Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Price of Damming Tibet’s Rivers


               The Price of Damming Tibet’s Rivers


NEW DELHI — CHINA has more than 26,000 large dams, more than the rest of the world combined. They feed its insatiable demand for energy and supply water for mining, manufacturing and agriculture.

In 2011, when China was already generating more than a fifth of the total hydropower in the world, the leadership announced that it would aim to double the country’s hydropower capacity within a decade, so as to reduce its heavy dependency on coal-fired power plants. Since the waterways of mainland China are already packed with dams, this new hydropower output could come from only one place: the rivers of Tibet.

Rivers gushing through deep canyons at the edges of the Tibetan plateau hold the highest hydropower potential in the world. The headwaters of seven major rivers are in Tibet: They flow into the world’s largest deltas and spread in an arc across Asia.

Two of the continent’s wildest rivers have their sources in Tibet: the Salween and the Brahmaputra. Though they are under threat from retreating glaciers, a more immediate concern is Chinese engineering plans. A cascade of five large dams is planned for both the Salween, which now flows freely, and the Brahmaputra, where one dam is already operational.
The damming does not benefit those who live in Tibet. The energy generated is transferred to power-hungry industrial cities farther east. Tibetans are forcibly deprived of their land; protests against hydropower projects are prohibited or violently dispersed.

Even more alarming are projects to divert the waters of Tibet’s rivers for use in mines, factories and other industries. At the eastern edge of Tibet, a planned mega-diversion from south to north would move water from the Yangtze to the Yellow, China’s two greatest rivers. Other plans call for diversion of water from the Brahmaputra, Salween and Mekong — all rivers that cross national boundaries. Including China itself, up to two billion people downstream from Tibet depend on these rivers. Damming and diverting them will have a severe impact on their lives and environment, especially when you consider that rice and wheat require water-intensive cultivation.

Rivers support entire ecosystems. They carry tons of nutrient-rich silt downstream, a cocktail of elements needed for growing plants: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Silt is essential for agriculture and for bolstering the deltas against rising sea levels. Dams block silt, and they block fish migration. The Yangtze is China’s biggest freshwater fishery, but since the Three Gorges Dam that spans it was completed in 2012, the downstream population of carp has fallen by 90 percent, according to Guo Qiaoyu of the Nature Conservancy in Beijing.

Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh heavily depend on rivers sourced in Tibet. More than 60 percent of Cambodia’s annual fish catch derives from Tonle Sap, a lake that is replenished by the annual flooding of the Mekong. Over the last decade, as new Chinese dams have come online on the Mekong, the fish catch has plummeted. The waters rise and fall at the whim of Chinese engineers.
Then there are the direct human costs of damming and diverting: Whole communities must be relocated from areas flooded by a reservoir. They are often shifted to degraded land, where they live in poverty or have to relocate once again. By some estimates, hydropower projects have forced some 22 million Chinese to migrate since the 1950s.


The United Nations has done too little, too late. In 2014, the Watercourses Convention came into effect, spelling out guidelines for transboundary water sharing, but it is nonbinding. More to the point, China is not a signatory — and neither are most nations of South Asia.

This will end badly for the nations downstream from Tibet, which are competing for scarce water. Damming and water diversion could also end badly for China, by destroying the sources of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers.

The solution to these complex problems is simple: Since these enormous projects are state-run and state-financed, China’s leaders can cancel them at will. Though campaigns by Chinese environmentalists have stopped some dam projects, the pro-dam lobby, backed by Chinese consortiums, is powerful.

 There are alternatives to disrupting the rivers: China has made great investments in solar and wind power, but has not significantly deployed them in Tibet.

China’s leaders need to consider the costs of forging ahead with these projects. The health of these rivers is of vital concern to all of Asia.


भारत एयरफोर्स के पांच ए न -३२ एयर क्राफ्ट चोर लिए गए Ukraine 'Lost Without Trace' Five Indian Warplanes During Planned Upgrade


भारत  एयरफोर्स  के  पांच  ए न -३२   एयर क्राफ्ट

                             चोर लिए  गए  

Ukraine 'Lost Without Trace'        Five Indian Warplanes   During Planned Upgrade

Sputnik News

 30 MAR 2015

Five of India's 40 AN-32 military transport aircrafts being upgraded in Ukraine have gone missing 'without a trace'; Ukrainian diplomat says the government is unable to help.

India says five of its 40 AN-32 military transport aircrafts have gone missing 'without a trace' while the planes underwent upgrades in Ukraine.

'These five aircraft are almost lost as it is difficult to trace them and diplomatic efforts to find their whereabouts have failed,' the website DefenseNews quotes an Indian Air Force official as saying.

