 are wounded, officials say
    - @AP

    14 mins ago from www.foxnews.com by editor

    Series of blasts hit Shiite districts across Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing at least 9 people, police say - @Reuters

    40 mins ago by editor

    ------------

    Officials: Series of bombs in Baghdad kill at least 23 and wound dozens

    Published February 17, 2013

    BAGHDAD – Iraqi officials say a series of car bombs has killed at least 23 people and wounded dozens in Shiite areas of Baghdad.

    The attacks on Sunday, the start of the local work week, mostly targeted outdoor markets.

    Police and hospital officials provided the death toll, saying nearly 70 people were wounded in the blasts.

    They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to brief reporters.

    Violence in Iraq has fallen since the height of sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007, but lethal attacks are still common.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/02...#ixzz2L99p0gD4
    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  19. #59
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    More muzzie shenanigans?


    Update: 7 foreign workers kidnapped by gunmen in northern Nigeria attack on construction company, police say
    - @AP

    24 mins ago by editor

    Gunmen kidnap 6 people including 2 foreigners in northern Nigeria, police say
    - @AFP

    54 mins ago by editor
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  20. #60
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    Citizens from Britain, Italy, Greece and Lebanon are among those kidnapped in northern Nigeria attack, official says - @AP

    1 min ago by editor
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  21. #61
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    Yup, muzzies. They're so disgusting.


    More: Gunmen who kidnapped foreign workers in Nigeria targeted local prison then killed construction firm guard - @AP

    4 mins ago from bigstory.ap.org by editor

    ----------

    Police: 7 foreigners kidnapped in north Nigeria


    — Feb. 17 6:44 AM EST

    BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — Gunmen attacked a camp for a construction company in rural northern Nigeria, killing a guard and kidnapping seven foreign workers from Britain, Greece, Italy and Lebanon, authorities said Sunday, in the biggest kidnapping yet in a region under attack by Islamic extremists.

    The attack Saturday night happened in Jama're, a town in a rural portion of Bauchi state. There, the gunmen first attacked a local prison, burning two police trucks, Bauchi state police spokesman Hassan Muhammed told The Associated Press.

    The gunmen then targeted a worker's camp for a construction company called Setraco, which is in the area building a road, Muhammed said. The gunmen shot dead a guard at the camp before kidnapping the foreign workers, the spokesman said.

    Adamu Aliyu, the chairman of the local government area that encompasses Jama're, identified those kidnapped as one British citizen, one Greek, one Italian and four Lebanese.

    Britain's Foreign Office said Sunday it was looking into reports that a U.K. national had been kidnapped in Bauchi state.

    Nigeria's predominantly Muslim north has been under attack by the radical Islamic sect known as Boko Haram in the last year and a half. The country's weak central government has been unable to stop the group's bloody guerrilla campaign of shootings and bombings. The sect is blamed for killing at least 729 people in 2012 alone, according to an AP count.

    Foreigners, long abducted by militant groups and criminal gangs for ransom in Nigeria's oil-rich southern delta, have become increasingly targeted in Nigeria's north as the violence has grown.

    In May, gunmen in Kaduna state shot and killed a Lebanese and a Nigerian construction worker, while kidnapping another Lebanese employee. Later that month, kidnappers shot a German hostage dead during a rescue operation. Gunmen who authorities say have links to Boko Haram also kidnapped an Italian and a British man last year in northern Kebbi State who were later killed during a rescue operation by Nigerian soldiers backed up by British special forces. The sect later denied taking part in that abduction.

    Chinese constructions workers also have been killed by gunmen around Maiduguri, the northeastern city in Nigeria where Boko Haram first began.

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/polic...-north-nigeria
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    Update: 8 car bombs exploded in Shiite Muslim neighborhoods across Iraq's capital of Baghdad killing at least 28 people
    - @Reuters

    5 mins ago by editor
    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

  23. #63
    Posted for fair use and discussion.
    http://www.debka.com/article/22771/U...-in-Jerusalem-

    US plan for UN to endorse Khamenei’s fatwa? Shock in Jerusalem
    DEBKAfile Special Report February 17, 2013, 1:59 PM (GMT+02:00)
    Tags: Iran nuclear Barack Obama Israel Ayatollah Ali Khamenei North Korea
    From a British blog




    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared Iran was a “nuclear state” during his Cairo visit two weeks ago. Saturday, Feb. 16, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei shed more light by saying, “Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons but no power could stop Tehran’s access to an atomic bomb if it intended to build it. “
    debkafile: Iran’s leaders are therefore quite frank about the state of their nuclear program: the components of a nuclear weapon have been procured - defying Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu red lines - but Tehran has not yet crossed the threshold to assemble it - although this could be done modularly.

    And if the Islamic Republic has acquired the components and knowledge for surreptitiously building one bomb, it stands to reason that three or five would be no object.

    On Feb. 12, debkafile revealed that Iranian scientists attended the latest North Korean atomic test. Six days later, the Sunday Times repeated the story, naming Mohsen Fakhrizade-Mahabadi, the senior Iranian scientist of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, as the official present. Our Iranian sources strongly doubt that Mahabadi was there because he is too afraid of kidnapping or assassination to ever leave Iran.

    We also revealed how the Iranian-North Korean nuclear partnership worked and the division of clandestine labor between them. Their arrangement – to which Washington and Jerusalem prefer to turn a blind eye –assigns to Iran the development of small nuclear warheads for delivery by missiles and to North Korea the development of ballistic missiles able to land a warhead at any point on the planet.

    The two governments work smoothly in tandem, regularly pooling the data obtained from advances in their respective programs.

    One such advance was Iran’s successful launch of a monkey into orbit at an altitude of 120 kilometers on Jan. 28 and its apparent return it to earth. Washington tried hard to throw cold water on the Iranian feat, but Tehran countered by citing Western sources as confirming the launch.
    A gap still remains in their accounts: Washington does not question the launch of a space capsule - only the monkey aboard.

