Sunday, July 27, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #61

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.
  
The recent Latin America tour of Russian President Vladimir Putin, which ended with the long anticipated creation of the BRICS Development Bank, was very successful and marked another important step on the way towards a multipolar world. During his meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, the Russian leader announced that the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan plans to sign a cooperation agreement with Mercosur in early 2015. Although the accession of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan is being delayed time and time again, the Kremlin is absolutely convinced of the EEU. According to First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, the economic union will even have a common currency in the next five to ten years. For now the Russian government is focused on strengthening the ties between the arms industries of the three EEU countries:
Government plans closer ties with arms industries of Belarus, Kazakhstan

The Russian arms industry has developed a plan to replace its Ukrainian suppliers, lost during the latest crisis in this country, with companies in Belarus and Kazakhstan, an influential Russian daily reports.

Deputy PM in charge of the defense sector, Dmitry Rogozin, earlier announced the Russian government would prepare a plan on import replacement in conventional weapons and present it to the President.

On Friday the mass circulation daily Izvestia reported the plan was ready and will be presented as soon as Monday.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #60

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Europe's dependence on Russian gas has been a thorn in Washington's side for quite some time. In recent weeks, the United States and its lackeys in Brussels tried hard to sabotage Gazprom's South Stream pipeline, to no avail. Austria, Italy, Serbia and a few other European countries are not willing to give up on the project. Washington and Brussels will certainly exploit the MH17 tragedy to put more pressure on these "traitors". The U.S. collaborators in Europe have demonstrated repeatedly that they will do everything in their power to reduce Russia's influence in the European energy sector, if necessary at the expense of EU energy security. Gas from the Caspian Sea region is seen as the solution and UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon vowed during his recent visit to Azerbaijan that the West will counteract Russia's attempts to "interfere" with the Southern Gas Corridor. It is not exactly clear which interference Fallon is alluding to but his other statements suggest that he is full of it:
Implementation of Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to increase stability in region
The implementation of Trans-Caspian gas pipeline will increase stability in the region, UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon told journalists in Baku.

Commenting on the opinion that Russia's position on the said project is fairly rigid, Fallon noted that the Russia was sanctioned for actions against Ukraine. 
"We will continue to use them in order to make it clear: any escalation of tensions in the southeast of the country will lead to new sanctions. We work on these issues with partners in Europe. The existing tension makes more relevant the issue of reducing Europe's dependence on Russian gas," Fallon said.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #59

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

While the Western media is still making a fuss about China's 'Ramadan ban', the Chinese authorities continue with their no-holds-barred anti-terror campaign. This week, courts in Xinjiang sentenced three people to life in prison and another 29 to prison terms ranging from four years to 15 years. They were convicted on charges of spreading terror-related audio and video files as well as organizing terrorist groups, making explosives and instigating ethnic hatred. As previously discussed, China is constantly looking for outside assistance in its fight against the 'East Turkestan forces'. So far, Beijing has largely relied on regional cooperation in this regard but, according to recent reports, the Chinese government is now also seeking to tap into the expertise of some more distant countries, which are not exactly allies of China:
China seeking Israeli counter-terror experts

China is recruiting foreign experts in counter-terrorism to assist the training of anti-terror personnel, state-run media reported Thursday, following a spate of deadly attacks which authorities blame on Islamist-inspired separatists.

The People’s Public Security University of China will offer visiting professorships to top specialists in the field from countries including the United States, Israel, Pakistan and Australia, the government-run China Daily said.

“The US and Israel have accumulated rich practical experience in fighting terrorism,” Mei Jianming, director of the university’s Research Center for Counter-terrorism, told the paper.
“The US is advanced in overall strategic research, and Israel is very proficient at tactical action in fighting terrorism.”

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #58

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

The situation in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has been very tense since the start of the one-year-long anti-terror campaign but the people in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi were particularly anxious on this Saturday because it marked the fifth anniversary of the July 2009 Urumqi riots, when almost 200 people were killed and over 1.700 injured in a series of violent riots over several days. Beijing accused the NED-funded Munich-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and its leader Rebiya Kadeer of planning the riots. Although the Chinese government did not back up this allegation with sufficient evidence, it is not implausible considering the WUC's close ties to Western intelligence and its key role in Washington's East Turkestan project. As usual, Kadeer and the WUC blamed the violence on government repression and the police's use of excessive force. This does not explain the takfiri mobs terrorizing Uyghurs and Han Chinese alike during the riots but nobody is going to deny the repression of the Uyghur population, which is now making the headlines once again:
China Restricts Ramadan Fasting In Xinjiang

Students and civil servants in China's far western region of Xinjiang have been ordered not to take part in fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan.

Statements posted on July 2 on websites of schools and government agencies say the ban aims at protecting students' wellbeing and preventing the promotion of religion in schools and government offices.

Statements on the websites of local Communist Party organizations said members of the officially atheist party also should not fast.