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Coal plant PakistanChief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has sanctioned Rs980 million for the first of its kind 50 MW coal-based power plant in Punjab to generate electricity at the rate of Rs3.50 unit.

Stating this while talking to the media here on Sunday, Punjab Mines and Minerals secretary Saifullah Chatha said the pilot projcct would be made functional within a year and would generate electricity using coal from mines in Salt Range and will be completely environment friendly.

He said the project would be executed by the Punjab Coal Gas Mining Company and supervised by a technical team, headed by nuclear scientist Dr.Samar Mubarak Mand.The Punjab government would launch 10 more similar projects to generate 500 MW electricity after the success of the pilot project.

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Swine-flu-virusAfter an outbreak of ‘swine flu’ in Mexico in which over a 100 people have died, the head of the World Health Organization this week indicated that it is on the verge ofdeclaring a full blown flu pandemic. In light of this situation we look at what Islam says about outbreaks of disease such as ‘swine flu’ and how a future Caliphate would respond compared to the current response of the Muslim world.

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drone


Pakistan will Not allow Drone Attacks in Balochistan

The army chief’s warning was disclosed amid growing tension over American claims that Islamabad was refusing to target the Taliban’s ‘Quetta Shura’ – the leadership council of former Afghan ruler Mullah Omar.

Washington believes the ’shura’ is plotting attacks on Nato forces in Afghanistan from ’safe havens’ in South-West Pakistan.US State Department and intelligence officials are believed to have warned Pakistani President Asif Zardari that they will launch their own drone attacks on the shura if the Pakistan Army fails to target its bases.

Tensions between Washington and Islamabad increased earlier this week after US Ambassador Anne Patterson said the ‘Quetta Shura’ was now high on its list of priority targets.

“In the past, we focused on al Qaeda because they were a threat to us. The Quetta Shura mattered less to us because we had no troops in the region,” she said. “Now our troops are there on the other side of the border, and the Quetta Shura is high on Washington’s list,” she said in an interview with the Washington Post.

She had earlier told The Daily Telegraph that Pakistan however has “different priorities.” Her comments and the threat of drone attacks on what Pakistanis call a ’settled area’ – a part of Pakistan proper rather than the tribal areas it has never fully controlled – has caused alarm throughout its military establishment.

Lieutenant-General Talat Masood, a retired senior Army officer and influential strategic analyst, said drone attacks in Balochistan would be a serious breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty and a threat to the alliance between the two countries.

“It would be really dangerous and would rupture the relationship. Pakistan’s tolerance levels would cross the threshold and it would be taken very seriously. It would mean the U.S does not respect our sovereignty and does whatever it wants. It would fuel anti-Americanism. Across the spectrum, the government and the army would not be able to swallow it,” he said.

Drone attacks have been successful in Waziristan, where American controllers in Afghanistan have collaborated with Pakistan Army officers on targets, and there is growing support within the Central Intelligence Agency for Predator strikes to be intensified. Eight militants were killed near Miranshah, North Waziristan on Wednesday when a drone struck a Taliban meeting.

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7034_1098347751295_1604671109_30225220_3721302_nIran not for the first time is on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism for not being transparent in its nuclear programme. Ever since Barack Obama become US president, Iran has been told to declare all its nuclear sites and halt enrichment activity. Obama under Israeli pressure has reiterated that it will impose crippling sanctions on the Gas rich state by the beginning of October 2008 if it did not comply.

The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) was carved out in 1968 and Iran became a signatory in 1970. It is well known that Iran under the Shah had begun its nuclear activity in collaboration with French and German companies.

Khomeini halted Iran’s nuclear activity in 1979, whilst Rafsanjani, when he came to power resumed Iran’s nuclear programme in 1995. The nuclear programme continued during the reformist period (1997-2005) under Khatami. It was in 2003, after the occupation of Iraq that a number of exiled Iranian’s made public that Iran was pursuing a secret and unsafe nuclear programme and was hiding the programme from the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Based on this, the chief of IAEA, Mohammed el Baradai prepared a report and presented it to the IAEA. This is when the Iranian Nuclear Crisis gained momentum.

During the rule of Khatami in 2003 an ‘additional protocol’ was signed which allowed, IAEA inspectors to carry out checks without notice as Iran could be hiding a number of installations during planned and scheduled inspections.

