News Archive – October 2015
Shift in ASEAN against Chinese buildup
Nikkei Asian Review, Oct 31, 2015 – The bloc has so far kept its official position on the South China Sea buildup vague, seeking to maintain favor with both the U.S. and China. The 10 members themselves are split into three camps over the issue. The Philippines and Vietnam are embroiled in territorial conflicts with China in the area, and have thus sided firmly with the U.S. Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore have remained neutral. The remaining five — Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia — have all sided with China, to varying degrees. But as China’s expansion has moved into higher gear, previously neutral nations have begun pushing back.
Yemen to request joining GCC after restoring stability
Al Arabiya (Dubai, UAE), Oct 29, 2015 – Yemeni Minister of Planning Mohammed Maytami said Yemen will apply to join the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after security is restored in the country. In an interview with Al-Arabiya, the minister said Yemeni President Abdrabbu Mansur Hadi will submit an official request to join the GCC after political stability is achieved and development and construction plans are launched…. The strategy of joining the GCC follows the same model of the European Union, which is rehabilitating some countries to further empower them,
How to end the war in Yemen
‘Offering Yemen full membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) would be an excellent start’
Al Monitor, Oct 27, 2015 – Offering Yemen full membership in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) would be an excellent start, and some prominent Saudis have already suggested the idea. A GCC with Yemen would contain 70 million people. It would unite the peninsula. Bringing Yemen into the rich Gulf club would emulate the European Union’s positive approach of bringing in poorer European states to help them transition to a stable and prosperous future. It will mean the Saudis, Emiratis, Qataris and others take on the task of rebuilding Yemen at their (considerable) expense. The alternative is to leave a festering open wound in the peninsula that will bleed them as Yemenis seek revenge for this war for a generation to come.
EU seeks GCC, African union support to establish peace in Horn of Africa
Kuwait News Agency, Oct 26, 2015 – The European Union expressed readiness to continue working closely with countries and regional organizations such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the African Union in Support of their efforts to achieve peace, security and development in the Horn of Africa…. The statement said that “the internal dynamics of the region are themselves affected by broader supra-regional dynamics such as the Gulf States’ increasingly active engagement in the politics of the Horn of Africa.” “While the Gulf States have always had interests in the Horn of Africa due to their geographic proximity, the politics and security of the Horn of Africa are today increasingly and visibly intertwined with those of the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt,” it said.
AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS Court Opens for New Term; Calls for Enforcement of Decisions
Front Page Africa, Oct 26, 2015 – The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice (CCJ) opened for its 2015/16 Legal Year last Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria…. In her opening address, Court President Monteiro bemoaned Member States’ delay in setting up competent national authorities to execute the judgments of the Court, in keeping with Article 24 of the 2005 ECOWAS Protocol. “Despite repeated requests, only three States have complied with this statutory requirement”, the President stated. She named Nigeria, Guinea and Mali, out of fifteen Member States, that have complied by setting up relevant institutions to enforce the Court’s judgments.
She added: “I wish therefore to seize this opportunity to thank the integrationist and diligent attitudes of the Authorities [of Heads of State] and encourage the other twelve remaining Members to follow suit. One cannot comprehend a timely and effective justice which is not binding. A strong court of justice, independent and respected will inevitably contribute to the promotion of greater regional integration”.
The Gulf Cooperation Council in an Evolving Middle East
Harvard Political Review, Oct 26, 2015 – Michael Knights, a Washington Institute fellow specializing in military and security issues in the region,…. predicted that the Middle East might be entering a new era of sustained proxy warfare between the GCC and Iran: “I recently attended an unclassified U.S. intelligence community workshop on future trends in the Middle East, and one of the key predictions was that we may be entering 10 to 15 years of GCC-Iran proxy warfare, including at least one accidental military-military clash between the sides. Neither Iran nor the GCC would seek a destructive war within their advanced economies and societies but would instead fight in the many collapsed or failing states of the region.”
….The GCC today is cohesive where it needs to be and flexible where it can be. The future GCC is likely to achieve greater unity by increasingly decoupling its military ambitions from the individual economic goals of its member states.
Clinton: ‘I Know Nothing’ About Ambassador Stevens’ Meeting with Al-Qaeda Affiliate
National Review, Oct 22, 2015 – It was revealed in today’s Benghazi hearing that on the day he was killed, Ambassador Chris Stevens reported in a wire to the State Department that he had met with Wissam bin Hamid, a warlord with al-Qaeda connections. When Representative Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) confronted Hillary Clinton with a picture of Bin Hamid and the head of the al-Qaeda’s Ansar al Sharia group, Mohammed al-Zawahari, Clinton said she had no knowledge such a meeting took place.
