President Medvedev made it clear in many of his early speeches as head of the nation that issues of corruption in government were high on his agenda of reform. The Kremilin is now focusing on the issue of corruption by posting xcerpts of letters written by ordinary citizens regarding encounters with corrupt officials. The Kremilin web site occasionally posts summaries of letters to the president related to social issues and foreign policy. The letters posted on corruption Wednesday were the first to be published in 2008 and represented the initial time a roundup on letters has specifically focused on corruption issues. A spokesperson said the Medvedev sometimes identifies a theme from the website that he wants highlighted.
Vldadmir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama think tank commented that although he had not read the letters they probably were “just another PR stunt.” He believes Medvedev is using the letters to give the impression there will be a crackdown on corruption but nothing serious will be implemented against corrupt officials. Most of these top officials were appointed by Putin and firing them might be interpreted as a slap in the face of his mentor.
The Indian Defense establshment was shocked by satellite pictures which reveal the existence of a large area in central China which contains 58 launch pads for nuclear-capable missiles which appartently target north India and south Russia. This news comes shortly after the discovery of the incredible extent of China’s underground nuclear submarine base at Hainan Island in the South China sea. The head of India’s navy is upset at the large number of nuclear submarines which are operating in close proximity to the Indian nation.
An analysis of the photos done by the Federation of American Scientists concldes, “the sites are for targeting Russia and India.” India, of course, has her own nuclear capability and has a vigorous and expanding trade relationship with China. Russia still retains the vast nuclear armament that was developed by the old Soviet Union. Perhaps, it is time for all nations with nculear capability to get back to the table of negotiation.
As expected, the Arab summit meeting in Damascus came and went without any result other than a nice trip to an interesting city. Due to US pressure only half the members of the Arab League even bothered to attend and, in most cases, the others sent low-level officials. According to Ahmed Moussalli of the American University in Beirut, “Most likely what we’re seeing is the end of the Arab initiative. Now what we will be seeing is the stagnation of the Lebanese situation and this could deteriorate into further negative interaction between the two groups in Lebanon.” Both sides in the deadlocked Lebanon government situation have agreed that Michel Suleiman should become president, but Hizbullah insists on one-third of Cabinet positions and a veto on any attempt to disarm Hizbullah or grant naturalization rights to Palestinian refugees in the country.
Professor Moussalli expects “more riots and clashes–the whole area is going through a very troubled time, not only Lebanon, but Iraq, Pelestine and with the US-Iranian and Syrian-Saudi tensions.” The problem in trying to have an “Arab initiative” is that Arabs are never in charge of their own desires because they are controlled by outside factors.
Most Americans have scant understanding how the Bush invasion of Iraq has completely destablized the entire region. The Bush failure to go south to Iraq instead of focusing on the Israel-Palestinian conflict will rank among the worst foreign policy decisions in American history.
Posted in Human Rights, Iraq War, Islam, Israel, Jordan, Military, Peace, Politics, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Arab initiative, Damascus Summit, Lebanon
President Putin arrived in Bucharest to attend the NATO meeting only to encounter a mixtue of good and bad news. The aggressive actions of President Bush were both supported and rejected by NATO members. NATO nations rejected the application for membership by the Ukraine and Georgia due to fear such action would only anger the Russian government. The Russian people fear the presence of hostile forces on their borders due to the reality of twice in the twentieth century being invaded by forces from the West. However, it appears NATO will support attempts by President Bush to establish missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Bush, and some politicians in Georgia and the Ukraine, warned it would be dangerous to allow Russian concerns to become influential in determining what is done by NATO.
NATO was born at a time when real threats were present from the Soviet Union but that era is long since past. There is no indication Russia contemplates any military action aganist the West despite the rantings and warnings by George Bush. The American leader needs “enemies” in order to continue justifying laws that threaten the rights and liberties of the American people and right now Russia serves his hysterical political agenda. The claim that bases are needed in Poland and the Czech Republic against “Iranian missiles” makes absolutely no sense. Why would Iran ever contemplate attacking western Europe? Bushism is the voice of fear, not reality.
Posted in Europe, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, Russia, Uncategorized, United States, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Bush, missile bases, NATO, Putin
The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has been facing continual harrassment by the government of President Mubarak which seeks to crush a group that offers firm opposition to the current administration of the country. Forty members of the Musim Brotherhood after being exonerated by a civilian court, had their cases transfered to a military tribunal on orders of President Mubarak. Abdel Maqsoud, swpeaking for the MB, “the decision to try the 40 members in a military court is an unfair decision and is an indication of how unjust and provocative our political system is.” He believes the case may once again be postponed to ensure none of the men would be able to stand in the upcoming elections. Several human rights activists are coming to Cairo to monitor the trialsand the Egyptian Organizaiton for Human Rights (EOHR) stated “we are completely against civilians being tried in military courts.”
