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Thread: World War Three Thread....

  1. #201
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Quote Originally Posted by Backstop View Post


    Well now that will be interesting.

    Heh. No kidding. How do you militarily confront and send a message while everything remains "calm"?

    maybe they're developed a secret Xanax ammo.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Russia's Propaganda Warfare
    Western leaders face two fronts in their stand-off with Russia over its use of force to re-draw borders in Europe: one is the Russian army on the ground. The other is a propaganda war.

    So far, the West has failed to spell out a common response, to get Russia to end its occupation of large parts of Georgia and undo its recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    Meanwhile, Russia has unleashed a propaganda barrage against an "aggressive" Nato alliance, drawing sharp ripostes from western leaders.

    President Dmitry Medvedev, who came to office with overtures to the West, now warns of a "crushing response" to any other country that threatens the lives or dignity of Russian nationals. He is "not afraid of a new Cold War", he adds.

    Inconsistencies

    This war of words is not just a diversionary tactic.

    The statements of Russian leaders reveal an underlying strategy which suggests that the West is right to see dangers ahead from the actions of a belligerent Russia.

    But those same statements also show glaring inconsistencies which belie Russia's apparently strong hand.

    The Russians' strongest argument in defence of its armed intervention is that blame for the outbreak of a shooting war is shared.

    Most observers agree it is, and that Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili acted rashly or wrongly in ordering his army to bombard and take the South Ossetian capital Tskhinvali.

    He was wrong, too, to speak of Russia "exterminating" his nation.

    But in many other ways, Russia's defence of its armed intervention has been found wanting or false.

    Russia's official charges of "genocide" by Georgian forces against the South Ossetians were quickly discredited by Human Rights Watch.

    Broken Promises

    Moscow's South Ossetian allies still claim that nearly 1,700 people died in the Georgian assault but evidence has yet to be produced.

    Moscow's repeated promises to withdraw its forces as prescribed in the French-brokered ceasefire plan have been broken in many parts of Georgia.

    That is what prompted the European Union and Nato to accuse Moscow of breaking international law, and breaking its word.

    Mr Medvedev argued that Russia had been forced to use force to protect its own nationals in South Ossetia.

    But Russia has deliberately engineered that situation by handing out Russian passports to large numbers of local inhabitants.

    Sweden's normally soft-spoken Foreign Minister Carl Bildt retorted that Russia's resort to that argument echoed that of Hitler in annexing pre-World War Two Czechoslovakia.

    Finally, Russia's claim that its motive in Georgia was purely humanitarian was exploded by this week's decision to recognise the independence of the two breakaway regions.

    This catalogue of feints and deceptions has hardened international opinion towards Russia to the point where the West is undertaking an overall review of ties with Moscow - something scarcely imaginable only a month ago.

    The acute international alarm regarding Russia stems from the offensive part of its concerted campaign to send messages of varying degrees of threat to other countries.

    Strategic Target


    Dmitry Medvedev's hint that Russia might feel justified to intervene on behalf even of Russians living in other states brought a defiant show of solidarity from the leaders of Ukraine, Poland and the three Baltic states as well as Georgia.

    A senior Russian commander explicitly threatened Poland - saying it made itself "100%" into a Russian strategic target - after the Poles signed an agreement with the US to station American troops and missile defence shield interceptors on its soil.

    Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin castigated the western media for what he called their consistently anti-Russian reporting of the Georgia conflict.

    But in Europe's free and diverse media Russia's side of the story is regularly reported in detail, and views critical of the US over Iraq and Kosovo are commonplace.

    In Russia, by contrast, the most influential medium of TV is heavily slanted to favour the Kremlin's line.

    Catastrophic

    Russia's plea for understanding is undermined by its various punitive actions over recent years against nearly all of its neighbours to its west, from cutting the flow of gas to Ukraine to alleged cyber-attacks against Estonia.

    Russia does indeed have friends in the West who are inclined to take a lenient stance now - Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for one, who once put himself forward as Vladimir Putin's "defence lawyer".

    But the real international fallout from Georgia is proving little short of catastrophic for Russia.

    By its actions it has put at risk its privileged position within the G8, and earned the clear condemnation of Europe's two major international institutions devoted to building democracy and peace - the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

    A way out for Russia lies in the precise pledge made by Mr Medvedev when he became president of Russia only three months ago - that he would strive to make Russia a nation that truly respects the rule of law and international norms.

    Otherwise Russia could be undone by its own myths, and be isolated in the new Cold War that its leaders still say they do not seek.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Testing For A New 'Cold War' In Crimea
    The Russian military operation against Georgia and its recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia have led to concerns amounting at times to near panic about whether a new Cold War is under way.

    The Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that he does not want a new Cold War but is not afraid of one either.

    So is the conflict a turning-point heralding a new age of confrontation or just a limited Russian action to resolve two border disputes left over from the Soviet era?

    Or something in between, a sign of uncertainty on both sides which will mean tension but not the kind of ideological struggle and military stand-off that was the Cold War itself?

    New Test

    A good test of Russian intentions could come in Crimea, the territory jutting out in the Black Sea. It is part of Ukraine.

    The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said: "It's very dangerous. There are other objectives that one can suppose are the objectives of Russia, in particular Crimea, Ukraine and Moldova."

    The problem over Crimea is this. Crimea was handed over to Ukraine from the Russian Soviet Republic by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954. However ethnic Russians still make up the majority of its nearly 2 million inhabitants. It is also home to the Russian navy's Black Sea Fleet at Sevastopol, on which Russia has a lease until 2017.

    Sevastopol has resonance in Russian history, from the siege by the British and French in 1854-55. There have been small demonstrations there recently calling for Crimea to be returned to Russia. Valery Podyachy, head of the Sevastopol-Crimea-Russia Popular Front, said: "While Russia sent aid to flood-hit Ukrainian regions, Ukraine failed to help Russia to force Georgia to peace, and took an openly hostile stance."

    There is the potential therefore for trouble. If Russia started to agitate on behalf of its "brothers" in Crimea and argued that it must have Sevastopol (even though it is building another base), Crimea could provide certainly a test of Russian ambitions and possibly a flashpoint.

    Western Worries


    This fear of future Russian actions partly explains the Western worries. The British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has gone to Ukraine talking of forming "the widest possible coalition against Russian aggression in Georgia".

    Mr Miliband is positioning himself at the hawkish end of the Western response. He said in a speech in Kiev that events in Georgia had been a "rude awakening" and that a "hard-headed engagement" with Russia was needed. But he added: "The Russian President says he is not afraid of a new Cold War. We don't want one. He has a big responsibility not to start one."

    The US Vice President Dick Cheney is going to Georgia. Nato has met to declare that there can be no "business as usual" with Russia.

    People are looking up the principles laid down by US diplomat George Kennan after World War II that called for the "containment" of an aggressive Soviet union.

    The Other View

    There is another view, though, and this holds that while Russian intentions are not to be trusted, it cannot be wholly blamed for what happened in South Ossetia.

    The former British ambassador to Yugoslavia, Sir Ivor Roberts, said: "Moscow has acted brutally in Georgia. But when the United States and Britain backed the independence of Kosovo without UN approval, they paved the way for Russia's 'defence' of South Ossetia, and for the current Western humiliation.

    "What is sauce for the Kosovo goose is sauce for the South Ossetian gander."

    The Borders Issue

    Behind all this also lies the problem of European borders. During and after the Cold War, it was held (and still is) that borders, however unreasonable to the inhabitants, could not be changed without agreement.

    This has given governments a veto. Serbia tried to veto the break-up of Yugoslavia. Georgia has not allowed Abkhazia and South Ossetia to secede. Ukraine holds on to Crimea etc.

    The potential for a clash between the competing interests of local people and central governments is obvious.

    The fear that borders may unravel also helps explain why the Russian recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia has upset Western governments so much.

    Their problem, however, is that they offer no solutions to those disputes beyond best intentions and a status quo policed by peacekeepers, a status quo that can easily be upset.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Kremlin-Watchers Warn Of Direct U.S.-Russia Clash
    In the aftermath of last month's war between Russia and U.S.-backed Georgia, Kremlin-watchers in Moscow are worried that Russia and America are closer to direct confrontation than at any point since the end of the Cold War.

    The rhetoric coming from the Bush administration - and presidential hopeful John McCain - suggests that tensions are still on the rise.

    During the Cold War, "the sides were very careful of each other. They were careful not to come too close," said Alexander Pikayev, a prominent military analyst in Moscow who works for a government-funded research center. "The risk of direct military clashes is (now) much higher. ... This situation is much riskier than the Cold War."

    Both sympathizers and critics of Kremlin policy shared the assessment of a significantly heightened chance of conflict. They expressed hopes that cooler heads will prevail.

    Vice President Dick Cheney put a spotlight on the standoff during visits to Georgia and Ukraine last week, the countries at the core of the row between Washington and Moscow. He told Georgians on Thursday that the United States will continue to back the country's NATO application - which the Kremlin vehemently opposes - and said that Moscow's intervention "cast grave doubt on Russia's intentions and on its reliability as an international partner."

    Cheney traveled on Friday to Ukraine, which also is applying to NATO with strong U.S. support. There, he spoke of the "threat of tyranny, economic blackmail and military invasion or intimidation" from Russia.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the same day that it was up to America to decide whether disagreements would get worse.

    "We are not interested in bad relations with the United States," Lavrov told CNN. "It wouldn't be our choice, but if the United States does not want to cooperate with us on one or another issue, we cannot impose."

    At the Republican convention Thursday, McCain mentioned Russia just after al-Qaida and Iran.

    "Russia's leaders, rich with oil wealth and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power," McCain said in his nomination-acceptance speech. "As president, I will work to establish good relations with Russia so we need not fear a return of the Cold War," he said. "But we can't turn a blind eye to aggression and international lawlessness that threatens the peace and stability of the world and the security of the American people."

    Democratic contender Barack Obama promised to "renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can curb Russian aggression."

    Andrei Klimov, a Russian parliament member with the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, said he didn't think there would be fighting between the United States and Russia, but acknowledged that he's taken aback by how much more possible it seems now.

    "If you have a lot of people on the streets with pistols, it is very dangerous," said Klimov, the deputy of the foreign affairs committee in the Duma, the lower house of parliament.

    Russian analysts say there are three possible flash points, all centered on or around the Black Sea, once almost lakefront property for the Soviet empire. The sea borders three NATO members - Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania - and two applicants, Georgia and Ukraine. If the two applicants join the alliance, Russia's Black Sea coastline would be surrounded by NATO.

    "Now it looks like there is a certain red line that exists in the heads of Russian leadership and they are willing to do anything to stop it from being crossed," said Nikolai Petrov, a Moscow scholar in residence with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "And this red line is Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO."

