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March 2011 Country Archive




Many of the nations regularly covered in our monthly reports here are involved in the rapidly expanding protest movements, broadly but not exclusively in the middle-east. As our World Audit democracy league tables show well over half of the world’s nations are simply not democratic, (measured by World Audit as Political Rights; Human Rights; Freedom of Speech; and Corruption).

As a group, out of 150 world nations, the Arab League with 22 members, are amongst the worst. Of that group, 17 with populations of a million or more were surveyed: Egypt stands at 91st, Saudi Arabia 104th; Tunisia 113th, Libya 146th,

So is it any wonder?

But Arab states apart, moving over to western Asia, AFGHANISTAN 141st, is experiencing some of the same kind of civil disorder as an accompaniment to their brutal civil war. At 143d, IRAN’s establishment is shocked as they thought they had destroyed the Green Party at the time of Ahmadinejad’s phoney election–and clearly they haven’t.

Europe is not excluded from violent protest. The Balkans are in some kind of ferment. ALBANIA, our report tells, of street riots protesting the awful corruption in that country, right up to the prime minister’s office, and soldiers there opening fire on the unarmed crowd and killing four of the protesters. In the FYR, Serbia is undergoing another spasm of violence and the government of BOSNIA after staggering, is currently paralysed, as we explain.

Included in this current March issue, we are adding EGYPT to the country reports which we publish monthly, which in the region have long included AFGHANISTAN, IRAQ, SYRIA, IRAN, LIBYA, and SAUDI ARABIA, for all of which updated reports are here. If major events take place in neighbouring states such as Lebanon with SYRIA, Tunisia with LIBYA, Yemen with SAUDI ARABIA we aim as in the past, to analyse and publish their story as well.

Libya what next?
The Gaddafi regime has crumbled faster than anyone could have imagined or predicted (and we have been covering Libya for several years). Succession is now the big question. Indeed the collapse of the regime nationally, now apparently controlling the capital and little else, plus the distribution of the opposition, makes us question whether Libya can survive as one country, or break-up into its original components of Tripolitania, Cyrenaica and Fezzan. If neither side can overcome the other, something of that sort will de facto be the situation .

Unlike Egypt or Tunisia, there is no neutral army to ‘hold the ring’. How to ensure a transition that people power is calling for? Gaddafi’s so-called Revolutionary Committees are his hated security services. But the group formed now in liberated Benghazi will need international help.

Libya is surprisingly close to Europe, hence its role as jumping-off point for African ‘wet-backs’ seeking illegal entry, which Gaddafi was more or less bribed to contain. Libya’s oil will be the uppermost thought in some government’s strategic thinking. What if China opportunistically offered its services to keep the peace and rebuild the institutions of state? No one, except the Chinese, could categorically say that wouldn’t happen!

Right now, the UN, the EU and the USA must be juggling the problems of ‘if’, ‘how’, and ‘when’, to intervene! As we point out there are 140 tribes in Libya. Will those that are based near the oilfields suddenly rediscover their commitment to their ancient tribal piece of desert? We do consider possible solutions in this LIBYA report, as well as point out the many problems.

The Iranian lovers of Death
Here the authorities, many of them political priests, leaning on a religious base consistently react with calls for death against their critics. The dubiously elected parliamentarians were recently video’d brandishing their fists and screaming ‘death’ to their moderates who favour democratisation in Iran, as their reaction to the events in Arab states. Of course these mainly old men dislike the idea of their nation’s youth, many far better educated than they are in everything (other than Koranic texts), threatening to displace them by having fair elections.

IRAN is certainly worried about the events in the Arab states that has caused a resurgence in the fortunes of the ‘Green Party’ that was supposed to have been crushed, after protesting the corrupt elections that saw Ahmadinejad returned to power. Iran’s political priests are very keen on killing their opponents, as cruelly as may be. It is a refrain that still surrounds any challenge to themselves. But as in the 18th century French revolution, where the zealots mercilessly executed their opponents, the whirlwind of revolution and death eventually consumed the executioners as well. It is likely that sooner or later this regime will change, then history suggests that today’s tyrants, themselves, will be lined up for some of the same treatment. Our IRAN report tells of the upsurge in the streets and also some of the strains at the top that come from different centres of power seeking a larger role in governance. In this country the president is not the top man. That job is reserved for the senior priest and beneath him there is a Council of Guardians, many themselves men of religion (the president can be checked by either the leading Ayatollah or the Council). Then there is the parliament who seek a larger share of power than they have; also the Revolutionary Guard, whose role is roughly contiguous with that of the SS in Nazi Germany. All the apparatus of repression - but will it be enough?

