Archive for November, 2012

Iran May Quit Anti-Nuclear Arms Pact if Attacked: Envoy

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities may lead to it withdrawing from the Non-Proliferation TreatyIran may quit anti-nuclear arms pact (NPT), a pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear arms, a senior Iranian official said on Friday.

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also suggested Iran in such a case could kick out IAEA inspectors and install its uranium enrichment centrifuges in “more secure” places.

His comments may strengthen concerns among many Western nuclear experts that military action against Iran aimed at preventing it from developing nuclear weapons may backfire and only drive its entire nuclear program underground. Read more…


Senate Approves New Sanctions for Iran Energy, Shipping

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

The Senate on Friday resoundingly approved new sanctions on trade with Iran’s energy, port, shipping and ship-building sectors, its latest effort to ratchet up economic pressure onUS Senate Tehran over its nuclear program.

The new package builds on existing U.S. sanctions but keeps exemptions for countries that have made significant cuts to their purchases of Iranian crude oil. Senators voted 94-0 to make the new sanctions part of an annual defense policy bill.

Iran’s currency has plunged this year as its oil exports were slashed by U.S. and European sanctions aimed at pressuring the country’s leadership to stop pursuing nuclear weapons.

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. The United Nations’ nuclear chief said on Thursday his agency has made no progress in its year-long push to investigate whether Iran has worked on developing an atomic bomb. Read more…

US Issues IAEA Ultimatum for Iran in March

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

The US is demanding that Iran “start cooperating” with the IAEA by March, threatening unspecified UN Security Council moves if they are not satisfied with the progress.iran-1

Its going to be difficult for Iran to even hypothetically satisfy either the IAEA or the United States, as the IAEA has repeatedly reaffirmed that Iran’s nuclear program is 100% civilian in nature.

That’s not the problem, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Rather, the problem is that the IAEA says that it hasn’t been able to 100% confirm that there isn’t some hypothetical second nuclear program operational in Iran that they simply have no documentation for.

That’s a virtually insurmountable problem, because Iran’s repeated Read more…

Afghan Girl Has Throat Cut Over Refused Marriage Proposal

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

In another disturbing attack in Afghanistan, two men have been arrested after allegedly cutting the throat of a 15-year-old girl and killing her after her father refused a marriage proposal.

The Guardian reports the girl, Nishina, was allegedly attacked in Kunduz province as she returned home from fetching water.

“A guy by the name of Mohammad Sadeq, he is her cousin, he had proposed to her on his brother’s behalf, but Nishina and her family refused the proposal,” police spokesman Sayed Sawar Hosseini said.

The suspects then allegedly returned two days later and “slit her throat with a knife,” Hosseini told Agence France Presse. Read more…

Pakistan’s Balochistan Problem: An Insurgency’s Rebirth

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Early in 2012, a small group of US congressmen looking for alternatives to the Obama administration’s AfPak policy made recommendations for two changes in the region. The first, that instead of fantasizing about incorporating the Taliban into the Afghan political system the United States ought to rearm the Northern Alliance, had been discussed previously. The second recommendation was more novel and controversial: instead of trying to normalize relations with Pakistan’s corrupt government and hostile military, the US ought to support the creation of a separate state of Balochistan in the southern part of Pakistan. US Representatives Dana Rohrabacher, Louie Gohmert, and Steve King went so far as to introduce a bill stating that the “Baloch nation” had a historic right to self-determination and called for Congress to recognize Baloch independence. Read more…

Atheists and Islam, No God, not Even Allah

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Ex-Muslim atheists are becoming more outspoken, but tolerance is still rare

A MOB attacked Alexander Aan even before an Indonesian court in June jailed him for two and a half years for “inciting religious hatred”. His crime was to write “God does not exist” on a Facebook group he had founded for atheists in Minang, a province of the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Like most non-believers in Islamic regions, he was brought up as a Muslim. And like many who profess godlessness openly, he has been punished.

