World Food Program
Changes in Kyrgyzstan 3-29-05 by R. J. MacDonaldRussia's Vladamir Putin seems to have gained the reputation of being an authoritarian, if not dictatorial, leader. There has even been the suggestion that he is motivated to reconstitute the old Soviet Union. Perhaps the main pivotal point of evidence is his reluctance to grant Chechnya it's independence. The cost to both Chechnian citizens as well as Russian soldiers may be something in the order of about 100,000 to 150,000 deaths (estimates vary.) It seems that Chechnya still has no intention of giving up it's fight towards independence. Not only is the fight a political and national one but, additionally, it has a religious-cultural in the fact that Russia's culture, including it's Christianity, does not share common ground with Chechnya's, a great percentage of who's population is Islamic. Not that religion or even culture is by any means a basis for political independence but that it serves as fuel on the fire in the drive of a people for independence and makes the contrary position one of greater apparent imperialism. The Soviet Union is no longer intact and so what would be the basis, other then raw imperialism, for Russia's hold on the country? The basis seems to be threefold in nature: 1) Chechyna has significant deposits of natural gas and oil, 2) the country borders the oil rich Caspian sea area and is thus strategically vital to Russian access and facilitation of that area's potential economic wealth 3) Putin and his colleagues are very likely well aware of the subtle competition in this area of the world bordering Central Asia for what may turn out to be enormous energy resources and that being the case at a time that is now close to peak oil and the looming future crisis for energy resources. There is a perception that the will of western nations is to keep Russia from it's intentions to expand and again become a quasi-empire with imperialistic control of other surrounding, smaller states. In the past three weeks the former Soviet satellite of Kyrgyzstan changed government with remarkable rapidity. President Askar Akaev was reportedly ousted on March 24th and is apparently now in Russia in company with President Putin, Kurmanbek Bakiev having taken over as prime minister. Akaev has been accused of false elections towards self-perpetuation in his job as President. Reportedly amid wide spread poverty in the country there has been government corruption and nepotism. That may have been the substance though upon which the fire burns but what seems to have fueled the fire is recent events that, are stated to have occured wherein Akaev had begun to favor or patronize President Putin in contradistinction to the US. Considered to be, after the Soviet breakdown, perhaps the most favorable of Central Asian nations towards the West, Kyrgyzstan, apparently sympathetic to the US in respect to the events of 9-11, allowed the US to establish a military base on it's soil. 'Immediately' afterwards so did Russia - interesting. This oddity had far deeper significance below the surface and it is not likely that Boris Yeltsin had seen that significance a dozen or so years ago. Kyrgyzstan had been part of Soviet Russia regardless of the Soviet Union's right to have imposed itself on that country. Additionally, Russian is an official language in Kyrgyzstan and approximately 18% of the population of Kyrgyzstan is Russian. It lies within the geographical sphere of Russia and shares a border with a significant ally of Russia, that is China, which in turn shares immense border territory with Russia - both of which facts are in complete contrast to the US. Why, it might be asked, had Russia been willing to allow Kyrgyzstan to achieve independence on one hand yet disallow Chechnya to do the same? Wealth - natural resources. Yet when The United States of America establishes it's presence, if only militarily, on Kyrgyzstan's soil then Russia wakes up. And the tide had turned furtherly in that reportedly of late Akaev had returned from a trip to Russia (Putin) to then, perhaps subsequently, to dissallow certain US planes on it's military base, that is to put restrictions on the US military presence. It may be that in the past decade the hypercritical realization of the pending oil crisis has been made increasingly more a cognitive item on the international scene, especially in respect to three of the biggest players, the US, Russia and China and coupled with the Russian-Chinese oppositional stand to the extreme act of US aggression against Iraq, that regarding Kyrgyzstan's allowance of US military presence, perhaps behind closed doors, to be deemed in hindsight a "mistake" has been mutually acknowledged by Russia and Kyrgyzstan. In relation to "resource wars" it can be seen that Central Asia with it's huge promise of oil and the US, with it's invasion into Iraq, a country of immense proven resources, reportedly second only to Saudi Arabia, are serious factors in the overall equation of who gets what. In fact the whole context of the middle and central east now has become a resource chess board with very serious international players contending for strategic positions. The manner in which Russia conducts itself in relation to these issues is generally more one-dimensional in contrast to the US's two-dimensional strategy. Secret service agents on the whole may be on the wane. Russia's hold on Chechnya is blatant and involves direct military force. The US on the other hand, once the first war had been fought with Iraq had perhaps exhausted everything, including it's nauseating and virtually psychotic references to "freedom" in order to gain and justify it's present hold on a country that is energy resource