Syria holds its breath
Unlike his Arab neighbours President Bashir Asad is not hated, indeed he is quite well liked by the computerate, young professional generation, who were the key element in the Egyptian and Tunisian revolts. This because he is regarded as having been rather like them, before he was plucked out of his opthamologist job in London to succeed his father, due to the untimely death of his older brother, the ‘heir apparent.’ He lived as a young married professional, and many feel that they can relate to him, in the sense that he can relate to them. It is unlikely that SYRIA can escape the wave of protest sweeping the Arab world, but Asad is unlikely to be held personally responsible in the way that long reigning dictators have been in other countries. He is also very unlikely to order the use of force against his own people.

The traditional opposition in this country were the Moslem Brothers, They had in 1982 declared an Islamic revolt from the city of Hama which was first isolated and then ruthlessly attacked with perhaps 10,000 deaths. They have been subdued ever since and a fierce secret police has kept it that way. Asad has maintained a good relationship with the army, the seat of his family’s power, necessarily - given the overwhelming objective of maintaining pressure on Israel to recover the occupied Golan Heights. Our report tells considerably more.

Saudi Arabia: the dynasty continues
Enormously wealthy – and stable, Saudi is different to the other Arab states currently in varying degrees of ferment. The elderly monarch is not a monster, but indeed is rather popular. The unrest current in the Arab world however may not leave Saudi untouched. There is already a “day of anger,” so designated by Arab youth, planned for March 11th. The younger professional, computerate class, so significant in Egypt and Tunisia, get more aggravation from such backwards-looking zealots as the religious police, who are enmeshed in the fabric of the state. We would anticipate them being more a focus of discontent. However Saudi has a major political problem which is the succession. King Abdallah is progressive by Saudi monarchical standards, but he has just recently returned from lengthy medical treatment abroad, unsurprising because he is 87. His brother and presumed successor Prince Sultan is over 80 years of age and is in worse health than the king. The next in line Prince Nayef, the interior minister, is a sprightly 78 years of age. Our March report gives more detail and takes a look at the situation in neighbouring Bahrain.

Iraq and ‘the Arab revolution’
IRAQ has not escaped the upheavals, even though they have had popular elections and put a complicated coalition into power. The ‘street’ in Baghdad have been less involved, but important cities such as Kut, Diwaniya, Basra, Anbar have all been subjected to street protests, not so much here for democracy, but as a protest about the rotten services that the government provides - spasmodic or no electricity, there are issues of drinking water, sewage control – garbage disposal, the services essential to a tolerable urban life. Of course they rightly suspect that corruption plays its part, but the protest is primarily about the government making such a bad job of governance. Unlike democratic countries the politicians are elected for who they are- from which religious or ethnic community, rather than on the program that they would implement if elected- a fatal flaw as this continues into the future.

We give details of the new coalition government appointments. They have still not appointed ministers of Defence or of the Interior, key appointments these, which situation reflects the quarrelling within a complex coalition. Here at least the economy has a chance to do well, because oil exports are now ‘on the up’ and IRAQ has an awful lot of oil.

Arabs today – former Soviets tomorrow?
During the course of the great events surrounding the Egyptian drama, Mikhail Gorbachev wrote a penetrating piece for the IHT making sound points about Tunisia and Egypt - that their people didn’t want “to live under authoritarian rule and are fed up with regimes that hold power for decades”. Subsequently he said more, that Putin’s Russia is a “sham democracy” He was originally talking about all the Arab regimes - but moved on to point out that “similar regimes exist just about everywhere.”

His line of thought was clear. Because over many years, we at NewNations have specialised in reporting the USSR, and then the FSU, we also saw an obvious parallel. It is not so much Russia that is ripe for change (this time around at any rate). The machinery of repression has never gone away from there. Never has there been any form of government other than ‘top down’… and further, ‘Russian-ness’ - the ‘idea’, it’s history and it’s achievements, give coherence to many otherwise nondescript individuals. Despite the fact that the USSR in 1991 just fell over in a bloodless collapse, that was due to the fact that it was a top-down event and we see few signs in Russia now of any risorgimento of the Egyptian kind.

