Sunday, March 16, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #42

The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.
After the success of Washington's "Brown Revolution" in Ukraine, NATO is yet again aligned with fascists and neo-Nazis in its never-ending struggle against Russia and Western media is busy selling the myth of moderate Ukrainian neo-Nazis similar to the "moderate Syrian rebels". During the days of Operation Gladio these forces were simply called "anti-communist" but now the presstitutes will have to come up with more innovative forms of propaganda to conceal the fact that the new puppet regime in Kiev boasts several neo-Nazis in key positions. So the fight against fascism in Europe falls once again to Russia, which wants to get rid of the Ukrainian "ultranationalists" for a number of reasons:
Russia to add 2 Maidan leaders to intl wanted list over Chechen militant links

Members of the Ukrainian far-right parties, including Maidan leaders Oleg Tyagnibok and Dmitry Yarosh, are to be added to the wanted list for participation in hostilities against Russian soldiers in Chechnya, Russia’s Investigative Committee says.

Russia intends to prosecute members of the UNA-UNSO ultranationalist party for being part of the gang that fought alongside militant leaders Shamil Basayev and Arab mercenary Emir Khattab [Thamir Saleh Abdullah Suwailem] in the North Caucasus in 1994-95, said Vladimir Markin, the spokesman for the Investigative Committee.

Ukrainian Neo-Nazis & Chechen Terrorists

Both Oleh Tyahnybok, high-profile leader of the Svoboda party, and Dmitry Yarosh, leader of the Right Sector, played a decisive role in the Euromaidan protests and subsequent coup d'état. Yarosh was rewarded with the post of deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, where he is now working with another prominent neo-Nazi: Andriy Parubiy. According to former State Security Head of Ukraine Oleksandr Yakimenko, Parubiy was instrumental in organizing the Euromaidan sniper shootings, which were reportedly carried out by UNA-UNSO members. During the First Chechen War, NATO's Ukrainian "Gladio" branch UNA-UNSO fought alongside the jihadi mercenaries led by Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab. So it was hardly surprising, when Right Sector leader Dmitry Yarosh called on Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov to join the fight against Russia:
Ukraine nationalist leader calls on 'most wanted' terrorist Umarov 'to act against Russia'

A leader of the Ukrainian radical group Pravy Sektor (Right Sector), Dmitry Yarosh, has called on Russia’s most wanted terrorist Doku Umarov to act against Russia in an address posted on Right Sector’s page in VKontakte social network.

The statement points out that “many Ukrainians with arms in the hands” supported Chechen militants in their fight against Russians and “it is time to support Ukraine now.”

The message, signed “leader of Right Sector Dmitry Yarosh” then calls on Umarov “to activate his fight” and “take a unique chance to win” over Russia.
Realizing that this statement could tarnish the image of the "moderate" Ukrainian neo-Nazis, the Right Sector's spokesman claimed one day later that Yarosh had nothing to do with the message and that the VKontakte account had been hacked. Maybe it was just an evil Russian plot to discredit the new rulers in Kiev. However, Yarosh's fellow neo-Nazis have already accomplished this feat on their own. Especially Alexander Muzychko, another member of UNA-UNSO, gained worldwide fame thanks to several YouTube videos. But this fame comes with a price:
Court in N Caucasus issues sanction in absentia to arrest Ukrainian militant Sashko Bily

City court in Yessentuki, a resort town in Russia’s southern Stavropol territory, has entertained investigators’ petition to authorize an arrest in absentia of the Ukrainian militant Alexander Muzychko, more widely known as Sashko Bily, a spokesman for the court told Itar-Tass.

Sashko Bily has been placed on an international wanted list on suspicion of involvement in the tortures and killings of Russian soldiers in Chechnya in the period of 1994 through to the 2000’s.

Not everybody in Russia is in favor of using the legal system to take Muzychko and other Ukrainian neo-Nazi terrorists off the streets. State Duma deputy Valery Rashkin urged Russian special services "to follow Mossad examples" and assassinate Alexander Muzychko and Dmitry Yarosh. If Muzychko and Yarosh were not in the spotlight right now, Russia's FSB might consider this possibility. But there is a difference between assassinating Washington's new favorite neo-Nazi leader, who is running for president of Ukraine, and killing a few Chechen terrorists in Turkey: 
Chechens killed in Istanbul in the name of Russian intel, prosecutor claims

Five Chechens who were killed in Istanbul between 2009 and 2011 were done so in the name of Russia’s intelligence agency, according to a public prosecutor's indictment in the case.