In 2009, India signed a contract with Ukraine's state-owned arms trading agency, Ukrspetsexport Corp., to upgrade its 104 AN-32 transport aircrafts at a cost of US $400 million, as the fleet had reached its life expectancy.

The upgrade program started in 2011 and was set to run through 2017.

Under the deal, the modernization of 40 warplanes should have been completed in Ukraine at Kiev-based Antonov State Co. facilities, while the 64 others were set to be upgraded in India at the Air Force's Kanpur-based base, under a technology transfer from Ukraine.

The upgrade was expected to extend the life expectancy of the transporters from 25 to 40 years and provide them with improved avionics, a modernized cockpit and an increase in capacity from 6.7 to 7.5 tons.

However out of 40 warplanes sent to Kiev, only 35 made their way back home.

The remaining five have been 'lost without trace'.

The local upgrade of the remaining 64 AN-32s has been halted as Ukrainian engineers departed and supplies of spare parts stopped, according to the Indian Air Force.

A diplomat from the Ukraine Embassy said Antonov must resolve this issue with the Indian Air Force, and that the government cannot help.

Antonov officials were unavailable for comment.

© Sputnik

Further Reading

Transport Aircraft

The transport fleet consisted of IL-76, AN-32 and HAL manufactured HS-748 and Dornier 228. Boeing 737 aircraft are used for VIP transport. While the IL-76 were used to provide the Air Force with heavy lift strategic capabilities, AN-32 and HS-748 were used for training besides their operational role of air maintenance and communication.

ANTONOV aircraft are well-known in India. Their epoch started in India 50 years ago with the first delivery of the AN-12 transport aircraft. In total, India purchased 46 AN-12s, which were widely employed both in the national defense sector and in the civil transportation system. ANTONOV’s specialists rendered great help to their Indian colleagues in mastering the AN-12 aircraft operation and maintenance. Joint creation of the AN-32 military transport aircraft marked a new stage in the cooperation between ANTONOV and India. These airplanes successfully perform tasks for India’s military organisations. Moreover, AN-32 is often the only aircraft capable of providing a connection between mountain settlements and big cities. Enterprises of India and Ukraine united efforts in the modernisation of 105 AN-32s for the Indian Air Force.

In 2003, the Indian government signed a deal with the Brazilian aircraft manufacturere, Embraer, for 5 of its Legacy Jets for the purpose of transporting VIPs. These jets would replace the aging AVRO HS 748 planes. Four of the Legacy jets would go to the IAF and the remaining one to the MInistry of Home Affairs for use by the Border Security Force. Delivery of the jets commenced in 2005.

In early 2008 the Cabinet Committee on Security cleared an Indian Air Force proposal to acquire all-weather 24-hours troop transportation aircraft from the US in a deal estimated at about $1 billion. The IAF signed an agreement for six Lockheed Martin C-130Js transport aircraft in early March 2008. Defence Minister A K Antony told the Lok Sabha the estimated value of the aircraft along with associated ground support equipment, ground handling equipment and the role equipment was in $962,454,677 US. The delivery of these aircraft was completed by December 2011.

Together with the raising of No. 77 Squadron, named 'Veiled Vipers', the Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted the first C-130J-30 Super Hercules aircraft, procured from the United States of America (USA), into service at IAF's Hindan airbase. Adopting 'Kill with Stealth' as their motto, the tactical airlift aircraft will be able to undertake quick deployment of 'Special Forces' in all weather conditions including airdrops and landings on unprepared or semi-prepared surface even in complete darkness. Capable of undertaking low-level air-to-air refueling to enhance its range, rapid forward basing of personnel and equipment in emergent situations would be one of its multifaceted roles.

The war-time employability will include special air operations, airborne operations, air transported operations, air supply operations, air maintenance operations and casualty evacuation among other roles. The peacetime roles include operations and air maintenance in mountainous terrain in adverse circumstances, UN or multinational missions, humanitarian assistance including disaster relief and evacuation of Indian Diaspora during emergencies and crisis situations.

A contract for Total Technical Life Extension, Overhaul and Re-equipment of AN-32 fleet was concluded in July 2009 with Spets Techno Export, Ukraine to overhaul and upgrade these planes, as part of the IAF fleet management approach. The project includes calendar life extension upto 40 years, overhaul and re-equipment of AN-32 aircraft. There were no conditionalities at the time of acquisition of AN-32 with the Russian Government.

Ukraine’s UkrOboronProm delivered a third shipment of five upgraded An-32 military transport aircraft to India in early 2012, and declared its ability to meet further deliveries as scheduled. According to the contract, UkrOboronProm would support modernization of 105 An-32 military transport aircraft for the Indian Air Forces. Of those, 40 aircraft will be upgraded in Ukraine and 65 in India. The first lot of 5 modernized aircraft departed to India in May 2011; a second delivery took place in September 2011.

