• Asia Times Online :: Sep 2, ’14
    Obama’s ’stupid stuff’ legacy
    By Pepe Escobar


    (...) After dabbling briefly with “leading from behind” - a non-starter - Obama finally went Mackinderesque with his stellar “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” foreign policy doctrine.

    Nevertheless, an always alert former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” isn’t a “foreign policy organizing principle”. Yet “Stupid Stuff” is all that the Obama foreign policy team knows how to do.

    Starting with Obama treating Russia under President Vladimir Putin the way Hillary’s husband treated Russia under vodka container Boris Yeltsin. Then came the decision - without any public debate - to start bombing Iraq all over again. And soon Syria. Bombs Away in Syraq!

    So “protect” Yazidis, yes. Protect Gazans, no. “Protect” Kiev’s bunch of neo-Nazis, fascists and shady oligarchs, yes. Protect Russophones in Eastern Ukraine, no.

    It all started with protecting Irbil - already protected by Sumerian goddess Ishtar for millennia. Then protecting Irbil and Baghdad. Then protecting all “strategic” sites in Iraq.

    Retired General Carter Ham of AFRICOM/"We came, we saw, he died" fame, was adamant that it will be “very difficult” to pull off so much protecting with only a few fighter jets. So drones will be needed. And troops on the ground.

    From protecting ExxonMobil and Chevron to double bombing in Syraq. No wonder the Return of the Living (Neo-Con) Dead are so excited. It’s the Greater Middle East all over again. And guess who will be part of the coalition of the willing to fight the Caliph? Britain, Australia, Turkey, Jordan and Gulf Cooperation Council stalwarts Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

    Almost the same bunch (five among seven) that enabled the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the first place, from “Assad must go” to “good” and “bad” jihadis, and finally to ISIS (now the Islamic State) configured as the sprawling abode - complete with flush private army - of Caliph Ibrahim.

    And no, there’s no strategy. Hee haw! (...)

  • Abbas, in protocol of Doha meeting: PA will give Israel authority of West Bank if border talks fail - Diplomacy and Defense Israel News | Haaretz
    By Jack Khoury | Sep. 1, 2014 |

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly told Israel that if negotiations with the United States about establishing a Palestinian state within the 1967 lines fail, he will transfer responsibility of West Bank lands to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    The report emerged Monday in the Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, citing transcripts of a meeting in Doha between Abbas and Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. The newspaper published a photograph of the document, which appeared to come from the emir’s office.

    According to the published protocol, Abbas conveyed this messages to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a meeting with an unnamed Israeli defense official in his Ramallah offices around two weeks ago.

    Abbas reportedly told his counterparts at the Doha meeting that he told the Israeli official: "The peace process failed after 20 years, so our new strategy is that the United States and Israel agree to establish a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital in a limited amount of time, and that both sides immediately begin determining the borders.

    “If both sides agree,” Abbas continues, "we will continue the talks about the rest of the core issues. And if not, we will take the following measure: Cessation of the security coordination and transfer of responsibility for PA territory to Netanyahu, who will bear the responsibility for them.”

  • the most incompetent Health Minister in the history of post independence Africa

    Miatta Kargbo Recalled to State House

    #santé #ebola #sierra_leone


    President Koroma is the type of leader you need in a country which is completely disaster free, a country where the only role the ministers play is to praise the President and shower him with superficial platitudes. (...)

    President Koroma is so indecisive that he will take two months just to appoint a cabinet, only to appoint people like Miatta Kargbo who are simply clueless or other characters with dubious backgrounds and shady credentials.

    la fiche wikipedia du président Ernest Bai Koroma:

  • US and Europe escalate provocations against Russia - World Socialist Web Site


    The European Union summit held in Brussels over the weekend was a major escalation of the aggression by the Western powers against Russia, raising the specter of full-blown war in Europe and even a nuclear war between NATO and Russia.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, the business oligarch and leader of the right-wing regime installed by the Western powers in Kiev, set the tone for the summit. He urged the EU to take a tougher stance against Russia, which he accused of “military aggression and terror.”

    #ukraine #russie

  • Is a Houthi takeover of Sanaa in the works ?

    – Al Arabiya News 2014/08/31/I Dr. Theodore Karasik

    In recent weeks and days, the Houthis have marched into the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, and made their intentions clear. Tens of thousands of Houthi supporters have been rallying in the capital for a second week, setting up tents near ministries and sending their armed men to take positions on rooftops. The moves alarmed Yemini security authorities and prompted Yemeni President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi to order the deployment of Special Forces to the capital. The Houthis are seeking to take over the city in a power play that portends dramatic consequences for the near future of the country and for the rest of the Arabian Peninsula region.

