Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

*INDONESIA-CHINA PRODUKSI BERSAMA RUDAL

http://www.kemhan.go.id/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=9558

*INDONESIA-CHINA PRODUKSI BERSAMA RUDAL
*
*Jakarta*, Pemerintah Indonesia dan Republik Rakyat China sepakat untuk
meningkatkan kerja sama pertahanan termasuk produksi bersama peluru kendali.

*Juru bicara Kementerian Pertahanan Brigjen TNI I Wayan Midhio* di Jakarta,
Selasa, mengatakan, penjajakan produksi bersama rudal itu telah dilakukan
kedua belah pihak.

Ditemui usai menghadiri penandatangan nota kesepahaman kerja sama teknis
pertahanan RI-China, ia mengatakan, Indonesia telah menggunakan rudal C-802
buatan Negeri Panda itu untuk mempersenjatai beberapa kapal perangnya.

“Ke depan kita sepakat untuk memproduksi bersama rudal tersebut, yakni
dengan menggandeng PT Pindad,” ujarnya. Penandatangan nota kesepahaman
dilakukan *Wakil Menhan Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin* dan *Kepala Badan Pengembangan
Teknologi dan industri nasional pertahanan China, Chen Qiufa*.

Nota kesepahaman itu mencakup lima poin yakni pengadaan alat utama sistem
persenjataan tertentu yang disepakati kedua pihak dalam kerangka “G to G”.
Kedua, alih tekonologi peralatan militer tertentu yang antara lain mencakup
perakitan, pengujian, pemeliharaan, modifikasi, “up grade” dan pelatihan.

Tiga poin lainnya adalah kerja sama produk peralatan militer tertentu,
pengembangan bersama peralatan militer tertentu serta pemasaran bersama
dalam dan luar negara masing-masing, kata I Wayan Midhio.

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ICW Tolak Revisi UU Tipikor

http://berita.liputan6.com/hukrim/201103/326443/icw_tolak_revisi_uu_tipikor

ICW Tolak Revisi UU Tipikor

Melly Febrida

27/03/2011 14:05
Liputan6.com, Jakarta: Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) menolak revisi Undang-Undang Tindak Pidana Korupsi (Tipikor) yang disiapkan pemerintah karena berpotensi melemahkan upaya luar biasa dalam pemberantasan korupsi.

“Ada sembilan kelemahan mendasar dan prinsip dalam RUU Tipikor yang diajukan pemerintah,” kata Peneliti Hukum ICW, Donal Fariz, dalam siaran persnya Ahad (27/3).

Ia mengemukakan sembilan kelemahan itu adalah menghilangkan ancaman hukuman mati yang sebelumnya diatur dalam Pasal 2 Ayat (2) Undang-Undang Nomor 31 Tahun 1999 yang diubah menjadi UU Nomor 20/2001 tentang Pemberantasan Tipikor.

Kedua, penghilangan pasal yang dapat membuat kasus-kasus besar seperti Bank Century sulit diproses dengan UU Tipikor.

Ketiga, hilangnya ancaman hukuman minimal di sejumlah pasal. Padahal ketentuan tentang ancaman hukuman minimal ini adalah salah satu ciri dari sifat extraordinary (luar biasa) korupsi di Indonesia.

“Kami menemukan tujuh pasal di RUU Tipikor yang baru tidak mencantumkan ancaman hukuman minimal, seperti penggelapan dana bencana alam, pengadaan barang dan jasa tanpa tender, konflik kepentingan, pemberi gratifikasi, dan pelaporan yang tidak benar tentang harta kekayaan,” kata Fariz.

Keempat, adanya penurunan ancaman hukuman minimal menjadi hanya satu tahun. “Hal ini dikhawatirkan dapat menjadi pintu masuk untuk memberikan hukuman percobaan bagi koruptor,” katanya.

Kelima, melemahnya sanksi terhadap mafia hukum seperti suap untuk aparat penegak hukum. Dalam UU 31/1999 jo UU 20/2001 suap untuk penegak hukum seperti hakim dapat diancam hukuman minimal empat tahun dan maksimal 20 tahun. Sedangkan di RUU Tipikor ancaman minimal hanya satu tahun dan maksimal tujuh tahun.

Keenam, ditemukan pasal yang potensial mengkriminalisasi pelapor kasus korupsi, sedangkan ketujuh korupsi dengan kerugian negara dibawah Rp25 juta bisa dilepas dari penuntutan hukum.

Kelemahan kedelapan, kewenangan penuntutan KPK tidak disebutkan secara jelas dalam RUU. Padahal dalam pasal sebelumnya posisi KPK sebagai penyidik korupsi disebutkan secara tegas.

“Hal ini harus dicermati agar jangan sampai menjadi celah untuk membonsai kewenangan penuntutan KPK,” kata Fariz.

Kelemahan terakhir, ICW tidak menemukan RUU Tipikor yang mengatur tentang pidana tambahan, seperti pembayaran uang pengganti kerugian negara, perampasan barang yang digunakan dan hasil untuk korupsi, dan penutupan perusahaan yang terkait korupsi.

Oleh karena itu, ICW meminta pemerintah lebih fokus menuntaskan berbagai persoalan hukum dan korupsi yang penanganannya masih berlarut-larut hingga saat ini, seperti kasus Gayus Tambunan, rekening gendut, dan skandal Bank Century.(ANT/MEL)

 

5 The Iraq syndrome

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2011/1039/fr2.htm
17 – 23 March 2011
Issue No. 1039

Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

The Iraq syndrome

A no-fly zone has yet to fly at the United Nations Security Council, writes Graham Usher in New York

Two weeks ago the UN Security Council came together to impose sanctions against the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, referring it to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes against the Libyan people. On 14 March the council met again to address a request from the Arab League to impose a no-fly zone (NFZ) over Libya “to protect the country’s civilian population”.

But this time there was no coming together, despite a turn in the war in Libya that has seen pro-regime forces drive out the rebel Libyan National Council (LNC) militia from forward bases in Zawiya, Ras Lanuf and Brega.

There may be increasing international consensus on the need to isolate the Gaddafi regime. But there is none on the council over how to do it — especially if it means a military intervention authorised by the UNSC, NATO or an Iraq-like coalition of the willing. The council broke up without agreement.

“Fundamental questions need to be answered, not just what we need to do, but how it’s going to be done,” said Vitaly Churkin, Russian ambassador to the UN. “If there is to be a no-fly zone, who’s going to implement it? Without those details or answers to those questions, it’s very hard to take a responsible decision”.

Russia is not alone in erring on the side of caution. At meetings of European Union leaders and NATO Defence Ministers last week there was no consensus on Libya beyond the delivery of humanitarian assistance and enforcement of the arms embargo called for by Security Council on 26 February. Contingency plans for a possible NFZ would continue, said US Defense Secretary Robert Gates in Brussels. “But that’s the extent of it”.

The messages are similarly mixed in the region. On 10 March the African Union Peace and Security Council condemned the “indiscriminate use of force” by Libya but rejected “foreign military intervention”. It also called on all parties to respect Libya’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

Even the Arab League “request” to the Security Council was not unanimous. Algeria and Syria objected, “because we do not want another Iraq,” snapped a Syrian diplomat at the UN. And while calling for a NFZ, the Arab League rejected “foreign intervention” in Libya. This is an oxymoron: non-Arab states like Britain, France and above all the United States would have to “intervene” in some way since only they would have the air power to enforce a zone, say analysts.

