US President George W. Bush may have taken the pressure off of Germany in Afghanistan, but NATO's top soldier there, General Dan McNeill, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that he needs all the help he can get. He also said it is too early to speak of an exit strategy.
Monday, 31 March 2008
By Jill Drew, Washington Post Foreign Service
A melee erupted in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Saturday afternoon in the midst of hundreds of armed police who have been out in force since deadly rioting rocked the city two weeks ago.
Fresh protests broke out in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Saturday as foreign diplomats wrapped up a tightly controlled visit organized by Beijing, a radio broadcaster and Tibetan activists reported.
CHINA'S TIBET EXPERIMENT
For the Chinese who came west to the highlands of Tibet seeking their fortune, the antigovernment riots that swept through Lhasa two weeks ago were a rude, unexpected reminder that their presence isn't welcome by many Tibetans. Longtime residents resent the wave of non-Tibetan migrants who are changing their culture and competing for jobs.
For such Chinese willing to move to Tibet, China promised subsidies, tax exemptions, education credits and preferential consideration for government jobs. As Shai Oster reports, there is debate about how many Han Chinese took up Beijing's offers. Official Chinese figures show that at least 94% of the province's 2.81 million people are indigenous Tibetans, rather than ethnic Han, who dominate China's population. But the situation on the ground in Lhasa appears very different: the population of ethnic Han in the city appears to be growing quickly -- and by some estimates now tops indigenous Tibetans.
Outside experts say there is no doubt China's government has made enormous strides to address Tibet's poverty. Signs of the new economy are everywhere, but indigenous Tibetans sometimes have a hard time taking advantage of all the growth. With a 46% illiteracy rate for those aged over 15 years in Tibet -- the highest in China -- many Tibetans are poorly placed to find jobs. On the Web site Lhasa Talents on Thursday, none of the job postings requested knowledge of Tibetan language, although several required Mandarin skills. Now the government is providing train tickets to those migrants who want to go back to their hometowns, perhaps for good.
Read Shai Oster's compelling report from Lhasa on the migrants to Tibet:
Read the latest on the conflict from Loretta Chao in Beijing and James T. Areddy in Shanghai:
Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr's order to his fighters Sunday to withdraw from the streets of Basra and other contested cities provided some hope that recent fighting across Iraq between U.S.-backed government forces and Shiite fighters -- many of them Sadr supporters -- might be winding down.
The offensive severely strained Iraq's already-creaky oil industry and wreaked havoc on the already tenuous power supply to oil fields, pumping stations and processing plants in the region. In Basra, where the fighting had threatened to cut Iraqi oil exports after a major export pipeline was targeted in attacks, teams from South Oil Co., the state-run production company based in Basra, repaired the line more quickly than expected, and export levels had been restored to normal, according to an official.
If Mr. Sadr's move results in reduced fighting this week, it could provide much-needed breathing room for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and U.S.-led coalition forces, which had been forced in recent days to step up assistance to Iraqi forces. But as our reporters in Iraq write, Mr. Sadr's grip on his own militia, the Mahdi Army, is uncertain. Other, rival militias entrenched in Basra, the oil capital in the south of the country, may ignore the softening rhetoric from both sides.
Read our staff report from Baghdad:
Sunday, 30 March 2008
U.S. forces said they had killed 48 militants in air strikes and gun battles across the capital the previous day.
Five Things You Need to Know To Understand The Latest Violence in Iraq
By Joshua Holland and Raed Jarrar
The conflict is one that the U.S. media appears incapable of describing in a coherent way.
Saturday, 29 March 2008
Chinese view of Dalai Lama bodes ill for its Tibet policy
By Howard W. French
Published: March 29, 2008
By KEITH BRADSHER
The price of rice, a staple in the diets of nearly half the world’s population, has almost doubled on international markets in the last three months.
By Erica Goode
Published: March 28, 2008
Friday, 28 March 2008
In September 2002, the Italian government, State, parliament, gave this NATO technology to the Chinese of the RPC (later to the Taiwanese) for a lynching-pogrom against an Italian citizen, me, Roberto Scaruffi, already submitted to a long [it is more than 20 years, now] lynching-pogrom from the Italian InteriorMinistry-CarabinieriPS-“Intelligence” Services. As a cover screen, police special agents (insane criminals!) use, on the field, current louses, usual rubbish, very happy to practice lynching and pogrom with State impunity but also very unhappy just they verify that I am totally indifferent (actually, very amused) to their insane and criminal acting and they, not me, are rapidly destroyed.