    However, the North Korean test of a “miniature nuclear device," combined with Iran’s ability to launch a capsule with a monkey payload into orbit, add up to their having achieved a nuclear warhead capacity through shared technology.

    After registering these menacing strides, officials in Jerusalem were dismayed to learn that instead of planning to cut them short, US President Barack’s Obama’s circle in Washington was studying a bizarre plan for the opposite objective.

    It surfaced in an article published Tuesday, Feb. 12, by Ambassador Thomas Pickering, a veteran American diplomat who is influential in the framing of Obama’s Iranian policy.

    This what he wrote: “In years past, he (Khamenei) issued a fatwa condemning nuclear weapons. Washington could take advantage of this fact by drafting a UN Security Council resolution endorsing the fatwa. This could be a small step toward boosting Khamenei’s international profile while simultaneously pressuring Iran to follow its own religious decree.”

    Instead of dismantling these rogue nuclear programs, Pickering was proposing to legitimize Iran’s possession of a nuclear bomb capacity that only stopped one step short of assembling a bomb.

    For the Shiite republic, UN endorsement as a nuclear power would be an epic triumph with ramifications for many years to come on its standing and the shape of the Middle East and Persian Gulf.

    It would also endow Khamenei’s fatwa with false religious value – and not just for Sunni Muslims. Khamenei has neither the authority nor the erudition for issuing a binding Shiite fatwa either. Yet Pickering proposes extending the supreme leader a religious honor denied him by the leading Shiite clerics of Qom.

    This fatwa has always been dismissed until now as a piece of propaganda designed to disguise the military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program and support Tehran’s claim that it was purely for peaceful use and research.

    The stratagem floating around the White house for buttering up Khamenei and granting his edict international legitimacy just weeks before President Obama’s March 20 visit to Jerusalem is causing consternation among his Israeli hosts. It is a worrying pointer to the direction in which his Iran policy is heading.

  24. #64
    Posted for fair use and discussion.
    http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/3722/

    « Breaking News »
    Six car bombs kill 18 people in Baghdad. Iraq heads for civil war
    DEBKAfile February 17, 2013, 2:18 PM (GMT+02:00)



    At least 18 people were killed and more than 80 injured by six car bomb explosions in Baghdad Sunday. The mounting sectarian violence is bringing Iraq to the brink of civil war among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

  25. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by BREWER View Post
    Posted for fair use and discussion.
    http://www.debka.com/newsupdatepopup/3722/

    « Breaking News »
    Six car bombs kill 18 people in Baghdad. Iraq heads for civil war
    DEBKAfile February 17, 2013, 2:18 PM (GMT+02:00)

    At least 18 people were killed and more than 80 injured by six car bomb explosions in Baghdad Sunday. The mounting sectarian violence is bringing Iraq to the brink of civil war among Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds.

    Update: Multiple car bombs exploded in and around Baghdad killing at least 37 people
    - @AP

    43 mins ago from bigstory.ap.org by editor
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  26. #66
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    mobinkhan38: RT @shafeKoreshe: Jan 10 108 #killed Feb 16 84 more #dead Again endless line of coffin draped #Hazara bodies on roads of #Quetta. Lawless rudderless #Pakistan
    Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:56:11 AM

    fsherjan: RT @Darveshh: #Quetta: As we speak, there's an indefinite sit-in protest in #HazaraTown with 70 dead bodies lying unburied. #Pakistan #ShiaGenocide
    Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:51:53 AM

    arsalanali099: RT @FatimaAli52: #Quetta ; Hazara Community again decided not to bury their loved ones until & unless the city is handed over to #Pakistan Army #PakArmy LeJ
    Sunday, February 17, 2013 11:40:04 AM



    They're gonna sit on the road with all the unburied coffins again. ^^^^^^^^
    So when's the Revolution? God or Money? Choose.

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    thank you for bringing us the news. I always look for this thread first.

    seems to me every place the muslims go, they bring on terror. they bomb each other.
    blessings to all momof23goats

  28. #68
    Bump.

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    If We Lose Syria We Lose Tehran

    17/02/2013
    By Tariq Alhomayed
    http://www.asharq-e.com/news.asp?section=2&id=32933

    The best description of Iran’s relationship with Syria, and the magnitude of Tehran’s loss if the tyrant of Damascus were to fall, was summed up by an Iranian cleric, Mehdi Taeb, a man tasked with combatting the soft war currently being directed against Iran. He said, “If we lose Syria we cannot maintain Tehran . . . But if we lose the province of Khuzestan [to the Al-Ahwaz Arabs] we could regain it as long as we keep Syria.”


    Taeb not only said this, but also that “Syria is the 35th province and a strategic province for us. If we were to attack an enemy in order to keep Syria or Khuzestan, the priority would be to keep Syria.” In light of these statements, how can it be argued that what is happening in Syria is a sectarian war by proxy, or that the Syrian revolution is being orchestrated by extremists? The truth is that it is a revolution of the people who want to be free and rid themselves of the clutches of Iranian occupation, which has been a feature throughout the Assad era.

    These blunt statements, which seem to have been made as a result of the shock of what is happening on the ground in Syria, show the predicament of the Iranian project in the region, and not only in Syria. The fall of Assad would be the largest and most severe blow to be dealt to the Iranian project, and the concept of exporting the Khomeini revolution, and it would also mean that Iranian extremists would have to face up to the internal dues they have long evaded.

    Remarkably, Taeb not only illustrated the importance of Syria for his country; he went further than that and spoke openly about the 60,000-strong forces overseen by Iran in Syria, saying, “The Syrian regime has an army, but it lacks the ability to conduct a war in Syrian cities. Therefore the Iranian government proposed to formulate an urban warfare force, consisting of 60,000 combat troops, to take over the war on the streets from the Syrian army.”