“These are questions that have to be discussed, these are not clear signals being sent [by the Arabs], because a NFZ would be a military intervention,” said German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on 14 March. He also said the Arab League would need to “not just support but participate” militarily in any action that went beyond sanctions.

The divisions are reflected on the council. The most zealous advocates of a NFZ are France and Britain. Both believe the recent shifts on the battlefield in favour of pro-regime forces could leave Gaddafi “dominant” in much of Libya, in perpetual war with the rebel held east and a “pariah state” at odds with Egypt, Tunisia and southern Europe.

This presumably is the reason France has rushed to recognise the LNC as the “legitimate” representative of the Libyan people, together perhaps with the prospect of lucrative deals should the rebels regain control over the eastern oilfields. And both Britain and France feel a NFZ would not only protect civilians: it would turn the war back in favour of the rebels.

It’s not a prognosis shared by permanent council members like Russia and China or non-permanent members like Germany, South Africa and Brazil. They believe France’s precipitous recognition of the LNC has only raised regional fears of a Western- engineered partition. Nor would a NFZ change the balance of power in a war that has been fought mainly on ground.

The US shares this scepticism. Like France and Britain, President Barack Obama wants regime change in Libya. But he wants it via “tightening the noose” on Gaddafi and his loyalists through sanctions and other actions, not yet through military intervention.

“I have not taken any options off the table,” he said on 11 March. But, “when it comes to US military action, whether it’s a NFZ or other options, you’ve got to balance costs versus benefits”.

And there is precious little benefit, according to his military. There is no evidence a NFZ would protect civilians. And it could be counterproductive, whipping up an anti-American backlash in a revolt that has seen little overt anti-Western sentiment. Worse, it conjures up what Ross Douthat and others have called America’s “Iraq syndrome” against any more foreign wars. In the New York Times on 14 March he wrote:

“And if the civil war [in Libya] dragged on, what then? Twice in the last two decades, in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, the United States has helped to impose a no-fly zone. In both cases, it was just a stepping stone to further escalation: bombing campaigns, invasion, occupation and nation building”.

Despite the lack of agreement, a resolution calling for a NFZ will probably be soon put [or has been put] to the Security Council. Lebanon, Britain and France are said to be working on a text [or worked on the text]. But short of a documented massacre of civilians by Gaddafi or the fall of the LNC in Benghazi, it could [will] only be endorsed on the most humanitarian of grounds. First most council members will want a ratcheting up of sanctions on the regime, stricter enforcement of the arms embargo and perhaps greater cooperation with the LNC. There is a possible consensus on the council for all these things. There is no consensus for the start of another Iraq.

__._,_.___

Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: A War With Libya?

http://russiaprofile.org/experts_panel/34077.html

Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: A War With Libya?

Introduced by Vladimir Frolov Russia Profile 03/25/2011

Contributors: Vladimir Belaeff,

James Jatras, Edward Lozansky,

Alexander Rahr, Alexandre

Strokanov

The UN Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1973 on March 17, authorizing “all necessary measures” against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the establishment of a no-fly zone, which includes the possible use of military force, against pro-Gaddafi forces. Ten UNSC members voted for the resolution, including the United States, Great Britain and France, while Russia, China, Germany, Brazil and India abstained. Is Russia right in tacitly accepting the use of force by not exercising its veto power in the UNSC? What does Russia gain by taking a position that opens the door for intervention without fully pledging its support for the West?

France and Great Britain have been most vocal in arguing for the use of force against Gaddafi, while the EU has officially recognized the opposition government in Benghazi as a partner in negotiations. The UNSC resolution allows for a wide range of military options, including strikes on air-defense systems and missile attacks from ships, as well as strikes at Libyan ground forces attacking the rebel positions.

Ostensibly the resolution was intended to force Gaddafi, under the threat of Western airstrikes and even ground invasion, to stop his attacks against the rebels who have seized the eastern parts of the country and even threatened Gaddafi’s stronghold of Tripoli. But over the past ten days Gaddafi has seized the initiative and has pushed back the rebel forces. Now, he is successfully beating back a large anti-government uprising, and is in the process of storming Benghazi, a city where the “interim Libyan government” was seated for a short time.

Gaddafi has all but crushed the rebellion and is now in the process of consolidating his grip on power after almost two months of popular uprising against his 40-year rule. It appears that while the UN resolution was authorized as a humanitarian intervention to protect the civilian population from Ghadaffi, it is likely to turn into the use of force with the specific goal of overthrowing his regime, still recognized as the legitimate government of Libya.

The West now seems determined to overthrow Gaddafi at all costs, despite his imminent victory over the rebels. Airpower alone is unlikely to achieve this objective and a ground invasion to destroy Gaddafi’s forces and remove him from power might be necessary.

Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, said the blame for “humanitarian consequences” following any military action will be on the shoulders of those involved in such operations. The Russian ambassador warned that some provisions of the resolution may result in a large-scale use of force. “They potentially open the door for a large-scale military intervention,” Churkin said. Russia did not veto the resolution as it was “guided by the necessity of protecting civilians and by general humanitarian values,” Churkin said.

“An attack against Libya would be a gift for all violators of the Non-Proliferation Treaty,” Aleksei Arbatov, a well known Russian defense and security analyst, told Interfax. “If Libya becomes a target of a military operation, it will lead some countries to believe that no one would think of threatening Gaddhafi with a military operation now if he had not voluntarily given up his nuclear program several years ago. This will lead Iran, Syria, and some other countries violating the non-proliferation regime to make a new powerful step toward obtaining nuclear weapons,” Arbatov said.

Russian analysts also noted that President Dmitry Medvedev did not want to upset his “reset” with Barack Obama, or the relationship with the EU, and chose to avoid confrontation by abstaining from the vote, rather than using Russia’s veto power. Russia’s position allowed the resolution to go through. Russia also took notice of the position of the Arab League, which called for a no-fly zone to be imposed over Libya.

Medvedev, however, has publicly voiced skepticism over the rush to war with Gaddafi, and Russia’s abstention from the UN vote allows Moscow to disavow any responsibility for the military operation, if it were to go wrong.

Is the use of force against Libya justified? In Kuwait in 1990 there was a clear violation of the international law and a blatant Iraqi attack on a sovereign country. In Libya, it is an intervention into the internal affairs of a sovereign nation and a show of partisanship in a civil war.

Is Russia right in tacitly accepting the use of force by not exercising its veto power in the UNSC? What does Russia gain with a position that opens the door for intervention, but allows Russia to distance itself from the West? Is Medvedev modeling himself after Mikhail Gorbachev’s policy in late 1990, when the Soviet Union joined the United States in voting for a UNSC resolution authorizing the use of force to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait? This garnered Gorbachev considerable support and admiration in Washington, but not much else.

Is there a parallel between this UNSC decision to use force to compel Gaddafi to halt the violence with Russia’s decision in August 2008 to use force to compel Georgia and its deranged leader to halt the attacks on South Ossetia? What does this UN sanctioned intervention in Libya mean for the future of international relations?

