Palestine flag would be raised at UN

Palestine flag would be raised at UN
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
__________

Obviously, there is a broad light not just in the Mideast tunnels, but also in the corridors of UN General Assembly building with UN itself getting ready to greet the Palestinians, longing for freedom and sovereignty from the occupation forces of Israel, with their official flag unfurled at the UN to decorate the global forum.

The United Nations is expected on 10 September to allow Palestine to raise its flag at its headquarters in New York in a symbolic move highlighting Palestinian aspirations for statehood. The General Assembly will vote at 3 pm (2330 IST) on a draft resolution that diplomats say is almost certain to garner a majority in the 193-nation forum. The Palestinian representative to the UN Riyad Mansour said that it is a positively symbolic thing, but another step to solidify the pillars of the state of Palestine in the international arena.

The UN General Assembly upgraded the status of the Palestinians to that of non-member observer state in 2012, signaling a full statehood for Palestine in due course. Palestinians have been pressing for statehood for years but Israel, brutally occupying the Palestinian territories, employs manipulative strategy to obstruct the Palestinian move for their legitimate rights to have their own home on their own lands.

Every Zionist action, including aggression and expansionist ideology has so far, unfortunately, had the backing of the USA, the most powerful nation on earth and USA has used its veto to shield the Israeli military crimes against humanity.

The UN General Assembly resolution would allow the flags of Palestine and the Holy See — both of which have non-member observer status — to be hoisted alongside those of the member states. If adopted, the UN would have 20 days to implement the move, which would be in time for a visit by president Mahmud Abbas on 30 September.

Mansour said the initiative had the potential to “give our people some hope that the international community is still supporting the independence of the state of Palestine. “Things are bleak, gloomy, the political process is dead, Gaza is being suffocated. This flag resolution is like the small light of a candle to keep hope alive for the Palestinian people.”

Diplomats say the only unknown is how broad support for the resolution will be, and in particular the attitude of the Europeans who have been divided over the initiative. Most Europeans voted for Palestine against the wishes of USA and Israel.

Israel and USA have always hijacked the UN and other world bodies by using the US veto and their coercive efforts to influence many nations. Both Israel and the United States have, as their joint colonialist policy, expressed strong opposition, with Israel’s ambassador to the body Ron Prosor slamming “a blatant attempt to hijack the UN.”

Upon the UN vote last time, making Palestine a observer state, USA is reportedly considering sympathetically the Palestine claims and it supports the Palestine efforts for full membership on UN, it would regain its lost glory of a genuine mediator in regional disputes.

However, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner called it a “counterproductive” attempt to pursue statehood claims outside of a negotiated settlement which is being prolonged by Israel. Officially Washington does not want to seen to abandon a basically criminal state like Israel that kill Palestine children to help fascist minded and illegal settlers win in general elections.

Claiming to be the lone democracy in West Asia with Palestinian blood on its palms, Israel continues to play mischief with Palestinians and UN. Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli PM Netanyahu are among world leaders converging on UN headquarters as of 25 September for an anti-poverty summit and the annual General Assembly debate.

Pope Francis is expected to make a much-anticipated address on 25 September.

The Vatican has officially recognized Palestine as a state.

The very sight of Palestine flag at the UN when it appears would be a positive signal for all freedom seeking nations on this planet.

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US President Obama musters more Senate votes for peace, in favor of nuclear deal with Iran!

US President Obama musters more Senate votes for peace, in favor of nuclear deal with Iran!
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
_________

US President Barack Obama has secured 42 US Senate votes for the international nuclear deal with Iran, more than enough to keep Congress from passing a resolution disapproving of the pact., more than enough to block the Senate from passing a Republican-backed resolution to disapprove the deal and to ensure that the Iran nuclear deal will go into effect even as the US Congress returns on 09 September to begin a frenzied fall legislative session to debate the nuclear deal, which will include votes on the Iran deal before a Sept. 17 deadline.
Forty-two votes is one more than the minimum needed in the 100-member Senate to block a Republican-backed resolution of disapproval of the nuclear deal, announced on July 14. That would spare Obama the embarrassment of having to use his veto power to protect a deal reached with five other world powers, seen as a potential legacy foreign policy achievement for his administration.
Obama had been guaranteed enough votes to sustain a veto once he reached 34 “yes” votes in the Senate, but backers say avoiding the veto process would send an important message to Iran, and the world: Washington is unified behind it.

Democratic Senators Richard Blumenthal, Gary Peters, Ron Wyden and Maria Cantwell announced they would support the agreement, just as lawmakers returned to Washington from a month-long summer recess. The last hope of bipartisan Senate support was dashed when Senator Susan Collins, the chamber’s last undecided Republican, announced her opposition.
All of the senators supporting the deal are Democrats or independents who caucus with them. Every supporter in the House of Representatives is a Democrat. At least 17 House Democrats have also said they would vote with Republicans against it. Senator Joe Manchin became the fourth Senate Democrat voting against the deal.