    This figure exceeds what was revealed recently about the number of troops supervised by Iran in Syria, which was said to have been closer to 50,000, and thus Taeb’s statements not only reveal the importance of Syria to Iran, they also reveal the extent of Iranian involvement in the Syrian bloodshed. Furthermore, they tell us that if we do not deal with the Syrian issue seriously, with international efforts, then this Iranian interference will pass by unchecked, and this means more extremism and sectarian conflict in the future, and this is a danger to the region as a whole.

    These Iranian statements and others must not lead us to the conclusion that Iran should be given an official role in Syria, rather they should lead to international action to overthrow Bashar Assad and bring about his inevitable downfall, striking the Iranian expansionist project in the region. It is no exaggeration to say that the fall of Assad will serve as the first serious step towards halting Iran’s nuclear project.

    The fall of Assad does not necessarily mean the fall of Iran, but it means the Mullahs would return to their natural borders within Tehran, and this is what we need. Then the extremists of Iran will have to face their dues in the Iranian domestic scene, but that is their story. Our story is about a region that has been stricken by Iran and its interventions, its fifth column operating among us, and its men deployed in Syria who will remain silent as usual and not say a word about the Mehdi Taeb’s remarks.






    =
    "We Have Done With Hope and Honor, We are lost to Love and Truth.
    We are Dropping down the ladder rung by rung;
    And the measurement of our torment is the measure of our youth.
    God help us; for we knew the worst too young."


    ~~~~Kipling~~~~

    http://ms.essortment.com/dutchmanflying_rrqy.htm
    ~~~ The Flying Dutchman~~~

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    Iran’s supreme leader steps deeper into
    the political fray and uncharted territory


    By Associated Press,
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...286_story.html

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Iran’s supreme leader is supposed to be many things in the eyes of his followers: Spiritual mentor, protector of the Islamic Revolution, a moral compass above the regular fray.

    Yet that is the unfamiliar role Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has adopted as the political mudslinging gets heavier ahead of elections in June to pick a successor for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.


    “Bad, wrong, inappropriate,” scolded Khamenei on Saturday in his most stinging rebuke of Ahmadinejad for his mounting attacks on rivals — including an ambush earlier this month in parliament when he played a barely audible videotape that purported to show corruption inside the family of the chamber’s speaker.

    Khamenei then went on to chide the parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, for publicly humiliating Ahmadinejad in response to the tape.

    “When there is a common enemy and conspiracies are hatched from all sides, is there any way other than strengthening brotherhood and resisting the enemy?” Khamenei said in reference to widening Western sanctions and pressures over Iran’s nuclear program.

    Hardball politics are nothing new in Iran, whose elected parliament and government can make even Washington’s bickering seem genteel. It also is unlikely to threaten the real power in Iran: The ruling clerics and their guardians led by the Revolutionary Guard.

    But the deepening nastiness inside Iran speaks volumes about the importance of the presidential election on June 14 and how it could reset Tehran’s political order.

    Khamenei seeks to tamp down the rising political spats that could signal weakness to the West in nuclear negotiations set to resume next week. He also wants to close off any openings for public complaints over the economic pain from the expanding sanctions.

    At the same time, however, Khamenei risks blows to his image if his unprecedented personal intervention fails to calm the growing tremors whose epicenter is Ahmadinejad.

    Parliament on Sunday showed obedience. More than 260 lawmakers — nearly the entire 290-seat chamber — expressed loyalty to Khamenei. Ahmadinejad made no immediate comment.

    “The presidential election has raised the stakes in the ongoing blame game,” said Abolghasem Bayyenat, a former Iranian trade official who runs the website irandiplomacywatch.com.

    Khamenei “certainly does not want the political wrangling ... to get out of control,” he said.

    But Ahmadinejad shows no signs of heading into a quiet retirement after his second and final term. This raises the possibility he could become something Iran has rarely seen: a political wild card able to muster allies and grass roots backers to complicate life for rivals such as Larijani.

    And one of those rivals could very well be sitting in Ahmadinejad’s old office in Tehran. Khamenei has pushed back hard against Ahmadinejad’s attempts to challenge his authority in the past two years. As payback, the ruling clerics are likely to block any key Ahmadinejad backer from the presidential ballot and bring in someone who has sided with Khamenei as his relationship with Ahmadinejad drifted from cozy to cool to outright hostility.

    In the meantime, Ahmadinejad heads into his final months eager to land some punches on his opponents.

    “We are witnessing a new precariousness in Iran’s internal politics,” said Suzanne Maloney, an Iranian affairs expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

    Vladimir Zhirinovsky loves to say crazy, anti-Western things, and he found a great opportunity today.

    There’s no clearer evidence than Khamenei, whose hard-core followers believe is answerable only to God. Yet even he can’t seem to calm Iran’s political tempest with rare — and increasingly sharp — orders from on high.

    It suggests a diminishing regard for Khamenei and the ruling clerics to fully set the political tone inside Iran — which could be the ultimate political legacy of Ahmadinejad from his defiance while in office and his possible gadfly role after leaving later this year.

    Khamenei’s main worry is not whether the opposition can regroup after being hammered following the post-election unrest in 2009. Its leaders are under house arrest and activists know they would face punishing reprisals if they return to the streets.

    Instead, it appears Khamenei senses that the internal political rulebook could be under threat.

    Ahmadinejad first broke taboos — and earned himself instant political enemies — by challenging the authority of Khamenei in 2011 over the appointment of the powerful intelligence ministry post. Since then, Khamenei has been gradually drawn into the mix despite the traditions of the supreme leader remaining aloof from day-to-day affairs.

    It seems part of Ahmadinejad’s tactics to hector Khamenei as a way to boost his status as an alternative pole of power, said Rasool Nafisi, an Iranian affairs analyst at Strayer University in Virginia.

    “Ahmadinejad ... seems to have adopted a strategy of pressuring Khamenei to either force him out — which would be a confession to Khamenei’s poor judgment as the main support of Ahmadinejad — or live with Ahmadinejad’s continuous assaults on his position and close associates,” Nafisi said. “Either way, Ahmadinejad will turn out a winner.”

