quinta-feira, 25 de março de 2010

Novo pacto bilateral de desarmamento nuclear

(Fonte: npsglobal.org)

Artigo de Ana Fonseca Pereira, publicado hoje, 25 de Março, no jornal Público, a propósito do novo acordo sobre um novo tratado que reduz o armamento nuclear que tanto Estados Unidos da América, como Rússia possuem. Dá-se, assim, um novo capítulo na história do Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

Existe também um acordo de princípio para que a cerimónia de assinatura decorra em Praga, coincidindo o mais possível com o primeiro aniversário do discurso em que o Presidente americano delineou a sua ambição de contribuir para um mundo livre de armas nucleares. Dias antes, no primeiro encontro formal a dois, Obama e Medvedev lançaram as negociações para um novo START e meses depois, em Moscovo, acordaram que os arsenais estratégicos de cada um dos países deveriam ser reduzidos para não mais de 1675 ogivas – um quarto do limite imposto no tratado de 1991 e menos 525 do que as previstas num acordo bilateral de 2002.

terça-feira, 23 de março de 2010

A Ásia e a NATO - uma região inevitável no cálculo estratégico da NATO

Asia, NATO and its partners: complicated relationships?

Many of NATO's new partners come from in or around Asia. How does each side see each other - and what's the way to ensure both benefit from working together? Michito Tsuruoka looks into this from an Asian standpoint.

NATO’s relationships with the countries outside the Euro-Atlantic region have developed rapidly in the last few years. Cooperation in Afghanistan has driven the development. Countries like Australia, New Zealand and Singapore are now troop contributors to the ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) in Afghanistan. Others, like Japan and South Korea, are making direct and indirect contribution to the Alliance’s effort there. These countries are now called “other partners across the globe.”

While countries like Australia and Japan are often seen as objects of the Alliance’s partnership policy, it is NATO who is the partner from those countries’ perspective. This article will examine how NATO is perceived as a partner by the Alliance’s new “partners across the globe.” Why have those countries strengthened relations with NATO? What kind of partner is NATO in the eyes of those countries? And what do they expect from NATO?

It is Japan’s intention to use NATO as an additional venue to raise international, particularly European, awareness of the Asian security situation

NATO as a political Partner

To begin with, each country has a different set of motivations regarding its relationship with the Alliance. When Japan made an overture to NATO in 2006 and 2007, it was predominantly a diplomatic move. It is true that both Foreign Minister Taro Aso and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe mentioned the possibility of operational cooperation between Japan and NATO during their respective addresses to the NAC (North Atlantic Council). It should be remembered, however, that both men spent much time there explaining the Asian security situation, including China and North Korea. Abe even directly “requested” the Allies “to urge North Korea to take sincere steps towards the resolution” of the issue of abduction of Japanese citizens by the North Korean authorities.

It is Japan’s intention to use NATO as an additional venue to raise international, particularly European, awareness of the Asian security situation. That is why Tokyo appreciated the NAC statements condemning the North Korean missile launch in July 2006 and the nuclear test in October the same year. Despite highly bellicose languages from Pyongyang, dealing with the country remains a diplomatic game, where international solidarity matters a lot.

NATO may not be a political actor in its own right. But as the world’s biggest and most capable political-military alliance, it carries a certain—both intended and unintended—weight in international security affairs. This also explains why those who are sceptical about NATO, not least those who do not share values with NATO, fear the expansion of the Alliance’s area of activities and influence. NATO’s image in the outside world as an influential security actor is arguably stronger than NATO itself recognises. But precisely because of this, Japan sees NATO as an important new political partner. Other partners may follow suit.

NATO in operational cooperation

Australia’s and New Zealand’s relationships with NATO have developed largely based on their troop contribution to ISAF. As a result, operational cooperation is the main pillar of Australia-NATO and NZ-NATO relations, unlike Japan-NATO. These countries use NATO as a framework too. Without NATO, Australia and New Zealand would not have been able participate in international military efforts in Afghanistan. NATO has enabled these countries’ contribution to international efforts there. Once in the ISAF, it is legitimate that Australia and other contributors demand more information-sharing and more involvement in policy-shaping and eventually decision-making. Australia, a country which has more than 1,000 troops in the South of Afghanistan engaged in combat missions, has been the most vocal partner in making these cases, which NATO has tried hard to accommodate.

