Saturday, February 21, 2015

Music Video - Miley Cyrus - Adore You

Music Video - Taylor Swift - Style

EDITORIAL - Libya descent into chaos


Blame Obama for Libya’s descent into chaos

Barack Obama destroyed Libya. What he did to Libya is as bad as what George W. Bush did to Iraq and Afghanistan. He doesn’t deserve a historical pass.
When Obama took office in 2009, Libya was under the clutches of longtime dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi. But things were looking up.
Bush and Gadhafi had cut a deal to lift Western trade sanctions in exchange for Libya acknowledging and paying restitution for its role in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
In a rare triumph for Bush, Libya also agreed to give up its nuclear weapons research program. Libyan and Western analysts anticipated that Gadhafi’s dictatorship would be forced to accept liberal reforms, perhaps even free elections and rival political parties, in order to attract Western investment.
Libya in 2009 was prosperous. As citizens of a major oil- and natural gas-exporting nation, Libyans enjoyed high salaries, low living expenses, generous social benefits, not to mention law and order. It seems like a mirage today.
Looking back, many Libyans miss their former tyrant. “Moammar Gadhafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa,” notes Garikai Chengu of the Du Bois Institute for African Research at Harvard University. “However, by the time he was assassinated, Libya was unquestionably Africa’s most prosperous nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy in Africa and less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.”
As a dictator, Gadhafi was guilty of horrendous human rights abuses. But life was better then than now. Women enjoyed more rights in Libya than in any other Arab country, particularly after the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq. By regional standards, Libya was a relatively sweet place to live.
In February 2011, militant Islamists based in the eastern city of Benghazi launched an armed insurgency against Gadhafi’s central government in the capital of Tripoli. The rebels were linked in the imaginations of American newsmedia and U.S. foreign policy officials to the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt’s Tahrir Square. But the Benghazi-based rebels, with close ties to al-Qaida, were ideologically closer to the Free Syrian Army fighters who eventually metastasized into the Islamic State group.
Within the CIA and Defense Departments, no one was sure who the insurgents were or what they wanted. Nonetheless, the Obama administration covertly supplied them with at least $1 billion in cash and weapons.
CIA agents and U.S. Special Forces served as “boots on the ground,” training opposition fighters how to use sophisticated new weapons.
Obama threw Gadhafi, whose regime was secular and by all accounts had been cooperative and held up his end of the deals with U.S., under the bus.
U.S. forces jammed Libyan military communications. The U.S. fired missiles to intercept Libyan missiles fired at rebel targets. The U.S. led numerous airstrikes against units loyal to Gadhafi. U.S. intervention turned the tide in favor of the Benghazi-based rebels.
In October 2011, one of Obama’s killer robot drones participated in Gadhafi’s assassination. Game over.
Before invading Iraq, then Secretary of State Colin Powell warned Bush about his “Pottery Barn rule”: if you break it, you own it. Obama has broken the hell out of Libya.
The New York Times describes Libya as “veer[ing] toward complete chaos.”
In 2015, The Guardian reports, Libya is in danger of meeting the official international definition of a failed state: “Libya is wracked by violence, factionalism and political polarization — and by the growing menace of jihadi extremism. Two rival governments, parliaments, prime ministers and military forces claim legitimacy.
“One side is the Islamist-dominated Libya Dawn coalition in Tripoli, the capital. The other camp, Dignity, which is recognized internationally, is based in Tobruk and Bayda. Hundreds of rival militias exist across the country.
“In recent months the homegrown fighters of Ansar al-Sharia have been challenged by Islamic State, which released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.
“Oil production, the source of most state revenues, has declined massively. Cash is running out and basic services are facing collapse as the financial situation deteriorates. Hopes for change generated by the Arab spring and the demise of Gadhafi’s dictatorship have faded into despair and dysfunction.”
“Libya is falling apart. Politically, financially, the economic situation is disastrous,” says U.N. envoy Bernardino León.
To Obama’s credit, he admits that he screwed up in Libya. Unfortunately he drew the wrong lesson. In 2014, he told an interviewer that a large ground invasion force might have helped Libya’s post-Gadhafi government succeed. Because that worked so well in Iraq and Afghanistan. But if he really believes that, why doesn’t he order in the troops?
Obama’s real mistake was to depose a secular socialist autocrat and allow him to be replaced by a bunch of crazy religious fundamentalist militias whose factionalism ensured they’d never be able to govern.
Bush committed this error in Iraq. Obama made it in Libya. And now he’s doing it again in Syria.

