News Archive December 16-31, 2012

NORTH AMERICA:
It’s back: Texas in ‘Super Highway’ deal with Spain
By Jerome Corsi, WND, Dec 29, 2012 – TxDOT picked Cintra in 2005 to build what some critics called the “NAFTA Super Highway.”

UNASUR, AFRICAN UNION:
Unasur readies presidential summit with heads of state of the African Union
La República (Peru), Dec 31, 2012 (Google Translate) – Leaders of the member countries of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will meet with the presidents and heads of state of the African Union, said Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo. Conference will be in Africa-South America in early 2013….

ASEAN:
Association of Southeast Asian Nations New Secretary-General Le Luong Minh of Vietnam Takes His Office
Manila Bulletin, Dec 31, 2012 – Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam Le Luong Minh takes office on January 1, 2013, as the new Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General, replacing Dr. Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand who has completed his five-year term.

EU, EAU
The End of the EU-Russia Relationship As You Know It
European Dialogue, Dec 31, 2012 – Putin hopes for a new compact between the Eurasian Economic Union he is constructing and the European Union. Such a compact, however, should in his view be based on rough parity rather than a Russian association with the EU.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian Union to become Russia’s priority in foreign policy‎
Press TV, YouTube video post, Dec 29, 2012

EUROPEAN UNION:
UK Independence Party support hits all-time high of 15% Anti-EU sentiment increasesA New Year Message from Ukip – Nigel Farage
Daily Mail (London), Dec 30, 2012 – ‘What it showed was that despite the media obsession that Ukip is taking Tory votes – which of course we are – what those Northern constituencies showed is that Labour votes are coming to Ukip in real numbers too.’

GCC:
Arab states must coordinate efforts to realise common ambition
Gulfnews (Dubai, UAE), Dec 30, 2012 – Central to all of these tasks is a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that is united into a confederation that can meet the challenges of Iran’s regional ambitions and bring major military deployments to bear on regional conflicts. If anything has become clear in the last year, it is that states like Israel, Iran and Syria will act with impunity if no one is ready, willing and able to stand up to them.

UNASUR:
Any U.S. military action in South America?
Miradas al Sur, Dec 30, 2012 (Google Translate) – The report argues that the current regional and international scenario presents exceptional conditions that South America should become a sovereign geopolitical region, after the failure of the Washington Consensus and the integration strategy guided by United States through the FTAA.
Peru will buy power from neighboring countries – Voice of Russia, Dec 30, 2012 (Google Translate from Spanish) – The president recalled that Ecuador previously provided electricity to his country and stressed the importance of the decision of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to advance regional energy integration.
Latin America divided rearranges 2013 – El Faro (El Salvador), Dec 29, 2012 – The division between the South American nations (all members of UNASUR) and those of Central America and Mexico was also marked this year when UNASUR quickly became the task of responding to the political crisis in Paraguay…

SAARC:
Judiciary And The Rest: Needed A South Asian Model
Sunday Leader (Sri Lanka), Dec 30, 2012 – Afghanistan is yet to define/re-define its geo-political identity despite being a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). One only hears the sounds of the gun more in Afghanistan compared to the gavel of the judges.

AFRICAN UNION:
The march towards the African Standby Force
Africa Review (Kenya), Dec. 30, 2012 – Each of the five regional blocs was to have a military force: The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) with Ecobrig, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with Sadcbrig, alongside the North African Regional Capability (Narc) force, the Eastern Africa Standby Force (Easbrig), and the Economic Community of Central African States (Eccas)….Originally planned to be up and running by 2010, the launch date has had to be reset to 2015.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League head says Palestinians to petition U.N.
CBS News, Dec 29, 2012 – Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Saturday that two decades of talks with Israel have been “a waste of time” and that Palestinians will soon take a new statehood bid to the U.N.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab countries revisiting idea of single currency
Channel News Asia (Singapore), Dec 28, 2012 – “Maybe it is possible for the Gulf countries, and maybe Libya and Iraq, to be part of a single currency. As for other Arab countries, maybe only in the future.”….On the other side of the globe, another single currency – this time for Southeast Asia – is also being debated.
Russia urges Assad to talk to opposition – Channel News Asia (Singapore), Dec 29, 2012 – Moscow will be the focus of further diplomacy on Saturday when Russian officials hold talks with Brahimi. The UN-Arab League envoy revealed on Thursday that he had been discussing the details of a transition government that had full powers and implemented “real change”.