As Obama’s support reached on 08th September 41 in the Senate in favor of the Iran nuclear agreement, enough to block the Senate from passing a Republican-backed resolution to disapprove the deal, opponents of the deal began criticizing Democrats for, as they say, preventing an up-or-down vote on the deal by blocking its forward motion.

Republicans are trying to turn the vote for nuclear deal into anti-Iran vote. But Democrats gave President Barack Obama the votes he needs to prevent the Senate from passing a measure disapproving of the Iran nuclear deal. Reaching the threshold to filibuster means the President likely won’t need to veto the measure, even though opposition to the Iran deal enjoys majority support in the House and Senate. Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden all announced in rapid fire succession they would support the deal, putting Obama at 41 votes of support in the Senate.
That would leave Republicans short of the 60 votes needed to force a Senate vote, unless some members who support the Iran deal argue that the chamber should have a chance to vote on it. The legislation permitting an up-or-down vote was agreed to by Obama after weeks of bipartisan pressure for Congress to have a say. The Senate would need 60 votes to advance a measure rejecting the deal for a floor vote. If all 41 Democrats who support the deal vote to filibuster, it would not reach a final vote in the Senate. Not all have pledged to do so, though they have pledged to vote with the President on the deal otherwise.
Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Gary Peters of Michigan and Ron Wyden of Oregon said they will support the deal. The three new Democrats’ support came as another member of the party announced his opposition to the Iran deal. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin made a total of four Democrats who have come out against the deal. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he opposes the agreement. The other Senate Democrats opposing the deal are Chuck Schumer of New York, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Bob Menendez of New Jersey. Only one, Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, remains undecided.
A few senators said they would “reluctantly” vote against a motion of disapproval because I believe that doing so will protect the credibility of the United States to hold Iran accountable to adhere to every single obligation in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Many pro-deal senators believe that many overlapping provisions will make it exceedingly difficult for the Iranians to build a nuclear weapon in the short term and will lengthen the time required should they choose to break their commitments and try to build one in the future. “While this is not the agreement I would have accepted at the negotiating table, it is better than no deal at all,” Blumenthal said.
Both camps have been increasing their lobbying efforts on the deal. Republican presidential candidates including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and real estate mogul Donald Trump will headline an anti-Iran deal rally on Capitol Hill. And former Vice President Dick Cheney delivered a fiery speech against the deal, calling it “madness”. Opponents also circulated a letter from 15 governors voicing their opposition to the deal and pledging to keep state-level sanctions on Iran in place. All four of the current governors running for president signed, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. India wants Jindal an Indian to be the next US president.
It seems there is no precedent in recent history for an issue of this magnitude getting consideration in the Senate without having to secure 60 votes. The deal would ease economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear program. Obama has lobbied hard for Democratic support and has made pitches to US Jewish leaders to counter opposition to the deal by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he will insist that 60 Senate votes are required to pass a resolution of disapproval.
Obama’s 41 votes will ultimately protect the Iran deal, seven more than needed to uphold his veto of any measure of disapproval passed by Congress. The 435-seat House has more than the 218 votes needed to pass a resolution of disapproval in that chamber. At least 230 Republicans and 15 Democrats are opposed to the deal. At least 105 of the chamber’s Democrats support the agreement, while the rest have yet to announce their position.
Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will deliver her own speech on the Iran deal, where she’s expected to unequivocally supporting it. US Congress could still oppose the deal, but Obama has now enough votes to override any resolution of disapproval. He has said the deal cuts off every pathway to a nuclear weapon for Iran. Republicans like Israelis have been unified in their opposition to the Iran accord, saying the deal would only “embolden” Iran.
Like Israel, the republicans are annoyed and disappointed that their dream of a war with Iran has been short lived.
However, it was not just USA or Iran that won the deal but active and pro-active diplomacy did the magic for humanity which is seeking peace in West Asia baldy.
One fails to know as to why Israel is so deadly interested in defeating the Obama deal with Iran, causing damages to US diplomacy and Obama’s efforts for peace in West Asia.
However, that does not matter at all!

