Friday, October 27, 2006

T. touching down.

Hmmm. Maybe Annika you're reading too much into that press release. I mean, come war, come peace, come aliens from outer space, trade will always continue. What we can't know for sure is whether Canada is hoping this latest diplomatic effort is intended to broadcast a tacit alliance with Asia (beyond issues related to trade) or if it's just about providing farmers in Alberta with new international markets.

btw, anyone think the article I've posted below is cause for alarm? Siraj?

The whole seabed survey thing sounds like the usual transparent BS to me. Jasp, you ok with this?

t.

*

US TO TEST MISSILE DEFENSE SYSTEM OVER ARABIAN SEA
NAVY SAYS SITE REQUIRED FOR SEABED MAPPING
By SORUSH RAFSANJANI,
Special Correspondent to the New York Times
October 27, 2006, 5:38PM Eastern

Yesterday, the United States announced an imminent missile defense system test over the Arabian Sea.

The Arabian Sea is a region of the Indian Ocean bounded on the east by India, on the north by Pakistan and Iran, on the west by Arabian Peninsula, and on the south, approximately, by a line between Cape Guardafui, the north-east point of Somalia, Socotra, Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin) in India, and the western coast of Sri Lanka.

Representatives from nearly every nation with a coastline on the Indian Ocean have all said the test would violate a United Nations Security Council resolution.

Missile defense experts believe the Americans will execute the test within three or four days.

The Pentagon has said the test is necessary to prove working capability of recent modifications to its existing sea based defense network, Aegis. A representative from the Missile Defense Agency explained that the test would require the launch of a single a Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) followed by the launch of an interceptor missile from an undisclosed naval ship. A second interceptor missile would remain on standby and would be launched only if the first failed to hit the target.

At the White House, Press Secretary Dana Perino said the United States was executing the launch over the Arabian Sea, and not in Hawaii where the US conducts most such tests, because the navy was simultaneously conducting a survey of the Indian Ocean floor in order to revise seabed maps so that they accurately reflect notable damage or changes incurred by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.

The tsunami was caused by a a colossal earthquake that measured 9.3 on the Richter scale, displacing massive amounts of water and producing killer waves that sped to coastlines around the Indian Ocean. While sub sea surface changes can be expected to be most dramatic at the quake's epicenter, Perino said that the current survey is measuring the extent of the seabed shift. Navy Hydrographers therefore expect high-resolution multi-beam 3D sonar images to reveal a considerably transformed subsurface landscape.

Ms. Perino further explained that accurate undersea maps are important for national security reasons since submarines use them to navigate the high seas.

Immediately rebutting Ms. Perino's statement, Rear Admiral B R Rao AVSM, NM, VSM , the Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India, held a press conference of his own at the Indian Naval Hydrographic Department in Dehradun, India, in which he stated that damage to the ocean floor in the waters south of Oman, due to the 2004 Tsunami, are "most certainly negligible".

When asked, Ms. Perino did not deny the possibility that the target missile's flight plan might carry it over the Strait of Hormuz, near where a Delta Airliner was accidentally downed by an Iranian Naval vessel last month. Ms. Perino's handling of the matter has lead some to speculate that the upcoming missile defense test is a cover for a mere demonstration of power by a wobbly empire against a regional adversary, Iran.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 64% of Americans believe the downing of Delta Flight 7488 by the Iranian Defense Forces was not an accident.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has suggested that Washington is simply lying when it says it is testing new modifications. Instead, he believes that the US Navy will launch a Trident II missile outfitted with a dummy warhead and intercept it using conventional SM-3 missiles guided with existing software capabilities. In other words, that the test is all for show, or that regional reaction to an exercise of US Military power might in fact be the true test.

In the meantime, Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, called the Arabian Sea launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile by a western power –even one used in a test and outfitted with dummy warhead– a "provocative act", given recent events in South East Asia "by neo crusaders".