China lodges strong representation on Modi's visit to disputed border zone

China on Friday lodged strong representation with India to expressdiametrical opposition to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to a disputed zone alongthe China-India bordersForeign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Hua said in press release posted on the official website of the Foreign Ministry that the actof the Indian side is not conducive to properly resolving and controlling disputes betweenthe two sidesnor in conformity with the general situation of growth of bilateral relations.
Modi visited a disputed zone in the eastern part of China-India borders on Friday to attendactivities marking the founding of the so-called "Arunachal Pradesh", a state that Indianauthorities illegally and unilaterally declared in 1987.
"The Chinese government has never recognized the so-call 'Arunachal Pradesh'," Hua said.
She said China's stance on the disputed area on the eastern part of the China-India borderis consistent and clearShe said it's an universally recognized fact that huge disputes existon the eastern section of China-India borders.
The so-called "Arunachal Pradeshwas established largely on the three areas of China'sTibet -- MonyulLoyul and Lower Tsayul currently under Indian illegal occupationThesethree areaslocated between the illegal "Mcmahon Lineand the traditional customaryboundary between China and Indiahave always been Chinese territory.
In 1914, the colonialists secretly contrived the illegal "Mcmahon Linein an attempt toincorporate into India the above-mentioned three areas of Chinese territoryNone of thesuccessive Chinese governments have ever recognized this line.
In February 1987, Indian authorities declared the founding of the so-called "ArunachalPradesh."
"We demand the Indian side to pay attention to the strong concern of the Chinese side,"Hua saidadding that India should march toward the same goal with China and insist on afair and reasonable resolution of the border issue through negotiation.
"We demand the Indian side not to take any action that may complicate the border issuebefore its resolution so as to maintain the sound momentum in the growth of bilateralrelations," Hua said.

Reality and myths of the Putin Doctrine in the post-Soviet space

By Alexey Fenenko

The Eurasian Economic Union will attempt to become Russia’s main lever of integration and influence in the post-Soviet space. Russia, though, is not yet ready for a radical revision of the boundaries of the former Soviet Union.
A statue of Lenin is painted in the colors of Ukraine's national flag in Velyka Novosilka, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, near the border between Russia backed rebels and Ukrainian held territories, on the Ukrainian side. Photo: AP
In early February Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law ratifying the cancellation of activity of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) that included former Soviet republics. Starting this year, the community and all its agencies will effectively stop functioning.
However, Russia's next intergration project  the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), whose boundaries will mimic precisely those of the old “integration core” of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) of late 1990s — seems to be reaching another milestone. In early February, it was announced that another former Soviet republic, Kyrgyzstan, will join EEU.  
Throughout the remaining strip of CIS, the confrontation (that reached its apex in  the armed conflict in southeastern Ukraine) is becoming more acute. The question is arising as to the practicality (or impracticability) of radically redrawing the borders of the former Soviet Union.
Contrary to popular belief, the tenets of the “Putin Doctrine” were laid down in the mid-1990s. What was the last attempt to frame a common program for the development of the Commonwealth is the Chisinau summit of CIS leaders in Moldova on March 28, 1997. Roughly since the fall of 1997, the CIS has turned into a nominal structure, along the lines of the British Commonwealth.
Russia’s three policies for the post-Soviet space
Throughout the 2000s Moscow effectively pursued three different policies with respect to the post-Soviet space. First of all, it sought to consolidate the “first group” of countries. Steps in this direction were the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Community in 2002 and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in 2003 — two new and properly functioning unions in the economic and military-political sphere.
Encouraged by its initial integration successes, the Russian government embarked on a more ambitious plan. On Feb. 15, 2004, the EurAsEC countries signed a plan to create a Common Economic Space (CES), which was joined as an associate member by Ukraine at the initiative of then Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych. It was under this project that the Kremlin offered its support to Viktor Yanukovych during the 2004 presidential campaign, believing the real objective of the Orange Revolution to be the derailment of the CES.
The failure of the CES plan piqued Moscow, causing it to reach two unpleasant conclusions. First, the Kremlin suspected that the West would muster whatever forces it can to block Russia’s integration projects in the CIS. Second, the obstacle to integration in the post-Soviet space is none other than Kiev. Russia needed a few years to revive the CES plan in truncated form as the Customs Union project.
As for the “second group” of countries, Russia sought to normalize relations as much as possible and bring them closer to the “integration core.” Moscow’s biggest success in this regard was the collapse of the U.S.-Uzbek partnership in the early 2000s, culminating in Tashkent’s accession to the CSTO. On the back of some concessions, Russia also managed to set up an energy partnership with Turkmenistan in 2003. Less auspicious were relations with Armenia, which in 2004 tried to construct an independent dialogue with NATO.
Moscow’s ties with the “third group” of countries (Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova) were ambiguous. In 2001 Azerbaijan normalized relations with Russia, becoming one of the “balancer” countries.
In Ukraine, the Kremlin managed to establish contacts with the opposition Party of the Regions and the government of Yulia Tymoshenko. As for the Moldovan vector, Russia used its role as mediator in the Transnistrian conflict to restrain Chisinau from both forceful measures against Tiraspol and excessive rapprochement with Bucharest. Only with Georgia was the antagonism so deep that the two sides came to blows, in August 2008 during what is known as the “Five-Day War.”
The main intrigue lay elsewhere. In aligning relations with the “third group” of countries, the Kremlin believed it faced opposition from the United States and the European Union.
The Russian leadership believed that NATO was expanding its influence in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine and saw this perceived involvement as crossing a red line.