GCC:
US&Co getting hysterical over Iran
Voice of Russia, Dec 29, 2012 – Iran’s assertiveness as a regional power and its increasingly active role in major regional crises, has caused considerable alarm with the Gulf monarchies, who stepped up their effort to create a Gulf Union.
First trains delivered for UAE rail network
Arabian Business, Dec 29, 2012 – The network will also form a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Railway Network – linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.

EURASIAN UNION:
2012 Recap: Year of Putin
Voice of Russia, Dec 28, 2012 – “The whole world follows this path. In North America, there is a union of Canada, the United States and Mexico. There is a similar union in Southeast Asia. It’s strange to hear some of our colleagues abroad to say, as we keep moving along the path of integration, that this is a rebirth of Russia’s ambitions as the former Soviet Union.”

AFRICAN UNION REGION-BUILDING: BENGHAZI PRETEXT
US plans to increase troops in Africa
China.org, Dec 28, 2012 – The US believes it is necessary to send troops to Africa because the attacks on US embassies in Africa could not have been achieved without al-Qaida’s support….The terrorism in African countries offers an excuse for the US to increase its military presence and consolidate its control over the region…
[Too bad it takes an ulterior Red China report, rather than the complicit Western media, to bring into focus a pretext motive for the blatant disregard for U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and subsequent cover-up, all done under the guise of the globalist “Responsibility to Protect” Action Plan (see page 53 of this document: “Regional Organizations”).]
East African Community: How Feasible Is EAC Single Tourist Visa? – New Times (Rwanda), Dec 28, 2012 – “Everybody would want to have it but there are some pre-requisite factors, especially harmonising immigration policies and ICT to help ease the process…”

GCC:
Single Gulf Currency: Closer to reality
Asharq Al-Awsat,Dec 27, 2012 – The draft Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] single currency project – which represents the most controversial and contentious issue being discussed by the GCC – has now entered a historic phase in terms of implementation, according to reports.
Next stop for the Arab Spring?
Jerusalem Post, Dec 27, 2012 – There have even been moves to incorporate Jordan into the Gulf Cooperation Council….The question is whether all of this aid will be enough to prevent an uprising in Jordan.

ARAB LEAGUE:
UN-Arab League envoy proposes transitional government in Syria
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Dec 28, 2012 – The joint Special Representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States has proposed the formation of a transitional government in Syria.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Germans Own 5.5 Million Legal Firearms: New Registry
Huffington Post, Dec 28, 2012 – All European Union countries must have such a registry by 2015.

UNASUR:
Mercosur, the fifth largest economy in the world at the end of 2012
elNuevoEmpresario (Ecuador), Dec 28, 2012 (Google Translate) – The Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said the bloc will act “hand in hand” with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)….For Brazil, the steps taken this year denote that Latin America makes the difference, with the strengthening of Mercosur and Unasur political consolidation amid a global economic crisis that has taken hold in Europe.
We can not be passive spectators to U.S. precipice: Santos
Colombia is closely monitoring the impact of movements to avoid U.S. tax cliff next year
Caracol Radio (Columbia), Dec 27, 2012 – In fact, in the last Unasur summit in Lima, on December 5, presidents reviewed what could be a shield plan.

EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION:
Karen Bekaryan: European integration remains a priority for Armenia
Public Radio of Armenia, Dec 27, 2012 – European integration remains a priority for Armenia, and all talks about joining the Eurasian Union are senseless, President of the European Integration NGO Karen Bekaryan told a press conference today.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian G-8
Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), Dec 27, 2012 – Recently, in Moscow establishing the club “Eurasian G-8” was presented. The initiators of the club intend to develop the idea of cooperation not only within the Common Economic Space, but also in a perspective – with those countries which haven’t decided on their attitude to the project – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine.

