World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
November 16, 2005
|MEDIA WATCH ARCHIVES|
World Media Watch
by Gloria R. Lalumia
BuzzFlash Note: WMW provides BuzzFlash readers foreign views and perspectives that are not usually available from the media here in the U.S. The presentation of these articles from these international publications is not an endorsement of their viewpoints.
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WORLD MEDIA WATCH FOR NOVEMBER 16, 2005
1//The Daily Star, Lebanon--‘SAUDI ARABIA HAS CAPACITY TO BOOST OIL OUTPUT’ (Saudi Arabia has the means to sharply increase its oil production to 18.2 million barrels per day by 2030 from the current level of 10.5 million, the deputy head of the International Energy Agency, William Ramsay, said on Tuesday. "We have access to several sources of information we consider fairly reliable and we think that the country can attain and maintain in the long-run this level of production," Ramsay said in the French trade magazine Le petrole et le gaz arabes (Arab Oil and Gas) to appear on Thursday. … U.S. businessman Matthew Simmons raised serious doubts about the world's oil reserves last year when he said that production in Saudi Arabia, which has the most reserves in the world, had already peaked and was now heading into a phase of decline. … Ramsay said a current debate over "peak oil" - the expected decline in oil production as a result of the rapid depletion of reserves - was distracting politicians from the key issues and "could lead them to make decisions that are unreasonable in economic terms." "Should we take strong measures today if the peak oil does not pose a threat for the near future? We think that scientific and technological progress will enable us to postpone that date and therefore we don't need to talk about it right now," he said. "There are other issues that are more pressing," he said.)
5//The Toronto Star, Canada--ONTARIO LAW WOULD BAN FAITH-BASED FAMILY TRIBUNALS (Ontario families would not be allowed to choose a faith-based tribunal to settle disputes such as divorce and custody under controversial new legislation. Premier Dalton McGuinty announced in September that Ontario would not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow religious rules called Shariah law to settle Muslim family disputes. . … Some Jewish and Muslim groups have vowed to fight to keep the faith-based tribunals, and complain they had no input before McGuinty's surprise announcement in September.)
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1//The Daily Star, Lebanon Wednesday, November 16, 2005
‘SAUDI ARABIA HAS CAPACITY TO BOOST OIL OUTPUT’
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
PARIS: Saudi Arabia has the means to sharply increase its oil production to 18.2 million barrels per day by 2030 from the current level of 10.5 million, the deputy head of the International Energy Agency, William Ramsay, said on Tuesday. "We have access to several sources of information we consider fairly reliable and we think that the country can attain and maintain in the long-run this level of production," Ramsay said in the French trade magazine Le petrole et le gaz arabes (Arab Oil and Gas) to appear on Thursday.
Few statistics are available on the size of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas reserves, which has led to debate among experts in recent years.
U.S. businessman Matthew Simmons raised serious doubts about the world's oil reserves last year when he said that production in Saudi Arabia, which has the most reserves in the world, had already peaked and was now heading into a phase of decline. His comments were rejected by Saudi leaders.
Ramsay said the IEA, created in 1974 after the first oil shock, did not share Simmons' concerns.
"The Saudi reserves are large enough to reach these production levels, even if one were to assume that the estimates were overvalued by 30 percent and even if one were to assume that there would be a significant increase in production costs," Ramsay said.
"Producing 18.2 million barrels a day is not a technical challenge but rather a challenge in terms of policy and the market," he said.
Ramsay said a current debate over "peak oil" - the expected decline in oil production as a result of the rapid depletion of reserves - was distracting politicians from the key issues and "could lead them to make decisions that are unreasonable in economic terms." "Should we take strong measures today if the peak oil does not pose a threat for the near future? We think that scientific and technological progress will enable us to postpone that date and therefore we don't need to talk about it right now," he said.
"There are other issues that are more pressing," he said.
2//Gulf News Online, United Arab Emirates Published: 16/11/2005, 00:33 (UAE)
HEZBOLLAH BACKING FOR SYRIA ‘WILL BREAK UNITY IN LEBANON’
Beruit: Hezbollah, one of Syria's most powerful allies in Lebanon, is throwing its weight around in support of embattled Damascus.
