Sunday, May 4, 2014

The New Great Game Round-Up #49

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. 
 
On April 27, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where he spent four days visiting schools, factories and companies as well as inspecting local armed police and watching a military exercise. Xi's visit came amid increasing efforts by the local authorities to contain “potential hazards to society” including growing too much facial hair. China's President lauded the efforts and emphasized the importance of Xinjiang's long-term stability to the whole nation. Therefore, fighting separatism takes top priority and Xi stated that China will deploy a "strike-first" strategy against terrorists in the region. Only hours after the Chinese leader had finished his four-day trip, the terrorists were the ones who struck first:
Three dead, 79 injured in Xinjiang railway station terrorist attack

Three people were confirmed dead and 79 others were injured in a violent terrorist attack at a railway station in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Wednesday evening.

Four people are seriously injured but in stable condition, said the publicity department of the regional committee of the Communist Party of China.

Xi Jinping Calls For Stability in Xinjiang, Terrorists Disagree

According to Chinese media, the two suspected perpetrators of the attack are among the dead. The two terrorists reportedly stabbed people with knives before they set off explosives at the exit of Xinjiang's largest railway station. One of the two suspects was identified as Sedirdin Sawut, a 39-year-old citizen from Aksu prefecture. Aksu has been making the headlines in recent months due to terrorist activities. Police are now looking for ten family members of Sawut and all relevant authorities have been ordered to conduct a thorough investigation into the assailants and other suspects by all available means. But even before any details about the terrorist attack and its perpetrators had emerged, somebody could not wait to talk to Reuters about the incident. This did not go down well in China [emphasis mine]:
Instigation is the terror of terrors
But someone could not wait anymore. Hours after the terrorist attack, Dilxat Raxit, spokesman of the so-called World Uygur Congress based in Germany, was quoted by the media that "such incidents could happen again at any time."

Could he be more licentious by being not even bothered to gloss over his bloodlust? Anyone who preaches killing one's own kind is a murder.
Dilxat Raxit attempted to throw dust into people's eyes before the police investigation result is announced.

He claimed he was worrying about the situation of the Uygur people in Xinjiang following the terrorist attack. But that makes him sound more like a racist who seeks to sow dissension among ethnic groups and stigmatizes with intention a certain ethnic group he claims to represent.

Why? It's time to disclose the dark scheme behind which he and his organization conspire.
© Photo Getty Images/Junko Kimura

Dilxat Raxit, the Sweden-based spokesman of the NED-funded World Uyghur Congress (WUC), is the go-to-guy for Western media when it comes to terrorist attacks in China because he can be relied upon to sell the preferred narrative. It does not matter whether he has any idea what happened in Xinjiang or not. Raxit's task is to portray all terrorist attacks as inevitable consequences of government repression and his latest statement has to be seen in this context. The WUC plays a decisive role in Washington's East Turkestan project and is closely tied to Western intelligence. Like many other exile organizations, which have been cultivated by the CIA, the WUC is located in Munich in close proximity to the headquarters of the Bundesnachrichtendienst in Pullach. Due to the successful cooperation between WUC and Western media, Washington is able to downplay the U.S.-backed insurgency in Xinjiang:
China airs ‘frustration’ after US report challenges Beijing’s terror attack findings

Beijing expressed strong frustration over a US report that criticised China for failing to provide sufficient evidence of terrorist involvement in recent attacks and its reluctance to step up counter-terrorism co-operation with Washington.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry late last night accused the United States of having “double standards” and making “irresponsible remarks” a day after the US State Department released the Country Report on Terrorism last year.
The report challenged some of Beijing’s conclusions on who was responsible for recent violence, including a deadly car blast at Tiananmen Square.
Beijing blamed the deadly car blast at Tiananmen Square and many other terrorist attacks on the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM). However, the ETIM is not even included on the U.S. State Department's official list of designated terrorist organizations. After the attack at Tiananmen Square had already indicated that Uyghur separatists might resort to killing civilians instead of targeting government offices and police stations, the latest terrorist attack in Urumqi seems to confirm this variation in tactics. More violence against civilians could succeed in attracting international attention to Uyghur claims of discrimination and thereby play into Washington's hands. The Chinese government seeks to prevent this and President Xi demanded "decisive actions" against terrorism in response to the attack. After all, Beijing's plan to lay another gas pipeline to Xinjiang is difficult enough without the terror problem:
Gas import: China abandons IP project, eyes TAPI pipeline