GCC – ‘GULF UNION’:
The GCC union was agreed in principle at the Manama summit, said journalists
Bahrain News Agency, Dec 26, 2012 – The decision is to make this bloc like the European Union
GCC to Form Unified Military Command Amid Iran ‘Threats’ – Bloomberg, Dec 25, 2012 – The Gulf Cooperation Council said it will form a unified military command structure at a time when Iran poses a “very serious” security threat to the Middle East.
GCC needs restructuring, union not far-fetched idea: analysts – Al-Arabiya, (Dubai, UAE), Dec 26, 2012 – “This is not far-fetched, but needs a lot of patience and daring decisions to be made, especially in light of economic conditions across the globe.” Abu Raya cited the example of the European Union which managed to gather 25 countries under one banner.
Bahrain to host GCC united military command – Zee News, Dec 26, 2012 – Bahrain will host the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) United Military Command to deter threats against the region and further strengthen military ties between the six oil-rich states, Bahraini foreign minister said.
[The GCC Gulf Union would be the first de facto union of nations since the European Union was established in 1993. This watershed event would undoubtedly accelerate the integration plans of other geoplitical regions. Expect Putin's "Eurasian Union" and an East African Community sub-regional federation of nations to follow course in the near future. The "Union of South American Nations" (UNASUR) and the African Union are aspirations in name only at this time, although UNASUR could be the third in line to realize its union ambitions. It's important to note that the both the EU and the planned GU could not have materialized without being prompted by what was perceived as an outside, imminent threat, as the European Community was formed to counter the Soviets and the Arab Gulf currently is menaced by Iran. In both cases, billions of U.S. foreign aid dollars for "region-building" defense and infrastructure programs were utilized.]

NORTH AMERICA:
As the U.S. attempts to bolster its cybersecurity legislation, will Canada be called on to take part?
Macleans (Canada), Dec 26, 2012 – Consider the electrical grid….Other examples of intertwined infrastructure include water, oil and gas pipelines, the rail network, linked stock exchanges, and the Internet itself.
[All are the result of manufactured interdependence.]

EURASIAN UNION:
CSTO, Uzbekistan and Integration of Eurasia
Strategic Culture Foundation, Dec 25, 2012 – The Eurasian Economic Community’s existence is nearing its end to give place to the Eurasian Economic Union by 2015.

AFRICAN UNION:
New Pentagon effort will send Army teams to Africa
Fox News |Associated Press, Dec. 24, 2012 – A U.S. Army brigade will begin sending small teams into as many as 35 African nations early next year….as the African Union and other nations discuss military intervention in northern Mali.
‘Regional single market on track’ – Zambia Daily Mail, Dec 25, 2012 – The single FTA will cover 26 countries from Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East Africa Community.

GCC:
Saudi Arabia calls for ‘strong and solid’ Gulf union
Al Arabiya (Dubai, UAE), Dec 24, 2012 – Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz attending a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Bahrain Monday expressed the kingdom’s hope for the declaration of a Gulf union….“with integrated economies, a joint foreign policy and a common defense system.”

ASEAN:
Can ASEAN achieve economic community?
Jakarta Post, Dec 24, 2012 – “Once a region-wide FTA [free trade area] is formed, it may also be easier for Asian Countries to establish a custom union […] as the European Economic Community did in 1968” (ADBI, 2010)
UNASUR, AFRICAN UNION:
Unasur readies presidential summit with heads of state of the African Union
La República (Peru), Dec 31, 2012 (Google Translate) – Leaders of the member countries of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will meet with the presidents and heads of state of the African Union, said Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo. Conference will be in Africa-South America in early 2013….

ASEAN:
Association of Southeast Asian Nations New Secretary-General Le Luong Minh of Vietnam Takes His Office
Manila Bulletin, Dec 31, 2012 – Deputy Foreign Minister of Vietnam Le Luong Minh takes office on January 1, 2013, as the new Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General, replacing Dr. Surin Pitsuwan of Thailand who has completed his five-year term.

EU, EAU
The End of the EU-Russia Relationship As You Know It
European Dialogue, Dec 31, 2012 – Putin hopes for a new compact between the Eurasian Economic Union he is constructing and the European Union. Such a compact, however, should in his view be based on rough parity rather than a Russian association with the EU.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian Union to become Russia’s priority in foreign policy‎
Press TV, YouTube video post, Dec 29, 2012

EUROPEAN UNION:
UK Independence Party support hits all-time high of 15% Anti-EU sentiment increasesA New Year Message from Ukip – Nigel Farage
Daily Mail (London), Dec 30, 2012 – ‘What it showed was that despite the media obsession that Ukip is taking Tory votes – which of course we are – what those Northern constituencies showed is that Labour votes are coming to Ukip in real numbers too.’

GCC:
Arab states must coordinate efforts to realise common ambition
Gulfnews (Dubai, UAE), Dec 30, 2012 – Central to all of these tasks is a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that is united into a confederation that can meet the challenges of Iran’s regional ambitions and bring major military deployments to bear on regional conflicts. If anything has become clear in the last year, it is that states like Israel, Iran and Syria will act with impunity if no one is ready, willing and able to stand up to them.