This State lynching-pogrom is a secret program of the Italian Interior Ministry, Carabinieri-PS, with the agreement of the Italian parliament, for obliging Italian citizens, by social lynching and white torture, to practice terrorism. They want I organize a terrorist gang and I kill somebody. They wanted... ...now they are only trying to get some “result” for justifying that, with the excuse of these covert operations, they have stolen billion euros for themselves.
Internal terrorism, in Italy, is usually organized and manipulated from the Italian governments-State-parliaments by the Carabinieri-PS [PS is the State Police; Carabinieri is everything in Italy: IV armed force of the armed forces, “civil” police, military police, different intelligences services, customs, etc.]. Extinguished mass terrorism, in Italy, the Carabinieri-PS induced the creation of small terrorist gangs for killing university professors specialised in Labour Law and Economics.
Yes, it is something totally insane, not only criminal. It is program against even a slight modernization, with the agreement of the trade unions, bankers, financiers and industrialist organizations, which are actually against whatever modernization. Only the Italian criminal and insane governments, State, parliaments and their Carabinieri-PS could conceive and realize such insanities! Actually, the Italian Carabinieri-PS-“Intelligence”Services use these criminal and insane operations overall as a cover for stealing a lot of money, billion euros, for themselves. Politicians steal. State functionaries steal. State-connected people steal. Such is Italy! It is really equal to the various Chinas!
The riots in Tibet two weeks ago have turned into a major challenge to China's leaders, whose decision to use military force and restrict media access has cast a shadow over hopes for an unblemished Olympics this summer.
Philippine activists warn about possible riots. Aid agencies across Asia worry how they will feed the hungry. Governments dig deeper every day to fund subsidies.
In the past two weeks, the Federal Reserve, long the guardian of the nation's banks, has redefined its role to also become protector and overseer of Wall Street.
(By Neil Irwin, The Washington Post)
The Associated Press
Published: March 28, 2008
By Somini Sengupta
Published: March 28, 2008
In Naples, Waste Is Pure Gold
By Alexander Smoltczyk
If there is one thing that stinks even more than the garbage dumps and mountains of trash Naples residents are protesting, it's the self-righteousness of politicians in the region.
By Ian Fisher and Daniele Pinto
Published: March 25, 2008
The Iraqi government is in a bind as it takes on lawless militia fighters and tries to restore oil output hit by the recent fighting in the south, especially around Basra. As well as slowing vital exports, the fighting threatens a recent, rare opening for foreign companies eager to tap the country's massive oil reserves and challenges plans by U.S. President George W. Bush to markedly step up its oil exports.
Crude-oil futures climbed Thursday following a pipeline blast near Basra, rising $1.28 to $107.18 a barrel. The U.S. stock market, meanwhile, retreated, with the Dow industrials shedding more than 120 points, led by the technology and financial sectors following worrisome developments at Oracle and Google, which raised concerns about the broader economy. At the same time, the U.S. dollar appears poised to weaken below seven yuan for the first time.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who arrives in Jerusalem Saturday, will find Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's stated goal of advancing the Bush administration's peace process increasingly in tension with his efforts to hold onto power. That's because the small Shas party, on which he depends for support, seeks to expand settlements in the West Bank and reject talks over the status of Jerusalem, contradicting what Ms. Rice has stated are Israel's clear obligations in the peace process.
Read Hassan Hafidh's report from Amman, Jordan:
Read John McKinnon's report on President Bush's aim:
Read Cam Simpson's report on Condoleeza Rice's weekend Mideast visit:
Read Peter A. McKay's report on the U.S. stock market's fall Thursday:
Read Denis McMahon's report from Shanghai on the dollar set to breach seven yuan:
Rift With Beijing Reveals Two Tibets
By MICHAEL CONNOLLY
The tensions underlying Tibetans' protests against tight Chinese control reveal the deep split that exists between the Tibetan elite, which cooperates with the Chinese government to rule the region, and many everyday Tibetans.
As Shai Oster in Lhasa and Gordon Fairclough report, the monks and lay people who have taken to the streets of Lhasa and other Tibetan settlements across western China in demonstrations over the past two weeks are dissatisfied with the Chinese government's limits on religious expression and frustrated by their relative lack of economic success.
But many in the Tibetan elite, which includes tens of thousands of senior religious figures, government officials and businesspeople, have grown prosperous and powerful by working with Beijing. These partnerships between the government and its Tibetan allies require difficult compromises and remain fraught with distrust.
Read our penetrating analysis of the underlying issues in the conflict by Shai Oster in Lhasa and Gordon Fairclough in Shanghai:
Read Shai Oster's latest report on his continuing visit to Lhasa:
Thursday, 27 March 2008
By Daniel Schearf Beijing27 March 2008
A group of Tibetan monks has defied Beijing by protesting during a government-controlled visit by foreign journalists to Tibet. A group of about 30 monks interrupted an official briefing in the Tibetan capital Thursday to accuse the Chinese government of lying about recent unrest. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.
