Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
from Afghan Journal:
A team of U.S. geologists and Pentagon officials have concluded that Afghanistan is sitting on untapped mineral deposits worth more than $1 trillion, officials said. The deposits of iron, copper, cobalt and critical industrial elements such as lithium are enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the war itself, the officials said.
Lithium is a key raw material for the manufacture of batteries for laptops and mobile phones, and the potential reserves of the metal are so huge that the country may well become the "Saudi Arabia of lithium", a Pentagon memo said.
So is Afghanistan going to mine its way out of its current troubles ? For all the hope the finding has stirred in a landscape of death and destruction, unlocking Afghanistan's mineral riches may be decades away, experts say. The country has almost no mining infrastructure, is in the midst of a wrenching war and has a reputation for government corruption. The risks are far too big for most companies to get involved, however enticing the deposits look.
The curious thing is this is not the first time Afghanistan's mineral riches have been discovered. Back in January 1984, the chief engineer of the Afghan Geological Survey Department published a report saying the country had reserves of a wide variety of mineral resources, including iron, chrome, copper, silver, gold, barite sulfur, talc, magnesium, mica marble and lapis lazuli. The Afghan Chamber of Commerce has details of the report here. The Afghan government in the mid 1980s was preparing to develop a number of the mineral resources on a large scale with Soviet technical assistance, the chamber said. But the Russians left in 1989 and Afghanistan descended into a war which has, more or less, continued since then.The report also mentions abundant reserves of natural gas, so don't be surprised if that too resurfaces as another silver lining in Afghanistan's cloudy sky.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Pakistan's militants have unleashed a guerrilla war in cities across the country in retaliation for a military offensive against them in their South Waziristan stronghold. But while they have seized all the attention with their massive bomb and gun attacks, what about the offensive itself in their mountain redoubt ?
Nearly two weeks into Operation Rah-e-Nijat, or Path of Salvation, it is hard to make a firm assessment of which way the war is going, given that information is hard to come by and this may yet be still the opening stages of a long and difficult campaign.
from Afghan Journal:
Much of the rationale for the U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has to do with making sure that it doesn't become a haven for militant groups once again. As President Barack Obama weighs U.S. and NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal's recommendation for 40,000 more troops at a time of fading public support for the war in Afghanistan, some people are questioning the basic premise that America must remain militarily committed there so that al Qaeda doesn't creep back under the protection of the Taliban.
Richard N.Haass, the president of the Council for Foreign Relations, kicked off the debate this month, arguing that al Qaeda didn't really "require Afghan real estate to constitute a regional or global threat". Terrorists head to areas of least resistance, and if it is not Afghanistan, they will choose other unstable countries such as Somalia or Yemen, if it hasn't happened already, he argues. And the United States cannot conceivably secure all the terrorist havens in the world.
WASHINGTON – The Bush administration is often accused of ignoring military advice, using too few troops to invade and occupy Iraq and paying the price with a war that has lasted far longer and claimed many more lives than expected.
Despite that criticism, a new book by U.S. journalist Bob Woodward shows President George W. Bush again went against the advice of top military officers in 2007 by ordering a “surge” of extra troops when violence in Iraq was at its worst.