Tag Archives: Oil

Fuel-starved Nepal signs agreement with China for oil, ending India’s monopoly

FILE- In this Sept. 24, 2015 file photo, Nepalese oil tankers and commercial trucks stand stranded near a gate that marks the Nepalese border with India, in Birgunj, Nepal. Fuel-starved Nepal has signed an agreement with China to provide gasoline, diesel and cooking gas, after India restricted its supplies as a result of ongoing political protests in the Himalayan nation, officials said Thursday. (AP Photo/Ram Sarraf, file) – See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/fuel-starved-nepal-signs-agreement-with-china-for-oil-ending-india-s-monopoly-1.2098752#sthash.zfwekOC8.dpuf

By Binaj Gurubacharya / The Associated Press

KATHMANDU, Nepal – Fuel-starved Nepal has signed an agreement with China to import gasoline, diesel and cooking gas, effectively ending a monopoly on supply from India, which has restricted fuel convoys as a result of political protests in the Himalayan nation.

The decision to import Chinese oil amid severe shortages has brought China a step closer to Nepal, which traditionally is more influenced by India in the south. The two Asian giants have been jostling for influence in landlocked Nepal.

Nepal sent a team of officials this week to Beijing, where they signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday with China National United Oil Corp., said Nepal Oil Corp. official Deepak Baral.

Details on how much fuel Nepal will receive, prices and other arrangements still need to be worked out, Baral said, but he confirmed the supply would be on a regular basis.

It would be the first time for Nepal to import Chinese fuel. It has so far relied exclusively on India for its energy needs.

Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup declined comment on Nepal’s agreement with China.

Read more » Time Colonist
Learn more » http://www.timescolonist.com/fuel-starved-nepal-signs-agreement-with-china-for-oil-ending-india-s-monopoly-1.2098752
– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/fuel-starved-nepal-signs-agreement-with-china-for-oil-ending-india-s-monopoly-1.2098752#sthash.zfwekOC8.dpuf

Federation put Sindh in dark: Sindh Govt denied the natural resources data

The Department of Natural Resources of Sindh Government has complained in its report that Sindh Government has not been informed about the details and the quantum of natural resources in province by the Center. The report by the department said that (apart from Coal, Gold, Uranium, Oil and Gas) Sindh is rich in Copper, Granite, Marble and China Clay. Read News Version Published in Daily Kawish

Courtesy: Rights and Movements + Sindhi daily Kawish, 14 November, 2014

Russia: Historic 30-yr gas deal with China set to be signed next week

A historic, long-term deal for the delivery of Russian gas to China that has been 10 years in the making is 98 percent ready, Russia’s Deputy Energy Minister Anatoly Yanovsky has said. All that’s needed are the two countries’ signatures, he added.

Read more » RT
http://rt.com/business/158396-gasprom-russia-china-cnpc/

The great game

Western World’s opposition to Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline is seen as a reiteration of its economic interests and geopolitical hegemonic designs in the region

By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr. Ikramul Haq

In the face of threats of sanctions from the United States, President Asif Ali Zardari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on March 11, 2013 launched the groundbreaking work on the 781-kilometre-long pipeline on the Pakistani side of the border. The Iran-Pakistan (IP) Gas Pipeline Project, initialed in 1995, has been facing perpetual opposition from the United States and its allies. Heads of both the countries, in their speeches at the occasion, reaffirmed their commitment to go ahead with the project “despite threats from the world powers”.

President Zardari said that the project would promote peace, security and progress in the region besides improving economic, political and security ties between the two neighbouring states. Stressing that the project was not against any country, President Zardari said such steps forging better understanding would also help fight terrorism and extremism.

President Ahmadinejad, while pointing towards foreign states and criticising what he called “their unjustified opposition to the project under the excuse of Iran’s nuclear issue”, said: “They are against Iran and Pakistan’s progress and have used the nuclear issue as an excuse”. He added, “We never expected [Western] companies to make an investment in this pipeline which guarantees progress, prosperity and peace in the region; if they don’t want to join this project for any given reason, they are not entitled to rock the boat and disturb the project”.

Pakistan on the completion of IP is to receive 21.5 million cubic meters of natural gas on daily basis. Faced with extraordinary energy crisis, Pakistan needs natural gas badly — its shortage has caused miseries to millions of Pakistanis and closure of industries. Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometres of the pipeline on its side. The Tehran-based Tadbir energy development group has undertaken all the engineering procurement and construction work for the first segment of the project. It will also carry out the second segment of the project and also extend the financing of $500 million to Pakistan. Iran and Pakistani are optimistic to complete the project by December 2014.

Continue reading The great game

Pakistan’s exports to India rise 27%

By India Blooms News Service

Delivering a key-note address at the two-day annual conference on ‘Normalising India-Pakistan trade’ being organised by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) here, Bansal said: “Consequent to the trade liberalisation measures, bilateral trade between the two countries increased from US$ 0.6 billion in 2004-05 to US$ 1.9 billion in 2011-12.”

“Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, Pakistan’s exports to India rose by 27% from US$ 333 million to US$ 422 million. Further, Pakistan’s exports to India during April 2012 to January 2013 registered a 50% increase over the same period in the previous year – to US$ 475 million from US$ 320 million,” he said.

The important items imported from Pakistan include dates, cement, woven cotton fabrics, petroleum oil, organic chemicals, and plastics.

Bansal said: “We are very happy to note that Pakistan’s market access to India has improved considerably- indicating that there are no non-tariff barriers. India has also reduced its sensitive list by 30%.

“There should not, however, be any room for complacency- we will have to continue to take trade facilitating measures that will increase imports from Pakistan to much greater heights.”

Bansal said as India and Pakistan move towards normalizing their bilateral trading regimes, there will be new trading opportunities for both countries.

“There is a large untapped trade potential between the two countries, and various estimates suggest that potential trade could vary between 0.5 to 20 times of actual trade.

“A large part of this has been taking place through informal channels – largely through third countries- and goes unaccounted for. But I am sure that as both countries move towards normal trade relations, with the removal of the trade barriers and the subsequent reduction of trade costs, a significant part of informal trade will shift to formal trade channels,” he said.

Continue reading Pakistan’s exports to India rise 27%

Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

By: Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Russia have held high-level discussions focusing on how to expand their political, economic and military relationship. But analysts believe Afghanistan is at the center of the intensified diplomacy as both countries are positioning themselves in anticipation of expected withdrawal of most U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani traveled to Moscow this week while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Islamabad.

The high-level exchanges took place just days after President Vladimir Putin cancelled his much anticipated trip to Pakistan, which would have been the first visit by a Russian head of the state. He was supposed to be in the Pakistani capital this week to attend a summit involving Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia, which was also postponed. The cancellation is seen by many as a setback for efforts to improve ties.

Continue reading Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

Retaliation for the assassination of Bugti’s grand daughter and great grand daughter?

Pakistan: 11 Soldiers Killed In Battle With Baluch Militants

By RFE/RL

QUETTA, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say militants in the southwestern Baluchistan Province have killed 11 soldiers in an attack.

A senior official in Pakistan’s military said two Frontier Corps posts near coal mines came under attack in the Margut area about 60 kilometers east of Quetta.

RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal’s correspondent in Quetta reports that an ethnic Baluch separatist group called the Baluch Liberation Army claimed responsibility.

That group is comprised of members of the Bugti and Marri clans in the area to the east of Quetta.

They have been fighting since 2004 for political autonomy and a greater share of profits from Baluchistan’s oil, gas, and mineral resources.

More than 30 members of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps have been killed in Baluchistan Province during the past three weeks in clashes with Baluch rebels.

Courtesy: Rferl

http://www.rferl.org/content/soldiers_killed_by_baluch_rebels_in_pakistan/24470002.html

Attack on NATO oil tankers in Quetta. Big Fire – More then 40 tankers burnt to ashes.

Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube

More details » DAWN.COM

India Vietnam Sea oil exploration deal

Time to teach those around South China Sea a lesson

By Long Tao

No South China Sea issue existed before the 1970s. The problems only occured after North and South Vietnam were reunified in 1976 and China’s Nansha and Xisha Islands then became the new country’s target.

Unfortunately, though hammered by China in the 1974 Xisha Island Battle and later the Sino-Vietnamese War in 1979, Vietnam’s insults in the South China Sea remained unpunished today. It encouraged nearby countries to try their hands in the “disputed” area and attracted the attention of the US so that a regional conflict gradually turned international.

China, concentrating on interior development and harmony, has been ultimately merciful in preventing such issue turning into a global affair so that regional peace and prosperity can be secured.

But it is probably the right time for us to reason, think ahead and strike first before things gradually run out of hands.

It seems all the countries around the area are preparing for an arms race.

Singapore brings home high-end stealth aircraft while Australia, India and Japan are all stockpiling arms for a possible “world-class” battle. ….

Read more » Global Times

Blasts in NATO tankers, 16 dead in LandiKotal

LANDIKOTAL: NATO oil tankers were set ablaze in two separate incidents late Friday night at Landikotal and Torkham killing at least 16 people, including 8 members of a family.

The sources said in the first incident at 10:30 p.m. the militants torched a Nato oil tanker in Khugakhel area on the Landikotal bypass. The tanker was parked on the roadside when it was dynamited with a time device, the sources said.

Six people died immediately after the incident while injured were taken to hospitals where 10 more succumbed to their injuries.

Meanwhile, yhe second incident took place after a few minutes at Torkham where an explosive device went off in an oil tanker at the Torkham parking hub, officials said. Soon after the blast, the fire spread and engulfed three more oil tankers parked near it.

