Syria: President Bashar Asad Monday called for a battle against Wahhabism, the political and religious theology embraced by the Saudi Arabian government that backs the Sunni uprising against his regime.
“President Assad said that extremists and Wahhabi thought distort the real Islam, which is tolerant,” state news agency SANA reported. He underlined the role of men of religion in fighting against Wahhabi thought, which is foreign to our societies, according to Asad.
Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative Muslim tradition, which is predominant in Saudi Arabia and whose intolerant precepts govern Saudi religious, civilian and political life. It is a sect of Sunni Islam, whose leaders profess has no sects.
Given the amount of confusion that has existed about the role of external actors in Venezuela, the article seeks to present the key facts and data regarding Chinese loans, oil investment and other support to the Venezuelan petroleum sector, in the context of Indian and Russian activities in the sector as well. I would like to offer my sincere thanks to a number of experts in the Venezuelan petroleum, financial, and other sectors who shared their knowledge and dedicated the time so that I could get the story right.
Dr. Evan Ellis is a professor of national security studies, modeling, gaming and simulation with the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University, with a research focus on Latin America’s relationships with external actors, including China, Russia and Iran, as well as work on populism in the Andes, transnational criminal organizations and gangs in Mexico and Central America, energy security, and non-traditional national security topics. Dr. Ellis has published over 50 works, including the 2009 book China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores, as well as articles in national security, finance, and technical journals.
Gordon Duff first reported in Veterans Today another financial scandal motive for the Repubs wanting to hold up Obama Care. New regulations were going into effect to stop the cross collateralization of insurance company reserves, who are all owned by banks, so they could be market traded. The sums involved were astronomical.
“The Obama Care issue is about ‘funds in management.’ The health insurance industry, through investment banks and hedge funds, accounts for 35% of the entire investment capital of the United States.
This sector has been totally unregulated with, not just individual policyholders but industries and government forced to subsidize a health care Ponzi scheme where in some cases fewer than 3% of policy premiums were paid back in benefits.”
The relative decline of America’s military, economy and soft power has led to new possibilities for restructuring leadership. Russia, India and China have been grasping at these new horizons.
The Asian Age, 22 October 2013
Two back-to-back diplomatic summits this week between India and Russia, followed by India and China, are manifestations of an altered world order where major non-Western actors are pooling resources and strategies. Although Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are exclusive of each other and bilateral, they play into a broader dynamic of intensifying linkages and coordination that has ushered in a world with multiple power centres.
While the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) formulation has captured attention over the last decade, a parallel “RIC” grouping comprising just Russia, India and China has existed since 1996. RIC was the first front that sparked questioning about the unipolar, US-dominated international system of the post-Cold War years. More explicitly anti-American coalitions like the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) arrived after RIC had sown the seeds of a multipolar world.
India-Pakistan-Kashmir: Pakistani press reported no Indian artillery fire across the Line of Control in Kashmir on Monday and Tuesday this week for the first time in weeks. It also reported that cross-border truck traffic has been normal through at least one crossing point on the Line of Control.
Comment: Since the killing of five Indian soldiers on 6 August, Indian artillery shelling and gunfire across the Line of Control have been daily. A lull in shelling could be an important step towards normalizing political contacts, but it is too soon to call this a lull. Thus far Pakistan has not provided an explanation for the ambush on the 6th.
Iraq: A wave of coordinated bombings in mainly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad on 28 August killed 86 people and wounded 263, according to police and medical sources. Bombings also occurred in two other Iraqi cities.
Comment: Surges in bombing attacks are becoming twice weekly occurrences in Baghdad, according to press reports. Those on the 28th appear unusually concentrated and well-coordinated.
Afghanistan: President Karzai’s spokesman said Wednesday that Afghanistan has suspended Bilateral Security Agreement talks with the US and that Afghanistan will not pursue peace talks with the Taliban unless the United States steps out of the negotiations.
The spokesman explained President Karzai took the action because of a contradiction between what the US says and does.
Comment: The Afghan government judges it has been betrayed by the US in agreeing to talks with the Islamic Emirate. Afghanistan said no such entity exists. It was told the Doha office was only for negotiations.