UNASUR:
Any U.S. military action in South America?
Miradas al Sur, Dec 30, 2012 (Google Translate) – The report argues that the current regional and international scenario presents exceptional conditions that South America should become a sovereign geopolitical region, after the failure of the Washington Consensus and the integration strategy guided by United States through the FTAA.
Peru will buy power from neighboring countries – Voice of Russia, Dec 30, 2012 (Google Translate from Spanish) – The president recalled that Ecuador previously provided electricity to his country and stressed the importance of the decision of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to advance regional energy integration.
Latin America divided rearranges 2013 – El Faro (El Salvador), Dec 29, 2012 – The division between the South American nations (all members of UNASUR) and those of Central America and Mexico was also marked this year when UNASUR quickly became the task of responding to the political crisis in Paraguay…

SAARC:
Judiciary And The Rest: Needed A South Asian Model
Sunday Leader (Sri Lanka), Dec 30, 2012 – Afghanistan is yet to define/re-define its geo-political identity despite being a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). One only hears the sounds of the gun more in Afghanistan compared to the gavel of the judges.

AFRICAN UNION:
The march towards the African Standby Force
Africa Review (Kenya), Dec. 30, 2012 – Each of the five regional blocs was to have a military force: The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) with Ecobrig, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with Sadcbrig, alongside the North African Regional Capability (Narc) force, the Eastern Africa Standby Force (Easbrig), and the Economic Community of Central African States (Eccas)….Originally planned to be up and running by 2010, the launch date has had to be reset to 2015.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League head says Palestinians to petition U.N.
CBS News, Dec 29, 2012 – Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said Saturday that two decades of talks with Israel have been “a waste of time” and that Palestinians will soon take a new statehood bid to the U.N.

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab countries revisiting idea of single currency
Channel News Asia (Singapore), Dec 28, 2012 – “Maybe it is possible for the Gulf countries, and maybe Libya and Iraq, to be part of a single currency. As for other Arab countries, maybe only in the future.”….On the other side of the globe, another single currency – this time for Southeast Asia – is also being debated.
Russia urges Assad to talk to opposition – Channel News Asia (Singapore), Dec 29, 2012 – Moscow will be the focus of further diplomacy on Saturday when Russian officials hold talks with Brahimi. The UN-Arab League envoy revealed on Thursday that he had been discussing the details of a transition government that had full powers and implemented “real change”.

GCC:
US&Co getting hysterical over Iran
Voice of Russia, Dec 29, 2012 – Iran’s assertiveness as a regional power and its increasingly active role in major regional crises, has caused considerable alarm with the Gulf monarchies, who stepped up their effort to create a Gulf Union.
First trains delivered for UAE rail network
Arabian Business, Dec 29, 2012 – The network will also form a part of the Gulf Cooperation Council Railway Network – linking the UAE to Saudi Arabia via Ghweifat in the west and Oman via Al Ain in the east.

EURASIAN UNION:
2012 Recap: Year of Putin
Voice of Russia, Dec 28, 2012 – “The whole world follows this path. In North America, there is a union of Canada, the United States and Mexico. There is a similar union in Southeast Asia. It’s strange to hear some of our colleagues abroad to say, as we keep moving along the path of integration, that this is a rebirth of Russia’s ambitions as the former Soviet Union.”

AFRICAN UNION REGION-BUILDING: BENGHAZI PRETEXT
US plans to increase troops in Africa
China.org, Dec 28, 2012 – The US believes it is necessary to send troops to Africa because the attacks on US embassies in Africa could not have been achieved without al-Qaida’s support….The terrorism in African countries offers an excuse for the US to increase its military presence and consolidate its control over the region…
[Too bad it takes an ulterior Red China report, rather than the complicit Western media, to bring into focus a pretext motive for the blatant disregard for U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and subsequent cover-up, all done under the guise of the globalist “Responsibility to Protect” Action Plan (see page 53 of this document: “Regional Organizations”).]
East African Community: How Feasible Is EAC Single Tourist Visa? – New Times (Rwanda), Dec 28, 2012 – “Everybody would want to have it but there are some pre-requisite factors, especially harmonising immigration policies and ICT to help ease the process…”

GCC:
Single Gulf Currency: Closer to reality
Asharq Al-Awsat,Dec 27, 2012 – The draft Gulf Cooperation Council [GCC] single currency project – which represents the most controversial and contentious issue being discussed by the GCC – has now entered a historic phase in terms of implementation, according to reports.
Next stop for the Arab Spring?
Jerusalem Post, Dec 27, 2012 – There have even been moves to incorporate Jordan into the Gulf Cooperation Council….The question is whether all of this aid will be enough to prevent an uprising in Jordan.

