The Front News (3/10/2012)

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Georgia: Simulating War Or Provoking It?

Rick Rozoff

On the evening of March 13 Georgia’s Imedi television channel ran a 30-minute prime time “simulated” newscast about a Russian invasion of the South Caucasus nation complete with a report that the country’s mercurial (if not megalomaniacal) president – Mikheil Saakashvili – had been assassinated.

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Putin's victory expected to further boost China-Russia relations

by Shuai Anning

BEIJING, March 5 (Xinhua) -- With Vladimir Putin, Russia's current prime minister, claiming victory in Sunday's presidential election, it is widely expected that the China-Russia relations will further develop in the next six years.

Since his ascending to power in 2000, Putin, working with Chinese leaders, has been actively promoting bilateral ties.

In 2001, the two countries signed "China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation," which consolidated mutual political trust and raised the bilateral relationship to a new high.

Looking forward, cooperation between China and Russia, with two highly complimentary economies, enjoys promising prospects as they further expand partnership in areas such as trade, energy, and technology.

For example, the energy trade between the two countries not only helped to ensure China's energy security but also provided Russia a reliable export market in the Asia-Pacific region.

The bilateral relationship also enjoys wide public support as frequent people-people exchanges have promoted understanding and friendship between the two peoples.

From a global perspective, China and Russia, as two permanent members of the powerful United Nations Security Council, share the same or similar views on wide-ranging global issues such as the protracted turmoil in the Arab world, climate change and global economic issues.

On Syria, both the countries have called for inclusive dialogue among conflicting parties in the country and warned against a forced regime change imposed by the outside world.

Russia and China, as two major emerging economies, have also been trying to push through crucial reforms of the global political and economic structure.

Under the framework of BRICS, a club of five major emerging economies which also groups Brazil, India and South Africa, China and Russia have consistently sought to increase representation of the developing countries at major international organizations such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

In central Asia, China and Russia are two important members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which acts as a main platform for regional countries to promote security, stability and trade.

For people who might have concerns about the global ramifications of stronger China-Russia ties, they should feel relieved as cooperation between the two countries are not directed against other countries.

Putin's election as president of Russia, hopefully, will keep driving the development of the already robust ties between China and Russia, bringing about benefits not only to the two countries, but also to the world at large.


Rebalancing Russia's foreign relations


By Mikhail L. Titarenko ( China Daily )

The geopolitical position of Russia, with its 10 time zones stretching for over 11,000 kilometers East to West, dictates a balanced approach to the development of its Euro-Atlantic and Asia-Pacific relations.

Historically, European and Orthodox-Christian cultures formed the foundations of Russian civilization, but Asian components, including the cultural influence of many neighboring Turk nations, as well as the great Chinese, Indian and Iranian civilizations, eventually intertwined organically with Russia's culture and in their common manifestation in the country are perceived as indigenously Russian.

The question of Russia's Euro-Asian identity is of principal importance. It plays an important role in the development of domestic and foreign policy strategies. Emphasizing Russia's European identity would result in a Euro-centrist sag in domestic policy, a quasi-colonial attitude to development of Russia's Eastern regions and insufficient attention to ties with Russia's Asian neighbors.

A look at the map showing the network of oil and gas pipelines from Siberia to Europe and the sole oil pipeline to the East is evidence of the country's previous political and commercial bias in favor of Europe.

This Europe-oriented approach was broken after Vladimir Putin was elected president in 2000. "Russia is a big and complex state located both in Asia and Europe Russia relied and will always rely on two wings the European and the Asian ones, the more so when we talk about such a powerful country as the People's Republic of China," he said, shortly after he was elected president then.

In the course of the current election campaign Putin published a series of articles on issues of foreign and domestic policy, in which he repeatedly highlighted the priorities of Russia's foreign-policy orientation and emphasized the need for the balanced development of Russia's relations with both Europe and Asia, including the neighbor states of South and Central Asia.

In the article, "Russia and the Changing World", Putin for the first time brought Asia-Pacific relations to the fore. He strongly emphasized that China is Russia's biggest and most dynamically growing neighbor and China's rise is not a threat but rather a stimulating challenge. In Putin's view, Russian-Chinese cooperation will bring grand opportunities for rise of Russia.

Putin's emphasis on Asia-Pacific relations is predetermined by the following facts: First, East Asia, indeed the whole Asian-Pacific region, is ever-more effectively asserting itself as a new global political and economic center accounting for more than 50 percent of global GDP growth. Second, the growing influence of the region makes it an especially timely task to build up the economic potential of Russia's eastern regions. Therefore, Putin and his team invariably focus their attention on the need to accelerate the economic growth of Siberia and the Russian Far East, and to develop comprehensively Russia's relations with its East Asian neighbors especially with China, which has become a major stabilizing force for world economic growth and a reliable partner.