AN-32 aircraft, the backbone of transport fleet of IAF, operational since 1984, has flown more than eight lakh hours on various missions. To overcome maintenance challenges due to ageing and obsolescence while still left with airframe hours and number of landings led IAF to conceive mid-life upgrade in 2005, and contract finalised in June 2009.

The project envisages TTLE from existing 25 to 40 years, overhaul and re-equipment of 40 aircraft at designer certified plants in Ukraine of 10 aircraft annually and supply of material and 'transfer of technology' (ToT) for upgrade of 64 remaining aircraft at IAF's No. 1 Base Repair Depot (BRD) at Kanpur. The upgrade at Kiev is expected to be completed by March 2014 and upgrade at 1 BRD by March 2017.

The special features of AN-32 RE include modification in cockpit layout, upgraded avionics equipment, noise and vibration reduction enhancing crew comfort, reliability and maintainability of the aircraft. Sharing the experience of the aircrew flying the upgraded aircraft fitted from Kiev to India via Ankara, Cairo, Jeddah, Doha and UAE, Gp Capt RC Mohile, one of the Captains of the AN-32 RE and the team leader described that the new navigational equipment proved extremely useful and made the complex navigation process involved on the international route easy to negotiate.
On 23 April 2010 the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified the US Congress on of a possible Foreign Military Sale to India of 10 Boeing C-17 GLOBEMASTER III aircraft and associated equipment, parts, and logistical support for an estimated cost of $5.8 billion. The Government of India (GOI) requested a possible sale of 10 Boeing C-17 GLOBEMASTER III aircraft, 45 F117-PW-100 engines (40 installed and 5 spare engines), 10 AN/ALE-47 Counter-Measures Dispensing Systems, 10 AN/AAR-47Missile Warning Systems, spare and repairs parts, repair and return, warranty, pyrotechnics, flares, other explosives, aircraft ferry and refueling support, crew armor, mission planning system software, communication equipment and support, personnel training and training equipment, publications and technical data, U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics support. The estimated cost is $5.8 billion.

In June 2011 India's Ministry of Defence signed an agreement with the United States government to acquire 10 C-17. The deal was the largest defense contract to date by the Indian government with the US. India will take delivery of the first C-17 in June 2013. The Indian Air Force will have all the 10 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III airlifters by August 2014.

India will likely use these aircraft to replace its aging aircraft and associated supply chain with new and highly reliable aircraft. The acquisition of these C-17s will not present a new capability for the Indian Air Force, but will offer an increase in airlift capacity, reliability, and safety. The C-17 will increase the ability of the GOI to mobilize troops and equipment within the country and will enable India to provide significantly increased humanitarian assistance and disaster relief support within the region. Additionally, the C-17s will facilitate enhanced standardization with the United States. India will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft into its armed forces.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Safety And Security Of Pakistan’s Nuclear Installations



                     Safety And Security
              Pakistan’s Nuclear Installations
                    Sidra Ajaib Kayani*

Pakistan’s nuclear doctrine is primarily based on the policy of ambiguity. There are different speculations regarding the exact number of its nuclear weapons however the accurate number is yet unknown.

By and large it is assessed that Pakistan could have 90 to 120 nuclear warheads. Along with the numbers debate, numerous steps have been taken to secure weapons and other related assets. Pakistan does follow strict rules and regulations for the foolproof security of its nuclear weapons and a number of initiatives have been taken in this regard. The weapons are apparently kept separate from their delivery systems just to minimize chances of any catastrophe.

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former President affirmed that Pakistan warheads and missiles are not ready to fire with a button in hand. The concerns regarding the accidental launch of nuclear weapon are also addressed by attaching nuclear warheads with a code-lock device ‘Adaptation of Permissive Action Links’ (PALs). By doing this any nuclear lunched decision is not plausible unless of two or three man decision. Such a strict procedure shows Pakistan’s maturity and competence in keeping nuclear weapons safe.

Measures have also been taken to secure fissile material under the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) net. Indeed, there has not been a single incident reported regarding the mishandling or mismanagement of fissile material produced within Pakistan. There is also a tight security of nuclear facilities with highly trained personnel and electronic devices. Like advanced nuclear weapons states, Pakistan has also taken strong measures to make its fissile material security perfect.

