|Asia News Digest
Indian Naval Exercises in the Gulf; Iran Will Abstain
Aug. 1 (EIRNS)In a rather quickly set up operation, the Indian Navy, with a six-ship-strong flotilla of India's Western Naval fleet, will leave for the Persian Gulf on Aug. 9 for a 48-day tour.
During this period, the Indian naval flotilla with its Russian Kashin-class missile destroyer INS Rajput; its indigenous Delhi-class frigates; and warships Beas and Betwa with tanker Jyoti, will carry out exercises with the navies of Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, but not with Iran. The flotilla will also take part in war-games off Djibouti on the Red Sea coast with the French naval fleet, and off the Gulf of Oman with the British Royal Navy, according to Rear Adm. Pradeep Chauhan, assistant chief of the naval staff.
Asked why Iran was not involved, Chauhan said the Iranian Navy had expressed its inability to undertake any joint exercise at this juncture. Last March, Iran's Naval Chief, Rear Adm. Sajjad Kouchaki, was in Delhi signing a protocol whereby an expert team was formed by the two to work out deployment of naval forces in the Oman Sea and Indian Ocean, cooperation to check threats and terrorism, and exchange of experiences, expertise, and technology between the naval forces of India and Iran.
Cheney Ally Abe Crushed in Japanese Election
July 29 (EIRNS)The preliminary results from the election in Japan's upper house of Parliament indicate a crushing defeat for the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, leaving the body in the hands of the opposition Democratic Party, headed by Ichiro Ozawa. The election was a rejection of Abe's "Cheney-lite" posture, centered on rewriting the Constitution to allow militarization, and a hard-line approach to North Korea. Abe's visits to China and South Korea immediately after his September 2006 election helped improve relations with Japan's neighbors, which had been undermined by former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, and gained Abe wide domestic support. However, his failure to address economic issues, and several scandals (two ministers resigned and one committed suicide over corruption issues), have lowered his approval ratings to about 30%. A last-ditch effort to regain support by campaigning with the right-wing populist mayor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, gained him nothing.
Since it is the lower house that elects the Prime Minister, Abe is not required to step down after losing the upper house, and he has sworn to remain in office. However, tradition dictates that he resign after losing the upper house, and his own party is likely to demand it, so that new leadership can take over before lower house elections.
Democratic leader Ozawa split from the LDP in 1993, forming an opposition alliance that defeated the LDP for the first time since the party was created in 1955but only for 11 months. He campaigned on economic issues. The question of interest rates, and thus the critical role of the yen carry trade, in feeding the global financial bubble, were not major issues in the campaign, but the matter is being closely watched by the speculators in London and New York.
"This will be a crisis for the White House now," said Lyndon LaRouche.
Coalition Troops Killing of Afghans Continues
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)Air strikes by NATO forces in the southern Afghan province of Helmand on Aug. 2 have killed 200-300 civilians, residents in the remote district of Baghran claim. The Afghan authorities said they are checking this report.
A statement issued by NATO said that coalition forces had conducted a precision air strike against two "notorious Taliban commanders" who were holding a meeting in a remote area of the Baghran district. It said the fate of the pair was unknown.
Particularly since early Spring, when the U.S.-led Coalition forces and NATO were anticipating a major surge by the pro-Taliban, anti-U.S., and anti-Kabul Afghans to occupy territories in southern and central Afghanistan, U.S. and NATO troops were involved in carrying out air strikes, which may, or may not have, killed many insurgents, but surely killed a large number of civilians, including women and children. Prior to this incident, official reports indicate as many as 350 civilians were killed by air strikes this year alone.
This action of foreign troops has not only weakened the U.S.-backed Kabul government, but has enabled the pro-Taliban forces to recruit heavily from among the families of these Afghan victims.
Independent Kashmir Crowd Finds a New Bedfellow
Aug. 3 (EIRNS)The Kashmir independence movement, which has its roots in Britain, a presence in Brussels, and some support in the United States, has made a move to come out of its moribund state at a time when Pakistan is already in turmoil. On Aug. 1, the first-ever Kashmir Conference in Latin America was held in the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, bringing together scholars, experts on conflict management, and researchers to discuss ways and means to resolve the 60-year-old dispute. The highlight of the conference was the presence of 17 Uruguayan army officers who has served with the UN peacekeeping force (UNMOGIP) that oversees the Line of Control and monitors the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Diego Escuder of Uruguay's Oriental and Catholic University welcomed the participants, stressing that it was a tradition among the Uruguayan people to support human rights, international freedoms, democratic international law, and the inalienable right to self-determination, and that Kashmiri independence fits in these principles.
Eurasian Cooperation against Afghan Chaos
Aug. 2 (ERINS)Nikolai Bordyuzha, the general secretary of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) called on the CSTO and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to join forces on the Afghanistan crisis. He said, during a video conference July 31, between RIA Novosti and the Russian information center in Beijing, that, "We togetherincluding China, which makes part of the SCOshould assist in preventing the Taliban from coming to power, otherwise we will get serious problems in Afghanistan, problems for many years. Work should be conducted in all spheres, political, and economic, and assistance in the formation of armed forces, law enforcement, and the fight against illegal drug trafficking."
The CSTO and SCO will soon sign a protocol of cooperation, Bordyuzha said. On Aug. 9-17, the six SCO nationsChina, Russia, Kazakstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistanwill stage their first-ever military exercises, including military forces from all six nations. The exercises are called "Peace Mission 2007," and will involve some 6,000 troops and about 100 aircraft. The maneuvers are designed as what Russian Lt.-Gen. Vladimir Moltenskoy, who is deputy commander of Russian's Ground Force, said "is, in essence, a prototype of an anti-terrorist operation, the major task of which is to neutralize resistance and destroy terrorists." The exercises will begin with the nations' general staffs in Urumqi, in Xinjiang, China, and be carried out at the Russian Army facilities near Chebarkul, in the Volga-Urals Military District.
The exercises will coincide with the Aug. 16 summit meeting of the SCO nations in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. On Aug. 17, the leadersRussian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov, and Uzbek President Islam Karimovwill view the Urals maneuvers, along with the military attachés of the four SCO observer nations, India, Iran, Mongolia, and Pakistan.
Indonesia, East Timor Tell UN To Stop Imperial Dictates
July 30 (EIRNS)The governments of Indonesia and East Timor have issued statements to the United Nations and the human-rights mafia to stop trying to provoke a crisis between them. The two countries' leaders have formed a Commission of Truth and Friendship in order to discover the truth, but without any prosecutions on either side, regarding the riots and killings before and after the vote on the independence of East Timor from Indonesia in 1999. The Commission was modelled on the South African "Truth and Reconciliation Commission" which convened after the defeat of Apartheid.
But justice means vengeance to the human-rights mafia, and apparently also to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Ban's spokesman issued a statement dictating to the Commission that it "cannot endorse or condone amnesties for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or gross violations of human rights, nor should it do anything that might foster them. It is the firm intention of the secretary general to uphold this position of principle."
In response, East Timor's President Ramos Horta said: "The important thing is that we do not allow ourselves to be held hostage by the past. It will set a precedent for other countries to deal with similar situations." Indonesia's Foreign Ministry stated: "The international community should respect and support efforts by Indonesia and Timor Leste as sovereign nations to solve their past problems with a future-oriented approach."
The barbarous approach demanded by the UN was referred to as "international standards." Secretary General Ban said that he would forbid UN officials to testify at the Commission unless the "terms of reference are revised to comply with international standards."