    The unraveling of their relationship began when security forces crushed the protests over Ahmadinejad’s re-election. Ahmadinejad increasingly bristled at having to take a back seat to the ruling clerics, who control all key political and policy decisions.

    A political temper tantrum in April 2011 — when Ahmadinejad boycotted meetings for 10 days to protest Khamenei’s intelligence chief appointment — opened the flood gates.

    Dozens of Ahmadinejad’s political allies were arrested or pushed to the margins, effectively blocking his chances of having a protege on the ballot in June. Meanwhile, the political fortunes brightened for Ahmadinejad rivals, such as parliament speaker Larijani.

    Earlier this month, Ahmadinejad stunned parliament with a crude videotape that purported to show a discussion over bribes that included Larijani’s brother. A week later, apparent Ahmadinejad backers hurled insults and shoes to disrupt a speech by Larijani in the seminary city of Qom.

    On Friday, one of Khamenei’s close allies, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, used his nationally broadcast Friday sermon to urge authorities to take “strong action” in response to the incident.

    “Give up these hateful disputes,” he told worshippers at Tehran University in an open reference to Ahmadinejad and Larijani. “People are tired of your fighting.”

    But Ahmadinejad seems to be suiting up for a pre-election scrap. Last week, he led gatherings that were interpreted as unofficial campaign events for his top aide, Esfandiari Rahim Mashaei, in an apparent challenge to election-vetting authorities who either have to clear him or reject him.

    Ahmadinejad “is a political figure who has some residual popular base, a political infrastructure, who knows where all the bodies are buried and is very eager to talk,” said Brookings analyst Maloney. “That makes Ahmadinejad the most dangerous man in the Islamic Republic.”







    =
    "We Have Done With Hope and Honor, We are lost to Love and Truth.
    We are Dropping down the ladder rung by rung;
    And the measurement of our torment is the measure of our youth.
    God help us; for we knew the worst too young."


    ~~~~Kipling~~~~

    http://ms.essortment.com/dutchmanflying_rrqy.htm
    ~~~ The Flying Dutchman~~~

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    ‘Iranian nuke chief was in
    N. Korea for atomic test’


    Apparently successful detonation indicates both countries on
    the cusp of ability to assemble atomic warhead, Sunday Times reports


    By Times of Israel staff
    February 17, 2013, 5:22 am2
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/iranian...r-atomic-test/

    The man whom Western intelligence agencies say may very well be the head of Iran’s clandestine nuclear weapons program was present as an observer last week when North Korea carried out a critical nuclear test, The British Sunday Times reported.


    According to the report Sunday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi very rarely leaves Iranian soil due to fear that Israel’s Mossad will make an attempt on his life, following an alleged pattern of previous assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists.

    Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi is currently pursuing technology that would enable his country to assemble a nuclear warhead compact enough to be fitted to the ballistic missile technology in its possession, Western intelligence sources reportedly said.

    North Korea’s test last week, during which it detonated a nuclear device at a remote underground site, was a key step en route to just such a prototype, South Korean defense officials and Japanese government sources were quoted as saying.

    “The atomic bomb appears to have been made compact enough to be placed on a missile,” a Japanese source reportedly said.

    The test was roundly condemned the world over — even Iran issued an ostensible scolding – with US President Barack Obama calling it a “highly provocative act” that threatened security and international peace.

    Meanwhile, North Korea’s official state media said the test was aimed at coping with “outrageous” US hostility that “violently” undermined the North’s peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites.

    Evidence of military cooperation between Iran and North Korea has been compounded by satellite images showing distinct similarities between an Iranian missile launch pad and a North Korean missile facility, the report said.

    Iran’s Shahab-3 long-range missile is based on the North Korean Nodong-1 and is estimated to have a range of up to 2,000 kilometers. In December, Iranian agents were reportedly on hand in North Korea for a long-range missile test.

    Fakhrizadeh-Mahabadi, the Iranian nuclear official, reportedly may have traveled to Pyongyang through China, an ally of North Korea that has also allegedly provided nuclear and military assistance to Tehran.

    Iran, like North Korea, is under stiff sanctions, and negotiations with the West over its nuclear program have similarly stalled.

    Iran maintains the program is peaceful, for generating energy and for medical research, not for weapons.

    According to Western assessments, the capacity to assemble a nuclear warhead that can be delivered via Shahab missile technology is one of the last remaining obstacles to an Iranian nuclear strike capability.

    Experts say Iran already has enough enriched uranium for several weapons if it is further enriched. Last week, Tehran showed off new-generation centrifuges that can enrich uranium four to five times faster than its present working model.






    =
    "We Have Done With Hope and Honor, We are lost to Love and Truth.
    We are Dropping down the ladder rung by rung;
    And the measurement of our torment is the measure of our youth.
    God help us; for we knew the worst too young."


    ~~~~Kipling~~~~

    http://ms.essortment.com/dutchmanflying_rrqy.htm
    ~~~ The Flying Dutchman~~~

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    Syria:
    Rebels kill 12 Hezbollah operatives in Homs


    Published: 02.17.13, 09:00 / Israel News
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...345698,00.html

    Syrian rebels killed 12 Hezbollah operatives in clashes in Homs on Saturday. Clashes erupted between the sides when Hezbollah operatives tried removing the dead bodies from the scene.



    At the beginning of the month, the Hezbollah announced that it buried an operative in Lebanon, who was killed while "fulfilling his duty as a martyr." According to reports, he was killed in Syria. (Roi Kais)





    =
    "We Have Done With Hope and Honor, We are lost to Love and Truth.
    We are Dropping down the ladder rung by rung;
    And the measurement of our torment is the measure of our youth.
    God help us; for we knew the worst too young."


    ~~~~Kipling~~~~

    http://ms.essortment.com/dutchmanflying_rrqy.htm
    ~~~ The Flying Dutchman~~~

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    Russian, US FMs discuss Syrian settlement,
    DPRK nuke test over phone


    Updated: 2013-02-18 07:48
    ( Xinhua)
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2...t_16230930.htm

    MOSCOW - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his US counterpart John Kerry held, eventually, a telephone conversation on Sunday, discussing Syrian settlement and Pyongyang's recent nuclear test.