Even worse for the Kremlin was the EU’s Eastern Partnership, launched in 2009, officially a purely economic concept, that aims at intergrating six post-Soviet countries — Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine — in Europe's economic space.
First, the conclusion of free trade agreements with the EU thwarted the accession of new countries to the Customs Union. Second, the implementation of association agreements required the establishment of a full-fledged border with the Customs Union. Third, the program exacerbated the problem of the status of “unrecognized states” that might not wish to sign association agreements with the EU. Brussels’ policy was seen in Moscow asan attempt to draw a new dividing line across the Baltic-Black Sea region (BBSR).
The “small” and “large” Eurasian Union
Having returned to the Kremlin in May 2012, Putin launched the Eurasian Union project. At first glance, it seemed to be a matter of transforming the Customs Union and/or the EurAsEC into a more integrated association. In practice, however, the Kremlin tried to effect an expanded version of the Eurasian Union by admitting a number of “second group” countries.
First of all, Russian diplomacy tried to involve Uzbekistan. However, back in October 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Uzbek President Islam Karimov had agreed to resume the U.S.-Uzbek military partnership. Perhaps it was then that Uzbekistan decided to pull out of the CSTO.
The Eurasian Union project also failed to entice Azerbaijan. On July 3, 2012, the head of the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee, Aydin Aliyev, stated that his country had no plans to join the Customs Union.
Ukraine also expressed no desire to partake in the new association. And much to Moscow’s consternation, Kiev continued its association agreement talks with the EU. True, this balancing act ended sorely for the administration of Viktor Yanukovych, who was overthrown by the Euromaidan protests in Kiev.
These processes produced a mixed outcome. Russia forged ahead with a Eurasian Union with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia, plus Tajikistan as a potential future candidate. Yet this "first group" of countries represented the traditional integration core of the CIS, meaning that Russia’s outstretched hand to the "second" and "third" groups had been declined.
There is another, deeper problem. Within the framework of the Customs Union there operated a single customs tariff. The creation of the EurAsEC placed a question mark over it. Perhaps it will be replicated within the Eurasian Union. Or perhaps the fate of the single tariff will become a subject of the negotiations. That could wipe out the progress of integration made so far.
The Ukraine challenge
The Kremlin felt no sympathy for Ukraine after 23 years of the policy which it sees as 
anti-Russian. Even less sympathetic was Russia’s view of the new Ukrainian government with its openly slogans condemning the Kremlin's policy toward Kiev. But of far greater concern to Moscow was the preservation of Ukraine’s neutral status. In fact, Russia took steps that it believed would block the expansion of NATO and the implementation of the Eastern Partnership.