Turkey to hold second parliamentary poll on November 1

Turkey to hold second parliamentary poll on November 1
-Dr. Abdul Ruff
___________

Turkey is heading towards a new election amid escalating violence between Turkey’s security forces and Kurdish rebels, and as Turkey is taking a more active role in the US-led campaign against Islamic State.
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during televised remarks on August 21 that the second legislative election will be held on November 1 this year and so the Turks will be back to the ballot box once again, after the poll produced a hung parliament and parties failed to agree on a coalition in an initial round.
The election board had proposed the date November 1, according the state-run Anadolu news agency. The official 45-day mandate to form a government ends on Sunday, after which the date for the fresh election can be made formal. It is meant to be set by the election commission.
Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its overall majority in the June election for the first time since it came to power in 2002. Coalition talks saw wide divides between the AKP and the other three parties in parliament, in part over the role Erdogan would play in governance. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, now the leader of the AKP, already announced this week he was giving up trying to form a coalition with a junior partner. Davutoğlu formally told Erdoğan this week that he had failed to form a coalition government. Erdoğan told reporters he had no intention of giving Turkey’s opposition leader the mandate to try and form a government.
The snap elections come just months after the last poll in June, which saw the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which Erdogan helped found, fail to achieve a majority in parliament for the first time since it swept to power in 2002. AKP has been facing discontentment among sections of population fueled by the essentially anti-Islamic opposition on account of policies like part destruction and Erdogan’s fight with his one time ally Golan.
However, Erdogan was directly elected as president last year. He has since taken on powers not wielded by his predecessor as head of state and has called for this de facto situation to be recognized through constitutional changes.
In the campaign before the last election, Erdogan had urged voters to back the AKP so it could enact legal amendments and empower the presidency, but this bid failed.
Erdogan is expected to meet the speaker of parliament on 24 August to prepare for the next stages, including the formation of a temporary government to carry the country over until the election. This government could contain members of all parties in parliament, should they be willing.
The June election also saw the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) enter parliament for the first time. Last month, the ceasefire between the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the state broke down, putting pressure both on the ruling party and the pro-Kurdish civilian movement.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey will hold a snap election with an interim government to be formed in the meantime, if necessary with members from outside parliament,. The president will ask Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu early next week to form the temporary power-sharing government, senior officials said, after weeks of efforts to agree a coalition with opposition parties before a 23 August deadline failed.
Erdoğan said he would form an interim government that will lead Turkey until the election, and could appoint figures who currently don’t hold seats in parliament. Turkish law requires that the interim government include members of all four parties represented in parliament, but two opposition parties have already said they would not participate.
Erdoğan appears to be betting that a new ballot could revive the fortunes of his Islamic-rooted party which he founded and led for more than a decade, and thus put him back on course to reshape Turkey’s democracy into a system in which the president would have executive powers. A coalition government would also have limited his ability to influence the government.
Dozens of people have been killed in renewed clashes between Turkey’s military and rebels of the Kurdistan Workers’ party, or PKK. Last month, Turkish jets raided Isis targets in Syria and PKK targets in Iraq while US jets also launched their first air strikes against Isis targets from a Turkish air base near Syria.
Opponents have accused Erdoğan of attacking the PKK in a bid to win nationalists’ support and discredit a pro-Kurdish party, whose gains in the June elections deprived the ruling party of its majority. “God willing, on November 1st, Turkey will go through what I like to call repeat elections,” said Erdogan.

Russian president Putin calls USA a racial state!

Russian president Putin calls USA a racial state!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Behind all nice “value” smiles and “hearty” talks about democracy and its place in any civilized society, Americans, generally speaking, are also racial by nature and instinct. The regular incidents of attacks on blacks in United States reveal American brand racism even under a Black president which demolishes their claim of being the most civilized people on earth the people from entire world must learn a lot from.

Targeting weak nations to destabilize them, committing awful genocides freely is one thing, but attacking minority people in a country on the on the basis of the skin color is another.  As the only superpower, United States of America, unfortunately, pursues both. However, Americans do not criticize the negative phenomena.

However, facts reveal that the real picture of social relations in USA is quite different from what is being reported in the US media. Racial slurs and attacks on the Blacks, among other minorities, are a common phenomenon across the USA.

The incumbent US President Barack Obama, himself a Black but successful politician, also, like predecessors who were Whites, does not seem to take steps to end racial discriminations in the country.  Racal discriminations have been on the rise even in America.

It is not at all shocking, but quite a valid statement, therefore, that Russian President Vladimir Putin has said racial intolerance in America would have shocked Martin Luther King Jr. In his National Breakfast address in Kremlin on May 13, Putin said that America was “full of magnificent travesty – a place where, in past many years, people of a particular color have, on several or most of occasions, been targeted by peoples of white color, simply due to their skin color and their racism.”

This startling comment from Putin comes on the backdrop of recent racial tensions in United States of America. There were incidents of unrest in Ferguson over shooting of Afro-American youth by a White police. Even after protests and pressure, the deaths of blacks in the hand of white police never reduced. Last week, yet another racial minority youth was killed in police custody.

Explaining to his audience, Putin continued, “It will be better if Obama and his America cared about their internal problems before trying to poke their nose into our affairs. They cry about Crimea, but look at their Crime rates. The rate at which American do crime, they can change their country name to Crimea, so that I can invade it next year.”