In a strategic move, China has shelved a plan to be part of the Iran-Pakistan (IP) gas pipeline that faces the threat of US sanctions and has come up with an offer to join the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline to meet its growing energy needs.

According to sources, Beijing plans to lay a pipeline under the TAPI project from Gwadar to China, which will turn Gwadar Port into an energy corridor.

Afghanistan's "Peaceful" Election Fuels Hopes

Since U.S. and Saudi pressure killed the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline, the Chinese government is now stuck with the highly doubtful Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. Although there has not been any progress on TAPI in years, some governments refuse to give up on the project. Both China as well as neighboring India are trying to secure as much gas supplies as possible and are therefore willing to support TAPI. In order to ensure stability in Afghanistan, the Indian government assists Kabul in training the Afghan security forces. Furthermore, New Delhi will help to equip these security forces with Russian arms:
India turns to Russia to help supply arms to Afghan forces

India has signed an agreement under which it will pay Russia to supply arms and equipment to the Afghan military as foreign combat troops prepare to leave the country, in a move that risks infuriating Pakistan.

But the decision to meet some of Afghanistan's military hardware demands - albeit sourcing them from Russia - points to a deepening role in Afghanistan aimed at preventing it from slipping back into the hands of the Taliban and other Islamist groups that are hostile to India.

It comes as China, another big player in the region which borders Afghanistan via a small, remote strip of land, is preparing for a more robust role in Afghanistan, also concerned that the withdrawal of NATO troops will leave a hotbed of militancy on its doorstep.
© Photo AP

Perhaps, the optimism regarding TAPI's future and New Delhi's faith in the Afghan security forces can to some extent be traced back to numerous enthusiastic media reports about the supposedly peaceful presidential elections in Afghanistan. The "surprisingly smooth election" has been described as a turning point for the security forces by U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and it was also cited as a major reason for Washington's considerations to cut the U.S. force in Afghanistan to less than 10.000 troops. Unfortunately, all these reports about the peaceful election were not entirely accurate:
Officials: Despite Afghan election success, insurgents remain active

Contrary to initial reports, Afghanistan saw unusually high levels of violence during Saturday’s presidential vote, according to analysts and military officials, putting a dent in the prevailing narrative of a largely peaceful election.

“It was one of the most violent days in Afghanistan,” said U.S. Brig. Gen Dave Haight, who works with Afghan forces in some of the most violent areas of the country’s east. “It was not lost on the enemy that the election was a pivotal event.”
According to initial reports and New York Times propaganda, the presidential election was "cleaner" than the widely discredited 2009 election. But in fact, there is quite some evidence to the contrary. Abdullah Abdullah, the runner-up in the 2009 presidential election, is leading the polls and will face former World Bank technocrat Ashraf Ghani in a runoff. Washington favors Abdullah, whose close relationship with the CIA dates back to the 1990s, when he served as the spokesman for Ahmad Shah Massoud. Abdullah has already expressed his willingness to cooperate with the Taliban and this will be necessary if any pipeline is to be build across the country. The neighboring Central Asian states are keeping a close eye on developments in Afghanistan. Especially the Tajik regime is concerned about the Taliban's future role and wants to contain the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. In the last few months, the Tajik authorities have cracked down on Tajikistan's Islamic Renaissance Party. More recently, state media linked the party to the jihadi mercenaries fighting in Syria and its regional leader in the Gorno-Badakhshan province was arrested:
Islamic party functionary held in Tajikistan

The Gorno-Badakhshan regional leader of the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (PIVT) has been arrested on suspicion of extremism, a spokesperson for the National Security Committee said.

