HOME About Blog Contact Hotel Links Donations Registration
NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

UPI Intelligence Watch

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 (UPI) -- US preparing for guerrilla conflict in Southern Asia
- Canada resists sending troops to Lebanon
- Dubai Ports along with China cooperate on port project in Arabian Sea

The United States is preparing to assist in a long-running guerrilla conflict in southern Asia, where it previously avoided engagement.

The Hindustan Times reported last week that the United States has sent special envoy Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Steven Mann to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo to ask the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to cease hostilities and continue their negotiations.

Mann is to deliver the message to President Mahinda Rajapakse personally.

After a two-hour meeting with Rajapakse, Mann during a press conference told journalists that it was an "unexpected" trip, adding that the Bush administration was "deeply concerned" about the renewal of fighting in Sri Lanka.

Mann called his meeting with Rajapakse and his aides "detailed" and said the government's insights about the current unrest were "thoughtful." Mann added that he told the Sri Lankan president and his staff that continuation of the current fighting was counterproductive and would only push back the prospect of peace.

The "spotlight" was also on the LTTE, Mann said, because there were two parties in this conflict. Therefore, he added, the LTTE would have to forgo violence and immediately return to negotiations, saying that until they did so, the LTTE would remain on the U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Mann urged both sides to find a "political compromise," adding that the Bush administration supported a solution within a united Sri Lanka which guaranteed the legitimate rights of the Tamil minority and human and democratic rights for all Sri Lankans.

Mann also stressed the United States' complete support for the Norwegian peace envoy Jon Hanssen Bauer and the Nordic truce monitors.

Since the beginning of August, hundreds of combatants and civilians have been killed and more than 50,000 civilians displaced.


While Canada has supported Washington's war against terror by dispatching troops to serve in Afghanistan and Iraq, Ottawa is declining to support another U.S. initiative to send peacekeeping forces into southern Lebanon.

During a visit to the Arctic town of Iqaluit Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, "The real test will be whether Hezbollah, which started the conflict, is prepared to live by the terms of the (United Nations cease-fire) resolution and cease the conflict."

In May Canadian government officials acknowledged that there have been Canadian military personnel "embedded in American and coalition forces since the beginning of the conflict."

Canadian units in Iraq include members of Joint Task Force 2, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Canadian Security Intelligence Service operatives.

In Afghanistan 2,200 Canadian soldiers are serving as part of the International Security Assistance Force.

One Canadian has been killed in Iraq and 26 Canadian military personnel have died in Afghanistan since their initial deployment in February 2002.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Andre Lemay said that the U.N. has not yet formally asked Canada for troops for the peacekeeping mission approved by the Security Council.

Harper recently observed that if a U.N. peacekeeping mission is assembled he would prefer that troops came from countries closer to the Middle East.

In defense of Canada's reluctance to deploy to southern Lebanon the Globe and Mail reported Aug. 14 that Canadian defense officials commented that the Canadian military does not have many troops available for peacekeeping in Lebanon because of its prior Afghan commitments.

Harper's views are not universally shared in the government, however. Opposition House Parliamentary members are on the record as saying that they prefer to have Canadian troops participating in traditional U.N.-backed peacekeeping missions rather than fighting an insurgency in Afghanistan.


Dubai Ports World, stymied earlier this year in efforts to manage a number of U.S. facilities, is one of the companies bidding to manage Pakistan's $2 billion Gwadar port development on the Arabian Sea.

China is heavily underwriting the facility's development.

Three international companies are bidding for the contract. Islamabad expects to make its final decision on a port operator by the end of the month.

Pakistani sources speaking on condition of anonymity said that besides Dubai Ports World, Singapore Port -- the operator of Hong Kong's Hupchon Company -- had submitted its expression of interest to operate Gwadar.

Analysts believe that Beijing is covertly lobbying for a Chinese company to be awarded the rights to operate Gwadar.

The Pakistani source said: "But from our side, Gwadar port is complete except minor work of fixing some buoys for guiding ships."

The source added that given the country's investment, a top-level Chinese official was expected to inaugurate Gwadar's opening phase in the presence of Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

The source added that the Hupchon's last minute expression of interest submission despite the company having earlier withdrawn itself from bidding on the facility had complicated the issue.

Dawn reported last month that Islamabad will shortly announce a 15-year tax holiday for the Export Processing Zone, or EPZ, planned near Gwadar, which will exempt customs, sales tax and excise duty in the EPZ in an effort to attract international investment.

According to the source a number of foreign investors have already expressed an interest in building refineries, storage capacity and other facilities in the Gwadar region.

A 15.4 square-mile Special Industrial Development Zone has also been proposed about 20 miles north of Gwadar. Gwadar's second phase is scheduled for completion by 2010.

Gwadar is expected to compete with Oman's Port Salalah of Oman and Iran's proposed upgrade of Chah Bahar.

Pakistani officials are optimistic that Gwadar's strategic location opposite the Strait of Hormuz can provide port facilities, warehousing and transshipment for trade with over 20 countries, including Gulf states, Central Asian and Red Sea nations, Iran, East Africa, China and India.
Web IntelligenceSummit.org
Webmasters: Intelligence, Homeland Security & Counter-Terrorism WebRing
Copyright © IHEC 2008. All rights reserved.       E-mail info@IntelligenceSummit.org