In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Czech President condemns Yatsenyuk

Posted by seumasach on January 4, 2015

Czech President Says Yatsenyuk Pushes Coercion in Ukraine’s Southeast

Fars News Agency

4th January, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk has not wielded positive influence on the settlement of conflict in Ukraine’s Southeast and is pushing forward to a coercive resolution of the crisis situation, Czech President Milos Zeman said.

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Iran pledges to defeat ISIL

Posted by seumasach on January 4, 2015

The Iraqi defense minister, for his part, voiced pleasure in his ongoing visit to Iran, and said, “Iran’s all-out support for the Iraqi armed forces has played a determining role in the recent victories of the Iraqi army (against ISIL).”

SNSC Secretary Stresses Expulsion of ISIL from All Parts of Iraq

Fars News Agency

30th December, 2015

TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) strongly condemned the crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq, and stressed that the war on ISIL should continue until all the Takfiri terrorists are driven out of entire Iraq.

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Saudi Arabia to reopen Iraq embassy

Posted by seumasach on January 4, 2015

Saudi Arabia Will Reopen Embassy In Iraq After 25 Years

IBT

3rd January, 2015

Saudi Arabia will reopen its embassy in Iraq for the first time in 25 years. Saudi officials will travel to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad this week to begin preparations so they can start building “at the earliest opportunity,” the Saudi Press Agency said Saturday. The move marks a major improvement in the once-rocky relations between the Arab neighbors, Reuters reported.

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Iran trumps Saudi project in Syria-Iraq

Posted by seumasach on January 4, 2015

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

2nd January, 2015

A grudging admission that Saudi Arabia has lost out to Iran in the regional rivalry is apparent in the opinion piece by a senior editor in the establishment daily Asharq Al-Awsat. The hubris that money can buy anything or anyone in Washington, the triumphalism that the Islamic State spells the doom for the Iranians, the over-confidence that Sunni-Shi’ite schism transcends regional politics – all these Saudi assumptions have gone horribly wrong. In retrospect, 2014 stands out as the year the Saudis lost the plot.

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Ice cracking in US-Russia ties

Posted by seumasach on January 4, 2015

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

1st January, 2015

The fascinating thing about the Russian-American relationship is that it is seldom what it seems to outsiders. The two powers dissimulate so often like cats snarling – you never know whether they are actually fighting or are getting into a romantic foreplay. One reason why China could be very cautious about the Ukraine crisis is this real difficulty to be judgmental. The safe thing is, perhaps, to keep a wary distance.

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2015: year of peace?

Posted by seumasach on December 19, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

19th December, 2014

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow

T.S.Elliot

Those who have been following the analysis put forward in these columns may be stunned but will not be surprised by Obama’s announcement ending the US standoff with Cuba. As I wrote almost two years ago:

“You don’t have to regard Barack Obama as the the embodiment of ultimate virtue to support the recent shift towards a certain realism in Washington. He has declared an end to “war without end”. It doesn’t matter that this is only an accommodation to new realities and not the reflection of some inherent goodness in the US leader. What matters is that he is aware of reality and is accommodating to it: this is what leadership is about. He has recognised that the policy options chosen by his administration have not worked. They could have worked perhaps but they didn’t . The government of Bashar-al Assad has not collapsed in the face of Western sponsored Islamist movements and is not going to. The eurozone is not going to collapse to accommodate the US dollar. America is not going to dictate the course of world events over the coming years. The New World Order, at least not the one envisaged by Washington, London and Tel Aviv, will not come into being.Let us then applaud Barack Obama for providing us with change we might even believe in: a shift in Washington towards an acceptance of the facts, of a return to planet earth.”

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Posted in Global peace process, Multipolar world, New Cold War | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Devolution and the welfare crisis

Posted by seumasach on December 19, 2014

Cailean Bochanan

19th December, 2014

The Smith Commision report on more devolved powers to the Scottish government contradicts the wider asserted claim by the the “Yes” campaign that a “No” vote would lead to a roll back of devolved government. Many of them are now attacking the report as inadequate and calling for greater devolution of financial powers to Scotland. I wouldn’t rule out that happening but I would question the assumption that such devolved powers, even if they amounted to Devomax i.e. full financial control devolved to Edinburgh, would lead to increases in social spending as claimed.

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Posted in Constitutional change in Britain | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Obama signs Russia sanctions bill

Posted by seumasach on December 19, 2014

No plans to use it for now

RT

18th December, 2014

US President Barack Obama has signed a bill that will allow the White House to levy further economic sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, though the Administration has said it has no immediate plans to introduce them.

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Cuba is starter, Obama’s main course is Iran

Posted by seumasach on December 19, 2014

M.K.Bhadrakumar

Indian Punchline

19th December, 2014

The US president Barack Obama’s statement on Wednesday was modestly titled as ‘Cuba Policy Changes’ but it must stand out as one of the finest moments of his presidency – and a watershed event in US diplomatic history.

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EU nations face mounting pressure over CIA black sites

Posted by seumasach on December 19, 2014

The retreat from empire, led by Obama and trumpeted for some time now in these columns, is now undeniable. The right and the left may decry it or deny it but the pattern is coming more and more into focus. The ending of the stand-off with Cuba is a moment of historic importance, all the more so for its symbolic power. Obama with his “Somos todos americanos” has with one phrase repositioned the USA geopolitically: it is his pivot to the Americas, north and south. The Senate report on CIA torture, though hardly revelatory, is similarly symbolic, signifying the imminent demise of the “deep state” and consequent re-emergence of constitutional, democratic politics, in the USA, Europe and elsewhere. It is a matter of regret that the various social. grass-roots movements have been unable to contribute more to drive for change which is already happening and is therefore believable. They seem instead to be unable to relate to anything not in conformity with their template of change from below. But we can still make it change from below! We should really be out on the streets now pushing for a deal with Iran, for a settlement of the Palestinian question, for an end to sanctions against Russia. We can help bring about a global peace process, deepening existing trends towards reconciliation, making them irreversible and finally finding the holy grail, the peace dividend. Let’s hope 2015 is the year when this can start to happen.

BRUSSELS – Pressure is mounting on those member states accused of hosting CIA rendition and torture camps to be held accountable for their role.

MEPs and the European Commission in Strasbourg on Wednesday (17 December) roundly condemned the torture of Al-Qaeda suspects carried out by CIA operatives on EU soil in the wake of 9-11, praised the US for exposing the abuse, and called upon Washington to shut down Guantanamo Bay.

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Thereby Hangs a Tail

Posted by seumasach on December 18, 2014

Thunderbolts

17th December, 2014

Direct statements concerning dramatic changes in the appearance of planets are few and far between in ancient sources.

A classic example is a fragment from the obscure Greek astronomer Castor of Rhodes (1st century BCE), as cited by his contemporary, the Roman grammarian Marcus Terrentius Varro, who was in turn cited by the church father Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE). According to this tantalisingly brief passage, the planet Venus once “changed its colour, size, shape and course, a thing which has never happened before or since.” This information, frequently considered in catastrophist theories, presents quite a puzzle.

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