After the incorporation of Crimea to Russia, some experts expressed doubts about Ukraine’s ability to survive in its present capacity. Yet, by the middle of May, Kiev had been able to suppress the protest movements in Zaporozhye, Kharkov and Odessa, limiting the rebellion to the Donets Basin (Donbas).
The ensuing military operation that summer against rebels in Eastern Ukraine did not lead to protests in Ukraine. The loss of Crimea and two-thirds of Donbas proved not to be critical for Ukrainian statehood. In April 2014 Ukrainian society became consolidated on the bedrock of anti-Kremlin sentiment.
However, there was nothing particularly new about this state of affairs for the Putin administration. Since its establishment in 1991 the Ukrainian government had built its identity on what the Kremlin experts describe as an anti-Russian foundation. Russia’s priorities in respect of its neighbor remain non-membership of NATO and security guarantees for the Russian-speaking population.
The so-called Novorossiya project (or "New Russia" that comprises Eastern Ukraine) was a disappointment for Russia. Novorossiya has stood its ground, but that fact does not resolve the key issues for Russia: Moscow has no land corridor to Crimea or strong partner in eastern Ukraine. Russia is essentially absorbing yet another “unrecognized state” into its political dominion. For a full-fledged Novorossiya to emerge it must be joined theoretically by at least one or two other Ukrainian regions, otherwise Eastern Europe will see the appearance of another “frozen conflict.”
Coming up with a compromise
Moscow faces three identifiable tasks in the near future: consolidate Customs Union policy and protocol within the Eurasian Economic Union; oppose the struggle against the pro-Russian elites in Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and (to a lesser extent) Turkmenistan; and maintain the neutral status of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, including through the use of “frozen conflicts.”
The Putin administration is not banking on the concept of the “Russian world.” The Kremlin’s decision to refrain from a harsh response to sanctions clearly proves that Russia is not ready for a radical revision of the boundaries of the former Soviet Union. Another matter is how to bring NATO into talks on preserving a “buffer zone.” Here, it seems, the Kremlin would be a willing party to any agreement.

Building relations with “second group” countries is becoming far more important for Moscow. Over the coming years that policy is set to be the most far ranging in the post-Soviet space. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian conflict looks destined to become a diplomatic bargaining chip between Moscow and Washington.


Music Video - Noor Jehan Live: Awaaz De Kahan Hai

Music Video - Afshan Zebi - Chalo Koi Gal Nai

Punjabi Music - Afshan Zebi - Lokan Do Do Yaar Banaye

Pashto Music - Sardar Ali Takkar - Che Masti We Aw Zwani We

Sardar Ali Takar سردار علی تکر (Philosopher Ghani Khan Poems دغنی بابا کلام)