‘SPD conducts external audits on all nuclear inventories inside the country. SPD also launches regular and surprise inspections to the nuclear facilities to check and confirm its control and accounting of fissile material’. SPD is also accountable for the physical protection of nuclear facilities. Under the Inner perimeter security and outer perimeter security, protection of facilities has been ensured. Pakistan also ratified the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials (CPPNM) in October 2000 and all transportation of its sensitive nuclear materials comes under the guidelines of this convention.

Four of Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, KANUPP, the Pakistan Atomic Research Reactors I and II at Rawalpindi and Chasma-1 power reactor are working under the safeguards of the IAEA. Other non-attached facilities also bind themselves with strict safeguards procedures of the IAEA.

Pakistan has taken all the necessary measures to affirm the secured transportation of fissile material. As fissile material is highly radioactive in nature especially when it is burnt out in nuclear reactors, so on that stage transportation of that material becomes very risky. As far as the transportation of fissile material in Pakistan is concerned, most of the nuclear reactors and reprocessing units are at the same places which eradicate probability of any mishap. Pakistan follows international norms of transporting such material.

As in the USA, Pakistan also follows a Personnel Reliability Program. This program deals with personnel screening and clearance, for who works in nuclear facilities, strategic organizations and other related installation.

In western discourse a concern that is often expressed regarding the security of Pakistan nukes is that, terrorists may attack or get hold of its nuclear installations. However, a factual assessment reveals clearly that not a single terrorist attack or other related incident has been recorded. The initiatives taken by Pakistan to prove its nuclear security foolproof shows its strong commitment, and capability also ensures its credibility for the world. No one should remain under the illusion that terrorists could attack Pakistan’s nuclear installations. To attack the GHQ and the Mehran Navel Base located in congested cities like Rawalpindi and Karachi is different than attacking Pakistan’s nukes that are scattered and under multi-layered command and control systems.

*Sidra Ajaib Kayani as a research associate works for Strategic Vision Institute Islamabad, also can be reached at sidrakayani.svi@gmail.com.

Who Has A Stake In Yemen Fight



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              Who Has A Stake In Yemen Fight

March 28, 2015
by Michael Scollon

Yemen is at the center of a proxy war between regional heavyweights Iran and Saudi Arabia. It's the source of fears of a broader Sunni-Shi'ite conflict. And it has implications far beyond its borders.

Here is a look at the stakeholders in the fight.​​

The Playing Field

The Yemen conflict is a tale of twos:

Two leaders: Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (a Shi'a), who was replaced amid the Arab Spring uprising by his deputy, current President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi (a Sunni)
Two regions: North Yemen and South Yemen, which merged in 1990, with Saleh as president
Two capitals: Sanaa in the north, and Aden in the south

Two branches of Islam: Yemen is more than 99 percent Muslim, of which 65 percent are Sunnis of the Shafi'i school of thought, and 35 percent are Shi'as of the Zaydi school.
Two powerful extremist groups: The Huthis are Shi'ite rebels who first took control over north Yemen, forcing President Hadi to flee, expanded their control through most of the country, and are now moving on his refuge in Aden.

On March 27, the group put a bounty on Hadi's head, and used the Yemeni Air Force it largely controls (with Saleh's help) to strike Aden, forcing Hadi to go into hiding. The Sunni militant group Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is the most active Al-Qaeda franchise, controls large areas of north-central Yemen, and is pitted against the Yemeni government, Saudi Arabia, the Huthis, southern separatists and, ultimately, the United States.

Two regional backers: Iran supports the Huthis, materially and militarily; Saudi Arabia backs the Yemeni government headed by Hadi, and on March 25 led air strikes involving 10 Arab countries against Huthi rebels, leading Tehran to denounce the intervention.

Sunni Solidarity

The countries involved in the Saudi-led air strikes are Sunni, underscoring broader Sunni solidarity centered on Gulf Arab countries but which extends to Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, and Turkey, among others.

Yemen will be the main topic of discussion at an Arab League summit in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt, this weekend, and Hadi will attend. Aside from participants' role in the current Yemen intervention, the gathering of foreign ministers may move closer to establishing a joint Arab military force. The idea has been spearheaded by Egypt and the Gulf states as a way of combating terrorism and staving off Iranian influence.

Saudi Arabia has deployed about 100 aircraft in the Yemen intervention, dubbed Storm of Resolve, and planes from Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain are also contributing.

Saudi Arabia is also is contributing as many as 150,000 troops to the campaign, and Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan have expressed their readiness to take part in a ground offensive as well.
Sudan, which has had traditionally good relations with Tehran, also said it was ready to send ground troops.

