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from Global News Journal:

What’s next in the Russia-West crisis over Georgia?

South Ossetian servicemen fire their weapons and wave South Ossetian (C) and Russian flags as they celebrate Russia's recognition of their state as an independent state in Tskhinvali August 26, 2008. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced on Tuesday that Moscow had decided to recognise two rebel regions of Georgia as independent states, setting it on a collision course with the West. REUTERS/Sergei KarpukhinThe people of South Ossetia and Abkhazia were celebrating on Tuesday after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree recognising the independence of the two regions. 

Western leaders responded with harsh words. U.S. President George W. Bush said it increased world tensions and Britain called for "the widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia," where the two regions lie. 

But what can the West do to punish Russia or discourage it from any similar acts in the future? 

Military action has never been a realistic option since Russia sent tanks and troops to halt Georgia's assault on South Ossetia. United Nations sanctions are also out of the question because Russia ihas the right of veto on the U.N. Security Council.

from Global Investing:

EDF fails to push Britain’s nuclear button

british-energys-heysham-nuclear-power-station.jpgA dramatic last-minute hitch to plans for France's EDF to buy British Energy leaves managements, shareholders and especially the British government in a quandary.

It was a 12 billion pounds ($24 billion) deal that was supposed to relaunch Britain's nuclear energy programme. Everyone had been told to expect it. In fact, the collapse of talks came too late for French newspapers, several of which had been briefed on the deal and splashed it prominently on their front pages on Friday.

from Global News Journal:

Iran – a young revolution with plenty of life?

khatami.jpgIn the late 1990s, not long after pro-reform politician Mohammad Khatami swept to a landslide victory in the Iranian presidential elections, some Western observers started wondering if this was the step that would herald a collapse of the Islamic Republic -- rather like the Soviet Union tumbled on Mikhail Gorbachev's watch a decade earlier.

It was early days for me observing Iran. But an acquaintance of mine offered some analysis. Iran is not communist Europe. It is still a young revolution, he told me (at a time when it was
turning 20). There are still plenty of Iranians willing to die for the cause. Don't expect it to come crashing down, he said.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, India and their nuclear bombs

May photo of PML-N party protest in favour of A.Q. KhanBy pure coincidence, Pakistan and India are both embroiled at the same time in domestic rows over their nuclear bombs.

In Pakistan, disgraced nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan kicked up a storm by saying that the Pakistan Army under President Pervez Musharraf knew about the illegal shipment of uranium centrifuges to North Korea in 2000 -- contradicting his earlier confession that he acted alone in spreading Pakistan's nuclear arms technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Although Khan has subsequently suggested his remarks may have been overplayed, they are nonetheless likely to raise anxieties overseas about Pakistan's nuclear programme.  His statement, and partial retraction, have also spawned a range of conspiracy theories about which of Pakistan's squabbling politicians stood to gain from it, as seen in the comments to this blog on All Things Pakistan.

from Global News Journal:

Iran’s nuclear policy: what lies beneath?

khamenei1.jpgThere is a running joke among Western journalists, diplomats and other foreigners based in Iran who have the task of trying to understand what is going on behind the scenes: the longer you stay here, the more opaque Iranian policy making becomes.

It may be said lightheartedly, but it contains more than a grain of truth. The longer you spend trying to peel back the layers of the Iranian establishment to understand what the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is thinking, the more layers you discover.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

What does showdown over Iran mean for Pakistan?

File photo of Iranian President Mahmoud AhmedinejadIt's early days yet, but people are already trying to work out what any Israeli attack on Iran would mean for Pakistan. (The idea that Israel might attack Iran to damage or destroy its nuclear programme gained currency this week when former U.S. ambassador John Bolton predicted in an interview with the Daily Telegraph that it would do so after the November U.S. presidential election but before the next president is sworn in.)

Pakistan defence analyst Ikram Sehgal paints an alarming, and perhaps deliberately alarmist, picture in The News of what this could mean for Pakistan: "Could Israeli or (US) planners afford the risk of leaving a Muslim nuclear state with the means of missile delivery intact if there is war with Iran? Can they take this calculated risk in the face of a possible Pakistani nuclear reaction because of military action on a fellow Muslim nation and neighbour...?" he writes. "Should one not be apprehensive that India as the 'newly U.S. appointed policeman of the region' takes the opportunity ... for launching all-out Indian military offensive....?"

from India Insight:

Jury still out on Indo-U.S. “unclear” deal

US President Bush raises his glass for a toast with Indian Prime Minister Singh at an official dinner …US President Bush raises his glass for a toast with Indian Prime Minister Singh at an official dinner …You could be forgiven for thinking that the civilian nuclear deal with the United States is all about whether India holds early elections or not.

Every newspaper is speculating if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has staked his personal reputation on the deal, will resign to disassociate himself from an administration that failed to save a pact keenly watched by the world.

from Global News Journal:

Bush and Iran; a familiar script

Bush and MerkelGeorge W Bush's final tour of Europe as president of the United States has so far been curiously uneventful and curiously familiar. More discussion of Iran, more talk of tougher sanctions if the Islamic republic refuses to stop enriching uranium and another warning that 'all options' are on the table to ensure it falls into line.

But despite three rounds of sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, Iran has refused to cooperate. Instead it has set about protecting assets at risk from such measures, for example by withdrawing funds from European banks.

from India Insight:

Iran or the US? India’s delicate balancing act

The visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to India on Tuesday was a slightly low-key affair. But it throws up an interesting conundrum for the Indian government.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad looks on during his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi April 29, 2008. REUTERS/B MathurJust how close can New Delhi afford to be to Tehran before it seriously angers Washington. In the end, will India be forced to choose -- Iranian gas or American friendship?

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