Singh warned that India would now probably seek sanctions on the United States, if it indeed goes ahead with the planned launch. He further suggested that the Security Council should adopt a resolution banning the Americans from further development of weapons of mass destruction.

Even Great Britain's Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has said such a test at this time was unwise and would only raise military tensions, and perhaps most importantly, further discourage foreign investors away from the west, including the United Kingdom which is not participating in the test, and which is also not alone in fighting a global recession.

In a joint statement, both Blair and French President, Jacques René Chirac, said that they favor sanctioning the United States if Washington proceeds with the missile test.

For now, there is little doubt that Washington will do as Washington will do.


NYT

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

hi boyz,

i must admit, u'v all done a pretty good job of turning me into a wonk... now every since i stumbled on the Canada Foreign Affairs site back in july, i go back every once in a while to see if they've announced anything interesting that for 1 reason or another doesn't step up to the level worthy of mainstream press attention.

well not exactly news in and of itself, but if u read between the lines...

at the very same time new global alliances are forming among members of the developing world (fueled of course by anger against the US for its refusal or unbelievable ineptness at producing lowell and scum), canada is forging new, deeper relationships with india and the rest of asia (albeit very, very quietly)...


well, what do you make of that?

see, now if i was a yank like you boyz, this kind of thing might make me suspicious of my northern neighbors. like, what are those canucks up to, up there?

i think its brilliant!

thoughts? comments? insight? siraj? jasp? terry?

a.

* * *

NEWS RELEASE
Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
October 23, 2006 (12:40 p.m. EDT), No. 122

MINISTER EMERSON HOSTS CANADA-INDIA BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE

The Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of International Trade, today hosted a Canada-India Business Roundtable that explored ways of strengthening commerce between the two countries. India is rapidly becoming a world economic power and is a priority market for Canada.

"Although Canada-India bilateral trade has reached record levels, there is still significant room for growth in our commercial relations," said Minister Emerson. "New bilateral agreements on science and technology and air travel are laying the foundation required to bring trade ties to a new level."

The Minister noted that Canada is in the process of negotiating a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement with India that should further stimulate Canadian participation in India's rapid development.

He also thanked the Canada-India Business Council and the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce for continuing to foster closer economic ties between both countries in many ways, including assisting in the organization of the roundtable. Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, also participated in the roundtable.

Canada-India bilateral trade reached $2.9 billion in 2005. Canada exported $1.08 billion in goods to India, much of which was concentrated in paper products, vegetable products, machinery and chemicals.


Trade Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Monday, October 23, 2006

Is there anyone surprised by this?

Siraj


BBC BREAKING NEWS for October 22, 2006

SHADES OF OTTOMAN EMPIRE: TURKEY WITHDRAWS EU BID

The end of Ramadan brings with it unexpected news that Turkey has withdrawn its application to the European Union. The abrupt move comes following a surge in religious and nationalist pride that has swept through the Islamic world following the 7/27 attacks on India, Malaysia and Indonesia, who together represent over 350 million Muslims.

Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a profound belief that the Islamic world needs, “to unite and act as a single body in order to counter western terrorism.”

Following Erdogan’s statement, the next announcement from Ankara was the President’s announcement of the government’s decision to convene a pan Moslem counter-Christian terrorism summit under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. Further, Erdogan, General Staff Chief Gen. Yasar Buyukanit, and The Turkish National Security Council (MGK) have indicated they intend to explore the possibility of both comprehensive cross-border cooperation with Islamic forces resisting US occupation in Iraq, while at the same time securing stable relations with the current Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) based in northern Iraq, whether by diplomatic persuasion or military measures.

Buyukanit also indicated that perhaps his country’s withdrawal from NATO was another imminent possibility. “Despite differences,” he said, “Turkey, the Kurds and the new government of Iraq, share a common goal of eliminating safe harbors for Christian militants.”

