Category Archives: Hegelian Dialectic

US playing the good cop, bad cop


Bad Cop Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen

dw-world.de | Sep 30, 2011

Admiral Mullen’s allegations about Pakistani support for Islamist insurgents has caused tensions with Islamabad. The Obama administration is now cautiously distancing itself from the criticism made by Mullen.

Pakistani officials were outraged last week when Admiral Mike Mullen, the outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told Congress that the Pakistani military’s spy agency were backing the Haqqani Network, an Islamist grouping which allegedly masterminded the attack on the US Embassy in Afghanistan in September.

These were the most serious allegations levied at Pakistan since the beginning of the Afghan war. They carried special weight because they came from Mullen, who is considered to be one of the Pakistani military’s closest allies in the US administration.

Bad cop Mullen

Mullen described the Haqqani Network as an arm of Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI. He said, that the ISI provided the Haqqani Network with funding, logistical support and a safe haven. Faced with Pakistan’s vehement denials, the White House, Pentagon and State Department carefully refused to endorse Mullen’s comments on Wednesday.

When asked by National Public Radio on Wednesday whether he would change anything he said last week, Mullen replied,”Not a word. I phrased it the way I wanted it to be phrased.”

Good cop Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters on Wednesday that,”I have no argument with anyone who says this is a very difficult and complex relationship because it is.” She went on to say that she believes strongly that both the US and Pakistan have to work together despite the difficulties.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani indicated on Thursday that his government was committed to work with the US but he made it clear that no military action against the Haqqani Network was on the cards. Gilani told political and military leaders meeting to formulate a response to Mullen’s allegations that,”Pakistan cannot be pressured to do more.”

As Associated Press reports, Daniel Markey, a Pakistan expert at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, said Mullen’s comments seems to reflect internal disagreements over how to deal with Pakistan’s alleged links to the Haqqani Network.

Shuja Nawaz, the director of the South Asia Center at the US based Atlantic Council, said he was worried about who was taking the lead on Pakistan in the Obama administration, given the paucity of experts on the country.

Pakistan has refused to target the Haqqani Network’s sanctuary in North Waziristan, saying its troops are stretched too thin by operations in other parts of the tribal region. Many analysts believe, however, that Islamabad doesn’t want to threaten its historical links with the group because it could be a useful ally in Afghanistan after foreign forces withdraw.

Markey said the Pakistanis are clearly upset by Mullen’s statements,”but they would not do anything constructive about it, so we will end up in a worse relationship with no positive benefits on the counterterrorism or counterinsurgency side.”

Norway police explore several Breivik links

Anders Breivik Templar Knight Commander

theforeigner.no | Aug 26, 2011

by Lyndsey Smith and Michael Sandelson

Anders Behring Breivik may have had an international network of people with the same ideals.

According to Breivik’s lawyer, Geir Lippestad, his client has already hinted there are “friends abroad that think the same way as him and that they will continue his work.”

Dagbladet reports this consists of the Norwegian defence league (NDL), the English Defence League (EDL) and the Stop Islamisation of Norway (SIAN). The groups contact each other via social networking sites like Facebook, where groups can be made private and only available for members to view the contents.

EDL blogger Paul Ray is in Norway this week being questioned by police over alleged mentoring connections. Ray has already admitted being a possible influence.

Breivik sent a message to members of the EDL before killing 77 people, saying, “In these dark times all of Europe are looking to you in search of inspiration, courage and even hope that we might turn this evil trend with Islamisation all across our continent.”

Investigators are also searching through Facebook for traces of links between Breivik, the EDL, NDL, and SIAN, and believe they have found a connection with a key member of this last organisation. The SIAN member has deleted his account, but there are suspicions they have been in contact a great deal.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo says if this is true, “it will be necessary to bring in people from this community. There have already been some interviews, without us being able to go into further details.”

Heads of other European extremist organisations have been quick to deny association with Breivik when questioned. Leader of Stop Isamisation in Europe (SIOE) Dane Anders Gravers told Dagbladet Breivik was not a member and had been rejected as his views were too extreme.