Both at the political and strategic level and the theatre level, the level of information-sharing and involvement seems to have improved substantially in the past year. Ministerial (mainly Defence Ministers’) meetings in the ISAF format have become a regular event and working level troop contributors’ meetings such as in the PCG (Policy Coordination Group) framework serves the venue for more substantial consultation.

However, the question of to what extent NATO is prepared to involve non-NATO contributors in the Alliance’s internal processes will not be solved in a clear fashion in the foreseeable future. For NATO, to accommodate the partners’ demands and satisfy them is necessary to secure their continued contribution. The principle of “no taxation without representation” holds true here.

It is certainly no coincidence that so far, most of the Alliance’s new partners beyond the Euro-Atlantic region are in fact US allies, such as Australia and Japan

NATO as a means of cooperation with the US

When countries such as Australia and New Zealand decided to send troops to Afghanistan, the partner they chose did not have to be NATO. In fact, when NZ deployed troops to Afghanistan for the first time, it was done under the framework of the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) in close bilateral cooperation with the US. There was no secret that it was a decision to support specifically the US and to show solidarity with the country in the wake of the 9/11, which had nothing to with NZ-NATO cooperation at that time. As a result of the geographical expansion of the ISAF in late 2006, the NZ troops stationed in Bamyan province had to move from the OEF command to the ISAF. From NZ’s point of view, the resultant cooperation with NATO was largely an unintended by-product of what it had been doing regardless of the ISAF.

This clearly shows another critical value that NATO has as a framework to cooperate in international peace operations and other areas. It is that NATO offers an additional route to cooperate with the US. Cooperation with NATO including troop contribution to NATO-led missions and operations can take place in the context of cooperation with the US. This should not be a surprising element given that even among the Allies, contribution to the ISAF and other NATO-led activities are often seen as a way to ensure positive relations with the US. “Partners across the globe” are not an exception here.

It is certainly no coincidence that so far, most of the Alliance’s new partners beyond the Euro-Atlantic region are in fact US allies, such as Australia and Japan. Australia-NATO and Japan-NATO cooperation are new faces of these countries’ bilateral security relations with the US. A Joint Statement of the US-Japan 2+2 (Security Consultative Committee: SCC) of May 2007 placed Japan-NATO cooperation in the context of ‘common strategic objectives’ of the two allies.

NATO as a multilateral school

Cooperation in Afghanistan is one thing, but it needs to be remembered that it is not the whole story about the relationships between NATO and the partners across the globe. In the first place, conducting operations like the ISAF is still a new business for NATO and the Alliance has many other things to do. In such fields as interoperability, standardisation, joint procurement, research and development, multilateral planning and defence planning, NATO has an unparalleled unique set of expertise and experience. These are the areas, in fact, where the partners can benefit most from cooperation with NATO.

The key is NATO’s multilateral nature. Countries outside the Euro-Atlantic area generally lack multilateral experience in security and defence. For example, in the Asia-Pacific region, where most of NATO’s new partners are situated, multilateral security cooperation is still weak if not totally absent. The ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) only conducted the first ever real joint exercise on civil emergency (disaster relief) in May 2009. Multilateral planning and operation is still a new idea in the region and the militaries in the countries of the region have limited multilateral experiences.

In this context, practical cooperation with NATO—participating in NATO’s exercise and seminars—provides a good opportunity for the partners to become familiar with multilateral ways of planning and operations. Also, in this globalised world and the period of limited resources to military, research and development and procurement of defence equipment need to be approached multilaterally with cooperation with other countries. NATO’s history in this regard is far from perfect. But still, it provides a useful platform to advance multilateral approach to security, which the partners can take part in.

Challenges ahead for NATO

NATO’s new partners outside the Euro-Atlantic region see NATO very differently from the Alliance’s traditional partners in the PfP (Partnership for Peace) framework. New partners do not seek membership. They are not countries in transition from communism either. They do not need NATO’s advice on how to ensure the democratic control of armed forces, etc. NATO has been successful in assisting partners aspiring to become a member of the Alliance. However, it is still a new business for NATO to cooperate with non-European advanced democracies.

