Monthly Archives: September 2006

Losing the war in Afghanistan

These weeks we have seen clear signals that the west (US) is losing the war against terror, in Iraq and because of Iraq (the april report now declassified by the whitehouse) but also in Afghanistan and because Afghanistan. Here I post some articles about this last topic:

NATO finally and unexpectedly (for me) got more troops from the US, while EU failed (from the Washington Post).

Pentagon officials said the transfer of troops currently in Afghanistan‘s eastern region would result in the biggest deployment of U.S. forces under foreign command since World War II.

The NATO accord came as European nations failed to plug all troop shortfalls identified by commanders battling the Taliban insurgency. As a result of the accord, the United States will provide 14,000 of the approximately 32,000 NATO troops that will be under British command. About 2,000 of the U.S. troops were already serving in the NATO force.

“If you are a member of an alliance based on solidarity, you have to deliver,” said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. “We need to do more.”

Germany, Italy and Spain all have large contingents in north or western Afghanistan and have ruled out sending them to the south

“I am grateful that the United States has decided to bring its forces under ISAF,” Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer

A note, also from the Washington Post on NATO in Georgia and the Russian reaction:

NATO defense ministers faced a tense meeting with their Russian counterpart Friday after the Western alliance angered Moscow by agreeing to deepen cooperation with Georgia.

Moscow denounced the move as a Cold War throwback that hurt Russian interests and could further destabilize the Caucasus region. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov threatened to send two divisions of Russian troops to the border with Georgia to ensure “Russia‘s security won’t be hurt if Georgia enters NATO.”

“Some members of NATO — shall we call them the younger generation? — are supplying Georgia with arms and ammunition of Soviet production,” Ivanov told a news briefing after the talks in the Slovenian coastal resort of Portoroz.

In Asia Times Afghanistan: Why NATO cannot win By M K Bhadrakumar it’s interesting:

New levels of violence, new weapons, new tactis,… still losing:

British commanders in southern Afghanistan have been given clearance to use the army’s controversial Hydra rockets, which can target large concentrations of people with tungsten darts. The commanders are also permitted to resort to air strikes on suspected Taliban formations, conduct preemptive strikes and set up ambushes. Yet a British commander has been reported as telling the media, “The intensity and ferocity of the fighting is far greater than in Iraq on a daily basis.”

The fatality rate of the 18,500-strong NATO force averages about five per week, which is roughly equal to the losses suffered by the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Indeed, in withering comments to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper last weekend, Soviet commanders who oversaw Moscow‘s disastrous campaign have predicted that the NATO forces will ultimately be forced to flee from Afghanistan.

It’s interesting the comparison with the soviet invasion:

A comparison with the 1980s is in order. The 100,000-strong Soviet army operated alongside a full-fledged Afghan army of equal strength with an officer corps trained in the elite Soviet military academies, and backed by aviation, armored vehicles and artillery, with all the advantages of a functioning, politically motivated government in Kabul. And yet it proved no match for the Afghan resistance.

In comparison, there are about 20,000 US troops in Afghanistan, plus roughly the same number of troops belonging to NATO contingents, which includes 5,400 troops from Britain, 2,500 from Canada and 2,300 from the Netherlands. Nominally, there is a 42,000-strong Afghan National Army, but it suffers from a high rate of defection

In Der Spiegel, a very good article, Wild West by Susanne Koelbl. The violence is increasing fast.

The neo-Talibans are ready to fight:

There were four suicide attacks in 2004 and 17 in 2005. The Taliban’s target for 2006: 500.

Security experts refer to them as the neo-Taliban: a resurgent, motley crew consisting of Mullah Omar’s former holy warriors, the mighty drug mafia, the troops of Islamist terror lord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Arabian and central Asian jihadists, and al Qaeda. All of them have gathered in the tribal areas bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan. And they have brought in new blood too: over the past few years, thousands of young fighters have been drafted from the refugee camps and impoverished villages, and drilled in boot camps in the Pashtun border region. The first major units are now ready for deployment.