    The Houthis waged a six-year insurgency in the north against former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh that officially ended in 2010. After Saleh’s ouster, they have fought ultraconservative Islamists in several northern locations. Over the past weeks, the Houthis battled and defeated the Muslim Brotherhood group and its political arm, the Islah party.

    The crisis between Hadi and the Houthis is destabilizing the country. Recently, Hadi said the power transition in the country is at the stake as the Houthis continue to mobilize their supporters to protest and threaten to topple the government by force. While the Houthis are considered a political partner and participated in the national dialog conference process, the Houthi, specifically the Hashid tribal coalition, are using the confrontation with Hadi to make political gains. For them, Hadi is a transitional figure and his implementation of oil subsidy reforms plus the six-region Yemeni federal plan, are drivers that help the Houthis gather more support. In addition, the Houthis are attempting to be the main force in the country and take control of policy making in Sanaa. Clearly, tribal politics in Yemen are going to trump external efforts to influence the outcome in Sanaa.

    The Houthis possess a well-thought out plan for taking Sanaa. They dug a tunnel near Saleh’s property in an assassination attempt as Saleh still represents a substantial amount of influence in the capital. In a statement published by the state-run Saba News Agency, the Supreme Security Committee, headed by Hadi, said that “the security apparatus began investigating the matter and found a tunnel dug inside a warehouse to the north of Saleh’s house on Sakher Street in the capital.”❞

  • Ukranian News - Putin Calls Ukrainian Authorities To Start Negotiations On Ensuring Statehood Of Country’s South-East

    President Vladimir Putin of Russia calls Ukrainian authorities to start negotiations on the issues of ensuring statehood of the south-east of the country, Russian TV Channel Dozhd [Rain] has announced about the statement the Russian President made in an interview to the programme Sunday Time (Channel One).
    “It is necessary to immediately proceed to substantive, meaningful negotiations, and not on technical questions but on the issue of political organisation of the society and statehood in the south-east of Ukraine for the purpose of unconditional ensuring of the legitimate interests of the people who live there,” claimed Putin.
    He also notes that armed hostilities in the south-east of Ukraine must be ceased immediately and to begin restoring infrastructure.
    Also Putin advises Western countries since the support the West provides to Ukrainian authorities to ponder on European democratic values and ideals.
    As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Putin calls the rebels in the east of Ukraine to form a humanitarian corridor for the encircled Ukrainian servicemen.
    Ukraine rests the responsibility for loss of life and the humanitarian situation in Donbas on Russia.

  • Syrian rebels strengthen hold over Israel border region
    Senior Israeli official says rebels currently don’t pose a threat to Israeli security.
    By Amos Harel and Jack Khoury | Aug. 31, 2014 Haaretz

    Syrian rebel groups strengthened their hold over the Syrian side of the Quneitra Crossing — located on the frontier between Syrian and Israeli controlled parts of the Golan Heights – over the weekend and managed to repel attacks by Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

    The rebels kidnapped dozens of Fiji soldiers, members of the UN observer force stationed in the Golan Heights and are maintaining a siege on a second UN stronghold manned by Philippine soldiers. Officials in the Israeli security services said that it is a relatively moderate militia, the Free Syria Army, that controls the Syrian side of the border crossing, and that the Nusra Front, which is affiliated with Al-Qaida currently pose no threat. Despite this, Israeli forces in the Golan Heights are on relatively high alert due to the recent developments.

    Some 300 members from different groups participated in the taking of the Quneitra Crossing. This varied force was led by the Free Syria Army and with only a small number of Nusra Front members. The government forces that held the crossing before sustained losses in life and retreated to the north to areas controlled by the government. Over the weekend the Syrian army conducted several artillery barrages on the crossing area and tried to retake the area unsuccessfully. Israeli security officials characterized this attempt as "pathetic.”

  • Une collecte (fructueuse) d’argent, une vision tunnélaire (le monde vu à travers le seul prisme géopolitique), et ça donne un Obama plein d’espoir pour « le monde » (comprendre l’ordre dominant orchestré aux Etats-Unis),

    Acknowledging “the barbarity” of Islamist militants and Russia “reasserting the notion that might means right,” Obama, though, dismissed the notion that he was facing unprecedented challenges.

    “The world’s always been messy ... we’re just noticing now in part because of social media,” he said, according to a White House pool report.

    “If you watch the nightly news, it feels like the world is falling apart,” said Obama.

    The president acknowledged that conflicts in the Middle East posed difficulties, “but it’s been challenging for quite a while,” he said.