Unsubstantiated reports arriving from the press conference suggest President Ahmet Necdet Sezer may have also made several vulgar and therefore unprintable references in passing regarding French leader Nicolas Sarkozy who has long been a thorn in Turkey's bid for EU membership.

Fueling this movement is growing global interest in Hadhari Islam, a modernistic approach to Islamic values heralded and promoted by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and which already finds much in common with Turkish civil values.

According to an official Hadhari website maintained by the Malaysian government: “Hadhari emphasizes development, consistent with the tenets of Islam but simultaneously focused on creating a dynamic economic, trading and financial system.”

Which is to say the controlling group of Islamic centrists have expressed no intention to withdraw from international life, as might be expected, but just the opposite. Talk across the Islamic world is now how best to accelerate economic, industrial and military growth –with or without help from the west.

Therefore the Turks are jubilant that despite the government’s abrupt withdrawal from EU talks, a consortium of global business leaders, convening at Meeting of the Turkish Investment Advisory Council held in Istanbul, indicated that they would continue investing in Turkey. Trade will therefore likely go on as usual with Europe and the rest of the world. However, Turkey –at least for the time being– has deemed unreasonable any economic partnership with states or organizations predominantly opposed to the nation’s core Islamic values.

Receiving news of the Turkish withdrawal, EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn expressed profound disappointment on the turn of events. Speaking to European reporters he said: "Turkey is the guide of the Muslim world from Morocco to Malaysia. If you hinder Turkey, a clash of civilizations erupts between the West and Islam."

But as another reporter for the Times noted, quoting Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse Five, whenever the author denoted an end to things long taken for granted: He said, "So it goes."


BBC

Friday, October 20, 2006

In the meantime... looks like Blair is finally doing something constructive. Will probably get him brownie points with the Islamic Coalition, even though I expect neither Nick Griffin nor the British Nationalist Party are going to be going anywhere soon.

T.


TONY BLAIR WANTS FAR RIGHT BRITISH NATIONALIST PARTY TO CLOSE SHOP

Tony Blair's Labour Government is looking for leadership of the British Nationalist Party to close its doors, at least until tensions with the East cease, the BBC reported on Thursday. The request is not an outright ban on the organization, but word on the matter is traveling through political corridors with such urgency that suggests a formal crack down may be imminent.

BNP’s Nick Griffin, who once described Islam as a "wicked, vicious faith", has accused Blair's Government of attempting 'a fascist play' to unfairly silence the party's members right to congregate, not to mention free speech.

However Mr. Blair is not only inflamed that background checks of all the suspected 7/27 high jackers reveal some sort of association with the fringe organization, but that prominent party members continue to make provocations against the attacked countries. In August the BNP called for a ban on "ALL MUSLIMS from flying out of (and in to) Britain."

Mr. Blair repeated emphatically in his address to reporters that though the BNP may be the self described representative of 'white working class men', Great Britain exists in a world where no country can remain isolated, and that the UK in particular receives complementary benefits from its military allies and economic partners abroad.



BBC

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Hala!

Annika, I agreed with Terry and Jasper–

Accident or not, there will be no repercussions.

Families of victims will sue, and Terry's right, that will be the end of it. History will regard the incident as human error, but not an intentional act of war.

All we can do in the wake of this particular tragedy is to pray for both those who died and for the loved ones left behind. Maybe, one day, we little peons who dot the surface of the planet will not be so mad or quick to shoot passing foreign objects out of the sky.

We're already seeing diplomats try to squirrel this thing away via back channels. Sad, and yes cynical to say, that were it not for the inevitable litigation, this thing would disappear from global news feeds by this time next week. –Which, yes, Annika, is a terrible thing for me to say in light of the still near memories of the deaths on 7/27. But, here is another cruel fact of life I've learned:

Some deaths go down in history; others are lost to it.

Hey, speaking of the news –and lately I speak of it all the time– some situation this business in Turkey, yes? Al Jazeera has me doing some background on it –whatever context I can Google for producers of the on air segments. Not sure which way they will go, but if I had to guess, I'd say expect a potentially stupefying story from the seat of the Ottoman Empire just about any day now, or not.

