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Thread: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

  1. #61
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Oh yeah, this almost went right under the radar....

    Syria voted co-chairman of UN watchdog
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 9/18/7 | HERB KEINON

    Two weeks after Israel's alleged bombing raid in Syria, which some foreign reports said targeted North Korean nuclear material, the UN's nuclear watchdog elected Syria as deputy chairman of its General Conference on Monday.

    The 51st session of the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) opened in Vienna on Monday and will run through Friday.

    The Syrian news agency SANA proudly reported the election on Tuesday, adding that Syria was also successful in including "the Israeli nuclear arsenal as an item on the agenda of the conference."

    The agenda for the meeting includes the item "Israeli nuclear capabilities and threat." While Iran will be a focus of the discussions, there is no item on the agenda referring to the Islamic Republic by name.

    Israel's Foreign Ministry had "no public comment" on Syria's election.

    But Gerald Steinberg, chairman of Bar-Ilan University's political science department and an authority on nonproliferation, said the election "reflects the absurdity of the political process inside the IAEA."

    The deputy chairman has no real power and is merely a symbolic post, similar to a deputy president of the UN General Assembly or a deputy speaker of the Knesset, he said. However, Steinberg added, "this move shows how little these types of international frameworks can really do when some of the main players are also the main violators of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty."

    Steinberg said that both Iraq and Iran have held similar positions within the IAEA in the past. He also said there was no connection between the political level and the organization's technological branches under the directorship of Mohamed ElBaradei, which inspect nuclear facilities.

    The General Conference, made up of some 144 countries, is the least important of the IAEA's three main bodies. The other two bodies are the Board of Governors and the Secretariat.

    The General Conference meets annually to approve budgets and to discuss nuclear-related issues and IAEA policy.•
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  2. #62
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Folks the excrement is about to hit the impeller.....


    Israel Declares Gaza an 'Enemy Entity'
    Fox News ^ | 19 Sep 07 | AP

    JERUSALEM — Top Israeli Cabinet ministers declared the Gaza Strip an "enemy entity" on Wednesday, a move likely to cloud Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to the region on a peacemaking mission.

    The decision paved the way to cutting off vital supplies of electricity, water and fuel to the coastal territory.

    Rice arrived on Wednesday to mediate progress on key issues dividing Israel and the Palestinians before a U.S.-sponsored peace gathering.

    But even before she landed, Palestinian officials said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would ask her not to set a firm date for the peace conference until it is clear he and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert can agree upon a joint statement setting out their goals.

    "President Abbas will ask Rice tomorrow not to set a specific date for the conference until they see the possibilities of having an agreement with Israel," an official in Abbas' office said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because Abbas and Rice had not yet met.

    The conference tentatively is scheduled for Washington in November. Western powers have concluded Abbas has a freer hand to reach a final accord with Israel now that he has expelled Islamic Hamas militants from power after they seized control of the Gaza Strip in June. Abbas has set up a new government in the West Bank, headed by the U.S.-backed Salam Fayyad.

    (Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    China silently nuclearizing South Asia
    United Press International-Asia ^ | Sep. 17,2007 | M.D. NALAPAT

    Commentary: China silently nuclearizing South Asia MANIPAL, Sep. 17 M.D. NALAPAT

    Column: Future Present

    In 1999 this columnist put forward the theory of a "proxy nuclear state," a country that has had nuclear capability grafted onto it by an outside power. Thus far, China has developed two such states -- North Korea (to harry Japan) and Pakistan (to contain India). A third, Bangladesh, is well on the way, with Iran a likely candidate for a future in which tensions with the United States reach the 1950s level.

    China's warming strategic relationship with Russia has resulted in Moscow going along as the junior partner in what is shaping up to be a Sino-Russian partnership designed to constrain the United States, first in Asia and subsequently in Africa and South America.

    Although Beijing has been proliferating nuclear and missile technology since the 1980s, Washington has thus far contented itself with ritual expressions of concern, usually assuaged by yet another written or oral commitment from China to desist from actions that have lengthened the list of countries with access to military-use nuclear technologies. Indeed, investments in North Korea and Pakistan have paid off substantially for Beijing, diverting the attention of Japan and India to these states and away from China. As a bonus, the United States has stationed itself at the door of the arsonist, begging China's help to put out the very fire created by the presumed "solution."

    Myanmar has sent over 1,000 personnel for nuclear-related training in Russia, a flow accelerated by the May 15 Russo-Myanmar agreement to set up a Nuclear Research Center in Pyin-oo-Lwin and to provide a 10MW(t) light water research reactor in Ayela. Neither this nor the intensification of visits between North Korean and Myanmarese nuclear scientific and technical staff could have taken place without a nod from Beijing, which wields control over most members of the ruling junta in Yangon.

    Of those being trained in Russia, no fewer than 280 are full-fledged nuclear scientists, who are following in the path of their Pakistani counterparts in acquiring the capability to develop a nuclear device. In both Yangon and Mandalay "seismic centers" have been set up that are in effect operated by China, which may have uses other than earthquake forecasting.

    In next-door Bangladesh, already a jihadi haven, the Sino-Bangladesh nuclear cooperation agreement of April 2005 has opened the way for the training of hundreds of Bangladeshi technicians and nuclear scientists in China, several of whom are committed Wahabbis sympathetic to calls for an international jihad. As in Iran, the existence of substantial oil and gas deposits in Bangladesh makes developing the nuclear industry incomprehensible except for reasons other than energy security.

    Interestingly, while the U.S.-backed military junta in Dacca has thus far spurned Indian efforts at cooperation, several contracts have been signed with Chinese entities for developing hydrocarbon resources, including in the Rangmati and Bandarban areas. China is hoping to get India's consent to access Bangladesh once the Qinghai-Tibet rail line is extended to Kodari via Xigaze by 2012. It is therefore actively pursuing a charm offensive with political and media personalities in New Delhi, which includes emphatic denials of efforts to buttress local militaries unfriendly to India.

    Even while working on gifting Bangladesh and Myanmar with nuclear capabilities, China has been intensifying its nuclear and missile assistance to Pakistan. This has been met with near silence from the United States, which is instead giving priority to emasculating rival India's nuclear and missile program. Talks are under way on constructing four 300MW nuclear power plants in Pakistan, beside the ongoing work of expanding the second unit of the Chashma plant and the construction of a plutonium production reactor at Khushab. In addition, heavy water production there is being stepped up with Beijing's assistance.

    Chinese companies, including the China International Engineering Company, Southwest Aluminum Company and others, are active in supplying nuclear-class pipes, special metals and graphite to Pakistani entities. In particular, a new project for extracting plutonium from spent fuel rods is coming up with help from Pakistan's "all-weather" ally.