After a round of laughter from the audience, Putin continued, “America had blacks as slaves, then they fought a war among themselves on whether to keep blacks as slaves or not. Then, they fought with blacks on suffrage rights of blacks, educational right of blacks, employment rights of blacks. Martin Luther King Jr sacrificed his life to uplift black and end racial discrimination in America. But, now, seeing the current plight of blacks in his country, MLK would have cried in his grave. This kind of racial intolerance in America would have shocked him. I feel sorry for him.”

Raising a cup of wine for a toast, Putin concluded, “I just want to remind Obama to look after his own country and try to solve the racial riots that are happening under his nose. If a black president was unable to create an amicable situation for blacks in USA, then I wonder what the whites will do to those minorities. Stop the killing of blacks or resign Mr. Obama”.

Russians resent anti-Russia rhetoric of US leaders and western media lords made on a regular basis to belittle that nation especially when sanctions have been slapped on it by USA and EU. Putin has repeatedly said anti-Russia campaign is a roaring business of many Americans and it must stop. Maybe, his comments on racial discriminations in USA are to drive home the point that attacking Russian brand democracy cannot go on forever.

Maybe, President Barack Obama thinks the racial discriminations are a necessary evil that needs to be supported for some political expediency reasons, but the approach, if any, is totally wrong and anti-human as it works against the real progress of minorities in the country.

USA should shed its  racist slur and discriminatory practices and become a model secular and truly democratic state for all other nations to emulate.

US-Russia nuclear arms race: Kremlin to face NATO provocation!

US-Russia nuclear arms race:  Kremlin to face NATO provocation!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

___________________

With Russian President Vladimir Putin warning on June 19 Western countries against  meddling in Moscow’s affairs and that no one should speak to Russia through ultimatums, fears of a new nuclear arms race are being rekindled by the actions of arch rivals USA and Russia.

There are reasons to believe that Russia is angry with NATO’s attempt to contain Russia, the leader of former Soviet Union. In facing the containment policy of USA by using former Soviet republics, Vladimir Putin said on June 16 that Russia would add more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles to its nuclear arsenal this year.

Putin made his announcement a day after Russian officials denounced a US plan to station tanks and heavy weapons in NATO states on Russia’s border as the most aggressive act by Washington since the Cold War. Intercontinental ballistic missiles have a minimum range of more than 5,500 km (3,400 miles). Putin gave no more details of which missiles were being added to the nuclear arsenal. He has said several times that Russia must maintain its nuclear deterrence to counter what he sees as growing security threats, and Moscow reserves the right to deploy nuclear weapons in Crimea. Following annexation of Crimea, the West, led by the European Union and United States, has imposed punitive economic sanctions on Russia.

The Kremlin portrays spending on the Russian arms sector as a driver of economic growth, but Putin’s critics say it is excessive and comes at the expense of social needs. “More than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defence systems will be added to the make-up of the nuclear arsenal this year,” Putin, flanked by army officers, said in a speech at an arms fair west of Moscow.

Such comments have helped whip up anti-Western sentiment in the former Soviet space and rally support behind Putin but have caused concern in the West, particularly countries on or near Russia’s borders. Russian officials warned that Moscow would retaliate if the United States carried out its plan to store heavy military equipment in Eastern Europe, including in the Baltic States that were once in the Soviet Union. “The feeling is that our colleagues from NATO countries are pushing us into an arms race,” RIA news agency quoted Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov as saying during “Army 2015”, a fair at which arms and other military equipment are on show.

This Russian action would likely to increase alarm in the West. Tension has resurged between Russia and Western powers over Moscow’s role in the Ukraine crisis, in which pro-Russian separatist forces have seized a large part of the country’s eastern provinces after Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014.

Putin has however added Moscow will not be drawn into a new arms race although Russia is modernizing its armed forces. Putin said in his speech that 70 percent of the military equipment in use would by 2020 be the most up-to-date and top-quality. But lavish military spending is weighing heavily on Russia’s national budget at a time when the economy is sliding towards recession, hit by low oil prices and Western sanctions.

With the USA and Russia in a state of renewed cold war for over a year now, it was inevitable that the nuclear arms race, far more important attribute of the first Cold War, would soon return with more force.

Russian president was speaking at an arms race fair and his plan for more than 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in 2015 as part of a wide-reaching program to modernize the military not a joke.

The move is in response to what Russia has slammed as an aggressive expansion of military presence in NATO states in Eastern Europe, which would provoke Russia to respond by stationing its army on its western borders. Stationing of heavy US military equipment in the Baltic States and Eastern Europe would amount to the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War. Interfax news agency quoted a Russian Defense Ministry official General Yuri Yakubov as saying:”Russia would be left with no other option but to boost its troops and forces on the western flank.” 