Neither press nor media will be allowed in the court to witness the trial. The 40 men were acquitted of all charges by the Egyptian Administrative Court but Murbarak intends to crush the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt is cited by the United States as an ally in the fight for democracy but those who oppose the rule of Mubarak more commonly face court action to silence their voices. This blog may disagree with the views of the Muslim Brotherhood but their right to express opinions must not be stifled because the only other recourse is violence.
A controversial textbook passage which appears to justify the killing of Turks living in Germany will be deleted from future editions according to the German Embassy in Anakara. Families and students in the German town of Schleswig-holstein, are furious that seventh graders were given a book which apparently explains the reason a German murderer may be have been justified in killing Turks in his country. Markus Buchholz was one of four young men who set afire a house containing a Turkish family and killed some of its inhabitants. According to the passage, “Marcos wanted to teach them a lesson. They should learn that they weren’t wanted here. He just wanted to consternate tham a little so that they would go back to Anatolia…,In any case, their parents are guilty. If they had stayed n Anatolia, nothing would have happened to the two children who died in the fire.”
If the purpose of the author was exploring the mind set of Markus, that might be justified, but it would also entail other views and explanations so a seventh grader could understand the context of the passage. Somehow, we doubt if passages would be published in this manner which explain the thinking of a Turk who murdered Germans.
What next, a passage from Hitler explaining Jews never would have died if only they behaved in the correct manner?
A conference in London was told NATO now regards the threat of cybe warfare s among the greatest risks societies are facing. Online esionage and Internet-based terrorism now represent some of the most important componenents of present and future wars. Suleyman Anil, who heads NATO’s program to deal with cyberwar, says “we have seen more of these attacks and we don’t think this problem will disappear soon.” An important factor in cyber terrorism are attempts to shut down online communication networks or use the Internet to attack official institutions He warned there are rogue nations which are fostering cyber terrorism. Last year, a gang of hackers, believed to be from China, infiltrated computer systems at the Pentagon and launched attacks on government networks in Britain, Germany, and Australia.
The United States government has currently allocated $6 billion to combat cyber terrorism. Of course, we are still in the infant stage of cyber terrorism and few can grasp what lies in the future. Could cyber terrorists foster a star wars type campaign by gaining control of computers?
American and Turkish officials failed to reach an agreement as to when Turkey’s armed forces will be departing from Iraq. Yesterday, President Bush told a press conference, “Turkish troops sh ould withdraw from northern Iraq as soon as possible” while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Turkish officials in Anakara, “the U.S. believes the current offensive should be as short and precisely targeted as possible.” Turkish Chief of Staff Generl Yasar Buyukanit told Gates, “short term is a relative notion. Sometimes it is a day, sometimes a year.” He pointed out Turkey has been struggling with terrorism for 24 years and noted America has been in Afghanistan for six years.
Prime Minister Erdfogan insists “Turkish soldiers will be returning after achieving their goals” but will not pinpoint the exact time when that task will have been accomplished. On one hand, Gates accepts the complexity of the situation, on the other hand, the United States is protecting the integrity of the Iraqi government. Unfortunately, the two might not coincide in terms of a timetable for withdrawal.
Once again, the Bush administration is living with unintended and unexpected consequences of the ill fated invasion of Iraq. Most experts knew from day one of Bush’s actions to get rid of Saddam Hussein that an important result would be creation of a confusing situation in Kurdistan. Neither Bush, Cheney, nor Rumsfeld had any grasp as to what they were doing in terms of Turkey’s concern over creation of an independent Kurdistan state. Of course, neither did right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and the others who still insist the Iraq operation was the right move.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, Turkey, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Gates, Kurdistan, PKK, Turkish invasion
A new survey of more than 3,400 active and retired field-grade officers found they are downcast about the state of the militay with 60% saying the nation’s armed forces are weaker than they were 5 years ago and 88% believe the war in Iraq had stretched the military “dangerously thin.” Two thirds of rspondents had combat experience although only 10% had served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Mot of them were students at senior-level military schools such as the Army War College.
The survey asked members of the militay if they agreed or disagreed with the following sentence: “Torture is never acceptable.” Although 44% disagreed a majority 53% agreed that torture should never be allowed. Of course, these officers lack the experience of President Bush who dodged combat and was never confronted with the possibility of becoming a prisoner of war.
Those surveyed were greatly concerned about extending any further the armed forces in new battle zones. They ranked the United States Army as the service branch which was most exhausted and not ready to assume new combat roles. Almost two in five wanted the draft reinstated in order to meet contemporary needs of the nation. On a one to 10 scale on having confidence in President Bush only 5.5 expressed this view with 16% stating they had “no confidence at all in the president.” Almost two-thirds of these military men believe America’s currrent crop of civilian leaders “are either somewhat or very uninformed about the U.S. miltary” and only 13% believe civilian leadership has set reasonable goals for the armed forces.