Naim Qasim, Deputy Secretary General of Hezbollah addressing a Shiite rally south of Beirut on Martyrs Day [November 11] said the representative of the party in the government requested Fouad Siniora, Lebanese Prime Minister, to speak one language and refrain from damaging relations with Syria. He also promised to support Syria in overcoming the "troubled times".
During a meeting on Thursday, the cabinet condemned Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's remarks against Siniora and Sa'ad Al Hariri.
Five ministers representing the Shiite Hezbollah Party and Amal Movement walked out of the Cabinet meeting, saying that they need more time to study the speech before issuing an official statement. Sources from the party said "it is not comfortable with the reaction of the cabinet which condemned Bashar".
A source said: "Siniora and the Cabinet should focus on the positive side of Bashar's speech, during which Syria's willingness to cooperate with the UN Commission probing the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri was expressed."
The Hezbollah source said it was not in Lebanon's interest to weaken the stand of Syria by protesting against its president at this juncture.
Members of the Future Group [headed by Sa'ad Hariri], the Reform Movement [headed by General Michel Aoun] and other groups in Parliament are worried about the Hezbollah move to support Bashar against Siniora.
"This unexpected and unacceptable stand will harm the national unity," a source from the reform movement warned.
3//The Independent, UK Published: 15 November 2005
AFGHANISTAN: THE WAR WITH NO END
British troops have come under attack in Kabul and Nato forces were targeted in two co-ordinated suicide car bombings in which at least four people died.
The attacks took place as ministers revealed that units are preparing to extend Britain's role in Afghanistan when it takes command of the international peacekeeping operation next year.
John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, told Parliament that Britain faced a "prolonged" involvement in the country. But MPs warned last night that British troops faced being mired in a long-term military commitment to a country in the grip of a growing insurgency.
They insisted yesterday's extension of Britain's role in Afghanistan, four years after troops first arrived, also reflected the size of the task facing coalition forces in Iraq.
Fears for Afghanistan's future emerged in the wake of suggestions, by the British and Iraqi governments, that British troops could begin pulling out of Iraq by the end of next year. For British troops, however, yesterday's violence in Kabul was a taste of what they will face next year when they deploy to the turbulent province of Helmand as part of a move by Nato to take over security in the Taliban heartlands.
At least four people were killed in the attacks, including one German soldier and an Afghan child, but the implications of the attacks were far wider. The insurgency that has been worsening while the world's attention has been focused on Iraq has now reached Kabul.
The insurgency in Afghanistan has been largely confined to the Pashtun area in the south and east. Until now, British troops have operated in Kabul and the north, where international forces have been largely welcomed by Afghans who suffered persecution under Taliban rule.
But in the south there is widespread support for the insurgency and opposition to any Western presence in Afghanistan. Helmand in particular is notorious even among Afghans for the ferocity of its tribesmen. British troops are moving into the province under a plan for the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) to take over security in the area. And it was no coincidence that yesterday's attacks specifically targeted Isaf troops in Kabul.
The message from the Taliban was clear: this is what is waiting for Isaf in the south. But the message was also that the Taliban can now strike in Kabul, which until now has been an oasis of stability largely unaffected by the insurgency.
Kabul is home to 3,000 foreigners, most working for NGOs, who live in an city that often seems utterly disconnected from the rest of the country. Replete with bars and expensive restaurants that sell alcohol to foreigners, but not Afghans, Kabul even boasts two designer boutiques for women's clothes. Yesterday another Afghanistan came crashing up against that world. Both car bombings came on the Jalalabad Road, which has long been the scene of the most serious attacks in Kabul.
There was a suicide bombing on that road in September, and there have been countless improvised bombs hidden along it - partly it is because there are several Western and Afghan military bases, and the UN's headquarters, on it. The road runs through a Pashtun suburb of Kabul where the Pashtun Taliban can operate freely. The fact that so senior a commander has claimed responsibility for the attacks is a sure sign the Taliban are stepping up their actions. Known as Dadullah-I-Leng, or Dadullah the Lame, he is known for his part in massacres of Hazara Shias, which have been described as attempted genocide.