The militias still receive infusions of cash from sponsors in Saudi Arabia and Egypt; both rich private donors and religious foundations generously fund their cause. But the poppy fields remain the Taliban’s biggest money spinners. The spokesman for the one-eyed Mullah Omar announced the summer offensive to a British reporter via satellite telephone: “When the foreigners arrive, we will turn the country into a river of blood.”

The British, who have command of the south, moved their troops into the Helmand province in May. They now talk openly of “war.”

The dusty mountains on the border to Pakistan are the setting for a lopsided conflict. On one side are the Afghan guerrillas with their hit-and-run tactics: fast, mobile, with light equipment and a capability for self-sacrifice that beggars belief in the West. On the other is the ultra-modern army from the West, NATO and the United States. This force enjoys technological superiority. But there’s a chink in its armor: its low tolerance of casualties. Military experts refer to this as asymmetrical warfare.

And mutual distrust is increasing:

The euphoria that greeted Americans in Kabul on Nov. 13, 2001 has long been replaced by suspicion. Today many Afghans regard the erstwhile liberators as occupiers.

The disenchantment is mutual: Afghans are convinced that the world’s only superpower views their country as a base for pursuing its geostrategic interests. The Americans, in turn, have lost patience with a corrupt, feudalistic society that is turning increasingly to crime and showing no intention of metamorphosing into a modern, Western-style democracy – least of all at the desired pace. Even Hamid Karzai’s star appears to be fading rapidly. Once the country’s beacon of hope, the Afghan president now seems weak and ineffectual. Karzai is trying to keep everyone happy – the Americans, the warlords and the drug czars – many of whom have been given powerful positions in the interests of political stability.

The newly restructured NATO has tied its fate to the success of the Afghan mission. That may not have been the wisest of moves. But what hope is there for NATO as a global police force if it cannot even bring peace to Afghanistan?

But, can the West (US) afford to lose this war? by Asia Times

No amount of pious homilies about NATO’s role and objectives can obfuscate the geopolitical implications of the Western alliance’s occupation of a strategically important country far away from the European continent, which lies at the crossroads of vast regions that are becoming the battleground for global influence.

Without doubt, in the perceptions of regional powers, NATO’s defeat in Afghanistan can only mean the scattering of the US blueprint of domination of Central Asia, South Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Afghanistan Five Years Later – The Return of the Taliban by the Senlis Council its a great report about the current situation there.


Emigración mundial
Pobreza mundial
Riqueza en 2015

I molts mapes més per catergories…. una web que pinta molt i molt bé…

Akie Abe, la primera dama de Japón, baila flamenco

Fue pinchadiscos en una emisora de radio y le apasionan las telenovelas surcoreanas

EL PAÍS – Gente – 28-09-2006

Akie Abe baila flamenco y es una seguidora tan apasionada de las telenovelas surcoreanas que ha comenzado incluso a estudiar esa lengua. Le gusta beber de vez en cuando alcohol -hecho inusual entre las mujeres japonesas-, en contraste con su marido, quien sólo toma té, y en el pasado llegó a trabajar de pinchadiscos en una emisora de radio local. Es la primera dama que tiene Japón en cinco años y medio, la esposa del halcón nacionalista Shinzo Abe, quien el martes fue elegido primer ministro por el Parlamento.

La pizpireta Akie Abe, de 44 años, acapara la atención y ofrece el glamour que los japoneses echaban de menos junto al hasta ahora primer ministro japonés, Junichiro Koizumi, un político carismático y con mucho éxito con el electorado femenino, pero sin una esposa a su lado, por ser un divorciado al que, además, no se le conoce compañera.