Siraj!

Friday, October 13, 2006

A.,

Annika, babe, it is tragic, but what exactly is going to happen to the members of the Iranian government and military responsible for this?

Nothing.

Look at the July 4, '88 downing of the the Iranian airliner. A US Missile cruiser downed an Iranian passenger jet over the same waters, and it also killed everybody on board. Stuff happens: The military makes mistakes, and when they do, innocent people die. And no gets held accountable, unless by accountable you mean, promoted.

It's not just Iran –or Israel –or the Russians –or the United States:

Every single government all over the world accepts collateral damage as an acceptable loss. It's a cold, hard, terrible fact, but it's the way the big boys do business.

That said, let me cut the crap:

I don't think the downing of the Delta jet the other day was an accident. I think it's one small part of a larger strategic effort to prolong global jihad as a perpetual conflict. Naturally, I think we should blanket bomb the hell out of Tehran and teach those bastards a lesson.

The Jasp

Thursday, October 12, 2006

hey t.,

–little bit too soon to be talking about 'the dust bins of history', dontcha think?

don't those poor people even count 4 anything?
(rolls her eyes at cynical yank)

it's awful is what it is, and SOMEONE needs to be held accountable.

annika

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

T. touching down.

Whatever the true nature of the Iranian government's intentions, such things are rarely defined as an act of war. So, tragic as it may be, and it certainly is for the passengers and their families, the downing of that passenger jet yesterday, whether by attack or by accident –however you want to define it– will probably not result in US military retaliation. That's not just my two cents on the situation. Look at this list of airliner shootdown incidents I found on Wikipedia:


First, no one will ever prove it was anything but an accident. So maybe censure, maybe some civil suits –expect the usual legal marathon that follows any international aviation disaster– but there will be no physical, eye for an eye, retaliation. Personally, given the times we live in, I think that's the prudent decision. We're already fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan –the world is universally crazy. Do either we or the Iranians really want to start another hell storm in the Persian Gulf?

Well, maybe, but–

You guys are all a little younger than me, but a similar thing happened in 1973 when a Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 was intercepted and shot down by two Israeli F-4 Phantom IIs. The airliner accidentally entered Israeli-controlled airspace over the Sinai Peninsula.

You'd think once identified as a passenger plane, the Israeli Defense Force command would have called off the possibility of an attack, but not only did the fighter pilots have visual confirmation of the target (they knew what they were looking at), they actually made eye contact with the crew of the Airliner. But do you think that gave anyone cause for hesitation? Yeah, no, of course not. We pay these guys to take orders and be warriors. The thinking on the ground has got to be:

'Who knows, the target might look like a passenger aircraft but it could also possibly be retrofitted with nukes or spyware or something.'

So, you gotta shoot it out of the sky. And it's not like civilian airliners can simply hang a five-inch sign on the back window that reads 'No Nukes' or 'Baby on Board' and deter tailgating by fighter jets.

Condemnation was virtually universal, but otherwise neither the Libyans, the US nor the United Nations executed any meaningful act of retribution against Israel.

And it wasn't the first time the Israelis opted for a kill first question later policy. Consider the 1967 attempt to sink American naval ship, USS Liberty, also by Israeli jet fighter planes (and motor torpedo boats). In that instance, 34 US crew members were killed and 171 others wounded.

You'd think the United States had real cause to reciprocate with deadly force in the case of the USS Liberty. But in the end, the CIA concluded that the attack was not made in malice, but that it was a real mistake, representing gross negligence. And of course the Israel Defense Force reached a similar conclusion.

