Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Porkins Great Game: Episode #9 - The Death of Mullah Omar

On this edition of Porkins Great Game, Pearse Redmond and I start off by looking at Kyrgyzstan's decision to renounce the 1993 cooperation treaty with the United States. Afterwards we move across the border to Xinjiang and break down why China has revealed more explosive information about Turkish meddling in "East Turkestan." Our third and biggest story is Afghanistan. Pearse and I give a few updates on the alarming developments in the north of the country before we discuss in detail the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar and its many ramifications. We close out this month's episode with the immensely popular story of the U.S.-trained "moderate Syrian rebels" from Division 30, which has been used to play down U.S. involvement in the war on Syria.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The New Great Game Round-Up #107

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 confirmation of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar has aggravated the alarming situation in Afghanistan. New Taliban supremo Mullah Akhtar Mansoor is struggling to stop the factionalism that has been fueled by Omar's death and the Afghan peace talks have been put on hold for the time being. Many of Mansoor's critics oppose the talks with Kabul and favor Mullah Omar's son Yaqoob as Taliban leader. A few days ago, Afghan parliament member Abdul Zahir Qadir created a stir when he claimed that Yaqoob was assassinated in the Pakistani city of Quetta on behalf of Mansoor and Pakistani intelligence agencies. The Taliban immediately denied the claims but Yaqoob's whereabouts are still shrouded in mystery. As more and more leading Taliban figures come out in opposition to Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, senior members of the movement are meeting in Pakistan to resolve the dispute: 
Taliban Hold Open Meetings in Pakistan to Discuss Leadership
Senior members of the Taliban are reportedly holding open meetings in Pakistan to discuss the disputed appointment of Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour as the group's new chief in the wake Mullah Omar's death.

Several top Taliban leaders have expressed strong opposition to Mansour's leadership, calling him a puppet of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI).

Sources within the Afghan government told TOLOnews on condition of anonymity on Thursday that scores of Taliban members - including both those who agree and disagree with Mansour's appointment - met with clerics in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan on Wednesday to resolve the dispute over Omar's successor.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Corbett Report Interview on the Kyrgyzstan-US Rift

James Corbett invited me back on his show to discuss Kyrgyzstan's recent decision to renounce the 1993 cooperation treaty with the United States and how this fits into a larger trend in U.S.-Kyrgyz relations.



You can find the show notes for our discussion on James' website:
https://www.corbettreport.com/interview-1070-christoph-germann-on-the-kyrgyzstan-us-rift/

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The New Great Game Round-Up #106

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.

On July 31, representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban were scheduled to meet in Pakistan for the second round of the recently launched Afghan peace talks. The first round of talks in the hill resort of Murree just outside Islamabad was hailed as a "breakthrough," raising hopes that the warring parties could come to an agreement. Pakistan's efforts to facilitate the meeting and the attendance of Chinese and U.S. officials signaled widespread support for the peace talks. But just as people were getting their hopes up, two days before the next meeting in Pakistan, BBC's Afghan Service dropped a bombshell by reporting the death of Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Two weeks earlier, the Taliban leader had purportedly endorsed the peace talks in a statement posted on the Taliban's official website, making the reports of his death all the more surprising. It was not the first time that Mullah Omar's death has been reported but this time everyone agreed that Mullah Omar was dead:
Afghan government formally confirms death of Mullah Omar

The government of Afghanistan formally confirmed the death of Taliban supreme leader Mullah Mohammad Omar.

A statement by the President Palace said “The government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, based on credible information, confirms that Mullah Mohammad Omar, leader of the Taliban died in April 2013 in Pakistan.”

The statement further added “The government of Afghanistan believes that grounds for the Afghan peace talks are more paved now than before, and thus calls on all armed opposition groups to seize the opportunity and join the peace process.”