    It's a crucial area for any attempts by Russia to reassert its power in former Soviet territory:

    -In Ukraine, the government of U.S.-backed President Viktor Yushchenko is splintering in a power struggle. If Yushchenko or his opponents use force, the country could split between pro-Western and pro-Russian factions, creating pressure for Washington and Moscow to take sides, if not become directly involved.

    -American warships are deploying in and near Georgian ports, carrying humanitarian aid. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has suggested that they're also bringing military aid to the defeated Georgian army. On Friday, the USS Mount Whitney, the command ship for the U.S. Navy's 6th Fleet, docked in Poti, Georgia, not far from Russian outposts on shore.

    -Russian warships have been sent to the coast of nearby Abkhazia, a breakaway province of Georgia now occupied by Russian troops and recognized as an independent state by Moscow. In the relatively close proximity in which the Russian and American ships operate there and elsewhere in the Black Sea, one misunderstanding could create an international incident.

    "We remember very well the Tonkin Gulf incident" in which untrue reports of North Vietnamese ships firing on U.S. ships started the Vietnam War, said Sergei Markov, a Duma member who's also with United Russia.

    Markov, who's close to the Kremlin, accused the Bush administration of playing "a very dirty and bloody game" in which it was intentionally provoking Russia to create the appearance of a new cold war to help McCain's hawkish presidential campaign and further U.S. attempts to hem in Russian power.

    Pavel Felgenhauer, a military analyst in Moscow who works with the U.S.-based Jamestown Foundation, agreed that relations between the countries were dangerously tense, but blamed the Kremlin.

    "Russia is probing the West, as it often did during the Cold War, (to see) how far is the West willing to go: What will happen if Russia continues to push?" Felgenhauer said. "There is a party of war within the ruling party. ... It seems that for now the hard-liners are winning."

    Aleksandr Dugin, a hard-line Russian theorist whose ideas about weakening American geopolitical standing are popular with many Kremlin leaders, said Russia was challenging U.S. domination and that confrontation may be unavoidable.

    Russia's move into Georgia was "an "irreversible decision that will mean in the future a serious, profound, irreversible confrontation with the United States. ... The stakes are so high that Moscow has placed all its (chips) on the table," he said.

    Dugin said he thought the strategy was a good one.

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Defense a Priority for Medvedev

    12 September 2008

    Modernization of the armed forces has become a top priority after the war with Georgia, President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.

    "We must now focus on re-equipping the armed forces," he told a Kremlin meeting of top defense officials. "We will do this consistently and meticulously."

    The Russian army crushed Georgia in a brief war last month after Tbilisi sent in troops to retake the Moscow-backed separatist province of South Ossetia.

    But Medvedev has said that the campaign revealed problems with the army's weapons and equipment, and he promised to handle the shortcomings.

    "There is no doubt that our decision [to re-equip the armed forces] has been influenced by the events in the Caucasus," he said. "They have made this task one of the top priorities for the next few years."

    Creating modern and powerful armed forces is viewed by the Kremlin as an important element of national revival, fuelled by several years of strong economic boom.

    Defense spending will be boosted 26 percent to a post-Soviet record next year as the military adds weapons and raises salaries, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said Thursday.

    Defense spending, including arms purchases and pay raises, will reach 1.28 trillion rubles ($50 billion) in 2008, Kudrin told lawmakers in Moscow. The increase was approved before the war with Georgia.

    Kudrin said the new weapons component of the budget will advance 30 percent, though he declined to give exact figures because that information is classified by the military.

    Andrei Frolov, a defense analyst at the Center for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said some of the extra funding could be spent on intelligence gathering and communication devices, "which Russia's armed forces had problems with during the war with Georgia.''

    But the "main focus will still be on the strategic forces," Frolov said.

    (Reuters, Bloomberg)

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    From Times Online
    September 11, 2008
    Putin tells Britain: relations can only improve when you remove dissidents


    (Alexey Druzhinin/EPA)
    Vladimir Putin said Britain provided a safe-haven for enemies of Russia
    Richard Beeston, Sochi
    Putin on Bush: the court makes the King
    Vladimir Putin today served notice to Britain that relations would never recover while London remained a base for anti-Russian dissent.
    Speaking to Western journalists and academics for three hours in this Black Sea resort, near the scene of last month’s war in Georgia, the Russian Prime Minister covered a wide range of foreign policy issues in typically blunt and confident style.
    His central message was that Russia did not want to engage the West in a new cold war but that it would react if provoked as it feels it was last month in the Caucasus where it judged that its interests were being threatened.
    Related Links

    The former president, who stepped aside earlier this year to make way for Dmitri Medvedev, still spoke and acted very much like a Russian head of state.
    True to his word he made a direct threat against Poland and the Czech Republic, warning them that Russian nuclear missiles would be targeted at the two states the moment they allowed US interceptor missiles to be deployed on their territory.
    His message to Britain was less apocalyptic but no less worrying for British officials who have been trying to repair damage caused to Anglo-Russian relations after the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB agent who was killed two years ago by assassins suspected to be working on Moscow’s orders.
    He said that he understood that UK asylum law protected the rights of anti-Putin fugitives such as Boris Berezovsky and the Chechen rebel leader Akhmad Zakayed. But he denounced Britain for allowing them to carry on their campaign on British soil.
    ”Why are you allowing the territory of Great Britain to fight Russia? Why do you allow Great Britain to be used as a launch pad?” he asked. “That is why it is not possible to build a normal relationship.”
    He compared the sanctuary given to Russian exiles to Russia allowing known IRA terrorists to use Russia as a safe haven to plan attacks.
    Much of his criticism was directed at the Bush administration, which he accused of training and arming the Georgian military and encouraging its leadership to launch last month’s assault on the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
    In response to the mobilisation of Georgian tanks and troops, he said: "Should we have wiped the bloody snot off our face and bowed our head? Should we have waved our penknives?"
    He insisted that far from using excessive force against Georgia Russia had shown restraint. He said that Russian tanks could have captured the Georgian capital Tbilisi in only four hours.
    Mr Putin, who has ruled Russia for the best part of the last decade, was at pains to describe Russia as a power on the global stage that wanted respect and its interests taken into account but did not want a confrontation with the richer, more powerful Western powers led by America.
    ”We do not have any imperial claims on anybody,” he said. He accused cold war warriors in the West of trying to revive the old contest between the Soviet Union and the West.
    ”There is no more Soviet threat but they want to resurrect it. Russia is no threat to the US or Europe,” he said.
    He warned America not to repeat the mistakes of the Roman Empire.
    ”A Roman politician began and ended every speech saying that Carthage had to be destroyed. Eventually Carthage was destroyed and the area around it assaulted, but the Roman Empire was eventually destroyed by the Barbarians. We have to look out for barbarians,” he said.
    The veteran Russian leader insisted that despite his dominant role in Russian politics most of his current preoccupation was focused on tackling Russia’s economic and social problems and that real power rested with President Medvedev.
    ”He had to give the orders in South Ossetia. He had to recognise the country’s independence. These were his decisions. Not a single tank, not a single trooper, not a tent would have moved from the Russian Federation [without his order]. Unless the Commander-in-Chief gives an order the army will not move,” said Mr Putin. “I never try to give him advice. I never bother him.”

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    The bear awakens
    By Dr Farrukh Saleem
    9/14/2008

    The US Army's III Corps is in Iraq. The 4th Infantry Division is at Camp Victory. The 3rd Infantry Division is in Baghdad. The 1st Armoured Division is in Tikrit.

    America's 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades have been fighting in Iraq. America's 25th Infantry Division and the 172nd Infantry Brigade have been engaged in Iraq.

    America's XVIII Airborne Corps, 1st Armoured Division and the 4th Infantry Division have also been occupied in Iraq.

    The 10th Aerospace Expeditionary Forces (AEF) and the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing are also busy fighting.

    The US Navy's aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has been supporting air operations in the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility (USS Theodore Roosevelt has since gone back to its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia).

    The carrier Strike Group USS Ronald Reagan is now in the northern Arabian Sea.

    While the war in Iraq goes on, the CIA's paramilitary teams, the US Army Special Forces, Navy Seals and the US Air Force's air commandos are all busy in Afghanistan.

    America's 173rd Airborne Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, 86th Combat Support Hospital, 24th Marine Expeditionary

    Unit and 101st Combat Aviation Brigade are all fighting the emboldened Taliban.

    To be certain, the Russian Federation, the largest country in the world that covers one-eighth of the world's land area, has been in hibernation since it splintered into Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Russia's 20-year hibernation made America the lone hegemonic global power.

    Over those 20 years, here's what America did to Russia: Three Soviet Baltic republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were inducted into NATO. Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Romania were also brought into NATO.

    In 1994, the former Soviet state of Georgia was coaxed into joining the NATO-run 'Partnership for Peace'. Israeili trainers, along with a hundred U.S. 'military advisers', began training the Georgian military. In 2003, the CIA displaced President Eduard Shevardnadze (in what is refered to as the 'Rose Revolution').

    In 2004, the CIA financed the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. In 2008, at the Bucharest Summit, Georgia was invited to join NATO. At the Caucasus, a mere thousand miles from Moscow, America has been stitiching a pro-America belt comprising Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. To top it all, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline was built to capture Caspian Sea's oil wealth away from Russian influence. Imagine; eight of the fifteen former Soviet states are now part of NATO.

    On 8 August 2008, the carnivoran Russian bear came out of its 20-year hibernation. Ten thousand Russian troops, tanks, armoured personnel carriers, towed artillery, truck-mounted rocket launchers of the 58th Army, 76th Air Assault Division, 98th Airborne Division, Russian Air Force's Sukhoi all-weather Su-24s, 25s, 27s, Tupolev Tu-22 supersonic bombers and the Russian Black Sea Fleet invaded Georgia in a lightning, efficiently executed campaign (Georgian army, navy and air force were completely destroyed).

    The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan crude oil pipeline is on fire. America, pinned down in Iraq and Afghanistan, is left with little to challenge a resurging Russia.

    The reality of a powerful, assertive Russia is dawning on Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The American foreign policy establishment has been caught napping.

    On September 1, Dmitry Medvedev, the 43-year old President of Russia, was at his presidential residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. President Medvedev told

    Russian television Channel One that "Russia will never yield to the world order where all decisions are taken by the United States exclusively; the world should be multipolar."

    What's next? Slovenia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania or the Black Sea? On August 26, the destroyer USS McFaul, carrying humanitarian aid supplies, docked at the

    Georgian Black Sea port of Poti. With most of their boots in Iraq and Afghanistan, all that American destroyers can now do is deliver humanitarian aid. Imagine; in another direct blow to America's foreign policy establishment, Azerbaijan has now shipped 200,000 barrels of oil to Iran.