Responding to reports by Danish blog site P77, allegedly supported by a screen dump showing the two were friends 13 months ago, Gravers says, “Breivik’s claims are lies. SIOE’s leaders have never been in contact with him, and we have never discussed a strategy, of course.”

Breivik has spoken to police about his connections with extremist organisations, however, openly discussing how he had talked of discussed a plan with members of SIOE and the EDL.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Defence League (NDL), formed in 2010, has three different stories about its involvement with the 32-year-old mass murderer. NDL’s current leadership denies having any contact with Breivik.

Former leader Havard Krane claims that Breivik left after a few days as he found the organisation too mild. Successor Lena Andreassen has a contradictive story stating that he was a member but she kicked him out. Finally, the organisation’s present leader, Ronny Alte, says “he was a member here for a short period under the previous leadership, but chose to resign from the NDL himself.”

Radiation in Japanese children’s thyroids


A boy receives a radiation scan at a screening center in Koriyama in Fukushima prefecture in March (AFP, Go Takayama)

AFP | Aug 18, 2011

TOKYO — Forty-five percent of children tested in the region around Japan’s stricken nuclear plant were found to have traces of radioactive elements in their thyroid glands, an official said Thursday.

The official said that the iodine concentrations — found in tests that the government carried out about five months ago in Fukushima prefecture — were not considered alarming in terms of their health impact.

“The government’s official position is that none of the children showed radiation levels that would be problematic,” he told AFP.

The government’s nuclear accident taskforce tested 1,149 children aged up to 15 about two weeks after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns, blasts and fires at the Fukushima plant.

Radioactive iodine tends to gather in the thyroid glands of minors in particular, increasing the risk of developing cancer later in life.

Of the valid test results collected for 1,080 children, 482 or 44.6 percent were confirmed to have some level of radioactive contamination in their thyroid glands, the government official told AFP.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said none of the children suffered contamination beyond the equivalent of 0.2 microsieverts (mSv) per hour, the standard set by Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission.

“Only one child showed a contamination level of 0.1 mSv per hour, the highest of the group,” the official said without giving the child’s sex or age.

The commission recommends that children, especially young ones, whose thyroid gland is contaminated beyond the 0.2 mSv limit undergo an in-depth physical checkup, citing international standards.

The commission is considering tightening its safety standard to 0.1 mSv.

The children tested came from three municipalities — Iwaki city, Kawamata town and Iitate village — where especially high levels of radiation had been estimated after the accident, the official said.

The Fukushima government plans to conduct life-time medical checks for the estimated 360,000 people aged 18 or younger who were in the prefecture at the time of the nuclear accident.

The taskforce medical team began sending test results to the families of the children last week and gave a briefing on Wednesday to a group of parents and guardians in Iwaki city.

Some participants complained that the team took months to inform them of the detailed results despite the gravity of the nuclear accident, the world’s worst since Chernobyl 25 years ago, the Asahi Shimbun daily reported.

The government official said the taskforce did not consider informing the families of the details results as a priority since no child had shown contamination levels beyond the safety limit.

Norway attacks intensify political resolve of many youths


Children stand at a makeshift memorial on the shore across from Utoya Island, where at least 68 people were shot to death in one of Friday’s twin terrorist attacks. (Fabrizio Bensch, Reuters / July 27, 2011)

The Norway massacre may shape the views of an entire generation. Already, youth parties, both liberal and conservative, are reporting membership surges.

Los Angeles Times | Jul 28, 2011

By Edmund Sanders

Reporting from Oslo — The sandy-haired young man runs his finger over an orange wristband with the word “Utoya,” a leftover ID bracelet from the Labor Party youth camp where 68 people, mostly teenage activists, were gunned down last week.

“I can’t take it off,” Vegard Groslie Wennesland says softly, seated at a cafe in central Oslo where broken glass was still being cleared from the separate car bombing that terrorism suspect Anders Behring Breivik also admits to committing.

Tragedy is transforming the lives of young Norwegians — and in many cases, such as that of the 27-year-old Workers’ Youth League member, strengthening their resolve.

A week ago, Wennesland’s biggest worry was completing a University of Oslo master’s thesis on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and then, perhaps, taking a jaunt around the Middle East to practice his Arabic.

