Saturday, December 31, 2011
Friday, December 30, 2011
Paul said that Iran would be justified in responding to sanctions by blocking the Straits of Hormuz, adding that the country blocking the strategically important strait is “so logical” since they have no other recourse.
He then compared the situation to China blocking off the Gulf of Mexico to trade.
“I think the solution is to do a lot less a lot sooner, and mind our own business, and we wouldn’t have this threat of another war,” Paul said.
Paul made the comments to a crowd of 100 people in Perry, Iowa, the first stop on his two-day campaign swing through the western part of the state.
The Texas congressman is not backing down from his view that a strike on Iran would cause economic hardship at home.
“If the Straits of Hormuz close, this whole financial thing could come down on our head. What would happen if oil doubled in price within a month or two?” Paul asked a crowd in Atlantic, Iowa.
Thursday was a tough day for Paul, beginning with a scathing editorial in the New Hampshire Union-Leader calling the Texas congressman a “dangerous man” who has been consistently spouting “nonsense,” adding, “it is about time New Hampshire voters showed him the door.” More
What is the general discourse on water scarcity and related crises in the Indian and Pakistani media? The study conducted by Samir Saran (ORF) and Hans Rasmussen Theting, scrutinised the media coverage on water on three specific themes – the political discourse, water governance and people, practice and environment.
Titled ‘Reimagining the INDUS: Mapping media reportage in India and Pakistan’, the study found that the Indus Water Treaty (IWT) does not dominate the reportage in Pakistan, indicating a low level of discontentment or critique. It also found that it is only in the months of winter, when the water flow is low, that inter-country dispute between India and Pakistan, and significant negative sentiment against India, gets attention in Pakistan. But in the Indian media, Pakistan only appears during spring months. More
The study, now published in the form of a book, found that agricultural concerns and inter-provincial disputes dominate media reportage in Pakistan while in India media lays greater emphasis on urban water concerns and interventions, including ground water and domestic consumption.
The study also showed that media reports in both the countries, Pakistan more than India, recognise the need for the two countries to cooperate on water issues. From the study, it was also clear that in both India and Pakistan, there is equal emphasis on the aspects of water governance and infrastructure. More
As you contemplate that question, you realize there are several conditions that would have to be met in order for any advice you gave not to be rejected immediately and categorically, if not by the supreme leader himself then by others in the regime who have a say in shaping policy. Whatever step you recommend would have to be politically feasible, which also means being psychologically feasible for the leader, for other Iranian policy makers and for the Iranian public. There also would have to be some mechanism for reaching an understanding or agreement with the Americans, given that ending the U.S.-led pressure would be the whole purpose of changing policy. Closely related to that last requirement, you would also need to point to good reason to believe that if Tehran did change policy, the United States would indeed end the pressure.
After carefully reflecting on all this, you would have to decide that—as long as the policies and discourse you hear coming from the United States remain as they are—the requirements cannot be met. The United States has made it almost impossible for Iran to say yes to whatever it is the United States is supposedly demanding of Iran. You quietly drop the idea of recommending to the supreme leader any change of policy. More
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Monday, December 26, 2011
Specifically, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. James N. Mattis, U.S. Central Command Commander directed ISAF Commander Gen. John Allen to implement the following corrective actions as soon as operationally possible:
“The strongest take-away from this incident is the fundamental fact that we must improve border coordination and this requires a foundational level of trust on both sides of the border,” said Gen. Mattis. More
Sunday, December 25, 2011
The talks, which are resuming after a gap of four years, indicate that the dialogue process between India and Pakistan is back on track.
CBMs on conventional weapons will be discussed on Monday, while nuclear weapons will be discussed the next day.
The talks are not ambitious in their scope, and the two sides are expected to talk about expanding conventional CBMs to include incidents at sea. This was necessitated after Indian and Pakistani ships brushed past each other in 2010, which could have gotten ugly. There will be more talks on facilitating trade and movement of people across the Line of Control, and some military issues. Pakistan has moved over 100,000 troops from its border with India to fight the war on terror along the border with Afghanistan.