    With $600 billion in reserves, Russia is 'resurging' and America is left with little to block that resurgence.

    On September 10, two Tupolev Tu-160s, Russia's supresonic, nucclear-capable, variable-geometry heavy bombers, landed in Venezuela, a mere thousand miles from Florida.

    In November, elements of Russia's Northern Fleet are going to be in the Carribean. The American foreign policy establishment has been caught sleeping!

    Postscript: Pakistan's foreign policy establishment was also shocked when the Indian army announced the completion of a road by virtue of which Afghanistan's Nimroz province now stands connected to the Iranian free-trade port of Charbahar. Landlocked Afghanistan will no longer be dependent on Pakistan.

    The writer is an Islamabad-based freelance columnist. Email: farrukh15@hotmail.com

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Putin Leads Russia's Return to the Middle East and the Arab Embrace.

    By Michael Widlanski
    1st part of 2
    * Russian President Vladimir Putin promised to support Egypt's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and insisted that his country sell advanced missiles to Syria, while continuing to aid the nuclear development of Iran, particularly the Russian-built, 1,000-megawatt, Bushehr nuclear reactor.
    * The real reason for Putin's visit and for Palestinian enthusiasm seems to be an attempt to restore previous Russian or Soviet policies. "The Soviets were always keen on the Middle East. The region was practically their backyard," said Reda Shehata, a former Egyptian ambassador to Russia.
    * With former Soviet Central Asia today dotted with American air force bases, Putin's best option is to skip over this tier of American influence and re-engage the Arab world. The Middle East is the natural area for Russia to be active, if Moscow is to regain some of the influence that the Soviet Union once enjoyed. However, past Russian diplomacy, aid, and weapons offers have sometimes spurred wars and arms races, not peace.
    * Abbas is not very different from the Ba'ath party officials in Syria who believe in a Russian counterweight to U.S. policies. Abbas did his advanced university training in Moscow, speaks fluent Russian, and once served as the PLO ambassador to the Soviet Union.
    * The chosen instrument that both Russia and the PA hope to employ to neutralize American power is the Quartet, where a united front of Russia, the EU, and the UN can be depended upon to offset the position of the U.S. After Putin met Abbas in Ramallah, he called for strengthening the role of the Quartet.
    * The renewed Russian drive for influence in the Middle East raises serious questions about the entire idea of relying on a multilateral Quartet for peacemaking. Given Putin's harsh critique of U.S. support for Middle Eastern democracy, how can he be a partner for President Bush in the Middle East? Why empower those who oppose you?
    Putin Visits Israel and the PA
    When Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Israel and Egypt in April, he offered to host a Middle East peace conference in Moscow and, in return, he offered the Arab/Islamic world several things. Putin made his bold offer even as he promised to support Egypt's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and while insisting that his country sell advanced missiles to Syria - missiles which Israel fears will alter the power balance in the region.1 He, in fact, came to Syria's defense, calling for conciliatory policies toward the regime in Damascus. Putin has also reasserted Russia's right to sell the Palestinians armored personnel carriers, while continuing to aid the nuclear development of Iran, particularly the Russian-built, 1,000-megawatt, Bushehr nuclear reactor - something which deeply concerns both the United States and Israel, which Iran has pledged to destroy.2 At the end of his visit to Israel, Putin placed some minimal caveats on his support for the Iranian nuclear program, insisting that Russia's "Iranian partners" put all their nuclear programs "under complete international control." But no cutback in Russian involvement in Iran's nuclear infrastructure was proposed.
    Israel and the United States both demurred on the Russian peace conference, while Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and the PA media immediately welcomed the Russian initiative warmly. Why was Putin so eager to invite, and why were the Palestinians so overjoyed to come?
    Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Abbas supplied a tentative answer in interviews with Palestinian radio and official PBC television, noting, first, that "this visit has great importance because it is the first time the president of the Russian republic has visited the region."3 Despite Abbas's initial analysis, however, this was not the real reason, although similar comments came from some Israeli officials who seemed overjoyed at the latest photo opportunity.4
    The real reason for Putin's visit and for Palestinian enthusiasm seems to be an attempt to restore previous Russian or Soviet policies. "The Soviets were always keen on the Middle East. The region was practically their backyard. Today the Russians, under Putin, are trying to regain their presence, if not influence, in the Middle East," said Reda Shehata, a former Egyptian ambassador to Russia.5 As one life-long student of Middle East politics wrote 30 years ago, "what the tsars seized, the commissars never gave up."6 Putin's visit was viewed as significant, as an official Egyptian newspaper noted, because it was the first visit of a Russian/Soviet head of state to Egypt since Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev attended the funeral of Gamal Abdel-Nasser in 1970.
    Russia Re-engages the Arab World
    Foreshadowing the Russian reentry into the Middle East, two days earlier Putin gave a state-of-the-Russian Federation speech in Moscow in which he enunciated a theme that is popular both on the Russian Left and the Russian Right: The fall of the Soviet Union was, according to Putin, "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century."7 In his nationally televised speech, Putin unabashedly and nostalgically returned to the Great Power themes that dominated the Communist era. As one observer remarked: "Putin, who served as a colonel in the KGB, has resurrected some communist symbols during his presidency, bringing back the music of the old Soviet anthem and the Soviet-style red banner as the military's flag."8
    With the extension of NATO to the Baltic states in the 1990s, the resurrection of Russia's Great Power status is not going to come through Eastern Europe. Even former Soviet Central Asia is today dotted with American air force bases. Like Khruschev in the late 1950s, Putin's best option is to skip over this tier of American influence and re-engage the Arab world. The Middle East is the natural area for Russia to be active, if Moscow is to regain some of the influence that the Soviet Union once enjoyed.
    This hasn't been lost on the Palestinians. When Abbas explained to a Palestinian radio and television audience more fully the importance of the Putin trip and the Putin invitation, he said, "This is especially so because we have historical relations with the Soviet Union which has become Russia, and because it is one of the Committee of Four Nations (the Quartet)."9 Why would Abbas hint at any sentimentality toward the Soviet Union?
    Arab diplomats with historically close ties to Moscow are hoping that Putin's entry into the Middle East can help offset what they view as American hegemony over the region. Tired of Washington's critique of their lack of democratic institutions and need for political reform, they have an interest in a counterweight to the U.S. that can help alleviate pressure to curtail corruption and open up their political systems. Putin picked up on this sensitivity during his Israel visit, declaring that it is the U.S. that is destabilizing the Middle East with its support for democratization of the Arab world: "with their policies the Americans are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt."10 Putin probably picked up this line of argument in Egypt, but it rang well with other Arabs including Palestinians.
    Abbas is not very different from the Ba'ath party officials in Syria who believe in a Russian counterweight to U.S. policies. After all, Abbas did his advanced university training in Moscow. He is part of a generation of Fatah leaders who share strategic, historical, and personal links with the old Soviet elites and even shared their goals. Abbas speaks fluent Russian and once served as the PLO ambassador to the Soviet Union.
    Michael Widlanski
    Last edited by Backstop; September 15th, 2008 at 22:47. Reason: Edited by Backstop - changed text color from black to white

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    vector7,

    I changed the text color of your post from black to white because the black was too difficult to read.

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    http://www.thehindu.com/2008/09/15/s...1555691400.htm

    U.S. hi-tech bombs for Israel could target Iran Atul Aneja

    DUBAI: The U.S. has decided to sell state-of the-art air delivered bombs to Israel that can destroy concrete underground bunkers and other fortifications.


    The U.S. Department of Defense announced on Friday that Washington would sell 1,000 units of Guided Bomb Unit-39 (GBU-39) to Israel. Unlike previous versions of “bunker busters” that Israel possesses, these bombs, with an equal explosive power, weigh only 113 kg, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.


    As they are lighter, aircraft can carry several of these bombs in a single sortie, thereby making each air raid more destructive than before.


    During demonstrations, a 23-kg warhead of the GBU-39 penetrated a 1.8-meter-thick reinforced concrete barrier, the daily said. Each unit of the bomb had a price tag ranging between $70,000 and $90,000. Analysts point out that the deal is bound to alarm Iran, which has apparently sheltered its nuclear facilities, such as the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, in deep concrete bunkers.There have been repeated references to a possible Israeli air strike against Iran in recent weeks.


    France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy said last week Israel could attack Iran if it persisted with its uranium enrichment programme. Iranian media has also drawn attention to reports about aborted Israel plans of using two airfields in Georgia to mount air raids into Iran. Meanwhile, warships from the U.S. have been leading a naval build up in the Gulf, facing Iran.
    I'm taking America back. Step 1: I'm taking my kids out of the public re-education system. They will no longer have liberal bias and lies like this from bullying teachers when I expect them to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic:
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    The Danger is Not Fully Appreciated

    by J. R. Nyquist

    Weekly Column Published: 09.12.2008

    http://www.financialsense.com/stormw.../analysis.html

    Since the end of the Second World War two countries have been referred to as “superpowers”: The United States and Soviet Russia. Since the Soviet Union broke apart, America was said to be the “lone superpower.” Moscow’s power had collapsed. Such was the West’s perception in late 1991. Seventeen years later the Cold War rears its ugly head, and many are caught off guard. The defeated Kremlin has put together a new anti-American bloc, including China and Venezuela. This has been long in the making, ignored by a culture of strategic denial in Washington.

    Using the presence of U.S. warships in the Black Sea as an excuse, Russia has landed two long-range strategic bombers in Venezuela. The country’s aspiring dictator, President Hugo Chavez, stated bluntly, “If the Russian Navy arrives in the Caribbean or the Atlantic it may certainly dock in Venezuela. We have no problems with that and would warmly welcome it. And if Russian long-range bombers should need to land in Venezuela we would not object to that either. We will also welcome them.”

    The main ambition of Hugo Chavez and his socialist bloc allies in Ecuador, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Brazil, is to bring the United States to its knees. Now, at long last, Russia is openly showing its willingness to send forces in support of the emerging anti-U.S. coalition in South America. This shows that the balance of power has not only been upset in Europe, where American allies are paralyzed by their dependence on Russian gas and oil, but has also been upset in Latin America where crypto-Communist regimes have emerged through a cultural process that promotes anti-Americanism.

    As they advance, the Russian leaders deny any hostile intentions. They deny that a new Cold War has begun. According to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Russia had to launch an incursion into Georgia. “In this situation,” he offered, “were we supposed to just wipe away bloody snot and hang our heads?” Putin further explained that he had “no wish or grounds to encroach on the sovereignty of former Soviet republics.” Of course, this statement is a bald-faced lie. Russian agents long ago infiltrated the political process in Ukraine, for example, and now conspire against Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko. According to Yushchenko, the Ukrainian prime minister is working with the Kremlin to remove him from office. “A political and constitutional coup d’etat has started in the parliament,” stated Yushchenko. “The Tymoshenko Bloc has accepted union with the Regions Party and the Communists. The basis of this formation is not Ukrainian, I underline not Ukrainian.”