Courtesy: The News

Mercenaries for the Middle East – Dr Mohammad Taqi

The Saudis know that it is nearly impossible for any political uprising there to physically coalesce, due to the population centres being geographically far apart, to cause direct threat to Riyadh.

Foreign policy is everywhere and always a continuation of domestic policy, for it is conducted by the same ruling class and pursues the same historic goals”. — The Revolution Betrayed, Leon Trotsky

In his 1983 masterpiece, Can Pakistan survive? The death of a state, Tariq Ali opens the section on Pakistan’s foreign policy during the Z A Bhutto days with the above quote from Trotsky. After duly recognising the limitations of generalising this aphorism, Tariq Ali had noted that many third-world capitals pursue a foreign policy closely mirroring their domestic economic and political policies but perhaps none has done so more grotesquely than Islamabad. Tariq Ali had written:

One of the commodities exported was labour, and the remittances sent back by migrant workers provided nearly 20 percent of the country’s foreign exchange earnings. It was also reported that 10,000 Pakistani prostitutes had been dispatched to the Gulf states by the United Bank Limited (UBL), to strengthen its reserves of foreign currency. Soldiers and officers were also leased out as mercenaries to a number of states in that region. In some ways it was telling indictment of the Pakistani state that it can only survive by selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs.”

The Pakistani military establishment’s cooperation with Arab dictators obviously dates back to the Ayub Khan era and the UK and US-sponsored Central Treaty Organisation (CENTO) or Baghdad Pact of 1955. However, the surge in the export of mercenaries that Tariq Ali was alluding to was not because of the western sponsorship of such legions but because Pakistan, in 1971, had declared a moratorium on repayment of its foreign debt and had to look for financial aid elsewhere while the IMF would again agree to a loan (which it eventually did). While one cannot confirm the veracity of the claim about the UBL’s venture, the events of the last several months show that somehow the grotesque mediocrity of the Pakistani establishment keeps repeating its antics, as far as the export of the mercenaries goes.

The Arab spring has created unique geopolitical scenarios where old alliances are falling apart — or at least are no longer trustworthy — while new realities are taking shape much to the discontent of regional autocrats. I have repeatedly stated that Barack Obama’s instinct is to side with the democratic movements in the Middle East and North Africa, without intervening directly, even though cliques within his administration have been able to drag him into the Libyan morass. Obama’s handling of Hosni Mubarak’s fall did not go well with Saudi king Abdullah and the bitter exchange between the two, during a phone conversation, is rather well known. The wily Saudi monarch subsequently concluded that if there were to be an uprising in his courtyard, the Americans would not come to his rescue. And unless a smoking gun can be traced to Tehran, Abdullah is right. With Obama getting re-elected — yes I said it — in 2012, the Saudis have chosen to exercise other options that they have heavily invested in, for decades, to protect their courtyard and backyard.

The Saudis know that it is nearly impossible for any political uprising there to physically coalesce, due to the population centres being geographically far apart, to cause direct threat to Riyadh. But they also know that the democratic contagion can spread at the periphery of the Kingdom, with the oil-rich Eastern province slipping out of control quickly or the disquiet at the Yemeni border keeping Riyadh distracted (the latter was tested by both Gamal Nasser and Iran). The Saudi plan, just as in the 1969 bombing of Yemen by Pakistani pilots flying Saudi planes, is to use the trusted Pakistani troops to bolster the defence of not only the Saudi regime but of its client states like Bahrain.

It is not a surprise then that before Saudi Arabia invaded Bahrain on March 13, 2011, the chief of Saudi Land Forces, General Abdul Rahman Murshid visited Pakistan and before that, on March 9, met General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Bahrain had already requested and received assurance for military help from Pakistan in late February 2011. In fact, a leading Urdu paper carried an advertisement from the Fauji Foundation Pakistan on February 25 and March 1, seeking men for recruitment to the Bahrain National Guard. The qualifications sought were the following: age 20-25, height of six-feet or taller and military/security service background especially in riot control, which suggest that enrolment was not exactly for the Manama Red Crescent Society.

After the Saudi army brutally crushed the uprising in Bahrain, the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa, met with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the State Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. While the Bahraini media splashed pictures of the handshake between Ms Khar and Sheikh Khalid, announcing Pakistani support to Bahrain, the actual backing had been pledged by the Chief of General Staff, General Khalid Shamim Wayne, whom the Bahraini minster met on March 29.

In her article titled ‘Bahrain or bust?’, Miranda Husain writes: “Chomsky believes Pakistani presence in Bahrain can be seen as part of a US-backed alliance to safeguard western access to the region’s oil …The US has counted on Pakistan to help control the Arab world and safeguard Arab rulers from their own populations… Pakistan was one of the ‘cops on the beat’ that the Nixon administration had in mind when outlining their doctrine for controlling the Arab world.” Ms Husain and the American Baba-e-Socialism (Father of Socialism), Chomsky, conclude with the hope that Pakistan should not meddle in the Middle East.