On nuclear CBMs, while India and Pakistan notify each other on ballistic missile launches, cruise missiles remain outside this arrangement. Secondly, the two countries may even discuss the issues of nuclear safety, especially in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan, which has prompted a safety rethink all over the world. On January 1, India and Pakistan will again exchange lists of nuclear installations, probably the oldest India-Pak CBM that has survived. More
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Dinner hosted by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute on the occasion of the Twenty Sixth Anniversary of SAARC
The US military has admitted it bears significant responsibility for last month's air strike on the Afghan border that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
A statement said US and Afghan troops acted in self defence, but conceded there had been a lack of proper co-ordination with Pakistani forces. BBC correspondents say the admission is expected to embarrass the US military.
In retaliation for the killings, Pakistan has closed its border with Afghanistan, cutting Nato supply lines.
There was no immediate response from Pakistan to the findings of the US investigation. Pakistan, a vital partner in the fight against militants in the region, has demanded a formal US apology.
In the statement the US once again expressed its deepest regret for the "tragic loss of life" caused by the air strike in Mohmand tribal agency on 26 November. "Inadequate co-ordination by US and Pakistani military officers operating through the border co-ordination centre - including our reliance on incorrect mapping information shared with the Pakistani liaison officer - resulted in a misunderstanding about the true location of Pakistani military units," it said.
US Department of Defense
We cannot operate effectively on the border... without addressing the fundamental trust still lacking between us”
"This, coupled with other gaps in information about the activities and placement of units from both sides, contributed to the tragic result."
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal with more details, US and Afghan commandos made a series of mistakes on 26 November.
They incorrectly concluded there were no Pakistani forces in the Afghan border area where the coalition was conducting an operation - which cleared the way for a Nato air strike that devastated Pakistani positions.
After the initial strike, the US compounded its mistake by providing inaccurate data to a Pakistani military representative at a border co-ordination centre, missing an opportunity to stop the fighting.
The report says the 150-man US and Afghan commando team came under attack from positions along a ridge. The team requested a show of force from the air, wrongly understanding from a radio transmission from Nato that there were no Pakistani military in the area. More
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
“The thing about us,” a Pakistani official told me, “is that we are half emotional and half irrational.”
For a relationship that has oscillated for decades between collaboration and breakdown, this has been an extraordinarily bad year, at an especially inconvenient time. As America settles onto the long path toward withdrawal from Afghanistan, Pakistan has considerable power to determine whether the end of our longest war is seen as a plausible success or a calamitous failure. There are, of course, other reasons that Pakistan deserves our attention. It has a fast-growing population approaching 190 million, and it hosts a loose conglomerate of terrorist franchises that offer young Pakistanis employment and purpose unavailable in the suffering feudal economy. It has 100-plus nuclear weapons (Americans who monitor the program don’t know the exact number or the exact location) and a tense, heavily armed border with nuclear India. And its president, Asif Ali Zardari, oversees a ruinous kleptocracy that is spiraling deeper into economic crisis. More
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The U.S. Air Force is sending a single copy of a brand-new stealth drone to Afghanistan. Only maybe notjust Afghanistan.upgrade of the iconic armed Predator and Reaper — is heading to Afghanistan as a combat-capable “test asset.” The Air Force said in a statement that it loves how the Avenger’s “internal weapons bay and four hardpoints on each wing,” will give it “greater flexibility and will accommodate a large selection of next generation sensor and weapons payloads,” as reported by Zach Rosenberg at Flightglobal.
Problem is, you don’t really need those things in Afghanistan. Weapons bays are for stealth: most warplanes don’t have them. And it’s not like the Taliban has been firing radar-guided missiles at NATO aircraft. Besides, there are already dozens of armed drones in Afghanistan. One more isn’t going to make much of a difference.
Which begs the question: Is the 41-foot-long Avenger really meant for Afghanistan? Or is it destined to patrol over Afghanistan’s unruly neighbors, Iran and Pakistan, both of which do have radar-guided missiles? That was a job assigned to the Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel before one of those dronescrashed in Iran two weeks ago. We’re sure the Air Force has a few more RQ-170s to throw at Iran and Pakistan. After all, the elusive ‘bots have been spotted in Afghanistan, South Korea and Japan. But the Avenger, which debuted just two years ago, is newer and more capable than the Sentinel, which is widely believed to be a product of the early 2000s.