Q. and A.: Barnett Rubin on China’s Role in Afghanistan

In recent months, China has made pronouncements that reveal it is willing, perhaps even eager, to grow its engagement with troubled Afghanistan, whose remote Wakhan Corridor abuts China’s western border. On Feb. 12, while visiting Pakistan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi reiterated China’s desire to play a “constructive role” in a hypothetical peace process.
“We will support the Afghan government in realizing reconciliation with various political factions including the Taliban,” Mr. Wang told reporters in Islamabad, according to Reuters.
That follows on other initial attempts China has made to feel out the political landscape there. Late last year, two Afghan Taliban officials traveled with Pakistani officials to Beijing to discuss a potential peace process. In London in December, China, the United States and Afghanistan held a first trilateral meeting to discuss the Afghan future. Present at the meeting was Sun Yuxi, China’s special envoy to Afghanistan.
Any sign of China’s potentially becoming a regional peacemaker is welcome news for the Obama administration, which has supported political reconciliation in Afghanistan. At the center of promoting United States-China dialogue on Afghanistan is Barnett Rubin, a veteran Afghanistan scholar who served for four and a half years as a senior adviser to the American government’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was hired for that position in 2009 by Richard C. Holbrooke, the first special envoy, and worked with two of Mr. Holbrooke’s successors after his death in 2010. Since the summer of 2012, Mr. Rubin, who is also part of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University, has helped to organize seven meetings on Afghanistan that make up a “track two” dialogue between American and Chinese parties.
He recently shared his thoughts with The New York Times on China’s growing engagement with Afghan politics, what the United States would like to see result from that relationship and China’s concerns over rising Uighur militancy along its western frontier.
Q. As the United States draws down its combat troops in Afghanistan, what kind of role would it like to see China play in the country?
While the U.S. is ending its combat role in Afghanistan, we and our allies have pledged a continuing commitment to Afghanistan for at least a decade. So there is no question of China filling any “vacuum” left by the U.S., as people sometimes say. Rather there is a need for China to become a partner of the U.S. in its extensive non­combat roles.
Ultimately, the stability of Afghanistan, a land­locked country in Asia, will depend on its neighbors agreeing to make it a center of cooperation rather than conflict. China is Afghanistan’s largest neighbor and has the world’s second-largest economy. The U.S. hopes that China will become a full-fledged partner in international efforts to support and stabilize Afghanistan.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has also asked that the U.S. and China make Afghanistan into the best example of their cooperation. China is unlikely to provide large amounts of financial assistance, but it has announced plans for a number of large regional economic initiatives, including the Silk Road Economic Belt (both overland and maritime) and the Pakistan Economic Corridor. The U.S. is also supporting major investment in regional economic integration under the name of the New Silk Road Project. These programs can complement each other in creating an economic incentive to cooperation around and in Afghanistan that has not existed before.
Plus China has a unique relationship with Pakistan. U.N. Special Representative of the Secretary­ General Lakhdar Brahimi used to say, “Afghanistan cannot be stable unless Pakistan wants it to be stable,” and it is still true, but there is immense distrust between the two. Pakistan and Afghanistan both trust China, insofar as the word trust has any application in international affairs, and Chinese and U.S. interests are largely convergent in the region. Therefore, a process of cooperation among these four countries provides the best hope of persuading Pakistan it can achieve legitimate national objectives without the use of militant proxy forces that could ultimately destroy Pakistan itself.
India, Iran and Russia have reservations about such a process, for fear of being marginalized. China is in a better position than the U.S. to reassure Iran and Russia, and the U.S. can work with both India and China to assure that all have a share in regional development and that anti­terror efforts target anti­-Indian groups as well. I have been encouraged by the efforts of senior Chinese diplomats to engage India and Russia and persuade them that China wants to help support regional security and create economic structures that will be of benefit to both countries.
Q. How willing is China to engage in the politics of Afghanistan? What are its main motivations for getting involved in the internal politics there? What signs of wariness do you detect?
A. The Chinese emphasize that “non­interference” in the internal politics of other countries is a pillar of their foreign policy. China will support Afghan efforts to bring the Taliban and others fighting the current international presence and the government into the political system to provide the regional stability needed for cooperation on counter­terrorism and economic growth. But it will do so mainly by cooperation with the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S., not by becoming involved with Afghanistan’s domestic politics. From what I have seen, China has neither the goal nor the ability to become involved in internal Afghan politics. Chinese have less personal contact and weaker personal relationships with Afghan political actors than officials and others from the U.S., Pakistan, Iran, Russia or India. They are reluctant to deploy people on the ground. Their risk­-averse operational doctrines may have to change if they believe that their interests will require deeper involvement than heretofore.
Q. Is China growing its investments in Afghanistan? The Aynak copper mine appeared in many news stories in recent years, but it has not had much success as a business venture.
A. Virtually all foreign investments in Afghanistan, including the Chinese investment in the Aynak copper mine, are stalled by insecurity and uncertainty over the future. At this point, contrary to some outdated impressions, China is not primarily interested in Afghanistan for its natural resources. It is prepared to wait until investments can become genuinely profitable. China’s main motivations are denying sanctuary to terrorist and separatist groups that target China and creating a stable regional environment to encourage investment, especially in interior and western China. China has increasingly emphasized expanding trade with Central Asia to develop its interior and the western regions, as well as catering to domestic demand rather than solely relying on export­-led growth that has primarily benefited its coastal cities.
Q. The peace process in Afghanistan is at a nascent stage now. Could actions by China give it momentum?
A. The main obstacles to a peace process have been the Afghan Taliban’s refusal to negotiate with the Afghan government and Pakistan’s willingness to allow the Afghan Taliban open­-ended access to a sanctuary where they can organize and raise funds. The imminent departure of U.S. troops, the transfer of Taliban leaders out of Guantánamo and the transfer of responsibility for all detainees in Afghanistan to the Afghan government are removing the major reasons the Taliban have given for their refusal to meet the government. The Taliban’s open­-ended sanctuary in Pakistan greatly reduced the incentive for the Taliban to talk to the Afghan government. Pakistan wanted to retain the Afghan Taliban as an instrument of pressure against Afghanistan and the United States, given the Afghan state’s many claims against Pakistan and the warming of Afghan­-Indian and U.S.­-Indian relations.
China’s willingness to cooperate with the governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan may enable it to reduce significantly the degree of threat that the Pakistani elite sees from Afghanistan and the U.S. Pakistan will be much more willing to provide access to the exiled Taliban leadership on its territory to China than to Afghanistan or the U.S. Since China is a neighbor with permanent reliable interests, its influence is likely to be more enduring than that of the U.S.
Q. What can you tell us about the recent meetings that China has had with officials of the Afghan Taliban? Is China now using channels to communicate with the Taliban that bypass Pakistani agencies?
A. I have no direct knowledge of these meetings. The Taliban leadership lives in Pakistan, mainly around the cities of Quetta, Karachi and Peshawar, but they managed to establish a political office in Qatar outside of direct Pakistani control. The office has no official status, and Pakistan tries to influence and pressure it, but it has a greater margin of maneuver than the leaders in Pakistan. The Taliban have denied that they have had talks with the Afghan government in China or that China is playing any mediating role. They portray their visits to Beijing as part of their longstanding relations with several countries to explain their positions.
It is possible that China, like a number of other countries, including the U.S. in 2011-12, has had direct contact with the Taliban representatives in Qatar, but this is a less salient question than in the past. President [Hamid] Karzai saw reconciliation with the Taliban as a way to undermine Pakistan’s leverage in Afghanistan, and therefore he tried to establish secret direct contacts with them independent of Pakistan. President Ghani seems to have concluded that cooperation with Pakistan is the only way to bring peace to Afghanistan, which is a politically risky position for him to take in Afghanistan, where resentment of Pakistan runs high. But that means he has no reason to bypass Pakistan in making these preliminary contacts and in asking for an end to the sanctuary. Of course, if an actual process of negotiation starts, discussion of future political arrangements will involve only Afghans. But the implementation of any such agreement, particularly of the de­mobilization and de­militarization of the Taliban, would require cooperation.
Q. What do we know about the presence of militant Uighurs in Afghanistan and the extent to which they are training in Pakistan’s tribal belt? How often do you hear Chinese officials mention concerns over security in Xinjiang?
There seems to be broad agreement that there are several hundred Uighurs from the Xinjiang autonomous region engaged in militant activity or training, mainly in Pakistan, but some also in northern Afghanistan, where they may be co­-located with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Chinese officials regularly cite this as a major source of their concern over regional stability. It is difficult to evaluate the reports because Uighurs and Uzbeks are very similar linguistically and culturally, so people reported to be Uighurs may actually be Uzbeks and vice versa. My contacts in China tell me that there is little or no evidence of direct operational involvement in terrorist acts in China by Uighurs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Chinese seem more concerned about on­line radicalization emanating from the very substantial and nationalist Uighur community in Turkey. Another major concern is the number of Chinese citizens, not all of them Uighurs, fighting with Sunni militant groups in Syria. Some estimates place the number at around 500, but I can’t verify that.
Chinese officials also have a talking point that the U.S. has a double standard on terrorism because non­violent Uighur nationalist or separatist organizations enjoy freedom of expression in the U.S. The Chinese want to create an international consensus against the “Three Evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism. The U.S. and European countries explain that non­violent expression of separatist or even extremist ideas is legally protected in our system.
The main origins of the conflict dynamic in Xinjiang and related terrorist attacks in China are domestic (some Chinese scholars will say this openly), but foreign­-based training or radicalization could make any conflict more violent and difficult to resolve. My impression is that the push from the government to develop interior and western China, leading to labor migration of ethnic Han and the Sinicization of local cities and towns, is the main reason that clashes have increased. It is a challenge for any large and diverse state intent on rapid development to implement it in such a way that it does not give rise to resistance by groups who feel marginalized.