rich. Instead the US will apparently use economic leverage to acquire what it wants through manipulation of international law or in spite of international law and the format no longer seems to be the CIA as the subtle determining force but rather NGO's who mask themselves with references to "democracy" but who's work is essentially propaganda for the purpose of acquiring other people's (other nations's) sovereign resources either directly or through market manipulation and exploitation. There is reason to believe that NGO's can do the bidding of the cumulative complex of governments administrations, their intelligence organizations and their politically affiliated multinational corporations - that is, they can fund and informationally support groups who's purpose is aligned to western interests and which intent runs counter to established governments, if those governments are instrumental in excluding or curtailing foreign economic interests through investment and "open" markets. In short and simple terms NGO's may now be engaged in destabilizing work on foreign territory and may have had a part in the change of government in Kyrgyzstan. US imperialism seems to operate at a more sophisticated level than contemporary Russian imperialism but it is nonetheless real in it's ruthless effects. In fact the abomination of Iraq - litterally the invasion of a country for it's assets and inclusively to negate the threat of Iraq moving to the Euro, it's blocking of the US from internal competition with other nations for it's oil resources and the relative exclusion of the US in respect to Iraq's geo-politically strategic position in the Middle East, testifies to that. Evidence suggests that the US no longer operates on the old model of imperialism or, shall we say, imperialistic conquest, which is relatively cumbersome and probably less cost effective. It appearently operates on the basis of a new covert activity which activity seems to have been taken to the quasi-street level of the NGO's of "goodwill" which organizations may mask themselves as being champions of "democracy." No doubt there are good and sincere organizations of which "Amnesty International" may be a case in point but one such as "Freedom House" with it's associated membership, one of which critical members has been implicated in war profiteering (as well as having been in a top CIA position) is quite worthy of doubt in respect to motive. That new socio-economic level is largely corporate in structure and function where it "counts" and those corporate interests are associated with the political powers that will not just support them in turn administratively but share common ground financial interests as well, perhaps even to the point of being involved in the same business interests or companies, directly or indirectly. The old cold war has ceased to be and the simple capitalist-communist model, as an on-going functional frame of reference has been largely disgarded as a direct frame of referrence and unfortunately a new type of "cold war" seems to be emmerging that is based essentially on energy resources. Economies do not serve power politics as much as power politics serve economies - economic realities unfortunately seem, too often, to be the bottom line. The reason for the attraction that the US has for Kyrgyzstan is quite simple, it is not for it's limited resources - of which Kyrgystan has little - but rather for it's geopolitical position militarily in respect to the much broader sphere of international influence and power in the very critical region of Central Asia. It is not that Oligarchic powers ought not to be remooved, if only by non-destructive evolutionary forces, but that the changes that that are introduced ought to be truly for the people of that nation in contradistinction to being intended for the gains of foreign countries and foreign interests. The harvest, as always, will accord to the seeds that are sown. That Putin may have accepted the new leader, Bakiev, even after having reportedly stated that the official leader of the country should be respected is not, in the least, a surprise, in light of the quick patching up that had taken place in the Ukraine after Putin's choice of leaders had been denied. What else is Putin to do? Sulk? He is a very skilled politician and with little harm done he will simply carry on in a spirit of realistic compromise and acceptance of the inevitable. Besides Chechnya and the hypersensitivity that that may create both morally and politically he does not need any other additional enemies east of Moscow. It ought to be kept in mind the the end never justifies the means. Certainly Kyrgyzstan may be in real need of real democracy, that is an administration by the will and for the people of Kyrgyzstan. But if the composite complex of the political and corporate West reckons that it can use "democracy" as a means for it's own gain, however that might manifest and at what expense that might be in relation to any particular segment of the diverse Kyrgyz populace, then there will be no surprises if, via counteractive forces, an even greater unrest comes into play later. And it may only be a matter of time, in the spirit of democracy and liberty indeed that any undue weight via the presence of a foriegn force, specifically the US military, might be felt to be symbolically uncomfortable as time passes. Keeping in mind that Kyrgyzstan is an Islamic nation by virtue of it's population (75%) it may come to pass that the presence of the US military may become less than welcome. But with a population of which is 18% Russian it is would very likely not the the same case for Russia. Could one nation be played against the other? Hopefully not but time will tell.