“Were you aware that our folks were either wittingly or unwittingly meeting on the ground with members of al-Qaeda hours before the attack?” Pompeo asked.
“I know nothing about this, congressman,” Clinton replied.
A check of the transcript, and also with Rep. Pompeo’s Washington office, indicated that this short, two-minute exchange was the only time in Clinton’s eleven hours before the House Select Benghazi Committee that this smoking-gun revelation was mentioned. It was buried approximately two hours into the hearing. The revelation supports evidence gathered by the independent Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi that the U.S. and NATO were knowingly facilitating arms shipments to and from al-Qaeda affiliates in Libya during and after the revolution and deposing of Muammar Gaddafi, with the intention of forwarding those weapons to similar “freedom fighters” in Syria. For more information, see the video, Global Shakedown: ISIS, Ukraine and the New Cold War, embedded above.
AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS biometric card comes off in January 2016
GhanaWeb, Oct 22, 2015 – Mrs Sena Siaw-Boateng, National Director of ECOWAS at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, says member countries are to introduce common biometric identity cards to ensure free movement of persons across the sub-region. She made this known at a day’s seminar in Tamale on Tuesday to sensitise public sector workers, security agencies and civil society groups as part of processes to deepen understanding of the new protocols and arrangements towards full integration of the sub-region. She said the biometric card is one of the major indicators that would enhance the free movement of persons from one ECOWAS country to the other for economic activities.
ASEAN: INTEGRATED SECURITY FOR A ‘BORDERLESS REGION’
ASEAN to enhance border security along with EU, Interpol
Jakarta Post, Oct 21, 2015 – ASEAN is set to strengthen the region’s cooperation with the European Union (EU) and Interpol in managing border security to tackle transnational organized crime that has threatened the peace and stability of Southeast Asia. “This is an opportunity for ASEAN member states to strengthen our border management systems and develop better integrated criminal justice systems to address issues of crime related to migration,” said ASEAN deputy secretary-general Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee…. According to Interpol’s director of operational support and analysis, Michael O’Connell, …. law enforcement alone could not improve border management as it needed more comprehensive action, able to tackle transnational organized crime, especially when ASEAN aims to become a borderless region such as EU.
EUROPEAN UNION or EURASIAN UNION?
Cyprus says cannot lift veto on Turkey’s EU talks
Yahoo News, Oct 19, 2015 – The conflict-divided east Mediterranean island has a long list of grievances against Turkey, its giant northern neighbor…. EU leaders last week pledged renewed consideration of the long-stalled accession talks with Ankara, cash and easier visa terms in return for its help in tackling a migration crisis…. Almost half a million people, including many Syrians fleeing war in their homeland, have entered Europe this year, mainly crossing from Turkey to EU member Greece.
Angela Merkel Ready to Back Faster Turkish European Union Bid NDTV (New Delhi, India), Oct 18, 2015 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered Turkey financial aid and the prospect of faster progress on its bid to join the European Union today in return for badly-needed help in stemming the flow of migrants to Europe.
From the Archives:
Is Eurasian Economic Union Membership Possible for Turkey?
Journal of Turkish Weekly, April 6, 2015 – Turkey’s membership in the short term is not possible unless some important questions are answered first. For example, what kind of a structure will the Eurasian Economic Union embody, and will it turn into a political integration or not?
Putin’s Coming Win in Moldova
Bloomberg, Oct 19, 2015 – If the protests produced new elections tomorrow, pro-Russian parties would very probably win. If Ukraine continues to fail in dealing with corruption, and its current government is discredited, the same is likely to happen there…. Leaders of the pro-Russian parties also say they would seek to revoke Moldova’s agreement with the EU, join Putin’s alternative Eurasian Union and turn to the Kremlin for financing instead of the IMF. That might not suit most Moldovans, and more of the young and talented would leave. For Russia’s leaders, however, it would mean success.
Unasur unifying concepts in the field of South American regional defense
Infodefensa.com, Oct 19, 2015 (Google Translate) – Delegates from member countries of the Defense Council of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), specifically the working group activity 1C Action Plan 201 5, met in order to develop a common conceptual framework that seeks to unify concepts employed in the field of defense within the region…. The member countries of UNASUR are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Ready or not, Asean economic integration coming, warns banker
Philippine Daily Inquirer, Oct 19, 2015 – “The Philippines is an attractive market without a means to compete,” according to BDO Unibank Inc. president Nestor Tan, expressing worry that Philippine banks are not ready to compete with the bigger banks of neighboring countries with the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC)…. “Asean banking is the harmonization of the rules and regulations governing banks in the Asean region and creation of a common system for payments, settlements,” he said.