On NATO’s side, there is still no consensus on what way NATO should go in terms of relationships with its new partners outside the Euro-Atlantic region. Getting more help, both military and civilian, to the ISAF and other NATO-led missions and operations from those countries is one thing. Given the diverse nature of motivations those countries have in moving closer to the Alliance, however, it is now evident that NATO needs a clearer idea of what it wants to achieve through the development of the new partnerships. The development of its new Strategic Concept in 2010 provides an opportunity.

At the very least, NATO needs to think through how it can respond to the partners’ expectations toward the Alliance. A window of opportunity is now open for NATO to take part in shaping a new international security network. It is up to NATO whether it will seize it.

Michito Tsuruoka is a Research Fellow of the National Institute for Defense Studies (NIDS), Ministry of Defense, Japan. At the time of writing, he was a Resident Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF). Tsuruoka also served a Special Adviser for NATO at the Embassy of Japan in Belgium from 2005 to 2008. The views expressed in the article are author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of Japanese Government or the GMF.

(fonte: http://www.nato.int/docu/review/2009/Asia/nato_partner_asia/EN/index.htm)

quinta-feira, 18 de março de 2010

Barack Obama em Portugal

(Fonte: thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)

Notícia de Miguel Ângelo Pinto, adiantada ontem, 17 de Março, no jornal i.

É a primeira vez que Portugal, país fundador da instituição, organiza uma cimeira da Aliança Atlântica na capital. Obama será, assim, a estrela do evento, que contará com apertadíssimas medidas de segurança não só em redor do espaço onde irá decorrer o encontro, mas também ao longo dos percursos que as diferentes comitivas, com particular destaque para a americana, vão trilhar.

A vinda do Presidente Obama trará, decerto, o entusiasmo que o país sentiu intensamente nas eleições em Novembro de 2008. No entanto, todo este fenómeno terá que ser contrabalançado, acima de tudo, com os verdadeiros propósitos da Cimeira: o Novo Conceito Estratégico e o upgrade da NATO para o século XXI, capaz de desempenhar um papel eficaz na luta às novas ameaças e na busca pela Paz. Será uma rigorosa reflexão sobre os valores atlanticistas.

Porém, o 44º Presidente dos Estados Unidos da América terá que ser confrontado inevitavelmente com os seus êxitos e fracassos em matérias de política interna e externa, temáticas que certamente serão abordadas pela imprensa internacional. Torna-se, então, imperativo que o Presidente Obama mantenha a linha da Cimeira Estrasburgo/Kehl, comemorativa do 60º aniversário da Organização do Tratado do Atlântico Norte, e não só traga uma mensagem de esperança, como também uma voz de comando no domínio dos diálogos bilaterais, cada vez mais importantes no caminho para o entrosamento internacional.

domingo, 14 de março de 2010

SIMOTAN V - Convite - 5 a 8 de Maio de 2010

Caríssimos colegas e amigos,

A Comissão Portuguesa do Atlântico e o Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas têm o enorme prazer de vos convidar a participar na SIMOTAN V, uma Crisis Management Simulation do North Atlantic Council, que terá lugar em Lisboa, entre os dias 5 e 8 de Maio de 2010.

Pedimos a todos os interessados que nos contactem para secretariadoajpa@gmail.com para que vos façamos chegar o convite e ficha de inscrição. Pedimos encarecidamente que nos façam chegar a ficha de inscrição e a documentação adicional necessária até ao dia 23 de Abril de 2010. Solicitamos ainda que nos remetam a carta de motivação em inglês, dado que, sendo este um evento internacional que contará com participantes de diversos países, a língua de trabalho será o inglês.

quinta-feira, 11 de março de 2010

Ainda a propósito da busca pelo Novo Conceito Estratégico

Artigo de Merle David Kellerhals Jr. (Fonte: america.gov) que expressa o encorajamento da Secretária de Estado norte-americana, Hillary Clinton, pela busca do Novo Conceito Estratégico que torne a NATO apta a responder às novas ameaças, dado estas não respeitarem fronteiras nem terem como alvos fixos. Assim, não só se preza por uma perspectiva de acção, como também de cooperação, na qual a Aliança Atlântica se pode, igualmente, desdobrar.

“In an interconnected world, we cannot defend our people by crouching behind the geographic boundaries of the alliance,” Clinton said. “Many threats we face have little or no respect for borders.”

