UK must plan for euro collapse:
Ministers should draw up plans to deal with a break-up of the eurozone "as a matter of urgency", a committee of MPs and peers has warned. The joint committee on the government's National Security Strategy (NSS) said the full or partial collapse of the single currency was "plausible". It said political unrest and a rise in economic migrant numbers could result. "Long-term security" is at the heart of foreign policy thinking, the government said in response. The committee, whose members include ex-MI5 director general Baroness Manningham-Buller, said economic instability could leave the UK "unable to defend itself". It added that governments across the EU could be forced to cut defence spending if the instability were to continue. "International economic problems could lead to our allies having to make considerable cuts to their defence spending, and to an increase in economic migrants between EU member states, and to domestic social or political unrest," it said. And, while the committee welcomed the government's decision to publish the NSS alongside the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, it said that "a clear over-arching strategy" had not yet emerged. Committee chairman and former Labour foreign secretary Margaret Beckett said: "A good strategy is realistic, is clear on the big questions, and guides choices. This one does not. "We need a public debate on the sort of country we want the UK to be in future and whether our ambitions are realistic, given how much we are prepared to spend."
Gulf States continue to bank roll America's military industry:
The Persian Gulf arms race is accelerating amid the smouldering confrontation between Iran and the United States, with gulf monarchies re-examining their defence programs even though they've spent far in excess of $100 billion on arms since 2006. Rising tensions with Iran is likely to drive rival Sunni Muslim states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey to acquire nuclear weapons as well. But that's some way in the future. In the meantime, the Gulf Cooperation Council states -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain -- are bolstering budgets to counter Iran and are being encouraged to do by the United States. "Military spending is increasing across the gulf," the Middle East Economic Digest reported. "With the exception of Oman, the GCC states have all accelerated defence expenditure since 2006." In 2010, the last year for which data are available, the Saudis spent $45 billion on defence, a 79% increase over 2005. The emirates spent more than $16 billion, a 113 % jump from 2006. But this isn't just to strengthen defences against Iran and its swelling force of ballistic missiles that even without nuclear warheads are powerful weapons to be used against sprawling oil installations and even cities. It's widely seen as a systematic long-term effort by the United States to keep its defence industry functioning at a time when the U.S. Department of Defence is drastically cutting its defence spending and reducing the size of the U.S. military to rescue the economy. The Persian Gulf monarchies, all but Bahrain rich in oil or gas or both, have become vital partners in the Obama White House's drive to ramp up military sales to its Middle Eastern allies as it cuts back U.S. defence spending and shrinks the United States' costly military forces. Historian and anti-war activist Nick Turse observed recently: "The agreement to broker the sale of tens of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia sheds light on the Pentagon's efforts to shield itself -- and its favoured arms dealers -- from the shakiness of the American economy, as well as President Barack Obama's stated goal of trimming $400 billion from projected national security spending of $10 trillion over the next 12 years."
Pentagon very worried about Iran war:
A top US official has revealed that the Pentagon is very worried about the prospects of a military confrontation with Iran, despite the escalating war threats emanating from Washington and Tel Aviv. "[The] military is very worried about what they're confronting with budget cuts and are just not anxious to take on another war," Lee Hamilton, a member of the US Homeland Security Advisory Council, said in an interview with Politico on Tuesday. "They see the difficulty of this situation from a military standpoint, not only the attack itself but sustaining the attack over a period of days, if not weeks. ... A very powerful factor here is what the Pentagon now calls persistent conflict or endless war. We have, in effect, been at war for 10 years, at least since 9/11," the former US congressman added. Last month, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey also said a potential Israeli military attack on Iran would be "destabilizing." "It's not prudent at this point to decide to attack Iran," Dempsey said, adding that the US government is confident the Israelis "understand our concerns." The United States, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Iran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program. In an interview with the Atlantic magazine last Friday, US President Barack Obama said the US is "not taking any option off the table" in its purported bid to stop Iran's nuclear energy program. "It includes a military component. And I think people understand that," Obama added.
Pakistan eager to continue its subservience to America:
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday said Pakistan wanted to improve relations with the United States based on mutual respect and interest. In an interview with ABC News, Gilani said the US is an important country and Pakistan does not want to spoil its relations with it. On US drone attacks, he said: "We consider these attacks as against the sovereignty of Pakistan and this matter has been raised with the US authorities." To a question, Gilani said the parliamentary committee on national security has prepared recommendations for new terms of engagement with the US and the Nato. On relations with Afghanistan, he said the two neighbouring countries have suffered a lot in the war against terrorism and they should work together to fight the common enemy. "Afghanistan's stability is vital for Pakistan's stability. We are part of solution and not part of problem," he observed.
Xinjiang militants linked to Pakistan groups: China:
A senior Chinese official has alleged that militants in north-western China have ‘deep-seated ties' to Pakistan-based terror groups, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal Wednesday. The newspaper called the accusation ‘unusually explicit' that could put strains on the relationship between China and Pakistan. But Nur Bekri, the top government official in China's north-western Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, was quoted as saying that the Chinese officials believed the Pakistani government opposed recent attacks directed at China. Some ethnic Uighurs have waged a long and bloody campaign for independence from China, WSJ noted. Beijing has long accused Uighur separatists of being part of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, known as ETIM, which it says has ties to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations. "We have discovered some East Turkestan activists and terrorists from our neighbouring country have countless links," Bekri said during a meeting in Beijing of the National People's Congress, China's once-a-year legislative body. He added that Pakistan itself was an ‘all-weather friend' of China, echoing previous remarks from Chinese officials. Pakistan's Foreign Ministry and military officials couldn't be reached for comment, according to the journal. The Foreign Ministry said in a previous statement that it would continue to support China in fighting the ETIM.
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