Now, after seeing friends shot point-blank in the head and hiding under a cabin bunk until the massacre was over, Wennesland has put his graduation plans on hold and spends his days consoling traumatized members of the youth league. He’s vice chairman of the Oslo chapter; the chairman is among the presumed dead.

Norway’s deadliest peace-time attack has traumatized the nation, but is taking a particular toll on the young, the primary targets and disproportionate victims of the attacks. Photo spreads of the dead being published in newspapers unintentionally evoke the look of high-school yearbooks — bright smiles, often accompanied by pimpled faces or spiked hairdos.

In the short-term, the violence appears to have motivated many young Norwegians. Youth parties, both liberal and conservative, are reporting membership surges. Even the Progress Party, which Breivik joined as a youth and later quit in frustration, reported that 30 new members have signed up since Friday.

The interest marks an abrupt shift — in recent years political participation and voter turnout had waned among the young. Now many are expecting record voter turnout during the next nationwide youth election in September.

In Norway, student elections occur on high school and college campuses as they do in the U.S. But here, they are partisan contests in which the nation’s leading political parties compete for the youth vote. The polls are seen as an important breeding ground — as are political summer camps such as the one on Utoya — for the nation’s future political leaders.

Beyond the firsthand horror experienced by the nearly 700 youths at the camp — unprecedented political violence in a nation where crime-related gun deaths are rare — the massacre may shape the views of an entire generation, influencing politics, priorities and fears for decades to come.

“It’s something that will impact their world assumptions, their view of life, their feeling that the world is basically safe and that human beings are good,” said Tine Jensen, a child psychologist at the Norwegian Center for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies. “They will never forget.”

Jensen points to the massive vigils, memorials and stories of ordinary heroes risking their lives to save others as positive lessons, strengthening the national unity of young Norwegians, who have responded with solidarity and defiance.

“You can’t change the event, but you can try to counteract it in the aftermath,” Jensen said. “When we see how Norway has responded, with flowers and people helping each other, it may actually end up enhancing the sense of cohesiveness and humanity.”

Jensen, whose center is drawing upon the experiences of the Sept. 11 attacks and on decades of gun violence in Los Angeles, said the trauma for Norway is particularly intense. That’s because young people here have so little direct experience with violence and because Breivik reportedly told police he intentionally targeted the left-leaning youth retreat, believing he could decimate the future leadership of the liberal Labor Party he despised.

Breivik, who police say has admitted to committing both attacks but has pleaded not guilty, made clear in his pre-rampage writings that he had Norway’s youth in his sights. His 1,500-page manifesto claimed the first phase of an anti-Islamic revolution would be the formation of “cultural conservative patriotic youth movements,” which would serve as the “backbone” of a right-wing resistance movement.

Wennesland said he’s committed to ensuring that Breivik’s intentions to crush the Labor Party are not fulfilled.

“Then he wins, and no one in Norway wants him to win,” he said. “Those of us left are going to be stronger. We will be tighter. The shared experience will tone down the differences that we’ve had inside the Labor Party for a considerable amount of time. So yes, this will affect us to a great extent, and I think it will mostly be positive.”

In an ultimate act of defiance, Wennesland vowed the youth group will return to Utoya next year for its annual retreat.

“The values and ideals that were attacked Friday will prevail,” he said.

Havard Narum, a political columnist for Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper, said he expects the Labor Party to enjoy a short-term boost as a gesture of sympathy. In recent years, the Labor Party — historically the dominant party among Norway’s young — has been losing support to right-leaning rivals, such as the Conservative Party and the Progress Party.

Breivik may have succeeded in drawing attention to his anti-immigration views, Narum said, but his tactics may have made the climate too sensitive for right-wing parties to even raise the issue in the foreseeable future.

The long-term political impact of the attacks remains unclear. “But one way or another, I believe this will have consequences for the whole political climate for quite a long time,” Narum said.

As the identities of more victims are released and funerals take place nationwide, parents are also grappling with how to answer their younger children’s questions and ease their fears.

“My son keeps asking me, ‘Why?'” said Anita Kleemp, 48, an unemployed mother, standing next to her 5-year-old boy in downtown Oslo. “But I really don’t know what to tell him.”

