New at Strategic Culture Foundation 7-13 April 2013: Korea / Israel / Central Asia / Venezuela / Heroin / Mali

12 April 2013 — Strategic Culture Foundation

Is Central Asia Ripe for Regime Change? (III)

13.04.2013 | 10:33 | Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR

The successor regimes in all the North African countries and Egypt happen to be spearheaded by Islamist forces. If and when a regime change takes place in Syria and Jordan, there is every likelihood of the very same pattern repeating. How could the Central Asian countries remain impervious to these “Islamist” winds of change blowing across the Greater Middle East?.. In sum, the footfalls of Qatar and Turkey in Afghanistan and in the Central Asian region in the coming period would bear close watch. These are ambitious countries and their regional ambitions are being fired up by the US, which is encouraging them to punch far above their weight in the Muslim world…

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Brussels Brokered Talks: Interlude or Drop Certain?

13.04.2013 | 00:00 | Pyotr ISKENDEROV

…The European Union brokered talks between Belgrade and Pristina have ended up in failure after eight rounds. It brings up the issue of changing the framework. The process should be transferred to the United Nations. In any case, the success of a new round of talks will depend on concessions related to functioning of self-governance bodies in the north of Kosovo. Otherwise it will all end up with no results again, according to Yury Ushakov, the Russian President’s assistant…

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The reasons for the crisis on the Korean Peninsula

12.04.2013 | 09:27 | Alexander VORONTSOV

A peaceful co-existence with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not figure in America’s plans. Rather, they are looking to eliminate the state. This is why there is a predetermined state of permanent conflict on the Korean Peninsula, a cyclical development of the situation from acute crisis to relative «remission» and back again. The actions of the West with regard to North Korea result in a vicious catch-22. Calls to stop the nuclear programme, thereby stopping the violation of the principles of the non-proliferation regime of weapons of mass destruction, are often used to cover up the realisation of a hidden agenda – regime change in North Korea…

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A New Deal for Israel

12.04.2013 | 00:00 | Rafe MAIR

Just like bouts of poison ivy, every few years we see a watershed visit to Israel by a sitting US president. And every time that happens we’re all supposed to take heart. Then the usual drift sets in, there are international incidents and resolutions of the United Nations. President Obama has just concluded such a session with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and although it depends upon who’s reporting, Mr Obama was seen to be backing Israel while belittling the Palestinians. This is understandable in terms of US current internal politics but is folly for the long term…

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Is Central Asia Ripe for Change? (II)

11.04.2013 | 11:38 | Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR

To be sure, there is an extraordinary degree of consensus amongst the ruling elites in the Central Asian countries… Given that the allocation of resources is centralized, and taking into account the propensity to keep the officials frequently rotating, there is also little scope for emergence of other power centres.  However, there is that ultimate unquantifiable mystique haunting the political chessboard in all the Central Asian states – the succession question… Besides, Central Asian countries are no longer hermit kingdoms. Not only have they globalized but also thanks to the Afghan war and the rise of China, they are «frontline» states in world politics. Interestingly, even as the endgame in Afghanistan is getting under way, Central Asia has got a curious visitor from Washington this week – Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer…

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Israel: Secular or «Postmodern» Revolution?

11.04.2013 | 00:00 | Dmitry MININ

The new government formed recently in Israel has decided to create a commission to draft legislation on the enlistment of so-called ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Haredim, into the army (IDF) or alternative service… Commentators have spoken of the secular revolution in Israel and the inevitable social disruptions in the country associated with changing the situation of the Haredim. This topic worries the local community even more than the outcome of negotiations between Palestine and Israel… Ultra-Orthodox rabbis, politicians and press have already attacked the new Israeli cabinet, calling «the government evil and hateful»…

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Slogan of the Day: Maduro Gets 10 Million Votes!

10.04.2013 | 12:36 | Nil NIKANDROV

While addressing the voters, Maduro often remembers the last months of Chavez being alive, the long conversations they held together. Once in Havana they talked for six hours. Chavez shared his vision of the country’s future. He warned Maduro that there would be no bed of roses ahead, everything could happen to him, and so Maduro had to be ready. It was exactly then, when he named Maduro as his successor… Maduro promises he won’t let Comandante Chavez down. He says, «All Venezuelans work for the benefit of homeland. The time has come to join the efforts together. The great man, Chavez, left the world, but he continues to bless and defend us. I admit missing the Comandante so much – as a leader and a teacher. And I will be faithful to the oath I gave him»…

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Heroin Peacekeeping

10.04.2013 | 00:00 | Nikolai MALISHEVSKI

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the revenue from opium production in Afghanistan soared by 133 percent in 2011 to about $1.4 billion, or about one-tenth of the country’s GDP. It doubles annually for a number of years. The UN data says the annual world drug trafficking accounts for over $500-600 billion, the profit generated by Afghanistan-produced opium trade is second only to the income received from oil and arms sales… In reality the rapid poppy growth started only after Afghanistan was occupied by Americans…

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Is Central Asia Ripe for Regime Change? (I)

09.04.2013 | 00:00 | Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR

The persisting speculations regarding political succession in Uzbekistan, the incipient trends of unrest in Azerbaijan in recent months as the country lurches toward a crucial presidential election, growing volatility of the situation in Afghanistan – what surges to the mind is the great Middle Eastern upheaval known as the «Arab Spring.» Are we nearing a «tipping point» in Central Asia?..

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Mali Operation: Revised Approaches

08.04.2013 | 00:00 | Alexander MEZYAEV

The concept of crisis management in Mali has gone through an about-face. The Africans are made to refuse the idea of tackling the conflict themselves. The African Mission – AFISMA has failed. One of the reasons – it never got the funds it needed. The United Nations and the donor-states have refused to finance an African mission. But they agree to reverse their stand in case the UN would be a decision maker. At that, the very same AFISMA forces would do the job, but under the command of «international community»…

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Venezuela to Elect President: Opposition Stands No Chance

08.04.2013 | 00:00 | Nil NIKANDROV

A Venezuelan political scientist I know told me a few years ago the opposition had a promising presidential candidate – Alberto C. Vollmer, a young rum distiller and landowner holding the position of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Ron Santa Teresa… Vollmer was too independent to become a candidate. So those, who pull strings behind the curtains, have pushed him far aside giving way to docile Henrique Capriles Radonsky, 40, a scion of a rich Jewish family. The family owns industrial enterprises, media outlets, and the lion’s share of entertainment business. His right-wing views are to large extent explained by his descent and the ties of his family to business partners in the United States and Israel… 

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US Military Faces Major Overhaul

07.04.2013 | 10:44 | Andrei AKULOV

On April 3, newly assigned U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered his first major policy address calling for a fundamental overhaul of the nation’s military structure. In scope and significance it’s comparable to fundamental organizational changes implemented under the 1980s Goldwater-Nichols Act… Hagel suggested the national defense strategy outlined in January 2012, which included the Asia Pivot and less emphasis on the prospect of Iraq-style stability operations, would likely remain intact, but fulfilled with potentially fewer resources…

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Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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