New at Strategic Culture Foundation 9-15 June 2013: Golan / Syria / Energy / Africa / NSA / Finance / Afghanistan-Pakistan / US-China / Turkey / Venezuela

15 June 2013 — Strategic Culture Foundation 

UNDOF in Pinch, Russia Lends Helping Hand
15.06.2013 | 00:00 | Andrei AKULOV

The peacekeeping story is a proof Russia plays by the rules. The country has no reputation of international law abuser and can be trusted… What is important – Russia has good relations with Israel, Syria and a moderate part of Syrian opposition, which has visited Moscow to hold talks with Russian leadership. With all contributors having withdrawn or on the verge of taking a similar decision, Russian peacekeepers appear be the only hope for peace in the Golan Heights area.

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«The Mother of All Battles»
14.06.2013 | 12:01 | Dmitry MININ

The Syrian army is successfully expanding its most important operation since the beginning of the civil war, launched on June 9 of this year. This operation, «Northern Storm», is aimed at liberating the opposition’s main stronghold – the city of Aleppo, the country’s largest city and most important economic center, located near the Turkish border – from rebel forces… Decisions of the country’s leader and the Syrian army command are astounding in their forethought and even their strategic elegance… The army is occupying key points, cutting off the opposition’s most important lines of communication and supply routes, and then unerringly determining the direction for the main strike. And the political leadership is just as ably ensuring the aid of allies and protection of the army’s flanks… A radically new element in the developments in Syria which further worsens the rebels’ situation is the active involvement of Baghdad in the conflict… Tel Aviv is also experiencing growing difficulties in connection with its involvement in the Syrian conflict…

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World Energy: From the «Shale Revolution» to Healthy Pragmatism? (II)
14.06.2013 | 00:00 | Pyotr ISKENDEROV

The two-day international «EU-Russia Energy Dialogue» conference which took place May 29-30, the eighth such conference so far, was once again unable to overcome the stalemate between Moscow and Brussels in the field of energy. The leadership of the European Union still insists that Russia accede to the so-called «Third Energy Package»… In essence, this is a demand that Moscow agree to delegate part of its financial and economic powers in the energy field to Brussels, without having the possibility to influence the European Union’s decision making…

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Africa: Terror Territory
13.06.2013 | 00:00 | Alexander MEZYAEV

Until the late 1990s, Africa was a terror-free zone. Terror raged in various places throughout the world, but the African continent was unfamiliar with this phenomenon. The situation changed in 1998 after large-scale simultaneous terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania, when the U.S. embassies in both Nairobi and Dar es Salaam were attacked… Today Africa has become the main arena for international terrorism. Currently, dozens of large international terrorist organizations are active there… The beginning of 2013 was marked by an increase in the activity of terrorist groups in Africa. Recent weeks have brought news of more and more new terrorist attacks…

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The National Security Agency: A Global Superpower
13.06.2013 | 00:00 | Wayne MADSEN

Recent revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency is conducting massive meta-data vacuuming of the phone calls and Internet transactions of tens of millions of Americans and, perhaps, billions of people around the world, with little or no effective oversight by President Obama, the U.S. Congress, or the federal court system means that the intelligence agency has become, in its own right, a global superpower… Edward Snowden claims that an NSA operator with the necessary «authorities» or access rights can read the personal email of anyone, including the President of the United States…

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World Energy: From the «Shale Revolution» to Healthy Pragmatism? (I)
12.06.2013 | 12:00 | Pyotr ISKENDEROV

The leading European companies approach the problem of extracting shale gas critically, seeing in it an indirect ecological threat for the entire continent. The development of shale gas fields in North America led to a drastic breakdown of the energy system in Europe: the U.S. placed its bets on shale gas, which caused prices in the coal industry to drop; Europeans rushed to buy up the cheap coal, and Europe literally started «smoking». And the Americans themselves, after trying to become pioneers in shale gas extraction, are still cautious in evaluating prospects. Test drilling caused massive protests in the U.S…