Iran ceased Uranium enrichment for the sake of negotiations, however the Troika’ of Germany, France and Britain refused to guarantee Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran therefore resumed its uranium enrichment programme.

The US, since this crisis began has done everything it can to sabotage a possible solution. Whilst the European ‘Troika’ are engaged in negotiations with Iran to find a solution to the problem, the US has constantly delayed a possible solution. Whenever the negotiations reached a point of near-solution, US officials would issue a statement with an implied warning that the US had all options open to it – even after the Troika made progress on a solution.

For instance in April 2007, Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief envoy, two days after his meeting with Larijani on 25th April 2007, called upon Washington to open all channels of communication with Tehran including the nuclear issue and added that the Iranians, including their higher authorities are open to such a dialogue. Solana had in his talks with Larijani proposed that both parties abandon their positions in favor of a mid-way solution in good faith. But Washington backed off insisting that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment as a pre-condition for any direct dialogue. Iran’s nuclear enrichment was only at 5% which is well below the weaponisation limit. A nuclear warhead needs an enrichment of 95%.

This shows that the US has no intention of solving this conflict and it has actually ensured no solution is ever reached.

The Bush regime in its first term was dominated by neoconservatives who held the opinion that the best way to control the people of the Middle East was through the promotion of democracy through forcible regime change. This model failed soon after the invasion of Iraq, and set in motion a vigorous policy debate amongst American policy makers. The Bush administration in its second term made some adjustments and abandoned this approach. Nevertheless, it was unable change its rhetoric towards Iran because the bellicose language helped the US aggressively push its missile shield programme in face of stiff Russian opposition. Additionally, it enabled the US to enter into new security pacts with the frightened gulf countries. The close ties between the Jewish lobby and Bush administration prevented it from removing the military option off the table-even though the probability of war between US and Iran had greatly diminished.

Despite the continuous imposition of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, the West is nowhere close to halting its enrichment programme. The US has exploited the five year old negotiations between the EU-3 and Iran to coax the Europeans into a protracted discussion over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Furthermore, America has added fuel to the fire through the bravado of the neoconservatives and doggedness of Ahmadinejad, which has resulted in an atmosphere of war and created perpetual tensions in the region. By doing so, America has gained a strategic advantage by persuading the Gulf Arab countries to acquire nuclear energy, by nudging the Israelis into a security pact and by permitting Iran to divert its civilian programme to build atomic bombs. In December 2008 the US State Department announced that the US was close to concluding a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The so-called 1-2-3 agreement would be similar to the nuclear cooperation accord the United States reached with India in 2005. It would allow the United States to sell nuclear fuel, equipment and technology to the UAE. Similar agreements were also being pursued with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In summary, America is working towards the nuclearization of the Middle East.

Aside form all the rhetoric, the US and Iran have cooperated on a number of issues which has protected American interests in the region These include supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in the Levant, strengthening the Iraqi government through the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and stabilising Afghanistan. Official contact has gradually grown since the end of the Bush term. America even snubbed Israeli advances to attack Iran. America played down Israel’s show of air power over the Mediterranean in November 2008 and has refused to sell the powerful GBU-29 bunker-busters bombs.

When Iran sits down on October 1st 2009 to negotiate, Obama is in a very weak position. Since hishoneymoon came to an end, various factions have pushed Obama into a corner that will only exasperate Obama’s options. Iran’s declaration of a second enrichment site only complicates matters as it shows an intelligence failure and intelligence challenge faced by Israel and the US in drawing up military contingencies. Until US intelligence is able to ascertain the number of nuclear sites it becomes impossible to halt Iran’s nuclear programme. Obama is finding the healthcare reform bill being challenged domestically and Israeli lobby, pushing for military action if nothing substantial comes out of the October 1st talks. Obama will need to achieve something substantial to tackle domestic opposition.

With regards the threat of crippling sanctions, no sanctions regime is water tight. The real vulnerability in the sanctions comes from Russia. Iran has become a major pressure point in Russia’s ongoing geopolitical tussle with the United States, and Moscow has signalled in a number of ways that it isn’t going to be shy about using its leverage with Tehran to turn the screws on Washington. Moscow has a list of core demands that revolve around the basic concept of the West respecting Russian influence in its former Soviet periphery. As long as the United States continues to rebuff these demands and write off Russia as a weak power, the Russians not only can refuse to participate in sanctions but they can also blow the entire sanctions regime apart. The more bogged down the United States is in the Islamic world, the more Russia weakens the US.