No parece probable que el rápido ascenso de su marido a la jefatura de Gobierno, tras haber ejercido hasta ahora sólo una cartera ministerial, la de portavoz gubernamental, y ello tan sólo desde hace 12 meses, vaya a desconcertar a Akie Abe, dado que tiene el entrenamiento de los 13 años que lleva Shinzo Abe en la política, concretamente en el gobernante Partido Liberal Democrático, en los que ha encarnado el ideal de la esposa de un político al haber hecho campaña con entusiasmo por él mientras que mantenía el perfil bajo que se esperaba de ella.

Akie Abe, quien estudia baile flamenco y fue conocida como Ackey en su etapa de pinchadiscos a finales de los noventa, es hija del ex presidente de Morinaga, uno de los principales productores de artículos de chocolate y confitería de Japón, tan populares como lo son entre las mujeres japonesas las telenovelas coreanas, aspectos ambos que hacen que la población japonesa sienta muy cercana a la primera dama. Akie, que antes de su boda trabajó en una de las primeras agencias de publicidad de Japón y que ahora ha avanzado que quiere aumentar el papel de primera dama, está mucho más en el centro de la noticia que sus antecesoras, quienes procuraban pasar casi inadvertidas, por lo que la población no sabía ni siquiera sus nombres.

For Kazakh Leader’s Visit, U.S. Seeks a Balance

ASTANA, Kazakhstan, Sept. 26 — When Vice President Dick Cheney came to this oil-rich Central Asian nation this spring he expressed admiration for what he called its “political development.” Yet just a day before his visit began, the authoritarian government effectively shut down the two most prominent American democracy organizations working here.
While American officials are negotiating to reverse the government’s decision, they have yet to complain about it publicly.
As President Bush prepares to receive the Kazakh president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, at a state dinner in Washington on Friday, the episode reflects the delicate balance the administration has struck with a country of growing strategic importance that has a record of corruption, flawed elections and rights violations, including the killings of two opposition leaders in the last year in disputed circumstances.
Critics here say the episode also illustrates the Bush administration’s willingness to sacrifice democracy, a centerpiece of its foreign policy, when it conflicts with other foreign policy goals.
“There are four enemies of human rights: oil, gas, the war on terror and geopolitical considerations,” said Yevgeny A. Zhovtis of the Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, an organization that has received financing from the American Embassy and the National Endowment for Democracy. “And we have all four.”
The Bush administration has promoted democratic reforms in Kazakhstan for years, but it also appears eager to mollify a president who has been a comparatively moderate Muslim leader in Central Asia, who has allowed NATO aircraft headed to Afghanistan to fly over the country and sent a company of soldiers to Iraq, and who controls vast resources of oil and gas, much of it extracted by American companies.
In a meeting on Monday in New York with Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke generally about democracy and human rights in Kazakhstan, a senior State Department official said, but did not raise the matter of the two democracy groups — the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and the International Republican Institute.
In Washington, Frederick Jones, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said the White House was aware of the problem with the institutes but added that he could not say whether President Bush would raise it this week, since the discussions were not scripted in advance. Still, he said, “Democratization is a very important part of the agenda.”
The backlash against promotion of democracy is by no means limited to Kazakhstan. The institutes, which are nonprofit, nonpartisan groups financed by the United States government, have been eyed warily not just here but in Russia, China and an array of authoritarian Central Asian countries that were alarmed by the “color revolutions” in Serbia, Georgia and, particularly, Ukraine.
As outlined in a recent report by the National Endowment for Democracy, many of them, including Kazakhstan, have followed the lead of Russia and severely restricted nongovernmental organizations. Some countries, notably Belarus, but also the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain, have closed them down altogether.
For Kazakhstan, as for the Bush administration, the coming visit has created an opportunity for improving relations that have been strained in recent years, even as Russia has taken advantage of its own political and economic influence.
The strains have stemmed from American concerns over corruption, restrictions on the news media and President Nazarbayev’s consolidation of political control.