The U.S. Navy is among those participating in a NATO landing exercise in Sweden. Around the same time, U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah James announced that it could be sending some of its most advanced warplanes to Europe in a show of force. Already, the Pentagon has rotated B-2 and B-52 bombers, F-15Cs and A-10 attack planes as well as Army and Navy assets through Europe for exercises with allies under what’s called Operation Atlantic Resolve. James said the F-22 Raptor, the Pentagon’s premier fighter, could soon join them. This is all in addition to previous U.S. military actions in support of Ukraine and several Baltic countries, some of whom fear Russian President Putin — either directly or indirectly — will come after them next.

In reaction, Russia’s foreign ministry on Monday accused NATO countries of “sliding into a new military confrontation with destructive consequences.” That’s not to say Moscow hasn’t taken military action of its alone — most conspicuously with its aircraft.  The NATO late last year announced that it intercepted more than 400 Russian military planes in 2014 alone — a 50% increase from the previous year. Then there was the Russian jet in May came within 10 feet of an American military plane in international airspace above the Black Sea. Putin upped the ante beyond provocative aerial maneuvers that same day, as he announced that he is buttressing his country’s nuclear arsenal with an additional 40 intercontinental ballistic missiles.

USA and European leaders are already considering an additional round of sanctions they would impose on Moscow if it makes further military moves in Ukraine.

And since nuclear escalation usually takes place in a tit-for-tat mutual defection regime, earlier it was reported that the Americans are preparing a set of various measures, and among them the placement of heavy weaponry in Poland and other countries will be very important. And sure enough Russia, which it says is merely responding to NATO escalation, was promptly accused of escalating even more by the same NATO that keeps parking its own forces ever since the US-orchestrated Ukraine presidential coup was meant to convert Kiev into a potential NATO country and military base.

Nato and Western leaders accused Russia of sending soldiers and heavy weapons, including tanks and missiles, to the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Russia has repeatedly denied this, insisting that any Russians fighting there are “volunteers”. Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the statement from Putin was “confirming the pattern and behavior of Russia over a period of time; we have seen Russia is investing more in defense in general and in its nuclear capability in particular”. He said: “This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified, it’s destabilising and it’s dangerous.”

And just to stabilize things, NATO may well deploy some of its own tactical nukes in the region as a deterrence measure now that the second nuclear arms race is fully up and running. To be sure Stoltenberg essentially admitted that the next retaliation by NATO countries will also be a nuclear one: that “what NATO now does in the eastern part of the alliance is something that is proportionate, that is defensive and that is fully in line with our international commitments.

the BBC’s estimate of Russia’s existing nuclear arsenal: Military stockpile of approximately 4,500 nuclear warheads; These include nearly 1,800 strategic warheads deployed on missiles and at bomber bases; Another 700 strategic warheads are in storage along with roughly 2,700 non-strategic warheads; A large number – perhaps 3,500 – of retired, but still largely intact warheads await dismantlement.

Back in December 2013 Russia stationed nuclear-capable Iskander (ss-26) missile launchers, as one of the first nuclear moves in the current Cold War 2.0 arms race, along the polish border to deter the US missile defense system in Poland. As such, all that the current second nuclear arms race needs is a spark. Incidentally, back in 1937 a comparable Fed rate hike such to the one the Fed is currently contemplating, led to a 50% crash in the stock market. More importantly, less than two years later, World War II broke out. On the day after the crash, investigators said they had reviewed the flight recorders, and confirmed that there were no technical problems with the Soviet-built aeroplane, ruling out initial theories that the 20-year-old aircraft was at fault. The Russian maker of the Buk air defence missile system says it has concluded that Malaysian Airlines flight 17 was downed by an older version of the missile. It says the type is not in service with the Russian military but is in Ukrainian arsenals.

The war of words between America and Russia is escalating. So, too, is the movement of implements of war — from US fighter jets to Russian nuclear weapons. the rhetoric and actions from both sides have definitely ratcheted up in recent days, raising concerns of a new arms race — if not worse — amid tensions both sides blame on each other. The major players all claim their movements are defensive and necessary responses to their foe’s provocation. None has talked of an invasion.

Nearly every American and European attempt at deterring Putin has instead triggered an opposite reaction: more military exercises, more provocative behavior and a persistent refusal to back down in the face of Western demands.

US and Russian nuclear arsenals as of April 2010

US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, signed a landmark nuclear arms treaty in the Czech capital, Prague in April 2010. The treaty commits the former Cold War enemies to each reduce the number of deployed strategic warheads to 1,550 – 30% lower than the previous ceiling. Here is a breakdown of their respective arsenals.