    As for launch vehicles, the latest installment of 30 so-called "Ghaznavi" missiles was received in February, beside help to the so-called "Shaheen" and "HATF" programs, all of which are based on Chinese technology. Even as the United States is repeatedly pointing at Iran, its own allies Pakistan and Bangladesh are hurtling toward nuclear strike capability, courtesy of China.

    --

    (Professor M.D. Nalapat is vice-chair of the Manipal Advanced Research Group, UNESCO Peace Chair, and professor of geopolitics at Manipal University.)
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Prepare for Iranian response
    Ynetnews.com ^ | 9/17/07 | Zaki Shalom

    Prepare for Iranian Response

    Past experience shows Iran likely to retaliate for Syria incident

    On February 16, 1992 Israeli gunships attacked a convoy traveling in south Lebanon that included Hizbullah secretary-general Abbas Musawi, his wife, six-year-old son, and several escorts. All of them were killed in the attack.

    The initial plan was to abduct Musawi in the framework of efforts to secure the release of Air Force navigator Ron Arad. However, it quickly became apparent that an abduction operation was impractical. Therefore, then Chief of Staff Ehud Barak decided to assassinate Musawi.

    Israel admitted it was behind the attack. Meanwhile, Musawi was quickly succeeded by a young cleric called Hassan Nasrallah.

    Iran, who views itself as Hizbullah's patron, could not have seen the IDF's operation as anything but a provocation and challenge. Therefore, so it seems, it decided to escalate matters, likely in consultation with its allies Syria and Hizbullah. On March 17, 1992, several weeks after Musawi's assassination, a serious terror attack targeted Israel's embassy in Argentina. A total of 29 people were killed and more than 240 were wounded.

    On May 21, 1994 an IDF force abducted Mustafa Dirani. Based on information available to Israel, he was the last person to hold Ron Arad as a captive in Lebanon, while heading a small terror organization connected to Iran called The Faithful Resistance.

    On June 2, 1994, Air Force jets attacked a Hizbullah training camp near the border with Syria. The strike took place while Shiites in major Lebanese cities, including Beirut, held large ceremonies to mark the Ashura holiday. Fifty terrorists reportedly killed in the bombing and dozens were wounded.

    Hizbullah's radio stations characterized the strike as "barbaric" and promised "a broad response on all levels."

    About two months later, on July 18 1994, a huge explosion devastated the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. A total of 86 people who were in the building or near it were killed as a result of the explosion and about 240 were wounded. A large part of the building collapsed and other buildings in the vicinity were seriously damaged. In this case too, all signs led to Iran.

    Iran's credibility put to the test

    We must recall those two incidents as we look into the operational activity undertaken by Israel in Syria last week. The nature of this activity is still shrouded in fog, yet it is clear that Air Force jets penetrated deep into Syrian airspace and executed an offensive act.

    This time, in contradiction to past experience, Israel's leadership displayed a more mature and sophisticated approach and refrained from claiming direct responsibility while avoiding enthusiastic statements. Yet it was difficult to hide the signs of glee and satisfaction among Israeli decision-makers. Up until now, Syria chose to refrain from an "appropriate" response to the IDF's operation.

    However, I am afraid that amid the "victory celebration" we tend to ignore the possibility of an Iranian response. While Syria may "cave in," sustain the insult, and move on, Iran will find it difficult to conduct itself in a similar manner.

    Past experience shows there is a high probability that Iran will not ignore this Israeli operation and will find a way to respond through an act that would not leave any doubt as to those behind it, even if in practice it would refrain from claiming responsibility.

    Iran's credibility as Syria's ally has been put to the test. Iranian leaders have made clear their obligation to defend Syria in case of an Israeli attack. Now, Iran will have to act on these declarations so that Tehran's alliance with Syria remains stable. Should Iran refrain from responding, Syria and perhaps Hizbullah as well would realize that Iran is an unreliable ally – Iran will likely do everything in its power so that it is not tainted by such image.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Alright, my turn.

    We have chemical weapons bombs exploding and killing their own people in Syria.

    Israel has taken out what might well have been a nuclear storage site of some sort. At this point, I'm betting there was a nuclear weapon sitting there.

    China is helping to "nuclearize" Asia.

    Russians are involved to their necks in selling weapons systems to Syria.

    Iran is involved up to their necks helping to set up the killing of Americans in Iraq.

    My personal opinion is very simple. US Congresspeople who want us out of Iraq are idiots, and in short, I think they are bordering on treason. We need to perhaps take a step back and re-evaluate Iraq, certainly, but by placing emphasis on where we're going next, and I think that is straight into Iran, with help from England and Israel.

    If anyone else sticks their nose in, nuclear weapons should be quickly and effectively involved.

    It's time to take out Iran's nuclear capabilities, and to shoot down North Korea, push Russia RIGHT back as they have been doing for the past few weeks, and settle this planet DOWN.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    'Dozens died in Syrian-Iranian chemical weapons experiment' (WMD Alert)
    Jerusalem Post ^ | Sept 18, 2007 | JPOST.COM STAFF

    Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in Jane's Defence Weekly, which reported that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

    According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.

    Reports of the accident were circulated at the time; however, no details were released by the Syrian government, and there were no hints of an Iranian connection.

    The report comes on the heels of criticism leveled by the Syrians at the United States, accusing it of spreading "false" claims of Syrian nuclear activity and cooperation with North Korea to excuse an alleged Israeli air incursion over the country this month.

    According to globalsecurity.org, Syria is not a signatory of either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), - an international agreement banning the production, stockpiling or use of chemical weapons - or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).

    Syria began developing chemical weapons in 1973, just before the Yom Kipper War. Globalsecurity.org cites the country as having one of the most advanced chemical weapons programs in the Middle East.
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  7. #67
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    I find it interesting that since Russia resumed it's bomber flights to test responses from other nations we've seen France and Germany begin to come around on Iran.... One wonders if maybe they know they'll need us to fight Russia for them in the future.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Baldwin View Post
    I find it interesting that since Russia resumed it's bomber flights to test responses from other nations we've seen France and Germany begin to come around on Iran.... One wonders if maybe they know they'll need us to fight Russia for them in the future.
    Yes.

    They do.

    Look, this is worse than the Cold War in some respects. At least then we only had a couple of countries that were nuclear-oriented and MIGHT use them, but were certainly NOT predisposed to do so.

    Now, we have seven verified countries with nukes. (Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, Russia, United States) ... one unacknowledged (Israel), two trying for sure (North Korea, Iran) and several more that have "given up" their weapons or attempts to obtain them (South Africa—Constructed but then voluntarily dismantled six uranium bombs. Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine—When Soviet Union broke up, these former states possessed nuclear warheads that they have since given up.)

    We have a real, hard and fast enemy of the West, Islamic Terrorists, and in my humble opinion, MOST of Islam is our enemy at this point -- Americans and others are simply failing to recognize this threat to Western civilization.

