UAE-based banks, both local and foreign, have mostly stopped issuing letters of credit (LCs) for trade finance involving Iran-based companies because of the widening US-Iran row, according to sources familiar with the situation. -Gulf News 11/16/07
Canada orders Taser review after video of death - Video Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 07:45pm EST
French strike bites despite moves to talk Video Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 02:33pm EST
U.S. sees military gains and political impasse in Iraq Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 08:59am EST
Taliban kill Afghan boy for teaching English: police Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 07:22am EST
Olmert to announce steps on settlements, prisoners Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 02:29pm EST
Palestinians begin rebuilding symbols of authority Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 09:13am EST
U.S. tribal allies in Iraq angry over airstrikes Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 02:02pm EST
Iraq's displaced struggle to restart their lives Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 07:55am EST
France's Sarkozy to visit China, Iran in focus Thursday, 15 Nov 2007 07:53am EST
Germany: A Change of Heart on Iran
November 15, 2007 Stratfor Global Intelligence Brief
Germany is Iran's second-largest provider of products and exported some 4.4 billion euros (5.6 billion dollars) of goods -- almost all mid- to high-tech industrial and technological products -- to Iran in 2006. (Technically, Germany comes in second, but the largest supplier, the United Arab Emirates, actually only transships goods to Iran.) The Iranian-German Chamber of Commerce indicates that three-quarters of Iran's small and medium industries rely on imported goods and technology from Germany, as one of Iran's greatest economic weaknesses is a lack of technological aptitude. Such imports are crucial for the development of sectors as varied as petrochemicals, transport, food processing and manufacturing. This involvement has led Germany to be the European power most resistant to the United States' Iran policy. Under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, this opposition certainly had an ideological bent, but the economic facts of the case have made Chancellor Angela Merkel queasy about giving the Americans a blank check as well. But as the United States and Iran continue to threaten each other as part of their respective national strategies, Berlin has had a change of heart. Stratfor sources within various EU governments have said that, in the past week, the Germans have essentially flipped. In part, the shift came because the German leadership realizes that recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports indicate that Iran's secrecy about the details of its nuclear program has deepened of late, and that therefore additional sanctions are perhaps justified. Pointed questioning from the British, U.S. and French delegations has forced the IAEA to announce that Iranian cooperation has been severely lacking for nearly two years. But mostly, the shift happened because the constellation of forces in Europe and North America are pushing events in a direction with which Berlin is uncomfortable, necessitating a change in policy. Under Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the United Kingdom has become far more willing to support punitive sanctions, and perhaps even to nudge the situation toward a military resolution -- a shift that has left Germany as the only major European power arguing for a softer line. Conversations with French President Nicolas Sarkozy pressed home to Merkel that if sanctions were successful, a war could probably be avoided. So while sanctions would interrupt German economic gains, they would certainly be the lesser of two evils. After all, should the Americans go war with Iran, they certainly are not going to stop bombing if they see the "Made in Germany" label on a power plant. The United States did offer a sweetener. During Merkel's Nov. 9-10 visit to U.S. President George W. Bush's Crawford ranch, Bush -- very unofficially -- signaled that if the issue of permanent German membership on the U.N. Security Council came to a vote, Berlin could count on an American "aye."Germany remains firmly opposed to military action, and none of this means that sanctions -- much less war -- are imminent. That will depend largely on the ebb and flow of U.S.-Iranian negotiations over the future of Iraq. But the shift in the German position re-establishes the Western diplomatic wall on the issue, giving the Iranians one less crack to wedge open.
قطر اعلام كرد نفت و گاز ژاپن را تامين می كند
در پی اعلام اینکه در صورت جلوگیری از صدور نفت ایران، عربستان سعودی نفت مورد نیاز چین را تامین خواهد کرد، دولت قطر نیز اعلام كرد حاضر است به جای جمهوری اسلامی، نفت و گاز مورد نياز ژاپن را تامين كند. نشريه جينز اينتليجنس چاپ انگلستان در این باره نوشت عبدالله العطيه، وزير انرژی قطر در دیدار با یک مقام بلندپایه ژاپنی متعهد شد نيازهای انرژی ژاپن را تامين كند. به نوشته اين نشريه، ژاپن بعد از اعمال تحريمهای آمريكا علیه رژیم تهران، درصدد است نفت خود را از ساير كشورهای تولید کننده نفت تامين كند. قطر در حال حاضر چهارمين تامين كننده اصلی انرژی ژاپن بشمار می رود، اما متعهد شده كه جای رژيم تهران را پر كند.