    Lavrov and Kerry exchanged views on the Syrian settlement "in the context of the need to stop violence on all sides and start a dialogue between the government and the opposition," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    They also discussed the situation in Northeast Asia in view of the third nuclear test of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

    The two have agreed to "keep in touch" and discussed the possibility of a face-to-face meeting "in the near future," said the statement.

    US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said earlier that Kerry called Lavrov on Tuesday after DPRK conducted its third controversial nuclear test. However, Kerry did not reach Lavrov, who was in Africa.

    Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, in response, said Moscow had asked the US side to have a phone conversation on Thursday, but the initiative was left unanswered.






    =
    "We Have Done With Hope and Honor, We are lost to Love and Truth.
    We are Dropping down the ladder rung by rung;
    And the measurement of our torment is the measure of our youth.
    God help us; for we knew the worst too young."


    ~~~~Kipling~~~~

    http://ms.essortment.com/dutchmanflying_rrqy.htm
    ~~~ The Flying Dutchman~~~

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    Nassrallah firmly warns Zionist
    regime against attacking Lebanon


    17 February 2013, 04:41 (GMT+04:00)
    http://en.trend.az/regions/met/arabicr/2120541.html

    Secretary General of Lebanon Hezbollah Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said the resistance in Lebanon is fully equipped and will not tolerate any attack that might take place against Lebanon, IRNA reports.


    In a televised speech during a ceremony in commemoration of Hezbollah's martyred leaders on Saturday, Sayyed Nasrallah warned the Zionist entity and its allies that the Islamic resistance in Lebanon will not tolerate any attack against the Lebanese territory, assuring that Hezbollah is fully-equipped "and everything we need is found in Lebanon, we donˈt need to transfer it neither from Syria, nor Iran."

    His eminence considered that Israel knows that all we are saying is serious and therefore is mobilizing all its capabilities.

    He pointed out that when the Israeli enemy wants to attack Lebanon, it does not look for any excuse but invents one.

    "30 years on, the Resistance project stands on a solid ground of equations, achievements and victories, not just dreams ought to be true. For 30 years the resistance was one of the strongest realities that changed regional strategies," Sayyed Nasrallah said.

    In the school of martyred leaders, Sayyed Nasrallah said, the priority was the resistance because the correct diagnosis of the biggest risk points to the Israeli enemy and the Zionist project. "When we think deeply on Islamic and national levels we find that the most danger threatening the nation is ˈIsraelˈ, and the only logic choice is the popular resistance."

    The S.G. said Martyr Sheikh Ragheb Harb was a witness to the establishment of the resistance, leadership and decisive options, Sayyed Abbas Mousawi witnessed the stage of stability, focus and consistency in the resistance, and the martyr leader Hajj Imad Mughniyeh was a witness on the stage of quantitative and qualitative evolution as well as the stage of achievements and victories. "We chose this year's logo 'On the Road to Palestine' because the forgotten Palestinian cause is our main cause and our martyrs had fallen on the road to Palestine."

    Sayyed Nasrallah swore by the blood of the martyred leaders that their sons, companions and students are stronger in their resistance and warned the Israeli enemy that the previous revenge, he pledged after the martyrdom of Moghnieh, 'is still open.'

    Concerning Al-Mustaqbal Party leader MP Saad Haririˈs speech during the commemoration of his late father PM Rafik Haririˈs assassination, Sayyed Nasrallah said that reducing the number of Shiite ministers was aimed at giving a chance to a reputable historical family in Lebanon, the Karami family, to take part in the political life and wasn't a bribe as the MP had claimed.

    "We reject neutralizing Hezbollah's weapons and the abolition of the International Tribunal, in return of putting the country under the control of a specific person, this is bribery. We do not want to maintain the arms rather we want to maintain the resistance, and if the weapons of the resistance werenˈt to confront Israel and defend Lebanon it wouldnˈt be worth the sacrifice," his eminence said.

    Sayyed Nasrallah said Saad Hariri's speech is an insult to his fatherˈs history. "In the past, we met your martyred father and discussed the resistance and its weapons, and we have already told him that our priority is the resistance and everything other than it is debatable. He told us: I am with you and Iˈm with the keeping of the resistance and its weapons until peace is established." "Did your father take a bribery from us?" the S.G wondered.

    Sayyed Nasrallah told Hariri that through the Turkish-Qatari initiative "you offered us to keep our arms in return for backing you for premiership and we didn't accept you to be the PM out of national interests. We want a Lebanese PM, a premier who resides in Lebanon!"

    "When we deal with (Prime Minister Najib) Miqatiˈs government, we are sure that it will not stab the resistance in its back. Miqati and his cabinet will remain faithful to the resistance," his eminence indicated.

    On relations with PSP leader MP Walid Jumblatt, Sayyed Nasrallah said Jumblatt "has a clear stance towards the resistance but we are divided on the Syrian crisis, and we will not encourage tension in the country because of our different views on this topic." He added that the "split over the situation in Syria doesnˈt mean that we want the turmoil to spill over into Lebanon."

    Concerning the Bulgarian accusation for Hezbollah as being behind Burgas airport attack where Five Israeli tourists and their Bulgarian driver were killed last year, Sayyed Nasrallah rejected the accusations as baseless.

    "[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu immediately blamed Hezbollah of being behind the attack... But Israel doesn't wage a war as a reaction," H.E said in his speech. In this regard, Sayyed Nasrallah denounced some parts who believed this claim and base their measures on it, including Lebanese parts.

    The S.G. offered condolences over the martyrdom of the head of the Iranian Committee for Reconstruction of Lebanon, engineer Hessam Khoshnevis while he was on his way to Lebanon from Syria.

    He also saluted the Bahraini revolution, expressing hope that the national dialogue will achieve people's aspirations.