    Israel is on high alert, the Russians are meddling there, North Koreans, Iran and Syria are involved in some background evilness.... and they are causing Israel to be on alert.

    The US is embrolled in a war that our Leftists are saying we can't win (right up there with Stallinism those bastages) and we're caught in trying to do "diplomatic relations" with most of these lunatics.

    The Middle East has always been seen as the place where "The Big War" will start -- The REAL third world war will be fought with nuclear weapons from several sides, and we're liable to see this come to pass soon enough.

    I really can not emphasize enough for folks to be prepared for a complete and total breakdown in the Middle east, and then all out war to follow. There will most LIKELY be limited nuclear exchanges if Iran decides to jump off onto Israel because there are enough people in their armies to literally walk through Israel. THis will not be a "Seven Days" or "Six Days" war. This will be all-out survival.

    The United States must, necessarily get involved. If we do NOT, we are letting a close ally die.

    The US won't do that, and I have doubts we'd even do so, even IF Hillary were in office. It's NOT in the best interest of the United States by any stretch of the imagination.

    So... just as a rough guess here (and knowing that every time I do this, I turn out wrong, which is somewhat comforting to know!) ....

    I think Israel will suffer from something big, soon. They will retaliate -- or, Iran will retaliate for the recent Israeli incursion and kick something off.

    US will get involved.

    Russia will do something... perhaps to egg it on, sell more weapons, or even get involved militarily. China, who has recently been Paling around with Russia might decide to do some blockades on the US, which in turn will trigger nuclear hits on their ships.. and retaliation on ours, and perhaps some cities.

    Then... limited exchanges, several cities on several continents cease to exist.

    We are suddenly in an all out war for survival, destroyed cities, people fleeing the other big cities, and on and on.

    Economies tank, and we go into a draft. Then it becomes conventional for a good two or three years.

    That's what I'm seeing here.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Iran Draws Up Plans to Bomb Israel
    AP ^ | 09.19.07

    The deputy commander of Iran's air force said Wednesday that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if the Jewish state attacks Iran, according to the semi-official Fars news agency.


    (Excerpt) Read more at ap.google.com ...


    Full article here:

    Iranian: Retaliation if Israel Attacks

    By ALI AKBAR DAREINI – 34 minutes ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The deputy commander of Iran's air force said Wednesday that plans have been drawn up to bomb Israel if the Jewish state attacks Iran, according to the semiofficial Fars news agency.

    The announcement came amid rising tensions in the region, with the United States calling for a new round of U.N. sanctions against Iran over its disputed nuclear program and Israeli planes having recently overflown, and perhaps even attacked, Iranian ally Syria.

    On Sunday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said the international community should prepare for the possibility of war in the event that Iran obtains atomic weapons, although he later appeared to soften that statement.

    "We have drawn up a plan to strike back at Israel with our bombers if this regime (Israel) makes a silly mistake," Gen. Mohammad Alavi was quoted as telling Fars in an interview.

    Fars confirmed the quotes when contacted by The Associated Press, but would not provide a tape of the interview. The Iranian air force had no immediate comment.

    Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammed Najjar told the official IRNA news agency Wednesday that "we keep various options open to respond to threats. ... We will make use of them if required."

    Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards released a statement that the nation was ready for a military confrontation.

    "Iran, having passed through crises ... has prepared its people for a possible confrontation against any aggression," IRNA quoted the statement as saying.

    White House press secretary Dana Perino called Alavi's comment "unhelpful."

    "It is not constructive and it almost seems provocative," she said. "Israel doesn't seek a war with its neighbors. And we all are seeking, under the U.N. Security Council resolutions, for Iran to comply with its obligations."

    Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States is committed to diplomacy. But she said "it can't be business as usual" with a country whose president has spoken of wiping Israel off the map.

    For diplomacy to work, Rice said during a visit to Jerusalem, "it has to have both a way for Iran to pursue a peaceful resolution of this issue and it has to have teeth, and the U.N. Security Council and other measures are providing teeth."

    Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said, "Unfortunately we are all too accustomed to this kind of bellicose, extremist and hateful language coming from Iran."

    "We take the threat very seriously and so does the international community," he added.

    Iran has said in the past that Israel would be Iran's first retaliatory target if attacked by the United States, but Alavi's comments were the first word of specific contingency plans for striking back on Israel.

    Many in the region fear Israel could launch airstrikes on Iranian nuclear facilities to prevent it from building a nuclear weapon.

    Alavi also warned that Israel was within Iran's medium-range missiles and its fighter bombers, while maintaining that Israel was not strong enough to launch an aerial attack against Iran.

    "The whole territory of this regime is within the range of our missiles. Moreover, we can attack their territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack," the general said.

    An upgraded version of Iran's Shahab-3 missile has a range of 1,250 miles, capable of reaching Israel and carrying a nuclear warhead.

    Alavi said Iran's radar bases were monitoring activities at the country's borders around the clock and boasted that it had the capability to confront U.S. cruise missiles.

    "One of the issues the enemies make publicity about is their cruise missiles. Now, we possess the necessary systems to confront them," Alavi was quoted as saying.

    Iran's ambassador to Kuwait said in an interview with the Kuwaiti Al-Rai newspaper that U.S. bases in the Gulf would be targeted if the country was attacked.

    "Iran won't immediately strike U.S. bases in the region if it comes under a military strike. It will hit the base from which the strike against it came," Ali Jannati told the newspaper. "But I don't think the Gulf nations would allow that a strike be launched from their territory."

    Kuwait has a major U.S. base, which helps supply troops in Iraq. The U.S. 5th Fleet, which patrols the Gulf, is based in Bahrain, and the U.S. forces' Central Command is based in Qatar.

    A top Revolutionary Guards commander said this week that Americans could be found all around Iran and that they were legitimate Iranian targets if the U.S. takes military action. (THREAT OF KILLING AMERICANS HERE! - RD)


    "Today, the United States is within Iran's sight and all around our country, but it doesn't mean we have been encircled. They are encircled themselves and are within our range," Gen. Mohammed Hasan Kousehchi told IRNA, referring to U.S. units in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The enemy is on the right of us, and the left, in front and in back... we've got them right where we want them... -- RD)

    In Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns called for U.N. Security Council members and U.S. allies to help push for a third round of sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

    Burns said Washington was "pursuing peaceful diplomacy," and urged Iran to cooperate. However, he said the "responsibility lies with Iran to choose negotiations."

    "We are going ahead to try to sanction Iran again, and we hope very much to have the support of Russia and China and the other countries in the council for that," Burns said. "We have very strong support of France and Britain in this respect."