In a handful of majority-Muslim countries atheists can live safely, if quietly; Turkey is one example, Lebanon another. None makes atheism a specific crime. But none gives atheists legal protection or recognition. Indonesia, for example, demands that people declare themselves as one of six religions; atheism and agnosticism do not count. Egypt’s draft constitution makes room for only three faiths: Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Read more…

Can U.S. Keep Pressure On In Persian Gulf If USS Nimitz Is Delayed?

November 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Iran. Gaza. Syria. Political opposition in the Emirates and adjoining states. The Persian Gulf region simmers and America may have only one carrier group deployed there at the end of this year. Should we worry?

Let’s examine the puzzle. The USS Nimitz’s planned deployment to the Persian Gulf may be delayed. That is raising concern, since the Navy will be down to just one carrier in the region during the months of December and January.

But are carrier groups the only agents of US influence in the region? The U.S. Air Force has numerous bases and installations from which it operates. Indeed, Air Force tactical air is a key part of any joint air operations, while the real threat the United States poses to Iran’s nuclear ambitions comes from Air Force heavy bombers and their massive ordinance loads, which are operated by Global Strike Command and based in the continental U.S., as well as in the region. Similarly, any theater air operations will be dependent on Air Force tankers in the skies off the battlefield. Read more…


November 27, 2012 Leave a comment


Last Operation was Practice Run for Conflict with Iran

November 25, 2012 Leave a comment

Operation Pillar of Defense in the Gaza Strip was a sort of “practice run” for a possible military confrontation with Iran, Israeli and American officials told The New York Times over the weekend.

The sources believe that beyond the publicly stated goals of the operation, it served as a good exercise in preparation for a potential military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities and its likely consequences, particularly Iranian rocket attacks on Israel in response.

According to the officials quoted in The New York Times, Israel would face three “tiers” of threat in a confrontation with Iran: short-range missiles coming from terrorists in Gaza, such as those fired during the last operation, medium-range rockets launched by Hezbollah in Lebanon, and long-range missiles from Iran. Read more…

Obama’s Pledge of US Troops to Sinai next week Won Israel’s Nod for Ceasefire

November 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to a ceasefire for halting the eight-day Israeli Gaza operation Wednesday night, Nov. 21, after President Barack Obama personally pledged to start deploying US troops in Egyptian Sinai next week, DEBKAfile reports. The conversation, which finally tipped the scales for a ceasefire, took place on a secure line Wednesday morning, just hours before it was announced in Cairo. The US and Israeli leaders spoke at around the time that a terrorist was blowing up a Tel Aviv bus, injuring 27 people.

Obama’s pledge addressed Israel’s most pressing demand in every negotiating forum on Gaza: Operation Pillar of Cloud’s main goal was a total stoppage of the flow of Iranian arms and missiles to the Gaza Strip. They were smuggled in from Sudan and Libya through southern Egypt and Sinai. Hostilities would continue, said the prime minister, until this object was achieved. Read more…

Will the Kurds Get Their Way?

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

The turn of the 21st century marks a definite period of Kurdish awakening. This social revolution is occurring separately within each of the four communities, but also through trans-border activities that are increasingly bringing the groups’ political consciousness together. It is a revolution that is very likely to shake the geostrategic pillars of the Middle East to their foundations.

In some ways, the rising Kurdish wave resembles the somewhat more advanced Tuareg wave in North Africa and the western Sahel. The Tuareg rising has already destroyed the territorial integrity and political order of one state, Mali, and threatens others. The Kurdish rising may very well do the same.  Read more…

Iran must be President Obama’s immediate priority

November 18, 2012 Leave a comment

By Henry A. Kissinger, Former Secretary of State

In the aftermath of an exhausting reelection campaign, the most urgent decision facing the president is how to stop Iran from pursuing a military nuclear program. Presidents of both parties have long declared that “no option is off the table” in securing this goal. In the third presidential debate, the candidates agreed that this was a matter of the American national interest, even as they described the objective alternately as preventing an Iranian “nuclear weapon” or “breakout capacity” (President Obama), or a “nuclear-capable Iran” (Mitt Romney). As Iran continues to elaborate its enrichment capacity and move it underground, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced a spring deadline for counteraction. In this fraught environment, what operational meaning should be given to America’s declared objectives? Read more…