    The Kremlin has also interfered in the politics of Moldova, stationing troops in the former Soviet republic, supporting a ridiculous breakaway region (like South Ossetia and Abkhazia) that only serves the purpose of encircling neighboring Ukraine. Despite these obvious imperialist moves, Putin declares that Russia has no imperial ambitions. “We do not have … any of the imperial ambitions that people try to accuse us of,” he told a meeting of officials and experts at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. “Russia was the initiator of the destruction of the Soviet Union. If it wasn’t for Russia, the USSR would still exist…. We do not have any desire or basis for infringing the sovereignty of former Soviet republics.”

    To correct the record, the collapse of the Soviet Union was engineered by the KGB. It was initiated by the Kremlin because the neo-Stalinist model was a failure, because the Kremlin wanted to put the West to sleep. The Soviet leaders also wanted cash investment and technology to renew their military capabilities. This is not hard to understand, though the West preferred to credit itself with victory. There was no victory, however. There was merely a transition from open enmity on the part of Moscow to pretended friendship. The Ukrainian people can see this. Victor Yushchenko openly announces it. President Mikhail Saakashvili also understands the process of Russia’s ongoing interference and manipulation within the former Soviet republics.

    The fact that Georgia broke away from its KGB structures has infuriated the Kremlin, causing it to activate its fighters in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, provoking a conflict that was used to excuse the massive armed incursion of last month.

    Putin nonetheless argues his position. “We don’t have any ideological differences, no basis for Cold War. On the contrary,” he protested, “we have a lot of common problems that we can only resolve together.”

    Perhaps he is referring to international terrorism, which was largely financed and developed into a global power by Moscow. Not only did the KGB invent airline hijacking, but the KGB trained an entire generation of Arab terrorists (including Yasser Arafat).

    And then there is the economic game, intended to push capitalism over the brink. It is not that Russia has caused the West’s economic problems. But Russia’s mastery of clandestine instruments provides a tool for pushing the West as it totters on a financial cliff. According to an Associated Press story, titled “Study Links Oil Prices to Investor Manipulation,” a curious coincidence emerges in the data. Analysis shows that a massive “stampede for the exits” in the oil market began on July 15. This date marks a turning point in Russia’s strategic direction, when the Russian president gathered all his country’s diplomats to a meeting in Moscow.

    A clever analyst has written to me on the subject of oil price manipulation: “What if the rise in oil was deliberately done in a coordinated attack? Using multiple business fronts, using foreign government monies, using lies about production levels to drive up the price to the bin Laden price of $144 to hurt the U.S. economy and sucker everyone into a long position in oil, then drop the bottom out of oil….”

    If you create a trend, the herd follows. This is well known. And the financial herd is no exception. Why was there a “massive stampede for the exits” on July 15? Who triggered it?

    Perhaps the United States is under financial attack. We know that the country is being encircled through maneuvers in Latin America. At the same time, the U.S. is being isolated from its European allies, financially hobbled by a combination of its own blunders and poorly understood market manipulations. There is continuity in Russian grand strategy, from the rise of Gorbachev to the incursion into Georgia. Russia’s hidden hand should not be underestimated. The advent of Boris Yeltsin was not a period of democracy and genuine liberalization. It was, instead, a period of deception and false promise.

    The strategic danger is not fully appreciated, even now.

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    Naval Blockade May Lead To War
    Gulf News ^ | September 19, 2008 | By Jumana Al Tamimi

    Dubai: A draft resolution calling for a naval blockade on Iran has been tabled in the US congress, in a move many analysts fear will be, if passed, a prelude to a military confrontation in the Gulf.

    Officials in Tehran, meanwhile, have recently made more than one rapprochement gesture towards both the US and Israel to decrease the possibilities of a military conflict in the strategic Gulf region, Iranian analysts said. The possibility of war seems less today than it did a month ago, they added.

    "If the US wants to implement the (draft) resolution, it would have to go for naval blockade," Tripta Parsi, head of the Washington-based National Iranian American Council, said.

    "And the naval blockade, according to the International Law, is an act of war. So, it is a way to start a war without doing it with missiles and other means the American public are sensitive to," Parsi added in an interview with Gulf News in reference to the tabled draft resolution number 362. So far, it has attracted the co-sponsorship of nearly half of the 430-member House of Representatives.

    The draft resolution calls on the President to stop all shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran. It also "demands" that the President impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran."

    The fate of the draft, which was introduced last May, is expected to be decided in the coming few weeks before Congress finishes its legislative session.

    Several legislators and some groups, including the Iranian-American Council, are lobbying to block it.

    Apart from the house draft resolution, a sister draft resolution number 580 has been proposed in the 100-member Senate and attracted 50 cosponsors.

    (Excerpt) Read more at gulfnews.com ...
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    It is time to act
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 9-19-08 | CAROLINE GLICK

    Iran is just a heartbeat away from the A-bomb.Last Friday the Daily Telegraph reported Teheran has surreptitiously removed a sufficient amount of uranium from its nuclear production facility in Isfahan to produce six nuclear bombs. Given Iran's already acknowledged uranium enrichment capabilities, the Telegraph's report indicates that the Islamic Republic is now in the late stages of assembling nuclear bombs.

    It would be a simple matter for Iran to assemble those bombs without anyone noticing. US spy satellites recently discovered what the US believes are covert nuclear facilities in Iran. The mullocracy has not disclosed these sites to the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency, which is charged with inspecting Iran's nuclear sites.

    As to the IAEA, this week it presented its latest report on Teheran's nuclear program to its board members in Vienna. The IAEA's report claimed that Iran has taken steps to enable its Shihab-3 ballistic missiles to carry nuclear warheads. With their range of 1,300 kilometers, Shihab-3 missiles are capable of reaching Israel and other countries throughout the region.

    In support of its swiftly progressing nuclear program, Iran has escalated both its conventional military and terroristic adventurism. It has also ratcheted up its diplomatic assault on the US. This week, Teheran conducted a countrywide air defense exercise. Gen. Khatim al-Anbiaa, the commander of Iran's Air Defense Corps, explained that the exercise was aimed at defending against both electronic jamming systems and actual bombing strikes.

    Also this week, Yahya Rahim Safavi, the former commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps and current senior adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei for security affairs, announced that Iran has shifted responsibility for naval warfare on the Persian Gulf from its regular naval forces to its more fanatical Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian navy will now be deployed only in the Gulf of Oman and along the Caspian Sea.

    The deployment of the Guards along the Persian Gulf means that the force will be responsible for naval operations in the narrow Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of global oil shipments travel. Issuing Iran's most explicit threat to US naval forces in the area and global oil shipments to date, Safavi declared, "The entire Strait of Hormuz is under the tight control of the Iranian security forces, which are ready to defend Iran against any threat."

    As for terror, al-Qaida boss Ayman Zawahiri's recent tirade against the Islamic Republic notwithstanding, Iran has apparently intensified its cooperation with al-Qaida. Over the past two weeks, Israeli counterterror officials have issued explicit warnings to Israeli vacationers to immediately depart from Sinai. They have stated that terror cells from al-Qaida and Hamas are working with Iran's Hizbullah to abduct groups of Israeli vacationers to Gaza. Moreover, as Hamas and Teheran have openly acknowledged their "brotherly" ties, more and more reports have been published about al-Qaida's escalating presence in Gaza.

    Beyond all this, both regionally and globally Iran is escalating its diplomatic and strategic offensive against the US. It has widened its diplomatic operations in the Western hemisphere from Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua to the Caribbean by opening diplomatic relations with Grenada and St. Vincent, and it is pursuing diplomatic ties with Jamaica.

    Teheran has initiated its own pro-Russian diplomatic initiative to "stabilize" the Caucasus. This week Iran's Foreign Minister Manoucher Mottaki caught the US State Department by surprise when he arrived in Tblisi to meet with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. That meeting was part of a regional tour that took Mouttaki to Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as Germany.

    Finally, of course, there is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's annual trip to New York for the UN's General Assembly opening session next week. Aside from being honored by leaders of the supposedly pacifist and clearly anti-Semitic Quaker and Mennonite churches, Ahmadinejad will be feted by newly elected General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann from Nicaragua.

    COUNTERING TEHERAN'S sprint to the nuclear finish line and its intensifying threats against Israel and the West are three Western initiatives to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    First, the US, France and Britain have stepped up their rhetoric calling for additional economic sanctions against Iran. During the General Assembly meeting in New York, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to meet her counterparts from the other permanent members of the Security Council and Germany to try to agree on such sanctions. But this will be an exercise in futility.

    Russia has made clear that it will reject any further sanctions. Indeed it is intensifying its military and financial ties to Teheran. Moscow has pledged to have the Bushehr nuclear plant up and running by the end of the year. And Iran is already suspected of diverting plutonium from the plant to develop still more nuclear weapons.

    Germany, too, has evinced no interest in curtailing its financial ties to Teheran. To the contrary, German trade with Iran expanded 12% in the last year, from $2.7 billion to $3b.

    So the US will fail to pass additional sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council. And this is a shame. But even if a miracle occurred and Russia, China and Germany agreed to adopt and enforce stiff sanctions against Iran, those sanctions would come too late to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

    The uranium that the Iranians took from their Isfahan plant will be weapons grade and attached to Shihab-3 missiles or transferred to Hizbullah, al-Qaida or Hamas terrorists for use long before such hypothetical sanctions would even be noticed.

    The second way that the West - and particularly the US and Israel - have sought to stymie Iran's nuclear ambitions is through sabotage. As Yediot Aharonot reporter Ronen Bergman documented in his book, The Secret War with Iran, over the past few years the Mossad and US intelligence agencies have had some success killing personnel involved in Iran's nuclear weapons program. They have also managed to sell faulty nuclear components to Teheran that have slowed down and sabotaged its operations. As the assassination of Iran's terror master Imad Mughniyah in Damascus in February demonstrated, Israel has the capacity to carry out sensitive covert operations deep inside enemy territory. And more successful covert operations could no doubt cause still more damage to Iran's nuclear program.

    But it is all but impossible to see how any such operations can prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons in the short term. With that uranium from Isfahan hidden away in one of its covert facilities, with terror operatives deployed all over the globe and in charge of Lebanon and Gaza, and with the Shihab-3 missiles happily accepting nuclear warheads, it is apparent that no matter how bold, limited covert operations have not and will not prevent Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.