And all of us are old enough to remember when a Korean Air Lines plane, Flight 007, was shot down by Soviet jet interceptors. Back in 1983 the soviet fighter pilot in that case also had visual confirmation that the aircraft was a passenger jet, and yet he fired anyways. Flight 007 spiraled down, all 269 passengers and crew conscious of their impending death for at least eight minutes before crashing into the Sea of Japan. 62 of the casualties were Americans, one of which was a US congressman, Larry McDonald.

President Ronald Reagan condemned the downing of the airplane as a an "act of barbarism" but otherwise stopped short of calling it an act of war, so, no, we didn't use that opportunity to forcibly extract a pound of flesh from the soviets.

The United States isn't immune from such 'accidents' either:

Five years after the soviets downed KAL 007, USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian passenger jet that it had mistaken for a hostile Iranian fighter aircraft. (You can read about it here: Iran Air Shot Down).

The U.S. Navy's final report blamed "crew error caused by psychological stress on men in combat". But do you think that makes the families of those that perished on Flight 655 feel any better knowing they died as the result of someone else's 'stress'?

You'd think maybe that at least the U.S. Navy Captain (Will C. Rogers III) that ordered the USS Vincennes shoot down an Iranian passenger jet would end up spending the rest of his life in military prison somewhere, but no. Rogers became a military instructor before retiring in 1991.

The rest of the Vincennes crew received combat-action ribbons, while the air warfare coordinator on board, Lt. Cmdr. Scott Lustig, received a commendation medal for his ability to "quickly and precisely complete the firing procedure".

Personally, as much as I feel for the victims, I also feel for the crewmen of the Vincennes. That ship was in service to the nation for 24 years, and do you think anyone remembers anything about that ship except for the fact that it played a role in an aircraft accident?

Hey shit happens, and this kind of shit gets quietly resolved in the courts. Everyday you've got front page news, but 99% of it gets relegated to the dust bins of wiki history.

cynically today,

T.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So I guess the following would be by definition evidence of NOT 'a slow news day'–

Siraj, in light of everything you said about certain sectors leveraging the 7/27 tragedy for their own ends, gets me thinking you could be right.

Jasp




THE DOWNING OF FLIGHT 7488: IRAN DOWNS U.S. AIRLINER, PASSENGER JET MISTAKEN FOR F-18,
283 REPORTED DEAD,
A TRAGEDY, AHMADINEJAD SAYS: ACTION IS DEFENDED

By SORUSH RAFSANJANI,
Special Correspondent to the New York Times
October 10, 2006, 6:49PM Eastern

An Iranian Naval warship in the Persian Gulf shot down a U.S. passenger plane earlier today that the Iranian Forces said was mistaken for an American jet fighter, resulting in the deaths of all 283 people on board.

Islamic Republic Navy Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the vessel, the newly built Joshan P225 FAC(M), while seeking to protect itself from what was thought on the basis of radar readings to be a hostile F-18 jet fighter, downed the plane with a Fast Attack Craft missile.

The Joshan is thought to have a speed of over 45 sea knots and capable of using various missiles and rockets that can hit air and sea targets with a range beyond 100 km [60 miles].

The downing of the jetliner, a US Boeing 777, took place at the southern end of the Gulf, over the Strait of Hormuz, while gunboats from U.S. Fifth Fleet are said to have been engaging the Joshan.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in a statement issued from the Iranian capital of Tehran, and Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, in a news briefing, both said the Islamic Republic regretted the loss of life on the airliner, Delta Flight 7488, which was engaged in its final descent from Atlanta to Dubai.

Asked whether Islamic Republic Army Navy Force had perhaps intentionally shot down the American aircraft as a response to the stationing of the US army's fifth base in Bahrain and U.S. proximity to Iran's Asalouyeh facilities and Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, Sayyari said necessary arrangements have been made, and that the accidental downing of the airliner had nothing to do with current conflicts.

"Certainly, we have tactical options and have taken necessary precautions to protect our facilities and interests in any region of the Persian Gulf. It is not important for us where enemy base is located. We have necessary readiness to counter any threat, "said the admiral.