    “We will get through these challenging times just like we have in the past,” Obama added.

    The president, looking to strike a reassuring tone, argued that American military superiority has never been greater and that the U.S. still held advantages over potential international rivals like China.

    The event, held at the home of Robert Wolf, an occasional Obama golf partner and former president of UBS Investment Bank, was the second of three fundraisers the president was slated to attend on Friday. Tickets to the event began at $15,000 per couple, and around 250 supporters were in attendance.

  • Antonov toujours en crise…

    Antonov CEO clings to job as crisis deepens at aircraft firm

    On Aug. 4, employees of Antonov, a state-run aircraft engineering firm, staged a protest near its headquarters on Kyiv’s Tupoleva Street after the government dismissed company president Dmytro Kiva on May 26.

    Kiva was replaced with Sergiy Merenkov, a former Antonov employee and principal expert on the An-140 cargo and passenger model.The decision came from the Industrial Policy Ministry, a unit within the Cabinet of Ministers that is currently being merged with the Economy Ministry.

    On Aug. 1, Merenkov tried entering the company’s corner office, but security guards didn’t let him in.

    Kiva a bien verrouillé son affaire…

    Kiva has muddled three (executive) positions at Antonov – general director, president and chief constructing engineer – occupying all of them so it would be impossible to dismiss him. He made the management system extremely complicated,” a Cabinet member told the Kyiv Post, requesting anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly on the issue.

    Kiva, whose son Oleksandr Kiva is his deputy, retained Roman Marchenko, a senior partner at Ilyashev & Partners law firm, to help him stay in office.

    Il a le soutien du collectif de travail.

    Et certaines des critiques des libéraux modernisateurs sont carabinées…

    Ilia Kenigshtein, senior partner at Hybrid Capital, a venture fund, has often criticized the generation of Soviet-era managers who still run companies today, referring to them as “red directors.

    I’m glad that epoch of inarticulate collective farm managers is coming an end in the big-money sector. They’ve never changed their Soviet attitude, they’ve always been wearing rural-style Brioni suits and black patent leather shoes with white socks and clap (their hands) during private concerts of Russian pop-music star Philip Kirkorov,” he says.

    Rendez-vous compte !
    Pierce Brosnan wearing a Brioni suit
    photo © Brioni

    Brioni Suits | Bond Lifestyle

    Brioni suits are worn by Pierce Brosnan in all of his Bond movies and by Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. Brioni, a famous Italian bespoke house, was introduced to Bond by costume designer Lindy Hemming in the movie GoldenEye. In the book Dressed to Kill - James Bond The Suited Hero, Lindy Hemming explains that she wanted a company capable of tailoring in the Savile Row manner, and - because of GoldenEye’s tight shooting schedule - could produce a lot of suits very quickly. She also wanted something that that was sheer luxury, unmistakably synonymous with expensiveness. In GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough and Die Another Day, Bond wears Brioni suits, often combined with a Turnbull & Asser or Sulka tie and Church’s shoes.

    After the Brosnan Bond era, Daniel Craig continued the new Brioni tradition in Casino Royale. Craig wore a charcoal gray Brioni suit, at the London press conference announcing his role of Bond in Casino Royale, and in the movie he wears Brioni as well.

    Voici donc Kiva (à g.) en costume de directeur de kolkhoze.
    President of Tatarstan Republic is viewing the modern ANTONOV aircraft
    (sur le site d’Antonov)

  • Just How Far Will the Empire Strike Back ?


    j’ai justement évoqué cette possibilité [de continuité territoriale] dans un post seenthis un peu plus tôt ce matin [et foreign Policiy parle ici d’axe d’expansion...]

    Throughout the crisis in eastern Ukraine, a persistent mystery has complicated efforts to resolve a standoff that has erupted into open warfare: What does Russian President Vladimir Putin want?


    In the last two days, Russian troops have attempted to relieve pressure on their separatist allies in Donetsk and Luhansk by opening what amounts to a third front south of the two breakaway cities. On Wednesday, Ukrainian troops, who had been steadily advancing on separatist forces in the east, beat a hasty retreat from Novoazovsk, where they were routed by troops and armor streaming across the Russian border. Novoazovsk lies a mere 20 miles from the southeastern port city of Mariupol, a city of 500,000.

    #ukraine #russie #crimée

  • The Fall of France - NYTimes.com

    Paul Krugman sur la situation politique en France. Décapant.

    Let it not be said, however, that he is entirely spineless. Earlier this week, he took decisive action, but not, alas, on economic policy, although the disastrous consequences of European austerity grow more obvious with each passing month, and even Mario Draghi, the president of the European Central Bank, is calling for a change of course. No, all Mr. Hollande’s force was focused on purging members of his government daring to question his subservience to Berlin and Brussels.