ARAB LEAGUE:
UN-Arab League envoy proposes transitional government in Syria
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, Dec 28, 2012 – The joint Special Representative of the United Nations and League of Arab States has proposed the formation of a transitional government in Syria.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Germans Own 5.5 Million Legal Firearms: New Registry
Huffington Post, Dec 28, 2012 – All European Union countries must have such a registry by 2015.

UNASUR:
Mercosur, the fifth largest economy in the world at the end of 2012
elNuevoEmpresario (Ecuador), Dec 28, 2012 (Google Translate) – The Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said the bloc will act “hand in hand” with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)….For Brazil, the steps taken this year denote that Latin America makes the difference, with the strengthening of Mercosur and Unasur political consolidation amid a global economic crisis that has taken hold in Europe.
We can not be passive spectators to U.S. precipice: Santos
Colombia is closely monitoring the impact of movements to avoid U.S. tax cliff next year
Caracol Radio (Columbia), Dec 27, 2012 – In fact, in the last Unasur summit in Lima, on December 5, presidents reviewed what could be a shield plan.

EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION:
Karen Bekaryan: European integration remains a priority for Armenia
Public Radio of Armenia, Dec 27, 2012 – European integration remains a priority for Armenia, and all talks about joining the Eurasian Union are senseless, President of the European Integration NGO Karen Bekaryan told a press conference today.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian G-8
Vestnik Kavkaza (Russia), Dec 27, 2012 – Recently, in Moscow establishing the club “Eurasian G-8” was presented. The initiators of the club intend to develop the idea of cooperation not only within the Common Economic Space, but also in a perspective – with those countries which haven’t decided on their attitude to the project – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldavia, Ukraine.

GCC – ‘GULF UNION’:
The GCC union was agreed in principle at the Manama summit, said journalists
Bahrain News Agency, Dec 26, 2012 – The decision is to make this bloc like the European Union
GCC to Form Unified Military Command Amid Iran ‘Threats’ – Bloomberg, Dec 25, 2012 – The Gulf Cooperation Council said it will form a unified military command structure at a time when Iran poses a “very serious” security threat to the Middle East.
GCC needs restructuring, union not far-fetched idea: analysts – Al-Arabiya, (Dubai, UAE), Dec 26, 2012 – “This is not far-fetched, but needs a lot of patience and daring decisions to be made, especially in light of economic conditions across the globe.” Abu Raya cited the example of the European Union which managed to gather 25 countries under one banner.
Bahrain to host GCC united military command – Zee News, Dec 26, 2012 – Bahrain will host the first Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) United Military Command to deter threats against the region and further strengthen military ties between the six oil-rich states, Bahraini foreign minister said.
[The GCC Gulf Union would be the first de facto union of nations since the European Union was established in 1993. This watershed event would undoubtedly accelerate the integration plans of other geoplitical regions. Expect Putin's "Eurasian Union" and an East African Community sub-regional federation of nations to follow course in the near future. The "Union of South American Nations" (UNASUR) and the African Union are aspirations in name only at this time, although UNASUR could be the third in line to realize its union ambitions. It's important to note that the both the EU and the planned GU could not have materialized without being prompted by what was perceived as an outside, imminent threat, as the European Community was formed to counter the Soviets and the Arab Gulf currently is menaced by Iran. In both cases, billions of U.S. foreign aid dollars for "region-building" defense and infrastructure programs were utilized.]

NORTH AMERICA:
As the U.S. attempts to bolster its cybersecurity legislation, will Canada be called on to take part?
Macleans (Canada), Dec 26, 2012 – Consider the electrical grid….Other examples of intertwined infrastructure include water, oil and gas pipelines, the rail network, linked stock exchanges, and the Internet itself.
[All are the result of manufactured interdependence.]

AFRICAN UNION:
New Pentagon effort will send Army teams to Africa
Fox News |Associated Press, Dec. 24, 2012 – A U.S. Army brigade will begin sending small teams into as many as 35 African nations early next year….as the African Union and other nations discuss military intervention in northern Mali.
‘Regional single market on track’ – Zambia Daily Mail, Dec 25, 2012 – The single FTA will cover 26 countries from Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the East Africa Community.

GCC:
Saudi Arabia calls for ‘strong and solid’ Gulf union
Al Arabiya (Dubai, UAE), Dec 24, 2012 – Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdul Aziz attending a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Bahrain Monday expressed the kingdom’s hope for the declaration of a Gulf union….“with integrated economies, a joint foreign policy and a common defense system.”