I believe that Chomsky’s reading of the situation in the Persian Gulf is dead wrong. It is the divergence — not confluence — of US-Saudi-Pakistani interests that is the trigger for potential Pakistani involvement there. The Pakistani brass’ handling of the Raymond Davis affair and now its insistence — through bravado, not subtlety — on redefining the redlines with the US indicates that just like the 1971 situation, an alternative funding source to the IMF has been secured. The Pasha-Panetta meeting has raised more issues than it has solved. Pakistani-Saudi interests are at odds with the US and are confluent with each other.

From the Kerry-Lugar Bill to the Raymond Davis saga, the mullahs have been deployed swiftly to create an impression of public support for the establishment’s designs. Last Friday’s mobilisation of the religious parties in favour of the Saudis is the establishment’s standard drill and will be repeated as needed. The Pakistani deep state apparently has decided to keep selling itself to the oil-rich sheikhs. The domestic policy of coercion and chaos will be continued in foreign lands too.

Courtesy: Daily Times

Bahrain or Bust?

Pakistan should think twice before meddling in the Middle East.

By Miranda Husain

Excerpt:

Less than three weeks after Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) forces, led by Saudi Arabia, entered Bahrain to aid the anti-democracy crackdown there, dignitaries from both oil-rich kingdoms did their separate rounds in Pakistan. The royal houses of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are nervous, and they need Pakistan’s mercenaries, and—if necessary—military muscle to shore them up.

This is a remarkable turn of events for Asif Ali Zardari, who had been trying since he was elected president in 2008 to secure Saudi oil on sweetheart terms. He had been unsuccessful in his efforts because … Saudis view his leadership with some degree of skepticism. It also doesn’t help that Zardari, … is big on improving relations with … Tehran. Riyadh now appears inclined to export oil on terms that better suit cash-strapped Islamabad. Manama, too, wants to play ball. It wants increased defense cooperation and has pledged to prioritize Pakistan’s hopes for a free-trade agreement with the GCC in return. But Zardari and his Army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, should fight the urge to get mired in the Middle East. …

“The U.S. has counted on Pakistan to help control the Arab world and safeguard Arab rulers from their own populations,” says Chomsky. “Pakistan was one of the ‘cops on the beat’ that the Nixon administration had in mind when outlining their doctrine for controlling the Arab world,” he says. Pakistan has such “severe internal problems” that it may not be able to play this role even if asked to. But the real reason that Pakistan should avoid this role is so that it can stand on the right side of history, alongside those who are fighting for democracy.

To read full article : NewsWeekPakistan

Sindh has been robbed literally due to the “Policy of Centralization” in the name of Islam and Pakistan

HEC’s devolution to provinces opposed

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

In my opinion, the recent decision by the Pakistani Government to devolve HEC into provincial HECs is overdue and must be carried out. As a matter of fact, I recommend to Dr. Javaid Laghari to not only support this decision but also help to ensure that it is implemented fully and that he should assume the role of Sindh HEC and make it one the best educational institutions in Pakistan and in the world as he did with ZABIST.

I do not know of any federal-level powerful higher education authorities in any federal state in the world as we have in Pakistan. Using the name of Islam and Pakistan, the establishment of Pakistan has been imposing unnecessary and inefficient centralization on the provinces/ States/ Republics. The tool of “centralization” has been used to discriminate and exploit smaller provinces and usurp resources of Sindh and Balochistan for the benefit of other provinces. Neither Canada has a federal HEC nor USA and other democratic and federal countries have created such institutions. In other countries where a federal-level commissions exist, their role is very limited and constrained to advise on standards.

The reason that Sindh’s Education Ministry is inefficient has no relevance whether or not Pakistan’s HEC should be devolved. The federal Education Ministry and HEC both have history of discrimination against Sindhis and denying due share in educational opportunities in Pakistan. The same rational of inefficiency is given for centralized control of Sindh’s resource industries such as coal, oil, gas, and ports.

The fact that few Vice Chancellors and educationalists from Sindh do not support devolution of HEC is the same as some pro one-unit establishment organs gave when the people of Sindh, Balochistan, and Pakhtunkhwa demanded dissolution of one unit. Such pronouncement did not succeed then and they will not stop devolution of HEC and other federal agencies and departments returning them into their provincial jurisdictions.

As a highly super centralized state, Pakistan is increasingly failing and is now considered one of worse countries on most human development factors. It is time that it’s setup is reorganized on the basis of the 1940 Resolutions, which is the fundamental principle for various provinces/ States/ Republics to join Pakistan.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 27, 2011.