The suspects are accused in the indictment of killing Ali Osaev, the Istanbul representative of the Caucasus Emirate, designated as a terrorist organization by Russia and the United States, on Feb. 26, 2009. Additionally, the execution-style murder of three Chechens, Berg-Hadj Musayev, Zaurbek Amriyev and Rustam Altemirov, on Sept. 16, 2011 in a parking lot in Istanbul was committed by two people who work for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and entered Turkey with fake passports under the names Alexander Zharkov and Nadim Ayupov, according to the prosecutor.
Kremlin hit squads have taken out a large number of Chechen terrorists abroad. Therefore, Russia's War on Terror is taking place among others in the NATO member states Turkey and Germany, which shelter many of these terrorists and keep the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus running via aid organizations like the German-Caucasian Society. Other attacks by Russian intelligence agents were carried out in Azerbaijan, another base for regional jihadi operations

Azerbaijan To Benefit From Crimean Crisis

But the country in the South Caucasus is of course much more than just a terror base. Washington and Brussels are constantly looking for new ways to lessen Europe's dependence on Russian gas utilizing Azerbaijan's abundant natural-gas resources. The latest idea is to take advantage of the Crimean crisis by luring future South Stream customer Bulgaria away from Gazprom [emphasis mine]:
Azerbaijan May Benefit from the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

In theory, those supplies even could start this year, commented energy expert Ilham Shaban. In particular, it could ensure supply diversification in one European market completely reliant on Russian gas -- Bulgaria. “If the EU will finance the construction of a short, 180-kilometer interconnector between the gas distribution networks of Turkey and Bulgaria” it could transport 2 billion cubic meters of gas to Bulgaria in 2014, said Shaban. The project “could take a few months and would not require big investments.”

So Bulgaria could be supplied with Azerbaijani gas via the TANAP and TAP pipeline network. However, first the cash-strapped EU has to come with enough money to finance the project. Fortunately, the Crimean crisis offers several opportunities for the Aliyev regime to benefit from the new Cold War:
Pentagon Making Contingency Plans If Russia Blocks Afghan Transit

The U.S. is already making plans to redirect cargo to Afghanistan if Russia no longer allows the Pentagon to use its territory, a top U.S. military official has said. And it appears that Georgia and Azerbaijan may be poised to benefit if that happens.

The only NDN routes that don't pass through Russia are the ones using the so-called southern spur, that is through Georgia and Azerbaijan, across the Caspian into Kazakhstan and onward into Afghanistan. Conversely, the Baltic states, especially Latvia, would stand to lose, since they are the starting node of the most common route that passes through Russia.
Meanwhile, Afghan President Hamid Karzai is still refusing to sign the bilateral security agreement with the United States, which would allow U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan, and he stated in his final address to parliament that all American soldiers can leave the country at the end of this year because the Afghan military is ready to take over. Since all ten presidential candidates have already vowed to sign the security agreement if elected, we will not find out if Karzai's assessment is correct and NATO troops will eventually stay in the Hindu Kush. 

Uzbekistan: Dostum, Gülen Plan Comeback

Nevertheless, leading figures in Afghanistan do not discount the possibility of a takeover by the Taliban and disintegration of the country. Abdul Rashid Dostum, infamous warlord and leader of Afghanistan's Uzbek community, just paid unofficial visits to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in order to negotiate potential military and technical assistance. Dostum also used the opportunity to remind the Kazakh and Uzbek authorities about himself in light of Afghanistan's unclear future. Especially the Uzbek regime could be tempted to support Dostum in establishing a buffer state near the Uzbekistan-Afghanistan border:
Will ‘Dostumistan’ Be Established Near Afghanistan’s Border With Uzbekistan?
Much as they did in the 1990s, the Uzbekistani authorities recognize the possible value a buffer state in the ethnically Uzbek region of Afghanistan—should one again be established there. “Dostum is one of the most secular politicians in Afghanistan and his policy is convenient for the Central Asia authorities. Nobody wants to see the Taliban near their borders,” said pro-government Uzbek political scientist Rafik Saifulin (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, on January 31).
“After the withdrawal of US troops, the probability of Afghanistan disintegrating into a few ethnic-based states is high,” the Russian Oriental Studies Institute’s Knyazev told Jamestown. “It is possible that Dostum discussed with Uzbek and Kazakh authorities the option of recreating a de-facto independent state in the Uzbek part of Afghanistan,” Knyazev posited (Author’s interview, February 10). 

Two weeks ago, the vulnerability of the bordering 'stans was highlighted, when three Turkmen border guards were killed, supposedly by Taliban fighters, although the Taliban denied this. Uzbekistan's leader Islam Karimov would probably prefer to seal the borders of his country altogether. Karimov is not only concerned about the wrong people entering Uzbekistan but also about the wrong people leaving the country. Last week, he issued a decree banning all government officials from traveling aborad without his permission:
Karimov to all top government officials: you cannot leave the country without my permission
76-year old Uzbek president Islam Karimov seems to have taken on a lofty responsibility. Going forward, every government official, presidential cabinet or Senate member, and even every non-profit organization executive planning a business trip requires the president’s personal approval.

