February 28, 2009

Dictator Watch - Feb 28, 2009

Keeping up with the Tyrants

Russia: Vladimir Putin

[Where's the Red October?]

Vladimir Putin has warned people that protesting the economic crisis, being felt quite steeply in Russia, that protesting is okay, but that it has to be orderly and within the law.

NOVO-OGARYOVA, Russia, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warned opposition critics on Friday not to use the economic crisis as an excuse to challenge his government and told them to abide by the law.

Unrest across Russia over economic upheaval has been muted, with the biggest protests so far taking place in the Far East port of Vladivostok where hundreds were arrested in January demonstrations over car tax.

Speaking at a meeting with leaders of Russia's dominant political party, United Russia, ahead of regional elections this weekend, Putin said that criticism of the Russian government during a crisis was allowed, but only within the laws.

Later in a veiled reference to countries like the Ukraine, he indicated he wouldn't allow protests like the ones that led to Democratic reforms in those countries to take place in Russia. In other words, don't get out of line or we'll stomp you. It's a kinder, gentler brutal regime.
Venezuela: Hugo Chavez

[It was love at first sight.]

This guy is just loopy. In a response to a State Department report that points out problems in Venezuela, ChinaView reports:

CARACAS, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Venezuelan government on Thursday rejected a U.S. report that denounced its human rights record.

The government in defense of the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people, strongly and firmly rejects the publishing by the U.S. Department of State of a report that pretends to evaluate the general condition of Venezuela's human rights," a statement said.

The U.S. report on human rights in Latin American countries was published on

Regarding Venezuela, the report pointed out "the widespread corruption, the harassment of the press and opposition, the polarization of the judicial system, and the violence against women and traffickers."

The Venezuelan statement said the country does not accept such practices of the U.S., adding that the U.S. has "the darkest record in disregarding and violating human dignity in contemporary history, yet still takes power without mandate and legitimacy to become judges of other countries."

The report was "fake and interfering," it said.

Hopefully that last line was just the result of bad interpreter - it's barely one step above 'liar, liar, pants on fire'.

North Korea: Kim Jong Il

[Still doesn't understand why Simon Cowell doesn't like him.]

The isolationist country has announced it's launching a rocket for a communications satellite. Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron? Why does an isolated country that likes to keep it's populace uniformed need a communications satellite? It's about test-firing ballistic missiles, and it's about ego.

North Korea's move comes with talks on an aid-for-disarmament deal - involving the US, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea - currently stalled.

Relations between the two Koreas are also tense following South President Lee Myung-bak's decision to link the provision of bilateral aid to progress on denuclearisation. Pyongyang has recently scrapped several peace agreements with

The mooted launch also follows speculation about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who is believed to have suffered a stroke in mid-2008. On a trip to Asia last week, the new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned North Korea against any rash moves, saying a test-launch would be "unhelpful".
Thanks Hillary. Way to be intimidating to a despot. It's a good thing you didn't go all out and say that it was "approaching the level of near-concerning".

Brace for hostilities in the region or a possible squeeze of more economic concessions. Probably the latter. If Gaza can get $900 million, just think what Jong Il can extract from a spendaholic administration in Washington.

Iran: Ahmadinejad

[Nice parade of an Iranian missile destroying a U.S. flag. Nothing says national pride like despising America]

Of course the focus is on the missile development and nuclear development issues with Iran, but right now this appears more troubling;

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Friday that his country sees no limit for its expansion of cooperation with Iraq, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Ahmadinejad made the remarks in his meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who arrived in Tehran late Thursday for a three-day visit to the neighboring Islamic republic.

"Expansion of cooperation among regional states in different sectors, economic domain in particular, is of prime importance regarding ongoing global conditions," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

"Quadrilateral cooperation among Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria is of extreme significance and is a basic pillar of sustainable security and promotion of fraternity," he added.

No mention of the United States. Presumably because they're pulling out and leaving a massive residual force that will dwindle to zero by 2011. President Obama is drawing down to please his base and get out of a 'war' (is it really still a war?) he never wanted the United States to be involved in. But the void left by the departure of American Forces, will undoubtedly be filled with regional interests attempting to take advantage of a still-weakened Iraq. Look at the countries mentioned - Syria, an Iranian puppet state, Iran, Iraq and Turkey - presumably asked to be at the table because of the Kurd issue. This does not bode well for the region, for Israel, for America, and for the renewal of terrorism fermentation.

Maybe Obama should re-think the exit strategy. I'm just saying...

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