The Avenger reportedly carries a ground-mapping radar and the same ultra-sophisticated cameras as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, making it a perfect candidate for quietly snooping above, say, suspected nuclear facilities or terrorist camps guarded by air-defense radars and missiles. And for a psychological impact, there’s nothing like an advanced, armed stealth drone to put a dent in Iran’s swagger after Tehran captured an apparently intact RQ-170. More
Friday, December 9, 2011
Barely two weeks after a NATO helicopter disaster killed 24 Pakistani troops, the skies above the Afghanistan-Pakistan border may get even more dangerous. The State Department’s Islamabad embassy is hiring a contractor to coordinate air operations along the border to stop the flow of drugs and insurgents.Just what a tense situation calls for.aviation adviser” will oversee both the State Department’s “fleet of … aircraft” in Pakistan, which isn’t very often discussed, and provide “aviation support” to the Pakistani Frontier Corps, which patrols the tribal areas. The “end game” of the adviser’s mission is “interdicting the movement of illegal drugs, arms and people across the border,” not exactly a diplomatic specialty.
It’s unclear what kind of aircraft the State Department has in Pakistan. It’s also unclear whether State will help the Frontier Corps maintain its own aircraft or actually provide air support for the corps, a much more dramatic step. Either way, the department’s call for the “aviation adviser” comes at a time when U.S. generals accuse the Frontier Corps of helping insurgents attack U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
Judging from a contract solicitation released on Thursday, the aviation adviser’s life in Pakistan will be a rugged one. The adviser “must be able to independently perform fieldwork in remote areas for extended periods without assistance,” the contract reads. “Some field sites have been declared hazardous duty locations by the Department of State due to hostile activities of armed groups within Pakistan and therefore pose significant risk to the incumbent while at these sites.”
And the operations themselves do not sound very diplomatic. The Frontier Corps has long possessed a mandate to stop the flow of drugs across the border — and performed pretty badly, from the U.S.’s perspective. Not only is the border porous for insurgents, but two Pakistani factories produce a total of400,000 metric tons annually of ammonium nitrate, a material commonly found across the border in Afghan homemade bombs.
Into that breach steps contractors for the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. In the past, the bureau has provided aviation support in Colombia, another partner nation racked by narcoterrorism. In Colombia, the bureau merely trained the Colombian military in air operations; judging from the job solicitation, missions in Pakistan sound more, um, direct.
It also comes at the intersection of two trends. First, the State Department is beefing up its security contractor presence in Pakistan: It put out a call last week for Pakistani embassy guards. Second, the relationship between Washington and Islamabad is spiraling downward after last month’s helicopter accident, with the very Frontier Corps that the aviation adviser will work with getting yanked off the border.
State is about to send even more security contractors into that hostile environment. What could possibly go wrong? More
Thursday, December 8, 2011
A three person delegation from SASSI attended. The delegation consisted of Khadija Sharief and Shakir Baacha from the Islamabad office and Nick Robson from the London headquarters.
|Shakir Baacha and Nick Robson with the Pakistani Delegation to the OPCW|
Monday, December 5, 2011
AUSTRALIA will have to consider selling uranium to Pakistan in the future after agreeing to export it to India, according to nuclear expert Dr Ziggy Switkowski.
But he said that “down the line that will need to be considered”. “Pakistan is handicapped by its less than impressive history in the whole nuclear space, having traded nuclear secrets to unstable regimes, in Iran, in Libya and North Korea,” he said.
“It also has a miniscule civilian nuclear power program - I think they have two reactors. “So, at this stage it is very much a hypothetical. “But over time, as they gain the confidence of the international community and the civilian nuclear program builds, they will need to be considered.”
Pakistani High Commissioner to Australia Abdul Malik Abdullah said Pakistan should also be able to buy Australian yellowcake. “If Australia is going to lift the ban on a country which has not signed NPT it is much hoped that will also apply to Pakistan the same way,” he told ABC radio.
Mr Abdullah said Pakistan has not made a request to buy Australian uranium, but this could change in the future. “In that case we will hope that we will also be treated at par with other non-NPT signatories,” he said. More