Terrism in Russia on the train
The crash of Nevsky Express Moscow – St. Petersburg (No 166) train at Burga – Malaya Vishera yesterday (14/8/07 9.43 am local time) has now been declared a terrorist attack by the Directorate of the Russian Prosecution General’s Office in North-Western Federal District who has taken responsibility for investigating the incident.
The cause of the explosion was a homemade (?) explosive device with power capacity equivalent to 2 kg of TNT according to police. The bomb was placed on the approach to a bridge presumably with the intention of inducing the train falling off and increasing the deaths / casualties and making rescue difficult.
It appears , that because the driver was observing speed restrictions approaching the bridge the plans for catastrophic failure and plunge from the bridge was prevented.
The blast derailed the electric locomotive and 12 carriages . About 60 people were injured, around 40 taken to hospital. Overall, there were 231 passengers and 20 personnel staff on the train.
President Putin has instructed Nikolai Patrushev , Head of the Russian Federal Security Service to take overall control. - meanwhile he was the last participant at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit to arrive in Bishkek airport, handily placed for the US air base.
Shanghai Co-operation Organisation Summit , Bishkek, 2007 and Joint SCO Wargames
Chinese President Hu Jin tao (bringing he said, "“new additional impulses to the development of good, neighborly relations” see pic .), Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rakhmanov, Uzbekistan’s cuddly body boiler, President Islam Karimov, Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguluy Berdymuhammedov, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Kharzai, Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmenadinejad have already arrived to the Kyrgyz capital.
India’s Minister for Oil and Natural Gas Murli Deora, Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mian Kurshid Mahmood Kasuri and UN Under-Secretary General Lynn Pascoe will also participate in the summit.
The fact that the presidents of all six member states (Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) are scheduled to attend is just one of several indicators of the organization’s rising regional importance.
Iran, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan and Mongolia have all expressed a wish to become full members of the SCO. However China and Russia aides have decalred that new members will not be admitted at this summit, as no acession system has been agreed yet. Adding more members may also dilute the organization’s anti-US orientation, as none of the aspirants – except Iran – share China and Russia’s determination to limit US involvement in Central Asia.
The Chinese and Russian leaders worry that allowing Iran in could ( and wil be) would be interpreted as an endorsement of Iran’s nuclear program. Beijing and Moscow also fret about being involved in any possible US / Israel /Iranian confrontation, as Tehran, as an SCO member, could (and probably would) invoke a mutual defense clause in the event of a potential US / Israeli attack on Iran.
For himself ,Ahmadinejad supports SCO’s efforts to check US influence in Central Asia. In particular, the Iranian leader will be anxious to obtain some assurance / guarantee from summit hosts Kyrgyzstan that an American air base outside of Bishkek would not be used for any potential US attack on Iran.
On Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Karabayev, the Kyrgyz foreign minister, said earlier this month that,"According to the agreement [between the United States and Kyrgyzstan], the (Manas) base can not be used for any [unrelated] military operations," . He has also been anxious to tell the diplomatic circus about the possible use of the US facility at Manas in a hypothetical strike against Iran and insists the lease terms call for the base to be used only in support of ongoing military actions in Afghanistan.
In many ways the prospect of a Chinese / Russian joint military action seems remote. There are however are large scale (6,500 troops - which would be a small scale op. in Baghdad) exercises under the auspices of the SCO coinciding with the Summit called Orwellian Style “Peace 2007″. (See China view review of exercises - some amazing pictures of Chinese weapons)
These involve mainly Russian and Chinese units and others from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which start in Xinjiang on the Chinese borders and then move to Chelyabinsk, in the Russian Urals finishing August 17th. Remarkably these manouvres have historic significance and whilst they will certainly be the object of much examination from afar and upabove,they are worth more attention than the Western media have exhibited so far. (See Videoclip from CCTV via Foreign Policy Association here)
Whilst China is anxious to maintain oil supplies from Russia unaffected by maritime problems they are poised for strategic competition with Russia despite any temporary shared interest they may currently have in containing Islamist activities and stopping US influence in Central Asia.
Meanwhile Bishkek has been enjoying a massive clean up for 6 months for the arrival of the VIP's which includes whitewashing trees and facades of buildings on the road from the Manas Airport to Bishkek and the principal thoroughfares.
Fantastically residents of all houses facing the elegant Philharmonic, where the SCO summit will take place, have been forbidden to open their windows and balcony doors from August 14 until the end of the summit - the Police explain "because everyone who appears in the window will be at risk of beeing shot. There will be Russian snipers around"
Pic from China view of Chinese soldiers attending the 2nd phase of "Peace Mission 2007" anti-terror drill in the Chebarkul range near Chelyabinsk of Russia, August 13, 2007
(Is this a Sikorsky S-92 military variant that Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Co. Ltd. (CAC) are building under licence - Chengdu are building the Boeing Dreamliner rudder - the rudder -- a key component of the vertical fin that provides stability for an airplane's directional control. )
Curious alliances War, Peace and Commerce bring.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Terrism in Russia on the train