Instead the rather accurate description of Russia as ‘an oligarchy run by its security services’ would make it a tough nut to crack from any escalation of street protests. That would apply to the 89 federated republics and territories of Russia, the largest country in the world, although people power may manifest itself in some of them. The kind of Security troops that would be deployed there we fear would reliably shoot into crowds of civilians, if ordered to do so. From Ivan the Terrible through to the last Tsar Nicholas, they always did!

Russia Now
But things may be changing, even in Russia. This March issue of RUSSIA discusses the perceived differences between Russia’s two leaders on a number of different levels. Which of them will be the candidate for President at the election next year? Gorbachev took them to task for their arrogance – that ”they would decide.” He said that they were displaying incredible conceit. It should be decided in the ballot box. They each are held to represent a different future for RUSSIA. Putin the hard man, the personification of Russia as the ‘State Oligarchy run by the Security Services.’ Medvedev as the Rule of Law specialist, the great hope of the liberals, (who frankly do not seem too numerous in that country). Some seasoned commentators believe that this is a ‘Mutt and Jeff’ act, a good cop-bad cop scenario, and that they jointly intend to keep the outside and their own world guessing, until late in the day. Our RUSSIA report looks at the excitement surrounding a woman, the judge’s assistant in the Khordokovsky trial who resigned and appears to have ‘spilled the beans’ at considerable personal risk, about how the verdict was arrived at. The smart money is predicting that she will retract, once the consequences have been ‘explained’ to her, but this issue is also connected with the Medvedev-Putin story as we tell.

Power without accountability - for how long?
We immediately related the ‘Gorbachev parallel’ (to the events in the Arab world) in particular to five FSU states: Azerbaijan; Uzbekistan; Kazakhstan; Turkmenistan; Belarus. In each case the post-Soviet republic complete with its machinery of repression sprang fully-armed from the wreckage of the USSR. In none of the five will the government be changed by the faux elections they hold from time to time. In the cases of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, the elderly rulers now are the very same individuals who were Moscow’s vice- regents, their republic’s Communist Party First Secretary in the days of the USSR.

In the case of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, like royal families they have already moved on via ‘managed successions’ to the next generation. In Belarus the ruler of Europe’s last dictatorship followed his father, who in Soviet times was a satrap of the Kremlin in Belarus. These rulers, as in Soviet days run their nation for their own benefit - but now don’t have to send the large annual tributes to Moscow. All of them in one way or another have gained from the post-soviet internationalising of oil and gas, the revenues from which feed enormous private fortunes into discreet banks. In each nation there are many poor and unemployed, and few signs of ‘trickle-down’ from oil & gas revenues. Palaces, private jets, yachts and limos however, may not be seen, but are there alright.

They mostly have ‘pretend elections,’ when the great and the good of the West seek to persuade the rulers to make these free and fair, with disappointment the inevitable outcome. Super-rich hereditary rulers, rather poor populations, control, always control, over citizen’s lives. These and other blights are parallels in many ways to the perceived complaints within the Arab states. Four of these five were originally made up of feudal khanates under imperial Russia, that were swallowed up and adopted as SSR’s into the Soviet Union, with the CP bosses taking the place of the Khans.

Apart from these five candidates for people-power democracy, there are other FSU states such as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan with small populations and mountainous terrain where (former CP) ruling cliques make the decisions, but in the nature of such places, outside of the towns there isn’t much government at all and tribalism is still a factor.

Armenia, Georgia, Moldova – all quite poor have elections and at least theoretically the power holders can change, which isn’t going to happen in the big Five we started with. Here they tend to change, if they change at all, not to opposition groupings, but rather as a reshuffle amongst themselves. The opposition parties, perennial outsiders, understandably cry foul at the corrupt way in which elections have been conducted. UKRAINE did have elections, the first time around a complete ‘fix,’ which brought the people onto the streets and did achieve new elections which were triumphantly hailed in the West as free and fair, although of course the businessmen backers of the new rulers wanted, and duly received their reward. Ukraine’s politics have remained bred-in-the-bone corrupt and the most recent elections favoured a change back to a pro-Russian government, so little progress has been made. The power clique now in charge can be expected to be all in the same mould. Meanwhile the other three former Soviet all-Union republics, the Balts: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania once away from the influence of Moscow, have achieved democracy and done very well - not perfect in each case all the time perhaps, but under the aegis of the European Union they had help to hand, and there is a necessary discipline for members, which seeks to keep them honest.