“Whether we’re battling piracy, or the menace of terrorism, or the prospect of weapons proliferation, we must be prepared to address new dangers regardless of where they originate,” she added.

Introduzindo os Desafios para o Novo Conceito Estratégico

domingo, 7 de março de 2010


Entrevista com Fareed Zakaria, onde reflecte a grande importância das eleições iraquianas não só depositadas num ponto de viragem na história do Médio Oriente, assim como no impacto com as relações ocidentais, especificamente com os Estados Unidos.
" This weekend´s Iraqi election is testing the strength of the nation´s young democracy and could be a turning point in the history of the Middle East", says analyst Fareed Zakaria.

In the March 7 election, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki´s coalition in the Iraqi parliament is seeking to win enough votes to keep him in office for another term. On Thursay, a series of insurgent attacks led to the deaths of 29 people in the city of Baquba.

Zakaria said the election could have a lasting impact: "It might be the turning point in the rise of Iraq in the Middle East. Iraq is one of the largest, most important countries in the Arab world. It has the third or fourth largest petroleum reserves in the world. Even now it has $40 billion in oil revenus every year; it has a well-trained army thanks to the Americans."

"It is perhaps the beginning of a return to prominence in the Middle East. It is possible that 10 years from now we´ll look back and say, while everyone was obsessing about the rise of Iran, the real story in the Middle East in these years was the rise of Iraq."

The Obama administration plans to withdraw all combat troops from Iraq by the end of August, leaving 50,00 Americans in advisory roles, who will leave by the end of 2011.

CNN: What´s at stake in the election?
Fareed Zakaria: This is really the first genuine election Iraq will have since the American invasion. It is only the second time that Iraq is having an election for the full parliamentary term. Ana the first one had limited Sunni participation. There was a lot of violence surrounding it, and so it had a kind of air of abnormality to it. This is coming after a pretty stable period both politically economically and also a period of very spirited campaigning, and so it has the potential to really consolidate Iraqi democracy and Iraqi political stability. But a lot will depend on what happens, not in the election itself, but right after.

CNN: Why should Americans pay particular attention to what´s happening with this election?
F.Z.: Two reasons: First if Iraq is able to achieve some degree of consolidation in terms of its democracy, it will add dramatically to its political stability, which is of course the most important condition that will allow American forces to continue their withdrawal down to zero combat forces or close to zero combat forces, as President Obama has hoped.
And the second is, if Iraq is able to consolidate as a democracy, it will mean there will have been some success in Iraq that we can point to for the vast investment and the vast expenditure of blood and treasure that the United States has put in. I´m not saying that you can make an easy statement that this justifies the invasion, I´m simply saying that there will be a very strong positive outcome in Iraq that will at least be set against the cost.
And that positive outcome is that Iraq will be the first Arab country to have a genuine functioning democratic system with a free press, open economy and that is something of a revolution in the Middle East.

CNN: How is the election shaping up?
F.Z.: The most important part is what happens after the election. What you really have to watch is not how the winners are treated, but how the losers are treated, beacause Iraq has yet to demonstrate that it can handle the issue of minority rights property.
The Sunnis who were once the rulling elite are now somewhat marginalized. The Kurds have their own difficulties with the Baghdad government. The Christians have been very substantially persecuted in many different ways and often, very sadly, killed.
So what Iraq has to demonstrate is that the majority, which will inevitably be largely Shia, has the capacity to give some form of representation to the various minorities within Iraq. Iraq has to show that it understands that democracy is not just majority rule but pluralism and inclusion for the various minority groups.
That´s a very important point because while the Sunnis are the minority in Iraq, they are the majority everywhere else in the Arab world. So when Arabs look at Iraq, right now what they see is a kind of majority tyranny.

CNN: Are you seeing any signs that the Shia majority is fully open to the kind of embrace of minority rights you´re talking about?
F.Z.: The most important sign is that the Shias have not consolidated as one bloc, so there are now various Shia groups, some of which are inclined to this kind of inclusion. Others are not. But at least it gives the voters choices, and the group that seems to be doing second best in the polls after Prime Minister Maliki´s group is headed by Ayad Allawi, a former prime minister. He is a very secular-minded guy who has a lot of appeal to Sunnis, has Sunni partners in his coalition at very high levels and represents a very different kind of Shia politics, much more secular, much more inclusive.
It´s also worth saying that the Sunnis are not trying to resort to violence as a routine matter the way they were four or five years ago.
They seem to understand that their path to rehabilitation lies in politics, not in civil wat. Somebody once said to me, you will know the Iraq insurgency is over once the Shia understand that they have won and the Sunnis understand that they have lost. And I think both those conditions have now been fulfilled.