Alexander Rahr, Director, Russia

and Eurasia Program, German

Council on Foreign Relations,

Berlin:

The West does not want to lose its influence in the world. The financial crisis had weakened the West and its liberal democratic model. Some were already talking about the end of the Western world, expecting China to take the lead.

Then came the democratic wave in the Arabic world. The West applauded the mass protests, which reminded everyone of the velvet revolutions in Eastern Europe. But not everything in Eastern Europe had gone so smoothly. Slobodan Milosevic tried to suppress his people and had to be combated by NATO. The Tunisian and Egyptian leaders acted like the majority of former communist leaders back in 1989 – they stepped down.

Gaddafi, however, started to behave like Milosevic.

The West won the Kosovo War in 1999 without bearing any of the casualties, and gained experience in conducting airstrikes without risking the lives of its own soldiers. Tomahawk cruise missiles are able to do the job – destroy the entire military infrastructure of Libya, as happened in Yugoslavia and more recently in the war in Iraq.

The West sees that its has the ultimate power to remove dictators throughout the world. The West is armed with a simple ideology: promotion of freedom and democracy. The elites in the EU and the United States are fully in favor of wars for human rights. In Germany, 65 percent support the war against Gaddafi (though only 30 percent think that Germany should get involved).

In the short term, the West can make friends in the Islamic world. The West has already gained the sympathies of Albanians and some Iraqis. No doubt, the West will fight Gaddafi to the end, like it fought Milosevic. If Gaddafi survives, he will be arrested and sent to the Hague, or hanged like Saddam Hussein. His severe punishment will serve as a signal to other “dictators” of the world, and not only in the Middle East, that they cannot mistreat their people forever.

But what comes next? Humanitarian interventions in the Middle East, in Syria, Yemen, and then one day in Iran? Is the West going to win the Islamic world over after these crusades against the regimes in the Arabic countries? Will the West and the newly democratized Arab states become global allies in the 21 century? But where is Islamism – the powerful force which has threatened the West and the world for ten years after September 11? Has it vanished?

The West has entered a war with the Islamic world, with countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Libya – which did not pose any real threat to it. A lot depends on the appropriate next steps by the West. But has anyone prepared them?

Alexandre Strokanov, Professor of

History, Director of Institute of

Russian Language, History and

Culture, Lyndon State College,

Lyndonville, VT:

The UNSC Resolution 1973 is very vague, and will only lead to more bloodshed and intensify the suffering of the Libyan people, instead of protecting them. This resolution has about the same impact on the future of the international relations as the latest earthquake in Japan on their nuclear power industry. The resolution makes international relations even less predictable.

Terrorists around the world received a great gift and justification for their actions. The regimes that were thinking of acquiring weapons of mass destruction got a strong argument in favor of this thought. Only blind people do not see the real intentions of several Western governments in this conflict, which has nothing to do with protecting Libyan civilians, who are now killed not only as a result of the domestic conflict, but by Western bombs and missiles as well.

Russia’s decision to abstain in the vote for the resolution may be understood and explained. However, it is time to see more active diplomatic efforts from the Kremlin, and a clearer stance in respect to the developing war.

In the last few days, after the vote in the UNSC took place, it became evident that president Medvedev supports this new “Western crusade” in the Islamic world, while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has a much more realistic view of the situation. It is also quite obvious that in his desire to be liked by the West, president Medvedev has already gone too far and does not represent the view that the majority of Russians hold about the conflict.

The next week will make the picture even clearer, and any ground operations that the coalition will begin will require president Medvedev to chose between the desire to become another Nobel Prize winner (or to be a friend of one of those winners), or to be the president who can look into the eyes of his own people without shame.

Edward Lozansky, President,

American University in Moscow

and World Russia Forum in

Washington, DC:

You asked for it, you got it. This expression is the first thing that comes to mind when remembering Obama’s appeal to Congress and the public for a bipartisan approach to the nation’s most important problems.

Now, both republicans and democrats, the left and right, are expressing their indignation with the U.S. military involvement in Libya. One prominent spokesman after another decries this operation, and some even call for Obama’s impeachment for violating the Constitution. “It is regrettable that no opportunity was afforded to consult with Congressional leaders, as was the custom of your predecessors, before your decision as commander in chief to deploy into combat the men and women of our armed forces,” said house speaker John Boehner, reiterating a bipartisan complaint raised by lawmakers.

The mood among Western governments and the public is souring and the consensus on the intervention achieved last week, when the UN resolution 1973 was purportedly imposed to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe (the killing of “thousands of civilians” – as claimed by the insurgent side) is fragile. Now these large-scale U.S., British and French ground and air attacks are widely seen internationally as disproportionate, careless of civilian lives, and extending beyond the agreed upon plan to impose a defensive no-fly zone.

As far as this “rebel” anti-Libyan government side is concerned, a lack of any reliable information about it is particularly conspicuous. Just who are these people? Who are their leaders? Western media now calls them “freedom fighters,” but are they? What are their plans –apart from getting rid of Qaddafi? If they want “freedom and democracy” – what are their democratic credentials, excepting verbiage? Freedom for what, Sharia Law? Qaddafi, for one, calls them al-Qaeda stooges. He may be saying this just to scare his Western
opponents, but suppose that there is a grain of truth in this.

We just do not know, and that’s a fact. The “international community” is obviously giving the rebels the benefit of the doubt – or, more realistically, hoping to install, once that unpleasant character Qaddafi, is deposed through military intervention, a more acceptable regime like those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such a scenario is possible, and even probable.

Whether it will be best for the Libyan people and, for that matter, for the West, is another question. What we see in Iraq and Afghanistan – a terrorist war of attrition, the presence of foreign military forces on their soil, and a virtual disintegration of what used to be a single nation – are far from encouraging prospects. And Qaddafi – currently supported, we might remember, by the majority of the Libyan people and establishment structures – promises a “long war.”

However, even this is not the worst that may happen. If we go deeper into history – to, say, the 1980s in Afghanistan – we might discover there a lesson that obviously deserves to be remembered in the present crisis, but is clearly forgotten. There is talk now of Libyan anti-government forces being inadequately armed and trained, and of the need to supply both weapons and instructors for them. It should be recalled that in the past the West, and particularly the United States, financed, armed (with highly effective anti-aircraft weapons, the Stingers, among others), and trained mujahedin, of whom Osama bin Laden was one. All of which helped to spawn the most vicious worldwide terrorist network that turned on its godfathers. The same Afghans who received all kinds of U.S. aid became America’s worst enemies, providing bases for the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Now, is there any semblance of guarantee that exactly the same will not happen in Libya? There is not. On the contrary, there is already clear evidence of a link-up between Hezbollah and what they call the “revolutionists” in Libya.

Thus the coalition has found a very strange bedfellow indeed. This sort of alliance augurs very poorly for all concerned – Qaddafi, the insurgents, the Libyan people as a whole, and last but not least, for the coalition troops that will have found yet another theater of war in which to die, and go on dying.

The American military doctrine states that the country can handle only two simultaneous wars at a time. Now we have three wars plus close to 15 trillion dollars of national debt. God save America.

Vladimir Belaeff, Global Society

Institute, Inc., San Francisco, CA:

Perhaps it would be more appropriate to define our topic as “a war about Libya” – given that the anti-Gaddafi insurgents are Libyans also.