Steve King Threatens ‘Battle’ over Paul Ryan Speakership
Breitbart, Oct 18, 2015 – As Politico recently reported, conservative Congressman Rep. Steve King (R-IA) warned that there will be a “major intraparty battle over immigration if Paul comes forward.” ….Politico added: “King said he would not support Ryan for speaker, noting that he has long opposed leadership candidates who are ‘pro-amnesty’ and that he is still backing Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL) (R-Fla.) to take charge of the House.”
Polls show lawmakers could face severe criticism back home—as has already happened with Alabama’s Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)—if they leave the door open to a Ryan Speakership. That is because Paul Ryan’s signature policy goal—allowing for the free movement of people and goods across America’s borders—is rejected by massive majorities of GOP voters.
Henry Kissinger, Wall Street Journal, Oct 16, 2015
Its challenge is that two rigid and apocalyptic blocs are confronting each other: a Sunni bloc consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States; and the Shiite bloc comprising Iran, the Shiite sector of Iraq with Baghdad as its capital, the Shiite south of Lebanon under Hezbollah control facing Israel, and the Houthi portion of Yemen, completing the encirclement of the Sunni world.
Kissinger’s “Sunni bloc,” with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Council nations at its core, would accelerate integration into a greater Arab Union if “Shiite bloc” nations Iran and/or Assad’s Syria carry through on their stated interest in joining Putin’s Eurasian Union. And the popularity of “Putin the Shiite” is also sky high in Iraq. Since the sovereignty of nation-states is to wane in the globalists’ envisioned new world order of regions, sections of Iraq and Syria, like Ukraine before them, appear destined to be apportioned into several of Kissinger’s “competing regional units.”
EU leaders drop plan to fast-track banking union as Germany resists
Reuters, Oct 16, 2015 – Under the banking union project, all large euro zone banks are now under a single supervisor — the European Central Bank — and a common method of winding down banks that fail has been put in place, including a joint fund, paid into by banks themselves, to cover the costs. But the last element of the banking union, a joint EU deposit guarantee scheme, is controversial because Germany is strongly opposing ideas under which money to guarantee German savers’ deposits could be used to rescue savers elsewhere.
EURASIAN UNION and the ‘NEW MERCANTILISM’
Putin bans Russian civil servants from using foreign airlines for business travel
RT (Russia), Oct 14, 2015 – Russian officials of all levels must now use only airlines from members of the Eurasian Economic Union for business trips. Exceptions are allowed if EEU airlines do not fly to their desired destination.
Hillary: I Would Open Obamacare Exchanges to Immigrants, Open to Giving Subsidies To Illegal Immigrants
Breitbart, Oct 13, 2015 – Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated, “I want to open up the opportunity for immigrants to be able to buy in to the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act” and that she would be open to illegal immigrants getting the same subsidies during Tuesday’s Democratic presidential debate.
US brokering talks for Gulf states to buy Israeli anti-missile system as Iran defense
Fox News, Oct 14, 2015 – Bahrain and other Persian Gulf states are in negotiations to buy the Israeli-developed Iron Dome anti-missile system to defend against “a growing arsenal of Iranian missiles”…. A deal for the entire Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait, would be worth tens, perhaps hundreds, of billions of dollars.
‘Schengen-style’ visa for GCC countries likely by mid-2016
Geo News (Pakistan), Oct 12, 2015 – A unified visa for the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) may be available from the middle of next year. The GCC General Secretariat is working on the ambitious proposal to introduce the visa that will allow foreigners to visit all GCC states more or less similar to Europe and Schengen visa, Arab News reported on Sunday.
TPP: A Win For ASEAN, A Loss For WTO? – Analysis – Eurasia Review, Oct 12, 2015 – The effect of TPP on the ASEAN region will vary from country to country, due largely to the fact that only four of the 10 ASEAN nations are included in the TPP deal. Yet, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam – the ASEAN TPP members – are expected to be ‘winners’ as they get greater access to other markets, particularly the lucrative markets of the United States and Japan…. However, the TPP could cause a degree of trade diversion away from ASEAN’s non-TPP members, with rapidly growing economies such as Cambodia potentially losing business, as its biggest export destination is currently the US.