    It’s a remarkable spectacle. To fully appreciate it, however, you need to understand two things. First, Europe, as a whole, is in deep trouble. Second, however, within that overall pattern of disaster, France’s performance is much better than you would guess from news reports. France isn’t Greece; it isn’t even Italy. But it is letting itself be bullied as if it were a basket case.

    Why, then, does France get such bad press? It’s hard to escape the suspicion that it’s political: France has a big government and a generous welfare state, which free-market ideology says should lead to economic disaster. So disaster is what gets reported, even if it’s not what the numbers say.

    And Mr. Hollande, even though he leads France’s Socialist Party, appears to believe this ideologically motivated bad-mouthing. Worse, he has fallen into a vicious circle in which austerity policies cause growth to stall, and this stalled growth is taken as evidence that France needs even more austerity.

    It’s a very sad story, and not just for France.

  • Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating - Centre Tricontinental - CETRI


    Debunking 8 Myths About Why Central American Children Are Migrating

    ‘Lax enforcement’ is not the culprit—U.S. trade and immigration policies are.

    by David Bacon

    The mass migration of children from Central America has been at the center of a political firestorm over the past few weeks. The mainstream media has run dozens of stories blaming families, especially mothers, for sending or bringing their children north. The president himself has lectured them, as though they were simply bad parents. “Do not send your children to the borders,” he said in a June 27 interview with George Stephanopoulos. “If they do make it, they’ll get sent back. More importantly, they may not make it.”

    #migrations #asile #enfance #amérique_centrale

  • Obama Wants New ISIS War Plan ASAP - The Daily Beast

    One huge unanswered question is whether the president will order the attacks, or whether he will ultimately balk, as he did this time last year after preparing for limited strikes against the Bashar al-Assad regime. One administration official working on Syria policy said the purpose of the meetings Tuesday was “to convince one man, Barack Obama,” to follow through on the rhetoric and widen the aims of the war to include destroying ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. While Obama and his top officials have said they will need to address the threat of ISIS on both sides of the Iraq/Syria border, Obama has not said specifically what that means.

    Unlike in Iraq—where U.S. airstrikes are closely coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces on the ground—the Obama administration has not yet consulted with ISIS’s opponents in Syria about possible strikes.

    The ISIS threat metastasized so quickly, the U.S. doesn’t even have confidence that it could locate top ISIS leaders and strategic assets if the president decides to go. The administration’s sudden urgency comes after years of avoiding direct intervention inside Syria, making the prospects of conducting effective attacks much more difficult.

    Former State and Defense Department official Vikram Singh added, “The advantage of taking action against ISIS on both sides of the now nonexistent border is that acting solely on one side of the border will have much less impact, if any… The downside is that you find yourself inadvertently helping Assad.”

    #isis #iraq #syria #usa #assad

  • Abbas announces Israel-Gaza ceasefire | Maan News Agency

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday announced a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

    In a short televised address, Abbas said the agreement would go into effect at 7 p.m.

    “We confirm complete appreciation to the Egyptian efforts which started long ago seeking to satisfy all sides. Qatar also played a role in that. We also would like to mention that (US Secretary of State John) Kerry was also in touch with us for the same purpose and so we thank all those who played roles,” Abbas said.

    “We discussed several necessary things with Hamas leaders in Qatar in order to enable the national consensus government to do its job,” he continued."

    "During these 50 days or more, we exerted every effort to provide our people with the supplies they needed. Some supplies were from us and others from our friends. But still this isn’t enough. ... People in Gaza need a lot more. Quick support is needed to try and heal the wound which was inflicted on Gaza.

    “The question is now ’What’s next?’ Gaza suffered three wars and are we expecting another one? We will consult friends and the international community, and we can’t continue with ’cloudy negotiations,’” he said.(...)

    Senior Hamas offial: Israel agreed to open Gaza crossings
    Published today (updated) 26/08/2014 20:55

    BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israel has agreed to open Gaza crossings to allow the flow of humanitarian aid and construction material, senior Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouq said Tuesday.

    Speaking to Ma’an, Abu Marzouq added that three more Gaza crossings will be operated in addition the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings, which are already operating.

    Asked about the fishing zone, he said that Gaza fishermen would be allowed to reach as far as 6 nautical miles and the zone would be increased gradually until it is 12 nautical miles by the end of 2014.

    Reconstruction of the war-torn Gaza Strip will be discussed during a conference in Egypt next month, added Abu Marzouq. The Palestinian national consensus government will be in charge of implementation.