    =
    "We Have Done With Hope and Honor, We are lost to Love and Truth.
    We are Dropping down the ladder rung by rung;
    And the measurement of our torment is the measure of our youth.
    God help us; for we knew the worst too young."


    ~~~~Kipling~~~~

    http://ms.essortment.com/dutchmanflying_rrqy.htm
    ~~~ The Flying Dutchman~~~

  35. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Housecarl View Post
    There's a thin veneer of civil society in a lot of places we don't often think of. As for Brazil, with the run up to the World Cup and the continued push to control the semi-independent slums by the government from the gangs, expect to see more on this.

    Interesting factoid that many also forget is that Brazil has the complete nuclear fuel processing and refining cycle operational within the country, a very diverse and talented aerospace and defense industry and besides having a carrier, is talking about building its own SSNs (they already have good SSKs).
    Concur, HC... IF the US had any sense, it would be beating down their doors, doing ANYTHING to get Brazil allied with US... However, since when has the US been "smart" in the so-called "foreign policy" realm of good relations with foreign powers? I'm sixty-three, and The Dictator is hell-bent on throwing Israel to the wolves...

    Karma's a bitch- what comes around, goes around, and if we're not suddenly very careful, our collective asses will be under the grass...

    OA, out...

  36. #76
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    Historically, Iran has had Pakistan's back in conflicts with India. I wonder how much longer that may last?

    For links see article source....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...91G02J20130218

    Pakistan Shi'ites demand protection from militants

    By Gul Yousufzai
    QUETTA, Pakistan | Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:59am EST

    (Reuters) - Pakistani Shi'ites furious over a sectarian bombing that killed 85 people protested on Monday, demanding that security forces protect them from hardline Sunni groups.

    The attack, near a street market in the southwestern city of Quetta on Saturday, highlighted the government's failure to crack down on militancy in nuclear-armed Pakistan just a few months before a general election is due.

    While the Taliban and al Qaeda remain a major source of instability, Sunni extremists, who regard Shi'ites as non-Muslims, have emerged as another significant security threat.

    Shi'ite frustrations with waves of attacks on them have reached boiling point.

    In Quetta, some ethnic Shi'ite Hazaras are refusing to bury their dead until the army and security forces go after Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the group which claimed responsibility for the latest bombing.

    Around 4,000 men, women and children placed 71 bodies beside a Shi'ite place of worship. Muslim tradition requires that bodies are buried as soon as possible and leaving them above ground is a potent expression of grief and pain.

    Protesters chanted "stop killing Shi'ites".

    "We stand firm for our demands of handing over the city to army and carrying out targeted operation against terrorists and their supporters," said Syed Muhammad Hadi, spokesman for an alliance of Shi'ite groups.

    "We will not bury the bodies unless our demands are met."

    The paramilitary Frontier Corps is largely responsible for security in Baluchistan province, of which Quetta is the capital, but Shi'ites say it is unable or unwilling to protect them.

    LeJ has stepped up suicide bombings and shootings in a bid to destabilize strategic U.S. ally Pakistan and install a Sunni theocracy, an echo of the strategy that al Qaeda pursued to try and trigger a civil war in Iraq several years ago.

    The group was behind a bombing last month in Quetta, near the Afghan border, that killed nearly 100 people.

    In Karachi, a strike to protest against the Quetta bloodshed brought Pakistan's commercial hub to a standstill.

    Authorities boosted security as protesters blocked roads, including routes to the airport, disrupted rail services to other parts of the country and torched vehicles.

    The roughly 500,000-strong Hazara people in Quetta, who speak a Persian dialect, have distinct features and are an easy target.

    The LeJ has had historically close ties to elements in the security forces, who see the group as an ally in any potential war with neighboring India. Security forces deny such links.

    (Writing by Michael Georgy; Editing by Alex Richardson)


    Related News

    Pakistan faces growing anger over sectarian bombings
    Sun, Feb 17 2013
    Blasts hit Shi'ite districts in Baghdad, killing 26
    Sun, Feb 17 2013
    Bomb kills 64 in Pakistan's Quetta
    Sun, Feb 17 2013
    Syrian opposition won't talk to officials linked to crackdown
    Sat, Feb 16 2013
    Teen killed in protests on Bahrain revolt anniversary
    Thu, Feb 14 2013

    Analysis & Opinion

    Pakistan faces growing anger over Sunni militants killing Shi’ites
    Questions for Brennan on the kill list
    Last edited by Housecarl; 02-18-2013 at 02:24 AM. Reason: added comment and related articles

  37. #77
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    For links see article source....
    Posted for fair use....
    http://www.sudantribune.com/spip.php?article45559

    Saudi Arabia and Sudan hold first joint naval exercises

    Article
    Comments (12)

    February 17, 2013 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese Navy and Royal Saudi Naval Forces have conducted their first joint maritime military exercise.

    The disclosure was first made by the Commander of the navy base in Port Sudan, Admiral Magdi Sayed Omer who told Al-Sudani daily newspaper that “the joint exercises will continue until next Thursday”.

    He added that the drill comes in the framework of enhancing maritime diplomacy and Red Sea security.

    Omer stressed that the current maneuvers are the first of their kind and will form a starting point for joint efforts aimed at securing the Red Sea and strengthening relations between Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

    Later the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) spokesperson Colonel Al-Sawarmi Khalid Sa’ad told state news agency (SUNA) that the purpose of the joint exercise is to train the naval forces in both countries on combating the different kinds of smuggling.

    Col. Sa’ad added that Sawarmi said that this is the first exercise of its kind between Sudan and Saudi Arabia stressing that they will continue in the future.

    He said that Sudan received two Saudi ships along with an unspecified number of Saudi special forces and marines.

    Sudan’s controversial decision to allow two Iranian warships to dock at Port Sudan last October angered its Arab Gulf state neighbours, raising questions about the level of military cooperation between the two countries.

    The arrival of the Iranian warships coincided with the bombing of Khartoum’s Al-Yarmook military factory rumoured to be linked to Tehran, with the Sudanese government accusing Israel of the attack.