    Finally, there are the private initiatives to use international law, capital markets and political pressure to deter Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to persuade states not to cultivate ties with Iran.

    A year ago, The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs began a push to indict Ahmadinejad as a war criminal for his breach of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. His calls for Israel's annihilation make him guilty of the explicit crime of inciting genocide. The JCPA's initiative has fomented similar calls by groups in Canada and Australia and, most recently, by tens of thousands of evangelical Christians.

    The Anti-Defamation League and AIPAC are waging public campaigns against European oil and gas companies that are involved in developing Iran's oil and gas fields.

    The Center for Security Policy in Washington spearheaded the initiative to divest US public employee pension funds from companies that do business with Iran and other state sponsors of terror.

    Several major American Jewish organizations are organizing a massive protest outside UN headquarters that will take place during Ahmadinejad's address to the body next Tuesday. Other groups, like the Israel Project, conduct intensive briefings for the media in the US and Europe to educate reporters and editors about the Iranian nuclear program.

    All of these private initiatives are vital for raising public awareness in the West about the lethality of the Iranian threat to Israel and to global security in general. They are also important for embarrassing governments - particularly Germany, Austria and other European governments with histories of anti-Semitic violence - that refuse to end their bilateral trade with Teheran. Beyond that, they serve the important goal of weakening the Iranian economy.

    But again, none of these programs can do a thing against that uranium for six bombs that Iran removed from its plant in Isfahan. They can't stop those centrifuges in Natanz and in covert facilities throughout Iran from buzzing along. They can't destroy those Shihab-3 missiles. They can't kill the scientists assembling the bombs.

    IN LIGHT of Iran's unrelenting and rapid progress toward the nuclear finish line, it is clear today that while positive in their own rights, none of the actions the West is taking will succeed in blocking its path to the atomic bomb.

    For that matter, the one option short of war that might have put an end to the mullahs' race to the bomb three years ago - namely supporting the Iranian people in their wish to overthrow their regime - cannot be adopted fast enough to prevent the likes of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad from pushing the button now.

    Today, there is only one way to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Israel must bomb Iran's nuclear installations. Such a strike will not end Iran's nuclear program. It will not overthrow the regime. It will not cripple Iran's economy. It will not end Iran's active support for international terrorist groups.

    All an Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities will do is set its nuclear program back for a couple of years. Such a strike will buy Israel and the rest of the world time. And during that time, Iran will no doubt expand its diplomatic, terror and political offensives against Israel and the US. But if Israel and the US are wise, they can use the time as well.

    If Israel and the US are wise, they will use the extra time to ratchet up international economic sanctions on Iran. They will use the time to conduct covert operations against nuclear and regime targets. They will use the time to increase international pressure on countries that do business with Iran and sell it arms. And they will use the time that an Israeli military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities will buy to support Iranian democracy movements and so weaken the regime and perhaps eventually topple it.

    It is clear today that the Bush administration will not take action against Iran. This week five former secretaries of state said that the US should pursue diplomatic ties with Teheran regardless of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons. There will be no will in Washington to act against Iran until after Iran has attacked Israel with nuclear weapons.

    So it is up to Israel. Too bad we don't have a government in Jerusalem.
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    'Russia may aid Iran to spite the US'
    JPOST ^ | Sep 7, 2008 9:53 | Updated Sep 7, 2008 9:58

    Russia may use nuclear aid to Iran as a method of responding to increased tensions between Moscow and Washington over the conflict in Georgia, the Sunday Times reported.

    According to the report, a source close to the Russian military told the paper that Moscow is furious over the form of continued US overtures to Georgia and the Ukraine. Since hostilities in Georgia ended two weeks ago, the United States has called for a NATO expansion which would include the two nations, has sent warships to the area to deliver emergency supplies, has promised huge sums of aid to help rebuild the country, and has sent US Vice President Dick Cheney to personally express Washington's firm support for its allies.
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    Cheney to Peres: Russia supplies weapons to terrorists
    haaretz ^ | Last update - 22:13 06/09/2008 | By Reuters and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

    U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Shimon Peres on the sidelines of the Ambrosetti forum on the edge of Italy's Lake Como on Saturday, telling the Israeli leader that Russia is selling arms to Damascus and Iran with the clear knowledge that they are being channeled to Hezbollah and terror groups in Iraq.

    The American vice president later reiterated these remarks in his address at the economic conference, saying that "Russian arms dealing in the Middle East has endangered the prospects for peace and freedom in the region." He added that the Russian leaders view democracy as a direct threat to their regime. Russia crossed a clear line when it invaded Georgia and attacked democracy and the rights of innocent civilians, Cheney said.

    (Excerpt) Read more at haaretz.com ...
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    The Coming War Might Be A Hot One Part Three

    When this friction or entropy principle is applied to the clash of major nations in war, the unavoidable lesson emerges that combatant nations have to be able to produce as many effective weapons systems as possible and get them to their combat armies in order to win.
    The United States and the Soviet Union both applied this principle with overwhelming success against Nazi Germany in World War II. In the 21st century, however, this fundamental principle of the need to mass-produce -- or retain the industrial potential to mass-produce -- as many weapons as simply as possible has been heavily eroded in the United States.
    by Martin Sieff
    Washington (UPI) Sep 19, 2008

    Small wars result in low casualties and negligible weapons attrition for the victor -- especially if it is a superpower.

    That was certainly the case in Russia's five days of military operations in the former Soviet republic of Georgia in the Caucasus from Aug. 8 to 12. According to Ilya Kramnik, the widely respected RIA Novosti military correspondent, the Russian army suffered only 71 killed and 19 missing and four aircraft destroyed, as well as no more than 10 to 15 Main Battle Tanks damaged or destroyed.

    While Georgian anti-air defenses supplied by the United States therefore proved effective to at least some degree, the level of resistance put up by the Georgian army was confirmed as negligible.

    However, long wars -- even if they are just large-scale counterinsurgency operations like the two Russian wars in Chechnya over the past 14 years or the struggle the U.S. armed forces have been waging in Iraq against Sunni Muslim insurgents since May 2003 -- use up a lot more equipment than policymakers usually expect, even if the actual casualties suffered in the campaign remain relatively low.

    Larger wars between major industrial powers, of course, destroy lots of weapons systems as well as lots of people. That is why major powers still need lots of soldiers and lots of relatively cheap, easily manufactured and easily replaced weapons systems.

    Carl Von Clausewitz, the greatest theoretician of modern war, warned nearly 200 years ago that one of the most defining characteristics of war was what he called "friction." The inevitable and unavoidable chaos of war means that the more large-scale operations are meticulously planned from beginning to end, the more likely they are to go wrong.

    The legendary 19th century physicist Lord Kelvin recognized this same principle of order inevitably decaying into disorder as one of the basic characteristics of the universe and enshrined it in his Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    The mythical Irish-American philosopher Murphy put it more succinctly in Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."

    When this friction or entropy principle is applied to the clash of major nations in war, the unavoidable lesson emerges that combatant nations have to be able to produce as many effective weapons systems as possible and get them to their combat armies in order to win. The United States and the Soviet Union both applied this principle with overwhelming success against Nazi Germany in World War II.

    In the 21st century, however, this fundamental principle of the need to mass-produce -- or retain the industrial potential to mass-produce -- as many weapons as simply as possible has been heavily eroded in the United States.

    The United States' industrial base is only a fraction of the size, variety and complexity it was 30 years ago. It was first eroded by competition from Japan, and over the past quarter-century it has been devastated by hundreds of billions of dollars of imports from the People's Republic of China. Both Japan and China retained very strong protectionist barriers, primarily by drastically artificially undervaluing their currencies, while successive U.S. governments -- Republican and Democrat alike -- refused to respond with similar or symmetrical measures.

    Second, the preponderance of high-tech specialist defense companies in the U.S. economy, with their concomitant influence on the political process, has led successive congresses -- once again of both parties, and of liberals and conservatives alike -- to prefer to pursue cutting-edge research and development rather than giving priority to maintaining a large, lower-tech industrial base that can mass-produce automatic weapons, light infantry vehicles and other equipment.

    Third, both political and military decision-makers far prefer to invest in the most expensive, ambitious, high-prestige items possible rather than the much smaller, humbler weapons systems that usually prove far more crucial in wars.

    These processes have applied, if anything, far more to the U.S. Air Force and Navy than to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. However, U.S. ground forces have suffered greatly over the nearly 17 years since the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

    The first Bush and Clinton administrations allowed investment in heavy land forces equipment to fall off because of the perceived "peace dividend" and lack of apparent major threats to challenge the United States around the world through the 1990s.

    http://www.spacewar.com/reports/The_...Three_999.html[/FONT]

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    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,426184,00.html

    Russia Sends Warships to Caribbean, a First Since Cold War

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008
    Russia flexed its muscles in America’s backyard Tuesday as it sent one of its largest warships to join military exercises in the Caribbean. The nuclear-powered flagship Peter the Great set off for Venezuela with the submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two support vessels in the first Russian naval mission in Latin America since the end of the Cold War.


    “The St Andrew flag, the flag of the Russian Navy, is confidently returning to the world oceans,” said Igor Dygalo, a spokesman for the Russian Navy. He declined to comment on Russian newspaper reports that nuclear submarines were also part of the expedition.


    The voyage to join the Venezuelan Navy for operations came only days after Russian strategic nuclear bombers made their first visit to the country. Hugo Chavez, the President, said then that the arrival of the strike force was a warning to the U.S. The anti-American Venezuelan leader is due to visit Russian President Dmitri Medvedev in Moscow this week as part of a tour that includes visits to Cuba and China.


    Peter the Great is armed with 20 nuclear cruise missiles and up to 500 surface-to-air missiles, making it one of the most formidable warships in the world. The Kremlin has courted Venezuela and Cuba as tensions with the West soared over the proposed U.S. missile shield in Eastern Europe and the Russian invasion of Georgia last month.


    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said recently that Russia should “restore its position in Cuba” — the nation where deployment of Soviet nuclear missiles in 1962 brought Russia and the United States to the brink of nuclear war.


    Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin made clear that Russia would challenge the U.S. for influence in Latin America after visits to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba last week. He said: “It would be wrong to talk about one nation having exclusive rights to this zone.”
    Click here to read more on this story from the London Times.
    I'm taking America back. Step 1: I'm taking my kids out of the public re-education system. They will no longer have liberal bias and lies like this from bullying teachers when I expect them to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic:
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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    America's Axis of Enemies Show a United Front in Face of World Economic Meltdown

    America's Axis of Enemies Show a United Front in Face of World Economic Meltdown
    for 24-Hours of Propaganda

    Venezuela

    Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's dictator, faces "re-election" in November.