Thus the wave of protests right now associated with the middle-eastern states, where it can be seen that with each outbreak of protest and some martyrdom, spread like wildfire, could at some future time if not immediately, be replicated in at least some of the fifteen republics of the FSU.

The events that still at this point appear fundamental in change within the Arab world, could even become in due course a hurricane, that overtakes many of the former Soviet states, who are not, in several ways, that different. The people are not the masters in their own countries, elections are sham affairs, the rulers are also the principal sometimes the only, beneficiaries of whatever wealth the nation may have; the lawcourts are not independent of the ruling authorities, the police are corrupt, media are largely state controlled - although innovations like the internet are a limited exception. That is truly significant and the fact is that knowledge of events in the rest of the world are getting through to the younger people, of the same kind that initiated the ‘Arab Revolt,’ and which caused the rapid reactions in other comparable neighbouring nations.

When the USSR collapsed in 1991, it happened by the edict of three men, the presidents of Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia itself, who as the leaders of the only true slavic states of the Soviet Union (the real Russia), met at a hunting lodge for a weekend’s plotting. There they completely foxed the world’s intelligence agencies including their own, by declaring the Soviet Union to no longer exist, and in the case of Boris Yeltsin, he wrapped up the communist party into the bargain. It was a stunning historical event.

So that was twenty years ago. The leaders there in that Belarussian forest lodge had decided that the Soviet Union didn’t work and that the fifteen individual “all-union republics” should go their own ways. Russia already had 89 constituent republics and territories in its federation and is still the largest country on earth. But the other FSU countries much less so. Large in territory certainly, but often surprisingly small in population. Twenty years on, the former Soviet citizens know something of what goes on in the outside world. If we (and Mr Gorbachev) can see the connection between them and the upheaval in the Arab states, then so can they!

To a greater or lesser extent many of the same conditions that saw the ructions in the Arab world exist in these former Soviet states. Their younger citizens will be observing the current events on the web if not their nation’s media, and no doubt will see the similarities. In the former Soviet world however, it would be a safe bet in some that troops would be ordered to shoot, if the situation became too tense – and they probably would, but outside the Russian federation they might not. The Soviet Union undoubtedly brought education to populations who previously had known little of formal learning - and the internet reaches surprisingly remote locations. As in other parts of the world, there is a generation of computerate, world-view holding, young citizens, who were the makers of the Arab revolt. They could turn out to be the beginning of the end for the former Soviet colonies who never fought or even campaigned for their independence from Russia, but just became the private estates of powerful well placed families –the new post-Soviet self-appointed monarchies.

Repressive Uzbekistan
Despite running a most repressive regime, the Karimov regime in UZBEKISTAN has powerful backers abroad, who regard doing business with it as a distasteful necessity. The US has long been in this category, Russia also but with rather less scruples. They have now been joined by the EU, which has huge interests in Central Asia. Substantial riches and markets are at stake. President Karimov was on his first official visit to Brussels in late January since the European Union lifted sanctions against his government imposed in 2005 after the brutal suppression by the government of a popular uprising in the Uzbek city of Andijan.

International rights groups have been urging the EU to raise the issue of human rights with the Uzbek leader. News of his visit sparked uproar among activists and Uzbek dissidents abroad. Many have expressed concern that the president of the European Commission and the head of NATO are meeting the leader of a country that has one of the worst human rights records in the world. In a report issued in February, the New York-based Human Rights Watch accused the EU of "an obsequious approach towards Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan."

Ahead of the Brussels talks, Amnesty International wrote to the President of the European Commission, urging him to raise human rights issues with Mr Karimov. It said human rights defenders and independent journalists "are continuously subjected to harassment, beatings and detention without fair trial" in Uzbekistan.

It also urged the EU to install an official delegation in the Uzbek capital Tashkent to monitor the situation, with a special focus on human rights. But nothing is likely to come of any of this.