The Obama administration is pressing ahead with normalising US relations with Iran as both nations have virtually the same interests in the region. The pace of the normalisation process will be slow and America will employ a series of carrots and sticks to mould the Iranian regime to implement its policies and protect US interests.

The Middle East is moving from being a uni-polar region where the US enjoyed uncontested hegemony to a multi-polar region with both China and Russia now moving in the region. The introduction of NATO is ominous sign in that America wants to safeguard the hydrocarbons of the Middle East from Russia and China. Iran will serve as America’s lynchpin in providing energy security and both the US and Russia are competing over influence in Iran. The spread of nuclear technology in the Middle East under US auspices signals that from a geo-strategic perspective, America is looking to completely surround Russia and China with nuclear armed states stretching from Eastern Europe to the Asian pacific.

The debate about Iran being independent and potentially Islamic or even a Shi’ah state, Iran is nothing other then pragmatic without any consistent basis from where it derives it’s polices. Iran saved Iraq from becoming America’s Vietnam and whilst traditionally the reformists reached out to the West both the conservatives and the reformists are in bed with the US. The Muslims of the region and beyond have been manipulated before and served as US pawns to bring down the Soviet Union. Today, Obama and some of his advisors believe that this feat can be repeated against Russia and China. The Muslim Ummah must learn from its past experience and turn the tables on these major powers by re-establishing the Khilafah which will make these powers fight each other and raise high the Islamic banner over their destruction…inshallah.

I

ran not for the first time is on the receiving end of a barrage of criticism for not being transparent in its nuclear programme. Ever since Barack Obama become US president, Iran has been told to declare all its nuclear sites and halt enrichment activity. Obama under Israeli pressure has reiterated that it will impose crippling sanctions on the Gas rich state by the beginning of October 2008 if it did not comply.

The Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) was carved out in 1968 and Iran became a signatory in 1970. It is well known that Iran under the Shah had begun its nuclear activity in collaboration with French and German companies.

Khomeini halted Iran’s nuclear activity in 1979, whilst Rafsanjani, when he came to power resumed Iran’s nuclear programme in 1995. The nuclear programme continued during the reformist period (1997-2005) under Khatami. It was in 2003, after the occupation of Iraq that a number of exiled Iranian’s made public that Iran was pursuing a secret and unsafe nuclear programme and was hiding the programme from the inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Based on this, the chief of IAEA, Mohammed el Baradai prepared a report and presented it to the IAEA. This is when the Iranian Nuclear Crisis gained momentum.

During the rule of Khatami in 2003 an ‘additional protocol’ was signed which allowed, IAEA inspectors to carry out checks without notice as Iran could be hiding a number of installations during planned and scheduled inspections.

Iran ceased Uranium enrichment for the sake of negotiations, however the Troika’ of Germany, France and Britain refused to guarantee Iran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Iran therefore resumed its uranium enrichment programme.

The US, since this crisis began has done everything it can to sabotage a possible solution. Whilst the European ‘Troika’ are engaged in negotiations with Iran to find a solution to the problem, the US has constantly delayed a possible solution. Whenever the negotiations reached a point of near-solution, US officials would issue a statement with an implied warning that the US had all options open to it – even after the Troika made progress on a solution.

For instance in April 2007, Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief envoy, two days after his meeting with Larijani on 25th April 2007, called upon Washington to open all channels of communication with Tehran including the nuclear issue and added that the Iranians, including their higher authorities are open to such a dialogue. Solana had in his talks with Larijani proposed that both parties abandon their positions in favor of a mid-way solution in good faith. But Washington backed off insisting that Iran first suspend its uranium enrichment as a pre-condition for any direct dialogue. Iran’s nuclear enrichment was only at 5% which is well below the weaponisation limit. A nuclear warhead needs an enrichment of 95%.

This shows that the US has no intention of solving this conflict and it has actually ensured no solution is ever reached.

The Bush regime in its first term was dominated by neoconservatives who held the opinion that the best way to control the people of the Middle East was through the promotion of democracy through forcible regime change. This model failed soon after the invasion of Iraq, and set in motion a vigorous policy debate amongst American policy makers. The Bush administration in its second term made some adjustments and abandoned this approach. Nevertheless, it was unable change its rhetoric towards Iran because the bellicose language helped the US aggressively push its missile shield programme in face of stiff Russian opposition. Additionally, it enabled the US to enter into new security pacts with the frightened gulf countries. The close ties between the Jewish lobby and Bush administration prevented it from removing the military option off the table-even though the probability of war between US and Iran had greatly diminished.