She said she thinks it’s nonetheless crucial to discuss the tragedy with her youngster. On Monday, she brought him to the downtown Oslo bombing site to observe a national moment of silence. Later, they stood in front of the courthouse and waited for a chance to see Breivik being driven to his initial closed-door judicial hearing.

“I wanted my son to see that [Breivik’s] in jail so he won’t be afraid,” Kleemp said. “But also I just thought we should be here. It’s part of the Norway experience. I want him to remember.”

Unasur Forecast Greater Role For Latin America In New International Order

Following the ‘lost’ decade of the 1980, the ‘frustrated’ decade of the nineties, the current decade is “South America’s decade”.

BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS | Jun 21, 2011

BUENOS AIRES, June 21 (BERNAMA-NNN-MERCOPRESS) — A new global order is emerging as a result of the world crisis and recession in developed countries and Latin America has a crucial role to play given its very satisfactory economic performance in recent years, Latin Unasur bloc Secretary General Maria Emma Mejia said.

Meeting in Madrid for the tenth anniversary of the Spanish foreign affairs think-tank Royal Institute Elcano, Ms Mejia together with other world experts and politicians were invited to discuss the international crisis, the emergence of new powers and if the world is heading for a new international order.

Ms Mejia said that the region’s economy expanded 6% last year and is expected to grow 4.5% this year, of which certainly “the U.S and particularly Europe would feel very envious”.

She added that “undoubtedly a new international order is emerging and Latin America believes it has a crucial role to play”.

However the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) secretary general admitted that inequality and poverty are the main pending issue of Latin America. In spite of the successful economic performance there are still 124 million people living in poverty.

Ms Mejia said that Inter American Development Bank (IADB) president Luis Alberto Moreno had indicated that Lat Am “could double its GDP in the next 14 years which would enable the region to cut poverty from 32% to 10%”

“This is our pending task in Latin America. Inequality and asymmetries are very serious, we have 124 million poor and 13% of our population is indigent, in spite of the huge efforts from countries such as Chile and Brazil” added Ms Mejia.

Following the ‘lost’ decade of the 1980, the ‘frustrated’ decade of the nineties, the current decade is “South America’s decade” said Ms Mejia who described the current situation as “most encouraging” as well as regional integration experiences such as Unasur (Union of South American Nations), through which the region can contribute to the world order and economic development.

However other guests were not so enthusiastic about the coming changes in the world order and what this could mean.

Robin Niblett, head of British Chatman House said the world was not going from an international order dominated by a certain part of the world to one dominated by another part, but rather in coming years “we will have to see how interdependence works out and not who dominates”.

In spite of the fact that the current crisis is “western”, Niblett cautioned “not to underestimate the strength of the U.S and Europe”, that have “some of the most competitive powers and corporations” and a “very strong social security system”.

Another participant at the forum was Yan Xuetong from the Tsinghua University Institute of Modern International Relations, considered one of the most prestigious institutions of China in this field.

“China is not a global power. From an economic point of view China is second in the world but this is not the case regarding political or military influence” said Yan Xuetong, who forecasted that China’s influence in coming years will be “mostly economic”.

“China needs plenty of time, possibly twenty years to become a truly world power”, said the Tsinghua university expert, who is also the editor of China’s Journal of International Politics. He added that “the peaceful rise of China will help to strengthen world stability”.

Newt Gingrich: ‘I’m Not A Washington Figure’

“I will offer a much more dramatic alternative future than any traditional candidate will dream of.”

Huffpost | May 23, 2011

WASHINGTON — Even before he sat down for his 36th appearance at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast series — a regular gathering of journalists from the capital’s most respected publications — Newt Gingrich was scheming to make one point particularly clear.

He was, above all else, a Washington outsider.

The former House Speaker and current Republican presidential candidate may have spent 20 years in the House of Representatives, after which he continued to live in a cushy suburb of D.C. to earn a good salary in the world of advocacy and think tanks. But on Monday morning, as he sat in a conference room in the confines of the highbrow St. Regis hotel, those biographical details were simply catnip for critics.

“I’m not a Washington figure, despite the years I’ve been here,” Gingrich said. “I’m essentially an American whose ties are across the country and is interested in how you change Washington, not how you make Washington happy.”