Kazakhstan: under pressure from mid-east events
The tumultuous events in the Middle East will have repercussions in Eurasia. In KAZAKHSTAN President Nursultan Nazarbayev is keen on re-election soon. The date for the presidential election has suddenly been re-set for April 3 after amendments to the constitution and electoral law were rushed through parliament. It would appear on the face of it under pressure from events in the Middle East.

Incumbent leader Nazarbayev, who on January 31 proposed pushing the presidential vote forward by nearly two years, has yet to confirm that he will run but there seems no doubt that he will.

The snap election is the result of a referendum campaign, launched in December that would have extended Nazarbayev’s term to 2020. Prior to rejecting the referendum idea and embracing an early election, the septuagenarian president said that he “understood the signal of the people – not to leave my post, to continue working”. Perhaps he misunderstood the signal?

Pakistan already has every kind of problem – what next?
Here the government is holding on to power ‘by their eyelashes’, they are effectively broke and not creditworthy. Their military is cozy with the Taliban who are the plague of neighbouring Afghanistan, whilst another brand of islamist insurgents are attacking their own PAKISTAN police, army and government installations, just as they murdered Mrs Bhutto in public view.

Reading of the nation’s problems, you will perhaps see that leaving all their insurgent concerns aside, currently the ‘killer problems’ are mostly financial. If this isn’t a ‘failed state,’ then it is only inches away. The world has no experience with a failed state that has nuclear weapons, which is why the US cannot call them to account (which they must really, really want to do), and it will probably all just stagger on from crisis to crisis. What would really be a major upset is if the Pakistani military were to be suborned by Islamics within their own ranks!

North Korea Talks: short - and not sweet
Yet another olive branch destroyed. Tentatively both Koreas agreed to resume talks, initiating this with military men – at colonel level. The thinking was that practical uniformed men would shape up and talk objectively. It was not to be! Our March report for NORTH KOREA tells of this and much more. Kim Jong il has just made it to seventy and we take another look at his three sons, the youngest now affectionately spoken of as ‘the Young General,’ and supposed successor to the new septuagenarian. There is also a priceless video link of North Korean maidens in a formation swimming tableau to honour the great man’s anniversary.

Turkey the former imperial power
The EU has failed to distinguish itself during the North African crisis, although individual countries particularly with nationals working there, France, Britain, Italy particularly, have pitched in as individual states. Our report on TURKEY in this issue points out that TURKEY has a historic connection with all of the troubled nations. How different the EU’s responses might have been if Turkey was a member of the EU, instead of a discouraged candidate. We also make the plea for reversing the current hostile position of the leading EU nations to Turkey’s application, since it’s situation has improved remarkably and would in our estimation be a bonus to the EU to have it in membership.

Ukraine cosies up to Turkey
February this year marks the first anniversary of the end of the Orange Revolution in UKRAINE. In February 2010 Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's then opposition leader, narrowly won the presidential election against Yulia Tymoshenko, the then prime minister, who had been a leading light in the 2004 upheaval. The victory by Yanukovych marked a remarkable comeback for a man disgraced in 2004 by the "Orange Revolution" mass street protests, which Tymoshenko led.

Since his return to office, the pro-Russian Yanukovych has re-asserted a 'special relationship' to RUSSIA. But what about UKRAINE joining the EU? Ukraine’s membership is a long way off. There are innumerable problems to confront concerning agriculture and other matters. Meanwhile Kiev has decided to form a new 'special relationship' - with TURKEY.

The Turks are looking northwards as well as southwards. There they see more hopeful opportunities. The Ukrainians are looking southwards as far as Turkey. The Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan travelled to UKRAINE on an official trip in January. He met with President Yanukovych and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov. Erdogan and Yanukovych signed a Joint Declaration for the establishment of a ‘High Level Strategic Council’ between the two countries. Prime Minister Erdogan also participated in a meeting of the Turkish-Ukrainian Business Council in Kiev on January 25.

In almost any other situation this government would be dismissed as not fit for purpose. President Karzai – hand-picked for the job by the Americans, years ago, has become a nightmare to them. It is hard to find good news anywhere, given that the object of being there was to destroy al Qaeda, defeat the Taleban, prevent once and for all the growing of opium and the export of heroin; shut down corruption and finally create a working democracy in readiness for withdrawing the troops, with their ‘mission accomplished.’

It isn’t like that at all, not one of these objectives has been realised - as a quick scan of our current report will demonstrate.

