APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, October 5, 2009

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"APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, October 5, 2009", APSNet Semi-Weekly Bulletin, October 05, 2009, https://nautilus.org/apsnet/apsnet-5-october-2009/

APSNet 5 October 2009

  1. 83 Diggers 83 injured in Afghanistan became invisible
  2. Defence moves to block Chinese steelmaker
  3. Afghan insurgency seen spilling into Central Asia
  4. Assessing the case for war in Afghanistan
  5. The public cost of private security in Afghanistan
  6. Diverse sources fund insurgency in Afghanistan
  7. US storms troops into the Philippines
  8. Indonesia passes controversial graft court bill

1. 83 Diggers 83 injured in Afghanistan became invisible, Paul Toohey, Australian, 2009-09-26

In hospitals around Australia, soldiers who have been seriously wounded in Afghanistan are checked in under false names in order to protect them from the public eye. One Afghanistan veteran, in his early 20s, is in a private hospital in NSW. He has lost both his legs. The doctors and nurses treating him are sworn to secrecy. Were someone to ring the hospital’s reception, asking for him by his real name, he would not exist. As far as the public knows, his terrible injuries never happened.

2. Defence moves to block Chinese steelmaker, Sarah-Jane Tasker, Australian, 2009-09-24

The Defence Department has again flexed its muscles, this time to try to stop a state-owned Chinese steelmaker gaining access to a mining project in South Australia, because of national security concerns. Wayne Swan made it clear he does not want the Chinese to control assets in the Woomera area when he rejected a Chinese play for the struggling OZ Minerals earlier this year, because its Prominent Hill mine was in the prohibited zone. The knockback forced a new deal, with OZ Minerals retaining the massive copper-gold mine.

3. Afghan insurgency seen spilling into Central Asia, Maria Golovnina, Reuters, 2009-10-01

Islamist militancy is spreading north from Afghanistan into Central Asia, threatening to disrupt NATO supply lines snaking through the former Soviet region, Russia’s ambassador to Afghanistan said. Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s outgoing envoy to Afghanistan, said the West should focus on curbing Taliban attempts to spread their influence in northern Afghanistan where the country borders Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

4. Assessing the case for war in Afghanistan, Statement by Dr. Stephen Biddle Before the Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, 2009-09-16 [PDF, 68KB]

Is this complex conflict still worth waging? The answer is a close call on the merits. The debate often treats Afghanistan in absolutes: it is either a graveyard of empires in which no outsider can succeed and a country where we have no meaningful interests at stake; or it is a war where victory can be assured if we show sufficient resolve and where only success can avert a direct threat of attack on the American homeland. In fact it is a harder call.

5. The public cost of private security in Afghanistan, Jake Sherman and Victoria DiDomenico, Center on International Cooperation, September 2009 [PDF, 288KB]

The absence of effective oversight and control of private security providers (PSPs) employed by the international community undermines the credibility and effectiveness of the Afghan government, the international military and diplomatic presence, and reconstruction organizations. With a surge in US forces on the horizon the demand for private security will increase.  This report lays out the consequences of heavy reliance on groups operating outside the legal framework, including shorting Afghan public security forces, increasing the costs of reconstruction, and strengthening criminal groups.

6. Diverse sources fund insurgency in Afghanistan, Craig Whitlock, Washington Post, 2009-09-27

The Taliban-led insurgency has built a fundraising juggernaut that generates cash from such an array of criminal rackets, donations, taxes, shakedowns and other schemes that U.S. and Afghan officials say it may be impossible to choke off the movement’s money supply. Obama administration officials say the single largest source of cash for the Taliban is not drugs but foreign donations. The CIA recently estimated that Taliban leaders and their allies received $106 million in the past year from donors outside Afghanistan.

7. US storms troops into the Philippines, Al Labita, Asia Times, 2009-10-03

The arrival of about 3,000 US Marines in the Philippines next week for training and humanitarian missions in the wake of recent floods has some Filipino officials wary that the soldiers could be diverted to war-torn Sulu island, where Islamic extremists recently killed two US soldiers. The scheduled deployment represents five times the number of US troops currently stationed in the Philippines.

8. Indonesia passes controversial graft court bill, Ed Davies and Sunanda Creagh, Reuters, 2009-09-26

Indonesia’s parliament passed a controversial corruption court bill that anti-graft watchdogs said was likely to undermine the fight against endemic corruption in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy. The bill relaxed a previous rule on the composition of the panel of judges, dealing a blow to the court’s independence. The court has had a 100 percent success rate due in part to the use of ad hoc judges and their majority on the panel. Under the new law, the head of a district court or the supreme court can decide the panel’s makeup.

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