CNN: What´s the impact of the violence we have seen so far?
F.Z.: Minimal, because the violence has not been particularly dramatic. Look, Iraq is now an open society. It´s very difficult to protect every café and every bus station, but most importantly it is not having much effect in deterring people from voting. When all is said and done, violence in Iraq is down 95 percent from 2006. While it´s unfortunate, it is not debilitating.

CNN: What´s the potential impact of the elections on relations with Iran?
F.Z.: One of the things that I´ve noticed is reports that are coming out that Iranian agents who used to spend a lot of time in Iraq are actually less present there than they had been in the past. That is perhaps in large measure because they´re back in Iran trying to quell and counteract the green movement there. A consolidated government in Iraq with new legitimacy is going to be an Iraq that is less amenable to pressures from Iran.

CNN: Based on where we are right now, how do you think history is going to judge the American invasion?
F.Z.: We spent about a trillion dollars in Iraq, not to mention the loss of blood, which is tragic of course. Not just the Americans but many more Iraqis. So in the long arc of history was this worth it? You probably do need a little more time and perspective, and you do need to see how it turns out. But I think we could be heartened by the fact there are things we can place on the positive side of the ledger to balance the enormous costs that both the Iraqis and the Americans have paid.

CNN: What impact do you think the election will have on the Obama administration´s plan to withdraw troops from Iraq?
F.Z.: The greater the political stability in Iraq, the easier it will be for the withdrawal to proceed apace. Right now I don´t see a major obstacle to continuing the withdrawal. But on my Sunday program, David Petraeus hinted for the first time that there could be an arrangement reached with the Iraqi governement under which a small contigent of American troops stay in Iraq for a longer period of time.

sábado, 6 de março de 2010

Sobre a Questão Nuclear

Estimativa do Arsenal Nuclear mundial (em n° total de ogivas)
China - 410
França - 464
Índia - 60+?
Israel - 200+?
Paquistão 15-25?
Rússia - ~10,000
Reino Unido - 185
Estados Unidos da América - ~10,500
(fonte Center for Defense Information)