ستون "پید او پنهان" روزنامه اعتماد شنبه خريد ر اي، گناه کبيره است؛ امام جمعه شيراز گفت؛ خريد و فروش ر اي، گناه کبيره است و هر کس راي بخرد يا بفروشد اين گناه را مرتکب شده است. حائري شيرازي گفت؛ کسي که راي خود را به 20 هزار تومان يا کمتر و بيشتر مي فروشد در حقيقت دين خود را فروخته است و کسي که اين راي را مي خرد اصلاً صلاحيت آنکه به عنوان نماينده مردم به مجلس برود، ندارد. وي افزود؛ اگر من مطلع شوم که داوطلبي در اين استان راي خريده است و ناظر عدم صلاحيت او را اعلام نکرده است، وظيفه دارم که اين را به مردم اعلام کنم
Iran 'tried to buy nuclear items 75 times' : By Alex Spillius
Last Updated: 1:52am GMT 17/11/2007
Iran has tried 75 times in the last five years to buy materials that could be used for making a nuclear weapon, it has been reported, as Teheran vowed "never" to give up the pursuit of nuclear power. Diplomatic sources told the New York Times that the 45-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group, an off-shoot of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, had refused repeated Iranian requests to buy "dual-use" products - useful for peaceful or military ends. The group, which aims to control and monitor the trade of nuclear-related materials, keeps its records secret. But a leaked list of items sought by Iran included key ingredients such as nickel powder, compressors, furnaces, steel flanges and fittings and electron microscopes. The 75 refusals were from only seven of the 45 member states, suggesting that Iran had made many more efforts to buy sensitive goods. The West fears the Islamic regime, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has threatened Israel with annihilation, is secretly developing a nuclear weapon, which Teheran routinely denies. To do so, Iran would have to acquire components and expertise from illicit sources. Last week, as part of an attempt to be seen to be co-operating with the international community, Iran handed United Nations diplomats a blueprint, acquired from the "nuclear supermarket" of the rogue Pakistani scientist A Q Khan, showing how to create the uranium component of a warhead. A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) earlier this week said that Iran was still defying ultimatums to suspend enrichment. IAEA officials also confirmed that Iran had installed 3,000 uranium enriching centrifuges, opening the way to the production of weapons-grade uranium. On Thursday, Britain and America condemned Iran's continued defiance, insisting that they would continue to pursue deeper sanctions at the UN Security Council. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, said yesterday: "Iran will never give up the uranium enrichment technology, which it has mastered, as the agency said." British and American efforts to force the sanctions issue were hampered yesterday when officials from China - a key Iranian ally - pulled out of talks due to be held in Brussels next week.
It's true: Iraq is a quagmire : ut the real story is not something you have heard : Sunday, November 18, 2007 : By Jack Kelly, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
We're floundering in a quagmire in Iraq. Our strategy is flawed, and it's too late to change it. Our resources have been squandered, our best people killed, we're hated by the natives and our reputation around the world is circling the drain. We must withdraw. No, I'm not channeling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. I'm channeling Osama bin Laden, for whom the war in Iraq has been a catastrophe. Al-Qaida had little presence in Iraq during the regime of Saddam Hussein. But once he was toppled, al-Qaida's chieftains decided to make Iraq the central front in the global jihad against the Great Satan.
"The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this third world war, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation," Osama bin Laden said in an audiotape posted on Islamic Web sites in December 2004. "It is raging in the land of the Two Rivers. The world's millstone and pillar is Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate." Jihadis, money and weapons were poured into Iraq. All for naught. Al-Qaida has been driven from every neighborhood in Baghdad, Maj. Gen. Joseph Fil, the U.S. commander there, said Nov. 7. This follows the expulsion of al-Qaida from two previous "capitals" of its Islamic Republic of Iraq, Ramadi and Baquba. Al-Qaida is evacuating populated areas and is trying to establish hideouts in the Hamrin mountains in northern Iraq, with U.S. and Iraqi security forces, and former insurgent allies who have turned on them, in hot pursuit. Forty-five al-Qaida leaders were killed or captured in October alone.
Al-Qaida's support in the Muslim world has plummeted, partly because of the terror group's lack of success in Iraq, more because al-Qaida's attacks have mostly killed Muslim civilians. "Iraq has proved to be the graveyard, not just of many al-Qaida operatives, but of the organization's reputation as a defender of Islam," said StrategyPage.
Canadian columnist David Warren speculated some years ago that enticing al-Qaida to fight there was one of the reasons why President Bush decided to invade Iraq. The administration has made so many egregious mistakes that I doubt the "flypaper" strategy was deliberate. But it has worked out that way. It may have been a mistake for the United States to go to war in Iraq. But it's pretty clear now it was a blunder for al-Qaida to have done so.
You may not be aware of the calamities that have befallen al-Qaida, because our news media have paid scant attention to them. "The situation has changed so unmistakably and so swiftly that we should be reading proud headlines daily," said Ralph Peters, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. "Where are they?" Richard Benedetto was for many years the White House correspondent for USA Today. Now retired, he teaches journalism at American University in Washington, D.C. When U.S. troop deaths hit a monthly high in April, that was front-page news in most major newspapers, Mr. Benedetto noted. But when U.S. troop deaths fell in October to their lowest levels in 17 months, that news was buried on page A-14 of The Washington Post and mentioned on Page A-12 in The New York Times. (The Post-Gazette put the story on the front page.) "I asked the class if burying or ignoring the story indicated an anti-war bias on the part of the editors or their papers," Mr. Benedetto said. "While some students said yes ... most attributed the decision to poor news judgment. They were being generous." Mr. Peters suspects the paucity of news coverage from Iraq these days is because "things are going annoyingly well." Rich Lowry agrees. "The United States may be the only country in world history that reverse-propagandizes itself, magnifying its setbacks and ignoring its successes so that nothing can disturb what Sen. Joe Lieberman calls the 'narrative of defeat,' " he wrote in National Review. If what Mr. Peters, Mr. Benedetto and Mr. Lowry suspect is true, it must have pained The Associated Press to see a correspondent write Wednesday: "The trend toward better security is indisputable." It'll be interesting to see which newspapers run the AP story, and where in the paper they place it. "We've won the war in the real Iraq, but few people in America are familiar with anything other than its make-believe version," said the Mudville Gazette's "Greyhawk," a soldier currently serving his second tour in Iraq.