The TPP’s Impact on Asean – Establishment Post, October 12, 2015 – However, the TPP’s impact is just as significant for the Asean countries not in the agreement. Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines in particular will feel the competitive disadvantages for their exports …. Strengthening the AEC [ASEAN Economic Community] in the post-2015 era will also become more important, particularly as market access issues in these three countries have presented the most serious challenges for the AEC.
As these articles affirm, inter-regional agreements like the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) are designed to strengthen – not supersede or replace – existing regional blocs such as ASEAN.
Meanwhile, Putin Is Also Arming Iran
Wall Street Journal, Oct 11, 2015 – While all eyes are on Vladimir Putin’s machinations in Syria, deploying Russian fighters and troops, a potentially more dangerous Moscow effort in Iran is picking up steam…. The development is most threatening for America’s allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Tehran seeks to dominate the six Arab states along the Persian Gulf’s western coast. Their best deterrent is their small but capable air forces.
Both Syrian and Iranian officials have expressed an interest in joining Putin’s Eurasian Union.
Reaching out to ‘United States of Africa’
Hindu Business Line (India), Oct 9, 2015 – What can be a better wishlist than Agenda 2063 adopted by the African Union a couple of years back? The aspirations enumerated in the agenda document calls for the creation of the United States of Africa by 2063 …. The India-Africa Forum Summit would sincerely look for ways to help Africa achieve these goals.
ASEAN – REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:
Asean power grid integration on track: German expert
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015 – “Just like how the European Union (EU) had experienced, more discussions will have to take place to harmonise and realise the policies given the different technical and regulatory system of each country. The EU took about two to three decades to largely integrate the power grid system”….
What does the Greek crisis mean for the AEC? – East Asia Forum, Oct 6, 2015 – In setting a post-AEC [ASEAN Economic Community] agenda, the ASEAN leaders would do well to eschew closer monetary integration and proceed slowly in terms of financial integration, at least in the medium term. In 1999, the then Philippine president Joseph Estrada, impressed by the success of the euro, proposed that ASEAN consider a common currency. Fortunately, that idea never took root…. It would be a grave mistake for ASEAN to follow the European example in the monetary realm before its time.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC’s ‘DREAM ACT’ :
EAC seeks ‘common borders’ for education – The New Times (Rwanda), Oct 6, 2015 – The East African Community (EAC) is looking into the adoption of a common education protocol to ease movement of learners and teachers within the region. Regional experts behind the plan say the creation of a common EAC Higher Education Area (EACHEA) implies that qualifications will be appropriately recognised in all partner states both for continuation of studies as well as in the labour market. It means that the education system in the five partner states will be harmonised, comparable, and compatible, thus boosting knowledge and skills development.
AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
ECOWAS court seeks power to handle criminal cases
The Punch (Nigeria), Oct 6, 2015 – The Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice wants its jurisdiction expanded to enable it to adjudicate on cases of crimes committed within the sub-region. The court’s President, Justice Maria Monteiro, disclosed this in Abuja on Monday amid call for the establishment of an effective cross-border police network and judicial cooperation among ECOWAS member states against organised crimes and terrorism. The ECOWAS Community Court, which was established in 2001 but became fully operational in 2005, wants to be conferred with the power to handle criminal cases in addition to its human rights jurisdiction.
Colonialism in South America
MDZ (Mendoza, Argentina), Oct 4, 2015 – If there are about 3,000 British troops, in Guyana there are about 30,000 French soldiers in the Falklands. Both colonial enclaves are NATO military bases that threaten our countries Great American Homeland. It is a very colonialist occupation of the 19th century but in the 21st century.
Therefore, beyond the joy of the Arsat II, we can not stop dreaming that someday Argentina and the rest of our brethren countries to launch their satellites from the same Space Base in Kourou, but not belonging to the Union European, but UNASUR.
UNASUR Countries ‘Unanimously’ Back Malvinas Claim – teleSUR, Oct 4, 2015 – The member states of Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) “unanimously” back Argentina’s sovereign claim to the Malvinas islands, said Daniel Filmus, the Argentine official in charge of the claim, after meeting with the secretary-general of the organization…. Known to the British as the Falklands, the Malvinas Islands have been held by the UK since 1833, when British warships seized the archipelago. Argentina has long disputed British claims to the islands.
