There are “clear signs” that terrorist networks first established by Iran in several South American countries in the 1980s and 1990s are still in place, and there are indications that Iran has similar networks in Europe, the Argentinian prosecutor who investigated the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires told The Times of Israel.Sponsored Ads
In a telephone interview a week after he issued a 500-page report on the bombing and Iran’s wider terrorist infiltration of South America, Alberto Nisman said that Tehran had established its terror networks for the strategic long term, ready to be used “whenever it needs them.”
A PLA think tank yesterday issued a report warning that the nation faces increasing “strategic pressure” for the first time since the 1990s collapse of the communist bloc, with the Asia-Pacific region now a “new global centre” for “geopolitical, economic and military competition”.
Released by the Centre for National Defence Policy (CNDP), a part of the PLA’s Academy of Military Sciences, The Strategic Review 2012 says that “big powers have intensified their gaming for regional dominance”.
According to Xinhua, the review states: “Amid strategic competition among the big powers, the fierce oceanic competition and frequent regional conflicts, the complexity, sensitivity and uncertainty of China’s security environment loom large.”
Here’s your happy thought of the day from SocGen strategist Albert Edwards:
Over the last 15 years most investors have refused to contemplate that events in the West are playing out in a similar fashion to Japan in the 1990s. But the latest inflation data out of both the US and eurozone should ram home the fact that we are now only one short recession away from Japanese-style outright deflation. Similarly, investors refuse to believe that equities can fall in an environment of rampant QE. They are wrong.
Basically, we’re so close to deflation, that all it will take is another downturn, and we’ll be toast.
But Lavrov, a diplomat since the Brezhnev era who has spent a lifetime haggling, blustering, scheming, and speechifying on behalf of the battered Russian state (“his religion,” one top U.S. official told me), chose to go in a different direction, right back in history to Alexander Gorchakov. He cited the princely foreign minister as an example of the blunt style in Russian politics, as a reason for why Russia has absolutely no intention of following America’s lead in the Arab world — or, by extension, anywhere else. Gorchakov, Lavrov proudly noted, had managed “the restoration of the Russian influence in Europe after the defeat in the Crimean War, and he did it … without moving a gun. He did it exclusively through diplomacy.”
When Lavrov did get around to the question at hand, of foreign policy in Putin’s Russia, he offered a sharp lecture on how the Kremlin’s boss had managed to make Russia great again after the indignities of the 1990s — and, more to the point, how a great Russia can once again afford to have an “assertive” foreign policy:
The CNNC is China’s main nuclear weapons producer and has been linked in the past to Pakistan’s nuclear arms program by U.S. intelligence agencies. CNNC sold thousands of ring magnets to Pakistan during the 1990s that were used in centrifuges that produced highly enriched uranium for weapons.
Additionally, recent U.S. intelligence reports indicate that China, which supplied Pakistan with nuclear weapons design data and technology, is in the process of modernizing Islamabad’s nuclear arsenal, which is estimated to contain as many as 110 warheads.
The arms cooperation is said to include development of a new warhead for Pakistan’s growing missile arsenal as well as assistance in reprocessing spent nuclear fuel.
A Congressional Research Service report published Feb. 13 stated, “Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal probably consists of approximately 90-110 nuclear warheads, although it could be larger.”
Essentially what happened is that Beijing designed a pension system in the late 1990s that will leave households with much less to spend than many observers assume. Urged by World Bank economists and foreign pension experts, the Chinese government put in place a hybrid pension arrangement that relies on both traditional pay-as-you-go collections from employers and mandatory individual accounts, from which workers were to finance anywhere from one half to two-thirds of their retirement needs. (They also were expected to buy pension and annuity products from commercial providers). But that pension design has resulted in a double whammy: households consume less in order to save for retirement needs, while the government’s long term pension debt is escalating rapidly because local governments raided the individual accounts to pay benefits to current retirees.
The same fear of war emerged in the 1990s. But there are a few critical differences: First, the United States is backing all parties in an effort to contain China, but once again it is sending mixed signals that lack diplomatic focus, military strategy or political legitimacy. Second, the Japanese have nationalized the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands. Third, the new leaders of both China and Japan are more assertive. Japanese hardliners, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, are pushing plans to build up a Japanese navy and military.
Unfortunately, it appears too late for the United States to play the role of genuine arbiter, nor does it want to do so. China has openly condemned U.S. actions, but it seems more willing to brush them aside than it might have been in the past.
The 95-page report, “China-Iran: A Limited Partnership,” was produced for the commission by the intelligence contractor CENTRA Technology and dated October 2012.
China provided nuclear assistance to Iran in the 1990s and promised to halt its support in 1997. However, the report said there are indications Beijing has continued to provide covert assistance to Iranian nuclear programs.
On missile experts, the report said, “China has continued measured support to Iran’s defense programs.”
Recent transfers include several export versions of Chinese missiles, including C-705 anti-ship cruise missiles.
Recent anti-Japanese street demonstrations in China may signal the start of economic decline for a nation that won its reputation as the “world’s manufacturing factory” in the late 1990s and surpassed Japan in 2010 to become the second-largest economy after the United States.
Although the riots were ostensibly meant as a protest against the Japanese government’s purchase of three Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, which are also claimed by Beijing, a more fundamental undercurrent behind the violence was China’s growing economic woes, including the widening rich-poor gap, declining international competitiveness because of rising labor and other costs, and lagging efforts by local industries to move up the value chain.
When China turned to Russia for supplies of advanced weapons through the 1990s, it kick-started Beijing’s military build-up with an immediate boost in firepower.
It also demonstrated the failure of its domestic defense sector which was still turning out obsolete 1950s vintage equipment for the People’s Liberation Army from a sprawling network of state-owned arms makers.
Now, after more than two decades of soaring military spending, this once backward industry has been transformed — China is creating its own military-industrial complex, with the private sector taking a leading role.