ASEAN:
Can ASEAN achieve economic community?
Jakarta Post, Dec 24, 2012 – “Once a region-wide FTA [free trade area] is formed, it may also be easier for Asian Countries to establish a custom union […] as the European Economic Community did in 1968” (ADBI, 2010)
GCC:
GCC Summit in Bahrain to focus on Syria, economic unity
Gulfnews (Dubai, UAE), Dec 24, 2012 – Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa told Qatari daily Al Sharq that the summit would cover several areas including military cooperation, environmental protection and accelerating the steps leading to the economic unity.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Commentary: European Union may be new broker of Mideast peace
Palm Beach Post, Dec 22, 2012 – As Washington’s interest in leading the peace process wanes, the European Union is starting to reassert itself. Palestinians are looking for the European Union to take additional measures against the occupation. By building a strong non-violent movement, Palestinians could win the critical support of Europe. Legislative bodies there are more sympathetic than Congress.

U.S. REGION-BUILDING – Afghanistan & SAARC:
US-South Asia Relations: A Vision for the Future
Geoffrey Pyatt, United States Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Dec 1, 2012), International Institute of Strategic Studies, Dec 2012 – Does the United States see the region as a whole? What commonalities exist between U.S policy towards, say, Pakistan and Bangladesh? And how does India fit into the regional context? For the last four years we’ve vigorously supported regional economic integration in South Asia. We’ve sought to promote connectivity through the New Silk Road strategy….Our Silk Road strategy takes its inspiration from Secretary Clinton’s May 2011 speech in Chennai, but to be successful this vision of regional connectivity must follow the priorities of local governments. It is worth remembering that integration within SAARC – or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation – isn’t new. In terms of culture, tradition and yes, history, the Subcontinent constitutes a single geographically coherent space and our approach rests on that foundation.And, as the New Silk Road vision becomes a reality, it’s easy to imagine textiles and tea made in Bangladesh making their way through Afghanistan to Central Asia, while Kazakh wheat and Turkmen energy move southward to feed families and light homes in Pakistan and India.

GCC (‘GULF UNION’):
The Gulf Union has become much more of an imperative necessity than just a dream
Bahrain News Agency, Dec 23, 2012 – The Gulf Union is akin to the EU, ASEAN, etc. which makes it imperative on countries of the Arabian Gulf to become united in order to surmount conflicts, hazards, crises, etc.
NATO Military Training FaciIities in Persian Gulf – Global Research, Dec 22, 2012 – Shaikh Sabah was speaking at a press conference in Kuwait City alongside his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders. The Nato training site in Kuwait is the first to be set up in a GCC state.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian Union Presses Forward Despite Western Concern – Analysis
Eurasian Review, Dec 23, 2012 – Russian President Vladimir Putin has said “that the Soviet Union’s collapse was the biggest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.” The question, then, is whether his new project, the creation of a Eurasian Union, is merely an attempt to revive the USSR – as Hilary Clinton recently suggested – or whether, having lived through the collapse, Putin grasps why?

UNASUR, ARAB LEAGUE:
Abu Dhabi set for SA-Arab energy summit
Trade Arabia, Dec 23, 2012 – The key energy meet is being held in partnership with the Arab League and the Union of South American Nations, said the Directorate of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

GCC:
‘The Road to Union’: Al Arabiya airs special series on future of G.C.C.
Al Arabiya (Dubai, UAE), Dec 22, 2012 – Al Arabiya news channel will begin Saturday broadcasting “The Road to Union,” a series of reports about an initiative of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to transform the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), in its current form, into a union state that is able to influence the developments on the regional and global levels.

EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION:
EU Warns Armenia About Russia Customs Union
Asbarez (Armenian-American community), Dec 21, 2012 – The Armenian government appears to be facing growing pressure from Moscow to seek membership of the Russian-led trade bloc which President Vladimir Putin hopes will eventually grow into a Eurasian Union of former Soviet republics.

EURASIAN UNION:
TEXT-Fitch affirms Eurasian Development Bank at ‘BBB’, stable outlook
(The following statement was released by the rating agency) – Reuters, Dec 21, 2012 – The finance ministers of both countries sit on the council of the bank, its establishment was an important diplomatic initiative, it finances key infrastructure and industrial projects in the Eurasian Economic Community and its failure would dent the reputation of its key shareholders.

ASEAN:
ASEAN accelerates community building efforts
Philippine Information Agency, Dec 22, 2012 – The ten countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have formulated their respective national communication plans towards the goal of One ASEAN Community by 2015.

