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Former Pakistani General and intelligence chief who unexpectedly found himself popular among Western journalist freely airs the the ideas Americans only dare to discuss privately. Better late than never, the star of the 74-year old former ISI Director Hamid Gul who fought together with the US against the Soviet army in Afghanistan but turned into a vehement critic of his old patrons finally started to shine brightly.

The region of Central Asia is an epicenter of global interests. Competition between the U.S., Russia, the EU, China, India, Iran directly impacts the regional economy, and Uzbekistan is one of the main routes for financial inflows into Central Asia.

There my be a variety of explanations behind the phenomenon of war but – anyway you look at things - wars begin in people's brains and the actual fighting only comes as the next phase. It is an open question when exactly the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan became a reality again, but in the public sphere - in comments and statements – the only issue concerning the hot phase of the conflict seems to be “When would be the best time to start?”, while concerns over the imminent catastrophic consequences of the escalation no longer have a pacifying effect.

There is no question where the US forces withdrawn from Iraq will go – Afghanistan is known to be the next destination. In the process, Washington manages to demonstrate commitment to peace. The US President is convinced that the US mission in Iraq can be “safely” finished by the end of August and the US pull out – by the end of the year, says White House Press Secretary R. Gibbs.

Months before the official visit of President Dmitry Medvedev to Armenia scheduled for August 19-21, experts in both countries focused on bilateral relations between Moscow and Yerevan, a thing which proves the following: like the whole post-Soviet territory, the Caucasus remains a place where Russia, the West (U.S. and the EU), Turkey, Iran and some other countries are playing a complicated geopolitical game. All moves in this game (like information leaks, either confirmed or denied reports about arms supplies, as well as different hints, very often quite provocative ones) may have hidden and explicit motives.

New serious inter-ethnic conflicts are brewing in Europe as it battles the global economic crisis. Typically they are deeply rooted in history, but the very fact that the renaissance of ethnic separatism in Europe is taking place in the epoch of European integration is noteworthy. Obviously, the enlargement of NATO and the EU neither brought stability to the continent nor precluded the recurrence of the phenomena commonplace in the XIX century but totally unexpected in the united Europe boasting a common currency. The truth to be faced is that the conflicts – unresolvable within the existing legal framework, especially given its condition after the notorious Kosovo case – undermine the cohesion of the EU.

The International Association of Ossetian Communities held rallies in several European cities on the eve of the anniversary of Georgia's aggression against South Ossetia. In Brussels, Strasbourg, Berlin, and Ankara, protesters demanded the recognition of South Ossetia's independence, official condemnations of the Georgian policy, and the release of Ossetian prisoners. Representatives of the Ossetian communities in Europe, the administration of South Ossetia, and several European public organizations must be credited with serious efforts to convince Europe not to view the situation exclusively through the prism of Georgia's arguments.

THE SMOKE OF BURNING PEAT BOGS and forests and the losses they caused detracted us for a while from the far from comforting picture of planetary dimensions. Here is the frightening statistics of the year 2010 when big and small catastrophes shook the world: erupting volcanoes grounded aircrafts all over Europe; earthquakes hit many countries; the record-hot summer caused drought in Russia while Europe was nearly inundated. This suggests a logical question: what next? Indeed, to be pre­pared we should know what is in store for us. The answer is simple: any­thing might happen.

I wrote about this in my article "Kto bezymen: my Hi Vezuviy? " (Who is Madder: Us or Vesuvius?) which appeared on 22 April 2010 on the RIA NOVOSTI). Today, "enlightened madness" is everywhere: we are con­vinced that we should "control the climate" while we should master self-control. This attitude is caused, among other things, by the "superiority complex," the product of human history. The desire to play-act against the background of multiplying catastrophes in line with the slogan "The global challenge of climate change offers the European Union a global role to play" looks strange indeed. We are up against something in which there are no roles to play: "Mineral water is no cure for terminally ill."

The US plans to build military training centers in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. First these plans were announced last year and they received a wide response because earlier it had been announced that a Russian military base would be built in the south of Kyrgyzstan. Now Pentagon is not going to confine itself with Kyrgyzstan and plans to build military facilities on the territory of five states of the region. It implies the redeployment of part of military infrastructure of the US from Afghanistan to the former Soviet Central Asia and Kazakhstan and also the construction of NATO facilities there.

Russia's Foreign Ministry responded to the July release of the US State Department's 2010 Report on Adherence to and Compliance with Arms Control, Nonproliferation, and Disarmament Agreements and Commitments. The Report contained allegations that Russia violated the nonproliferation regime. Initially, Russia's Foreign Ministry posted a brief comment on its Web site saying, “Without providing any facts, Russia is attributed to those that violate non-proliferation agreements. The report contains biased assessments of the compliance of the START treaty by Russia...