World Press on Iran, Turkey and the Caucasus (November 18-21, 2011)
A new institute for the study of contemporary Russia is to be established at a London university, the latest in a network of institutes at King's College London devoted to mapping the rise of emerging powers, the Guardian informes its readers. The university's Russia Institute, due to open in 2013, joins an IndiaInstitute which opened in September and institutes focusing on Brazil and China that were set up in 2008. Rick Trainor, the King's College principa, said: "Although we're providing a historical perspective to these students, we're concentrating on the economy, society, politics and international relations aspects of these countries which in the past I think have been too little understood in the UK, in terms of the new identity, the new roles in the world that they're playing.
The Washington Post reported that the Obama administration is investigating whether Iran supplied the Libyan government of Moammar Gaddafi with hundreds of special artillery shells for chemical weapons that Libya kept secret for decades. The shells, which Libya filled with highly toxic mustard agent, were uncovered in recent weeks by revolutionary fighters at two sites in central Libya. Both are under heavy guard and round-the-clock surveillance by drones, U.S. and Libyan officials said. The discovery of the shells has prompted a probe, led by U.S. intelligence, into how the Libyans obtained them; several sources said early suspicion had fallen on Iran. “We are pretty sure we know” the shells were custom-designed and produced in Iran for Libya, said a senior U.S. official, one of several who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the accusation. A U.S. official with access to classified information confirmed that there were “serious concerns” that Iran had provided the shells, albeit some years ago. In recent weeks, U.N. inspectors have released new information indicating that Iran has the capability to develop a nuclear bomb, a charge Iranian officials have long rejected. Confirmed evidence of Iran’s provision of the specialized shells may exacerbate international tensions over the country’s alleged pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.
The Los Angeles Post published an article headlined “Georgia's shameful attack on South Ossetia”. According to it, here has been a remarkable change in Western opinion about the August war between Georgia and Russia over my homeland of South Ossetia. The New York Times, the BBC and Human Rights Watch have reported extensive evidence of U.S.-armed and trained Georgian troops attacking innocent civilians using cluster bombs and other banned weapons. The U.S. State Department, which initially backed Georgia strongly, now concedes that Georgia erred in launching its attack, while British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has condemned the Georgian government for its "reckless" attack. Officials of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe have come forward to demolish Georgia's absurd and self-serving claims that it was fighting a defensive war. Yet the Los Angeles Times, which reported extensively on the August conflict but only briefly acknowledged the suffering of the South Ossetian people shortly after the war, has not published an article on these crucial developments. Nor is The Times alone in overlooking the Georgian government's abuses. The author concludes that Georgia's public relations campaign was effective in suppressing the voices of South Ossetians during the conflict. But now that the war is over, The Times and others must acknowledge some basic facts about this terrible conflict.