Independentemente dos números, a quantidade de ogivas nucleares está hoje no centro do debate internacional, mais concretamente, a política nuclear global. Verificam-se sucessivos apelos à desnuclearização e a tendência no antigo ocidente parece ser de reduzir. Actualmente, com a alteração do paradigma internacional verificada com a queda do bloco soviético e a substituição das ameaças estatais trazidas pelos actores não-estatais põem em causa a política nuclear. Embora seja importante não esquecer a ameaça convencional, estamos convictos que ela é cada vez menor, de igual modo, o papel dissuasor inerente à posse de uma ogiva nuclear é cada vez é menor. Em contrapartida os seus perigos são cada vez maiores.
São muitos os que se dizem convictos que a Sociedade Internacional nunca esteve tão mal e que possivelmente estamos à beira de uma 3° Grande Guerra já que: se perdeu a estabilidade garantida pela divisão da guerra fria; não existe actualmente nenhum directório internacional, apesar das diversas tentativas (G3, G8, G20....); o crescimento dos países em vias desenvolvimento significará uma maior necessidade de afirmação dos mesmos, podendo sê-lo feito pela força das armas; o mundo tem-se organizado em grandes blocos, não muito diferentes daqueles previstos por Haushoffer; a cooperação no seio da ONU parece mais formal do que nunca; as tendências separatistas são muitas;... etc. Seja esse o caso, uma guerra nuclear é mais do que provável.
Não sabemos se a situação será assim tão dramática. Se não existirá antes um equilíbrio que em constante adaptação. Todavia o cenário de uma Grande Guerra, parece-nos algo improvável, pois, embora seja verdade que vivemos hoje numa sociedade internacional sem precedentes, sem líder/es universalmente aceite/s, também é verdade que as dependências económicas, e outras, nunca trespassaram tanto as fronteiras, sejam elas formais, físicas ou regionais.
Naturalmente, temos tendência ver como necessária uma estrutura internacional organizada, com um directório porque pressupomos que isso representa necessariamente um maior grau de responsabilidade, e daí, estabilidade. Não obstante, não poderá ser que estejamos a entrar num período em que as várias dimensões da vida internacional, os vários actores e fora conduzam a uma inesperada estabilidade entre toda a surdina?
Apesar deste nosso optimismo não pensamos que ele possa sobreviver sem que a questão nuclear seja devidamente tratada. Se se mantiver o status quo cremos que tendência será para os países em vias de desenvolvimento, rendidos ao dilema da segurança, adquirirem eles tais armas. Aumentando as ameaças convencionais e pondo em causa a delicada estabilidade que hoje se vive. Acrescendo, a possibilidade, provável, dos actores erráticos explorarem esse hipotético clima de tensão e as fragilidades aí inerentes. Traduzindo-se a posse de uma ogiva num incentivo destruidor mais do que um factor dissuasor.
Por outro lado, o elevado número de armas nucleares torna também elevado o perigo de serem desviadas e utilizadas por marginais. Imaginamos que o transporte deste material seja um pesadelo para os seus guardas. No entanto, há tempos cremos ter ouvido a Embaixadora do Paquistão em Portugal afirmar numa conferência que por razões de segurança, as armas nucleares daquele país além de se encontrarem sempre em locais secretos, são trasladadas com alguma regularidade. O mesmo problema se põe com os imensos depósitos russos ou americanos onde o risco de furto de uma destas armas é real e sendo que nos perguntamos se seria sentida a falta de uma em 10000 armas.
A estes problemas juntamos outros dois. Primeiro, com um número de armas nucleares prontas a disparar o que acontece se por um qualquer motivo alguém conseguir disparar uma sem consentimento do respectivo governo? Segundo, o que é que vamos fazer com tanto lixo nuclear? E o que faremos se mais países criarem imensos arsenais nucleares, com esse lixo radioactivo?
Seja qual for a ideia que se tenha sobre esta questão o seu debate exaustivo seguido de um compromisso mundial, mais do necessário, é imperativo.

quinta-feira, 4 de março de 2010

«The importance of being NATO»

Artigo de Merle David Kellerhals Jr. (Fonte: america.gov) que reflecte a importância da evolução da NATO para uma Força Expedicionária gradualmente autónoma além-Atlântico, após um relevante percurso de asserção nos campos da Segurança e Defesa, embora estático em certos momentos até 2001.

[Robert] Gates said one of the most critical aspects of the North Atlantic Charter that formed NATO is Article 5 — the section that says an attack against one NATO member is regarded as an attack on all members. The predominant threat to Europe no longer is a massive land invasion by armored formations supported by massed artillery and waves of combat aircraft, he said. Instead, the threats have become more diffuse and more likely to emerge from outside NATO’s borders.

terça-feira, 2 de março de 2010

Notícias de 2 de Março de 2010

Algumas notícias pertinentes para a segurança internacional, em 2 de Março de 2010

Pakistan: U.S. To Deliver Laser-Guided Bomb Kits In March

March 2, 2010

The United States will deliver to Pakistan in March some 1,000 laser-guided bomb kits, enabling Islamabad to use sophisticated laser technology to guide bombs to specific targets, AP reported March 2, citing a U.S. Air Force spokesman. Some 1,000 MK-82 bombs were delivered to Pakistan in February.

(fonte: www.stratfor.com)

Nouri al-Maliki most popular candidate as Iraq general election looms

Prime minister's coalition cannot win majority in new parliament without post-election coalition help.

Maliki's coalition has consistently performed best in polls taken by Iraqi political groups and the US embassy in Baghdad. But it cannot win a majority of the new parliament's 352 seats without one of two post-election coalitions, both of whom say they will not countenance him being renominated as prime minister.

Four days before the election, the second since the US-led invasion seven years ago, Maliki's State of Law coalition, a Shia nationalist group, is polling eight percentage points better than its nearest rival, a cross-sectarian group known as the Iraqi National Movement, headed by former prime minister Iyad Allawi. Polls during the first of two weeks of campaigning suggest State of Law will win 30% of seats, with Mr Allawi's group likely to win 22%, and a conservative Shia bloc, the Iraqi National Alliance, on 17%.

