cue the lightning bolts

the only question that matters: is it true?

Iran has signed the NPT. As a signatory to the NPT, Iran may rightfully, legally, use nuclear technology for peaceful energy purposes. Iran has submitted to and passed repeated IAEA inspections. The US intelligence community (NIE) does not consider Iran a nuclear threat. Israel refuses to sign the NPT. Israel has an estimated several hundred undeclared nuclear weapons. Russia and China have warned that an attack on Iran will have global consequences. That's the situation in a nutshell. Where to next, people? Where to?

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? - Galatians 4:16

12.13.2009

Kazakhstan 101 & Israel's partner in Eurasia

source: Bangkok Post


1. Thai authorities have seized tonnes of weapons from an eastern European plane travelling from North Korea.

WAR BIRD: An Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft which is believed to have come from North Korea is cordoned off for examination at Don Mueang airport after an arms cache weighing 35 tonnes was found on board.

The plane, headed for South Asia, was searched when it landed at Don Mueang airport yesterday.

Five foreigners on board the aircraft were detained, the weapons confiscated, and the plane impounded.

The transport plane, thought to be a charter flight en route from the North Korean capital Pyongyang, had stopped for refuelling.

Security authorities asked to search the aircraft after being tipped off by their American counterparts.

The armed forces, police, immigration and customs officers are investigating the mystery surrounding the arms and ammunition cache, found concealed in 12 crates and weighing about 35 tonnes.

Government spokesman Panithan Wattanayakorn confirmed the seizure and the arrests, saying the weapons included "missiles, explosives and tubes". [TUBES?? what like aluminum tubes ala Colin Powell? - ed.]

Lt Gen Thangai Prasajaksattru, commander of the Central Investigation Bureau, said five men from eastern Europe had been detained.

"There were a lot of weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades, missiles and other war weapons," he said.

Four of the suspects hold Kazakh passports and the other a Belarus passport.

They were identified as Alexandr Zrybnev, 53, Viktor Abdullayev, 58, Vitaliy Shumkov, 54, Ilyas Issakov, 53, from Kazakhstan; and Mikhail Petukhou, 54, from Belarus. Air force spokesman Montol Suchookorn and special branch police said the chartered cargo plane originated in Pyongyang.

"It was a cargo flight that requested to land at the civilian side of the airport," Cpt Montol said.

GROUNDED: The pilot and crew of the Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft were detained at the Crime Suppression Division yesterday.

The Russia-made Ilyushin Il-76 transporter aircraft carried five people on board.

When customs and immigration authorities examined the aircraft they found suspicious packages in tightly-sealed wood and metal crates.

They were told that the shipment comprised "parts" of war weapons.

Authorities asked the five people to leave the aircraft and alerted the air force, which is in charge of the airport.

The suspects have told the interrogators little.

Authorities have yet to confirm where the aircraft, registered 4L-AWA, originated. At this stage they believe it was registered in Georgia, or Russia.

The flight schedule says the plane was headed for Colombo, Sri Lanka. Security authorities suspect the weapons could be destined for Sri Lanka or the Middle East.

One suspect told authorities that the aircraft flew from Russia to North Korea where the weapons were loaded.

The foreigners are in the custody of the Crime Suppression Division. They face charges of violating aviation regulations, arms trafficking and making a false declaration.

The weapons were transferred to the air force's arms depot in Wing 4 in Nakhon Sawan's Takhli district.

The Defence Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry are reviewing international regulations to find out if the aircraft and the cache can be seized permanently.

Foreign embassies will be asked to take part in the investigation. Foreign Ministry deputy spokesman Thani Thingpakdi said the government's response is in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

One unconfirmed report says the plane had made regular trips across the region.

An air force official involved in the inspection said Thai authorities had been asked by the United States to investigate the plane and its cargo.

"We were approached by the United States, seeking our cooperation to examine the suspected plane. It came from North Korea and was heading for somewhere in South Asia, probably Pakistan," he said.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Interpol was also involved.

A spokesman for the US embassy in Bangkok, Michael Turner, said he was unaware of the incident.



2. recent Kazakhstan news

Kazakh uranium boss trial to proceed - UPI Asia 12/10/09

Kazakh president invites Chinese president to visit - Chinaview 12/9/09

Kazakhstan urged to lift visa requirements for Iranian traders - Fars 12/8/09

International Space Shuttle crew lands safely on Kazakhstan steppes - Chinaview 12/1/09

Yunnan Copper mulls buy in Kazakhstan - Chinaview 12/1/09



3. Jerusalem Viewpoints for September-October 2009: http://tinyurl.com/yfw6d8h

Kazakhstan: Israel's Partner in Eurasia

Ariel Cohen

  • Israel and post-communist, resource-rich states have similar geopolitical priorities in opposing terrorism and radical Islam.
  • By developing closer ties with Kazakhstan - and with Eurasian countries in general - Israel can expand its ties to the secular Muslim Turkic states and its role in the new "great game" of Eurasia: economic development fueled by exports of the region's massive natural resources.
  • Israel and the countries of Eurasia are economically complimentary: Central Asian countries are rich in natural resources, and can benefit from Israeli solar, irrigation/agricultural, medical and other know-how. Israel can offer high-tech, military, and advanced agricultural technology, cutting-edge medical sciences, and educational opportunities. As always in international relations, common interests define strong ties.
  • On occasion, President Nursultan Nazarbayev used his good services to appeal to Iran on behalf of missing Israeli servicemen or call on Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons, as Kazakhstan did in 1994. Unfortunately, these appeals usually fall on deaf ears.
  • With oil prices rising, Kazakhstan may have left the nadir of economic decline behind, although banking and construction sectors were hurt particularly hard.