Dubai on Empty

By A. A. Gill

Excerpt:

…. You look at this place and you realize not a single thing is indigenous, not one of this culture’s goods and chattels originated here. Even the goats have gone. This was a civilization that was bought wholesale. The Gulf is the proof of Carnegie’s warning about wealth: “There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.” Emiratis are born retired. They waft through this city in their white dishdashas and headscarves and their obsessively tapered humorless faces. They’re out of place in their own country. They have imported and built a city, a fortress of extravagance, that excludes themselves. They have become duplicitous, schizophrenic. They don’t allow their own national dress in the clubs and bars that serve alcohol, the restaurants with the hungry girls sipping champagne. So they slip into Western clothes to go out.

The Gulf Arabs have become the minority in this country they wished out of the desert. They are now less than 20 percent of the total population. Among the other 80-plus percent are the white mercenary workers who come here for tax-free salaries to do managerial and entrepreneurial jobs, parasites and sycophants for cash. For them money is a driving principle and validation. They came to be young, single, greedy, and insincere. None of them are very clever. So they live lives that revolve around drink and porn sex and pool parties and barbecues with a lot of hysterical laughing and theme nights, karaoke, and slobbery, regretful coupling. In fact, as in all cases of embarrassing arrested development, these expats on the short-term make don’t expect to put down roots here, have children here, or grow old here. Everyone’s on a visa dependent on a job.

Then there is a third category of people: the drones. The workers. The Asians: Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Filipinos. Early in the morning, before the white mercenaries have negotiated their hangovers, long before the Emiratis have shouted at the maid, buses full of hard-hatted Asians pull into building sites. They have the tough, downtrodden look of Communist posters from the 30s—they are both the slaves of capital and the heroes of labor. Asians man the hotels; they run the civil service and the utilities and commercial businesses; they are the clerks and the secretaries, the lawyers, the doctors, the accountants; there isn’t a single facet of this state that would function if they didn’t maintain it. No one with an Emirati passport could change a fuse. Yet, the workers, who make up roughly 71 percent of the population, have precious few rights here. They can’t become citizens, though some are the third generation of their family to be born here. They can be deported at any time. They have no redress. Many of the Asian laborers are owed back pay they aren’t likely to get. There are reams of anecdotal stories about the abuse of guest workers. I’m told about the Pakistani shop assistant who, picking up an Arab woman’s shopping bags, accidentally passed gas, got arrested, and was jailed.

Protests in Oman Spread

By NADA BAKRI

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Demonstrators blocked roads and clashed with police on Monday in Oman, the normally quiet oil-rich country along the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, as three-day-old protests calling for political reforms and better living conditions spread to Muscat, the capital.

In the northeast port city of Sohar, where the protests originated, demonstrators blocked roads to the port, Oman’s second biggest, and an industrial area that includes a refinery and an aluminum factory, according to two witnesses in Sohar and news agencies. They also set a supermarket on fire and clashed with the police. Protesters have also been camped out for three days in the city’s main square, called Kurra Ardiyah Roundabout, despite efforts by police and army to push them out, a resident in Sohar said by e-mail. …

Read more : The New York Times

International Pressure on Qaddafi Intensifies

Qaddafi’s Army and Jets Strike at Rebels

By KAREEM FAHIM and DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK

BENGHAZI, Libya — Colonel Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces struck back on three fronts on Monday, using fighter jets, special forces units and regular army troops in an escalation of hostilities that brought Libya closer to civil war.

The attacks by the colonel’s troops on an oil refinery in central Libya and on cities on either side of the country unsettled rebel leaders — who earlier had claimed they were close to liberating the country — and showed that despite defections by the military, the government still possessed powerful assets, including fighter pilots willing to bomb Libyan cities.

But the ease with which at least one assault, on the western city of Zawiyah, was repelled by anti-government forces raised questions about the ability of the government to muster a serious challenge to the rebels’ growing power.

An international campaign to force Colonel Qaddafi from power gathered pace on Monday as the Obama administration announced it had seized $30 billion in Libyan assets and the European Union adopted an arms embargo and other sanctions. As the Pentagon began repositioning Navy warships to support a possible humanitarian or military intervention, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton bluntly told the Libyan leader to surrender power “now, without further violence or delay.” …

Read more : The New York Times

Robert Fisk

Robert Fisk: The destiny of this pageant lies in the Kingdom of Oil

The Middle East earthquake of the past five weeks has been the most tumultuous, shattering, mind-numbing experience in the history of the region since the fall of the Ottoman empire. For once, “shock and awe” was the right description.

The docile, supine, unregenerative, cringing Arabs of Orientalism have transformed themselves into fighters for the freedom, liberty and dignity which we Westerners have always assumed it was our unique role to play in the world. One after another, our satraps are falling, and the people we paid them to control are making their own history – our right to meddle in their affairs (which we will, of course, continue to exercise) has been diminished for ever.