USA RUSSIA
Intercontinental ballistic missile
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
Minuteman* 450 550 SS-18 (Satan) 50 500
SS-19 (Stiletto) 60 360
SS-25 (Sickle) 150 150
SS-27 (Topol)* 71 80
SUBTOTAL 450 550 331 1,090
Submarine-launched ballistic missiles
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
Trident 288 1,152 SS-N-18 M1 (Stingray) 64 192
SS-N-23*
(Skiff & Sineva)
96 384
SUBTOTAL 288 1,152 144 576
Bombers
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
B52 Stratofortress 44 350 Tu-95 (Bear) 62 682
B-2A Spirit* 16 150 Tu-160 (Blackjack)* 13 156
SUBTOTAL 60 500 75 838
Nonstrategic (short-range) forces
Name No. Warheads Name No. Warheads
Tomahawk*cruise missile 325 100 53T6 (Gazelle) 68 68
B61 bombs 400 SA-10 (Grumble)* 1,900 630
Bombers/fighters 524 650
Subs/Ships/Air 700
SUBTOTAL 325 500 1,492 2,000
TOTAL 1,123 2,702 2,042 4,600
Source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Note: The data for the US relates to 2009. That for Russia, 2010.

Former ideological super power rivals USA and Russia with huge piles of arms arsenals do not seem to enforce nuclear disarmament globally. The US vested interests in maintaining upper hand in arms arsenals, especially WMD has emboldened Russia to ignore global nuclear disarmament and go slow in the hopeless arms reduction talks.

G7 summit focuses on global economy, sanctions on Russia!

 

G7 summit focuses on global economy, sanctions on Russia!

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

_______________

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized countries have convened on their annual summit in Germany, where they are expected to discuss current crises, such as the wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya, and long-term issues like climate change and the economy.

The leaders of seven major industrialized countries led by supper power USA are meeting for their annual summit, with the first day devoted to the global economy and talks to liberalize trade rules. But the meeting will now focus on the continued sanctions on Russia. The leaders also want to agree on a climate change policy for a key meeting in Paris in December, where the goal will be to reach a global agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

US President Barack Obama said it is a list of difficult challenges. Obama also said: “We’re going to discuss our shared future,” he said, “the global economy that creates jobs and opportunity, maintaining a strong and prosperous European Union, forging new trade partnerships across the Atlantic, standing up to Russian aggression in Ukraine, combating threats from violent extremism to climate change.”

For the second year, a key topic will be Russia’s involvement in Ukraine. Russia was expelled from the group last year after it invaded and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region, and it continues to support, train and equip rebels in two eastern regions. (The elite G8 group in which Russia is a member is no more existing) G7 countries are among the leaders of an extensive sanctions regime designed to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to change his policy.   Western powers, annoyed that the Kremlin has taken back the Crimea from Ukraine, now demand Russia to end Ukraine crisis by withdrawing Russian forces from east Ukraine, but Putin says Russia supports Russian fight for freedom but insists that Russian forces have not gone to Ukraine. However, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said Moscow has sent 9,000 troops into “the area”, but Russia denies the claim.

 

The West accuses Moscow of supporting the insurgents in eastern Ukraine, a charge that Russia denies. The truce singed by Kyiv, Moscow and separatist rebels at talks mediated by Germany and France requires the warring sides to withdraw heavy weapons from the line of contact, but the provisions have been routinely violated.

President Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel say economic sanctions against Russia should only be eased with Moscow’s full implementation of a shaky truce in eastern Ukraine to end fighting between pro-Russian insurgents and Kiev’s forces.

The US and German leaders insist that the sanctions should remain in place. The leaders also expected to discuss world crises including gains by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria and the crises in Libya and Yemen.  There are also the pressing issues related to China, which is building islands in the Pacific that could be used to control shipping lanes. The American and German leaders met before the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps. The White House said both leaders agreed the duration of the sanctions should be “clearly linked” to Moscow carrying out February’s cease-fire deal and showing “respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

More than half the meeting Obama had with Merkel was devoted to show unity in confronting Russia over the destabilizing actions in Ukraine,” the White House said in a statement. Merkel told German public broadcaster ARD that Moscow should stay out of the G7 “community of values” over its actions in Ukraine. “There is a barrier at the moment and I cannot really see how it can be overcome,” she said. European Council President Donald Tusk, said the European Union and the G7 leaders remain firm in their support of Ukraine in its fight against pro-Russian separatists.

Before meeting privately, Merkel and Obama drank beer and ate sausages at a table with local residents in the picturesque Alpine village of Kruen, a few kilometers from the summit site.  Chancellor Merkel called the United States “our friend and our partner” and referred to the American leader as “dear Barack.”

the G7 leaders will be joined by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss the fight against Islamic State, and some African leaders will join the meetings for a discussion of development, women’s rights and health policy.

G7 communiques on such issues are often greeted with indifference. In its annual assessment, the G7 Research Group based at the University of Toronto said the G7 does make a difference, particularly on such issues as financial regulations, health care, helping refugees and infrastructure development in Africa.