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Syria’s Conflict Spills Over to Involve Other Actors
12.06.2013 | 07:00 | Andrei AKULOV

By the end on May Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shiite guerilla group, said his fighters would help bring victory to President Bashar Assad in Syria’s civil war. On May 25 he said in a speech marking the 13th anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon that Syria and Lebanon faced a threat from radical Sunni Islamists. Hezbollah helped push Israel to withdraw from southern Lebanon in 2000 and confronted the Jewish state in a short war in 2006… Hezbollah, a Shiite (Shia) movement, has stirred up sectarian feelings in the country by giving support to the Syrian government…

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Bank Deposits Confiscation: Global Outlook
11.06.2013 | 15:00 | Valentin KATASONOV

In March 2013 the events in Cyprus shock the world to hit the radar screen of world media. The bank deposits were confiscated. Some tried to make it look as an emergency measure, an exclusion from the rules that define banking activities and the functioning of market economy. But there is a solid ground to believe the confiscations are to become a routine feature of everyday life… Europe is leaving others behind on the way to introducing the haircuts of deposits. Or the European Union, to be exact. The first step was made on April 24…

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Whither Afghan-Pak Relations (III)
11.06.2013 | 00:01 | Najmuddin A. SHAIKH

…An optimistic but perhaps plausible scenario is that once there has been an exchange of prisoners – a sine qua non for building Taliban confidence in the efficacy of negotiations – Pakistan can play the role assigned to it in the Roadmap proposed by the Afghan High peace Council and help bring about a reconciliation which remains at this time the best hope for bringing a modicum of peace to Afghanistan. This will require Karzai to abandon his current anti-Pakistan stance and revert to thinking of Pakistan and Afghanistan as «conjoined twins» whose fates are intertwined.

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A new type of US – China relationship
10.06.2013 | 17:00 | Melkulangara BHADRAKUMAR

The single biggest stakeholder in the outcome of the China-United States weekend summit in California was not Japan, but North Korea. It is more than a coincidence that Pyongyang agreed to hold a meeting with Seoul the day after presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping wrapped up their talks. The North Koreans saw the writing on the wall when an exuberant Obama described his talks as «terrific» and Xi’s foreign policy advisor Yang Jiechi summed up that the two presidents «blazed a new trail» in the California desert that could be called «strategic, constructive and historic»…

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Turkey: Another Egypt?
10.06.2013 | 00:00 | Andrey ARESHEV

Now the events in Turkey are acquiring increased similarity with what took place in Egypt, where peaceful protestors filled the Tahrir square in Cairo. The Prime Minister appears to have somewhat overestimated the country’s resources and capabilities… The are other signs telling the activists of unexpected unrest are perfectly prepared for information warfare, while the powers that be appear to be on the defensive and at a loss in mass media and Internet… The country’s destructive role in the Syrian crisis is evident. Those who follow the events closely have paid attention on unprecedented pressure the United States has exerted on Turkey…

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France’s chemical pre-action to propaganda defeat at Qusair
10.06.2013 | 00:00 | Finian CUNNINGHAM

One of Isaac Newton’s laws of physics states that «for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction». In light of French claims this week that Syrian state forces were guilty of having used chemical weapons, we may apply a variant of Newton’s law to the study of political diplomacy – for every action, expect an equal and opposite pre-action… Far from being proof against Assad, the French pre-action is more proof of yet another tiresome Western attempt to smear the Damascus government and to muddy the waters about NATO’s criminal regime change in Syria…

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Venezuela: President Maduro and Tactics for Dialogue with the Opposition
09.06.2013 | 00:00 | Nil NIKANDROV

The opposition representative to the Venezuelan parliament Ismael Garcia held a press conference on May 20 in Caracas at which he played a recording of a conversation between famous talk show host Mario Silva and Aramis Palacios, believed to be a Cuban intelligence agent… What is really going on in the highest levels of power in Venezuela? Is the state leadership really as unified as president Nicolas Maduro is making it out to be? What will Maduro do to normalize the situation when half the electorate voted for his opponent, Henrique Capriles, at the presidential election on April 14?..

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

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