Oil Prices

Global oil prices immediately surged on news of Saudi Arabian-led strikes in Yemen.
Benchmark Brent crude prices rose nearly 6 percent on March 26 (to near $60 a barrel), before easing a little due to fears that the military intervention could spark a broader regional conflict and disrupt oil supplies. On March 27, prices fell more than $1 a barrel (midday low $57.76) after Goldman Sachs said the Yemen campaign would have little effect on global oil supplies.
In kind, global stock indexes dipped, including the U.S. Dow Jones (down 0.6 percent) and London's FTSE (down 1.2 percent).
Saudi Arabia, the largest oil producer in the Middle East, has been a central figure in the global fall in oil prices that began in 2014. Oil accounted for some 90 percent of Saudi Arabia's budget in 2013, according to Reuters, yet Riyadh has steadfastly refused to cut production to buoy prices.

Iran has characterized the fall in oil prices as the result of a Saudi and U.S. conspiracy against Tehran, whose oil income has been hurt by sanctions over its contentious nuclear program, and Russia, which relies heavily on oil income and is at odds with the West over its intervention in eastern Ukraine.


Moscow, which stands to gain from any rise in oil prices, has been working the phones and playing the peacemaker role since the Saudi-led air strikes began.
On March 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and 'expressed concern over the escalation of tensions in Yemen,' according to the Kremlin press service. He also stressed the importance of 'intensifying international efforts to achieve a peaceful and lasting settlement of the situation in the country.'
In a telephone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rohani on March 26, Putin called for the 'immediate cessation of hostilities' in Yemen -- read by the Iranian press as a call for Saudi Arabia to halt its intervention -- and also expressed satisfaction with progress made in the ongoing nuclear negotiations between Iran and the six world powers.
The negotiators are entering the end game of talks aimed at meeting a March 31 deadline to come up with a framework agreement over Iran's nuclear program.


As Tehran tries to cut a nuclear deal in Switzerland that will result in sanctions relief and allow it to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, it must fend off criticism of a possible deal from regional players Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Netanyahu has been openly critical of the talks, which he argues are not going far enough to ensure that Iran cannot acquire nuclear weapons, and has raised the alarm about Iran's growing influence in the region.
Riyadh has expressed its own concerns about Iran's encroachment in the region and has sparked fears of a nuclear arms race by saying that any deal that allows Iran to enrich uranium will lead Saudi Arabia to seek the same.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who is also Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, on March 26 demanded an 'immediate stop to the Saudi military operations in Yemen.' He was also quoted by the Arabic-language al-Alam news network as saying Iran would 'spare no effort to contain the crisis in Yemen.'


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is scheduled to visit Iran in April, has been outspoken in his criticism of Tehran's role in Yemen.

'Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw,' he told France 24 on March 27, alluding to Huthi militants.

'We support Saudi Arabia's intervention,' Erdogan said, adding that Turkey 'may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation.'

On March 27, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif responded to earlier remarks by Erdogan in which he accused Iran of trying to dominate the Middle East.

'The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for cooperation with its brothers in the region to facilitate dialogue between various groups in Yemen to maintain unity and return stability and security in that country,' Fars quoted Zarif as saying.


Iraq finds itself in a tricky balancing act. It is relying on Iranian-backed militias to help beat back an incursion by the hard-core Sunni Islamic State group on the ground, and U.S. air support to strike IS from above.

This week, the United States agreed to conduct air strikes in support of Baghdad's effort to retake the Sunni-stronghold Tikrit. Once Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani and his Iran-loyal militias had left the scene, U.S.-led air strikes followed.

During the Arab League summit in Egypt this weekend, Iraq can also expect to hear calls for its participation in the establishment of a joint Arab military force, an idea it has been reluctant to endorse because of its ties to Iran.

United States

Yemen, once a poster child of success for Washington, now adds to the complex challenges facing the United States in the Middle East.

On the one hand, the United States is in the unlikely position of being on the same side as Iran in fighting IS in Iraq.

But in Syria -- where it is also targeting IS -- Washington is arming some of the groups fighting the Iran- and Russia-backed regime of Bashar al-Assad.

And now, the United States finds itself backing (not yet militarily, but with logistical and intelligence support) longtime ally Saudi Arabia against Iran-backed militants in Yemen.
All this at a time when Washington is trying to seal a nuclear deal with Iran.

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/who-has-a-stake-in-yemen-fight/26925287.html

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

Further Reading

Yemen Civil War (2011-201?)

By early 2015, Yemen was pretty much a failed state, beset by a circular firing squad of factions. Besides a local struggle for power, the Yemen conflict is widely viewed as a proxy war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran. Yemen was wracked by internal divisions as the Houthi movement spread beyond its traditional rebellion in the north, separatists continue to press their cause in the south, and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claims attacks both at home and abroad, including on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris earlier in January 2015.