    The Hamas official added that the ceasefire agreement was sponsored and would be monitored by Egypt only.

    Another round of negotiations will start a month from now to discuss unresolved issues, Abu Marzouq said.

    Furthermore, Israeli, European and American restrictions and opposition to money transfers to Gaza for salaries for employees of the former Hamas-led government in Gaza have been cancelled. The national consensus government is supposedly working on proceedings to arrange payment of salaries.

    Abu Marzouq pointed out that Israel agreed to stop targeted assassinations of resistance activists and said that a ceasefire agreement could have been reached earlier if Israel agreed to this demand sooner.

    As for the Rafah crossing, Abu Marzouq said Egyptian and Palestinian officials would meet soon to discuss what is needed to open the crossing permanently.

    The Gaza buffer zone has also been removed, he added.

  • Abbas to ask UN to set timetable for Palestinian state along 1967 lines

    Haaretz reported earlier Sunday that Abbas is planning to announce a major diplomatic initiative this week, which sources in Ramallah say will entail asking the world powers and United Nations — including the International Criminal Court — to take responsibility for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Abbas was speaking to Egypt’s Sada El Balad television station after meeting with President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi on Saturday. Abbas said he would present his proposal to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who will be visiting the region this week or next. Abbas said he would insist on the initiative, even though the U.S. administration would not like it.

    Abbas has not been in a hurry to take this route despite pressure from Palestinian splinter groups. He said he had broad support in the Arab world and that over the next few days he would discuss the issue with other Palestinian leaders.

    Abbas’ associates are not giving details on the plan but say the Palestinian leaders will meet Tuesday to hear about Abbas’ meetings over the weekend in Qatar and Egypt.

    “We’re working on two levels that do not collide — the political and the internal,” a source close to Abbas told Haaretz.

    Domestically, Abbas can suggest a new election or cooperation among the Palestinian groups until the election. This could win the groups’ support by reviving the Palestine Liberation Organization and bringing in Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Abbas might also ask the Palestinian leadership to choose a successor.

    Last week Yasser Abed Rabbo, a key member of the PLO Executive Committee, said the model for negotiations under the sponsorship of one country was finished. He said the era of Kerry’s shuttle diplomacy had ended.

    Abed Rabbo added that the international community had to take responsibility for what was happening in the territories, restrain Israel and end the occupation.

  • On est moderne ou on ne l’est pas : le « roi du chocolat » annonce la dissolution du parlement sur Twitter.

    Ukraine president signs decree to dissolve parliament ahead of election | Reuters

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed a decree on Monday to dissolve parliament, he said on a Twitter post, paving the way for a new election.

    “I have decided to prematurely end the authority of parliament,” he wrote.

    Under the law, the election must be held within 60 days of the decree being published, which could mean an election being held at the end of October.

  • Military hardware rolls from parade in Kyiv to anti-terrorist operation area


    The military hardware that was involved in the Aug. 24 parade on the 23rd anniversary of Ukraine’s independence in Kyiv has headed to the area of the anti-terrorist operation in the country’s east, the press service of the Ukrainian president says.

    Le matériel qui défile et va rejoindre l’Ukraine orientale est flambant neuf. Il semblerait qu’il s’agisse des BTR3E1 initialement destinés à la Thaïlande…

    Royal Thai Army’s BTR-3E1 APC during acceptance ceremony. (Photo : Army Technology)


    As reported by the chief editor of Ukrainian web-resource Tsenzor.Net Yuri Butusov, “for three weeks more than 30 new Ukrainian BTR-3E near Kiev are not in motion. These armored vehicles were built by order of Thailand, but due to the war, delivery was suspended.” 
    Based on available information, it is a part of 32 series machines BTR-3E1 for Thailand of SE “Kiev armored plant” has passed the preliminary acceptance of the spring of 2014. Reminding that the contracts in 2007 and 2011 to be delivered to Thailand total 233 BTR-3E1 and machines based on them, of which in 2010-2013 were shipped, according to different sources, from 142 to 153 units. (BMPD)

    • Pour le modèle plus récent (BTR4), les livraisons à la Garde nationale sont constituées des rejets des commandes à l’export… (article d’avril 2014)

      Ukraine National Guard to receive BTR-4s - IHS Jane’s 360

      The Ukraine National Guard will soon receive 74 new armoured personnel carriers, national defence industrial group Ukroboronprom announced on 2 April 2014.

      The National Guard was formed by Ukraine in early March in response to the Crimean crisis and subsequent stand-off with Russia. It is reported to have a target strength of 60,000, comprised in large part of reservists, and is backed by a USD700 million rise in the country’s defence budget.