The 3 Amigos, Martin, Fox and Bush 3/24/05
According to the CBC Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has signed an agreement with President Fox of Mexico and President Bush of the USA on Wednesday in regards to security, trade and public health issues. The agreements includes the increasing of border security, integrated approaches to cargo inspections and maritime and aviation safety. Apparently referred to as "The Security and Prosperity of North America agreement", it's aim is purportedly to compete with the European Union and China, which country may have the most rapidly developing economy in the Asian Pacific region, another major economic power block besides the ever-emerging European Union. The agreement aims "to standardize business regulations" and to make border crossing easier for business, something that, if anything, would have become more difficult post 9-11. That public health in respect to the three constituent countries was an issue is no surprise in light of BSE, for one thing, perhaps especially in that it must inevitably address the economically critical issue of cross border importing of beef, not to mention other issues such as the agricultural threat of Bird Flu - perhaps a future concern. The references to "partnership" and continental success are quite clearly considered to be of strategic importance relative to global-regional power blocks that are either overtly or subtly forming over the globe. Obstacles to cohesive, cooperative relations between the three countries are likely to be minimized given the political importance for a strong and clearly recognized partnership and alliance towards North American "unity" and solidarity. Three notable obstacles are the US ban on the imports of Canadian beef, Canada's rejection of the US's North American Plan for ballistic missile defense and the mutual position taken by Mexico and Canada against the invasion of Iraq. Bush's reference to "positive relationships" despite disagreements is one that has probably formed out of a no-alternative economic squeeze where economic alliances seemed to have much to do with geopolitical positions and geographical proximity's, perhaps at times at the "expense" of political ideologies. If tensions are minimal between the three countries at present, that is as some type of "unity" is attempted, then a different scenario may arise later when the hardball issues such as hardwood lumber exports between Canada and the US may arise where international trade laws may be seen to be compromised for the sake of self-centered economic gain. That remains to be seen.
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Militants clash with Saudi security forces in the Kingdom RJ MacDonald 4-4-05
According to online news sources (CBC, BBC) about 7-9 suspected al-Qaeda militants have been killed in a shoot out with Saudi security forces of which 35 police officers have been wounded. Apparently police have cornered several militants in the Jawazat district which is considered to be a stronghold of Islamic fundamentalism. Saudi security forces have been in opposition to Islamic militants in respect to suicide bombings, kidnappings and gun battles which reportedly have occurred since May of 2003. According to the BBC this is the 3rd day of fighting between security forces and militants. Apparently about 10 militants are still holding out. Reportedly Abdulkarim al-Mejjati and Saud Homoud, who were on a list of 26 suspects wanted by the government, are now dead. Mejjati, apparently had been an Moroccan, has been linked to bombings in Casablanca in May of 2003 as well as the Madrid train bombings of last year. Reportedly grenades have been used and security vehicles damaged. The militant groups are said to be targeting foreign workers in the kingdom as well as the government.
Blair follows Bush defence of war
THE coalition must stick it out in Iraq and take pride in its role in exporting democracy to the region, Tony Blair will say today in a major foreign policy speech.
Cold War echo in Belarus vote
BELARUS became a diplomatic battleground between the West and Russia last night, with the EU and US declaring Sunday's presidential elections flawed and Vladimir Putin congratulating the winner.
Cyclone clean-up as wildlife in waters poses new danger
A MASSIVE clean-up operation was under way today after Cyclone Larry, the worst tropical storm to hit Australia in more than 30 years, ripped through northern Queensland.
General strike call to halt youth job legislation
DOMINIQUE de Villepin, the French prime minister showed no sign of backing down over his controversial youth labour law yesterday despite facing an ultimatum from powerful union leaders threatening a general strike.
Violence reignited in Gaza
JUST a day after submitting its Cabinet list to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas yesterday got a sharp taste of the challenges ahead as gunmen rampaged in the Gaza Strip and the European Union made clear it was not backing off from...