  1. Shia rebels loyal to Abdul Malik al-Houthi are also known as the Shabab Al-Mu'minin (Believing Youth). In September 2014, Houthi fighters swept into the capital and they continued to battle for control of other parts of Yemen. The Houthis are a group of combatants associated with the Zaydi Revivalist movement in Yemen, which emerged as a result of deep-seated frustrations among those tribes who felt as though they had become marginalized after an Egyptian-backed revolution against the Zaydi Imam in 1962 brought an end to Hashemite domination. The Houthis operated alongside allies of former president and former adversary, Ali Abdullah Saleh, toppled in 2011. 
  2. President Ali Abdullah Saleh had been in power for 30 years until ousted in 2011. Ali Abdullah Saleh was a Zaidi Shiite, but had the support of key Sunni leaders, and his Vice President was a Sunni Muslim. Saleh retained influence among Zaidi tribes - from which the Houthis belong - in the north and top military commanders. By 2015 Houthis appeared to have major backing from Saleh, their long time adversary. Together they formed the so-called “Popular Committees”, militias that controlled much of northern Yemen. The bulk of the January 2015 fighting against the Hadi governement was led by the Republican Guard, the elite military unit led until 2013 by Ahmed Ali Saleh, the eldest son of the ousted president. Just exactly how and when these former opponents became allies is obscure.
  3. President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was elected in 2012. He is supported by the international community and as a Sunni continued to have the backing of the Sunni majority in Yemen. He was widely seen as weak and inefficient. The Presidential Guard was the only military unit still loyal to the internationally recongnized government of President Hadi. President Hadi, Prime Minister Khaled Bahah and his Cabinet tendered their resignations 22 January 2015. Under Yemen's constitution, the speaker of parliament would serve as interim head of state. The current speaker, Yahia al-Rai, is an ally of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. By March 2015 the president of Yemen controlled barely a quarter of Yemen. 
  4. Islah, the Islamist opposition party, is generally considered moderate, but contains radical members of the Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood factions. Although not party policy, per se, powerful individuals within Islah have made targeting Zaydis a major objective. Fighters from the conservative Islamist forces loyal to military general Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar of the Islah Party are backed by the Saudis.
  5. The Herak group of Southern separatists are seeking a two-region division between the former North Yemen (Yemen Arab Republic) and South Yemen (Republic of Yemen), as a precursor to full secession. The Houthis found common ground with the separatists, and support a two-region state in which they could dominate the north and consolidate territorial gains secured during 2014.
  6. Al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is a Sunni extremist group based in Yemen that orchestrated numerous high-profile terrorist attacks. AQAP emerged in January 2009 following an announcement that Yemeni and Saudi terrorists were unifying under a common banner. AQAP took control of Zinjibar and other areas in Abyan, Lahj, and Shabwah governorates in 2011 and held these locations for approximately one year until a government offensive drove them out in June 2012.
  7. The Yemeni army avoided clashing with the Houthis or to support them in their advance on al-Qaida strongholds. The army fought a number of campaigns against the Houthi in the 2004-2009 timeframe, and did not give a good account of itself. President Ali Abdullah Saleh had exercised tight control over the army, and its apparent neutrality in the conflict after his 2011 departure may reflect his continued influence. President Hadi released a list of military and political appointments on April 6, 2012 that struck at Saleh’s patronage network.

Yemen Civil War 2015 Yemen Civil War 2015 Yemen Civil War 2015 Yemen Civil War 2015 Yemen Civil War 2015 Yemen Civil War 2015 Yemen Civil War 2015


Yemen Civil War - 2015

Yemen's government and Houthi rebels declared a cease-fire 19 January 2015, which appeared to be taking hold in the capital Sana'a after a day of sporadic fighting. A cease-fire was agreed upon during a meeting of representatives of the Huthi militia and the Yemen defense and interior ministers. A few hours later Houthi rebels seized the presidential compound and attacked the president's home in Sana'a, in the latest attack targeting leadership in the country.
By 21 January 2015 President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi remained surrounded by Houthi militiamen in his residence, a day after the group captured the presidential palace. Hadi was expected to yield to demands for constitutional change and power-sharing with Houthi rebels. Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), who support Hadi and oppose Iranian influence in the region, denounced what they called terrorist acts by the Houthis and their allies.

The Houthis were demanding 50 percent of key ministerial positions as part of an earlier power-sharing agreement. The Houthis appeared to have decided to stop short of overthrowing Hadi, possibly preferring to keep the enfeebled leader at their mercy rather than claim the burden of seizing power. The Houthis also insist 1,000 of their fighters be incorporated in the army and 1,000 more in the police. The new constitution would see Yemen divided into six federally-administered regions, which both the Houthis and southern separatists believe would weaken their power.