      According to the Ukroboronprom announcement, the National Guard will imminently receive 74 of a planned 100 vehicles built by the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB).

      Ukraine’s new National Guard is set to receive BTR-4 armoured fighting vehicles Source : Ukroboronprom

      Ukraine is keen to emphasise its efforts to create and bolster the National Guard with new equipment - which would otherwise effectively be a paper force.

      However, the quantity, designations, and availability of the vehicles points to them being vehicles rejected and returned by export customers. To date, Ukraine is only known to have ordered 10 BTR-4 vehicles, although the type’s only known export customer, Iraq, ordered 420 in 2009.

      Iraq has, however, complained about the quality of the BTR-4s it has received, with issues reported to have been found with the first batch of vehicles’ 30 mm ZTM-1 autocannons. These issues are understood to have eventually been resolved, with Iraq reportedly happy with the second batch of vehicles.

      However, the third batch of vehicles, understood to include around 40 vehicles, was returned to Ukraine after cracks were reportedly found in the vehicle’s hulls. Given the similarity in the number of BTR-4s in the returned Iraq shipment and the Ukraine delivery, it appears likely that the vehicles destined for the Ukraine National Guard come from this returned batch. The readiness of the vehicles for delivery also appears to confirm this, with it taking around two years to build an APC such as the BTR-4 from order to delivery. With the vehicle type only in mass production for Iraq it is highly likely that the vehicles either come from a future part of the Iraqi order, or - more likely - the returned shipment.

      Additionally, the designations of BTR-4 variants Ukroboronprom refers to match the variants of those ordered by Iraq. In particular the usage of the BTR-4E designation, understood to be reserved for the export version of the BTR-4, would appear to confirm that these vehicles were originally destined for export.

  • #Tony_Blair gives Kazakhstan’s autocratic president tips on how to defend a massacre - Telegraph

    Human rights activists accuse Mr Blair of acting “disgracefully” in bolstering Mr Nazarbayev’s credibility on the world stage in return for millions of pounds.


  • Judith Butler · No, it’s not anti-semitic: the right to criticise #Israel · LRB 21 August 2003

    When the president of Harvard University declared that to criticise Israel at this time and to call on universities to divest from Israel are ‘actions that are anti-semitic in their effect, if not their intent’, he introduced a distinction between effective and intentional anti-semitism that is controversial at best. The counter-charge has been that in making his statement, Summers has struck a blow against academic freedom, in effect, if not in intent.


    To understand Summers’s claim, we have to be able to conceive of an effective anti-semitism, one that pertains to certain speech acts. Either it follows on certain utterances, or it structures them, even if that is not the conscious intention of those making them. His view assumes that such utterances will be taken by others as anti-semitic, or received within a given context as anti-semitic. So we have to ask what context Summers has in mind when he makes his claim; in what context is it the case that any criticism of Israel will be taken to be anti-semitic?


    It may be that Summers [was saying] that the criticism will be exploited by those who want to see not only the destruction of Israel but the degradation or devaluation of Jewish people in general. There is always that risk, but to claim that such criticism of Israel can be taken only as criticism of Jews is to attribute to that particular interpretation the power to monopolise the field of reception. The argument against letting criticism of Israel into the public sphere would be that it gives fodder to those with anti-semitic intentions, who will successfully co-opt the criticism. Here again, a statement can become effectively anti-semitic only if there is, somewhere, an intention to use it for anti-semitic purposes. Indeed, even if one believed that criticisms of Israel are by and large heard as anti-semitic (by Jews, anti-semites, or people who could be described as neither), it would become the responsibility of all of us to change the conditions of reception so that the public might begin to distinguish between criticism of Israel and a hatred of Jews.


    The point is not only that Summers’s distinction between effective and intentional anti-semitism cannot hold, but that the way it collapses in his formulation is precisely what produces the conditions under which certain public views are taken to be hate speech, in effect if not in intent. Summers didn’t say that anything that Israel does in the name of self-defence is legitimate and ought not to be questioned. I don’t know whether he approves of all Israeli policies, but let’s imagine, for the sake of argument, that he doesn’t. And I don’t know whether he has views about, for instance, the destruction of homes and the killings of children in Jenin which attracted the attention of the United Nations last year but was not investigated as a human rights violation because Israel refused to open its borders to an investigative team. If he objects to those actions, and they are among the ‘foreign policy’ issues he believes ought to be ‘vigorously challenged’, he would be compelled, under his formulation, not to voice his disapproval, believing, as he does, that that would be construed, effectively, as anti-semitism. And if he thinks it possible to voice disapproval, he hasn’t shown us how to do it in such a way as to avert the allegation of anti-semitism .