There are fundamental aspects about Libya and Gaddafi that must be borne in mind.

Firstly, Gaddafi took power in Libya in a coup d’etat, and there has been no legitimating event that would allow his rule to be considered “legitimate.” Monarchy is a recognized, historically determined form of state rule. Gaddafi is not a monarch – in fact, he deposed a monarchy. He is an illegitimate dictator who has ruled Libya de facto for 42 years. The popular uprising against Gaddafi is the first, evidently weak, but very brave attempt by Libyans to express their ideas about the governance of their country.

Secondly, violent suppression of popular dissent was initiated by Gaddafi’s forces, who escalated this suppression to full blown extensive military action. Libya’s government has effectively started the civil war in the country.

Thirdly, Gaddafi, despite his repeated promises and claims to the contrary, consciously and intentionally flaunts repeated resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, including direct orders to cease fire under penalty of military punishment. Gaddafi’s government claims many civilian casualties (without visible proof) caused by coalition air strikes – yet Gaddafi can remove all risks to Libyan civilians by simply ceasing his fire. He does not do that, demonstrating again his true intention to remain in power even at the price of his people’s lives.

If Gaddafi is permitted to ignore with impunity a very clear mandamus from the United Nations to cease military action against his own people, this will seriously degrade the authority of the international community. We are not talking here about some subtle resolution, which may be subject to interpretation, but a very straightforward order to stop shooting at people. It is not just Libya at stake here, but quite literally – the world order of our time.

There is definitely a parallel between the actions of Gaddafi in March 2011 and Mikheil Saakashvili in August 2008. In both cases rulers with probable mental instabilities initiated violence against civilians, despite all rational and legal considerations.

Abstention in the vote for Resolution 1973 was an appropriate choice for Russia. One should remember that Gaddafi and his war have cost Russia major economic losses. Starting with the forgiveness of a multi-billion dollar debt that Russia granted to the immensely wealthy Gaddafi and his not-less-wealthy government, and on to the unrealized revenue from various Russian projects in Libya, which have been postponed sine die and may not restart in any near future. Economically, Russia at present is a net loser in the Libyan upheaval.

Arbatov’s commentary about the impact of military action as a stimulus for nuclear proliferation is characteristically weak. Lust for nuclear weapons has existed in the region for decades prior to the current action against the Libyan dictator; the marginal increment in stimulation is negligible.

It is notable that the world communist movement unreservedly supports Gaddafi. This includes the real political opposition in Russia – the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

In the United Nations Russia intends to demand a cease-fire in Libya. A noble intention. A cease-fire requires the compliance of all participants. How does Russia propose the UN would enforce this demand on Gaddafi, considering that he has ignored all prior UN directives? A unilateral cease-fire is a capitulation. Is the world community ready to capitulate to a deranged war criminal?

Unless Russia has workable answers to the above, she should avoid being exposed to ridicule for unrealistic and simplistic proposals.

James George Jatras, Director,

American Council for Kosovo,

Deputy Director, American

Institute in Ukraine, Washington,

DC:

From an American perspective, almost as dismaying as the fact that president Obama has now mimicked his predecessors and blundered into his very own ill-advised foreign intervention, is puzzlement about the decision of Russia (and of China, which presumably followed the Russian lead) not to veto the Security Council resolution authoring force in Libya.

To address the Russian question first: it didn’t take a “Kristol ball” to guess that the Western powers would immediately exceed the UNSC’s mandate, in effect treating Resolution 1973 as a carte blanche to intervene in the Libyan civil war. Perhaps president Medvedev didn’t want to disappoint his “reset” partner, president Obama. Or perhaps Moscow was applying some geopolitical judo in facilitating America’s tumble into yet another sand-trap, and then criticizing us for it. (For all of Paris’ and London’s grandstanding and Riyadh’s and Abu Dhabi’s prodding, accusing fingers again will be pointed at the United States for lots of dead Muslims served up for Al-Jazeera’s cameras).

Evident disarray at the top militates against the likelihood that the Russian move was calculated. Prime Minister Putin castigated the Western campaign as reminiscent of a “medieval crusade” –an inapt characterization, first because the Libyan operation (as will be seen below), far from being anti-Islamic, instead is furthering the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and their ilk.

Secondly, Putin should appreciate that as a historical matter, the real Crusades were a legitimate if flawed Christian counterattack against centuries of jihad aggression, not an episode to be used as a term of opprobrium. Then, to further tangle things, Medvedev criticized him just for uttering the word “crusade,” the mere sound of which offends delicate Muslim ears and aggravates the “clash of civilizations.” In short, what the Russians really have in mind is not at all clear.

But the muddle in Moscow pales beside the latest outbreak of imbecility along the Potomac. The report is that Samantha Power, National Security Council special advisor to Obama on human rights and one of Obama’s campaign advisors on foreign affairs, was primarily responsible for convincing her dithering boss to proceed, with support from U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and, of course, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Power became an obsessive advocate of “humanitarian intervention” during her stint as a journalist in Bosnia and advocates a philosophy called “responsibility to protect” (RTP), with military intervention ostensibly to protect human rights raised to a cardinal principle of American foreign policy. She outlined RTP in her 2003 book “A Problem From Hell: America in the Age of Genocide,” that Richard Holbrooke of Balkan infamy commanded his underlings to read. Power’s militarism is boundless. For instance, at the height of the Second Intifada in 2002, she advocated military action against Israel to create and protect a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On the other hand, nobody’s holding his breath waiting for Power to demand we bomb Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates over Saudi and Emirati abuses against Bahraini Shia protesters).

In any case, the Power-Clinton-Rice triumfeminate was sufficiently potent to squelch cautionary advice from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, and Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough.

The U.S.-led action follows calls by the international Islamic party Hizb-ut-Tahrir, whose members have long been suppressed and killed in Libya, for Gaddafi to be overthrown by the Egyptian army, and for his assassination by a leading figure of the Muslim Brotherhood active in the successful Egyptian revolt. As an indication of the likely beneficiaries of Western help in overthrowing Gaddafi, a 2008 West Point analysis of a cache of al-Qaeda records discovered that nearly 20 percent of foreign fighters (actually, mainly suicide bombers) in Iraq were Libyans, and that on a per-capita basis Libya was nearly double Saudi Arabia as the jihadis’ top country of origin. Almost all of them were from the eastern region of Cyrenaica (Benghazi, and especially Derna), a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda and, not coincidentally, of the anti-Gaddafi insurgency.

While the spectacle of the Western powers and Islamic militants, including al-Qaeda, acting effectively as allies, may come as a surprise to some, it shouldn’t to observers of U.S.-led interventions since America supported Afghan mujahidin against the Soviet Union. Not only did Washington help create al-Qaeda itself during the anti-Soviet war, the pattern was set for subsequent “pro-Muslim” interventions: in Iraq (twice, under George H.W. Bush in 1991 and George W. Bush in 2003), in Afghanistan (Bush in 2001), Bosnia (Bill Clinton in 1995), and Kosovo (Clinton in 1999). In each case, an armed intervention justified as “rescuing” or “liberating” Muslims paradoxically resulted in greater Islamic rage against the United States. In each case, the hoped-for “democracy” – at least recognizable to Western eyes – eluded us. And in each case the resulting social order was more oppressively Islamic, as measured by treatment of women and non-Muslims.