Public officials in the southern Yemeni capital of Aden reportedly raised the flag of the former Republic of South Yemen over government buildings and police checkpoints. Leaders in at least five provinces indicated that they will no longer take orders from officials in Sana'a. The old land border between North and South Yemen was closed to stop Houthi militiamen from advancing into the south of the country.
Yemen's powerful Shi'ite rebels finalized their takeover of the country 06 February 2015. The Houthi's revolutionary committee would chose an interim national assembly, replacing the old parliament. The new 551-members assembly would chose a five member presidential council to govern the county.

On February 20, 2015 Yemen's feuding parties agreed on a "people's transitional council" to help govern the country and guide it out of a political crisis. The existing lower house, dominated by lawmakers supportive of the Houthis, would remain in place. A “people’s transitional council” would be created as an upper legislative chamber. That council would comprised of Houthis as well as other groups underrepresented in the traditional Parliament, including young people, women and people from southern Yemen. The distribution would give 50 percent to members from the northern governorates and 50 percent to the Southern provinces with a 30 percent quota for women and 20 percent for youth representatives.
Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said 23 March 2015 that Arab states would take "necessary measures" against Yemen's Houthi rebels if a peaceful solution cannot be found to end their fight against the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. Saud al-Faisal said that Arab countries would try "to protect the region from aggression" and he condemned what he called Iranian "interference" in Yemen. Faisal insisted the only solution in Yemen was for the country's "legitimate government to be allowed to exercise its authority and for Houthi rebels to evacuate all government institutions they have occupied."


Operation Determined Storm

Warplanes from Saudi Arabia and its allies bombed key Yemen military installations seized by the Shi'ite Muslim rebels seeking to overthrow Yemen's president. The attacks on the Houthi rebels, which began 25 March 2015 at the urging of internationally backed Yemeni leader Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, drew angry reaction from Iran and raised fears across the region. Iran supports the Houthi rebels, who follow a similar form of Shia Islam. The Islamic Its foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told Iranian TV that "the Saudi-led airstrikes should stop immediately, because it is against Yemen's sovereignty."

Several other Gulf states also have joined in the military operation. Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates issued a joint statement with the Saudis saying they were protecting Yemen against "Houthi aggression." In Egypt, Arab foreign ministers meeting in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh agreed on a draft resolution to form a joint military force, according to Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby. The development came as the Arab League pledged full support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
Jordan, Egypt and Sudan confirmed their forces were taking part in the airstrike campaign. The state-run Saudi Press Agency said Morocco had pledged to join as well, while the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya network said Saudi Arabia itself was committing 150,000 troops and 100 warplanes.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif promised a "strong response" to any threat to Saudi Arabia's integrity. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told France 24 television that Turkey “may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation.... Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw from Yemen".

The White House said the United States is coordinating with the Saudi-led military coalition and providing "logistical and intelligence support," but not taking direct military action.
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi arrived in Saudi Arabia on March 26 at a Riyadh air base and was met by the Saudi defense minister. Hadi, a close US ally, fled Yemen as rebel fighters neared his refuge in the southern city of Aden on March 25.

Pakistan — Saudi Arabia's longtime ally — said 27 March 2015 it has not yet decided to join the coalition. Defense Minister Khawaja Asif told parliament Islamabad is ready to defend Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity "at any cost," but does not want to involve itself in a sectarian war.

The coalition said 28 March 2015 it was in full control of Yemen's airspace after destroying almost all ground-to-air missiles in the Houthis' arsenal around Aden and Sana'a. Reports from Aden itself, however, told of chaotic conditions on the ground, with looters pillaging government facilities and some Yemeni troops switching their allegiance to the rebels.



    ECHS :

Dear Veterans
This is for those of you who are ECHS members.
None of us are getting any younger. As such, there could well be a day when we need to rush to the NEAREST or most convenient hospital which happens to be non-empanelled.
Please have a good look at the precise procedure you need to follow to ensure reimbursement of all medical expenses, in that case:
Nec temere nec timide!
Wg Cdr CK Sharma
Treasurer, IESM
22nd NDA :: 84th PC
The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.     Danté

Sunday, March 29, 2015

FIVE Surprising Facts About Stretching


       FIVE  Surprising Facts About Stretching

© Provided by U.S. News & World Report As runners, we all know stretching is important, but do you know why? Have you ever wondered exactly what happens to your tendons and muscles when you stretch? And are you sure you’re stretching in the right places – at the right times?
It may seem like a simple process, but stretching in the right way at the right time can make a huge difference in your overall health and may actually cut seconds off your time. Here are five facts about stretching you may not have known:

1. Stretching is for more than just athletes. 

Runners and those who compete in athletic events are well aware of the benefits of stretching, but it may come as a surprise that it also helps patients with conditions such as diabetes and depression. In fact, recent studies by my colleagues at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center show that stretching during yoga classes can even benefit women who are battling breast cancer.