    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed Thursday to make relations with Latin America a top foreign policy priority, a pledge backed by the first Russian naval deployment to the Caribbean since the Cold War.

    Putin greeted Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on his second trip to Russia in just over two months, with offers to discuss further arms sales to Venezuela and possibly helping it to develop nuclear energy.

    Chavez's visit takes place as a Russian naval squadron sails to Venezuela, a in a pointed response to what the Kremlin has cast as threatening U.S. encroachment near its own borders.

    The Kremlin dispatched its nuclear-powered warship Peter the Great and a submarine destroyer, Admiral Chabanenko, from the Arctic base of Severomorsk to Venezuela, across the Caribbean Sea, for military exercises in what is traditionally America’s backyard.

    Russia President Dmitry Medvedev said that the joint naval exercises between Russia and Venezuela would demonstrate “the strategic nature of our relations”.

    The Russian naval deployment follows a week long visit to Venezuela by a pair of Russian strategic bombers. On his Sunday TV and radio program, Chavez joked that he would be making his international tour aboard the "super-bombers that Medvedev loaned me.", and described their visit as a warning to the US.

    Both men suggested their countries are working to decrease U.S. global influence.

    Chavez said South America was growing in importance for Moscow.

    "Latin America is becoming a noticeable link in the chain of the multi-polar world that is forming," Putin said at his suburban residence at the start of his talks with Chavez. "We will pay more and more attention to this vector of our economic and foreign policy."

    Putin did not mention any specifics of potential Russian-Venezuelan military cooperation in his opening remarks, but Russian news reports said that Venezuela could buy Russian air defense missiles and more Sukhoi fighter jets.

    A Kremlin official who spoke on customary condition of anonymity said that Russia would grant Venezuela a $1 billion credit for the purchase of Russian weaponry in an effort to help Venezuela revamp its military forces.

    Chavez has already struck deals worth $4.4 billion since 2005 to buy jet fighters, tanks and 100,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. The two countries also edged closer in energy relations after Russia’s Gazprom and Venezuela’s state-run oil company struck a deal to create an “oil and gas consortium”.

    Russia's Kommersant daily reported that Venezuela was planning to purchase anti-aircraft systems, armoured personnel carriers and more combat aircraft.

    Venezuela is the ninth largest oil producer in the world and a major supplier to the US, while Russia is the second largest oil exporter and has a quarter of global gas reserves. Chavez said that the joint venture would be “the biggest oil consortium on the planet”.

    Russia also openly declared its ambition to rival the US in Latin America as Putin promised to sell nuclear technology to Venezuela.

    “We are ready to consider opportunities for cooperating on the use of atomic energy,” Putin told Chavez during talks in Moscow. Russia is aggressively promoting itself as a builder of nuclear power plants and supplier of fuel to nations seeking nuclear energy.

    Venezuela’s fiercely anti-American leader has long coveted his own nuclear energy programme, but insists that he has no desire to build an atomic bomb.

    The announcement of atomic assistance is certain to alarm Washington. Moscow has already angered the West by delivering enriched uranium to Iran for its Russian-built power station, amid fears that Tehran is secretly building a nuclear bomb.

    The countries have boosted ties in recent weeks following sharp US criticism of Russia's incursion into Georgia, with Moscow dispatching long-range bombers and warships to Venezuela for exercises near US waters. During that war, Washington angered Moscow by holding naval exercises near its Black Sea coast. And when the war ended, the United States used warships to deliver humanitarian aid to Georgia-- a conflict where Chavez was one of the few world leaders to support Moscow.
    Putin made the nuclear offer after Russia this week delayed talks with the United States and other powers on fears Iran is developing nuclear weapons, concerns critics say have been exacerbated by civilian nuclear technology provided by Moscow.

    Chavez, who addressed Putin as "my dear friend Vladimir," said that stronger ties with Russia would help build a multi-polar world—a term Russia and Venezuela use to describe their shared opposition to the perceived U.S. global domination.

    He lavished praise on Putin during his second visit to Russia in as many months. "I think that today more than ever before what you have said about a multi-polar world is becoming reality," Chavez told Putin. He said he brought greetings from Cuban leader Fidel Castro, another staunch U.S. enemy.


    Both men like Calamari, ironically.


    Both leaders have used criticism of the U.S. to boost their popularity at home and advance foreign policy objectives.

    Russia is the latest leg in a tour taking Chavez to a number of nations whose governments are eager to counter U.S. global clout. He stopped briefly in Cuba on his way to China, where he touted agreements to increase oil exports and purchase military jets.

    In an interview broadcast on Russian television before the visit, Chavez said that Venezuela and Latin America as a whole need "friends like Russia" to help them shed U.S. "domination" and ensure peace.

    Russia has ramped up its cooperation with Caracas further since last month's war with Georgia, which has badly damaged Moscow's already strained ties with the West and particularly the United States.

    Chavez has also talked about creating "a new strategic energy alliance" with between the oil-rich nations.

    After visiting Venezuela this month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin said five major Russian oil companies are looking to form a consortium to increase Latin American operations and to build a $6.5 billion refinery to process Venezuelan crude.
    Putin said that Russia's Gazprom state natural gas giant will launch its first drilling rig next month to tap Venezuela's offshore gas reserves.


    "F--k you America--I hate you!"


    Chavez made a his next punch at his arch foe the United States on Friday, saying Washington was unable to handle the financial crisis and wanted to use a worthless dollar to own the world.

    Chavez had just met French President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit that had most recently taken him to Russia. "The Americans harass us and attack us... (they) want to buy the world with paper that does not have any value," Chavez told reporters in the courtyard of the presidential palace. Washington expected to remedy the current crisis "by running the money printer, and I strongly doubt we'll be able to resolve the crisis that way," he said.

    An official from Sarkozy's office who spoke on condition of anonymity said the French president had urged Chavez to think ahead to the next U.S. administration and not give his adversaries a pretext to "caricaturize" him. The official added that France was eager to help Venezuela diversify its economy and was ready to transfer technology in the transport and energy sectors, as well as in defense to help fight illegal trafficking in the Caribbean.

    Chavez said the activities of French oil companies Total and Perenco came up in his talks with Sarkozy, as well as projects involving the auto industry and underground trains in Caracas.

    Further talks would be held at a meeting on October 2-3, he added.
    U.S. oil companies Exxon and ConocoPhillips quit Venezuela after Chavez launched nationalisation programmes last year, while Total and Norway's StatoilHydro reduced their holdings and received around $1 billion in compensation.

    Russia


    "I am going to rule the world."


    Russia is to build new space and missile defence shields and put its armed forces on permanent combat alert, President Medvedev announced last week.

    In a sharp escalation of military rhetoric, Medvedev ordered a wholesale renovation of Russia’s nuclear deterrence and told military chiefs to draw up plans to reorganise the armed forces by December.

    He said that Russia must modernise its nuclear defenses within eight years, including the creation of a “system of air and space defense”.


    When the Soviet Union fell, Putin's first dream was to become a Calvin Klein model


    The announcement puts Russia in a new arms race with the United States, which has infuriated the Kremlin by seeking to establish an anti-missile shield in eastern Europe. The US argues that the shield is aimed at rogue states such as Iran, but Russia is convinced that its own security is threatened.


    Putin, getting ready to invade your house.


    Medvedev told military commanders that “all combat formations must be upgraded to the permanent readiness category” by 2020. He added that Russia would begin “mass production of warships, primarily nuclear cruisers carrying cruise missiles and multi-purpose submarines”.
    “A guaranteed nuclear deterrent system for various military and political circumstances must be provided by 2020,” he said after attending military exercises in the southern Urals region of Orenburg.

    Tensions with the West have soared to new levels since Russia’s war with Georgia last month. Mr Medvedev told army chiefs that the conflict showed that “a war can flare up suddenly and can be absolutely real”.


    Putin has personally killed more people than you have ever had sex with.

    The military build-up was announced as Russia wages a struggle to prevent Georgia and Ukraine from entering NATO. The military alliance is due to consider fresh applications from the two former Soviet satellites in December.

    Iran
    Iranians chanted "Death to Israel" on Friday as Islamist students unveiled a book mocking the Holocaust in an Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day annual parade to show solidarity with the Palestinians.

    "I look forward to a world without the U.S.A and Israel."

    And in Gaza City, the Islamist Hamas movement that has ruled the impoverished Palestinian territory since June 2007 marked the day by calling for more suicide attacks on Israel.

    The book "Holocaust," published by members of Iran's Islamist Basij militia, features dozens of cartoons and sarcastic commentary.
    Education Minister Alireza Ali-Ahmadi attended the official launch of the book in Tehran's Palestine Square.

    The cover shows a Jew with a crooked nose and dressed in traditional garb drawing outlines of dead bodies on the ground.

    Inside, bearded Jews are shown leaving and re-entering a gas chamber with a counter that reads the number 5,999,999.


    You have a better than 50% shot at guessing which one is Admadinejad.

    Another illustration depicts Jewish prisoners entering a furnace in a Nazi extermination camp and leaving from the other side as gun-wielding "terrorists."

    Yet another shows a patient draped in an Israeli flag and on life support breathing Zyklon-B, the poisonous gas used in the extermination chambers.

    Iran does not recognise the Jewish state, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has attracted international condemnation by repeatedly predicting Israel is doomed to disappear and branding the Holocaust a "myth."


    Ahmadinejad, treating an Israeli Olypian to a nice walk.


    The commentary inside the book includes anti-Semitic stereotypes and revisionist arguments, casting doubt that the massacre of Jews took place and mocking Holocaust survivors who claimed reparations after World War II.

    One comment, in a question-and-answer format, reads: "How did the Germans emit gas into chambers while there were no holes on the ceiling?" Answer: "Shut up, you criminal anti-Semite. How dare you ask this question?"

    In 2006, the Islamic republic hosted a conference of Holocaust deniers and revisionists and a mass-circulation Iranian newspaper held a cartoon competition on the subject.

    On Friday, tens of thousands of Iranians marched in Tehran, chanting "Death to Israel," declaring solidarity with the Palestinians and calling for Jerusalem and Israel to be handed to the Palestinians.

    Demonstrators carried placards bearing slogans including "Israel will be destroyed, Palestine is Victorious" and "Holy war until victory," and they also torched American and Israeli flags.

    In Gaza, a Hamas parliamentarian called for more suicide attacks against Israel as thousands of Palestinians marched to mark Al-Quds Day.

    "We call on all the factions to undertake efforts to contain the enemy and halt its aggression by planning martyrdom operations," Ahmed Abu Helbiya told a crowd of more than 2,000 protesters.

    Friday's Iran protest follows a fresh verbal attack on Israel by Ahmadinejad.