Qatar said the Taliban betrayed their promise to open only a political office of the Taliban. Qatari authorities were persuaded to force the Taliban to take down their flag and their Islamic Emirate plaque. The US said the Afghan government had been kept fully informed.
Pakistan: Pakistan’s National Assembly on Wednesday formally elected Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. Sharif, 63, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-N, was elected by an overwhelming majority. He received 244 of the 317 votes cast by assembly members. Many parties voted en bloc for Nawaz Sharif to curry favor with the new government.
President Zardari administered the oath of office at President House.
Prime Minister Sharif delivered a brief speech on the floor of the National Assembly after his election. He said, “The chapter of drone attacks on the country’s soil should now be closed. As we respect others’ sovereignty, ours should also be given respect. This campaign must come to an end.”
He also addressed Pakistan’s many problems. In Churchillian fashion, he said he would not make attractive promises to the masses nor talk about any imaginary heaven on earth. He openly sided with the productive forces of the country agriculture, industry and exports, as the keys for economic revival. He said he would tolerate no corruption and nepotism and that the doors of dictatorship had been closed forever.
The only foreign country mentioned was China. The Prime Minister said he would form a study group to work on establishing a rail link to western China from Karachi and the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar via the Khunjerab Pass in the north. He plans to give free port status to the Chinese built and now managed new port of Gwadar in western Pakistan.
China-India: Chinese media reported that India and China have agreed to start a dialogue on Afghanistan. An “in-principle” agreement on official-level dialogue has been reached and dates for the first meeting are being worked out.
Earlier this week, Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon travelled to Moscow for the first three-way dialogue between India, Russia and China on Afghanistan in an effort to build on common security concerns. At present, India has an institutionalized dialogue on Afghanistan only with the US.
Comment: The news commentary noted that China first offered India a wider dialogue on South Asia in general. India declined to hold talks about what it considers its sphere of influence with its primary competitor.
Afghanistan is different because India and China share an interest in preventing the return of the Taliban or another extremist Islamist regime. India was a primary backer of the Northern Alliance tribes that fought the Pashtun Taliban before the US intervention in late 2001.
As for China, Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime allowed terrorism training for Uighur Islamic separatists from Xinjiang, China, and rejected Chinese inducements to terminate it. China is Pakistan’s most important ally, but Pakistan also did nothing to stop the Uighur training by the very Taliban regime that Pakistan supported.
The Cairo Review of Foreign Affairs, February 10, 2013
Speaking to diplomats, businessmen and journalists at the British Foreign Office in November, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia emphasized the need for “norms and principles” in resolving disputes in the South China Sea. Why did President Yudhoyono, who was spending a week in London at the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II as the first leader to visit Britain during the year of her Diamond Jubilee, feel that he had to bring up the South China Sea disputes at such a time? After a member of the audience asked what Indonesia, the leading nation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could do if China did not share his views, President Yudhoyono recalled what he had said to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a summit conference in Bali and again to Chinese President Hu Jintao at a meeting in Beijing: without forward movement on a Code of Conduct (CoC) for the South China Sea, the whole region could “easily become a flashpoint.” He added that the two Chinese leaders had concurred with his assessment. President Yudhoyono added, however, that he had become quite concerned after ASEAN foreign ministers failed to reach a CoC agreement at a meeting in Cambodia in July 2012. He did not mention the role played by China in getting the Cambodian government to sabotage the pact. He only said that since then, Indonesia has done its utmost to bring about a consensus among ASEAN nations on the issue. He also did not mention the fact that at an international conference on “Peace and Stability in the South China Sea and the Asia Pacific Region” held in Jakarta in September, most of the participants expressed pessimism as long as China continued to exert military and economic power in area within the U-shape line demarcating its self-declared zone of sovereignty.
China-India; China warned India to stop oil exploration in the South China Sea after the Indian Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Joshi, said he was prepared to send Indian naval ships there to protect its interests.
India’s state oil company, ONGC, is exploring three oil blocks close to the disputed Spratly Islands – known as Nansha Islands in China – in partnership with the Vietnamese government, which claims sovereignty over the collection of 45 tiny islands and atolls, along with China, Taiwan, Brunei, Malaysia and the Philippines.
China told Vietnam on 6 December to stop unilateral oil exploration in disputed areas of the South China Sea and to not harass Chinese fishing boats, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.