Investment Fund Tells Amazing Story of Official Russian Corruption

The story of Hermitage Capital, a Britain-based investment fund that was once one of the largest foreign investors in Russia, and what it encountered at the hands of corrupt Russian officials, “highlightsthe hazards of practicing law in Russia’s corruption-ridden courtsdespite nearly two decades of reforms supported by hundreds of millionsin U.S. and European aid,” Philip Pan wrote in an Aug. 13 piece in the Washington Post. It also highlights the dangers of doing business in Russia for Western firms. Hermitage was apparently the victim of a brazen attempt by corrupt Russian officials to steal its assets, in an all-too-common practice […]

David Kilcullen on Afghanistan

Counterinsurgency and counterterrorism expert David Kilcullen spokewith Charlie Rose about the situation in Afghanistan. A formerAustralian Army officer, Kilcullen was a top adviser to Gen. DavidPetraeus, and now works at the U.S. State Department.

U.S. Sen. Jim Webb on Afghanistan Strategy

Interviewed on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, U.S. Sen. Jim Webb defendsPresident Obama’s deliberate approach to determining the direction ofU.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Webb says the war in Afghanistan cannotbe appropriately analogized to Iraq. Even if it could, Webb believesthat the lessons of Iraq don’t necessarily make the case for a surge oftroops in Afghanistan for a full-blown counterinsurgency. Clip 1 Clip 2

Camara the Bizarre: Guinea Coup Leader Greets Reporter in Bed

In December 2008, Guinean army captain Moussa Dadis Camara tookpower following a coup d’├ętat. Last month, scores of oppositionsupporters were killed by a rampaging army that Camara ostensibly controlled, though he has denied any responsibility for the massacre. A France 24 reporter whovisited Camara in Conakry was met by bizarre behavior. The junta leadermet the reporter in bed, and referred to himself in the third person and in prophetic terms.

Obama Reacts to News of his Nobel Prize

President Barack Obama reacted to the news that he had won the NobelPeace Prize with a statement at the White House. “I am both surprisedand deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel committee,” Obama said.”To be honest I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of somany of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize.” Related WPR blog post: Obama Peace Prize?!?

Interview with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic tells Russia Today thatBelgrade will not sacrifice its stance on Kosovo’sindependence in exchange for a speedy accession to the European Union.Jeremic spoke to the Russian state-sponsored television station as heprepared to visit Moscow, and ahead of a planned visit to Belgrade byRussian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Pakistan Foreign Minister: Taliban in Disarray

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Wednesday terrorists are in retreat in his country and the Taliban are in disarray. The foreign minister made his comments during an address in Washington. Voice of America correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

Implications of Taliban Bombing of Indian Embassy

On Worldfocus, Daniel Markey of the Council on Foreign Relations saysthis week’s bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul could haveimplications for India-Pakistan relations, as well as for Pakistan’sfocus on its internal Taliban threat. “The potential for a broaderregional destabilization is certainly there,” he said.

Hakimullah Mehsud: Dead or Alive?

As Pakistan prepares to launch an offensive against the Taliban inSouth Waziristan, and in the wake of the bombing of the headquarters ofthe World Food Program in Islamabad, a new video appeared thatpurported to demonstrate that Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud is stillalive. Al Jazeera reports below that the person in the video is indeedHakimullah, though Pakistani officials claim the person in the video isHakimullah’s brother, who strongly resembles the allegedly deceasedfighter. These officials believe Hakimullah was killed in a powerstruggle in the wake of the death of another Taliban leader, BaitullahMehsud, in August, by a U.S. drone strike.

Policy Implications of Taliban Attack in Islamabad

Worldfocus interviews the Middle East Institute’s Marvin Weinbaum onwhat the Taliban’s Monday attack on a World Food Program office inIslamabad means for U.S. policy in Afghanistan, and for U.S. andPakistani strategy against the Taliban.

Forecasting the Geopolitical Future

Voice of America interviews George Friedman, founder of the privateintelligence company Stratfor, and author of “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century.” Among Friedman’s predictions: Solar arrays will solve the problem of finding clean energy; industrialized nations with declining populations will compete for immigrants from the developing world; the United States and Mexico will come into increasing conflict; and Poland and Turkey will emerge as great powers.

Obama on the P5+1 Talks with Iran in Geneva

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke from the White House at theconclusion of talks in Geneva between diplomats from the United States,the United Kingdom, France Russia, China, Germany and Iran. “TheIranian government heard a clear and unified message from theinternational community in Geneva: Iran must generate through concretesteps that it will live up to its responsibilities with regard to itsnuclear program. In pursuit of that goal, today’s meeting was aconstructive beginning, but it must be followed with constructiveaction by the Iranian government,” Obama said.

U.S. Policy Toward Burma

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific AffairsKurt Campbell testified at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Sept. 30 on U.S. policy toward Burma. Campbell outlined a new policy of”pragmatic engagment,” Voice of America reports.

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