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday signaled Moscow's opposition to a third round of sanctions, and praised a recent agreement between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency aimed at resolving outstanding issues. (Russia, and China will continue to oppose sanctions, thereby enabling Iran to do whatever they want, and eventually the world community to come together to force World War Three -- RD)

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog agency, and the Security Council to settle the dispute, saying the United Nations wants a peaceful solution.

    Two U.N. resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran have failed to persuade the country to suspend uranium enrichment. Tehran insists the program is aimed at producing energy for civilian use but the U.S., its European allies and many others fear the program's real aim is to produce nuclear weapons.

    Burns said he would host a meeting Friday with the participation of permanent members of the Security Council "to look at the elements of a third resolution."

    Talks on a third U.N. resolution that would impose new sanctions on Iran were expected next week in New York, when world leaders attend the annual ministerial session of the U.N. General Assembly.

    "All countries should do their best ... to sanction Iran on their own according to their laws," Burns said.

    On Sunday, Kouchner said France had appealed to major companies such as oil giant Total and gas giant Gaz de France not to bid for projects in Iran. He also said France and Germany were preparing possible European Union economic sanctions against Tehran beyond existing U.N. measures.

    "The whole trend is away from commercial engagement and toward sanctions whether that's Security Council sanctions or individual sanctions," Burns said. He said U.S. allies and friends Turkey, Germany, Japan, South Korea and India should consider similar actions.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Osirak II?
    Israel's silence on Syria speaks volumes.

    BY BRET STEPHENS
    Tuesday, September 18, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

    In the late spring of 2002 the American press reported that Israel had armed its German-made submarines with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. In Israel, this was old news. It was also headline news.

    "Washington Post: Israeli subs have nuclear cruise missiles," was how the Jerusalem Post, of which I was then the editor, titled its story of June 16. It wasn't as if we didn't previously know that Israel had purchased and modified the German subs for purposes of strategic deterrence. Nor did we delight in circumlocutions. We simply needed the imprimatur of a foreign source to publish items that Israel's military censors (who operate as if the Internet doesn't exist) forbade us from reporting forthrightly.

    So it's more than a little telling that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz chose, in the wake of an Israeli Air Force raid on Syria on Sept. 6 dubbed "Operation Orchard," to give front-page billing to an op-ed by John Bolton that appeared in this newspaper Aug. 31. While the article dealt mainly with the six-party talks with North Korea, Mr. Bolton also noted that "both Iran and Syria have long cooperated with North Korea on ballistic missile programs, and the prospect of cooperation on nuclear matters is not far-fetched." He went on to wonder whether Pyongyang was using its Middle Eastern allies as safe havens for its nuclear goods while it went through a U.N. inspections process.

    How plausible is this scenario? The usual suspects in the nonproliferation crowd reject it as some kind of trumped-up neocon plot. Yet based on conversations with Israeli and U.S. sources, along with evidence both positive and negative (that is, what people aren't saying), it seems the likeliest suggested so far. That isn't to say, however, that plenty of gaps and question marks about the operation don't remain.

    What's beyond question is that something big went down on Sept. 6. Israeli sources had been telling me for months that their air force was intensively war-gaming attack scenarios against Syria; I assumed this was in anticipation of a second round of fighting with Hezbollah. On the morning of the raid, Israeli combat brigades in the northern Golan Heights went on high alert, reinforced by elite Maglan commando units. Most telling has been Israel's blanket censorship of the story--unprecedented in the experience of even the most veteran Israeli reporters--which has also been extended to its ordinarily hypertalkative politicians. In a country of open secrets, this is, for once, a closed one.

    The censorship helps dispose of at least one theory of the case. According to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Israel's target was a cache of Iranian weapons destined for Hezbollah. But if that were the case, Israel would have every reason to advertise Damascus's ongoing violations of Lebanese sovereignty, particularly on the eve of Lebanon's crucial presidential election. Following the January 2002 Karine-A incident--in which Israeli frogmen intercepted an Iranian weapons shipment bound for Gaza--the government of Ariel Sharon wasted no time inviting reporters to inspect the captured merchandise. Had Orchard had a similar target, with similar results, it's doubtful the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert--which badly needs to erase the blot of last year's failed war--could have resisted turning it into a propaganda coup.

    Something similar goes for another theory, this one from British journalist Peter Beaumont of the Observer, that the raid was in fact "a dry run for attack on Iran." Mr. Beaumont is much taken by a report that at least one of the Israeli bombers involved in the raid dropped its fuel tanks in a Turkish field near the Syrian border.

    Why Israel apparently chose to route its attack through Turkey is a nice question, given that it means a detour of more than 1,000 miles. Damascus claims the fuel tank was discarded after the planes came under Syrian anti-aircraft fire, which could be true. But if Israel is contemplating an attack on Tehran's nuclear installations--and it is--it makes no sense to advertise the "Turkish corridor" as its likely avenue of attack.

    As for the North Korean theory, evidence for it starts with Pyongyang. The raid, said one North Korean foreign ministry official quoted by China's Xinhua news agency, was "little short of wantonly violating the sovereignty of Syria and seriously harassing the regional peace and security." But who asked him, anyway? In August, the North Korean trade minister signed an agreement with Syria on "cooperation in trade and science and technology." Last week, Andrew Semmel, the acting counterproliferation chief at the State Department, confirmed that North Korean technicians of some kind were known to be in Syria, and that Syria was "on the U.S. nuclear watch list." And then there is yesterday's curious news that North Korea has abruptly suspended its participation in the six-party talks, for reasons undeclared.

    That still leaves the question of just what kind of transfers could have taken place. There has been some speculation regarding a Syrian plant in the city of Homs, built 20 years ago to extract uranium from phosphate (of which Syria has an ample supply). Yet Homs is 200 miles west of Dayr az Zawr, the city on the Euphrates reportedly closest to the site of the attack. More to the point, uranium extraction from phosphates is a commonplace activity (without it, phosphate is hazardous as fertilizer) and there is a vast gulf separating this kind of extraction from the enrichment process needed to turn uranium into something genuinely threatening.

    There is also a rumor--sourced to an unnamed expert in the Washington Post--that on Sept. 3 a North Korean ship delivered some kind of nuclear cargo to the Syrian port of Tartus, forcing the Israelis to act. That may well be accurate, though it squares awkwardly with the evidence that plans for Orchard were laid months ago.

    More questions will no doubt be raised about the operational details of the raid (some sources claim there were actually two raids, one of them diversionary), as well as fresh theories about what the Israelis were after and whether they got it. The only people that can provide real answers are in Jerusalem and Damascus, and for the most part they are preserving an abnormal silence. In the Middle East, that only happens when the interests of prudence and the demands of shame happen to coincide. Could we have just lived through a partial reprise of the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor? On current evidence, it is the least unlikely possibility.

    Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Russia and China warn against war with Iran
    telegraph uk ^ | 19/09/2007 | David Blair

    Posted on 09/19/2007 10:51:49 AM MDT by dennisw


    Russia and China warn against war with Iran


    By David Blair, Diplomatic Correspondent
    Last Updated: 3:02am BST 19/09/2007


    Russia and China have criticised France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner for talking of "war" with Teheran.
    Bernard Kouchner [left] was rebuked by Sergei Lavrov [right] over his hawkish Iran remarks
    After meeting his French counterpart in Moscow, Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, gave warning of the possible consequences of any military strike designed to disable Iran's nuclear programme.

    "We are convinced that no modern problem has a military solution, and that applies to the Iranian nuclear programme as well," said Mr Lavrov.

    "We are seriously concerned about increasingly frequent reports that military action against Iran is being seriously considered."

    Mr Lavrov added that Russia supported the recent agreement reached between Iran and nuclear inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.


    Earlier, China's foreign ministry also criticised Mr Kouchner for raising the possibility of war.


    "We believe the best option is to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations, which is in the common interests of the international community," said Jiang Yu, an official spokesman.


    "We do not approve of easily resorting to threatening use of force in international affairs."

    America is now pressing for another UN Resolution which would tighten economic sanctions on Iran.


    The trigger for this move was Teheran's continued enrichment of uranium, a process which could give Iran the essential material for a nuclear bomb.


    While Russia and China have already supported two earlier sanctions resolutions, both are signaling that their support for a third cannot be taken for granted.


    America is aiming to put a draft Resolution before the Security Council later this month.


    President Nicolas Sarkozy has toughened France's approach towards Teheran and the rhetoric from Paris is now almost as hawkish as anything emerging from Washington.


    Yesterday, Mr Kouchner called for tougher 'precise' sanctions against the Islamic Republic's nuclear programme.
    However, the French foreign minister also said that "everything should be done to avoid war."


    "War is the worst that could happen," he said. "Everything should be done to avoid war. We have to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate - without cease, without rebuff."


    The five permanent members of the Security Council are now divided between America, Britain and France, who all back tougher sanctions on Iran, and Russia and China, who are openly sceptical.


    If another sanctions resolution is passed, it may be a relatively weak measure imposing penalties on specific Iranian companies linked to the nuclear programme - not the economy as a whole.


    America has imposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.


    Urged on by Britain and France, the European Union may well do the same. At present, EU countries support trade with Iran with some £9 billion of export credits.


    These are likely to be restricted and European investment in Iran curtailed.


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    If there is ANY doubt.... China IS working to make things worse.

    China and India leading Asian missile buildup
    International Herald Tribune ^ | September 19, 2007 | Donald Greenlees

    China and India leading Asian missile buildup

    By Donald Greenlees

    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    HONG KONG: Two decades after developed nations agreed to halt the proliferation of strategic missile technology, China and India are leading the most significant modernization of nuclear-capable ballistic missile and cruise missile forces in Asia since the Cold War, according to arms control analysts.

    The growth in the sophistication and number of strategic missiles across the region in recent years, the analysts say, is underscoring the impotence of global missile nonproliferation initiatives and heightening the risk of missile and nuclear force competition between major powers.

    "We are on the cusp of a new level of strategic rivalry in the region," said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association, based in Washington. "India and Pakistan are about to move beyond short and intermediate missile range capabilities. China too is slowly exploring more advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles."

    The expansion of Asia's strategic missile might and the weakness of global antimissile initiatives were highlighted in mid-April when India tested its latest long-range ballistic missile design.

    On April 12, just a week before the Missile Technology Control Regime marked its 20th anniversary, India carried out the first test of a developmental missile, monitored by navy ships in the Bay of Bengal. With the test of the missile, the Agni III, Indian officials said they had confirmed a capability to deliver a nuclear or conventional warhead as far away as Beijing.

    While the Indian missile test generated a brief flurry of news reports around the world, the anniversary of the 1987 missile nonproliferation initiative, established by the Group of 7, passed days later with barely a mention.

    (Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Pope 'refused meeting with Rice'
    BBC News ^ | September 19, 2007



    Pope Benedict XVI refused a recent request by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss the Middle East and Iraq, Vatican sources say.


    The Pope refused a request for an audience during the August holidays.


    Senior Vatican sources told the BBC the Pope does not normally receive politicians on his annual holiday at the Castelgandolfo residence near Rome.


    But one leading Italian newspaper said it was an evident snub by the Vatican towards the Bush administration.


    Christian rights


    There are at least two reasons why Pope Benedict may have decided peremptorily against a private meeting with Ms Rice.


    First, it was Ms Rice who just before the outbreak of the Iraq war in March 2003 made it clear to a special papal envoy sent from Rome, Cardinal Pio Laghi, that the Bush administration was not interested in the views of the late Pope on the immorality of launching its planned military offensive.


    Secondly, the US has responded in a manner considered unacceptable at the Vatican to the protection of the rights of Iraqi Christians under the new Iraqi constitution.


    The Bush administration has told the Vatican that as coalition forces have not succeeded in securing the whole territory of Iraq, they are unable to protect non-Muslims.


    Instead of meeting the Pope, Ms Rice had to make do with a telephone conversation with the Vatican's number two, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who was visiting the US during August on other business.
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Rice tells nuke watchdog to butt out of Iran diplomacy



    From Elise Labott
    CNN


    SHANNON, Ireland (CNN) -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice cautioned the U.N. nuclear watchdog group Wednesday not to interfere with international diplomacy over Iran's alleged weapons program.
    Condoleezza Rice criticized the U.N. nuclear watchdog group Wednesday while en route to the Middle East.







    The International Atomic Energy Agency "is not in the business of diplomacy," Rice told reporters traveling with her to the Middle East.
    The IAEA's role should be limited to carrying out inspections and offering a "clear declaration and clear reporting on what the Iranians are doing; whether and when and if they are living up to the agreements they have signed," she said.


    Rice was referring to recent comments made by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, in which he criticized U.S. rhetoric about Iran.


    ElBaradei has called for less emphasis on additional U.N. sanctions against Iran in favor of enhanced cooperation between the IAEA and Tehran. Iran has agreed with IAEA requests to answer unresolved questions about its nuclear program.


    Iranian officials insist their nuclear program is aimed at producing civilian electric power, but the Bush administration accuses Tehran of working toward a nuclear weapon. President Bush has called the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable."


    Rice said the IAEA agreement with Iran was "a good thing," but "this wouldn't be the first time the Iranians made an agreement only to break it"
    She said the U.N. Security Council is working on a third resolution imposing additional sanctions against Iran for failing to suspend its uranium enrichment program.
    Don't Miss


    The elements of a possible resolution will be discussed in Washington on Friday at a meeting of the political directors of the "P5 plus one" -- Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: Britain, France, China, the United States and Russia.