  • Years of living dangerously

    Yesterday, the Islamic State released footage of the beheading of American journalist James Foley, who was captured in Syria two years ago. The group also says it may execute another American journalist depending on the next moves of President Obama.

    Reuters reports that the gruesome decapitation video seemed to suggest that the Islamic State was opening a new anti-U.S. front that could result in attacks on U.S. interests or even American soil. “The stronger the war against the States gets, the better this will help hesitant brothers to join us,” said one Islamic militant.

    Iraq has by far been the most dangerous country for journalists over the past two decades, with 165 journalist deaths there since 1992.


    #infographie #journalisme #presse #décès

  • Iran’s president one year on, by Ahmed Shaheed

    Last year the Iranians elected Hassan Rouhani as president. His popularity along the campaign trail was predominantly related to a fundamental domestic issue — restoring respect for the rights of all Iranians. Shortly before people voted, Rouhani presented himself as the most committed reformist candidate and said: “All Iranian people should feel there is justice. Justice means equal opportunity. All ethnicities, all religions, even religious minorities, must feel justice,” and “anyone who wants to speak in a society should be able to come out, speak their mind, criticize and critique without hesitation and stammering.”

  • Russian Ambassador : We will reach agreement on Mongolian issues | The UB Post

    Zuunii Medee spoke frankly with with I.K.Azizov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Mongolia, ahead of President Putin’s upcoming state visit, and discussed bilateral relations and upcoming negotiations.
    We have only two neighbor countries and our citizens have always shown a fondness for Russia. Even now, we use the term “brothers”.
    It’s probably a tradition from the Soviet Union. I know that in Asia, fraternity is designated as older or younger brothers. I guess that the word “brother” is respectful, but I prohibit using this term, because I don’t want to insult Mongolians by saying something domineering, like “You’re our younger brothers and we are your older brothers.” Therefore, we can’t define our current relations this way.

    Réponse très diplomatique, sachant qu’effectivement il y a deux mots frère en mongol selon qu’il s’agit du grand frère (ах) ou du petit frère (дүү)…

    Mongolians are expecting so much from Putin’s visit. For example, setting gas lines from Russia to China through Mongolia. Of course, the Ulaanbaatariin Tunkhaglal (UB Declaration) is an important document. However, we can’t see improvements to economic ties and investment issues. We haven’t implemented any major economic projects. Do you think we will establish an agreement on a project which could be an economic boom?
    We have been looking for chances to strengthen our friendly relations. I don’t agree with you that there have been no improvements to bilateral relations since 2000. If we want to use the term “boom”, cancelling 97.8 percent of Mongolian debt can apply. This set the Mongolian economy free and positively influenced drawing in external investment for multilateral projects.
    Then will the issue on setting up a gas line through Mongolia be approached again? Or has it already been decided that the gas line from Russia to China will not pass through Mongolia?
    As President Putin said, setting the gas line to the east is already obvious, but it won’t pass through Mongolia. Also, we are planning to set up a gas line to China in the west. We are actively discussing the operation of those gas lines with the Chinese side.
    What is your opinion on bilateral visa exemptions?
    We have information that from Mongolia to Russia, 600,000 people travel in duplicated numbers, whereas from Russia to Mongolia, it’s 100,000 people. From our experience, we’ve noticed that after exempting visa requirements, the number of travelers surges. If we reach this agreement on visa exemption, then multilateral relations will improve in business, humanity, culture, science, education, sport and tourism.

    Pas de #gazoduc à travers la #Mongolie

  • Handmaiden to Africa’s Generals
    AUG. 15, 2014

    Très bon article qui malheureusement et comme trop souvent et malgré des décennies de recul, présente les choses comme si les intentions des #Etats-Unis, bien que pavant le chemin de l’enfer, étaient bonnes. Sans compter l’énormité consistant à réclamer plus de rôle pour l’#USAID.

    Because Mr. Obama is committed to scaling back the deployment of United States troops to combat terrorism, America’s security strategy in Africa translates largely into training and equipping African armies. Although this approach rightly gives African governments the lead in tackling their own security problems, it is misguided nonetheless. It is, in effect, providing foreign tutelage to the militarization of Africa’s politics, which undermines peace and democracy throughout the continent. America’s diplomacy is becoming a handmaiden to Africa’s generals.