“I am the people’s candidate, not the capital’s candidate,” he added later.

Making politics out of revolutionary zeal is Gingrich’s common trick. He rode anti-Washington sentiment to the speaker’s throne in 1994; and has more or less tried to reprise the act during his presidential flirtations since.

Simply saying you are an outsider does not make you one, of course. And as he yapped it up with reporters on Monday morning, it was impossible not to see Gingrich as something diametrically different: dependent on the political culture he decries.

The day before, he had partaken in another venerable press event — a taping with “Face the Nation” on CBS. A week before that, it was NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Two weeks before that, he had delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution, one of D.C’s gilded think tanks, “on health solutions for lower costs, younger lives, more independent living and more American jobs.” At various points in his Monday presentation, Gingrich noted that he had cast 7,300 votes in his lifetime, delivered 5,000 speeches, sat down for 10,000 interviews and written 23 books (which, mid-way through the hour-long question and answer session he corrected to 24, to account for the next book he will have published sometime in June).

As he brushed aside the eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes he was offered, the former speaker appeared awestruck at his own introduction.

“That is the most different introduction. I don’t know where it comes from,” he said to the host of the breakfast, David Cook, the Senior Editor & Washington Bureau Chief of the Christian Science Monitor. “This is my 36th time having breakfast with you guys. I think this is the first time it’s been quite that elaborate.”

That may be because Gingrich has been going to the breakfasts longer than Cook has been hosting them. Later at the affair, he gently teased two other gray beards in the room, liberal columnist Mark Shields and Ralph Hallow, the chief political writer at the Washington Times.

“In terms of American civic culture and bipartisanship, to see these two guys sitting next to each other is a sign that you can have civility in America,” he said, before expressing his belief that scrambled eggs can bring even the greatest of foes to the same table.

On Monday, however, kind words for the press were few and far between. A foil was needed for an anti-Washington message to work. And for Gingrich, whose first few days on the trail were marked by sharp questions over his evolving positions on Medicare and the individual mandate, it was time for a bit of rhetorical retribution.

“I stipulate in advance: all of you can play gotcha. I’ll be glad to say ‘that was good’ and then we will go to the next question,” he said, before a single question had even been asked. “I don’t blame [Meet the Press host] David Gregory, but I’ve decided I’m going to be much more relentless in reframing things,” he said at another point, in reference to the Sunday show appearance that precipitated his early stumbles.

“[L]ook at the front page of the New York Times yesterday, which devoted one-quarter of the front page to Lindsay Lohan above the fold,” Gingrich said, when pressed about why he felt the ‘gotcha’ questions were unfair. “That should tell you all you need to know about the current state of where we are. We are in a society in which gossip replaces policy and everyone wrings their hands about how hard it is to have a serious conversation. By definition, if you run for president, anything is on the table. Ask Grover Cleveland, ask Andrew Jackson. Anything is on the table.”

Neither Cleveland nor Jackson were available for comment.

Gingrich is taking some steps to establish distance with D.C. He has whisked his way through dozens of early stops in critical primary and caucus states, chief among them Iowa. He remains, very much, a man who can draw a conservative crowd. And in terms of verbal bombast, there are few in the Republican Party — let alone the presidential field — who can drum up the type of disdain for all things Washington that he can. Without any prodding, Gingrich will recite a list of four policies or executive orders he would issue immediately as president: replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with an Environment Solutions agency; re-establishing the Mexico City policy, which requires NGOs that receive federal funds to refrain from performing abortions; enforcing the conscience clause so that no doctor can be forced to do something against their will; and instructing the State Department to place the American embassy in Jerusalem.

It remains to be seen, however, whether Gingrich can at once tout the breadth of his own, largely D.C.-based experience while simultaneously arguing that he’s the agent of change that conservatives desire.

“Everywhere I go across Iowa, everywhere I see people randomly, they have figured out I’m the guy who wants to change Washington and they can tell it because the people they see on TV from Washington aren’t happy with me,” said Gingrich. “And the fact is, if you look at my platform, I will clearly be the most change-oriented, the most fundamental reform candidate in this race, in either party. And I will offer a much more dramatic alternative future than any traditional candidate will dream of.”