The Kazakh government has its own concerns with American policy. They include a criminal case in New York against James H. Giffen, an American businessman, that implicates Mr. Nazarbayev in a bribery scheme dating from the 1990’s, and lukewarm American support for Kazakhstan’s bid to preside over the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Here in Kazakhstan, Mr. Nazarbayev’s visit has been portrayed as a chance for him to enhance his international prestige by improving relations with the United States. “The time has come when we can raise our relations to a completely new level,” Mr. Nazarbayev told reporters in Astana earlier this month.
Kazakhstan, the ninth largest country in the world in area but with only 15 million people, the majority of them Muslims, has experienced an energy-fueled economic boom that has transformed it into a regional power.
Mr. Nazarbayev is genuinely popular inside the country, though that popularity is certainly nurtured by the government’s control of television, which provides lavish, uncritical coverage. Even independent surveys of voters leaving the polls showed him winning re-election handily last December, with a vote as high as 82 percent, compared with the official result of 91 percent. The lower figure came from a poll financed by the International Republican Institute.
Mr. Nazarbayev’s opponents said the government’s need to pad what would have been a clear victory anyway highlighted a growing trend toward authoritarianism. Oraz Jandosov, a co-chairman of a democratic opposition party, True Bright Path, said the most disturbing consequences of the power and impunity enveloping Mr. Nazarbayev’s government were the deaths of two opposition leaders.
One, Zamanbek N. Nurkadilov, was found shot three times, once in the head, last November. His death was subsequently declared a suicide. The other, Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, was killed in February along with two bodyguards on a road outside Almaty, the country’s biggest city.
In August, an aide in the upper house of Parliament, Yerzhan Utembayev, and several officers of the secret services were convicted of those killings, though few here believed the declared motive: that Mr. Utembayev had been angered that Mr. Sarsenbaiuly had accused him of being a drunk in a newspaper interview three years earlier.
The actions against the American democracy programs followed soon after Mr. Sarsenbaiuly’s killing, reflecting a trend to stifle any open discussion of the country’s problem.
In a letter to the American Embassy, a copy of which was shown to The New York Times, Kazakh prosecutors charged the two institutes under a law that forbids “material assistance” to political parties. The institutes were accused of “the handing over of materials” and “illegal instances of transport” during their work with political and civic groups.
The accusations fit a pattern of harassment in the months leading up to last year’s election, when government tax and financial agencies repeatedly investigated and audited dozens of private organizations. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the institution Mr. Nazarbayev hopes to lead as chairman in 2009, criticized the election for “a number of significant shortcomings,” including “an atmosphere of intimidation.”
Four American officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing negotiations over the institutes, said neither institute had paid for or otherwise supported partisan activity.
Two people involved in the discussions said former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Senator John McCain of Arizona, the chairwoman and chairman of the Democratic and Republican institutes respectively, had written a letter to Mr. Bush urging him to raise the issue with Mr. Nazarbayev during his visit.
American officials continue to express support for Kazakhstan’s opposition and for democracy here in general.
Mr. Cheney, when he visited, met over breakfast with opposition leaders for an hour and 20 minutes in a hotel in Astana, the capital. Mr. Jandosov, who was there, said he welcomed the chance to explain “what the real situation was,” but expressed regret that the meeting came the morning after Mr. Cheney appeared in public with Mr. Nazarbayev and expressed support for him.
Murat Laumulin of the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Studies, a research organization with close ties to the government, said Mr. Nazarbayev’s government had made concessions to the United States in the field of energy and in the Bush administration’s fight against Islamic terrorism, among other areas, and thus merited a reprieve in demands for swift democratization.
“Kazakhstan has gone along with a lot of the American oil agenda with the unspoken understanding that the Kazakhstan population is not going to be provoked,” Mr. Laumulin said. “There isn’t to be a ‘color revolution’ here, and for five to seven years we don’t have to worry about needing to introduce genuine democracy. We get a strategic pause.”