One of the main failures of the Taliban's insurgency has been its inability to attract support among other ethnic communities.
4//EurasiaNet.org, USA Tuesday, November 15, 2005
UZBEKISTAN AND RUSSIA SIGN MUTUAL DEFENSE PACT
Russia and Uzbekistan have concluded a mutual defense pact that leaves open the possibility of the establishment of a Russian military base in the Central Asian nation.
Uzbek President Islam Karimov and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin signed the agreement November 14 in Moscow. The signing ceremony came on the same day that an Uzbek court in Tashkent sentenced 15 individuals to up to 20-year jail terms for their supposed roles in provoking the May violence in Andijan. Some foreign observers compared the Tashkent terror proceedings to Soviet show trials of the 1920s and 30s. US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said November 14 the convictions are "based on evidence that isn’t credible and a trial that isn’t fair."
Under the mutual defense treaty, Tashkent and Moscow pledge to "build and develop allied relations on a long-term basis." The pact’s central provision calls for both sides to have access to each other’s military installations and facilities. It also states that "an act of aggression against one side will be considered as aggression against both sides."
The signing of the treaty marks the completion of a process that was about a year in the making, in which Tashkent’s strategic orientation turned away from Washington and focused on Moscow. The impetus for the shift was Tashkent’s perception that Washington engineered the so-called "color revolution" phenomenon, which produced regime change in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. The turning point in US-Uzbek relations came in late July, when Tashkent ordered the eviction of US forces stationed at the Karshi-Khanabad air base in southwestern Uzbekistan.
In recent months, Uzbekistan and Russia have steadily tightened strategic and economic ties. Russia has emerged as a primary supporter of Uzbekistan on the global political stage, echoing the Karimov’s administration’s contention that Islamic radicals were responsible for stoking the May violence in Andijan. International human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, say Uzbek troops opened fire without warning on mostly unarmed demonstrators.
The European Union and the United States have called for an independent inquiry into the Andijan events – a proposal repeatedly rejected by Tashkent. In response to Uzbekistan’s adamant refusal to sanction an independent Andijan probe, the EU announced November 14 that 12 top Uzbek officials -- including Interior Minister Zakirjan Almatov, State Security Police chief Rustam Inoyatov and Defense Minister Kadir Gulamov – are prohibited from visiting EU member states. In addition, the EU imposed an arms sales ban on Uzbekistan.
The defense pact opens the way for Russia to establish a military presence in Uzbekistan. But according to Russian political analyst Alexei Makarin, writing in a commentary published by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency, Moscow does not intend to immediately take advantage of such an opportunity. "Russia has no plans to irritate the United States, which is pulling out of Khanabad; the Americans would bitterly resent the early appearance of a Russian military facility in Uzbekistan," Makarin wrote. "On the other hand, Russia is reserving the right to do so in the future."
Russian state-run media, such as the RTR television channel, trumpeted the defense pact as "unprecedented." Other Russian media outlets were more subdued in their evaluation. An editorial published by the Kommersant daily characterized the treaty as a "marriage of convenience." The newspaper also pointed out that Moscow was taking a geopolitical risk by allying itself so closely with Karimov, leaving Russia open to becoming directly embroiled in Uzbek civil strife down the road.
5//The Toronto Star, Canada Nov. 15, 2005 02:09 PM
ONTARIO LAW WOULD BAN FAITH-BASED FAMILY TRIBUNALS
Ontario families would not be allowed to choose a faith-based tribunal to settle disputes such as divorce and custody under controversial new legislation.
Premier Dalton McGuinty announced in September that Ontario would not become the first Western jurisdiction to allow religious rules called Shariah law to settle Muslim family disputes.
McGuinty upset several religious organizations by announcing he would stop the introduction of Shariah law by banning all religious arbitration in the province.
Attorney General Michael Bryant says the legislation would ensure ``all family law arbitrations are conducted exclusively under Ontario and Canadian law."
People still would be free to seek a resolution of family disputes from religious leaders, but Bryant says it would amount to ``advice only" and would not be enforceable by the courts.
Some Jewish and Muslim groups have vowed to fight to keep the faith-based tribunals, and complain they had no input before McGuinty's surprise announcement in September.