In this context it is worth noting the value of Russian-Chinese trade and economic relations, which have grown from slightly more than $5 billion in 2000 to more than $80 billion in 2011. At their 16th meeting on Oct 11-12, 2011, the Russian and Chinese prime ministers outlined measures to further expand trade and economic relations between the two countries. The targets are to build up the bilateral trade volume to $100 billion by 2015 and $200 billion by 2020. Realization of these targets will enable the two countries to more efficiently utilize the synergy of their two complementary economies and to form mutually acceptable and efficient mechanisms of economic co-development.

On international issues, Russian-Chinese cooperation through political dialogue has helped to prevent serious escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and actively promoted Asia-Pacific integration. Russia and China have also productively cooperated within the UN on crises in the Middle East and other global issues. As a result of their strategic interaction and partnership, Russia and China actively develop coordinated plans and actions to ensure mutual security and international stability. This is amply evidenced by their positions on the territorial integrity of one another and on their approaches to the Iran and Democratic People's Republic of Korea's nuclear issues. Both countries consistently stand in favor of building an open, transparent and equal security-and-cooperation system in Asia-Pacific, and realization of the Russian-Chinese joint initiative, set forth by the two presidents in September 2010, on cooperation in strengthening Asian-Pacific security.

All this suggests that Russia will consistently and firmly push forward the time-tested buildup and development of good-neighborly relations, friendship and partnership with China.

The author is president of Russia-China Friendship Association and director of Institute of Far Eastern Studies, affiliated to the Russian Academy of Sciences


Moscow Reminds International Community of its Responsibility over Exporting Terror into Syria

Mar 08, 2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA)- Russian Envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin put the international community once again in front of its alleged responsibility in combating terrorism through presenting a new evidence on the infiltration of terrorist trained members into Syria.

Churkin, confirming a lot of western media reports, reminded the UN Security council members of the existence of al-Qaeda in Syria before unveiling information that say the Libyan government has set up a special center for training terrorists to be later sent to launch attacks on official and governmental institutions and carry out criminal acts.

The Russian Envoy sought to remind the international community of its duty regarding the export of armed men and weapons into Syria that will undermine stability in the Middle East.

To Prove that, AFP quoted a journalist who spent a week in Homs as saying that he saw terrorists and Arab extremists that fight the Syrian government as Iraqi Premier Nouri al-Maliki has underlined that al-Qaeda members infiltrate from Iraq into Syria.


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ANALYSIS: A definite ‘no’ — Midhat Kazim

It would be the highest sin for us to strengthen the foreign invading armies in Afghanistan by giving them land and air supply routes instead of chasing them back and away from here, thus helping our American brothers and sisters win their noble struggle for a better life

All political commentators and observers are certain that the Pakistani military establishment will allow the transit facilities for NATO and US forces in Afghanistan to be restored by the end of March. They do not buy — quite correctly — the statement that ‘the civilian government is going to decide this matter’. They insist that no decision can be made without the ‘establishment’s’ approval. If this prediction materialises, it will reinforce the current thinking, which says that the military is like the corrupted political leadership, mercenary in outlook and equally callous towards Pakistan’s vital interests. Therefore, it is vitally necessary that the military establishment must see to it that this transit facility is not restored under any circumstances. If it is, then in this time when disillusionments are drowning the nation, the last ray of hope will also die, and the people will truly write off the military establishment as well. What may follow may be too horrid for words to describe. First, in such a situation when the banks of national frustration burst, it will be either the people against the military, or it will be a coup that will deliver the defence establishment of Pakistan into the hands of the extreme right wing. In either case, it will spell the end of a country, of a nation.

Second, there is absolutely no reason on earth why such a big gamble be taken by us for the restoration of the US and NATO’s supply routes, especially when the continued presence of those troops is both superfluous and illegal: the UN had allowed the invasion of Afghanistan only for the purpose of hitting al-Qaeda and the arresting or finishing off of Osama bin Laden. According to US government spokesmen, both these objectives have been achieved. Thereafter, they have no authority to stay on in Afghanistan. Third, the continued presence of these foreign troops in Afghanistan is creating nothing but agony for the people of Afghanistan, and heaping an unending stream of inhuman cruelty upon them through night raids on their houses, urination on the dead bodies of their fighters, and burning of their (and our) holy books. This situation is designed to give birth to more war and bloodshed in Afghanistan rather than bring it to an end.

Fourth, if the aggression by foreign troops — the US, NATO, ISAF, etc– continues in Afghanistan, it is inevitable that Pakistan will soon be either dragged into, or will be subjected to, a full scale war with these same aggressors, one way or another. Pakistan is a nuclear state that does not wish to be made a party to any war, because the consequences of that for our region and indeed the whole world can be catastrophic. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that we must do all and everything within our power to extinguish this war of cruel terror that has been unleashed on our Afghan brothers and help the aggressors to get out of Afghanistan. One solid step in that direction is to deny them all land and air supply routes through Pakistan, no matter what the cost of that is. Fifth, any prolongation of the war in Afghanistan is inevitably going to have very negative effects on all the countries on the periphery of this theatre, countries such as Russia, China, the Central Asian Republics, India and Iran. This region of ours will then become the centre of a worldwide and very dangerous instability that could at any time become a world war. We do not want that either. Therefore, once again, we must very strictly deny all supply routes to these aggressor troops in Afghanistan, and ask them — indeed, force them if need be — to leave Afghanistan NOW. They have already wreaked more than enough cruelty and havoc, death and destruction on that poor home of our brothers.