. . .

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‘Zombie Apocalypse’ crashes CDC website


A screenshot of the website for the Centers for Disease Control, which were swamped by a massive wave of traffic following the tongue-in-cheek warning of an impending “zombie apocalypse.” CDC

‘Zombie Apocalypse’ Is a Killer — for Website

Reuters | May 20, 2011

A blog post by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that mentions a “zombie apocalypse” as a lighthearted way to get Americans to read about preparing for hurricanes drove so much traffic that it crashed the website, the agency said on Thursday.

The Zombie Apocalypse campaign is a social media effort by the CDC’s Public Health and Preparedness center to spread the word about the June 1 start of hurricane season.

The CDC is a U.S. federal government health agency based in Atlanta.

“There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for,” the blog post begins. “Take a zombie apocalypse for example. … You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

The blog appeared just days before May 21, when an evangelical broadcaster in California has predicted “Judgment Day” will mark the end of the world.

“If you prepare for the zombie apocalypse, you’ll be prepared for all hazards,” CDC spokesman Dave Daigle told Reuters on Thursday.

The word zombie comes from voodoo practice of spirit possession in which victims are stripped of consciousness.

Zombies became popular culture references after the success of George Romero’s 1968 horror film “Night of the Living Dead” where flesh-eating zombies roam the eastern seaboard in the aftermath of radioactive contamination.

Daigle said that a typical CDC blog post might get between 1,000 and 3,000 hits. The most traffic on record had been a post that saw around 10,000 visits.

By the end of Wednesday, with servers down, the page had 60,000. By Thursday, it was a trending topic on Twitter.

The campaign was designed to reach a young, media-savvy demographic that the CDC had not been able to capture previously, Daigle said.

Increased traffic did not affect the main CDC website.

China-Pakistan alliance strengthened post bin Laden

AFP | May 15, 2011

by Sebastien Blanc

BEIJING (AFP) – Tensions between the US and Pakistan over the killing of Osama bin Laden and a speedier US withdrawal from Afghanistan are likely to reinforce China and Pakistan’s already strong ties, analysts say.

When Chinese leaders welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to Beijing this week, they will likely praise Sino-Pakistani “friendship” over the past 60 years — a stark contrast to recent Western criticism of Islamabad.

Analysts say Gilani’s visit starting Tuesday will help Islamabad deflect mounting pressure from Washington and elsewhere, as Pakistan stands shoulder-to-shoulder with its long-time ally and neighbour.

“China is the only country that has taken a sympathetic stand for Pakistan after the bin Laden operation,” Talat Masood, a political analyst and retired Pakistani general, told AFP.

“This visit is important in the sense that it could counter (US) pressure on Pakistan. It shows Pakistan wants to say we also have some cards to play.”

China has shown unswerving support for Pakistan since US special forces killed bin Laden at a compound near the country’s top military academy on May 2, sparking speculation that Islamabad may have known about his whereabouts.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu pointed out a few days after the Al-Qaeda chief’s killing that Pakistan was nevertheless “at the forefront of the international counter-terrorism effort”.

Beijing’s goodwill has not gone unnoticed.

“At this crucial juncture of history, I cannot say anybody is standing with Pakistan except for China,” Pakistan’s popular opposition leader Nawaz Sharif told reporters.

Many in Pakistan, outraged by the unilateral US raid, are increasingly convinced that their nation’s strategic alliance with the United States since 2001 has been less than positive and has only made the country less stable.

It could therefore be tempting for the nuclear-armed Islamic republic to move away from the United States and get closer to faithful ally Beijing, analysts say.

“If US and Indian pressure continues, Pakistan can say ‘China is behind us. Don’t think we are isolated, we have a potential superpower with us’,” Masood said.

China is the main arms supplier to Pakistan, which sees Beijing as an important counter-balance to India — which has recently tightened its ties with the United States.

Beijing has also agreed to build several nuclear reactors in Pakistan.

Kerry Dumbaugh, an analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses, said Pakistan’s pro-China stance on issues such as Taiwan, which Beijing considers part of its own territory, is also a key factor in Beijing’s support for Islamabad.