For example, in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, Islamic militancy was suppressed (along with other opposition forces) and women went unveiled. Now, courtesy of U.S. taxpayers, half of Iraq’s Christian population has fled in terror from Muslim militants and women had better cover up if they know what’s good for them. Similar patterns can be discerned in the venues of other interventions, notably the near-eradication of Orthodox Christian Serbs in areas of Kosovo under the control of Muslim Albanian drug, slave, and organ-traffickers. Already in post-Mubarak Egypt constitutional “reforms” favored by the Muslim Brotherhood have been approved by referendum, and fears are rising for the future of Coptic Christians – the largest remaining Christian population in the Middle East. Aside from the serendipitous fact that Libya has few Christians to persecute, prospects for a post-Gaddafi “democracy” in that country are decidedly slim.

However, in Western thinking, the repeated failure of a policy evidently is considered insufficient grounds to abandon it. With respect to Libya, perhaps policy-makers in Washington, London, and Paris calculate that this time for sure the Muslims will love us, no matter how many of them get killed along the way. This time for sure, when Gaddafi is gone, Islamic “democracy” will look a lot like Switzerland. (Just as it has in Gaza, where “democracy” has empowered Hamas, or in purple-fingered Lebanon, now under a Hizballah-led coalition). Each time we are surprised and disappointed, but we never learn. When the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt – and in Libya, in Yemen – Power and company will also be very surprised and disappointed.

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Russia’s NATO envoy warns of full-scale war in Libya

http://arabnews.com/world/article330753.ece

Russia’s NATO envoy warns of full-scale war in Libya

Russian Communists holding portraits of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi protest against the international air strikes on the North African nation at the US Consulate in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday. (AP)

By REUTERS

Published: Mar 26, 2011 20:32 Updated: Mar 26, 2011 20:45

MOSCOW: NATO could be dragged into a full-scale war in Libya, like those being waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, Russia’s ambassador to the military alliance was quoted as saying on Saturday.

NATO has control of an arms embargo on Libya and agreed this week to assume command of a no-fly zone over its territory but Washington has been left in control of conducting air strikes against Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s ground forces.

The United States hopes to hand over control of the air strikes as soon as possible and said on Friday it expected NATO to take command of it, although it was still being discussed.

“Just as we forecast, NATO is being drawn deeper and deeper into war in North Africa,” Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told Interfax news agency.

“The statements we are hearing today from NATO members and the alliance on the whole could draw this bloc into a full-scale operation on Libyan territory, which means essentially the US and its closest allies could be drawn into a third war in addition to those in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Russia backed UN sanctions against Qaddafi and his government earlier this month but abstained in a Security Council vote that authorized a no-fly zone, allowing armed intervention by a Western coalition.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has expressed concern over the possibility of civilian deaths and told US President Barack Obama in a telephone conversation earlier this week that such casualties had to be prevented.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia’s paramount leader, has taken a harder stance, comparing the UN resolution to “medieval calls for crusades.”

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1st Arab country to fly over Libya

http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MTY4MzExNDgz
image

Regional News

1st Arab country to fly over Libya

Published Date: March 27, 2011

TRIPOLI: Fellow Arab and African nations raised the international pressure on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, with tiny Qatar flying the Arab world’s first combat missions over his country and the African Union imploring him to move toward democratic elections. The military operation against Gaddafi, which on Friday also included airstrikes by British and French jets, remains a US-led operation, though NATO was preparing to assume at least some command and control responsibility within days.

A Libyan government delegation meeting in Ethiopia with African leaders – but not the rebels seeking Gadhafi’s ouster – said he is ready to talk with his opponents and accept political reform, possibly including elections. But the delegation also said Libya is committed to a cease-fire that Gaddafi’s forces have flouted since the government announced it, and blamed the current violence on “extremists” and foreign intervention. NATO named Canadian Lt Gen Charles Bouchard to lead its Libyan operation, finalizing what it hopes will be a unified command to oversee military action against the North African nation.

Envoys from NATO’s 28 member countries agreed late Thursday to enforce the no-fly zone over Libya. By Monday, the alliance expects to start doing so, as well as coordinating naval patrols in the Mediterranean to enforce the UN arms embargo against Gaddafi’s forces.

With further approval expected Sunday, NATO will take over the responsibility for bombing Gaddafi’s military to protect civilians from attack. A NATO official said Friday that NATO now hopes to launch both operations simultaneously within a couple of days, avoiding the need for dual commands – NATO for the no-fly zone and the US for the airstrikes.

The official requested anonymity because of regulations about speaking to the media. A Qatari fighter jet flew the country’s first sortie alongside a French jet on Friday to enforce the no-fly zone, the first non-Western military flight in support of the operation. “Having our first Arab nation join and start flying with us emphasizes that the world wants the innocent Libyan people protected from the atrocities perpetrated by pro-regime forces,” US Air Forces Africa Commander Maj Gen Margaret Woodward said
.

Aside from the United Arab Emirates, which has pledged 12 warplanes, the international effort to protect Gaddafi’s opponents has no other countries from the Arab League, a 22-member group that was among the driving forces behind the UN Security Council decision to impose a no-fly zone over Libya.

The United States has provided millions of dollars in equipment to many of the league’s countries, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Qatar has close ties to the US military, a reputation for international mediation, and hosts the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera network. “Qatar has been a great ally from Day One,” said Mustafa Gheriani, spokesman for opposition Benghazi city council. “It’s an Arab country to be proud of.

A Health Ministry official, Khaled Omar, said a total of 114 Libyans have died in the international airstrikes, but he did not provide a breakdown of how many were soldiers or civilians. “We think it is immoral and illegal to kill even our soldiers because we are taking defensive positions only,” said government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim.

Army Gen. Carter Ham said late Thursday that although he was not sure whether civilians died in airstrikes, “we have been very, very precise and discriminate in our targeting.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague went further, saying there have been “no confirmed civilian casualties” from airstrikes.

The UN Security Council authorized the operation to protect Libyan civilians after Gaddafi launched attacks against anti-government protesters who demanded that he step down after 42 years in power. The airstrikes have sapped the strength of Gaddafi’s forces, but rebel advances have also foundered, and the two sides have been at stalemate in key cities.

The rebels claimed late Friday that they had taken the eastern gates of Ajdabiya, although that could not be independently confirmed, and such claims have been made before and proven wrong. Earlier Friday, British and French warplanes hit near Ajdabiya, destroying an artillery battery and armored vehicles. Ajdabiya, the gateway to the opposition’s eastern stronghold, and the western city of Misrata have especially suffered because the rebels lack the heavy weapons to lift Gaddafi’s siege.

Rida al-Montasser, an activist from Misrata, said Gaddafi forces fired mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades from rooftops along a main street, hitting a market and a residential building. He said rebels were trying to chase the snipers from rooftops, and had rounded up about 30 of them so far. A Libyan delegation met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with five African heads of state to discuss a solution to the crisis. Rebels, who were not at the Ethiopia meeting, demand Gadhafi’s ouster and say they will not negotiate with him.