Like all G7 summits and similar events, this one has attracted Chanting and singing, some of them briefly blocked roads in the area early Sunday, and one group walked across a field where protesters had been allowed to camp out, trying to reach the summit hotel.

More than 15,000 German security personnel are keeping the protesters who blame the 7 big powers for many of the world’s problems, at bay and ensuring the leaders are safe as they uphold the G7 tradition of spending a couple of days largely on their own, discussing the world’s most pressing issues and deciding a common strategy  against their perceived ”foes” like Russia, China and others.  .

 

Issues before Indian PM Modi as he visits Bangladesh on June 6-7

Issues before Indian PM Modi as he visits Bangladesh on June 6-7

-Dr. Abdul Ruff

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaches Bangladesh on June 6 to a red carpet reception to be accorded for two days by the Awami League government of Sheikh Hasina who is eager to use the occasion to settle score with her political opponents led by Khaleda Zia. Reports suggest the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who stood against Teesta Accord to meet the water requirement of her own state would a part of PM Modi entourage consisting of top business magnets, among others.

While in Dhaka PM Modi would advance Delhi’s long-cherished goal of transit treaty with Bangladesh leaving behind the promised Teesta water sharing agreement for future. Teesta Barrage project in West Bengal is the biggest irrigation project that support irrigation in the entire region. The project provides irrigation to 9.22 million hectares of land and generates 67.50 mw of hydroelectric power. Teesta flow is restricted before it enters West Bengal with construction of more than ten hydro projects in the upstream.  After meeting its own requirement West Bengal has little flow of Teesta water during the dry season to share with Bangladesh. Teesta issue is emerging as a major threat to the two countries’ multi-faceted bilateral ties and raising the wall of mistrust between India and Bangladesh.

Although India is projecting Modi’s ensuing visit as the expansion of trade and mutual cooperation, but his priority is transit corridor for military purposes in North East. Arunachal Pradesh in the Northeast is a disputed area, claimed by China as part of Tibet. India’s intelligence agency claimed China was behind the unity move of the separatist groups and some of their leaders were in Beijing seeking material support in their struggle for independence from India. About two lakh regular army and paramilitary forces remained deployed in the Northeastern States for decades to combat the insurgents in guerrilla warfare. They need quick and smooth supplies.

In fact, Bangladesh has already been providing transit facilities to India. Heavy machinery for power plant in Tripura transported from the West through Bangladesh free of cost. Similarly, rice and other essential goods are transported to the insurgency troubled Northeastern States through Bangladesh territory. The 2010 agreement between Sheikh Hasina and Dr Manmohan Singh ­ a broad ranging communiqué issued after her visit to Delhi marks a dramatic improvement of relations between the two countries. The communiqué included a promise to allow transit facilities and India’s commitment to energize bilateral trade by drawing down tariff and certain non-tariff barriers to Bangladeshi products.

What Narendra Modi wants during his short visit, and Awami League Government in Bangladesh ready to oblige in favor of heavy service charges, is to renew the existing transit facility with amendment for expansion of its scope for greater connectivity. It is worth recalling that after the 1947 partition of India, Pakistan had sought from India transit facility between East and West Pakistan. India had outright rejected the proposal. Pakistan had also sought Calcutta port facility for a period of six months to make Chittagong port operative. India’s then Home Minister Sardar Patel rejected the proposal saying ‘not for even six hours’. Again, President Ziaur Rahman made a treaty with Nepal for bilateral trade through India and port facility to landlocked Nepal. But India denied transit facility over its land and the agreement could never be implemented.

Bangladeshi trade gap with India in the first nine months of the current financial year continued to hover at $4.06 billion despite a slight increase in exports to the neighbouring country. The trade gap was still high as different non-tariff barriers continued to limit Bangladesh’s exports to the neighbouring country, said economists and experts. Bangladesh’s imports from India stood at $4.45 billion in July-March of the FY 2014-2015 whereas exports stood at $396.43 million during the period.  The trade deficit of Bangladesh against India was still high as different non-tariff barriers continued to limit Bangladesh’s exports to the neighbouring country. The businesspeople have long been raising their concern in this connection but the India’s government is yet to mitigate the problem.

Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh executive director Mansur said that the country had been facing a large trade gap with China and India for a long time due to lower export earnings against higher import payments. The country’s industrial sector has also facing a production crisis due to the recent political unrest and that might have played a role in the large trade deficit between the two countries. The government should give pressure to India on political ground so that the country’s businesspeople would be able to increase their export items.  Mansur said the commerce ministry should take initiative to avoid non-tariff barriers with India that would help the exporters to increase their items to India.