The June 2009 visit by Israeli President Shimon Peres to Kazakhstan once again focused Israel's attention on energy-rich, secular Muslim states of the Caspian and Central Asia: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. This was not Peres' first visit to the steppe country in the heart of Eurasia: he visited Kazakhstan several times before as foreign minister and deputy prime minister. This was a good long-term investment: Kazakhstan is as large as the entirety of Western Europe, but with a population only 1.5 times larger than the population of the city of Moscow. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries on Earth.




4. 11/16/09 - Germans ID convert, 27, as terror suspect

BERLIN — Authorities have identified a 27-year-old German convert to Islam as an al-Qaida associate suspected of traveling to Afghanistan and planning to attack German targets. The report could fuel concerns about European converts being recruited by Islamist terrorist groups for attacks. The Federal Criminal Police Office confirmed a Spiegel Online report Sunday that it had posted notices across Afghanistan warning that Jan Schneider, a Kazakhstan-born ethnic German, may plan attacks on German military or civilian institutions in Afghanistan.

...Schneider, who is also known as Hamza, has recently traveled to the border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Spiegel reported. He left Germany in 2004 to study Arabic in Saudi Arabia. He was seen in his hometown of Saarbruecken several times after his departure from Germany.


...Spiegel also wrote that the criminal office has warned of several other German extremists who supposedly have traveled to Afghanistan in recent months.

More than five million ethnic Germans have immigrated to the country from the former Soviet Union, Poland, Romania and other Eastern European countries since the 1950s under a special migration law for persons who can prove German ancestry.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gRbmVOhddpRWJo-KpO06aa6sHQRwD9C03L2O1



5. 10/12/09 - Avigdor Lieberman visits Kazakhstan among other countries to discuss Iran

By Roni Sofer
Y Net News
October 12, 2009

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is set to leave for a round of visits abroad this week, after recently returning from Africa, South America, and the Balkans.

This time Lieberman will visit Austria, Kazakhstan, Holland, and Denmark, mainly in order to discuss the topic of Iran.

Lieberman says he wants to "invest effort in nations that have not received attention from Israel until now".
...

The foreign minister is also scheduled to meet with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, following the latter's request. Lieberman has clarified that the object of this meeting, as well as those in Holland and Denmark, is "to bolster Israel's status by widening the wingspan of its foreign policy".


Lieberman will also meet with Israeli ambassadors to Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the ambassador to the EU.

via aletho news



6. 9/10/09 - Caspian Sea states shut Iran out of summit


Iran is peeved at its northern neighbors over a decision to exclude the Islamic Republic from a meeting of Caspian Sea states on Thursday.

Iran’s top diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, said today he was outraged that Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan plan to meet in the Kazakh city of Aktau without Iran, according to the website of Iran’s state-owned English-language Press TV satellite news channel.

“In our view the meeting runs contrary to Iran’s national interests,” Mottaki said.

Iran has stewed for years as Russia and its former Soviet satellite states gobble up more and more of the Caspian Sea’s resources.

The four countries attending the Aktau meeting, described as an “informal” summit to discuss “subregional cooperation,” say they don’t plan to make any decisions on the status of the sea or the division of the seabed, an official representative of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry told Azerbaijan’s Trend news agency.


read more @ there are no sunglasses



7. Sinister Sites - Astana, Kazakhstan

Astana is the first capital being built in the 21st century and it perfectly represents where the world is headed. It is truly one man’s vision: Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan (yes Borat’s country, I know). Backed by billions of petrodollars, the city is being built from scratch in a remote and deserted area of the Asian steppes. The result is astonishing: a futuristic occult capital, embracing the New World Order while celebrating the most ancient religion known to man: Sun Worship. The city is still a huge construction site, but the buildings that are already completed already sum up Nazarbayev’s occult vision.


read more @ vigilant citizen





8. relevant history

by Michael Parenti, posted 12/3/08 at this site

While claiming to be fighting terrorism, US leaders have found other compelling but less advertised reasons for plunging deeper into Afghanistan. The Central Asian region is rich in oil and gas reserves. A decade before 9/11, Time magazine (18 March 1991) reported that US policy elites were contemplating a military presence in Central Asia. The discovery of vast oil and gas reserves in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided the lure, while the dissolution of the USSR removed the one major barrier against pursuing an aggressive interventionist policy in that part of the world.