    In an address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, he said "the Zionist regime is on a definite slope to collapse and there is no way for it to get out of the cesspool created by itself and its supporters."

    Quds Day was started by the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic republic, who called on the world's Muslims to show solidarity with Palestinians on the last Friday of the fasting month of Ramadan.

    The demonstration was held under an official slogan: "The Islamic world will not recognise the fake Zionist regime under any circumstances and believes that this cancerous tumour will one day be wiped off the face of the earth."


    "You know, you hug harder than Castro."

    Meanwhile, Russia and the United States have reached a deal to seek a new U.N. resolution on Iran.

    Ambassador John Sawers spoke before heading into a high-level meeting at U.N. headquarters of nations concerned with events in Pakistan.

    After the meeting, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the resolution will be introduced in the Security Council on Friday.

    Western diplomats said the resolution would reaffirm three rounds of earlier U.N. sanctions to make clear that the process has not been dropped and that the council wants Iran to comply.

    The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because details have not been made public.

    The United States, Britain and France have been pressing for a new round of sanctions to step up pressure against Iran for its continuing refusal to suspend uranium enrichment as a prelude to talks on its nuclear program. But Russia and China objected to new sanctions.

    The proposed new resolution appears to be a compromise—no new sanctions but a tough statement to Iran that Security Council resolutions are legally binding and must be carried out.

    Russia on Tuesday had scuttled high-level talks on imposing new sanctions on Iran that had been set for Thursday between the foreign ministers of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, the key players in seeking an agreement with Iran. Even sanctions opponent China had agreed to the meeting.

    U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, sought to downplay the move, saying the time wasn't right for the session. But they had previously said such a gathering would be useful and necessary to get a fourth Security Council sanctions resolution on Iran.
    Iran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful and designed to produce nuclear energy, but the U.S. and Europeans suspect Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Tehran needs the ability to produce nuclear fuel because it cannot rely on other nations to supply enriched uranium to the Islamic regime's planned reactors.

    Also, it recently became clear that Israel gave serious thought this spring to launching a military strike on Iran's nuclear sites but was told by President George W Bush that he would not support it and did not expect to revise that view for the rest of his presidency, senior European diplomatic sources have told the Guardian.

    The then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, used the occasion of Bush's trip to Israel for the 60th anniversary of the state's founding to raise the issue in a one-on-one meeting on May 14, the sources said. "He took it [the refusal of a US green light] as where they were at the moment, and that the US position was unlikely to change as long as Bush was in office", they added.

    The sources work for a European head of government who met the Israeli leader some time after the Bush visit. Their talks were so sensitive that no note-takers attended, but the European leader subsequently divulged to his officials the highly sensitive contents of what Olmert had told him of Bush's position.

    Bush's decision to refuse to offer any support for a strike on Iran appeared to be based on two factors, the sources said. One was US concern over Iran's likely retaliation, which would probably include a wave of attacks on US military and other personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on shipping in the Persian Gulf.

    The other was US anxiety that Israel would not succeed in disabling Iran's nuclear facilities in a single assault even with the use of dozens of aircraft. It could not mount a series of attacks over several days without risking full-scale war. So the benefits would not outweigh the costs.
    Iran has repeatedly said it would react with force to any attack. Some western government analysts believe this could include asking Lebanon's Shia movement Hizbollah to strike at the US.

    "It's over ten years since Hizbollah's last terror strike outside Israel, when it hit an Argentine-Israel association building in Buenos Aires [killing 85 people]", said one official. "There is a large Lebanese diaspora in Canada which must include some Hizbollah supporters. They could slip into the United States and take action".

    Even if Israel were to launch an attack on Iran without US approval its planes could not reach their targets without the US becoming aware of their flightpath and having time to ask them to abandon their mission.

    "The shortest route to Natanz lies across Iraq and the US has total control of Iraqi airspace", the official said. Natanz, about 100 miles north of Isfahan, is the site of an uranium enrichment plant.
    In this context Iran would be bound to assume Bush had approved it, even if the White House denied fore-knowledge, raising the prospect of an attack against the US. Several high-level Israeli officials have hinted over the last two years that Israel might strike Iran's nuclear facilities to prevent them being developed to provide sufficient weapons-grade uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has always denied having such plans.

    Olmert himself raised the possibility of an attack at a press conference during a visit to London last November, when he said sanctions were not enough to block Iran's nuclear programme.
    "Economic sanctions are effective. They have an important impact already, but they are not sufficient. So there should be more. Up to where? Up until Iran will stop its nuclear program," he said.

    The revelation that Olmert was not merely sabre-rattling to try to frighten Iran but considered the option seriously enough to discuss it with Bush shows how concerned Israeli officials had become.

    Bush's refusal to support an attack, and the strong suggestion he would not change his mind, is likely to end speculation that Washington might be preparing an "October surprise" before the US presidential election. Some analysts have argued that Bush would back an Israeli attack in an effort to help John McCain's campaign by creating an eve-of-poll security crisis.
    Others have said that in the case of an Obama victory, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, the main White House hawk, would want to cripple Iran's nuclear program in the dying weeks of Bush's term.

    During Saddam Hussein's rule in 1981, Israeli aircraft successfully destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak shortly before it was due to start operating.

    Last September they knocked out a buildings complex in northern Syria, which US officials later said had been a partly constructed nuclear reactor based on a North Korean design. Syria said the building was a military complex but had no links to a nuclear programme.

    In contrast, Iran's nuclear facilities, which are officially described as intended only for civilian purposes, are dispersed around the country and some are in fortified bunkers underground.
    In public, Bush gave no hint of his view that the military option had to be excluded. In a speech to the Knesset the following day he confined himself to telling Israel's parliament: "America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world's leading sponsor of terror to possess the world's deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.''

    Mark Regev, Olmert's spokesman, tonight reacted to the Guardian's story saying: "The need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is raised at every meeting between the prime minister and foreign leaders. Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to this issue but all options must remain on the table. Your unnamed European source attributed words to the prime minister that were not spoken in any working meeting with foreign guests".

    Three weeks after Bush's red light, on June 2, Israel mounted a massive air exercise covering several hundred miles in the eastern Mediterranean. It involved dozens of warplanes, including F-15s, F-16s and aerial refueling tankers.

    The size and scope of the exercise ensured that the US and other nations in the region saw it, said a US official, who estimated the distance was about the same as from Israel to Natanz.

    A few days later, Israel's deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, told the paper Yediot Ahronot: "If Iran continues its programme to develop nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The window of opportunity has closed. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear programme."

    The exercise and Mofaz's comments may have been designed to boost the Israeli government and military's own morale as well, perhaps, to persuade Bush to reconsider his veto. Last week Mofaz narrowly lost a primary within the ruling Kadima party to become Israel's next prime minister. Tzipi Livni, who won the contest, takes a less hawkish position.

    The US announced two weeks ago that it would sell Israel 1,000 bunker-busting bombs. The move was interpreted by some analysts as a consolation prize for Israel after Bush told Olmert of his opposition to an attack on Iran. But it could also enhance Israel's attack options in case the next US president revives the military option.

    The guided bomb unit-39 (GBU-39) has a penetration capacity equivalent to a one-tonne bomb. Israel already has some bunker-busters.



    God of War, Bruce Lemkin, has been frustrated by his inability to land Hugo Chavez as a customer.

    Germany
    The US will lose its role as a global financial “superpower” in the wake of the financial crisis, Peer Steinbrück, the German finance minister, said on Thursday, blaming Washington for failing to take the regulatory steps that might have averted the crisis.

    “The US will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system. This world will become multi*polar” with the emergence of stronger, better capitalised centres in Asia and Europe, Steinbrück told the German parliament. “The world will never be the same again.”


    Bruce Lemkin, God of War, displaying the "sales face" that has sealed over $32.4 Billion in Arms Deals this year alone.


    His were the most out*spoken comments by a senior European government figure since Wall Street fell into chaos two weeks ago.

    He later told journalists: “When we look back 10 years from now, we will see 2008 as a fundamental rupture. I am not saying the dollar will lose its reserve currency status, but it will become relative.”

    The minister, who has spearheaded German efforts to rein in financial markets in the past two years, attacked the US government for opposing stricter regulations even after the subprime crisis had broken out last summer.

    The US notion that markets should remain as free as possible from regulatory shackles “was as simplistic as it was dangerous”, he said.

    But Steinbrück had warm words for the US’s crisis management in the past fortnight, including the government’s planned $700bn rescue package for the financial sector. Washington, he said, had earned credit for acting not just in the US interest but also in the interest of other nations.

    Yet he repeated Germany’s refusal to mount a similar rescue operation using taxpayers’ money to acquire toxic assets. “This crisis originated in the US and is mainly hitting the US,” he said. In Europe and Germany, such a package would be “neither sensible nor *necessary”.

    The US, Steinbrück said, had failed in its oversight of investment banks, adding that the crisis was an indictment of the US two-tier banking system and its “weak, divided financial oversight”.

    He blamed Washington for refusing to consider proposals Berlin had made as it chaired the Group of Eight industrial nations last year. These proposals, he said, “elicited mockery at best or were seen as a typical example of Germans’ penchant for over-regulation”.

    His comments followed calls this week by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president and current holder of the European Union presidency, for an emergency G8 meeting on the crisis.

    Steinbrück’s proposals include a ban on “purely speculative short selling”; a crackdown on variable pay for bank managers, which had encouraged reckless risk-taking; a ban on banks securitising more than 80 per cent of the debt they hold; international standards making bank managers personally responsible for the consequences of their trades; and increased co-operation between European super*visors.

    Following a meeting with Christine Lagarde, his French counterpart, in Berlin, he said France and Germany would set up a working group of treasury, central bank and supervisory authority officials that would consider tougher regulation of short selling.

    http://fargoneworld.blogspot.com/200...s-to-show.html

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....

    Afghanistan mission is long term, Gates says

    By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
    Posted : Tuesday Sep 30, 2008 7:14:37 EDT

    www.armytimes.com

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that while the continued drawdown of U.S. troops in Iraq is inevitable, that will not result in a “one-for-one” increase of troop strength in neighboring Afghanistan — even though more troops than previously announced will likely be sent there to combat insurgents, train security forces and help develop the rugged, impoverished nation.

    The Bush administration has already announced that two new brigades will arrive in Afghanistan by February and three more will be ready, at the next president’s option, by the spring and summer.

    In a speech Monday to students at the National Defense University in Washington, Gates said the U.S. presence in Afghanistan is long term.

    “Given its terrain, poverty, neighborhood, and tragic history, Afghanistan, in many ways, poses an even more complex and difficult long-term challenge than Iraq, one that despite a large international effort will require a significant American military and economic commitment for some time,” Gates said.