The tectonic plates continue to shift, with tragic, brave – even blackly humorous – results. Countless are the Arab potentates who always claimed they wanted democracy in the Middle East. King Bashar of Syria is to improve public servants’ pay. King Bouteflika of Algeria has suddenly abandoned the country’s state of emergency. King Hamad of Bahrain has opened the doors of his prisons. King Bashir of Sudan will not stand for president again. King Abdullah of Jordan is studying the idea of a constitutional monarchy. And al-Qa’ida are, well, rather silent.

Who would have believed that the old man in the cave would suddenly have to step outside, dazzled, blinded by the sunlight of freedom rather than the Manichean darkness to which his eyes had become accustomed. Martyrs there were aplenty across the Muslim world – but not an Islamist banner to be seen. The young men and women bringing an end to their torment of dictators were mostly Muslims, but the human spirit was greater than the desire for death. They are Believers, yes – but they got there first, toppling Mubarak while Bin Laden’s henchmen still called for his overthrow on outdated videotapes.

But now a warning. It’s not over. We are experiencing today that warm, slightly clammy feeling before the thunder and lightning break out. Gaddafi’s final horror movie has yet to end, albeit with that terrible mix of farce and blood to which we are accustomed in the Middle East. And his impending doom is, needless to say, throwing into ever-sharper perspective the vile fawning of our own potentates. Berlusconi – who in many respects is already a ghastly mockery of Gaddafi himself – and Sarkozy, and Lord Blair of Isfahan are turning out to look even shabbier than we believed. Those faith-based eyes blessed Gaddafi the murderer. I did write at the time that Blair and Straw had forgotten the “whoops” factor, the reality that this weird light bulb was absolutely bonkers and would undoubtedly perform some other terrible act to shame our masters. And sure enough, every journalist is now going to have to add “Mr Blair’s office did not return our call” to his laptop keyboard.

Everyone is now telling Egypt to follow the “Turkish model” – this seems to involve a pleasant cocktail of democracy and carefully controlled Islam. But if this is true, Egypt’s army will keep an unwanted, undemocratic eye on its people for decades to come. As lawyer Ali Ezzatyar has pointed out, “Egypt’s military leaders have spoken of threats to the “Egyptian way of life”… in a not so subtle reference to threats from the Muslim Brotherhood. This can be seen as a page taken from the Turkish playbook.” The Turkish army turned up as kingmakers four times in modern Turkish history. And who but the Egyptian army, makers of Nasser, constructors of Sadat, got rid of the ex-army general Mubarak when the game was up?

And democracy – the real, unfettered, flawed but brilliant version which we in the West have so far lovingly (and rightly) cultivated for ourselves – is not going, in the Arab world, to rest happy with Israel’s pernicious treatment of Palestinians and its land theft in the West Bank. Now no longer the “only democracy in the Middle East”, Israel argued desperately – in company with Saudi Arabia, for heaven’s sake – that it was necessary to maintain Mubarak’s tyranny. It pressed the Muslim Brotherhood button in Washington and built up the usual Israeli lobby fear quotient to push Obama and La Clinton off the rails yet again. Faced with pro-democracy protesters in the lands of oppression, they duly went on backing the oppressors until it was too late. I love “orderly transition”. The “order” bit says it all. Only Israeli journalist Gideon Levy got it right. “We should be saying ‘Mabrouk Misr!’,” he said. Congratulations, Egypt!

Yet in Bahrain, I had a depressing experience. King Hamad and Crown Prince Salman have been bowing to their 70 per cent (80 per cent?) Shia population, opening prison doors, promising constitutional reforms. So I asked a government official in Manama if this was really possible. Why not have an elected prime minister instead of a member of the Khalifa royal family? He clucked his tongue. “Impossible,” he said. “The GCC would never permit this.” For GCC – the Gulf Co-operation Council – read Saudi Arabia. And here, I am afraid, our tale grows darker.

We pay too little attention to this autocratic band of robber princes; we think they are archaic, illiterate in modern politics, wealthy (yes, “beyond the dreams of Croesus”, etc), and we laughed when King Abdullah offered to make up any fall in bailouts from Washington to the Mubarak regime, and we laugh now when the old king promises $36bn to his citizens to keep their mouths shut. But this is no laughing matter. The Arab revolt which finally threw the Ottomans out of the Arab world started in the deserts of Arabia, its tribesmen trusting Lawrence and McMahon and the rest of our gang. And from Arabia came Wahabism, the deep and inebriating potion – white foam on the top of the black stuff – whose ghastly simplicity appealed to every would-be Islamist and suicide bomber in the Sunni Muslim world. The Saudis fostered Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida and the Taliban. Let us not even mention that they provided most of the 9/11 bombers. And the Saudis will now believe they are the only Muslims still in arms against the brightening world. I have an unhappy suspicion that the destiny of this pageant of Middle East history unfolding before us will be decided in the kingdom of oil, holy places and corruption. Watch out. ….

