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Russia and ex-Soviet Union (English)

Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov has not visited Egypt in 15 years, and his hopes for another such visited have petered out.  Eric Walberg reflects on the changing orientation of Central Asia

12/4/7 -- In the past year, there has been a dramatic shift in Central Asia's relations with the world, both political and economic, especially those of Uzbekistan, towards much closer ties with Russia and China in trade, production, politics and culture. This shift reflects a changing orientation throughout the world, including Egypt, as the United States continues its struggle for world hegemony. According to Egyptian historian Anwar Abdel-Malek, "Egypt, having been burned by America's appetite for foreign intervention, is seeking solace in Asian waters."

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Georgia: A rocky beachhead

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Instability in Georgia puts US geostrategic plans at risk, observes Eric Walberg

16/4/7 -- The bloom has officially faded on Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's 2003 rose revolution. The 13 opposition parties in this nation of 4.7 million are united and determined, and began their latest series of demonstrations 9 April, when as many as 100,000 demonstrated in Tbilisi, capturing the nation's mood of frustration and, increasingly, contempt for their oversize, fanatically pro-American president. They have vowed to persist with a campaign of civil disobedience until he resigns.

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BRIC & SCO summits: Reinventing the wheel

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A new world is being born, one without the US dollar greasing the wheels of commerce, notes Eric Walberg

25/6/9 -- Yekaterinburg, famous tragically as the spot Lenin chose to have the Tsar and his family executed in 1918, and ironically as the fiefdom of Boris Yeltsin, who finished off the Russian revolution itself in 1991, witnessed something no less remarkable last week when leaders of the so-called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) held their first summit, following the yearly meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The BRIC countries comprise 15 per cent of the world economy, 40 per cent of global currency reserves and half the world’s population. Brazil, India and China have also weathered the financial crisis better than the world as a whole.

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NATO, SCO or PATO?

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Conferences and suggestions about what to do in Afghanistan are chock-a-block, but the reality speaks for itself, says Eric Walberg

23/4/9 -- The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's Special Conference on Afghanistan, held in Moscow on 27 March, marks a new stage in the international community's relations with this beleaguered country. It reflected the growing clout of Russia and China, the founders of the SCO, which includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan and four observers -- India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia.

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NATO in Georgia: Fun and games

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Bringing the threat of war to Russia's borders is having wide-ranging repercussions, argues Eric Walberg

14/5/9 -- As Russian troops marched to celebrate the victory over Nazi Germany 8 May, NATO troops -- 1,300 of them from 10 member countries and six "partners" -- were beginning their month-long Cooperative Longbow/Lancer war "games" on Russia's southern border. In deference to Moscow, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova and Serbia decided not to participate in the NATO exercises, preferring to send their diplomats to Red Square in homage to the untold Russian sacrifice in pursuit of world peace. According to Russian MP Sergei Abeltsev, the NATO decision to hold the drills in Georgia during the WWII Victory Day celebrations was a "total revision of the history of the Great Patriotic War".

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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