This measure is meant to strengthen the Protection of State Secrets law, which allows for the government to restrict the mobility of those of its citizens who are deemed to possess state or military secrets.  
Some Uzbek citizens will be happy that they left when they had the chance to do so. One of these Uzbek citizens is certainly opposition leader Muhammad Salih, who has no intention of returning to his home country. But it remains to be seen if his opinion matters because the shadowy network of CIA puppet Fethullah Gülen is working behind the scenes to deport Salih from Turkey in exchange for a comeback of Gülen's schools in Uzbekistan [emphasis mine]:
Mukhammad Salikh claims threats of deportation from Turkey

The long-standing NDU leader Mukhammad Salikh maintains that Fethullah Gulen, a controversial Islamic preacher and politician in Turkey, and his supporters are seeking his deportation from Turkey in the hope of improving their relationship with Uzbekistan.

In his interview Salikh informed the Turkish daily that Gulen’s people are carrying out negotiations in Tashkent on re-instating their business interests – while in Turkey his supporters are pressuring members of government to initiate Salikh’s deportation.

Instead of Salikh, a friend of his, professor Orhan Kavuncu, has been deported, who upon his arrival in Uzbekistan immediately called on Salikh to leave Turkey so that Gulen’s schools can start operating in Uzbekistan.
In 1999 Uzbekistan's government had closed all Gülen movement schools in the country. Subsequently, eight Gülen school graduates were arrested and found guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization. Since Gülen's schools in Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states had played a central role in CIA operations in the region, this came as no real surprise. So the Uzbek authorities should know what they are getting into if they allow the CIA-backed Gülen cult to reopen its schools.
found them guilty of setting up an illegal religious group and of involvement in an extremist organization - See more at: Uzbek authorities should know better 

Kunming Attack Linked To "East Turkestan Forces"

According to FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, Washington's "Gladio B" operations in the Eurasian Balkans, which involved among others Fethullah Gülen, included bringing people from East Turkestan to Azerbaijan via Kyrgyzstan. From the base for regional jihadi operations in the South Caucasus these "mujahideen" were then channeled to Chechnya or Bosnia. Apparently, terrorists from China are still very much interested in traveling abroad for jihad but one their latest trips failed and this reportedly prompted the horrific attack in Kunming:
‘Failed overseas jihad’ led to terrorist attack

The suspects in Saturday's terror attack in Kunming, Yunnan Province had originally wanted to become jihadis overseas, Yunnan deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) said Tuesday.

Qin Guangrong, the provincial Party chief, said that eight attackers had traveled to Yunnan and Guangdong provinces try to leave China to participate in "jihad". They returned to Yunnan when they failed to get out, reported China National Radio (CNR).

When the group failed to escape through Honghe county in Yunnan, which borders Vietnam, they plotted to launch jihad at transport terminals in either Kunming or Honghe, according to the confession of one captured female suspect who regained consciousness in hospital on Monday. 

Chinese media announced within hours of the incident that Uyghur terrorists had perpetrated the massacre linking the Kunming attack to the ongoing destabilization campaign in East Turkestan aka Xinjiang. Although nobody has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, there is some evidence to support this claim. Police found a few flags of the "East Turkestan forces" at Kunming's railway station after the attack and the leader of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM), also known as the Turkestan Islamic Party, emphasized in rare interview shortly after the massacre that the fight against China takes top priority:
From his Pakistan hideout, Uighur leader vows revenge on China 
Entrenched in secret mountain bases on Pakistan's border with Afghanistan, Uighur fighters are gearing up for retribution against China to avenge the deaths of comrades in Beijing's crackdown on a separatist movement, their leader told Reuters.

In a rare but brief interview, Abdullah Mansour, leader of the rebel Turkestan Islamic Party, said it was his holy duty to fight the Chinese.

"The fight against China is our Islamic responsibility and we have to fulfill it," he said from an undisclosed location.

"China is not only our enemy, but it is the enemy of all Muslims ... We have plans for many attacks in China," he said, speaking in the Uighur language through an interpreter.
So the ETIM will continue to work on Washington's East Turkestan project. Due to the rising violence in Xinjiang, the rift between Han Chinese and Uyghurs in the autonomous region appears to be widening but there is still a long way to go before Anwar Yusuf Turani and his puppet government can be installed in China's far west. The authorities in Xinjiang know very well who is behind the East Turkestan independence movement and they are fed up with the separatist activities:
Xinjiang chairman blames overseas forces for separatist activities

A top government official from far west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region blamed the separatist activities in the ethnic area on overseas forces Thursday, saying that they will never achieve their purpose.

"We will be on high alert against those instigators. They are dreaming of splitting Xinjiang from our great motherland everyday," Nur Bekri, chairman of the regional government, told reporters while attending the annual session of the country's top legislature in Beijing.