    Khartoum’s links with Tehran have been met with suspicion, particularly in the Gulf.

    The Saudi pro-government Al-Riyadh newspaper blasted Khartoum over the Iranian warships, questioning the logics behind the relationship between the two countries in a heavily critical editorial published that month titled “The fall of masks between Iran and Sudan”.

    “Bashir’s government resorting to a state that is in political and security odds with most Arab countries has no logical justification,” the newspaper said.

    The editorial accused the Sudanese government of “conducting naive policy”, saying it had turned the country, despite its enormous potentials, to a marginalised nation that is unable to attract Arab or foreign investors.

    The Sudanese army spokesperson told media at the time the arrival of the warships had nothing to do with the destruction of the Al-Yarmook facility, saying the visit was pre-planned before the airstrike and aimed at sharing military expertise.

    Khartoum also denied reports that suggested the arms factory was producing Iranian weapons.

    Last November, Sudanese foreign minister Ali Karti publicly criticised the government for allowing Iran’s naval warships to dock in Port Sudan, saying the government’s actions were hurting its relations with its Arab Gulf state neighbours.

    He also denied that the country received any request from Tehran to forge an alliance aimed at protecting the Red Sea.

    (ST)

  38. #78
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    For links see article source....
    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=24966

    Saudi Arabia: Activists accuse Saudi Govt in Qatif shootings

    18-02-2013

    Unknown gunmen opened fire on a prison and police targets in Saudi Arabia's Shia-populated Eastern Province, wounding a woman and her child, police and rights activists said on Sunday.

    The gunmen carried out three separate shootings in two Shia towns on Saturday, provincial police spokesman Ziad al-Rukaiti said.

    "The prison in Qatif came under fire from an unknown source," said Rukaiti, referring to the prison in the town of Awamiya in the Qatif district.

    Rukaiti said the shots directed at the prison were "followed by shooting at a police checkpoint" in Awamiya, and another shooting targeting a police patrol in a separate town.

    Gulf-based publication al-Jazeera al-Arabiya reported that riot police vehicles surrounded a roundabout in the city of Tarout which lies on the outskirts of Qatif. They then opened fire, allegedly to remove a Bahraini flag.

    Rights activists confirmed that an 18-year-old woman identified as Jasmine al-Saihaty and her two-year-old child "were wounded by random gunfire in Awamiya."

    Activist group Revolution of Eastern Provinces accused Saudi forces of being responsible for injuring Saihaty and her son, pointing to the secrecy surrounding their hospitalization.

    Since early 2011, mainly Shia towns in the Eastern Province have seen sporadic protests and confrontations between police and residents who complain of marginalization.

    Reports on social media seemed to indicate fears of further escalation of violence in the aftermath of Saturday’s shootings.

    There are an estimated two million Shia in the Sunni-dominated kingdom of around 27.5 million people.

    The unrest first erupted after violence between Shia pilgrims and religious police in the Muslim holy city of Medina in February 2011.

    The protests escalated when Saudi Arabia led a force of Gulf troops into neighboring Bahrain the following month to help crush Shia-led demonstrations in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

    (AFP, Al-Akhbar)

  39. #79
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    For links see article source....
    Posted for fair use....
    http://www.eurasiareview.com/1702201...ence-analysis/

    Red Line Limits For Sunni And Shia Sectarian Violence – Analysis

    By Brett Daniel Shehadey -- (February 17, 2013)

    Muslim sectarian violence may be approaching a red line threshold moving away from localized extreme sectarianism eroding national stabilities—like that of Syria and Iraq—to regional sectarian strife. The most frightening scenario is the unrestrained complete jihad between the two sects of Islam which would cross state boundaries, utterly destroy the Middle East, destabilize Central Asia and disrupt the world.

    A larger development is likely to happen under the following:

    1) A continued gradual intra-state violence and mistreatment of one or the other Islamic sect will set off a larger regional sectarian struggle (Current Context)

    2) Interstate rivalry and influence stirring the religious communities that gradually polarizes the two and pitches them against each other (Potential development)

    3) The highest religious leaders and icons issue a fatwa or calls for sectarian jihad (Potential Development)

    4) A crisis situation could become so unbearable for one or both sects that they blame each other for the failures (Potential Development)

    All things being equal, there is a clear worsening of relations between the two Islamic sects in the region that has led to two recent civil wars, local uprisings, abuse, targeted terrorism, and proxy power attempts. There is a future boiling point for the current contextual frame and any of the above triggers could start a larger transnational sectarian jihad—one that is either backed by states, religious leaders, dissidents, or all of the above. It is the Shia that have the most to lose but each conflict within the states is increasingly connected to the regional impact of their faiths.

    Iran is the strongest Shia dominated state. Other smaller states like Bahrain and Azerbaijan have Shia majorities while in Afghanistan, Yemen, Pakistan, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria, and Kuwait there are significant Shia minorities.

    Syria is the frontline, so to speak. Its Syrian Alawite rulers are Shia and make up only 12 percent of the population. They are engaged in a brutal civil war with the Sunni majority rebel forces, of which over 70,000 civilians have been killed.

    In contrast, Iraq was previously dominated by a Sunni minority population of around 20 percent led by Saddam Hussein, but Iraq is now in danger of majority Shia takeover after the ousting of his regime. Sectarianism in that country is a tri-party struggle of Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish populations. After what is documented as an “civil war”—picking up from 2006 past 2007—and in spite of US occupation— Iraq has been struggling to handle differences through the political process but the entire local situation hangs on a very delicate and perilous thread. Regional and international relations plays a major part as foreign terrorists and local Sunni insurgents continue to try and overturn the Nouri al-Maliki Shia-dominant government.

    Saudi Arabia and Iran serve as national exemplars of Sunni and Shia faiths, respectively. Both are historic centers to their faiths. They held multiple talks on the issue of sectarianism during the heated escalation in Iraq but the continuance of mistreatment and violence from various Sunni states and extremists against Shia communities is not a simple diplomatic matter.