Afghan President Salutes Pakistan Peace Efforts

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday saluted neighbouring Pakistan's cooperation as Kabul seeks to lay the groundwork for peace with Taliban insurgents, the latest sign of improving ties between the two nations.

Afghanistan "appreciates Pakistan's recent efforts in paving the ground for peace and reconciliation", Ghani said in a statement. "We welcome the recent position Pakistan has taken in pronouncing Afghanistan's enemy as Pakistan's."

He cited two major recent attacks as helping to bring the countries closer together -- one in Yahya Khel in Afghanistan in November that left nearly 50 people dead, and a Taliban massacre at a school in the Pakistan city of Peshawar in December that killed 153, mostly children.
Ghani's statement came after a top Pakistani minister said on Thursday that relations between the two countries had never been better.
"I think Afghanistan and Pakistan, working in close hands and in close cooperation, it will do wonders for the cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism," Pakistani Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan said as he met with top US diplomat John Kerry in Washington.

"Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have never been better, and that is a very, very positive development."

Ghani also spoke after Taliban commanders said the militants would soon restart contacts with US officials in Qatar to try to get peace talks on track after more than 13 years of war in Afghanistan.

The US and the Taliban central spokesman later denied the claims, however.

There have been several attempts at starting dialogue in recent years between the Taliban, Kabul and the United States -- the Afghan government's chief supporter -- but with little success.