African Union commission chairman Jean Ping said the AU favors a transition period in Libya that would lead to democratic elections. The statement is the strongest to come out of the AU since the Libya crisis began, and could be seen as a strong rebuke to Gaddafi, who has long been well regarded by the continental body. Libyan negotiator Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi blamed the violence in Libya on “extremists” and foreign intervention but said the government was willing to consider talks.

We are ready to discuss what the Libyan people want,” he said. “What kind of reform do they want? If it is elections we are willing to discuss about the details. We are willing to negotiate with anyone. These are our people. There is no division between the Libyan people; there is a division between extremists and the Libyan people.” Britain’s senior military spokesman said the international mission was succeeding.- AP

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Kemelut Suriah Berdampak Strategis Bagi AS

http://www.antaranews.com/berita/251574/kemelut-suriah-berdampak-strategis-bagi-asMinggu, 27 Maret 2011 10:38 WIB | 672 Views

Oleh Chaidar Abdullah

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Pergolakan di Libya, yang berawal dari benturan warga dan pasukan keamanan pemerintah yang belakangan memicu campur tangan militer oleh Amerika Serikat (AS) dan sekutunya untuk mengubah aksi keras pemerintah, telah merajai berita dalam sepekan belakangan.

Tapi, di seberang laut ada kerusuhan baru di satu lagi negara Timur Tengah, kemelut yang bisa jadi memiliki dampak lebih strategis bagi AS.

Yang jadi pertanyaan ialah apakah Presiden Suriah, Bashar Al-Assad, juga akan tersingkir dari jabatan seperti yang dialami kepala negara Tunisia dan Mesir? Pemimpin di kedua negara Arab tersebut terjungkir pada Januari dan Februari oleh protes massa.

Menurut laporan media internasional, protes oleh rakyat terhadap pemerintah juga berlangsung sejak pekan lalu di Suriah. Pengunjuk rasa di kota Dara`a, bagian selatan negeri tersebut diberitakan menewaskan personel pasukan keamanan Bashar Al-Assad. Jumlah korban jiwa tak bisa dikonfirmasi, tapi sebagian saksi mata –sebagaimana dilaporkan kantor berita trans-nasional– telah mengatakan jumlah korban mencapai 100.

Jumlah korban jiwa tersebut justru memicu demonstrasi lebih besar anti-pemerintah di Dara`a, dan protes juga menyebar ke ibukota Suriah, Damaskus.

Sebanyak 15 anak yang berusia di bawah 14 tahun dilaporkan ditangkap di Dara`a saat mereka mencorat-coret tembok dengan tulisan yang menyerukan diakhirinya pemerintahan Bashar. Penangkapan itu memicu demonstrasi lain yang menuntut pembebasan anak-anak tersebut.

Apa sebenarnya yang melatar-belakangi aksi di Suriah? Seperti timpalan mereka di Mesir, Tunisia dan negara lain di wilayah tersebut, pemrotes mengingini pembaruan demokrasi –misalnya, kebebasan lebih besar bagi partai politik. Mereka juga menghendaki pers yang lebih terbuka, diakhirinya korupsi dan perkoncoan, peningkatan kesempatan di bidang ekonomi, dan hak lebih kuat menurut undang-undang dasar.

Suriah telah berada di bawah hukum darurat sejak 1963, yang telah memungkinkan pemerintah menangkap orang tanpa surat perintah dan memenjarakan mereka tanpa proses pengadilan. Ayah Bashar, Hafez Al-Assad memerintah negeri itu dari 1971 sampai 2000, ketika Bashar memangku jabatan.

Bashar keluar dari pengucilan Barat dalam empat tahun belakangan menyangkut perang Suriah di Lebanon dan Irak dan mendukung kelompok garis keras Palestina. Bashar memperkuat hubungan Suriah dengan Iran sementara ia berusaha memperbaiki hubungan dengan Amerika Serikat dan melakukan upaya perdamaian dengan Israel untuk merebut kembali Dataran Tinggi Golan –yang direbut Israel dalam Perang Timur Tengah tahun 1967.

Wartawan asing dilaporkan menghadapi kesulitan untuk beroperasi di Suriah –salah satu alasan mengapai liputan mengenai berbagai peristiwa di negeri tersebut relatif sedikit.

Pemerintah telah memberi tanggapan beragam berupa konsesi, kekerasan dan propaganda. Baru-baru ini, pemerintah Suriah diberitakan menyatakan akan mempelajari pencabutan hukum darurat dan mengizinkan berdirinya lebih banyak partai politik.

Gerakan oposisi dilaporkan bergerak sangat lambat di Suriah, dan menghadapi penindasan oleha mantan presiden Hafez al-Assad –ayah Bashar–, seperti yang dialami kelompok oposisi di Hama. Hafez Al-Assad mengirim satuan tentara elit untuk memadamkan pemberontakan bahwa pada tahun 1982, puluhan ribu orang tewas, dan sebagian besar kota itu dihancurkan oleh tank dan pemboman udara.

Pemerintah juga menyatakan akan mempertimbangkan hukum baru guna meningkatkan kebebasan pers, dan akan menaikkan gaji pegawai negeri.

Tapi, pemerintah di Damaskus juga telah melakukan aksi keras. Menurut beberapa kelompok hak asasi manusia (HAM), selain kerusuhan pada Rabu (23/3), pegiat anti-pemerintah telah ditangkap, sebagian karena melakukan kegiatan di Internet.

Pada saat yang sama, kubu Bashar telah berusaha memanfaatkan perasaan anti-Israel dan anti-Amerika untuk tujuannya sendiri: Penasehat media pemerintah menyatakan protes malah menghambat kemampuan Libya untuk jadi pilar perlawanan terhadap rencana Zionis dan AS.

Baru-baru ini, Gedung Putih mengeluarkan pernyataan yang dengan keras mengutuk serangan dan penangkapan pegiat hak asasi manusia pada Rabu. Jurubicara Departemen Luar Negeri AS, menurut laporan, mengatakan, “Kata-kata adalah kata-kata. Kami tentu saja mengharapkan tindakan.”

Untuk saat ini, campur-tangan militer di Suriah tampaknya belum difikirkan, terutama karena Amerika Serikat dan sekutunya sibuk terlibat dalam aksi pemboman di Libya.

Dampaknya bagi AS

Pemerintah Bashar Al-Assad memiliki hubungan erat dengan Iran, dan memiliki hubungan lama yang dingin dengan Amerika Serikat. Selain itu ada kabar bahwa Damaskus berusaha menggagas program nuklir. Jadi jika pemerintah Bashar akhirnya jatuh dan diganti oleh pemerintah pro-AS yang lebih demokratis, kemampuan Amerika untuk mendorong kepentingan utamanya di wilayah itu –memerangi aksi teror dan ekstrem, melindungi Israel dan menjamin pasokan minyak yang stabil– dapat diperluas.

Meskipun begitu, tetap saja sulit untuk meramalkan seberapa jauh ketidak-stabilan mungkin berlangsung.

Selain itu, Amerika Serikat memiliki kepentingan dalam memihak demokrasi dan hak asasi manusia dan mencegah krisis kemanusiaan –salah satu alasan campur-tangan di Libya tapi tak pernah ada campur tangan untuk menyelamatkan orang Palestina dari kekejaman Yahudi.