EURASIAN UNION:
Eurasian Economic Community summit outlines 2013 plans
Caspionet (Kazakhstan), Dec 21, 2012 – So, we, the three presidents….voluntarily gave our economic sovereignties to the supranational body and we will back this….The Eurasian Economic Union, which is expected to be formed on January 1 2015, will signpost the next step of the integration.

AFRICAN UNION – ECCAS:
AfDB – Economic Community of Central African States Strengthening of Institutional Capacities
African Development Bank, Dec 20, 2012 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved an ADF project in the amount of USD 10,744 million for the support project to the institutional capacity building of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). The project’s object is to promote regional integration in Africa…

EUROPEAN UNION:
IMF urges European Union to swiftly introduce full banking union to stabilize financial system
Washington Post, Dec 20, 2012 – In its first financial stability assessment for the bloc, the IMF welcomed this month’s EU decision to create a single banking supervisor, but called it “only an initial step” toward a full banking union.
U.S.- and European-backed force will try to rebuild Mali’s military – Washington Post, Dec 20, 2012 – The European Union plans to send military experts to Bamako in the coming months…The resolution does not specify what role the United States would play in the military campaign against extremists.

NORTH AMERICA:
Military to outsource air-to-air refuelling
Decision made after discovery that stealth fighter was not compatible with existing fleet
The Province (Canada), Dec 21, 2012 – “(Going) without sovereign refuelling capacity is to forgo any pretence at defence of sovereignty.”

GULF UNION:
Gulf Union Takes Shape
The Majalla (London), Dec 20, 2012 – Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat. A Bahraini official informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the Gulf Union is expected to be announced in mid-2013, although he refused to divulge the precise number of states that will initially comprise this international organization.

EURASIAN UNION:
Plan for Eurasian Economic Union by 1 May 2013
News of Belarus, Dec 20, 2012 – The Presidents of the Customs Union instructed their governments to develop a plan for the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) by 1 May 2013….According to Vladimir Putin, the EEU project should be approved in mid 2014, and the Eurasian Economic Union should become operational starting from 1 January 2015.
Putin-Sargsyan: Few details released about Moscow meeting believed to have reviewed key geopolitical issues
ArmeniaNow, Dec 20, 2012 – The terse report, however, may actually be indicative of quite serious issues being discussed at the meeting, like Armenia’s possible accession to the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, or a nascent Eurasian Union (EAU), a Putin-advocated re-integration project for former Soviet republics.

EUROPEAN UNION:
European optimists eye Unites States of Europe
Voice of Russia, Dec 19, 2012 – Earlier this month European Union finance ministers agreed that the European Central Bank would supervise the operation of 1,000 eurozone’s banks. Experts compared this plan to the US financial system saying that the future belongs to the United States of Europe.
AFRICAN UNION – East African Community:
Forensics Chiefs Seek Funding for Regional Crime Centre
AllAfrica, Dec 19, 2012 – Dr Julius Rotich, East African Community deputy secretary general in charge of political federation said the establishment of the centre would go a long way in managing crime which is taking a new form with criminals traversing the region because of open borders since the commencement of the common market about two years ago.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Barack Obama lectures Britain on EU membership: the US president looks arrogant as well as clueless
Nile Gardiner, The Telegraph (London), Dec 19, 2012 – “It is important to state very clearly that a strong UK in a strong Europe is in America’s national interest,” said a senior US administration official. “We recognise national states but see the EU as a force multiplier.”

World to America: Get it together
TodayOnline (Singapore), Dec 19, 2012 – The G-7 or G-8 leaders could issue a statement, for instance, urging the US to get its fiscal house in order….Indeed, other regional organisations, such as the African Union or the Arab League, could weigh in.

EURASIAN UNION:
Clinton’s ‘Sovietization’ comment attracts Kremlin’s ire
RT, Dec 19, 2012 – “In the world today, given the frequency of global economic upheavals, the unpredictability in the world economy, the impossibility of making even mid-term forecasts, in a world where the smell of crisis is everywhere, the only viable tendency is the tendency to integration, the integration processes,” Putin’s spokesperson said. Last year, Vladimir Putin announced plans to forge a ‘Eurasian Union’ made up of Russia and other post-Soviet states.

SAARC:
Improved Indo-Pak trade to augur well for entire Saarc region: Sabharwal
Business Recorder (Pakistan), Dec 19, 2012 – Productive Indo Pak dialogues and subsequent development was not only beneficial for the two countries but would also integrate the South Asian region, [Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal] said.