Each one of these reasons is individually sufficient to completely and, at once, ban all transit facilities for the foreign aggressor in Afghanistan. Together they constitute an argument so clear and compelling that none except the blind can speak in favour of restoring the supply routes through Pakistan. In that case, I will hope that the people of this country will, despite all their limitations, rise up and ensure that the supply routes to foreign aggressors in Afghanistan are instantly stopped. Surprisingly, however, even if we were to look at our good relations with the people of the US, and their well-being, again we are forced to the conclusion that we must do all and everything possible to send these foreign brigands back to their homeland. The US and Europe today are facing very difficult economic times, and that means they can ill afford these expensive foreign wars. Europe has, of course, quite cleverly put the main burden of the war on the US, and their role is little more than that of cheerleaders trying to keep the US going down the path of its ruin.

The US economy today is little more than an economy of mostly fraudulent financial papers — called the financial sector — and the weapons industry that is constantly drooling for more and more weapons contracts. So much so that now even their army and intelligence is largely becoming a gang of contractors who make money from killing for a price...paid in a currency fast losing its value. This situation is causing a lot of socio-economic hardship for the people of the US. As they rise to protest, they are finding that their civil liberties and fundamental rights are being taken away from them. Gradually, but quite certainly, they are being transformed into a totalitarian society where even their beloved democracy is becoming a meaningless exercise wherein decisions are increasingly made by the force of police batons.

The US establishment may be evil, the US government working as slaves of this establishment may be idiotic or even despicable, but what cannot be denied is the fact that amongst all the peoples of the world, including our own, the people of the US are one of the best and the finest people, the vast majority of them being kind, humane, helpful, hard-working, honest, large hearted, friendly, God-fearing and just plain good. These people are today fighting to improve conditions in their country and are fighting against the financial monopolists and militarists in their own country. It would be the highest sin for us to, at such a moment, try to weaken their efforts for making things better if we were to strengthen the foreign invading armies in Afghanistan by giving them land and air supply routes instead of chasing them back and away from here, thus helping our American brothers and sisters win their noble struggle.

The writer is a freelance columnist


Debunking How America’s secret space plane has been in orbit for over a year

The U.S Air Force’s highly secret unmanned space plane was supposed to stay in space for nine months, but it’s now been there for a year and three days – and no one knows what it’s doing.

The experimental craft has been circling Earth at 17,000 miles per hour and was due to land in California in December.

However the mission of the X-37B orbital test vehicle was extended – for unknown reasons.

The plane resembles a mini space shuttle and is the second to fly in space.

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Green Libyan Soldier Tells His and Libya's Story

A rather moving story of what has happened to Libya and Libyans.


Libya: The partition begins

When Nato murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in cold blood, observers predicted that his demise would not mark the end of the war but would in fact mark its escalation. Libya has been in

the eye of a storm but now the winds are blowing again. The re-taking of Ben Walid by Gaddafi loyalists and the recent declaration of autonomy by tribal and militia leaders in oil-rich eastern Libya, are just harbingers of the strife to come.

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Health Minister, Amos Review Challenges to Health Sector in Syria in Light of Economic Sanctions, Terrorist Sabotage Acts

Mar 08, 2012

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – Minister of Health Wael al-Halqi reviewed with the UN Undersecretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, the situation of health sector in Syria and the challenges facing it in light of the unjust economic sanctions imposed on Syria.

Minister al-Halqi pointed out to the losses of the health sector during the crisis where 18 workers were martyred and 30 were injured while few others were abducted, in addition to damaging 19 hospitals, 51 health centers and 145 ambulances, 60 of which are out of service.

The Minister added that the health sector was also another victim of the misleading campaign led by instigative satellite channels.

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Mossad, CIA and Blackwater operate in Syria - report

A security operation in Homs reveals Mossad, CIA and Blackwater are involved in the military violence in this part of Syria, as over 700 Arab and Western gunmen and Israeli, American and European-made weapons were detained in Baba Amr district.

­Syrian security forces got yet further proof of Western powers’ military involvement in Syria’s internal conflict, reports Al-Manar, a news agency, affiliated with Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based militant group and political party.

Around 700 gunmen were recently arrested in the former rebel stronghold of Babar Amr.

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Iran ready against any US attack: Cmdr.

A senior Iranian commander says despite US President Barack Obama’s efforts to distance himself from the excessive warmongering rhetoric against Iran, Tehran remains fully alert over any US aggression.

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Supreme Leader: High Turnout in Elections Heavy Blow to Enemies

TEHRAN (FNA)- Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei underlined that the Iranian nation's high turnout in the parliamentary elections on Friday hit a heavy blow to the enemies of the Islamic Republic.

Iranians have overwhelmingly demonstrated their trust in the Islamic system through their massive turnout in the March 2 parliamentary elections, Ayatollah Khamenei said Thursday.

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