Reverse political Engineering
Bad luck for President Obama that the US was completely marginalised on the UN resolution criticising Israel, on which 130 countries supported the resolution as did all the Security Council members, apart from the USA, who just went ahead and vetoed it!

The bad luck was that this was publicised world-wide, just as the world was admiring the courage of the Arab protestors in the middle-east and thinking Obama was getting it about right in dealing with Egypt.

It pointed up a major flaw in such world issues because we would judge that probably most US diplomats, most of the White House people and probably Obama himself, would have agreed with the criticism in the resolution saying that Israel’s building illegal settlements was a major block on ‘the two state solution’ for Palestine. It’s no more than the truth. But some important part of US politics is actually rotten and it doesn’t look like anybody is going to fix it. That is the power of certain lobbies not so much to influence, but to determine an outcome from the Congress.

We marvelled at the power of the Finance industry lobbies just recently and at the data of the scale of political donations they made, and continue to make. Even despite that as lobbies go, the Israeli lobby is the tops! A triumph of organisation, brilliantly conceived long ago, whereby at US election time, when a candidate is seeking votes for his own election, the lobby representative goes to see him and says he can deliver the ‘supporters of Israel’ vote. Would the candidate please sign this pledge and all will be well. Candidates find it very hard to refuse a block of support –that after all is what electioneering is all about, so not many of them do refuse. The pledge meanwhile is safely filed away by the lobby in case of ‘memory loss’ by the politician.

No equivalent Palestinian promises can match them as there are not a whole lot of Palestinians concentrated in any particular congressional district, nor even in the USA at all. To remind you, the US is still the most powerful state in the world. They have shown a continuing eagerness to sort out the shortcomings of other states (see Iraq). Currently the disapproval is on Iran, with some justification, but what brave soul will tackle the US problem of the elected representatives of the people on the public payroll, actually serving another master?

So in a form of reverse political engineering, mighty Washington is bidden by little Jerusalem. Hard luck Palestine, but you can’t match it!

Suez Canal provocations
On 22nd February 2011 the BBC informed the world that two Iranian warships came through the Suez Canal into the Mediterannean Sea.

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s foreign minister, protested:” the international community must understand that Israel cannot ignore these provocations.” (note: notice of the movement had been given to the canal authority before the recent uprising in Egypt).

On 14 July 2009 two Israeli warships, the BBC reported, sailed through the canal in the other direction into the Red Sea. Israeli media were briefed and reported that this was being seen “as a warning to Iran.” Also an Israeli submarine passed through the canal into the Red Sea, returning through the canal on 5th July of that year. But these would presumably be something else, not ‘provocations’? Perhaps nobody at the Israeli Foreign Ministry told Mr Lieberman before his outburst, or maybe he thought the world had forgotten?

India Evacuating Libya
India has been recovering its nationals from Libya. There were 18,000 Indians in the country, some 700 have been flown out and two Indian naval vessels have sailed to help in the evacuation of the many remaining.

Meanwhile there has been an upsurge of violence in Bihar between Maoists and police, as we describe.

Philippines: Death of a General
A general who was also a minister – in the government of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, General Angelo Reyes was complicit in a financial scandal under the previous regime, where looting the state was the norm. Reading the story one can feel sympathy for him in his decision to ‘fall on his sword’ and depart the scene with some dignity. The background is that the Philippines is deeply corrupt and has been for all time. It has been a classic story of politicians misusing power for self enrichment. It is a nation where political murder is standard, where trades unionists were killed, often extra-judicially by policemen, or the military. Political journalists are literally an endangered species. The murder rate last year for them was the world’s highest. But towards the end of the year, elections finally brought in ‘a new broom’ as president, who appears to really be getting to grips with the cleansing job that should have been done lifetimes ago.

This issue of TAIWAN will bring interested readers up to date with the reunification of the island with the mainland, as seen though the eyes of China proper and the people of Taiwan. The very term ‘mainland,’ as opposed to calling it China, is an innovation of President Ma, who hopes for reunification but with some significant role for his Kuomintang (believed to be the worlds richest political party) –whose armies Mao defeated some sixty years ago.

This March 2011 issue offers the latest updated reports on:-

Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Taiwan,  Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan

Clive Lindley

Up-to-Date March Reports on all of the above.


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