    The continued reduction of troop strength in Iraq is such a sure thing, Gates said, that “about the only argument you hear now is about the pacing of the drawdown.”

    Even so, he added, regardless of who is elected president in November, “there will continue to be some kind of American advisory and counterterrorism effort in Iraq for years to come,” Gates said.

    Gates also said international economic and diplomatic pressure is probably the best course to continue pursuing with Iran, that Russia’s invasion of Georgia does not mean it wants to dominate the world and that China “is a competitor, not an adversary.”

    Iran, which U.S. officials say continues to develop uranium enrichment capability in a quest for nuclear weapons — charges that Iranian leaders deny — poses a particularly difficult foreign relations challenge because its leadership refuses to deal with the U.S.

    “The Iranian leadership has been consistently unyielding, over a very long period of time, in response to repeated overtures from the United States about having a different and better kind of relations,” Gates said. “And it seems to me that the effort that we are now engaged in, with our allies, with Russia and China, in terms of trying to bring pressure to bear on the Iranians and change their approach to the rest of the world, is probably the best way to go about this.”

    Gates, a former CIA chief with a doctorate in Russian studies, noted the images of Russian tanks and artillery barreling into neighboring Georgia that played on televisions around the world.

    But, he said, “Before we can begin re-arming for another Cold War, remember that what’s driving Russia is a desire to exorcise past humiliation and dominate their ‘near-abroad’ — not an ideologically driven campaign to dominate the globe.”

    He also said that while some paint China’s military and economic growth as a growing threat to the U.S., it is not.

    “China is a great power,” Gates said. “I don’t think China is an enemy. I think if we pursue the wrong policy, we could make them one. And I think that would be a serious mistake.”

    China’s military, Gates said, is not growing inordinately.

    “I think we have to be realistic about the military modernization programs that are going on in China,” Gates said. “And we have to be in a position to develop countermeasures to maintain both our technological and our strategic edge. But the reality is, the Chinese, as best I can tell from everything I’ve read, have learned well the lessons of the Soviet Union” — that “excessive military spending has significant economic consequences.”

    “The Chinese seem to be relatively content with a relatively modest number of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as an example. China is building up other military capabilities as well, such as its submarine fleet. But in the context of their economy, it is not a disproportionate amount of effort that they are promoting.”

    Despite the other challenges facing the U.S., Gates said success in Iraq and Afghanistan remain paramount.

    “To fail or to be seen to fail in either Iraq or Afghanistan would be a disastrous blow to our credibility both among our friends and allies and among potential adversaries,” he said.

    Gates wouldn’t bite, however, when the final questioner he called upon following his speech, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, asked about the Middle East wars with the election campaign in mind.

    Noting the differing positions of the two presidential candidates, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, on Iraq and Afghanistan, the officer asked: “Given the resource limitations and the risks involved, do you ultimately see much of a difference in their approach, regardless of which one takes office?”

    The crowd laughed at the politically loaded question. Gates paused, looked out over the filled-to-capacity auditorium, and replied, “Thank you very much.”

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    Default Re: World War Three Thread....


    Order allows U.S. military to attack Al Qaeda worldwide

    By Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti

    Monday, November 10, 2008

    WASHINGTON: The U.S. military since 2004 has used broad secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militant groups in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere, according to senior U.S. officials.

    These military raids, typically carried out by Special Operations forces, were authorized by a classified order that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld signed in the spring of 2004 at the direction of President George W. Bush, the officials said. The secret order gave the military new authority to attack Al Qaeda anywhere in the world, and a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.

    In 2006, for example, a U.S. Navy Seal team raided a compound in the Bajaur region of Pakistan that was suspected of being used by militants, according to a former top official of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    Officials watched the entire mission - captured by the video camera of a remotely piloted Predator aircraft - in real time in the CIA's Counterterrorist Center at the agency's headquarters in Virginia 7,000 miles, or 11,000 kilometers, away.

    Some of the military missions have been conducted in close coordination with the CIA, according to senior U.S. officials, who said that in others, like the Special Operations raid in Syria on Oct. 26 of this year, the military commandos acted in support of CIA-directed operations, senior U.S. officials said.

    But as many as a dozen additional operations have been canceled in the past four years, often to the dismay of military commanders, senior military officials said. They said senior administration officials had decided in these cases that the missions were too risky, were too diplomatically explosive or relied on evidence not sufficient to justify an attack.

    More than a half-dozen officials, including current and former military and intelligence officials as well as senior Bush administration policymakers, described details of the 2004 military order on the condition of anonymity because of its politically delicate nature. Spokesmen for the White House, the Defense Department and the military declined to comment.

    Apart from the 2006 raid into Pakistan, the U.S. officials refused to describe in detail what they said had been nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks, except to say they had been carried out in Syria, Pakistan and other countries. They made clear that there had been no raids into Iran using that authority, but they suggested that U.S. forces had carried out reconnaissance missions in Iran using different classified directives.

    According to a senior administration official, the authority was spelled out in a classified document called "al-Qaida Network Exord," or execute order, that streamlined the approval process for the military to act outside officially declared war zones. Whereas in the past the Pentagon needed to obtain approval for missions on a case-by-case basis, which could take days when there were only hours to act, the order specified a way for Pentagon planners to receive permission for a mission far more quickly, the official said.

    It also allowed senior officials to think through how the United States would respond if a mission went badly. "If that helicopter goes down in Syria en route to a target," the official said, "the American response would not have to be worked out on the fly."

    The 2004 order was a step marking the evolution of how the U.S. government sought to kill or capture Qaeda militants around the world. It was issued after the Bush administration had already granted U.S. intelligence agencies sweeping power to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in overseas prisons and to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and electronic communications.

    Shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Bush issued a classified order authorizing the CIA to kill or capture Qaeda militants around the world. By 2003, U.S. intelligence agencies and the military had developed a much deeper understanding of Al Qaeda's extensive global network, and Rumsfeld pressed hard to unleash the military's vast firepower against militants outside the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The 2004 order identifies 15 to 20 countries, including Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and several other Gulf states, where Qaeda militants were believed to be operating or to have sought sanctuary, a senior administration official said.

    Even with the order, each specific mission requires high-level government approval. Targets in Somalia, for instance, need at least the approval of the defense secretary, the administration official said, while targets in a handful of countries, including Pakistan and Syria, require presidential approval.

    The Pentagon has exercised its authority frequently in recent years, dispatching commandos to countries including Pakistan and Somalia. Details of a few of these strikes have previously been reported.

    For example, shortly after Ethiopian troops crossed into Somalia in late 2006 to dislodge an Islamist regime in Mogadishu, the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command quietly sent operatives and AC-130 gunships to an airstrip near the Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa. From there, members of a classified unit called Task Force 88 crossed repeatedly into Somalia to hunt senior members of a Qaeda cell believed to be responsible for the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

    At the time, U.S. officials said Special Operations troops were operating under a classified directive authorizing the military to kill or capture Qaeda operatives if failure to act quickly would mean the United States had lost a "fleeting opportunity" to neutralize the enemy.

    Occasionally, the officials said, Special Operations troops would land in Somalia to assess the results of airstrikes. On Jan. 7, 2007, an AC-130 struck an isolated fishing village near the Kenyan border, and within hours, U.S. commandos and Ethiopian troops were examining the rubble to determine whether any Qaeda operatives had been killed.

    But even with the authority, proposed Pentagon missions were sometimes scrubbed because of bad intelligence or bureaucratic entanglements, senior administration officials said.

    The details of one of those aborted operations, in early 2005, were reported by The New York Times last June. In that case, an operation to send a team of navy Seals and army Rangers into Pakistan to capture Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's top deputy, was aborted at the last minute.

    Zawahri was believed by intelligence officials to be attending a meeting in Bajaur, in Pakistani tribal areas, and the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command hastily formulated a plan to capture him. There were strong disagreements inside the Pentagon and the CIA about the quality of the intelligence, however, and some in the military expressed concern that the mission was unnecessarily risky.

    Porter Goss, the CIA director at the time, urged the military to carry out the mission, and some in the CIA even wanted to execute it without informing Ryan Crocker, then the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan. Rumsfeld ultimately refused to authorize the mission.

    Former military and intelligence officials said that Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal, who recently completed his tour as head of the Joint Special Operations Command, pressed for years to get commando missions into Pakistan approved. But the missions were frequently rejected because officials in Washington determined that the risks to U.S. troops and the alliance with Pakistan were too great.

    Captain John Kirby, a spokesman for McChrystal, who is now director of the military's Joint Staff, declined to comment.

    The recent raid into Syria was not the first time that Special Operations forces had operated in that country, according to a senior military official and an outside adviser to the Pentagon.

    Since the Iraq war began, the official and the outside adviser said, Special Operations forces have several times made cross-border raids aimed at militants and infrastructure aiding the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.
    The raid in late October, however, was much more significant than the previous raids, which helps explain why it drew a sharp protest from the Syrian government.

    Negotiations to hammer out the 2004 order took place over nearly a year and involved wrangling between the Pentagon, the CIA and the State Department about the military's proper role around the world, several administration officials said.

    U.S. officials said there had been debate over whether to include Iran in the 2004 order, but ultimately Iran was set aside, possibly to be dealt with under a separate authorization.

    Senior officials of the State Department and the CIA voiced fears that military commandos would encroach on their turf, conducting operations that historically the CIA had carried out, and running missions without an ambassador's knowledge or approval.

    Rumsfeld had pushed in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks to expand the mission of Special Operations troops to include intelligence gathering and counterterrorism operations in countries where U.S. commandos had not operated before.

    Bush administration officials have shown a determination to operate under an expansive definition of self-defense that provided a legal rationale for strikes on militant targets in sovereign nations without those countries' consent.

    Several officials said the negotiations over the 2004 order resulted in closer coordination between the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, and set a very high standard for the quality of intelligence necessary to gain approval for an attack.

    The 2004 order also provided a foundation for the orders that Bush approved in July allowing the military to conduct raids into the Pakistani tribal areas, including the Sept. 3 operation by Special Operations forces that killed about 20 militants, U.S. officials said.

    Administration officials said that Bush's approval had paved the way for Defense Secretary Robert Gates to sign an order - separate from the 2004 order - that specifically directed the military to plan a series of operations, in cooperation with the CIA, on the Qaeda network and other militant groups linked to it in Pakistan.

    Unlike the 2004 order, in which Special Operations commanders nominated targets for approval by senior government officials, the order in July was more of a top-down approach, directing the military to work with the CIA to find targets in the tribal areas, administration officials said. They said each target still needed to be approved by the group of Bush's top national security and foreign policy advisers, called the Principals Committee.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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