Both Ahmadinejad and Sayyari defended the judgment of the warship's skipper, saying that the first responsibility of a Navy vessel's commander was to protect his ship and crew. But Sayyari accepted a comparison with the episode on July 4, 1988, in which a US Missile cruiser downed an Iranian passenger jet over the same waters, also killing all on board. He said the main similarity between the two accidents was that the U.S. plane "was also in a war zone when combat in progress" when it was shot down.

Collected members of the US Republican party condemned the attack in a prepared statement from the steps of the capital and vowed to "avenge the lives of our American fallen." As this article goes to press, President Bush is said to be returning from a vacation at his ranch in Texas, and will address the nation later this evening.

Meanwhile diplomatic officials throughout the Gulf and South East Asia are already beginning to speak of the possibility of using alliances newly solidified since the 7/27 attacks on the region to all but close off the Persian Gulf to U.S. warships. As improbable as that may sound now, given past reliance by regional powers on US naval resources to keep shipping lanes open, negotiating the evacuation of U.S. military increasingly appears to be a real and possible outcome.

At a news conference today, Sayyari gave this account of confrontation with the airliner:

At about 6:21 P.M. in the gulf (10:21 A.M., Eastern daylight time), American gunboats fired on the Joshan. The ship turned to engage the gunboats and, in response, the gunboats sped toward the Joshan as if to fire.

At 6:58 P.M., the Joshan and another Iranian vessel opened fire on the gunboats with five-inch guns, apparently damaging two.

At 7:03 P.M., while the Joshan was engaged with the gunboats, a combat information center detected an aircraft over Iranian airspace. The plane, later identified as Delta Flight 7488 was a civilian airliner bound for Dubai, making its final descent over the southern gulf.

"The aircraft headed directly for Joshan on a constant bearing at high speed, approximately 450 knots," the admiral said. "A warning was sent on both military and civilian distress signals beginning at 7:03 P.M.. This procedure was repeated several times, but the aircraft neither answered nor changed its course."

As the aircraft continued, the crew members monitoring it aboard the Joshan noted that it began to drop in altitude and to increase its speed. The airliner was again warned at 7:07 P.M. that it was approaching an Iranian warship. Altogether, rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, the American plane was warned three times on the civilian distress channel and four times on the military channel. Those are international frequencies that all aircraft are supposed to monitor.

"The aircraft was declared hostile at 7:07 P.M.," Sayyari said. "At 7:10 P.M., the Joshan fired upon the aircraft, and successfully intercepted the target."

Iranian press agencies report the plane was hit at 3,500 feet and that it crashed into the sea. Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the crash site was inside Iranian territorial waters and that American ships had not gone there to assist in search-and-rescue efforts.

In defending the action, the Admiral said from the outset Iran emphatically told the United States "that committing American military units to the Persian Gulf mission would involve risks and uncertainties."

"A decision was made early in the commitment to give our commanders sufficient latitude to protect their people and equipment when hostile intent was manifested," he said. "They do not have to be shot at before responding."



NYT

Sunday, October 08, 2006

HA HA, let's all trade in Yen, or better yet, Super Yen! The Euro maybe, but the Chinese Yaun as the world's reserve currency? NEVER going to happen. Well, maybe next century. Annika, no offense to you but that article you posted is a puff piece someone saved for a slow news day. Has to be.

Turkey on the other hand, appears to be gaining traction by playing the indignation hand.

S.


World > Europe > Mid East
From October 7, 2006

TURKEY TURNING COLD ON EU

By Yilmaz Kundakçı
| Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – For Europe, the latest developments in Turkey have been dispiriting.

At a European Union summit to be held later this week, all references to Turkey and other candidates for EU expansion have been dropped from the summit declaration. This comes on the heels of the rejection of a new EU constitution in recent referendums in the Netherlands and France, due at least partially to growing disenchantment within the predominantly Muslim Turkey in regards to joining the EU.