India, which has had an uneasy relationship with China for decades, has long fretted over Beijing’s military cooperation with its South Asian neighbours, especially Pakistan. India is also worried China is creating a so-called “string of pearls” across the Indian Ocean by funding port developments in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh. China had built close ties with Bangladesh as part of its South Asia diplomacy and that this was a concern for India. The number of PLA (China’s People’s Liberation Army) visits to Bangladesh is nearly the same as to India. Shrewd Modi is trying to counter it with his neighborhood outreach. Narendra Modi has reached out to all of India’s neighbours since he took office a year ago except Pakistan.

Any Indian concerns about Bangladesh’s growing military ties to China, including the planned sale of two Chinese diesel-electric submarines, are likely to fall on deaf ears in Dhaka, said a former Bangladeshi military officer and an Indian expert. China was the source of 82 percent of Bangladesh’s arms purchases from 2009-2013, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), making Dhaka one of the top three buyers of Chinese weapons in the world. SIPRI data showed Bangladesh bought anti-ship missiles, tanks, fighter aircraft and other arms from China between 2008 and 2012. Last year it commissioned two new frigates from China. “China became the largest supplier of military hardware to Bangladesh when relations with India were strained,” said retired Bangladeshi brigadier general Shahedul Anam Khan. A government official in Dhaka said Bangladesh’s first submarines, costing $206 million in total, could be delivered before 2019. China was expected to provide training, said Chinese experts on the country’s ties with South Asia.

China is helping Bangladesh upgrade its main Chittagong port while the China Harbour Engineering Company has been seen as the frontrunner to win a contract to build an $8 billion deep water port on Sonadia Island off the Bangladeshi city of Cox’s Bazaar in the Bay of Bengal. A Bangladeshi government official said it was unclear when a decision on Sonadia would be made, adding that port operators from the United Arab Emirates and the Netherlands were also interested. “China, in my opinion, is the best option,” said Munshi Faiz Ahmad, a former Bangladesh ambassador to China, adding that Chinese firms had built big infrastructure projects in a number of countries including Bangladesh, where they have constructed power plants, bridges and roads.

India was alarmed last year when Chinese submarines docked ports in Sri Lanka. A new government in Colombo has since ruled out submarine visits in the near future. China’s defence ministry’s had no immediate comment on military ties with Bangladesh. Cooperation between the two countries was normal, China’s Foreign Ministry said. Bangladesh has never hosted a naval ship from China. Modi will take border settlement and water sharing deals to Bangladesh as part of his drive to erode Chinese influence in South Asia, although Dhaka is likely to remain dependent on Beijing for military equipment.

What worries Indian military planners is that China might see Bangladesh, which shares the Bay of Bengal with India and Myanmar, as an ideal place for its warships and submarines to dock. The Indian Navy is watching China’s growing military ties with Bangladesh closely. It’s setting up missile batteries and radar surveillance on Sagar island, near the Indian-Bangladesh border, with plans to develop a deep sea port there that would provide easy access to the Bay of Bengal, military officials said.  “The worry is not Bangladesh’s military capabilities,” said former Indian ambassador to Dhaka, Pinaki Chakravarty. “It is about Chinese influence next door.”

Modi has won parliamentary approval for an agreement that will transfer a small amount of territory to Bangladesh that previous Indian governments failed to ratify for fear of a domestic backlash. The issue dates back to British India’s partition in 1947. Prime Minister Modi has also persuaded a Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to drop her opposition to share water equally from a key river that flows through India before reaching Bangladesh. The migration of tens of thousands of people from Bangladesh into India has long been a sensitive issue in India, with the then opposition Bharatiya Janata Party making it a key campaign plank. But since coming to power, Modi has fallen silent on the migration issue and has instead focused on securing India’s strategic objectives in Bangladesh.

The Modi government in India said will soon be providing Bangladesh $2 billion line of credit for development of water, rail and road transport. The funds should be used for development of the railway, power, health, education, ICT and water transport on a priority basis. A deal for this is expected to be signed during the Indian prime minister’s visit to Dhaka on June 6. Finance ministry officials said the terms of the LOC will be same as the previous $1 billion line of credit extended by India, under which at least 75 percent of the goods and services for the projects would have to be procured from India. The credit will also have an interest rate of 1 percent which is a little higher than World Bank loans.

India gave Bangladesh $1 billion line of credit in 2010. The then Indian finance minister and now President Pranab Mukherjee later announced that no interest would be charged on $200 million of the $ 1 billion loan. The rest $800 million, on which 1 percent interest would be charged is being used to implement 14 projects, seven of which have already been completed.

India has succeeded in dissuading Sri Lanka to deny China any right to dock its vessel at Lankan ports. The new government under President Sirisena has assured New Delhi not to let the Chinese ships to dock in the Island nation. However, PM Modi would not e able to get Bangladesh on board to be strict with Beijing. China-Bangladeshi military ties have been very strong for years and are indeed growing further. Chinese presence in Bangladesh is being felt as a national phenomenon. India can do very little to disrupt the relationship Dhaka courts with Beijing voluntarily..