US oil companies acquired the rights to some 75 percent of these new reserves. A major problem was how to transport the oil and gas from the landlocked region. US officials opposed using the Russian pipeline or the most direct route across Iran to the Persian Gulf. Instead, they and the corporate oil contractors explored a number of alternative pipeline routes, across Azerbaijan and Turkey to the Mediterranean or across China to the Pacific.



9. 11/3/08 - Putin: we must end monopoly in world finance


The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has called for a complete overhaul of the world’s financial system in order to guarantee stability and ensure progress. He was speaking in Astana in Kazakhstan, where the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is meeting to in discuss the global financial crisis.

The organisation, which comprises Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, is widely seen as a counter-weight to NATO's influence in Eurasia. It is primarily concerned with security issues. This time, however, the sides are discussing how to develop social and economic cooperation.

At the beginning of his speech at the SCO Council of Prime Ministers, Vladimir Putin stressed the role the SCO countries should play in the changing world political and economic landscape.

“We now clearly see the defectiveness of the monopoly in world finance and the policy of economic selfishness. To solve the current problem Russia will to take part in changing the global financial structure so that it will be able to guarantee stability and prosperity in the world and to ensure progress,” he said.

He also named projects in transportation, telecommunications and modern technology as priorities of the SCO and spoke in favour of mutual space programmes.

While in Kasakhstan, the Russian prime minister is also expected to discuss the formation of a customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan with Kazakh leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.











source: russia today


10. Kazakhstan and the financial crisis, by Patrick Frost, 11/13/08

The financial crisis that began in the United States has made its presence felt around the globe and Central Asia is no exception. How is Central Asia's greatest economic power, Kazakhstan, handling this economic crisis and how is the economic downturn effecting the stability, security, and development of the region. These were the main topics of a conference between many regional experts in Astana last month called “New Challenges and Kazakhstan's Contribution to Stability and Security.” [link defunct]

Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, a scholar of the region's economic and strategic outlook attended the conference and not only summarizes the major issues and policies discussed, but also provides a historical perspective of past economic crisis's in Kazakhstan. Here is an excerpt of what Nurbakh Rustemov, the keynote speaker and Chairman of the hosting parliamentary committee, had to say of the economic downturn and its consequences:

“He bluntly stated that the world financial crisis was leading to a “misunderstanding” among geopolitical forces, and carried the danger of a direct threat to humanity, through hunger and poverty.(1) He called for uniting forces internationally, to overcome the financial-economic crisis, which he dubbed the “number one priority.” Rustemov mentioned the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Kazakhstan is a founding member, as well as the OSCE, which Kazakhstan will chair beginning 2010, as bodies his government would like to utilize to find solutions to the crisis. Two concrete means that his country could use to impact the crisis, would be in securing energy resources, and providing grain and meat exports to alleviate food shortages.”

Rustemov is correct in stating that this economic crisis may lead to following and connected geopolitical disruptions and he's also right in arguing that regional and multilateral groups, such as the SCO and OSCE, will be crucial in helping the world get through this mess in one stable piece. Another important aspect of his comments is the positive role Kazakhstan can play in impacting the crisis in a productive way and that is in securing energy resources and in providing food stuffs to alleviate shortages in other countries, specifically in harder hit CA states, such as Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.

Kazakhstan's abundance of energy supplies, combined with President Nazarbayev's prudent planning, have left the nation in good condition despite the tough times. Nazarbayev announced last month that the government would spend $2 billion to stimulate the economy, mainly targeting banks and the construction industry, funds drawn from the nation's oil fund. Unfortunately, not all CA or world states have an oil fund to fall back on.

What the whole of Central Asia can hope for is sturdy economic stewardship by its regional leader, Kazakhstan, and help from regional bodies, both from the East and West to weather what will most likely be a lengthy recession. During this time, it will be vital to keep the region from falling into disrepair as poverty and extremism would both be on the rise and this may lead to conflict. The US, Russia, China, and the EU all have roles to play in mitigating negative ramifications of this crisis in the region, but a strong and active Kazakhstan is crucial. As Muriel Mirak-Weissbach concludes:

“Kazakhstan has become the foremost interlocutor in Central Asia, not only for Eurasian giants Russia and China, but also for the two major economies of western Europe, Germany and France. If the current world crisis can be overcome through participation of major Eurasian nations, Kazakhstan can become the linchpin in the region for stability and security.”

In addition, the US State Department announced a nuclear safety cooperation with Kazakhstan. Read Below. [link defunct]

The United States and the Republic of Kazakhstan reached a new milestone in a multiyear joint project to irreversibly decommission the Soviet-era BN-350 fast breeder reactor located at the Kazakhstani port of Aktau on the Caspian Sea. The participating governments completed a sodium processing facility that will be used to dispose of coolant from the reactor core. This action demonstrates and reinforces the strength of the U.S.-Kazakhstani strategic relationship, and our joint commitment to preventing the proliferation of nuclear materials.


source: foreign policy blogs
http://centralasia.foreignpolicyblogs.com/2008/11/13/kazakhstan-and-the-financial-crisis/

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