Last year's election of Ghani, who pledged to make peace talks a priority, as well as supportive signals from Pakistan, which has long held significant influence with the Taliban, has however boosted hopes for possible dialogue.

"Ghani has done good work to promote a dialogue for peace," one Taliban commander said. Another said his recent talks with tribal chiefs had led to progress.

Ghani however said in his statement that "there are obviously elements opposing the peace process by spreading false information to cause public confusion and anxiety".

Video Report - Ashton Carter, Defense Secretary, in Afghanistan - US May Slow Its Afghanistan Exit

Video Report - First stop, Afghanistan, for new US Defence Secretary Ash Carter

Music Video - Sam Smith - Lay Me Down

Video Report - Greece, EU agree bailout extension

Video Report - Kerry outlines U.S. and UK strategies to tackle militants

Video Report - Thousands attend anti-Maidan march in Moscow

Video Report - Ukraine conflict to dominate talks as Kerry lands in London

Music Video - 50 Cent - Like A G6 (Remix) [Best Beauties]

U.S - Giuliani’s Comments Part of a Complicated History on Race

By Jennifer Steinhauer

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York and former Mayor David N. Dinkins at a discussion on South Africa in January 1994, the month Mr. Giuliani succeeded Mr. Dinkins.Credit Ruby Washington/The New York Times
For those who first dialed into Rudolph W. Giuliani during his “America’s mayor” phase, right after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — when he wowed the world with his civic leadership, soaring oratory and unifying largess — the former New York mayor’s racially charged comments about President Obama might seem puzzling.
But Mr. Giuliani’s road to and through City Hall was punctuated with racial controversy.
From his 1993 campaign challenging David N. Dinkins, the city’s first African-American mayor, during which Mr. Giuliani stood with rowdy protesting police officers — some of whom carried signs suggesting that voters should “Dump the washroom attendant!” because Mr. Dinkins had proposed a commission to look into police misconduct — to his writing off a black New Yorker killed by the police as “no altar boy” (though he actually was), Mr. Giuliani has had a complicated relationship with African-Americans.
Of course, Mr. Giuliani’s brusqueness was in no way limited to black New Yorkers. He targeted and disparaged, in no particular order, street vendors, ferret owners, artists who made paintings that offended him, Democrats at every level of government and pretty much anyone who made even minor policy critiques.
“He preferred to use a cannon on a mosquito,” said Bill Cunningham, who ran the first mayoral campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg, who succeeded Mr. Giuliani. “It was not enough to disparage a position or statement. There was some innate need to personalize attacks in order to curry favor with a target group.”
In many ways, Mr. Giuliani’s political career was formed in a tinder box of race. His first campaign against Mr. Dinkins in 1989 was defined by the sense of history many black New Yorkers sought to fulfill by electing Mr. Dinkins, but also by a decade of racial tension in New York. Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News who was Mr. Giuliani’s main media adviser in that first campaign, suggested that if his client didn’t win the second time around, “this city is going to turn into Detroit.”
Mr. Giuliani felt burned and hurt by his lack of support among minority voters in his first run for mayor, and worked hard to improve relations with black New Yorkers for his second run. By 1993, the city was besieged by racial tensions between Korean immigrants and blacks, and blacks and Jews, and there was an increasing perception that Mr. Dinkins had lost control. Mr. Giuliani narrowly beat Mr. Dinkins, though he did not make significant gains in support among black voters.
Mr. Giuliani was lauded most in his two terms in office for the reduction in crime, but the improvement was tempered by poor relations between the city’s Police Department and minorities. Most notable was the 2000 killing of the unarmed black man, Patrick Dorismond, outside a city bar, after which Mr. Giuliani made the unusual step of releasing Mr. Dorismond’s sealed juvenile police record and saying that Mr. Dorismond was “no altar boy.” (Mr. Dorismond had been an altar boy, in fact, and had even attended the same Catholic school as the mayor.)
After his failed run at the White House in 2008, Mr. Giuliani stayed largely out of the cauldron of racial discord, as the city became increasingly diverse and far less segregated by neighborhood. But he did wade back into the issue when two police officers were killed in New York late last year after a spate of protests over the police shootings of unarmed blacks across the country. Mr. Giuliani said that most blacks died at the hands of other blacks, noting, “The people who do the most for the black community in America are the police.”