Read more : The Independent.co.uk

The great war of the 21st century?

Gerald Celente, the man behind the famous Trends Journal, is Max Keiser’s guest for this edition of Press TV’s On the Edge. The main focus the show is on the relationship between Middle East uprisings and financial changes as a result of such political transformations. Enjoy.

You Tube

 

Most of the leaders of third world countries on sale, but Pakistan’s ruling elite is exception & it is very lower level satrap and slave

ANALYSIS: Schamlosigkeit! — Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

….. Here, our easily purchasable politicians and bureaucrats do not hesitate to barter away their souls and, in Reko Diq’s case, the asking price is not their souls but the easily dispensable rights and future of the Baloch people.

The rights of the Baloch people seem inconsequential to the centre and they flout them with brazenness. Recently, Balochistan Assembly Speaker Mohammad Aslam Bhootani minced no words and exposed the immense pressure being put on them by the Prime Minister’s House to allot 70,000 acres in the environs of Hingol National Park to Arab princes for rest and recreation. He emphasised that the Balochistan government had earlier refused this land to a federal security institution because of the local people’s opposition. The Arab princes would do well to remember that in Balochistan they will not enjoy the tranquillity that Cholistan offers because here the people will definitely resist their unwanted presence.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, president of the UAE, alone has been allotted hunting permits in Zhob, Ormara, Gwadar, Pasni, Panjgur and Washuk districts. Pakistan is a signatory of the UN Bonn Convention on migratory species, which protects the endangered Houbara Bustard. But expecting respect for ‘bird rights’ where ‘human rights’ suffer immeasurably is infantile fantasy.

The Arab royalty have also been granted tax exemptions for all their property and imports for hunting purposes. The Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) clarified that “similar exemptions were also given to the United Nations, charitable organisations and diplomats”. The Arab rulers certainly qualify as ‘charitable organisations’ for the rulers and politicians here. They give them asylum and plead their case with the US.

The Pakistani politicians and the establishment are very fragile and vulnerable to pressures as is amply proved by the WikiLeaks or rather the ‘Wikitorrents’ that they have turned into. WikiLeaks certainly threatens to sweep away many a reputation and career around the world except perhaps in Pakistan and the Middle East where phenomenally shameless unashamedness or Schamlosigkeit exists as a unique quality in the rulers and establishments; the worse the reputation, the better are the chances of success.

The respect that the Arab princes and rulers accord to the rulers and politicians here is apparent from the choice epithets used for them in WikiLeaks. Some are considered dirty but not dangerous and others are dangerous but not dirty, and yet these shameless people go grovelling to their liege lords like serfs and subjects.

These rulers and politicians and the establishment sacrifice self-respect for material benefits; they cannot be expected to stand up for the rights of the Baloch people over their resources and land. And, moreover, because the Baloch do not expect them to protect their rights, they will resist Tethyan and the Arab princes’ encroachments on their land and resources in the same way that made, in spite of the huge military presence, Amoco Oil Company give up oil exploration in the Marri area in 1974.

To read full article : Daily Times

The writer has an association with the Baloch rights movement going back to the early 1970s. He can be contacted at mmatalpur@gmail.com

China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands

By SELIG S. HARRISON

While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.

The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.

China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.

Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.

Read more >> The New York Times

While, Pakistanis are dying to be pro-Arab, the beloved Ummah doesn’t give a damn!!!

DIPLOMATIC BUBBLES: Disaster tourism amidst concern for Muslim Ummah —By Saeed Minhas

Excerpt:

…. Countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Egypt and their oil-controlling giant Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has contributed only a couple of hundred million dollars altogether, and that too through the Red Crescent or other International organisations for in-kind donations. Despite knowing that over 65 helicopters, 19 of which come from the US alone, are working around the clock, none of these oil-rich countries have even asked to foot the oil bill or donate oil for these humanitarian sorties. An hour of a helicopter flight costs an estimated Rs 100,000 in fuel expenses alone, and so far as per the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) figures, over 200 hours of flight operations have been carried out throughout Pakistan.

Another diplomat chipped in by saying that all these ‘brothers’ seem to be good enough for political and strategic guarantees but nothing more for Pakistan. …

To read full article >> Daily Times

Thar Coal Politics

Conflicting News about Thar Coal in Business Recorder – Thar Coal Politics

by: Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

The politics surrounding the Thar Coal continues to confound Sindhis and other Pakistanis. Only two days ago (May 21), the newspaper Business Recorder, which is published from Karachi, said that the World Bank had withdrawn support for the Thar Coal project. Today, comes another story in the same newspaper saying that the World Bank will support the Thar Coal project. It seems that there is some manipulation going on once again in an attempt to gain control for the central government over this important asset of Sindh.

It must be noted that other than oil and gas, where Pakistani constitution requies shared control, Coal is exclusively under provincial jurisdiction.