    Those talks will continue next week in New York when Rice meets with her counterparts on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, she said.
    "The United Nations Security Council has in two resolutions set forth obligations that Iran must fulfill," Rice said. "It is not up to anybody to diminish or to begin to cut back on the obligations the Iranians have been ordered to take under Chapter Seven unanimous United Nations Security Council resolutions. "


    Rice insisted that Bush was committed to diplomacy, but has not taken any options off the table. She said the United States has confronted Iranian agents in Iraq when they are believed to be threatening American forces.


    She encouraged Iran to take advantage of international offers of economic incentives and improved Western relations in exchange for suspending its nuclear program.


    "We believe the diplomatic track can work," Rice said. "But has to work both with a set of incentives and a set of teeth."


    Separately, European Union members Britain, France and Germany have led Western powers in negotiations with Tehran. But French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner warned Sunday that Europe must prepare for war if Iran continues to flout international demands.


    The U.N. Security Council slapped sanctions on Iran in December after Tehran refused international demands to freeze its production of enriched uranium.


    It is not the first time the IAEA director has butted heads with Rice over Iran. ElBaradei has often criticized what he called "war mongering," only to be told by Rice to mind his business.


    ElBaradei and the IAEA won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 for efforts to stop nuclear proliferation. E-mail to a friend
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    And the US heard from on Russian radar....

    Russian radar in Azerbaijan is unacceptable, US missile defense chief says
    International Herald Tribune ^ | September 18, 2007 | Thom Shanker

    Russian radar in Azerbaijan is unacceptable, missile defense chief says

    By Thom Shanker Published: September 18, 2007

    WASHINGTON: American technical experts spent Tuesday inspecting a Russian radar station in Azerbaijan, but the director of the Pentagon's missile defense program emphatically stated that the Soviet-era early warning system was incapable of replacing an antimissile tracking radar proposed for the Czech Republic.

    The director of the Missile Defense Agency, Lieutenant General Henry Obering, pressed the Kremlin to drop its objections to American proposals for 10 antimissile interceptors in Poland and for a radar in the Czech Republic. In a speech here, the general urged Moscow to link its radar in Azerbaijan to the American system in Central Europe to assist collective security.

    The visit to Azerbaijan by a high-level delegation of missile experts was a response to a proposal from President Vladimir Putin of Russia that the United States drop plans for the new construction in Central Europe and to use instead the Russian radar in a system to defend against a future Iranian threat.

    "We are taking the Russian proposal seriously with respect to cooperation," Obering said to members of the European Institute in Washington. "So we are going to learn as much as we can about this."

    But he also said that "we do not anticipate, and cannot see, that what they are proposing can take the place for what we are proposing for Poland and the Czech Republic." Based on current assessments of the Russian system, it is "not capable of performing the functions" of the American radar proposed for the Czech Republic, he said.

    (Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
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  16. #76
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    From Stratfor.... and I just found this a few minutes ago, it is completely and utterly telling you in certain terms what I was saying, and informing us that finally people are waking up to the real Putin!

    Red October: Russia, Iran and Iraq
    September 17, 2007 1909 GMT


    By George Friedman

    The course of the war in Iraq appears to be set for the next year. Of the four options we laid out a few weeks ago, the Bush administration essentially has selected a course between the first and second options -- maintaining the current mission and force level or retaining the mission but gradually reducing the force. The mission -- creating a stable, pro-American government in Baghdad that can assume the role of ensuring security -- remains intact. The strategy is to use the maximum available force to provide security until the Iraqis can assume the burden. The force will be reduced by the 30,000 troops who were surged into Iraq, though because that level of force will be unavailable by spring, the reduction is not really a matter of choice. The remaining force is the maximum available, and it will be reduced as circumstances permit.

    Top U.S. commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus and others have made two broad arguments. First, while prior strategy indeed failed to make progress, a new strategy that combines aggressive security operations with recruiting political leaders on the subnational level -- the Sunni sheikhs in Anbar province, for example -- has had a positive impact, and could achieve the mission, given more time. Therefore, having spent treasure and blood to this point, it would be foolish for the United States not to pursue it for another year or two.

    The second argument addresses the consequence of withdrawal. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice summed it up in an interview with NBC News. "And I would note that President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad said if the United States leaves Iraq, Iran is prepared to fill the vacuum. That is what is at stake here," she said. We had suggested that the best way to contain Iran would be to cede Iraq and defend the Arabian Peninsula. One reason is that it would release troops for operations elsewhere in the world, if needed. The administration has chosen to try to keep Iraq -- any part of it -- out of Iranian hands. If successful, this obviously benefits the United States. If it fails, the United States can always choose a different option.

    Within the region, this seems a reasonable choice, assuming the political foundations in Washington can be maintained, foundations that so far appear to be holding. The Achilles' heel of the strategy is the fact that it includes the window of vulnerability that we discussed a few weeks ago. The strategy and mission outlined by Petraeus commits virtually all U.S. ground forces to Iraq, with Afghanistan and South Korea soaking up the rest. It leaves air and naval power available, but it does not allow the United States to deal with any other crisis that involves the significant threat of ground intervention. This has consequences.

    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki attended a meeting of the Iranian-Russian Joint Economic Commission in Moscow over the weekend. While in the Russian capital, Mottaki also met with Russian Atomic Energy Chief Sergei Kiriyenko to discuss Russian assistance in completing the Bushehr nuclear power plant. After the meeting, Mottaki said Russian officials had assured him of their commitment to complete the power plant. Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said, "With regards to the Bushehr power plant, we have reached good understanding with the Russians. In this understanding a timetable for providing nuclear fuel on time and inaugurating this power plant has been fixed." While the truth of Russian assurances is questionable -- Moscow has been mere weeks away from making Bushehr operational for the better part of the last three years, and is about as excited about a nuclear-armed Iran as is Washington -- the fact remains that Russian-Iranian cooperation continues to be substantial, and public.

    Mottaki also confirmed -- and this is significant -- that Russian President Vladimir Putin would visit Tehran on Oct. 16. The occasion is a meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral nations, a group that comprises Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. According to the Iranians, Putin agreed not only to attend the conference, but also to use the visit to confer with top Iranian leaders.


    This is about the last thing the United States wanted the Russians to do -- and therefore the first thing the Russians did. The Russians are quite pleased with the current situation in Iraq and Iran and do not want anything to upset it. From the Russian point of view, the Americans are tied down in an extended conflict that sucks up resources and strategic bandwidth in Washington. There is a similarity here with Vietnam. The more tied down U.S. forces were in Vietnam, the more opportunities the Soviets had. Nowadays, Russia's resources are much diminished compared with those of the Soviets -- while Russia has a much smaller range of interest. Moscow's primary goal is to regain a sphere of influence within the former Soviet Union. Whatever ambitions it may dream of, this is the starting point. The Russians see the Americans as trying to thwart their ambitions throughout their periphery, through support for anti-Russian elements via U.S. intelligence.