AFRICAN UNION – EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY (EAC):
One-Stop Border Point to Be Completed Next Year
AllAfrica, Dec 18, 2012 – The [Integrated Border Management] creates seamless clearing processes for users across the integrated border points without the need for physical documentation.

NORTH AMERICA:
Border deal just part of agenda in ‘make or break’ year
Globe and Mail (Canada), Dec 17, 2012 – There is the pilot project that permits imports bound for the U.S. market to be examined in Prince Rupert, B.C., and then shipped south with no further inspections on the principle of “cleared once, accepted twice.” But John Manley, the former foreign minister who now heads the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, observed that “the two governments are still negotiating the terms of a comprehensive preclearance system…”
[John Manley was also a co-chairman, along with former Massachusetts Governor William Weld and former Mexican official Pedro Aspe, of the Council on Foreign Relations task force that produced the CFR report, “Building a North American Community” in May, 2005. Robert Pastor was a vice chairman of that group.]

SAARC:
‘India, Bangladesh need to unlock full potential of economic ties’
SME Times (India) Dec 18, 2012 – [Bangladesh envoy Tariq Ahmad Karim] said it was essential to unlock the potential of the South Asian region “to create an interlocking grid of symbiotic dependencies”.
Towards cross-border energy and knowledge cooperation in South Asia – Reuters AlertNet, Dec 18, 2012 – Talks are underway to establish a North Africa (Maghreb) – Europe inter-continental, inter-connection for electricity trade. In Southeast Asia, ASEAN has been active in energy cooperation. Unfortunately, South Asia has lagged behind in tapping such opportunities…

EUROPEAN UNION:
As Europe Slowly Recovers, the US Heads off the Cliff
Fiscal Times, Dec 17, 2012 – Last week the EU made a major advance toward forming a banking union—a move many thought impossible at this stage. At a meeting of finance ministers in Brussels, members voted effectively to hand over banking oversight powers to the ECB in 2014—the single biggest step toward an enhanced union since the euro was created in 1999.

UNASUR:
Aims for Transparency Among UNASUR Militaries of Member Nations
Dialogo-Americas, Dec 17, 2012 – That project will be complemented With The launch of a new Registry of South American Military Inventories in early 2013, with the system operational by 2014, said Acosta.
[Dialogue is a professional military magazine published quarterly by the Commander of the Southern Command of the United States as an international forum for military personnel in Latin America.]

ARAB LEAGUE:
Arab League official rules out NATO’s intervention in Syria
[Arab League (AL) Deputy Secretary General] Ben Helli said the possibility of NATO’s intervention in the Syrian crisis is “totally ruled out,” since the efforts now focus on a political solution rather than a military one.

AFRICAN UNION – ECOWAS:
West Africa: Ecowas Court Blames FG for Oil Spillage in Niger Delta
Vanguard (Nigeria), Dec 17, 2012 – Article 15(4) of the ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] Treaty makes the Judgment of the Court binding on Member States, including Nigeria. Also, Article 19(2) of the 1991 Protocol provides that the decisions of the Court shall be final and immediately enforceable. Furthermore, non-compliance with the judgment of the Court can be sanctioned under Article 24 of the Supplementary Protocol of the ECOWAS Court of Justice, and Article 77 of the ECOWAS Treaty.

SAARC
India leading effort on SAARC currency swap agreement
Deccan Chronicle (India), Dec 17, 2012 – India is spearheading an initiative to develop a currency swap agreement among SAARC countries which would help them protect their currencies during special exigencies, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said here today.

EURASIAN UNION:
Foreign Affairs Ministry public council declares inadmissibility of Ukraine’s accession to Customs Union
Kyiv Post (Ukraine), Dec 17, 2012 – The public council under the Foreign Affairs Ministry has expressed its deep concern over…the announced beginning of the “gradual accession of Ukraine to the rules of the Customs Union” of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

EUROPEAN UNION:
Bundesbank questions basis for EU bank union – report
Reuters, Dec 16, 2012 – European Union finance ministers last week agreed to give the ECB new powers to supervise euro zone banks from 2014, embarking on the first step in a new phase of closer integration to help underpin the euro.

AFRICAN UNION – SADC:
Mugabe risks isolation if he defies SADC
Zimbabwe Mail, Dec 16, 2012 – President Robert Mugabe risks regional isolation if he resists pressure from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to institute requisite reforms ahead of next year’s polls.

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