The Institute of Energy Economics

The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan

Un ‘santuari’ de la reflexió sobre temes energètics a l’Àsia Oriental, dels que haurien de fer parada i fonda als nostres ‘favoritos’.

Disposa de molta informació (de gran qualitat) i també de bons experts.

Per a seguir-li el fil del tema, es pot visitar també la web del METI japonès, amb accés a diferents Llibres Blancs centrats en l’estratègia energètica del país. En destaco el que he revisat amb més detall, Annual Energy Report 2005 (METI) , que fa una bona feina per a nosaltres, és clar i sintètic, i disposa de taules i gràfics interessants.

Los desafíos de ABE

La llegada del otoño ha venido acompañada en la vida japonesa de un cambio de gran trascendencia. El Partido Liberal democrático (自民党) , tras la anunciada retirada de Koizumi como líder de su partido, se ha visto obligado a elegir un nuevo presidente: desde hace más de cincuenta años, ello significa automáticamente elegir nuevo Primer Ministro. Desde que los dos partidos conservadores se unificaran en 1955, nunca han abandonado del poder, a excepción de nueve meses en 1993, cuando todos los partidos de la oposición –menos el partido comunista- formaron una coalición para sacar de las riendas del gobierno al partido de Koizumi.

Lo cierto es que Koizumi ha revolucionario la política japonesa. Su gran popularidad –especialmente entre las mujeres y los jóvenes- la recuperación de su economía –aupada por su interdependencia con la locomotora china-, su determinación cambiar el estilo de hacer política de su país –bajo el eslogan “Cambiar el PLD, cambiar Japón”- , y su independencia en relación a las “bacas sagradas” del sistema –el llamado triángulo de hierro- explican el éxito de este político con aspecto de científico despreocupado.

El resultado de la votación para elegir un nuevo presidente del partido hace semanas que se conocía entre bambalinas. Abe, Shinzo 安倍晋三, flamante nuevo presidente del PLD y Primer Ministro, asume el reto de impulsar las reformas políticas y económicas que Koizumi planificó en sus cinco año al frente del gobierno. El nuevo primer ministro, hijo de Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, y nieto de Primer Ministro (Nishi), tiene ante si el desafío de limar asperezas con su principal socio económico, China, y la vecina Corea del Sur. Japón mantiene litigios con ambos países acerca de disputas territoriales –Islas Senkaku y Takeshima respectivamente- , trifulcas sobre la soberanía de recursos naturales, y sobre todo, y la más simbólica, diferencias sobre la historia de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Con su visita a Yasukuni, para algunos el símbolo del pasado imperialista japonés, Koizumi ha quebrado los lazos de cooperación que existían con los líderes chinos y coreanos, quienes han manifestado su decisión de no encontrarse con el ya ex primer ministro. Al respecto Abe no ha manifestado aún si va a ir a visitar a Yasukuni a los caídos por la partía en las distintas guerras. De hacerlo, le va a resultar muy difícil recomponer sus relaciones con ambos países.

El segundo punto en la agenda de Abe va a ser la reforma de la Constitución del 1947, escrita bajo el influjo claro de las tropas de ocupación americanas, quienes establecieron el ya conocido artículo 9 sobre la renuncia de la guerra. A pesar de las buenas intenciones de los constituyentes, pronto los Estados Unidos, en un contexto de guerra fría que resultaba caliente en Asia, entendieron que el artículo 9 era un “mistake” según palabras de Nixon. A nivel interno esto produjo una interpretación muy laxa de la clase política japonesa conservadora, quién terminó por aceptar la construcción de unas Fuerzas de Autodefensa que son ya uno de los ejércitos más poderosos del mundo. Abe, pues, tendrá que decidir si prefiere continuar “interpretando” de forma laxa el artículo 9 o si por el contrario, cree que la sociedad japonesa ya está preparada para reformar la “constitución pacífica”.

