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Showing posts from January 30, 2014

Policing Urban Violence in Pakistan


Endemic violence in Pakistan’s urban centres signifies the challenges confronting the federal and provincial governments in restoring law and order and consolidating the state’s writ. The starkest example is Karachi, which experienced its deadliest year on record in 2013, with 2,700 casualties, mostly in targeted attacks, and possibly 40 per cent of businesses fleeing the city to avoid growing extortion rackets. However, all provincial capitals as well as the national capital suffer from similar problems and threats. A national rethink of overly militarised policy against crime and militancy is required. Islamabad and the four provincial governments need to develop a coherent policy framework, rooted in providing good governance and strengthening civilian law enforcement, to tackle criminality and the jihadi threat. Until then, criminal gangs and jihadi networks will continue to wreak havoc in the country’s big cities and put its stability and stil…

Sudan’s Spreading Conflict (III): The Limits of Darfur’s Peace Process


The violence in Darfur’s decade-old war spiked in 2013, as the mostly Arab militias initially armed by the government to contain the rebellion increasingly escaped Khartoum’s control and fought each other. Recent fighting has displaced nearly half a million additional civilians – in all 3.2 million Darfurians need humanitarian help. The Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed in Qatar in 2011 is largely unimplemented, notably because it was endorsed by factions with limited political and military influence, blocked by the government and suffered fading international support. The main insurgent groups remain active, have formed an alliance that goes beyond the region and increasingly assert a national agenda. If Darfur is to have durable peace, all parties to the country’s multiple conflicts, supported by the international community, need to develop a more coherent means of addressing, in parallel, both local conflicts and nationwide stresse…

TNI commander urges weapon upgrade for Indonesian marines

Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) commander General Moeldoko has described the weapon systems used by the Indonesian Marine Corps (Korps Marinir - KORMAR) as "obsolete" and is calling for their upgrade and modernisation.
Gen Moeldoko was addressing reporters at a handover ceremony of 37 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) held at a KORMAR training facility in East Java on 27 January. Excluding the latest inductions, KORMAR is currently equipped with about 450 armoured fighting vehicles.
"We have to constantly modernise our weaponry and cannot persist in modifying old platforms," said Gen Moeldoko, who added that the corps was in the process of gradually decommissioning its PT-76 tanks. The service still field 50 of these, most dating back to 1954.

Also present at the ceremony was Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro, who said that the Russian government had agreed to sell two Kilo-class submarines with Klub-S cruise missiles to Jakarta. He said that Indones…

US agencies might lose drone bases in Afghanistan

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According to New York Times report that was published this Monday, American intelligence agencies could loose drone bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan unless Afghan President Hamid Karzai signs a security deal with the US. The deal is very controversial as it can affect the US security interests with Pakistan, which is Afghanistan’s neighbor.

A special team was already organized by the Obama’s administration to try to help the officials in the negotiating process. The team is also supposed to find alternatives in case their mission fails.

American officials have prepared the agreement last year. However, the Afghan president has underlined certain set of rules that the American side has to agree to in order for him to sign an agreement. First and foremost, the President is urging military to stop drone raids at nights during which hundred of civilians were left died.

Due to that, the US President Barack Obama has promised to withdraw all American troops from the cou…

Hate the Super Rich?

By Joel S. Hirschhorn

- There are times when hatred is a needed, logical and moral stance to take. Evil, injustice and corruption are fine examples of what to appropriately hate. For the overwhelming majority of people it is now rational to hate the super rich, notably the thousands of billionaires holding most of the world’s wealth and wielding power over political and economic systems. They have been successfully raping the global economy and while doing that have kept increasing their wealth as well as economic inequality afflicting ordinary people. One dollar, one vote describes the new reality.

Before discussing some basic reasons to hate the super rich consider some facts about them.

How many billionaires are there? According to the inaugural Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2013, the global billionaire population reached a record 2,170 individuals in 2013, with a combined net worth of $6.5 trillion. What happened after the most recent global economic meltdown? Some 810 individu…

The Danger of War in Asia

By Peter Symonds

- An editorial in the Financial Times last week, entitled “End drift to war in the East China Sea,” highlighted the growing alarm in ruling circles about the prospect of a conflict between Japan and China. “The possibility of war,” it declared, “is rapidly emerging as one of the biggest security risks facing the world,” and the two governments “are doing nothing to make conflict less likely.”

The FT focussed on comments by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in which he explicitly drew the comparison between the current rivalry in East Asia and that between Britain and Germany prior to World War I. “For Japan’s prime minister to allow any comparison with 1914 in Europe is chilling and inflammatory,” it stated.

The immediate source of tensions is the territorial dispute over rocky outcrops in the East China Sea, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. However, the chief responsibility for inflaming this dangerous f…

The European Union Slows Its Renewable Energy Push

EU commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard in Brussels on Jan. 22. (GEORGES GOBET/AFP/Getty Images)


With the European Union battling a crippling economic crisis, Europe's high energy and electricity costs have become politically and financially untenable and have sapped support for costly, environmentally friendly policies in many member countries. Reflecting this situation, the European Commission in mid-January unveiled its new energy and environment strategy through 2030, which softened Brussels' longstanding push for the development of renewable energy sources while maintaining binding targets for carbon emissions. However, the impact of this particular EU policy change will be limited, particularly compared with the broader trends that govern energy markets in Europe.


Early drafts of the policy cited statistics showing that average industrial electricity prices in the European Union are more than double those in the United States, while industrial…

The Limits of Turkey's Interest Rate Hike

A Turkish man stands in front of a foreign exchange shop on Jan. 28 in Istanbul. (GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)


With a dramatic hike in Turkey's overnight lending rate from 7.75 to 12.5 percent announced on Jan. 28, Turkish Central Bank Governor Erdem Basci followed through on his earlier promise to use interest rates as a weapon to defend Turkey's currency, the lira. While the hike is a bolder-than-expected move designed to jolt investor interest, Basci is still, in effect, using a sword to fight off a barrage of artillery as a wrenching political crisis continues to erode investor confidence.


Turkey has been desperately trying to stem the plunge of the lira, which has declined about 10 percent against the U.S. dollar over the past year. Like several other once-celebrated emerging economies, Turkey has seen a rapid outflow of short-term portfolio investment that Ankara had been heavily relying on to help cover its burgeoning current account deficit, totaling…