When Gen. David Petraeus testifies to Congress in a few weeks, he is expected to tout recent "security gains" from the U.S. surge in Iraq as a reason to "pause" troop reductions. But violence this week across southern Iraq is pouring cold water on these tactical gains, erupting in several Iraqi cities including Baghdad, where "rockets pounded the fortified Green Zone area." "Thousands of supporters of Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr marched in Baghdad" today, calling for "the downfall of the U.S.-backed government." In a battle in oil-rich Basra, a bomb blast destroyed an oil pipeline, Sadr's Shiite bloc walked out of parliament Tuesday to protest the crackdown, and a Baghdad security plan spokesperson was kidnapped today. This anger threatens to end Sadr's pivotal cease fire, credited with much of the reduced violence across Iraq. As British Army Commander Lt. Gen. Graeme Lamb concluded Tuesday, "To suggest that good intentions will cross fundamental cultural, social and religious differences and win over a damaged population is at best dangerous and wishful thinking."
UNDERSTANDING PLAYERS IN IRAQ'S CIVIL WARS: As Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Brian Katulis explained, the violence "brings into the open this long-running intra-Shi'a civil war." The fighting across southern Iraq has pitted Sadr's Madhi Army against Abdul Aziz Al Hakim's Islamic Supreme Council (ISCI) of the so-called Badr Brigade, which has support from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Adding another layer to just one component of Iraqs many civil wars, "a third Shi'a faction, the Fadhila movement, is also engaged in the struggle for power in Basra," Katulis writes. The result is a show of force from Sadr. "If these violations continue, a huge popular eruption will take place that no power on Earth can stop," said Nassar al-Rubaei, leader of the Sadrist bloc in parliament. Most ironically, if Iraqi security forces and their militia allies prevail, Iran's hand in Iraq will be heavily bolstered. "The Badr Organisation and the ISCI had always been and remained the most pro-Iranian political-military forces in Iraq, having been established, trained and funded by the IRGC from Shiite exiles in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war," notes journalist Gareth Porter.
NOT GOOD VERSUS BAD: The Bush administration has tried to simplify the violence into a government versus militia struggle. "The Prime Minister has gone to Basra....to re-establish the rule of law," said National Security adviser Steven Hadley yesterday. But as analyst Anthony Cordesman noted, it is not that simple. A better explanation is that the Iraqi government -- allied with ISCI militias -- is trying to suppress its political enemies. "[T]his is really a fairly transparent partisan effort by the Supreme Council dressed in government uniforms to fight the Sadrists and Fadila," said Joost Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group. "Maliki in alliance with ISCI are doing their best to marginalize their political enemies locally – in preparation for local elections in October 2008," argued historian Reidar Visser. The result? "It seems far more likely that even the best case outcome is going be one that favors Iraqracy over democracy," says Cordesman. Furthermore, this is not a hands-off situation. The U.S. is providing air support -- "help just in case they need it," explained White House Press Secretary Perino.
AND THE SURGE?: The administration is trying to spin the new activity as a "by-product of the success of the surge." President Bush even called it a "positive moment" today. But the violence shows the surge's failure to contain Iraq's vicious internal power struggles. One only has to look at British military activity in southern Iraq in 2006 and 2007 (Britain withdrew from Iraq last year). "At first, there were signs of progress" such as diminished violence, but local militias "were not defeated; they went underground or, more often, were absorbed into existing security forces," noted Robert Malley and Peter Harling at the time. Ironically, "heightened pressure" on Sadr "is likely to trigger both fierce Sadrist resistance in Baghdad and an escalating intra-Shiite civil war in the south." Tuesday's violence "looks like a preview of what will happen as we approach provincial elections in the fall," Hiltermann added. New Iraqi legislation has also stirred anger from Sadr, whose followers complain that too few "have been granted amnesty under a new law designed to free thousands held by the Iraqis and Americans."
Anschlag auf Bundeswehr in Afghanistan
Drei Bundeswehrsoldaten sind bei einem Anschlag in Afghanistan verletzt worden - zwei davon schwer. Die Taliban haben sich im Internet zu dem Anschlag in der Provinz Kundus bekannt.
Crucial Iraqi Oil Pipeline Blown Up
A bomb blast has destroyed an oil pipeline in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and rockets keep falling on the U.S.-controlled Green Zone in Baghdad, as suspected Shiite militiamen continued defying the prime minister's order to surrender.
LETTER FROM VIETNAM
Real life is stepping aside for tourists in Vietnam
By Richard Bernstein
Published: March 26, 2008
The Associated Press
Published: March 27, 2008