Maliki has acknowledged in debates and media performances that his achievements have been few, apart from oil deals with foreign companies and marshalling security forces throughout a steady decline in violence. However, his support has stayed buoyant, and a slight rise through the past 10 days suggests he has been able to sway some sections of a disenchanted public – a trend that has surprised rivals and regional observers.

"This is partly because he has played on fear," said a western diplomat. "Fear of the unknown, and an argument which he's constantly pushed that others would likely do worse. Another reason is that he has the support of Iraq's civil servants, and they're several million strong."

All stages during Sunday's poll will be heavily monitored by observers from Britain, the UN and the European Union among others; however fears of massive voter fraud remain. Voters have been lavished with gifts, with Maliki paying particular attention to central and southern Iraq, where much of his base lives in poverty despite three years of electoral commitments to improve services.

Election banners and lorries with party livery line most routes and roundabouts in Baghdad. The Sunni-dominated Anbar province, which boycotted the 2005 poll en masse, appears largely intent on taking part in this poll, after a Sunni lawmaker backed down on his boycott call.

The 6,000-plus candidates have been highly visible and accessible to media in the campaign (which ends 48 hours before the ballot), creating some scepticism.

"All of them want to talk to us for two weeks every four years," said Hassan al-Kaisi, from the inner-city district of Arasat in Baghdad. "Then they will disappear again behind their barricades, and start counting all the money they have stolen." Sawssan Moussawi, from nearby Karrada, said she had "heard enough from all of them to know that they are neither nationalist nor secular. I'm voting for the beautiful woman, Feyruz."

Anticipated violence has so far failed to materialise on a large scale, although bombings are expected over the remaining three days.

Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister who has led Iraq through four chaotic and unpopular years, is expected to top the poll in Sunday's general election, although the horse-trading that would follow poses a threat to his possible second term as leader.

(fonte: www.theguardian.co.uk)

Cinco aliados piden discutir la política nuclear de la OTAN

La idea es que haya un gran debate sobre la política nuclear de la Alianza Atlántica en la próxima reunión de ministros de Exteriores del 22 de abril en Estonia.

Cinco países de la OTAN han hecho oficial su solicitud de que la Alianza debata a fondo su política nuclear, con la ambición implícita de desnuclearizar el continente. La petición fue cursada la pasada semana al secretario general e la OTAN Anders Fogh Rasmussen, por los ministros de Exteriores de Alemania, Noruega y los tres países del Benelux.

De hecho fue el ministerio belga de Exteriores el que ha anunciado hoy la iniciativa, dirigida a "que haya un gran debate sobre la política nuclear de la Alianza Atlántica en la próxima reunión de ministros de Exteriores del 22 de abril en Tallin (Estonia)". Según el Gobierno belga, "las armas nucleares tácticas son una cuestión esencial para el objetivo de conseguir un mundo desnuclerizado". Según distintas fuentes, en Europa quedan entre 200 y 240 bombas atómicas B-61 para ser lanzadas desde aviones.

Ya a finales del año pasado Alemania se adelantó con la idea, que incluyó en el marco de un acuerdo multilateral. Ahora, Bruselas insiste en que la carta es un elemento más de las discusiones aliadas que han de concluir con la aprobación de un nuevo concepto estratégico acorde con los desafíos para la defensa y la seguridad en este siglo XXI. Tal vademécum estratégico será adoptado en la cumbre de la OTAN programada para noviembre en Lisboa.

La carta remitida el pasado día 26 por los ministros confirma las intenciones adelantadas una semana antes por el primer ministro belga, Yves Leterme, con respeto a la eliminación de los arsenales de bombas nucleares almacenadas en Alemania, Bélgica, Italia, Países Bajos y Turquía.

(fonte: www.elpais.com)

Proche-Orient : le Quartette se réunira le 19 mars à Moscou

| 02.03.10 | 20h47

Les négociateurs du Quartette pour le Proche-Orient (Etats-Unis, Union européenne, Russie et ONU) se réuniront le 19 mars à Moscou, a annoncé mardi un porte-parole de Ban Ki-moon, secrétaire général de l'ONU.