Continue reading Thar Coal Politics

Sindh’s rich Off-shore Oil and Gas Resources

Translation by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

Excerpts;

Once again, Ishak Soomro shares his research, concerns and warnings on another important natural resource of Sindh that remain largely unknown to the common people of Sindh. His bold article on the off-shore resources of Sindh was printed in Sindhi Daily Ibrat Feb 10, 2010.

According to the article, Pakistan Government has allotted 18 exploration licenses to five (5) multi-national oil companies. The awardees include British Petroleum (BP) which has a dubious record of spending its civil society commitments to please bureaucrats and local chieftains instead of improving conditions of local communities. Other companies include Italy-based ENI, Canadian company called Niko, and Pakistani companies OGDCL and PPL. Mostof these companies already operate on-shore oil and gas fields in Sindh and have checkered records on meeting the commitments on their already profitable on-land oil and gas producing fields. It must be noted that exploring off-shore fields poses greater risks to coastal communities as these activities often destroy livelihood of local fishing families.

Continue reading Sindh’s rich Off-shore Oil and Gas Resources

Only Sindhis have rights over Thar Coal

– Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

A news item under title “Only Sindhis have rights over Thar Coal” in Sindhi interestingly is published in web magazine “WICHAAR”. This magazine, although focused on the promotion of Punjabi and culture, has been remarkable in promoting Sindhi language and bringing Sindhi and Punjabi communities closer to each other. THe news item describes a recent demonstration in Hyderabad Sindh in which demonstrations strongly criticized federal government’s action to take over the management of huge coal deposits in Thar area of Sindh. The demonstrations also demanded that ownership of all natural resources found in Sindh including oil, gas, and coal belong to the people of Sindh.

The full article can be accessed at following link:

http://www.wichaar.com/news/199/ARTICLE/7785/2008-07-28.html

Poor People in Resource Rich Sindh!

Khalid Hashmani

By: Khalid Hashmani, USA
About the author: Khalid Hashmani is a veteran human rights activist in Washington DC. He is the founding President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and Chief coordinator of Sindhi Excellence Team (SET) that participates in advocacy activities on behalf of rural Sindhis. He can be reached at khashmani@hotmail.com
Rich with Oil and Gas but most backward area in Asia, the province of Sindh is the largest producer of oil and gas in Pakistan and yet it suffers one of the worst poverty levels in Asia. It produces 71 per cent of gas and 61 per cent of oil production in Pakistan. The daily production of oil and gas in Sindh is about 67,140 barrels and 3.99 billion cubic feet respectively. Yet most reports by organizations such as the World Bank call the rural areas of Sindh as most under-developed and deprived. A New York Times book review of a titled “A New Deal in Pakistan” by William Dalrymple (http://www.nybooks. com/articles/ 21194) says the following about Sindh:
“.. in fact, it is one of the most backward areas in all of Asia. Whatever index of development you choose to dwell on-literacy, health care provision, daily income, or numbers living below the poverty line-rural Sindh comes bumping along close to the bottom”.
Over-Centralization in Pakistan denies provincial rights
The plight of Sindh is due to over-centralization and exploitative policies of the central Pakistani government. The central government of Pakistan has usurped all revenue and income resources of the country including almost all forms of taxes and income earned from natural resources such as oil, gas, and coal.

Continue reading Poor People in Resource Rich Sindh!

Oil, Obama, And Pakistan- By Ahmed Quraishi

Courtesy and Thanks: RiseTheMag.com

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan-Publicly, America’s most immediate challenge after the government change is Afghanistan and Pakistan. Privately, in Washington’s power corridors, it is oil.

Oil, and not al Qaeda, is threatening to knock America off global leadership. President Obama takes over a country whose global economic leadership is threatened by dwindling oil reserves and a dogfight over whatever remains.

Oil is running out, fast. And the remaining oil, including new reserves, lie in other people’s lands, closer to Russia, China, Europe and other powers. America’s global supremacy rests on an economic system based on easy access to oil. If someone else gets that oil, America loses.

Continue reading Oil, Obama, And Pakistan- By Ahmed Quraishi

War on terror or on Oil

By Munawar Ali, Washington, USA
I was listening to a radio program last night, it was very informative and eye opening. An American oil cum religious scholar spoke truth that the war is not really about terrorism rather oil. He said as of 2006 the countries with biggest oil reservoirs in the world in order are: Saudi Arabia, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Emirates, Venezuela, Russia and America stands at number 11 in that list. World’s over 60% oil reservoirs are in the Middle East. Interestingly the biggest consumers of the oil in order are : America, Europe, China and Japan. America consumes 25% of the total oil production in the world and it is estimated to increase to about 35% in 2020. China is getting very thirsty of oil and will soon surpass Japan in oil consumption.

Continue reading War on terror or on Oil