Wednesday 17th of April 2024

lengthening shadows .....

lengthening shadows .....

Within hours of the news breaking of the ambush of French soldiers on Monday, text messages arrived on reporters' mobile phones in Kabul. From Zahibullah Mujahed, a Taliban spokesman, they boasted of the defeat of the "invader forces". Nato spokesmen in the city took much longer to issue a statement.

One problem, they said, was the difficulty in identifying exactly who had attacked the French troops. Most reports, including the statements by Mujahed, described the attackers as Taliban.

In fact they were probably fighters from the Hezb-i-Islami group led by veteran Islamist warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, for whom the plateaux and gorges around the scruffy town of Sorobi have been a stronghold since the Soviet occupation.

The confusion over the identity of those responsible for the biggest loss of Nato soldiers in a single incident in Afghanistan since 2005 mirrors wider uncertainty about the identity of the shadowy enemy being fought in this country.

Confusion Over Who Ambushed French Soldiers Reflects Nato's Wider Uncertainty About Its Enemy In Afghanistan

patently true...

Putin in fresh attack on US over Georgia

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin made fresh accusations of US involvement in the Georgia conflict and rejected suggestions his country could target Ukraine next, in an interview aired Saturday.

The powerful former Kremlin leader urged the European Union to refrain from imposing sanctions against Russia when it meets for an emergency summit on Monday.

A transcript of the interview to Germany's ARD television was released by the Russian government and excerpts were broadcast on Russian television.

Mr Putin spoke after Georgia broke off diplomatic relations with Russia on Friday, three days after Russia formally recognised the independence of two Georgian secessionist regions.

"We know there were many US advisers there," Mr Putin said, reiterating remarks he had made in a previous interview to CNN.

"But these instructors, teachers in a general sense, personnel who trained others to work on the supplied military equipment, are supposed to be in training centres and where were they? In the military operations zone," he said.

"Why did the senior US leadership allow their citizens to be present there when they had no right to be in the security zone? And if they allowed it, I begin to suspect that it was done intentionally to organise a small victorious war.

"And if that failed, they wanted to create an enemy out of Russia and unite voters around one of the presidential candidates. Of course, a ruling party candidate, because it is only the ruling party that has this kind of resource," he said.

The White House has dismissed the accusations as "patently false".

Mr Putin also rejected suggestions from French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner that Russia could have designs on other former Soviet republics - specifically Ukraine - after sending troops deep inside Georgia this month.

"We have long ago recognised the borders of modern-day Ukraine," he said.

-----------------

Gus: Putin is telling it straight.  But the West does not like Russia having any strength. remember: Friendships are not made in humiliation...

forthright about it...

Russian Oil Reserve Could Affect Prices

26 September 2008

By Anatoly Medetsky / Staff Writer

Russia will work to influence global oil prices, Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said Thursday.

Oil prices now depend on such conditions as production levels in the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, financial speculation and U.S. oil reserves, he said.

"We hold such a significant position in the high society of world oil that a Russian factor should appear and maybe not a single one," Shmatko told reporters in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, where he was accompanying President Dmitry Medvedev on a tour of the Far East. "We didn't work on this before. We want to formulate these approaches."

Russia currently accounts for 12.3 percent of the world's oil output, making it the biggest producer after Saudi Arabia.

The decision to seek leverage over prices, Shmatko said, was prompted by oil prices' "rollercoaster ride" in the past few months, when they reached an all-time record in July, lost one-third of their value in the following weeks and began climbing again recently.

As one tool, Russia could create a reserve of oil fields that can swiftly begin producing if necessary, Shmatko said. It could also change forecasts of its oil production as a way of affecting the price, he said.

The government will finalize its proposals before sending a delegation to an OPEC summit in Algeria in December, Shmatko said. But he stressed that Russia would not act in concert with OPEC.

Russia stepped up its contacts with OPEC earlier this month, when Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin led a delegation of government ministers and oil company CEOs to the OPEC meeting in Vienna. Sechin, who is also chairman of state-controlled Rosneft, the country's biggest oil producer, and the executives called for measures to support prices at a level that would allow companies to invest in new and more expensive fields.

OPEC secretary-general Abdalla Salem El-Badri promised to travel to Moscow next month to foster cooperation.

----------------------

there you know...

putinocracy rules...

December 24, 2008 Kremlin Rules

Russia’s Liberal Opposition Loses Its Voice

By CLIFFORD J. LEVY

MOSCOW — Vladimir V. Putin was sitting behind his desk. Before him was a prominent opposition leader named Nikita Y. Belykh, a beefy and bearded liberal with a fondness for scribbling poems on the side. In one, each stanza began with a word that he said characterized Mr. Putin’s Russia: Autocratic. One-Party. Authoritarian. Aggressive.

Yet there Mr. Belykh was, ready to abandon it all.

Mr. Putin had invited Mr. Belykh to his office on Dec. 5 to make an offer. Renounce the opposition. Come work for the Kremlin.

Mr. Belykh was feeling beaten down, “a sense of my own degradation,” as he explained in an interview last week.

He said he was tired of being vilified in the state-controlled news media, of being hounded by the state security forces, of being arrested at demonstrations, of having his political party thwarted at every turn.

And so Mr. Belykh, 33, who represented the future of the liberal opposition, said yes. He accepted an appointment as one of the Kremlin’s regional governors, turning his back on his party allies and becoming emblematic of the opposition’s difficulties this year.

A man who had once declared, “I have no intention of doing deals with the Kremlin” was doing just that. His turnabout raised a stark question for those he left behind. If Nikita Y. Belykh cannot take it, who can?

------------------

In some countries, they call it bipartisanship... But then who knows. Putin has a knack at recognising value. It's better that good people work with him than against him. Makes sense... May be Nikita Y. Belykh will secretly work as a mole for the "liberals", but I doubt it.

see toon at top.