Juga bukan rahasia lagi bahwa Suriah mendukung faksi perlawanan di Lebanon Hizbullah. Hizbullah (yang berarti “Partai Allah”) adalah organisasi politik dan paramiliter dari kelompok Islam Sy`aa yang didirikan pada tahun 1982 dengan basis di Lebanon.

Hizbullah mempunyai pengaruh besar dalam politik Lebanon dengan memberikan pelayanan sosial, mendirikan sekolah, rumah sakit, membuka daerah pertanian serta penyediaan layanan lain untuk ribuan warga Syi`ah Lebanon.

Faksi itu dianggap sebagai cermin gerakan perlawanan di bagian besar dunia Arab dan Muslim dunia. Namun kelompok tersebut dianggap sebagai organisasi “teroris” oleh Amerika Serikat, Israel, Kanada, dan Belanda.

Hizbullah mendapat pelatihan militer, senjata dan dukungan keuangan dari Iran, dan dukungan politik dari Suriah. Setelah berakhirnya pendudukan Israel atas Lebanon pada 2000, kekuatan militer Hizbullah diperkirakan bertambah.

Kendati PBB pada Juni 2008 mengabsahkan Israel telah mundur dari seluruh wilayah Lebanon, pada Agustus anggota Kabinet baru Lebanon dengan suara bulan mensahkan kebijakan yang menjamin kehadiran Hizbullah sebagai organisasi bersenjata. Hak Hizbullah juga dijamin untuk membebaskan dan merebut kembali tanah yang diduduki oleh Israel.

Sejak 1992, organisasi itu dipimpin oleh Hassan Nasrallah, sekretaris jenderalnya.
(T.C003/P003)
Editor: Priyambodo RH
COPYRIGHT © 2011

 

Social Benefits of School

Refleksi sunny <ambon@tele2.se>: Rezim negara kleptokrasi bukan melihat rakyat pintar sebagai sesuatu keuntungan bagi negara, tetapi sebalikya, sebagai penyakit berbahaya untuk kestabilan rezim, sebab rakyat mudah bisa tahu gerak gerik penguasa main curang, suka tipu, korupsi dsb, maka oleh karena itu status quo pembodohan rakyat dipelihara dengan berbagai cara.
Pendidikan diutamakan kepada kaum berada dan elit. Salah satu halangan yang biasa menjadi penghalang bagi kaum kurang berada atau miskin ialah tinggi ongkos (harga) pendidikan yang harus  mereka bayar.
CALAK EDU
Social Benefits of School

Senin, 28 Maret 2011 00:02 WIB
UKURAN manfaat sosial (social benefits), beberapa di antaranya manfaat pasar, yang relevan dan berapa banyak total investasi dalam pendidikan yang harus dibiayai publik merupakan ukuran standar seberapa besar bentuk keterlibatan publik terhadap pendidikan. Jika bentuk kesadaran itu hidup dan bertumbuh di masyarakat, manfaat sosial pendidikan untuk orang lain dan generasi mendatang pasti menjamin masa depan yang cemerlang. Pertanyaannya ialah berapa persen kira-kira total partisipasi orang tua terhadap pendidikan anak-anak mereka?
Angka perkiraan partisipasi orang tua/masyarakat terhadap dunia pendidikan memang berbeda antara satu provinsi dan lainnya. Di Aceh, menurut sebuah survei, orang tua dan masyarakat hanya mengeluarkan 15%-20% dari pendapatan kotor per bulan untuk biaya pendidikan anak-anak mereka. Angka ini cukup moderat, mengingat pendapatan per kapita masyarakat kita memang masih kecil dan pengeluaran lebih banyak dikonsentrasikan kepada hal-hal yang bersifat konsumtif. Dengan kondisi ini, akhirnya negara berusaha memenuhi kebutuhan pembiayaan pendidikan masyarakat melalui APBN, yang jumlah totalnya mencapai angka 20%.
Kita memang patut memberi apresiasi yang tinggi kepada pemerintah karena menjadikan pendidikan sebagai prioritas utama dalam program pembangunan nasional. Pendidikan harus terus diyakini sebagai satu-satunya solusi dalam memberikan kontribusi besar bagi kemajuan bangsa. Pendidikan dapat disebut sebagai prime mover yang menggerakkan proses transformasi sosial dan ekonomi untuk mewujudkan sebuah bangsa yang maju dan modern. Dalam konteks ini, pendidikan jelas memiliki banyak sekali manfaat sosial, selain ekonomi dan politik, dalam menciptakan kesadaran masyarakat untuk cerdas dan bermartabat. Jelas sekali bahwa pendidikan secara nyata telah memberikan keuntungan, baik ekonomi maupun nonekonomi, individual maupun sosial, langsung maupun tak langsung.
Manfaat sosial pendidikan juga merupakan salah satu faktor determinan dalam mendorong pertumbuhan ekonomi. Jika kita mampu mengingat pemikiran ekonomi klasik Adam Smith, jelas sekali bahwa faktor modal manusia sangat penting dalam mendorong kemajuan ekonomi, bahkan jauh lebih penting daripada modal finansial dan modal fisik lainnya seperti pabrik, peralatan, dan teknologi. Para pakar ilmu ekonomi pembangunan menegaskan bahwa pendidikan mempunyai hubungan signifikan dengan pembangunan ekonomi; pendidikan dan ekonomi merupakan dua variabel yang saling bergantung. Sangat jelas betapa manfaat sosial pendidikan mempunyai korelasi positif dengan perkembangan dan kemajuan ekonomi suatu bangsa. Meskipun wacana ini telah diketahui para pemimpin kita dalam dua dekade terakhir, pada praktiknya pemerintah kita seperti jalan di tempat dalam menggalang tumbuhnya investasi di bidang pendidikan yang didanai sektor swasta. Selain itu, dana APBN yang sudah 20% itu pun masih memerlukan koreksi total terutama pada aspek implementasinya. Minimnya kajian komprehensif dan terbuka tentang prioritas pembiayaan dalam sektor pendidikan kita membuat kinerja Kementerian Pendidikan Nasional terus dipertanyakan. Salah satu hal paling mendasar dan sering terjadi ialah tiadanya keberlanjutan program pendidikan yang didasarkan pada hasil kajian, bukan semata-masa menggunakan asumsi. Inilah, misalnya, mengapa menteri pendidikan sering kali membuat wacana baru, seolah membenarkan rumor bahwa setiap menteri baru memiliki kebijakan yang juga baru dan ingin terlihat berbeda dengan pendahulunya.
Kajian tentang pembiayaan sekolah (school funding) menjadi relevan mengingat sistem pendidikan kita belum menganut asas pembiayaan sekolah secara integral yang berorientasi pada pengembangan aspek kualitas sebagai target pembiayaan sekolah. Isu pembiayaan sekolah bermutu (school quality funding) masih dihitung secara minimal, yaitu menyangkut besaran subsidi dari pemerintah untuk tiap siswa pada setiap tingkat satuan pendidikan. Contoh dari kebijakan ini ialah bagaimana dana bantuan operasional sekolah (BOS) dihitung.
Persoalan yang ramai dibicarakan praktisi, birokrat, dan politisi di sekitar pembiayaan pendidikan pun baru menyentuh aspek kebutuhan siswa sebagai unit analisisnya, tetapi belum menghitung kebutuhan institusi sekolah sebagai sebuah pendekatan penjaminan mutu (quality assurance). Agar anggaran pendidikan 20% yang diamanatkan undang-undang dapat diserap secara efisien dan transparan, perlu dipikirkan skema-skema pembiayaan pendidikan dengan menggunakan sekolah sebagai unit analisis, bukan lagi kebutuhan siswa. Beberapa studi tentang dampak kualitas sekolah terhadap capaian akademis siswa mengindikasikan pentingnya menciptakan sebuah budaya sekolah yang sehat secara manajemen, sehingga kebutuhan untuk membangun suasana belajar yang positif dan kondusif dapat dimasukkan ke komponen dan indikator pembiayaan pendidikan. Rob Greenwald, dalam The Effect of School Resources on Student Achievement, Review of Educational Research, (1996), memperlihatkan bahwa strategi pembiayaan pendidikan di tingkat sekolah sangat berpengaruh terhadap capaian siswa. Jika ini yang dilakukan, manfaat sosial pendidikan akan lebih dahsyat daripada hanya sekadar jargon dan omong kosong.