Despite the continuous imposition of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme, the West is nowhere close to halting its enrichment programme. The US has exploited the five year old negotiations between the EU-3 and Iran to coax the Europeans into a protracted discussion over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Furthermore, America has added fuel to the fire through the bravado of the neoconservatives and doggedness of Ahmadinejad, which has resulted in an atmosphere of war and created perpetual tensions in the region. By doing so, America has gained a strategic advantage by persuading the Gulf Arab countries to acquire nuclear energy, by nudging the Israelis into a security pact and by permitting Iran to divert its civilian programme to build atomic bombs. In December 2008 the US State Department announced that the US was close to concluding a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates. The so-called 1-2-3 agreement would be similar to the nuclear cooperation accord the United States reached with India in 2005. It would allow the United States to sell nuclear fuel, equipment and technology to the UAE. Similar agreements were also being pursued with Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. In summary, America is working towards the nuclearization of the Middle East.

Aside form all the rhetoric, the US and Iran have cooperated on a number of issues which has protected American interests in the region These include supporting Hamas and Hezbollah in the Levant, strengthening the Iraqi government through the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) and stabilising Afghanistan. Official contact has gradually grown since the end of the Bush term. America even snubbed Israeli advances to attack Iran. America played down Israel’s show of air power over the Mediterranean in November 2008 and has refused to sell the powerful GBU-29 bunker-busters bombs.

When Iran sits down on October 1st 2009 to negotiate, Obama is in a very weak position. Since hishoneymoon came to an end, various factions have pushed Obama into a corner that will only exasperate Obama’s options. Iran’s declaration of a second enrichment site only complicates matters as it shows an intelligence failure and intelligence challenge faced by Israel and the US in drawing up military contingencies. Until US intelligence is able to ascertain the number of nuclear sites it becomes impossible to halt Iran’s nuclear programme. Obama is finding the healthcare reform bill being challenged domestically and Israeli lobby, pushing for military action if nothing substantial comes out of the October 1st talks. Obama will need to achieve something substantial to tackle domestic opposition.

With regards the threat of crippling sanctions, no sanctions regime is water tight. The real vulnerability in the sanctions comes from Russia. Iran has become a major pressure point in Russia’s ongoing geopolitical tussle with the United States, and Moscow has signalled in a number of ways that it isn’t going to be shy about using its leverage with Tehran to turn the screws on Washington. Moscow has a list of core demands that revolve around the basic concept of the West respecting Russian influence in its former Soviet periphery. As long as the United States continues to rebuff these demands and write off Russia as a weak power, the Russians not only can refuse to participate in sanctions but they can also blow the entire sanctions regime apart. The more bogged down the United States is in the Islamic world, the more Russia weakens the US.

The Obama administration is pressing ahead with normalising US relations with Iran as both nations have virtually the same interests in the region. The pace of the normalisation process will be slow and America will employ a series of carrots and sticks to mould the Iranian regime to implement its policies and protect US interests.

The Middle East is moving from being a uni-polar region where the US enjoyed uncontested hegemony to a multi-polar region with both China and Russia now moving in the region. The introduction of NATO is ominous sign in that America wants to safeguard the hydrocarbons of the Middle East from Russia and China. Iran will serve as America’s lynchpin in providing energy security and both the US and Russia are competing over influence in Iran. The spread of nuclear technology in the Middle East under US auspices signals that from a geo-strategic perspective, America is looking to completely surround Russia and China with nuclear armed states stretching from Eastern Europe to the Asian pacific.

The debate about Iran being independent and potentially Islamic or even a Shi’ah state, Iran is nothing other then pragmatic without any consistent basis from where it derives it’s polices. Iran saved Iraq from becoming America’s Vietnam and whilst traditionally the reformists reached out to the West both the conservatives and the reformists are in bed with the US. The Muslims of the region and beyond have been manipulated before and served as US pawns to bring down the Soviet Union. Today, Obama and some of his advisors believe that this feat can be repeated against Russia and China. The Muslim Ummah must learn from its past experience and turn the tables on these major powers by re-establishing the Khilafah which will make these powers fight each other and raise high the Islamic banner over their destruction…inshallah.