“Pakistan serves as an advocate or a conduit for China in the Islamic world,” Dumbaugh said.

According to other experts, China is convinced that Pakistan will increase its influence in Afghanistan by 2015, taking advantage of the planned withdrawal of US troops.

China also needs Islamabad’s cooperation in stemming potential terrorist threats in its mainly Muslim region of Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan.

Ultimately, China wants calm to reign, particularly in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, through which it plans to transport oil from the Middle East in a pipeline linking Xinjiang to the Arabian Sea.

But experts warn that friendship between China and Pakistan has its limits.

“China is important for Pakistan and will remain so, but when it comes to hi-tech you have to go to the US and the West, also because of their clout in the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund,” political analyst Hasan Askari said.

Andrew Small, an expert on China-Pakistan relations at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, agreed.

The Chinese “get what they want out of the relationship already — having Pakistan to provide balance in the region to try to keep India tied down in South Asia rather than becoming a broader Asian or global power,” Small said.

“They’re not going to want to be in a position where they end up with Pakistan on their plate to deal with.”

Condoleezza Rice set to make acting début as Alec Baldwin’s love interest

Condoleezza Rice set to make acting début on 30 Rock… as Alec Baldwin’s love interest

Daily Mail | Apr 16, 2011

Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is going where few political players have gone before – to 30 Rock.

The 56-year-old, who served as America’s top diplomat for four years under President George W. Bush, will turn in a brief cameo on the NBC comedy.

Tina Fey, the show’s star and creator, made the announcement yesterday on National Public Radio’s Leonard Lopate Show.

She revealed Rice, who now teaches political science at Stanford University in California, will appear in an upcoming episode in what Fey described an ‘amazing cameo.’

Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin, bragged that Rice was his former flame throughout the first season of the programme.

While Rice’s appearance is a out-of-character for a buttoned up politico, she’s not the only one to appear on 30 Rock.
Former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore has also appeared in a guest role on 30 Rock.

But former President Bill Clinton turned down an opportunity to turn in a cameo.

Rice, was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, has so far remained mum about the role.

Rice is well educated and has several college degrees.

Her initial university major was piano, but after realizing that she did not have the talent to play professionally, she began to consider an alternative major.

She obtained a master’s degree in political science from the University of Notre Dame in 1975 and she got a job at the State Department in 1977, during Jimmy Carter’s administration.

In 1981, at the age of 26, she earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of Denver.

Twenty years later, she became a national security advisor to President Bush and four years later she was named as the first African-American woman secretary of state, as well as the second African-American to hold the job after Colin Powell.

In March 2009, Rice returned to Stanford University, where she taught before joining the Bush administration.

Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links


Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against ‘the foreign invasion’ in Afghanistan Photo: AFP

Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

Telegraph | Mar 25, 2011

By Praveen Swami, Nick Squires and Duncan Gardham

In an interview with the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore, Mr al-Hasidi admitted that he had recruited “around 25” men from the Derna area in eastern Libya to fight against coalition troops in Iraq. Some of them, he said, are “today are on the front lines in Adjabiya”.

Mr al-Hasidi insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but added that the “members of al-Qaeda are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader”.

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McCain: I hope U.S., others arm Libyan rebels

His revelations came even as Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s president, said al-Qaeda had managed to pillage military arsenals in the Libyan rebel zone and acquired arms, “including surface-to-air missiles, which were then smuggled into their sanctuaries”.

Mr al-Hasidi admitted he had earlier fought against “the foreign invasion” in Afghanistan, before being “captured in 2002 in Peshwar, in Pakistan”. He was later handed over to the US, and then held in Libya before being released in 2008.

US and British government sources said Mr al-Hasidi was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, which killed dozens of Libyan troops in guerrilla attacks around Derna and Benghazi in 1995 and 1996.

Even though the LIFG is not part of the al-Qaeda organisation, the United States military’s West Point academy has said the two share an “increasingly co-operative relationship”. In 2007, documents captured by allied forces from the town of Sinjar, showed LIFG emmbers made up the second-largest cohort of foreign fighters in Iraq, after Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of “the stage of Islam” in the country.

British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for “Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya” had “shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese”.