"A criminal case has been opened with respect to the arrested Saodatsho Adolatov, a resident of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, under Article 189 (inciting national, racial or religious hatred) of the Republic of Tajikistan Criminal Code," the spokesperson said.

If found guilty, the opposition member faces from five to 12 years imprisonment. The majority of those arrested on suspicion of membership in the banned religious party Hizb ut-Tahrir classified as extremist in Russia and Central Asia are tried under Article 189.
 

 

Tatarstan Fights Hostile NGOs & Terrorism

Several years after Hizb ut-Tahrir has been banned in the region, the "conveyor belt for terrorists" is still keeping the Central Asian and Russian authorities busy. Five members of the organization were just sentenced in Russia's Republic of Bashkortostan. Hizb ut-Tahrir is also active in neighboring Tatarstan, where the local authorities have to deal with all kinds of hostile organizations:
U.S. Citizen Reportedly Deported From Tatarstan

A U.S. citizen working for an NGO has reportedly been deported from Russia's Republic of Tatarstan for visa violations. 
Media reports in Tatarstan cite the local Kazan TV station as reporting that an employee of the American Councils for International Education was deported on April 30.

American Councils has been working in the former Soviet Union for years, assisting local youth and scholars to receive and develop their education in the United States.
 
Earlier this month, the American Councils' Moscow Office received notification from Russia's Ministry of Justice that the office's registration was no longer in compliance with the law governing international NGOs in Russia.

NGOs have long been used to provide cover for spies after everybody had figured out to look for intelligence agents in foreign embassies. Just last week, other NGOs in Tatarstan made the headlines by participating in a ridiculous American PSYOP. With these "non-governmental" organizations operating in Tatarstan, it is hardly surprising that the Russian republic is one of the terror hotspots in the country besides the North Caucasus:
Terrorists involved in attempt on mufti eliminated in Tatarstan

Terrorists, involved in the assassination attempt on the mufti, as well as in other crimes have been overpowered in Tatarstan (Russia’s republic in the Volga Federal District), the information centre of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) told ITAR-TASS.

“The bandits have been preliminarily identified. They are Rais Mingaleyev, born in 1976, and Beslan Nazipov, born in 1979, wanted for terrorist activity in the Republic of Tatarstan. They were the masterminds and perpetrators of a number of terrorism crimes, including an assassination attempt staged in Kazan in 2012 on Mufti Faizov of the Spiritual Department of Muslims of Tatarstan, the murder of head of the department’s education unit Yakupov, as well as a number of other terrorist actions,” the NAC said.
Rais Mingaleyev was reportedly closely connected to the insurgency in Dagestan, which has replaced the Chechen insurgency as biggest threat in the North Caucasus in recent years. Even the Dagestani Sports Ministry is now getting involved in the fight against terrorism. Dagestan's deputy Minister for Sport Zainal Salautdinov warned lately against extremists, who are using local gyms and sports halls to recruit young men for the war in Syria. Salautdinov emphasized the importance of preventive work to counter the influence of extremism in sports schools. Huge quantities of new recruits are badly needed to keep the insurgency running because terrorists have a short life expectancy in Dagestan:
Gunmen who plotted terror acts for May holidays destroyed in Dagestan

Gunmen who were plotting terror acts for the May holidays have been destroyed in the city of Derbent in Russia’s North Caucasian Republic of Dagestan, the information centre of the RF National Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAC) told Itar-Tass.

On Saturday, April 26, a special operation was conducted in Derbent against dangerous criminals from the “southern” terrorist bandit group that “intended to stage a series of terror acts in the republic in the period of the celebration of the May holidays.”