NIGHTWATCH: Afghanistan-Russia-India, Good-Bye ISAF

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India-Russia-Afghanistan: India, Russia and Afghanistan quietly have created a triangular arrangement for providing arms aid to Afghanistan after NATO withdraws. None of the countries have made an official announcement. Only a small number of news services, including The Moscow Times and Pakistani newspapers, have published articles about it.

The arrangement was finalized in February when an India team visited Moscow, but it had been under discussion during the past year. It was one of the discussion items when President Karzai visited India last December.

Under the agreement, smaller arms such as light artillery and mortars will be provided by Russia and moved to Afghanistan from the north, while India paid Russia for the equipment. An inventory of Russian-made equipment in Afghanistan has been completed. Afghanistan has presented India with a list of requirements and Russia reportedly has made one or more initial shipments.

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May 1

JZ: Feeding 9 BIllion with Seeds of Change in India (YouTube 9:03)

Jason "JZ" Liszkiewicz

Jason “JZ” Liszkiewicz

For downloads and more information visit: http://www.journeyman.tv/?lid=65613&a…

In India, climate change is forcing farmers to adapt in order to survive. While scientists race to breed a new batch of climate-resilient super seeds, locals are instead turning to the ways of their ancestors.

Saltwater intrusion, flooding, droughts, rising sea levels and violent storms wreak havoc on the agriculture of countries like India, forcing many to seek out more resilient seed varieties. Rice conservators like Debal Deb are helping to reintroduce traditional, salt-tolerant solutions for struggling farmers. “They are more precious than gold,” says a local affected by cyclone Isla four years ago. People like Deb say these seeds rival modern scientific billion-dollar investments, including GM. But scientists say reintroducing old seed varieties simply doesn’t produce enough to feed 9 billion people on a climate-changing planet.

Centre for Investigative Reporting

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Feb 20

NIGHTWATCH: India Begins Military Support for Afghanistan — Robert Steele Comments

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India-Afghanistan: Indian Minister of External Affairs Slaman Khurshid said on 15 February that India will provide helicopters to Afghanistan.

“We are giving them helicopters and we will be supplying them very soon,” Khurshid told reporters accompanying him on a day-long visit to the Afghan city of Kandahar, where he inaugurated an agricultural university built with Indian aid. “We also have been giving them some logistical support and we hopefully will be able to upgrade and refurbish their transport aircraft.”

Khurshid did not specify the number or type of helicopters to be provided to Afghanistan. Nor did he elaborate on transport aircraft contracts.

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Feb 18

Chuck Spinney: Should US Leave Afghanistan? Is BBC Out of Its Mind? Robert Steele Comments

Chuck Spinney

Chuck Spinney

The attached BBC report/video by John Simpson describing Afghan attitudes toward the US/UK exit struck me as bizarre.  The weight of Simpson’s gist is that most Afghans do not want us to leave.  But the report based most of its information on interviews in Kabul and only a short part (the wobbly part) on the countryside where the vast majority of Afghans live — i.e., Helmand.  Simpson did not mention of Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and the border areas with Pakistan,nor did he mention the western areas like Herat, or the Northern areas.  So I asked an Afghan friend who follows events in Afghanistan closely for his take on this report.  Attached below the video link is my friend’s reaction and a NYT piece with yellow highlights.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25864611

(BBC) The BBC’s world affairs editor John Simpson visited Kabul, a city he knows well, to discover what shape Afghan government forces are in and whether the Taliban could take over after UK and American troops leave.
 
———–
Email from Mr. X 
(a highly educated Afghan — ethnic Pashtun — an expat living in Europe)
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Jan 28

NIGHTWATCH: Saudi-Funded Wahhabism on the Table as Enemy #1

Syria: President Bashar Asad Monday called for a battle against Wahhabism, the political and religious theology embraced by the Saudi Arabian government that backs the Sunni uprising against his regime.

“President Assad said that extremists and Wahhabi thought distort the real Islam, which is tolerant,” state news agency SANA reported. He underlined the role of men of religion in fighting against Wahhabi thought, which is foreign to our societies, according to Asad.

Wahhabism is an ultra-conservative Muslim tradition, which is predominant in Saudi Arabia and whose intolerant precepts govern Saudi religious, civilian and political life. It is a sect of Sunni Islam, whose leaders profess has no sects.

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Dec 31

Evan Ellis: China in Venezuelan Oil

Evan Ellis

Evan Ellis

In the aftermath of elections in Venezuela, I am writing to share with you my new publication “China, Russia, India and the Venezuelan Petroleum Industry,” just published by Latin Business Chronicle.

PDF (5 Pages): CN RU IN & VE Oil

Given the amount of confusion that has existed about the role of external actors in Venezuela, the article seeks to present the key  facts and data regarding Chinese loans, oil investment and other support to the Venezuelan petroleum sector, in the context of Indian and Russian activities in the sector as well.  I would like to offer my sincere thanks to a number of experts in the Venezuelan petroleum, financial, and other sectors who shared their knowledge and dedicated the time so that I could get the story right.

Dr. Evan Ellis is a professor of national security studies, modeling, gaming and simulation with the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University, with a research focus on Latin America’s relationships with external actors, including China, Russia and Iran, as well as work on populism in the Andes, transnational criminal organizations and gangs in Mexico and Central America, energy security, and non-traditional national security topics. Dr. Ellis has published over 50 works, including the 2009 book China in Latin America: The Whats and Wherefores, as well as articles in national security, finance, and technical journals.

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Dec 13

Jim Dean: Government Shut-Down and the Real Crimes Behind the Scenes — Wall Street Rules and Stealing the Gold

Jim W. Dean

Jim W. Dean

Government shutdown and Chinese gold

EXTRACT

Gordon Duff first reported in Veterans Today another financial scandal motive for the Repubs wanting to hold up Obama Care. New regulations were going into effect to stop the cross collateralization of insurance company reserves, who are all owned by banks, so they could be market traded. The sums involved were astronomical.

“The Obama Care issue is about ‘funds in management.’ The health insurance industry, through investment banks and hedge funds, accounts for 35% of the entire investment capital of the United States.

This sector has been totally unregulated with, not just individual policyholders but industries and government forced to subsidize a health care Ponzi scheme where in some cases fewer than 3% of policy premiums were paid back in benefits.”

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Oct 25