    Iran’s recent overture to the shaky rule of Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi is more a geopolitical gesture against Israel. The two states are hardly friends, but Iran likes to keep ties with what they might want to see as Israel’s jailers: Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. These key strategic locations offer them the wishful thinking of some Israeli containment. At the very least, it is their attempt at Shia-Sunni solidarity against the “common enemy”. They are not ideological partners but unlike Saudi Arabia, the arch-rival of Sunni Islam, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sought to work with Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood as a potential soft face to Sunni Islam—unlike the Salafist Saudi Arabian government.

    Iranian key reasoning for sectarian concern in light of the rising wars and attacks: no other state will attempt to protect the Shia populations or their protection is insufficient. The Shia, being the minority in the Muslim world, have the most to lose in a further regional sectarian divide.

    Iran is certainly the only Shia state with the position and real obligation to protect and expand this variant of Islam. It falls on them to increase their presence within the minority Shia populations; and as they do—under the auspices of moral legitimacy, they will no doubt begin intelligence channels and weapons supply chains, as they did with Hezbollah. There is also the Iranian regional interest at play. This aims at the spread as well as the protection of Shia Islam within Sunni nationals—actions that will likely fuel greater regional sectarian fires.

    The Iranians have been supplying Bashar al-Assad’s regime for since the Revolution and even now into their civil war. Hezbollah is the Iranian Shia transplant in Lebanon since the 1982 Israeli invasion. Iran is also gaining influence in Iraq but the Iraqis do not want to become a vassal state. Iran could cooperate with a Shia dominated Iraq, however, at some point in the future and meddle into Sunni-Shi conflict in the immediate periphery.

    In Baghdad, an attack Sunday, targeting Iranian refugees, killed dozens and wounded at least 100 in a series of increased sectarian attacks against the Shia majority government. Brig. Gen Ali Aouni, who was head of the Iraqi Military Intelligence Academy, was killed only days ago by a Sunni suicide bomber.

    The latest attack in Quetta, Pakistan killing dozens and wounding a hundreds of Hazara Shia was led by Sunni terrorists Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, in Quetta, Pakistan. It is one of many and many more to come. That particular group has picked up its targeting of Shia in Balochistan province in last two months.

    Although, relations between the Iran and Pakistan have been fairly good recently with the planed economic projects like the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and further geopolitical cooperation, such ongoing sectarian targeting, mistreatment and killings in Pakistan or elsewhere that have little government resolution and even potential Sunni government sympathizers could in the future trigger an eventual Iranian reprisal of some kind. Iran condemned the most recent attack as an attempt of extremists but they well understand the many facets of Sunni radicals within the Pakistani security complex as well as the basic dangers and opportunities of holding Shia communities within such environments.

    Iran will continue to engage in greater transnational paramilitary operations as it has in Syria and Lebanon over the years. Iraq has also been a mainstay for their efforts. However, all of this will be done to the extent that it they are able—the US and partners have constrained and disrupted Iran’s connections through Sanctions, containment and low level military and intelligence operations.

    Nevertheless, Iran will seek to play a greater role at targeting Sunni extremists groups in the region and places if given constraints are lessened and in the response to radical Sunni attacks on Shia minorities. It will try to work with Sunni governments if possible. They will seek to establish greater ties and a stronger foothold within those Shia minorities through communications, intelligence and arms supply. A very distant consideration is the national wars ignited by these developments and reactions. Nevertheless, the meantime is riddled with a shift from national instabilities to religious instabilities across Central Asia.

  40. #80
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    http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/suda.../20130217.aspx

    Your Land Is My Land

    February 17, 2013: Abyei, always Abyei. That’s the Sudan-South Sudan dispute no African Union diplomat can untangle. The final determination of which side controls Abyei province and its oil is now the central issue dividing the Sudans. The Dinka Ngok tribe are the disputed area’s traditional inhabitants, and they look south to their ethnic and religious kin. If there were a plebiscite based on who lives in the region year-round, Abyei would end up as part of the south. Sudan (Khartoum government), however, insists that the Arabized Misseriya tribe (which favors the north, of course) should get a vote. The semi-nomadic Misseriya would migrate into and through Abyei in November and December, seeking water for their animals. For years the Dinka permitted the migration. However, the fighting that erupted in 1965 (First Sudan Civil War, 1965-1972) embittered the tribes. During the subsequent civil war, (Second Sudan Civil War, 1983-2005) many Abyei Dinka fled their homes. Some of the homes were abandoned, others were occupied by Misseriya. When Dinka Ngok began returning after the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, more disputes flared over property rights. The CPA incorporated two prior accords into the peace agreement, the Machakos Protocol (2002) and the Abyei Protocol (2004). The CPA stipulated that only residents (ie, Dinka Ngok) would get to vote in the plebiscite that would determine if Abyei would remain part of Sudan or become part of South Sudan. Sudan, however, points to a decision by the Abyei Boundary Commission (ABC) that the Misseriya have secondary rights in the region and has suggested dividing the region. Abyei town, which is the most important town in the region, is on the north bank of the Kiir River, which is the main water source. Southerners regard suggestions that the region be divided, with the land north of the Kiir going to the north and that south going to South Sudan, as a non-starter. Several Dinka Ngok chiefs have urged the UN Security Council to take “firm” action against the government of Sudan and force Khartoum to live up to the 2005 CPA.

    February 15, 2013: The International Criminal Court (ICC) has asked Libya and Chad to arrest indicted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visits their countries. The ICC then wants him extradited to face trial for war crimes committed in Darfur.

    February 14, 2013: Sudan claimed that there will not be a new round of fighting between it and South Sudan. One gets the impression that despite reports of new troop deployments by Sudan and South Sudan’s army, neither side will go to war. Sudan says that Sudan’s troop movements along the border involved anti-smuggling operations. The Sudanese forces were trying to stop arms shipments from the south which were intended for rebels in Sudan.

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