La reforma de la constitución (憲法改正) supone además un refuerzo del papel militar de Japón en el sistema internacional, ahora limitado por la Ley de Operaciones de Mantenimiento de la Paz que obliga a aprobar cada envío de las fuerzas de autodefensa fuera de territorio japonés. Además de convertir a sus fuerzas de autodefensas en un ejército hecho y derecho, la nueva diplomacia de halcones japonesa va a batallar por conseguir un sillón en el consejo permanente de seguridad en la ONU. Pero este objetivo no va a ser nada sencillo puesto que cuenta de entrada con la negativa de China, que al disponer de derecho a veto, puede bloquear en cualquier momento la decisión.

Otro de los puntos controvertidos a los que tiene que hacer frente el gobierno de Abe es el “income gap” que actualmente existe en la economía japonesa, entre los “insiders”, es decir los que tienen un trabajo de por vida, con grandes sueldos y gran seguridad laboral, y los “outsiders” o nuevas generaciones de japoneses que no encuentran su lugar dentro del mercado laboral japonés y se ven impelidos a trabajos de “segunda” (el llamado パート, es decir, part time job)

Con una economía boyante, un crecimiento económico estimado de 3%, y una renovada autoconfianza con su país, Abe va dirigir sus esfuerzos para conseguir un “beautiful country that every Japanese can be proud of”. Parece ser que este nuevo gabinete, mucho más conservador que los anteriores, va a reforzar el papel de su diplomacia y su seguridad nacional. ¿Pero, como atender a estos objetivos sin dañar las dos relaciones más importantes actualmente de la política exterior japonesa: su alianza de seguridad con EUA, y su interdependencia económica con China. Una mayor autonomía en materia de defensa puede suponer, a largo plazo, una más grande independencia respeto a los EUA, quien actualmente actúa de escudo protector contra cualquier ataque nuclear contra Japón. A pesar de todo, nadie duda que la alianza con EUA es una estrategia a largo plazo y este mayor peso en temas de seguridad no va a significar ningún peligro para la alianza entre americanos y japoneses.
¿Pero como converger el deseo de mejorar sus relaciones con China con el de crear un verdadero ejército? Nadie, a estas alturas, puede dar respuesta a este enigma.

Con toda probabilidad Koizumi, en alguna conversación privada en estos últimos días en el gabinete, vociferase a su bienintencionado Abe: 政治だってばさ!, “es la política estúpido”

Un buen presente navide-nyo…

Bien de precio, y disponibles por internet, algunas de las obras editoriales escritas por el amado Líder Supremo, en su versión española. Por supuesto, que la biblioteca es más amplia y merece visita.

Obras del Dirigente Kim Jong Il

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Nombre de la editorial : Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras
Número de las páginas : 6
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Número de las páginas : 164
La obra “Acerca del arte operístico” se compone de “La época y la ópera”, “Libreto de la ópera”, “La música en la ópera”, “La coreografía en la ópera”, “La escenografía de la ópera” y “La representación en el escenario operístico”, y aborda en forma integral importantes temas que propician el desarrollo del arte operístico jucheano.
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Número de las páginas : 72
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Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras
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Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras
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Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras
Número de las páginas : 157
La obra “El Arte arquitectónico” consta de capítulos como “Arquitectura y sociedad”, “Arquitectura y creación”, “Arquitectura y su formación”, “Arquitectura y dirección”, y aclara en todos sus aspectos diferentes temas relacionados con el desarrollo de esta rama.
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Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras
Número de las páginas : 186
La obra consta de cuatro capítulos: La música jucheana, La composición musical, Interpretación y Formación de la reserva de músicos.
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La obra está compuesta de los siguientes capítulos: “La vida y la literatura”, “El filme y su dirección”, “El carácter y el actor”, “Imágenes y filmación”, “Las secuencias y el decorado”, “La escena y la música”, “El arte y la creación” y “La creación y la dirección”.
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