His comments about Mr. Obama this week at a fund-raising event for Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin could be a matter of Mr. Giuliani seeking to energize conservatives preparing for a Republican primary contest, in which disparaging Mr. Obama is expected. Or it could be Mr. Giuliani speaking from the heart. Either way, his comments were not new.

U.S. - Giuliani Just Can’t Keep his Mouth Shut

By James Turnage

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to a man who needs no introduction. He has been called many things, the latest of which is the male Sarah Palin. He has never earned any credibility as a politician, but he loves to be in the media. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, and I promise that he will be entertaining.’
I don’t agree with White House Spokesperson John Earnest all of the time, but I do in regards to Giuliani’s ridiculous statement Wednesday when he said that President Obama doesn’t love this country. I, too, feel sorry for Giuliani’s lack of intellect and any ability to support his outlandish statement.
On Thursday, although he faced ridicule from both sides of the aisle within the last 24 hours, he just couldn’t keep his mouth shut, just like the former half-governor of Alaska. He said he wasn’t sorry for the comment, and continues to support everything he said. Then he added that the reason the President doesn’t love the United States the way he does is because of the manner in which he was raised. Sadly, he is right. Mr. Obama was taught to question everything so that his decisions in life would be based on intellect rather than emotion and blind patriotism.
I do agree that the President doesn’t love his country the way some other political leaders did in the past. He hasn’t sent our military into unwinnable battles just to have thousands of them return in body bags; yet. He hasn’t chosen to allow his friends in the banking industry to rob America blind. He has helped millions of Americans acquire health insurance who may have suffered bankruptcy previously from catastrophic medical bills.
He says that Mr. Obama was not raised to recognize the ‘exceptionalism’ of America. Giuliani needs to watch the first episode of ‘The Newsroom.’ Jeff Daniels portrays a television journalist who is involved in a Q and A at a university. A young coed asks the panel why America is the ‘greatest country in the world.’ When Daniels, whose character is a self-proclaimed Republican, has his opportunity to speak he says ‘it’s not.’ He begins reciting a list of how far behind our nation is from other developed countries in education, caring for our poor, health insurance costs, standard of living, etc. etc. etc. The truth hurts.
To love one’s country means to love its people. The area within geographical boundaries, the monuments, and even the flag are not America. The people are what defines a nation, and his actions speak louder than Giuliani’s words; he cares about the majority of Americans, not Giuliani’s one-percent.
I have no party affiliation, and I never will. I don’t believe in political parties. This allows me to lambaste any politician who is deserving of my mockery and wrath. And when I go to the voting booth, I vote for the man or woman who I believe is the most qualified candidate. I don’t feel obliged to vote for an ‘R’ or a ‘D,’ or even and ‘I.’
When I read about Giuliani acting in ‘Palinesque’ fashion, I felt obligated to chastise him for his unqualified and misinformed statements. I’m not sure who will receive my derogatory comments tomorrow. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Al Sharpton rips Giuliani over Obama comments, says 'Rudy needs a hug'
BY CHAUNCEY ALCORN , LARRY MCSHANE The Rev. Al Sharpton delivered a surprise response Saturday to Rudy Giuliani’s attacks on President Obama: Keep ‘em coming.
“The best thing that can happen to the Democrat that succeeds President Obama is for Rudy Giuliani to keep running his mouth,” Sharpton said at his Harlem headquarters.
“Give him all the air time you can give him, because he doesn’t know but one song to sing. He don’t realize it’s 2015. He thinks it’s ‘93.”
Sharpton did rip Giuliani as “a fading Republican who will say and do anything for attention” before offering a cure for the ex-mayor’s vitriol.
“First of all,” Sharpton said, “Rudy needs a hug.”
Giuliani, after declaring that Obama did not “love America,” doubled down on his comments by telling the Daily News that the president was influenced by communism since childhood.
“The ideas that are troubling me and are leading to this come from Communists with whom he associated since he was 9 years old,” said Giuliani, who mounted an unsuccessful 2008 GOP presidential run.
Sharpton, a Giuliani nemesis during his two terms as mayor, charged the Republican politician with playing the race card.
“He has built a lot of his career on playing with race codes,” said Sharpton. “That is what he did to David Dinkins. That is what he did to activists when he was mad.”
Giuliani — who lost to Dinkins in the 1989 mayoral race — triumphed over the incumbent four years later. Giuliani attended an NYPD police union rally at City Hall that turned ugly, with Dinkins recalling that cops were using racial epithets toward him.
“Rudy Giuliani was out there all but inciting the police to riot,” Dinkins wrote in his memoir.