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Showing posts from August 18, 2014

ISIS tentacles reach toward China

By Peter Lee

It's been reported on the always-reliable Twitter by a Pakistan journalist, Ali Kamran Chishti, that Abdul Maulana Aziz has declared his support for the "Caliphate of Abu Bakar Baghdadi", ie ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now the Islamic State. "Video to be uploaded soon". If confirmed, this is potentially big and bad news for the People's Republic of China.

Abdul Maulana Aziz was the radical spiritual leader of Lal Masjid, the Red Mosque, in downtown Islamabad. In 2007, after a prolonged and desultory siege, Pakistan armed forces stormed the mosque, signaling a partial fracture of the de facto alliance between the Pakistan deep state and radical Islam.

The confrontation was little noted in the West, but it was big news in the People's Republic of China.

Followers of the Red Mosque had targeted Chinese sex workers as part of a purification campaign; Uyghur students - "terrorists" according to the PRC - were reported…

Putin's double standards in Ukraine

By Brad Williams

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.

The tragic downing of a Malaysian airliner in July and Russia's lack of cooperation in allowing investigators into the crash site and continued funneling of heavy weaponry and other arms to rebels forces in eastern Ukraine have further exacerbated tensions between the Kremlin and the West. Russia's policy towards Ukraine is hypocritical and driven by the fear of a rival military alliance extending its influence all the way to its vulnerable western border.

To be sure, all the major disputants in the Ukrainian crisis have evinced a willingness to separate policy from principle. The United States and its European partners regularly trumpet the virtues of democracy but found little difficulty in accepting the unlawful overthrow of the democratically elected, albeit highly corrupt and increasingly authoritarian Victo…

The West's dirty war in Iraq

By Moufid Jaber

As the specter of disintegration looms for Iraq, the main victor in this scramble for power is none other than Israel. It is succeeding today, with the help of its Western allies, in realizing the goals that it has been silently and carefully planning for the past few years.

Few now could discard the possibility that the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) was empowered through many intelligence channels, both direct and indirect, to achieve Israel's aims in the region - of empowering their Kurdish allies and consequently undermining the security of its main adversaries: Iran, Syria and Iraq.

The advances of the Islamic State and its territorial gains in Iraq elicited little reaction from the West until the militants reached the doors of Kurdistan, where they did not, questionably, proceed to fight with the same zeal as when they took over Sunni territories from government forces.

The threat of advancing further, though, and their subsequent (theatrical) attacks on Peshmerga…

Russia's humanitarian aid to cross into Ukraine in batches

Russian humanitarian aid trucks will cross the Ukrainian border in small batches of several dozen vehicles and only after a thorough examination by border guards, Kiev says, following an official acknowledgment of 280 trucks carrying crisis-relief cargo.

“The cargo, in agreement with the mission of the Red Cross, will be delivered to the international crossing point of Izvarino-Donetsk in batches of up to 30 vehicles,” the head of the Ukrainian State Fiscal Service Anatoliy Makarenko was quoted as saying by LB.ua.

After clearing customs, the aid trucks will be transferred “only to official representatives of the Red Cross,”Makarenko added.

The Red Cross is expected to arrive at the border crossing on Monday to perform the necessary procedures.

Currently, only 16 trucks from the humanitarian convoy are at the “Donetsk” border checkpoint on the Russian side, awaiting inspection, while the rest are still parked at a local depot in order to avoid jamming the border crossing.

 In total, Russ…

‘Some progress reached’: Berlin talks yield no quick fix for Ukraine crisis

RT

The second round of talks in Berlin over the Ukrainian crisis has brought no immediate results. However, the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France said “some progress” had been made on important issues.

The high-level meeting lasted over five hours with the ministers leaving the building late in the evening. The meeting of foreign ministers included Pavlo Klimkin of Ukraine, Russia's Sergey Lavrov, Germany’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Laurent Fabius from France.

The German FM made an immediate statement to the press following the talks, saying that the negotiations will continue next week, emphasizing that the ministers will use any possibility to ease the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and avoid further victims.

The Russian Foreign Ministry reported that “a certain progress was reached”in the negotiations and that the parties would “continue dialogue in the same format with the goal to reach concrete suggestions for consideration by the leaders of Russia, G…