    If the United States plans to stay in Iraq until the end of the Bush presidency, then the United States badly needs something from the Russians -- that they not provide arms, particularly air-defense systems, to the Syrians and especially the Iranians. The Americans need the Russians not to provide fighter aircraft, modern command-and-control systems or any of the other war-making systems that the Russians have been developing. Above all else, they want the Russians not to provide the Iranians any nuclear-linked technology.

    Therefore, it is no accident that the Iranians claimed over the weekend that the Russians told them they would do precisely that. Obviously, the discussion was of a purely civilian nature, but the United States is aware that the Russians have advanced military nuclear technology and that the distinction between civilian and military is subtle. In short, Russia has signaled the Americans that it could very easily trigger their worst nightmare.

    The Iranians, fairly isolated in the world, are being warned even by the French that war is a real possibility. Obviously, then, they view the meetings with the Russians as being of enormous value. The Russians have no interest in seeing Iran devastated by the United States. They want Iran to do just what it is doing -- tying down U.S. forces in Iraq and providing a strategic quagmire for the Americans. And they are aware that they have technologies that would make an extended air campaign against Iran much more costly than it would be otherwise. Indeed, without a U.S. ground force capable of exploiting an air attack anyway, the Russians might be able to create a situation in which suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD, the first stage of a U.S. air campaign) would be costly, and in which the second phase -- battle against infrastructure -- could become a war of attrition. The United States might win, in the sense of ultimately having command of the air, but it could not force a regime change -- and it would pay a high price.

    It also should not be forgotten that the Russians have the second-largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The Russians very ostentatiously announced a few weeks ago that their Bear bombers were returning to constant patrol. This amused some in the U.S. military, who correctly regard the Bear as obsolete. They forget that the Russians never really had a bomber force designed for massive intercontinental delivery of nuclear devices. The announcement was a gesture -- and reminder that Russian ICBMs could easily be pointed at the United States.

    Russia obviously doesn't plan a nuclear exchange with the United States, although it likes forcing the Americans to consider the possibility. Nor do the Russians want the Iranians to gain nuclear weapons. What they do want is an extended conflict in Iraq, extended tension between Iran and the United States, and they wouldn't much mind if the United States went to war with Iran as well. The Russians would happily supply the Iranians with whatever weapons systems they could use in order to bleed the United States a bit more, as long as they are reasonably confident that those systems would not be pointed north any time soon.

    The Russians are just as prepared to let the United States have a free hand against Iran and not pose any challenges while U.S. forces are tied down in Iraq. But there is a price and it will be high. The Russians are aware that the window of opportunity is now and that they could create nightmarish problems for the United States. Therefore, the Russians will want the following:


    In the Caucasus, they want the United States to withdraw support for Georgia and force the Georgian government to reach an accommodation with Moscow. Given Armenian hostility to Turkey and closeness to Russia, this would allow the Russians to reclaim a sphere of influence in the Caucasus, leaving Azerbaijan as a buffer with Iran.

    In Ukraine and Belarus, the Russians will expect an end to all U.S. support to nongovernmental organizations agitating for a pro-Western course.

    In the Baltics, the Russians will expect the United States to curb anti-Russian sentiment and to explicitly limit the Baltics' role in NATO, excluding the presence of foreign troops, particularly Polish.

    Regarding Serbia, they want an end to any discussion of an independent Kosovo.

    The Russians also will want plans abandoned for an anti-ballistic-missile system that deploys missiles in Poland.

    In other words, the Russians will want the United States to get out of the former Soviet Union -- and stay out. Alternatively, the Russians are prepared, on Oct. 16, to reach agreements on nuclear exchange and weapons transfers that will include weapons that the Iranians can easily send into Iraq to kill U.S. troops. Should the United States initiate an air campaign prior to any of this taking effect, the Russians will increase the supply of weapons to Iran dramatically, using means it used effectively in Vietnam: shipping them in. If the United States strikes against Russian ships, the Russians will then be free to strike directly against Georgia or the Baltic states, countries that cannot defend themselves without American support, and countries that the United States is in no position to support.

    It is increasingly clear that Putin intends to reverse in practice, if not formally, the consequences of the fall of the Soviet Union. He does not expect at this point to move back into Central Europe or engage in a global competition with the United States. He knows that is impossible. But he also understands three things: First, his armed forces have improved dramatically since 2000. Second, the countries he is dealing with are no match for his forces as long as the United States stays out. Third, staying out or not really is not a choice for the United States. As long as it maintains this posture in Iraq, it is out.

    This is Putin's moment and he can exploit it in one of two ways: He can reach a quiet accommodation with the Americans, and leave the Iranians hanging. Conversely, he can align with the Iranians and place the United States in a far more complex situation than it otherwise would be in. He could achieve this by supporting Syria, arming militias in Lebanon or even causing significant problems in Afghanistan, where Russia retains a degree of influence in the North.

    The Russians are chess players and geopoliticians. In chess and geopolitics, the game is routine and then, suddenly, there is an opening. You seize the opening because you might never get another one. The United States is inherently more powerful than Russia, save at this particular moment. Because of a series of choices the United States has made, it is weaker in the places that matter to Russia. Russia will not be in this position in two or three years. It needs to act now.

    Therefore, Putin will go to Iran on Oct. 16 and will work to complete Iran's civilian nuclear project. What agreements he might reach with Iran could given the United States nightmares. If the United States takes out Iran's nuclear weapons, the Russians will sympathize and arm the Iranians even more intensely. If the Americans launch an extended air campaign, the Russians will happily increase the supply of weapons even more. Talk about carpet-bombing Iran is silly. It is a big country and the United States doesn't have that much carpet. The supplies would get through.

    Or the United States can quietly give Putin the sphere of influence he wants, letting down allies in the former Soviet Union, in return for which the Russians will let the Iranians stand alone against the Americans, not give arms to Middle Eastern countries, not ship Iran weapons that will wind up with militias in Iraq. In effect, Putin is giving the United States a month to let him know what it has in mind.

    It should not be forgotten that Iran retains an option that could upset Russian plans. Iran has no great trust of Russia, nor does it have a desire to be trapped between American power and Russian willingness to hold Iran's coat while it slugs things out with the Americans. At a certain point, sooner rather than later, the Iranians must examine whether they want to play the role of the Russian cape to the American bull. The option for the Iranians remains the same -- negotiate the future of Iraq with the Americans. If the United States is committed to remaining in Iraq, Iran can choose to undermine Washington, at the cost of increasing its own dependence on the Russians and the possibility of war with the Americans. Or it can choose to cut a deal with the Americans that gives it influence in Iraq without domination. Iran is delighted with Putin's visit. But that visit also gives it negotiating leverage with the Americans. This remains the wild card.