Anti-Assad Conspiracy: Western Fingerprints All Over Syrian Civil War
Sputnik (Russia), Oct 3, 2015 – …France was the first European country to recognize the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces as “the only representative of the Syrian people.” The move was immediately hailed by Turkey and the Arab League…. “In December 2012, at a meeting held in Marrakesh, the United States backed the National Coalition as the transitional government of Syria,” the journalist reminded, adding that more than 100 other countries recognized the Syrian opposition despite fears that so-called Syrian “freedom fighters” might have certain links to al-Qaeda.
The US and France never hid the fact that they were arming and training Syrian opposition fighters. Unfortunately, it has always been a problem for the West to distinguish “moderates” from extremists.
Like Ukraine before them, will Syria, Iraq be apportioned, absorbed into rival regional blocs?
By John Bolton, Algemeiner, Oct 4, 2015 – Looking ahead, with Assad and Iran operating from much stronger positions, we face the risk that regional ideological adversaries will act in concert when their interests align, as in the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact dividing Poland. The gravest threat to U.S. interests, after a nuclear Iran, is the Russia-Iran-Syria axis reaching a modus vivendi with the Islamic State. A “truce” would allow ISIS to consolidate its new state from the rubble of Syria and Iraq (presumably with Kurdistan de facto independent) and concentrate on its highest-priority targets: the Arabian Peninsula’s apostate, heretic oil-producing monarchies. With Putin explaining the historical precedent, ISIS and Iran could divide up the goods. Iran would tighten its hold on Baghdad and focus on Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, with their large Shiite populations, while ISIS goes after the other Gulf Cooperation Council countries and the holy cities of the Hijaz. Tender Western ears may find this cold-blooded, but the regional and religious logic is straightforward. The inconvenient betrayal of one side by the other can come later.
John R. Bolton served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2005-06. This article was originally published by The Weekly Standard.
Both Syria and Iran have expressed an interest in joining Putin’s Eurasian Union, while ISIS will prod Arabian Peninsula nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, along with other Sunni Arab nations, to form a greater Arab Union.
Putin’s Mediterranean Power Play in Syria
Foreign Policy, Oct 2, 2015 – Russia under Putin has plenty of irons in the fire seeking to recapture lost Soviet glories, from a bulked-up presence in the Arctic to the Eurasian Economic Union to a diplomatic pivot to Asia, not to mention the annexation of the Crimean peninsula. But throughout, Putin has made the eastern Mediterranean a focus for modern Russia in much the same way that it became a near-obsession in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s for his Soviet forebears.
From the Archives: Syria wants to join Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union – prime minister
RT (Russia), July 21, 2015 – The Syrian Prime Minister Wael Halqi has said joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) will allow Damascus easier economic and trade cooperation with friendly nations…. According to the prime minister, Russia and Syria have signed a number of contracts for the construction of gas processing plants, irrigation facilities and power stations. In 2013, an agreement was signed for Russian companies to develop oil fields on the Syrian coast. The first phase is worth $88 million and will last for five years. The countries are also discussing the expanding of loans to Damascus.
AFRICAN UNION – EAC:
Germany Commits 37 Million Euros to Support Regional Integration in East Africa
East African Community Headquarters, Arusha, Oct 1, 2015 – The Federal Republic of Germany and the East African Community (EAC) have successfully concluded bilateral negotiations on development cooperation at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha,Tanzania.
· 17 million euros in technical assistance were committed to further support of the economic integration process, including a contribution to the EAC partnership fund. The programme is focussing on institutional strengthening of the EAC Secretariat and on supporting the implementation of the Customs Union, Common Market Protocols and Monetary Union.
ASEAN and REGIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE:
Asean to deliberate on RM26b power grid
Malaysian Reserve, Oct 1, 2015 – Asean countries are expected to deliberate on the realisation of the US$5.9 billion (RM25.96 billion) Asean Power Grid in the near future, when the region’s energy ministers meet in Kuala Lumpur next month…. In pursuing the programme, Asean has adopted a strategy that encourages interconnections of 15 identified projects, first on cross-border bilateral terms, then gradually expanding to sub-regional basis and, finally to a totally integrated South-East Asian power grid system.
The end of the European nation-state?
The Week (UK), Oct 1, 2015 – One component of this project has been to — under the logic of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” — use European monies and rhetorical talk of diversity to strengthen regional identities within its nation-states. The idea is that if I’m a French Basque and I feel strongly about my Basque identity and my European identity, my French identity will be, as it were, squeezed out. And if competencies are simultaneously devolved down from the nation-state to regions, and up to the EU, nation-states will be hollowed out.