Viewed from Turkey, the road toward the country's previously long-hoped-for EU membership suddenly seems like it leads to a dead end.

What observers in Turkey and Europe are now asking is whether the EU's political disarray and the more pronounced opposition to Turkish membership in Europe will cause Ankara to reorient itself away from the EU and to ease up on the reforms it had put in place as part of its membership drive.

"Political confusion in Europe and across the globe ... has initiated a lot of soul searching in Turkey," says Suat Kiniklioglu, director of the Turkish office of the German Marshall Fund. It could lead to calls for everything from creating stronger alliances with [central Asia's Turkic republics] to opening up to the Middle East, to formalizing its alliance with the Pan Moslem Coalition states, or even to getting closer to Russia, he warns.

Kiniklioglu says the Turkish government will find it difficult to continue with its expected reforms if there is a perception that the EU is having second thoughts about letting Turkey join.

On the other hand, there is a growing perception that Turkey quite possibly just doesn’t care anymore if it gains membership into an economic organization that in 2004 awarded full membership to Cyprus, which not only figures as a local irritant, but has made no bones about competing with Turkey in order to become the region’s economic and financial operations centre.



Read The Rest of the Article Here

Friday, October 06, 2006

siraj, sweetie,

you've been in malaysia too long. it was tragic how so many people lost their lives on 7/27, and just awful how you were there when it happened. but i don't think the world is going to war, cookie. justice will prevail. it'll be all right. i'm sure of it.

btw, since you were all on the subject of finance, i've posted an article an i found i thought u wonkz would find interesting. personally, i don't think it will ever happen.

you have to remember, for every man beating his chest, blood thick with testosterone (poor thingz) and bleating a battle cry, there's also a woman at home, calling from the kitchen, saying, 'dear, would you please shut off the news, calm down and take out the trash'.

mmm, on second thought i think i just figured out why men do go to war.

a.



BBC NEWS
China argues to replace US dollar


China's central bank has reiterated its call for a new reserve currency to replace the US dollar.

The report from the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said a "super-sovereign" currency should take its place.

Central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan has loudly led calls for the dollar to be replaced during the financial crisis.

The bank report called for more regulation of the countries that issue currencies that underpin the global financial system.

"An international monetary system dominated by a single sovereign currency has intensified the concentration of risk and the spread of the crisis," the Chinese central bank said.

The dollar fell after the report was released. The US currency dropped 1% against the euro to $1.4088, and declined 0.8% versus the British pound to $1.6848.

SDRs

Mr Zhou caused a stir earlier this year when he said the dollar could eventually be replaced as the world's main reserve currency by the Special Drawing Right (SDR), which was created as a unit of account by the IMF in 1969.

The PBOC said in the report that not only should the world adopt the SDR, but that the IMF should be entrusted with managing a portion of its member countries' foreign currency reserves.

"To avoid intrinsic shortcomings in using a sovereign currency as a reserve currency, we need to create an international reserve currency that is divorced from sovereign states and can maintain a stable value over the long term," the PBOC report said.

It also issued some veiled criticism of the US policies, saying that one of the major issues was that it was difficult to balance the needs of domestic politics with the requirements of being the world's reserve currency.

"The economic development model of debt-based consumption is most difficult to sustain," the PBOC said.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently joined Mr Zhou in saying it was time to consider an alternative benchmark currency for international debt.

But Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin then said "it's too early to speak of an alternative".



BBC News

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hala!


Terry, not only do I believe a risk of a 'global and dramatic economic meltdown' is possible, as Asia Financial Week reports, I think it is imminent.

When bin Laden took down the World Trade Center in 2001, he started a series of events in motion that lead to the United States embarking on two wars, one in Iran and the other Afghanistan. Do you think that because somehow the recent targets were in developing nations, that this will all blow over? That any retaliation won't creep above the equator and over the oceans? If only that were true.