    Consider two countries riven by different kinds of conflict and ask yourself what they have in common. On the one hand, there is South Sudan. By African standards, it is not a poor country. It has vast oil resources, and as soon it became independent from Sudan, three years ago, government spending per capita was about $350, four times the average for East African states. It also received the most generous international aid package of any country in East Africa — the equivalent of another $100 per capita. But the government spent about half of its budget on its huge army. And many of its 745 generals proceeded to make fortunes thanks to payroll fraud and procurement scams.

    According to President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, $4 billion in public funds were plundered by government ministers. When Mr. Kiir shut out his political rivals from the club of kleptocrats, fighting broke out. Various commanders and party bosses then mobilized supporters through ethnic militias, bringing a sectarian dimension to a conflict that was inherently about the distribution of public resources.

    Then there is #Nigeria. Its political leaders, generals and businessmen — who are often all those things at once — have grown wealthy on oil money, while much of the population lives in deep poverty. Health and education services are inadequate, and the government faces widespread outrage about corruption. Small wonder that the Islamist militants of Boko Haram, who espouse austere forms of Shariah justice, are able to recruit disaffected young men and that the Nigerian army struggles to find combat-ready units to counter them.

    One thing South Sudan and Nigeria have in common is systemic #corruption and a military #elite that controls politics and business. The civil strife in South Sudan and the jihadist insurgency in Nigeria are largely symptoms of those deeper governance problems. Another thing South Sudan and Nigeria have in common is vast American support. In 2006-2013, the United States government spent up to $300 million to support the South Sudanese army. Nigeria has long been one of Washington’s biggest defense-cooperation partners.

    Even as conventional military threats have declined throughout Africa, overall military spending on the continent has grown faster than anywhere else in the world. And these military budgets often hide big black holes. In Uganda, according to local journalists, some funds officially dedicated to the salary of army personnel who turned out not to exist have been used by President Yoweri #Museveni to reward generals loyal to him.

    When political crises occur, the American government’s response is to privilege military measures, and local governments know it. For example, the ongoing peace talks in South Sudan have focused more on dispatching Ethiopian, Kenyan and Rwandan troops under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a regional organization, and less on addressing the root causes of the conflict. In the absence of a durable political solution to the underlying crisis, this is a high-risk move; it could suck the whole of northeast Africa into South Sudan’s war.

    The overall approach violates the first principle of peacekeeping: Never send a peace mission where there is no peace to keep. The risks of getting embroiled are especially high when the troops deployed come from a neighboring country. What’s more, the very governments that propose to serve as mediators may have a conflict of interest: They stand to gain from dispatching their soldiers, especially if the mission is funded by contributions from United Nations members.

    Counterterrorism assistance has a better track record reinforcing bad government than rooting out extremists. Repression by dictators like #Idriss_Déby in Chad or #Blaise_Compaoré in #Burkina_Faso has been tolerated because their governments have supplied combat troops for operations against jihadists in the #Sahara. Meanwhile, #Kenya has experienced more terrorist attacks since its army moved into Somalia in 2011 to fight the radical Islamist group Al Shabab. After the attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi last year, Kenya’s army and police indiscriminately targeted Muslim communities — generating resentment among those groups and potentially more recruits for the militants.

    Fifteen years ago, when African leaders set up their own peace and security system within what later became the African Union, they tried to balance diplomacy and armed enforcement. In case of a conflict, they would hold negotiations with all parties; sending in peacekeeping troops would only be a fallback option. But Western countries like the United States and France have tended to favor military approaches instead. During the civil war in Libya in 2011, a panel of five African presidents, established by the African Union and chaired by Jacob Zuma of South Africa, proposed letting Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi go into exile in an African country and then setting up an interim government. But the plan was spurned by NATO, which preferred regime change by way of foreign intervention.

    The Obama administration is aware of the dangers of supporting armed forces in Africa. At the U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, Mr. Obama announced a new Security Governance Initiative to help professionalize six African militaries and promote their being subjected to civilian oversight. This is a step in the right direction, but it is a very small step. Only $65 million has been earmarked for that program, compared with $5 billion for counterterrorism cooperation.

    Washington has the means to do much more. A single aircraft carrier has a crew as large as the entire American diplomatic service posted abroad. The cost of developing the fleet of F-35 stealth fighter planes could fund the State Department, the #U.S._Agency_for_International_Development and all United Nations peacekeeping operations for nearly 20 years. Security in Africa will not be achieved by giving more power and money to African military forces. It will be achieved by supporting diplomacy, democracy and development.

    Alex de Waal is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University. Abdul Mohammed is the chairman of InterAfrica Group, an Ethiopian civil society organization.

    #militarisation #Afrique #sécurité #diplomatie #développement #démocratie #Sud_Soudan #Ouganda #OTAN #France