Stretching increases blood flow, boosts oxygen levels and helps deliver nutrients to your muscles. It also removes metabolic waste such as carbon dioxide, ammonia and uric acid. Sure, stretching helps athletes stay loose, limber and avoid injuries, but it can also benefit others in ways we might not have known. 

2. You need to stretch more than just muscles and tendons. 

Emily Reynolds of the Oxford Women's crew stretches before a weights session at the Virgin Active gym.

© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images Emily Reynolds of the Oxford Women's crew stretches before a weights session at the Virgin Active gym. Before hitting the road or the treadmill, it’s imperative that you stretch your hamstrings, quads and calves – but don’t forget the IT band.

The IT band, or iliotibial band, runs from your hip to just below your knee on the outside of your leg. This thick, fibrous tissue stabilizes the knee joint during movement, and it’s important to keep it loose.

To stretch the IT band, put one hand on the wall, cross your feet and use the leg closest to the wall to push against the opposite knee. The hip nearest to the wall should be tilted slightly. Failing to stretch the IT band or persistent overuse can lead to pain, inflammation and something called IT band syndrome.

3. Stretching a tendon just 4 percent beyond its original length can cause permanent damage. 

Andrew Tye of Western Australia stretches before bowling during a match.

© Robert Prezioso/Getty Images Andrew Tye of Western Australia stretches before bowling during a match. Our muscle fibers are very pliable. It might surprise you to know that a muscle can stretch up to one and a half times its original length.
But tendons aren't nearly as flexible. Stretching a tendon just 4 percent beyond its resting shape can cause permanent damage. Most of the time injuries occur when tendons are stretched too quickly or in unexpected directions; that’s why it’s important to stretch them slowly and consistently. 

4. You should warm up first, then stretch.

Couple jogging on gravel path.

© Jeremy Woodhouse/Blend Image Couple jogging on gravel path. Many amateurs assume it’s best to stretch before you run or take part in any type of exercise. Actually, it’s better if you warm up first.
Jogging at a slow pace or spending a few minutes on an exercise bike will increase blood flow to the muscles and allow you to get more out of your stretch. Also, remember to build that extra time into your workout routine. If you plan to run on the treadmill for 20 minutes, set aside 35 to 40 minutes in all. Spend five minutes or so warming up, 5 to 10 minutes stretching and then begin your workout.

5. Stretching after you run is more important than before you run. 

© REX/Design Pics Inc How many times have you finished a rigorous workout, then plopped down on a chair to catch your breath before calling it a day? Most of us have done it, but it’s important to remember that just because your workout is over, doesn’t mean you’re finished.

Remember, it is just as important, if not more so, to stretch after you exercise. Stretching while the muscles are already loose from a workout will help you recover faster and prevent injuries.

Stretching is one of the most important actions runners – and all exercisers – can take to avoid injury, strengthen their muscles and increase their performance. The next time you hit the track, make sure you remember how a few minutes of stretching can immensely benefit your workout and your health.

Dr. Timothy Miller is an orthopedic surgeon and team physician in the Ohio State University Sports Medicine Department. He’s a published researcher whose interests include the treatment and prevention of stress fractures and overuse injuries of the upper and lower extremities, Achilles tendon tears, gait analysis, dance injuries, arthritis prevention, physical fitness beyond adolescence, biology of bone healing and repair, injuries of the shoulder and elbow in throwers, patellofemoral instability, ACL reconstruction techniques and endurance athlete physiology. In addition, Miller serves as the team physician for OSU’s men’s and women’s track and field and cross country teams, and is the team physician for Capital University athletics.


                       FROM ANIMALS



Young woman training yoga - upward facing dog  


Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!

With the spring coming along, it seems like a perfect time to build your body so you can show in shape when summer comes. But apparently, not only human need to shape their body, dogs and cats have the same need. Check the series created by Daniel Borris and his wife Alejandra. These cute animals are really trying, they’re serious about their yoga. Of course, the dogs and cats weren’t trained on how to do the “downward-facing dog” or the “inverted locus” by some kooky teacher, these hilarious photo-manipulations were created with the help of Photoshop. [source]

If you are in love with these cutest pictures, you can buy the “Yoga Dogs” book, Yoga dog and cat 2011 Calendar on amazon.

Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!
Cute and Funny: Yoga Dogs and Cats, Let's Stretch!

Time To Have A Stretch - stock photo time to have a stretch