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Showing posts from January 17, 2014

Iraq’s Maliki says he has asked for weapons from U.S., will also seek training for troops

THAIER AL-SUDANI/REUTERS - Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, shown Jan. 12, said he is “satisfied that we will achieve victory against al-Qaeda.”

By Loveday Morris and Ernesto Londoño, Published: January 16 | Updated: Friday, January 17, 1:05 AM

BAGHDAD — Iraq has asked the United States for new arms to beat back the dramatic resurgence of al-Qaeda-linked militants in a western province and would like U.S. troops to train its counter­terrorism forces, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in an interview Thursday.

The Iraqi leader said he provided the wish list after a phone call with Vice President Biden on Tuesday. U.S. officials said it might be easy to deliver those weapons, which include assault rifles and artillery, to Baghdad soon.

Some is on hand, and we can supply it quickly,” a senior American diplomat said Thursday, speaking on the condition of anonymity to be candid.

The request for stepped-up U.S. assistance is adding urgency to a debate over the types of weapons that Wash…

U.S. Government Helped Rise of Mexican Drug Cartel: Report

Mexican newspaper reveals secret arrangement between DEA and Sinaloa cartel

By Per Liljas

- "Time" - The U.S. government allowed the Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel to carry out its business unimpeded between 2000 and 2012 in exchange for information on rival cartels, an investigation by El Universal claims.

Citing court documents, the Mexican newspaper reports that DEA officers met with top Sinaloa officials over fifty times and offered to have charges against cartel members dropped in the U.S., among other pledges.

Dr. Edgardo Buscaglia, a senior research scholar in law and economics at Columbia University, says that the tactic has been previously used in Colombia, Cambodia, Thailand and Afghanistan.

“Of course, this modus operandi involves a violation of public international law, besides adding more fuel to the violence, violations of due process and of human rights,” he told El Universal.

Myles Frechette, a former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, said while that the problem of drug tr…

The Special Ops Surge- America’s Secret War in 134 Countries

By Nick Turse

January 16, 2014 - They operate in the green glow of night vision in Southwest Asia and stalk through the jungles of South America. They snatch men from their homes in the Maghreb and shoot it out with heavily armed militants in the Horn of Africa. They feel the salty spray while skimming over the tops of waves from the turquoise Caribbean to the deep blue Pacific. They conduct missions in the oppressive heat of Middle Eastern deserts and the deep freeze of Scandinavia. All over the planet, the Obama administration is waging a secret war whose full extent has never been fully revealed -- until now.

Since September 11, 2001, U.S. Special Operations forces have grown in every conceivable way, from their numbers to their budget. Most telling, however, has been the exponential rise in special ops deployments globally. This presence -- now, in nearly 70% of the world’s nations -- provides new evidence of the size and scope of a secret war being waged from Latin America to the b…

Science's Impact on Nanotechnology and the Energy Industry

The interior of an advanced microscope used to observe objects on a nanoscale. (Kristian Molhave/Wikimedia)


The potential of science to advance technology -- and therefore empower those who wield it -- has been a constant throughout history, much like the geographical constraints that shape the actions and attitudes of nations. Select technologies, such as the development of motorized transport, have changed the relationship between humans and their immediate surroundings. The field of nanotechnology is one such area that has the potential to dramatically alter the ways in which people and organizations interact with their environment.

Advancements in basic science allow for a better understanding of key processes, providing a solid foundation on which to develop and build new technologies. For manufactured systems that exploit chemical reactions, like fuel cells, batteries or solar panels, this foundation starts with an understanding of the mechanism itself -- the chemical rea…

Russia: The Economics of Moneylending

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) and Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban (R) speak during a meeting at Putin's residence outside Moscow, on January 14, 2014. (YURI KOCHETKOV/AFP/Getty Images)


Despite its strained economy, Russia is reverting to its common tactic of issuing loans to achieve some of its diplomatic and political goals. On Jan. 13, former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin warned that the government's decision to extend a $15 billion loan to Ukraine from Russia's National Wealth Fund poses a risk to Moscow's portfolio, noting that without economic reform, Ukraine will find it difficult to repay the loan. The day after his warning, the Russian Finance Ministry announced that Russia's Reserve Fund lost 25.57 billion rubles (some $765 million) in December, while the National Welfare Fund lost 22.15 billion rubles. Though lending money to neighbors may appear financially irresponsible at this time, it is actually a calculated mov…