Education is not just for earning a living; it is also for living a life. (William E B Du Bois)

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi seeking immunity

Saif al-Islam Gaddafi seeking immunity

27/03/2011
By Khaled Mahmoud


Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat – Independent Arab and Libyan sources have informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi is seeking to convince the coalition forces to accept a deal that is being secretly discussed between Gaddafi delegates and a number of Arab and American parties. This deal would see Gaddafi stepping down from power, only to be replaced by his son Saif al-Islam, with a deadline being put in place for a peaceful transition of power.

A well-informed Libyan source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi has held a number of secret meetings with officials in the French and British governments, discussing the idea of his replacing his father for a transitional period of between 2 – 3 years, in return for a comprehensive ceasefire and negotiating with the anti-Gaddafi rebels.

The sources also revealed that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is pushing for assurances that Colonel Gaddafi and his family will be granted immunity from prosecution, and will not be legally punished in any manner.

The sources revealed that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s plan would see him take over control of Libya from his father during a transitional period during which Libya would transform from a revolutionary state to a democratic state that enjoys public and economic freedoms.

The rebel forces are gaining strength and momentum, moving westwards towards the center of Gaddafi’s support in Sirte, and the Libyan capital Tripoli. The rebels have recently captured the cities of Ajdabiyah, Brega, and Ras Lanuf, and Gaddafi’s aides are racing against time to prevent the inevitable toppling of the regime in the face of the rebels’ momentum.

Asharq Al-Awsat learnt that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, who has not appeared in public for almost a week, has been in contact with officials in the US, British, and Italian governments, in an attempt to submit the above-mentioned plan. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said that his country will present an alternative diplomatic plan to the British – French plan, on London on Tuesday.

The Italian Foreign Minister said that NATO will take control of the Libyan operation no latter than Monday, saying “NATO will take over Sunday or Monday.” He also revealed that he would be participating in a meeting of NATO members in London that is scheduled for Tuesday.

Frattini also revealed that he has spoken with Mahmoud Jibil, head of the Libyan National Transitional Council in Benghazi, who reassured him that the rebel council is committed to a united Libya, and will respect all of Libya’s oil contracts.

Sources within the National Transitional Council also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that what is happening on the ground with regards to the conflict between the Gaddafi forces and the rebels, cannot be resolved by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s plan [to replace his father], stressing that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is nothing more than an extension of his father.

An official within the Libyan National Transitional Council told Asharq Al-Awsat that “this is just a new political maneuver, and we will not participate with this in any way, shape, or form. If Gaddafi wants a solution, he must leave power immediately, otherwise he should wait for us; we are marching on him and will meet him on his home territory, whether in Sirte or Tripoli.”

Libyan Transitional Council spokesman Abdul Monem al-Houni told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Libyan rebels consider this proposal to replace Colonel Gaddafi with his son, Saif al-Islam, to be nothing more than an attempt to gain time and fool public opinion. He described this proposal as being nothing more than a test balloon being floated by Gaddafi, saying that in his opinion, Colonel Gaddafi has no intention of relinquishing power peacefully.

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http://www.aawsat.com/english/news.asp?section=2&id=24658
Arab regimes and the question of timing

27/03/2011
By Tariq Alhomayed

The extent with which mistakes are being repeated by some Arab regimes in their confrontation of the political earthquake that is striking the entire region from all direction is astonishing, regardless of the different manner that this [political earthquake] is affecting different regimes and peoples.

The greatest mistake that is being repeated by Arab regimes in dealing with this political earthquake is: killing [protestors], and not being aware of the importance of timing. In Egypt, Mubarak’s regime was continually three days late in its response to events, and I wrote an article entitled “Egypt…the time difference” [09/02/2011] commenting on this. The Mubarak regime was acceding to yesterday’s demands tomorrow, and so the protestors would continually say “this is not enough, time has run out on these demands.” The Mubarak regime acceded to all the protestors’ demands, but too late, and this ended with the Mubarak regime facing the grandest demand, for it to step down. Today we are seeing the same thing in Libya, although the Gaddafi regime is not three days late, but rather it is a regime that is out of time altogether, and its nature is to reject any and all rational solutions.

The other such situation is what is happening in Yemen, and in an interview with Al-Arabiya TV we heard the Yemeni President complain that whenever he puts forward an initiative, the opposition raises the ceiling of demands. This is only natural, because solutions always come late, for regimes always lag behind; this is because the regimes do not negotiate [directly] but rather attempt to haggle, as if they are buying or selling goods in a public market. The Yemeni president said that he would not extend his presidential term, he then said that he would leave office at the end of his current presidential term, he then said that he would leave office in January 2012. Following this, President Saleh said that he would be prepared to leave office in 60 days, and then he later told Al-Arabiya TV that he was prepared to leave office within hours so long as this occurred with dignity. The problem here is clear, which is that this is a problem of timing, for all of these proposals were good but were issued too late, not to mention that there is a genuine crisis of confidence, between the ruler and the ruled, not just in Yemen, but in many of our regional states!

We have also witnessed the same series of mistakes in Syria. In his famous interview with the Wall Street Journal – which occurred during the Egyptian revolution – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad commented on the relationship between the ruler and the ruled, stressing that Syria is not Egypt. In this interview, al-Assad said that it would be a mistake to make reforms under [public] pressure. However what happened in Syria is that Damascus rushed to offer one concession after another, under pressure from the demonstrations, contrary to what the Syrian president said to the US newspaper. After Damascus attempted to suppress the demonstrations, it offered its condolences, and began to talk about reform and releasing prisoners, so why did they delay in the first place?

Therefore, we are facing a series of mistakes being repeated, from regime’s ignoring the importance of timing to continuing the cycle of violence, killing protestors. The ideal solution here would be there, first and foremost, to be an end to the killing, with regimes putting forward a package of genuine solutions that go beyond the demands of the protestors or the opposition. This would ensure that the situation does not became further complicated, with countries slipping into a state of chaos and violence or civil war, ending with the ouster of the regime, which was something that was not initially one of the protestors demands. This is what happened in a number of Arab states, including Tunisia which is where the first spark was lit.

This is not advice to help regimes that are facing genuine trouble to survive, but rather this is an attempt to remind everybody of the reality of the situation in order to avoid further killing and destruction.

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