    Petraeus' area of operations is Iraq. He may well have crafted a viable plan for stabilizing Iraq over the next few years. But the price to be paid for that is not in Iraq or even in Iran. It is in leaving the door wide open in other areas of the world. We believe the Russians are about to walk through one of those doors. The question in the White House, therefore, must be: How much is Iraq worth? Is it worth recreating the geopolitical foundations of the Soviet Union?
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    My own opinion on the middle east and to a lesser extent the Mexican invasion currently ongoing is that Russia and China are doing everything to make little nicks in our defense and spread us thin. China wants to crush America and Russia wants Europe outright. The problem for Russia is that their close Ally, China, can not be trusted and may end up having to join forces with America to combat them. I used to really despise the draft but I know when the SHTF, there will be no other choice. But we're going to be drafting the nintendo generation of spoiled kids that have never been given a work ethic and that's a huge minus from the start.

    I think World War is a foregone conclusion at this juncture. I also believe we're much more heavily armed and tech driven than our enemies currently understand. My fear isn't that we lose in combat but rather here at home with the far left. They are a real life enemy we allowed into our hearths and now they have proliferated and infliltrated our very society to a dangerous degree.

    A good example of this was Rick's earlier post in the Announcements forum that basically showed our own people seriously considering allowing a very dangerous terrorist visit a site that to this day brings tears to the American people. Why? Ahmadinejad would have just gloated over the destruction wrought by his religious nuts that he helped train and finance. The New York Mayor had to be aware of this and yet he still considered allowing it.

    Next we have illegal aliens demanding we surrender our rights to them, Islam claiming we're evil if we don't allow them to spew hatred and terror, and the ACLU fighting every measure we set in place to combat terrorism. We see our soldiers being accused of murder even now after shooting a "most wanted" terroist dead. This shouldn't be possible since the directive from the Commander-in-Chief was to hunt them down and kill them.

    I don't like what I'm seeing and more and more I realise that our small group is representative of how few people really do understand what is coming. You can't win a military engagement no matter how well armed if your own people have invited the enemy into their homes. I pray we have enough time to wake enough Americans to make the diffrence when it all comes to a boil and the lid comes off.
    Brian Baldwin

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    It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

    It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    -Father Denis O'Brien of the United States Marine Corp.


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  18. #78
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Former Presus heard from....


    Carter: Iran No Threat to Israel Now (Riiiiiight)

    Breitbart ^ | 20 Sep 07 | Doug Gross




    ATLANTA (AP) - Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday that it was almost inconceivable that Iran would "commit suicide" by launching missiles at Israel. Speaking at Emory University, Carter, who brokered the 1979 Camp David peace accord between Israel and Egypt, said Israel's superior military power and distance from Iran likely are enough to discourage an actual attack.



    "Iran is quite distant from Israel," said Carter, 83. "I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind against the nation of Israel."



    Iran's deputy air force commander said Wednesday that Israel is within range of Iran's medium-range missiles and bombers and that Tehran would strike back if Israel "makes a silly mistake."



    The White House said the comments almost sound geared toward provoking a fight and Israeli officials said they take the threats seriously.



    Carter did not dismiss the idea that Iran might want to attack Israel, noting Iran's refusal to suspend uranium enrichment production despite two United Nations resolutions imposing sanctions on the country. Tehran insists its nuclear program is aimed at producing energy for civilian use but the U.S., its European allies and many others fear the program's real aim is to produce nuclear weapons.



    "Obviously, we all hope we can do whatever we can to keep Iran from becoming a nuclear power," Carter said.


    Carter said unease between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank is a far greater threat to Israel's security than Iran. He criticized the Bush administration for not doing enough to broker peace in the region.

    ___
    The Carter Center, http://www.cartercenter.org
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  19. #79
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Wow.....

    Netanyahu confirms IAF carried out raid in Syria

    Haaretz ^ | September 20, 2007 | Amir Oren

    In what appears to be the first confirmation by a senior politician of foreign media reports of an Israeli operation in Syria two weeks ago, opposition leader MK Benjamin Netanyahu told Channel One television last night that he was party to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's decision.


    In an interview with Channel One news anchor Haim Yavin, Netanyahu said that he was briefed on Olmert's decision to carry out an operation in Syria, gave him his backing and congratulated him.


    "When the prime minister takes action in important and necessary matters, and generally when the government is doing things for the security of Israel, I give it my endorsement," he said. "I was party to this matter, I must say, from the first minute and I gave it my backing, but it is still too early to discuss this subject."


    (Excerpt) Read more at haaretz.com ...
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    Default Re: Real Time Discussion thread - Many things

    Israel Ready To Cut Power To 'Hostile' Gaza
    The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 9-20-2007 | Thomas Harding

    Israel ready to cut power to 'hostile' Gaza

    By Tim Butcher
    Last Updated: 2:07am BST 20/09/2007



    Israel paved the way for cutting electricity, fuel and other supplies to the Gaza Strip yesterday when it formally declared the region "hostile territory".


    Condoleezza Rice and Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni


    The announcement was seen as a political gesture by Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister. He is under pressure to act robustly against the frequent rocket attacks launched from Gaza into Israel.


    But human rights groups accused Israel of threatening collective punishment against Gaza's 1.4 million Palestinian inhabitants.


    Last June, Israel bombed Gaza's only power station, plunging much of the area into darkness and leaving Palestinians to endure the summer heat without air conditioning or refrigerators.


    Afterwards, Israel denied that this amounted to collective punishment because a "state of conflict" existed with the Palestinian people.


    The latest declaration means that Israel reserves the right to sever fuel and power supplies to Gaza - although no date for the onset of any such blockade has been announced.


    The decision by Israel's security cabinet created a rare moment of unity between Hamas, the militant Islamist group controlling Gaza, and its secular rival, Fatah. Both condemned the move.


    "This oppressive decision will only strengthen the choking embargo," said a statement from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. Fatah officials said they would ask America to intervene and persuade Israel to reverse the decision.


    But on a visit to Jerusalem yesterday, Condoleezza Rice, the American secretary of state, showed no sign of being ready to consider any such request. Instead, she publicly endorsed Israel's description of Hamas as hostile. "Hamas is indeed a hostile entity. It is a hostile entity to the US as well," she said.


    She added that America would not "abandon the innocent Palestinians in Gaza". Her visit was intended to prepare for a Middle East peace conference which America plans to hold in November.


    • Pope Benedict XVI refused to see Condoleezza Rice when she requested a meeting in Rome, an Italian newspaper reported yesterday.


    Miss Rice had requested an appointment last month, but was told that the Pope was on holiday.


    The Vatican has frequently criticised America's policies in the Middle East.
    Libertatem Prius!


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