Even if the governments of India, Indonesia and Malaysia did nothing; even if their economic and political allies did nothing to help; the Muslim people who live and work and make their lives in the West would pressure their governments from within to do something.

Already the infection spreads. The entire planet is sick, we just doesn't know how bad yet.

Watched a live feed of Suat Kiniklioglu, Executive Director of the German Marshall Fund's Turkey office, speaking earlier today regarding Turkey.

He has suggested (to the surprise of no one) that the Turks, like many predominantly Muslim nations since 7/27, 'appear to be turning inward':

"The current mood is a reaction to an anxiety felt by some people that some of the values that are important to us are being sold out by the EU drive."

For instance:

"Before Dec. 17, the country's hopes and forward-looking vision were behind the EU drive. Now people are becoming confused. There is a fatigue, and nationalism becomes an escape route."

The few Turkish reporters I've met in Malaysia tell me they consider further EU discussions are pointless. And why should they feel otherwise? In light of the events of 7/27, Muslims around the world feel as though they must rise up to defend themselves –once again– from violent crusaders.

Killing Muslims appears to be a Christian tradition, like Christmas I suppose, but only once every couple hundred years.

Does anyone in the West still believe that Turkey will continue its recent efforts to align itself with the European Union? Or that it will make the necessary one-sided concessions regarding the divided island of Cyprus, simply to appease it's northern (and predominately Christian) neighbors? Or that it will accept Armenian claims of genocide by the Ottoman Turks in 1915? Or that its leaders will accede to EU pressure on dealing with its minorities?

Not going to happen.

I don’t know how the news is currently being filtered in the United States –although I can guess that by now Rush Limbaugh has loong declared the 7/27 highjackers heroes. be that as it may, I can certainly tell you that though the towers fell in Kuala Lumpur, every single Muslim in the world feels himself or herself, personally a victim of the attack, and potentially the next target on Lowell's hit list. That Mr. Lowell remains at large only serves to fuel further emotional, political, religious and nationalistic fires around the world.

And I don't have to guess where all this going to lead to, because I already know where it's going to go. How do I know? Our offices in Doha have started interviewing candidates to act in the capacity of war correspondents. Do you see? Someone smarter and more fully in the loop than any of us has made an informed decision regarding a hiring decision: Find people to cover a war. Well, why would that happen unless that person thought there was going to be a war?

Right?

And why not leverage the sympathy of the world if the certain result is a gain of more power and control? After all, Bush did it after 9/11.

Forget Turkey stalling on EU talks. Islamic clerics worldwide have recently been heard not lamenting the losses suffered on 7/27, but rather heralding the imminent conquest of Rome by Islam, in accordance with the prophecy of Muhammad.

For some people, better that Lowell not be found, because he actually serves the cause more adeptly if he remains at large, a pretext for influence heretofore beyond reach.

Wouldn't it be ironic if Lowell's actions, far from diminishing Islam, actually fueled it so much so that it became the dominant faith?

Of course nothing wrong with Islam, being a Muslim myself. But I do take offense when religion is used to influence men to take up arms on order to kill and subjugate each other.

But what can you do to stop it? Maybe nothing. In Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Muhammad bin Abd Al-Rahman Al-'Arifi, imam of the mosque of King Fahd Defense Academy has made no humble declaration when he recently announced:

"We will control the land of the Vatican; we will control Rome and introduce Islam in it. Yes, the Christians, who carve crosses on the breasts of the Muslims in Kosovo - and before then in Bosnia, and before then in many places in the world - will yet pay us the Jiziya [poll tax paid by non-Muslims under Muslim rule], in humiliation, or they will convert to Islam…"

Terry, he's not planning a trip to Disney World unless he plans on seeing the Magic Kingdom with dynamite strapped to his chest.

My friends, I don't know what the world will look like a few months, or even a few weeks, from now. But please, while there is still time, consider leaving Manhattan for someplace less populated and more secure. Because whatever is coming, it may very well be coming soon.

Siraj