Le Quartette soutient une feuille de route pour les négociations de paix au Proche-Orient prévoyant la création d'un Etat palestinien vivant dans la paix et la sécurité au côté d'Israël. Mais aucun progrès tangible n'a été fait sur le statut futur de Jérusalem, les frontières de cet Etat palestinien et le sort des réfugiés.

L'expansion des implantations israéliennes en Cisjordanie et à Jérusalem constitue l'un des principaux obstacles à la reprise des pourparlers de paix, suspendus depuis plus d'un an. Lundi, les Etats-Unis ont critiqué Israël pour un projet de construction de six cents logements dans un quartier de colonisation juive à Jérusalem-Est, le qualifiant de "contre-productif".

(fonte: www.lemonde.fr)

No dia de reunião sobre Afeganistão, Obama diz confiar no sucesso da guerra

O presidente americano, Barack Obama, pronunciou na madrugada desta quinta-feira o esperado discurso do Estado da união, e afirmou estar confiante do sucesso da guerra contra os militantes do grupo islâmico Taleban no Afeganistão. Horas antes da reunião internacional sobre o Afeganistão, em Londres, no Reino Unido, Obama repetiu ainda que a guerra é uma tarefa também dos aliados.

Em discurso marcado pela economia, Obama pede unidade ao Congresso

Assunto que normalmente ocupa amplo espaço nos discursos de Estado da União, a guerra contra o terror teve desta vez um destaque menor, ocupando a parte final de um pronunciamento marcado por promessas de recuperação econômica.

"No ano passado, centenas de militantes da [rede terrorista] Al Qaeda e afiliados, incluindo muitos líderes, foram capturados ou mortos, muitos mais do que em 2008. No Afeganistão, estamos aumentando nossas tropas e treinando as forças de segurança para que possam começar a assumir a liderança em julho de 2011, e nossas tropas possam voltar para casa", disse Obama, justificando os motivos de sua confiança em uma vitória.

"Haverá dias difíceis pela frente, mas tenho confiança de que teremos êxito", disse.

Obama revelou uma nova estratégia para o Afeganistão no ano passado, após meses de reuniões com conselheiros e a alta cúpula de seu governo. Na época, Obama anunciou o envio de 30 mil militares adicionais para reverter o aumento da atividade dos militantes talebans. Em contraponto, falou ainda que investirá no treinamento das forças afegãs e em um reforço civil para a reconstrução e desenvolvimento do país.

Os comentários de Obama vêm horas antes da conferência de 60 países sobre o Afeganistão. O encontro tem como objetivo estabelecer os parâmetros para a estabilização do país asiático, o que pode incluir um acordo com a ala moderada do Taleban.


O presidente americano falou ainda sobre a Guerra do Iraque e afirmou que "está próxima do seu fim". Ele lembrou que começará em agosto a saída dos militares americanos, em uma operação de retirada que deve se encerrar em 2011.

"Conforme fortalecemos nossa luta contra a Al Qaeda, estamos deixando o Iraque para seu povo de maneira responsável", afirmou o presidente. "Mas não se enganem: esta guerra está acabando, e todas as nossas tropas estão voltando para casa", destacou Obama, muito aplaudido pelos presentes.

O presidente renovou sua promessa de que todas as tropas de combate americanas deixarão o Iraque até o fim de agosto de 2010, mais de sete anos depois da invasão comandada pelos EUA, que derrubou o ditador Saddam Hussein.

"Ajudaremos o governo iraquiano quando eles organizarem suas eleições, e continuaremos a apoiar o povo iraquiano a promover a paz e a prosperidade na região", acrescentou Obama.

Em seguida, o presidente explicou como mudou o foco militar americano do Iraque para o Afeganistão, com o objetivo de combater a Al Qaeda.

"Esta noite, todos os nossos homens e mulheres de farda - no Iraque, no Afeganistão e em todo o mundo - precisam saber que têm nosso respeito, nossa gratidão e nosso total apoio", afirmou Obama.

"E, assim como eles precisam ter os recursos necessários para a guerra, nós também temos a responsabilidade de apoiá-los quando eles voltarem para casa", afirmou, destacando os programas de seu governo para ajudar militares veteranos.

(fonte: www.folha.uol.com.br)